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For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)

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Volume I - Chapter One

(Last updated, Aug. 14, 2008) In Chinese following the bibliography


It is fair to say that the network is becoming the favorite structure in the way we arrange our lives. --Jay Bolter

...the declining cost of computation will make digital technology accessible to nearly everyone, from inner city neighborhoods to rural villages in developing nations...changing what and how people learn throughout their lives...the new digital technology can make possible a `learning revolution. --Mitchel Resnik 

When we look at teaching beyond the mere delivery of information, we see a rich picture of learning. --John Seely Brown

If you want the most productive, the most far-reaching, the most advanced education possible, it will have to be distance learning, but not as we know it....It will be networks of disciplines and transdisciplines, networks of actual and virtual institutions...its mission a `turning towards the whole.'           --Eric Weislogel

Gertner (2008) points out that educators too much have sought to evaluate `inputs' rather than than the `0utcomes' of education efforts.

Note series of conferences on the future of higher education, 2007 on new challenges in  human and social development <http://www.guni-rmies.net/k2008>


"Lifelong education for all" has now been established as one of the most important goals for human society." (UNESCO  2005.) We here explore the thesis that a global electronic learning system--something entirely new--is needed to provide adequate lifelong learning opportunities for everyone on our planet. "Change is coming, (Duderstadt et all 2005) and the biggest mistake could be underestimating how extensive it will be. Also it will be inter-related with other global systems, such as a digital bringing together globally of health care records, and others discussed here in Volume Two here.

Humanity now has powerful new communication tools and now needs more powerful educational content to communicate.  In the fall of 2005 UNESCO conducted online a seminar--involving experts in 87 countries-- on free `open source software' such as that offered by Rice University <http://cnx.rice.edu/>.  that was being used in 157 countries. There since have been many UNESCO online workshops on specific needs, problems and technology.

 So before turning to the developing world and poverty areas, Volume One here raises some questions and explores some ideas about how--perhaps through online conferencing--adequate plans can be developed for a global administration (coordinating the vast amount of courses and content offered) and funding system for global lifelong education. Also we assume here that a strategy for providing knowledge and learning, (Volume Three) especially for the underprivileged, cannot be separated from issues of health care, malnutrition, poverty and injustice.  Needed reform and initiative probably must begin in the universities of the world, so we will explore that thesis here. For a European perspective see: <http://www.studymentor.com/studymentor/>.

Much of what is needed is being explored and developed in many conferences, many held entirely on the Internet. Needed change must also begin with a point of view, stated well by John Seely Brown (2001) that "learning is a remarkably social process" that occurs as the result "of a social framework that fosters learning" and not primarily as the result of `teaching.' It requires, especially in the development of new media to support learning, that "we must move far beyond the traditional view of teaching as delivery of information." As critical as information and IT are, they are only one of many forces in learning. Howard Rheingold in SMART MOBS: THE NEXT SOCIAL REVOLUTION; TRANSFORMING CULTURES AND COMMUNITIES IN THE AGE OF INSTANT ACCESS (2003) described forthcoming technology that is likely to transform all institutions, including those in education, beyond what we can yet conceive. So also have the Sept./Oct. 2004 issues of Educause and the online journal, Innovate from Nova University.

Robert Mueller, who brought imaginative leadership to the United Nations and then became head of the United Nations University of Peace in Costa Rica, said that he wanted to devote some of his retirement to imagining what the ideal university should be like. Who else will now accept this challenge? This online trilogy invites you to explore some--among many possible--new models of new roles for lifelong education research and leadership in lifelong learning everywhere' and not just in the training of teachers and staff. A process for teaching teachers and the informed public must begin.

A first role for higher learning in achieving these objectives is research. (Volume Two here)  For example, is the ideal global virtual learning system ultimately to be a high-tech research institution in one location with electronic involvements all over the world? Or, at another extreme, is the virtual lifelong learning system of the future already coming into existence through collaboration in cyberspace/virtual space or whatever emerges in the digital and post-digital era? Is the ideal lifelong university to be a  consortium of linked programs all over the world? Or. . .Rheingold (2003) described already existing online `research communities of the future.'

A second crucial role, part of a research strategy, is experimentation. Morton Egol in Educause, August 2006, reported an experiment that can meet the need of higher education to help reform K-12 schools in order for universities to be more successful.  He is experimenting with "a new system design: the Community Learning Center (CLC)"  He claims that `spectacular increases in student learning' occur when "the educational learning system design is rooted in discovery-based, self-directed learning and is linked to involvement with personal work." (More in this in volume  Two, chapter 17 and in volume Three

The UNESCO 2002 "Education for All Monitoring Report" said that only 87 countries might be able to meet the `education for all' goal by 2015. However, UNESCO has reported that many countries with the largest populations were actually falling further behind. It was estimated that 35 million new teachers would be needed. So we ask how automated tutoring systems on the Internet may be used where there are not teachers or where teachers need online help because they are not well educated. The Geneva 2003 and  Tunis 2005 `World Summit On The Information Society' projected as achievable goal, connecting all villages on the planet to bring "ICT's to all schools, universities, hospitals and research centers" during the decade following. <http://www.itu.int/wsis/>.

Higher Education should also be the place where  needed new goals should be explored.  Jonassen (2002) reported that 'learning in our society is bleak." So he wonders how a "social revolution in learning" can be encouraged. He has proposed the need for "a renaissance in thinking where learning is willingly and willfully embedded in every activity of our culture." We note public ignorance about learning in schools and note how little learning is valued in daily life as seen on television. "Commercial society seems to discourage learning and encourage ignorance--focusing more on entertainment-- in our everyday settings. Our society seems unable to accommodate multiple perspectives. Spector (2002), researcher in educational evaluation, has said; "I used to believe that I knew when learning was occurring." We will have more on that when we talk about research in education in 2.17. Here we are asking how real learning as well as needed skills can be provided for everyone on the planet.

Michael Dertouzos of MIT scoffed at the word `cyberspace,' saying that  the word `motor space' was not used for the industrial revolution. The whole communications infrastructure, he said--Internet, telephone net, wireless net or whatever--"is obnoxious and is in the way" .Nor, he said, is it helpful here to talk of `virtual space’--beyond cyberspace--as a lifelong learning location? Yet, you, the reader, are right now in that electronic milieu. The sound waves around you are full of music, although you need a radio to hear it. The air around you is full of films, but you need a television set to see them. The air around you is full of voices, but you need a cell phone to interact with those voices. In the space around you is a vast library of information. This virtual space is full of vast databases and of university lectures and courses now, for example, going to sailors isolated on ships and next to astronauts on the space platform; and perhaps by the end of 21st century new kinds of learning experiences will be sent to people exploring other planets.

 Alongside each of us in this space are more than six billion others, including illiterate people in the rain forest of Brazil, and some of the most disadvantaged, underprivileged people in the world in Africa. All that music, those voices, the drama, the news, the courses, vast stores of data and information, too, right now surround them also. It is there for them to use, not some time in the future, but right now. . .to bring them knowledge and learning opportunities, health care and economic opportunity. Oh, there is the `digital divide!’ and, more important, a `digital literacy divide.' Most do not yet have the technology, the `personal cell phone-type personal communication units’ (PCUs) that begin to bring together cell phones, the Internet, computer power, two-way broadband digital satellites, gigabit wideband optical networks, instant messaging, digital radio and so much more within the next few years. (2.1.7 and Vol. 3) Nor do they yet have `chips' in everything that will create smart `personal learning space '.But they could soon have battery powered transistor radios, and many have battery-powered TV sets and CD players and will also have those cell-phone model PCUs--sometime at a cost under ten dollars--that are already transforming adolescent culture in Finland and Japan. Prototypes for education costing fifty dollars already exist in Asia.

So former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, Donald Hanna, listed eleven `strategic challenges' that higher education faces' among them are removing the barrier between academia and the public; strengthening interdisciplinary programs in new faculty to serve `interdisciplinary clusters;' emphasizing connected and lifelong learning; building strategic alliances; incorporating learning technologies into strategic  thinking; transforming bureaucracy; and a `measuring program quality.' Now these must become global and lifelong.

The content, the curriculum is more important than technology if the Internet is to be used to provide education for everyone on the planet.  Charles Vest (2004) of MIT explained how its comprehensive curriculum can be provided for all, in an article on "why MIT decided  to give away all its course materials via the Internet." See: <<http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html>.He hoped that many educational institutions will do the same, together "building a web of learning that will enhance human learning worldwide...." available ""openly to anyone anywhere in the world." We recognize, he said, that access by people in the developing world is limited by a shortage of technology and a "lack of Internet access and connectivity." However, rather than letting that limit "our vision of the future." he has proposed that we accept it as a challenge to be overcome

 Former president of the University of Michigan, James Duderstadt (2000), pointed to a storm of social change that already is sweeping across the academy. It may, he says, cause universities--and we would include schools (Zucker 2003)--to lose control of their own destiny. Of course he is not speaking of campus buildings, but of the true university that could function in another set of buildings...or online. Suppose eight different tornados hit a university town all at once, utterly destroying all the buildings on the campus. We would hope that very careful research might underlie the plans for how to rebuild them for coming centuries. See "Growing By Design," The March 26, 2004, special section on ARCHITECTURE AND CAMPUS PLANNING. Before rebuilding a university theater, for example, designers might look at the MIT Media lab’s design its own new building at MIT or for a fantastic new kind of opera house in Vienna, and might examine the `virtual reality theater’ at Iowa State, with three-dimensional images that change according to the viewer’s perspective, a wireless theater that surrounds visitors with computer-generated images on the floor, the walls, the ceiling. Such building designs have implications for future classrooms and laboratories (3.4.1) and the local electronic lifelong learning centers that will replace neighborhood schools; as does the 21st century Planetarium in New York City for exciting new kinds of science labs that can excite the unmotivated. (3.4Digital TV, in this first decade of the 21st century, can soon bring astonishing interactive learning into every school and living room. Many high school students are also undertaking their studies and courses on line. <http://store.tcpress.com/0807742864.shtml>.    


Larry Smarr (2003) called the situation not just with one terrible storm, but by several that converge upon it at once, creating chaos and violence on a scale that no one had expected.". Each of the impeding and converging storms listed below "are all happening at the same time and they are all going to merge into one large storm of `info-bio-nano technology.' And academia, as it exists now, is not well prepare for any of them, much less for all of them at once.

Our concern here, however, is not with buildings, but with what Duderstadt (2000) called the tidal waves of change now descending upon educational institutions to transform the way they preserve knowledge, engage learners and create new knowledge. Eight social hurricanes are crashing down on education, knocking down--not the buildings--but, for example, the lecture method, the separation of  departments and disciplines, the administrative bureaucracies, and `little bits and pieces’ of research not adequately related to a larger whole; and also much more that already is causing unease and forcing change. Yet for the most part educators are “propelled into a new era with no (global) plan!” Bill Joy says with no adequate vision, (Joy 2000)
     What are these pressures that are forcing inevitable change upon education from kindergarten to the grave?

(1)  THE POPULATION EXPLOSION (2.11.1) of the young and elderly

Who but the universities can keep humanity from being swamped and cynically disillusioned with inadequate solutions to social problems such as the population explosion? Soon half of the world’s population is going to be under age 20, and already there are a billion young people who ought to have higher education, but who can never reside on a campus or commute to one. At least four million of them are in the USA alone and economic cuts--higher tuition and less financial aid available--are increasing that number each year.. American universities already face the storm, even before we look at the rest of the world.

In the United States, for example, Maryland  universities found themselves swamped by adult learners, the first wave of hundreds of millions of adults who are going to need continual retraining, lifelong education for the digital age. California, facing a budget crisis, does  crisis does not have room for a tidal wave of a million more learners on the horizon, ending its dream of affordable education for all. Kentucky has worried that the health and prosperity of all of all Americans are also tied up with the necessity of providing education for the neglected underclass in the USA, the many teenagers who are dropping out of high school and who are in no way going to be prepared for jobs in the coming information age society. John R. Campbell (1998, 2000) has reported the transformation worked in America by the GI Bill and the early vision of the land grant universities, asks what is going to happen when even minimum wage jobs are taken over by robots or continue to disappear overseas? He notes that continuing learning and skills training are unaffordable to a great many rural young people and those earning the minimum wage. H. G. Wells pointed out that human society, even early in the 20th century, was already in a race between education and survival. And each year since then the disasters increase. (Vol. 2) Abraham Lincoln pointed out that the USA could not survive half slave and half free. Now it is increasingly clear that humanity cannot thrive in a world that is half ignorant, half hungry, often terrorist  and half sick. SO “the demand for education,” Duderstadt says, “is going to be staggering.”

Without a driving vision (2.16) and realistic plans to provide adequate and better learning for a billion or more overlooked young people, humanity is on a path to disaster, to more wars, to massive illegal immigration, to more terrorism and to global-scale crime which is already so profitable that it can take control of small nations and offer million dollar bribes to their poorly paid police and officials. (2.13) A third essential step will be to make our learning tools human-centered “and help us finish the Information Revolution is to reach more people.” (Dertouzos 2000). At the beginning of the 21st century only a tiny 5 percent of the world’s population was able to participate. “And if we do nothing, matters will get worse.” We here will examine the thesis that information technology will make it possible to provide learning and needed skills for all. Fortunately in 2001 a series of online conferences, stimulated by many new programs and organizations, were seriously beginning to tackle `the digital divide’ at home and abroad. It must be closed “not just to be compassionate, but also to avoid the bloodshed. (Dertouzos 1999.)


A SECOND hurricane is the digitally-empowered entertainment culture--films, TV, pop music, computer games, streaming video on the Internet etc.--which dominates the lives of the world’s young, interfering powerfully with traditional styles of education. Altbach (1993) noted that education research has been more concerned with "influence of higher education on students that with the influence of students on higher education." Student interests, attitudes, culture and politics influence both their institutions and society, he finds, and this is true worldwide. Students are increasingly part of an international youth culture and are a bellwether group that may be "a harbinger of future societal trends" Education, like entertainment, has been a system that has controlled the learner as well as the TV viewer, deciding what the individual would be given. Now, Rose (2003) has pointed out, "there is a freight train coming at us." Control is shifting to the individual to choose rather than accepting what is handed out. First the VCR, then TiVo began to give TV viewers the option to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it. Increasingly the same option is being given to learners.

Duderstadt pointed out that the rising generation, especially those soon coming now in secondary schools, are learning quite differently than we did, and from how we expect them to learn. Shaped by “robust visual electronic media --Sesame Street, cyberspace networks, video games, virtual reality--they learn through “participation and experimentation.” According to a Scientific American, November 2000 special report, the entertainment industry—as it becomes digital, d-entertainment—is going to become even more overwhelming. Already, students have little patience with lectures. Their tolerance for the traditional classroom, curriculum and four-year model may not last long, President Duderstadt says. A first grade teacher reports that her pupils now turn her off --like a TV commercial--whenever she starts lecturing. The rising generation responds to a curriculum of learning experiences, doing things interactively, seeing and touching instead of hearing lectures about experiences. Some positive aspects of this for learning are discussed in 3.1 and 3.2.

Again, this is a global problem (Levine 1993.) Films and TV are accelerating the rising expectations and demands of the world’s poor, sick and hungry. If educators do not act now to give them the knowledge and skills they need for a information age society, we may face disastrous chaos--such as seen in terrorism and at the turn of the century in Africa--that might may create longing for `the good old days of fascism and communism.' (See 2.13) Video games and computer games are helping youngsters learn to think in new ways that are changing pedagogy. The Inayatuliah-Gidley (2000) report on the future of universities worldwide, for example, warned that serious disillusionment with the present system is already rampant among students, (also seen by students from five continents attending the UNESCO world education conference in Paris.) So we of this generation, Duderstadt warned, must beware of seeing current students through the rose colored glasses of our own college experience years ago. Within a decade, he said, “hundreds of millions of young people will be linked together by the ubiquitous information technology” and their future is certainly not our present. “They will certainly incorporate and mix cultures from around the world to spawn new societies.” Planners for future learning should link together globally to cope with this social hurricane. Yet, Duderstadt said: “Newspapers in college towns give more space to intercollegiate sports than to academics.” He asks which universities are ready to give up being in such entertainment business which, he says, “is an alien culture”—isolated from scholarly learning—which “infects a highly visible portion of our activities.” In Volume III we will discuss alternatives to `just making education more entertaining, yet how the technologies of the entertainment culture may help.


A THIRD hurricane is the accelerating knowledge explosion. President Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic (2004) pointed out, for example, that 7000 to 8000 new medical abstracts are added each week making it impossible for any individual or team, to keep up new medical research and "new medical breakthroughs. The same has been reported for chemistry and the vast data that orbiting satellites and telescopes are bringing from outer space is just the `tip of the iceberg' as astronomers explore further and further into but one of what maybe many  universes. She looks forward to `text mining' "that will `read' 250,000 pages and hour, .scanning reams of documents, categorizing information, and making links and visual maps" to guide researchers. Google and others are accelerating the putting of all information on line.

The vast amount of data exploding all over the world is increasingly a global problem, not only data from outer space, but also in the brain and from the ocean where thousands of  new kinds of species are found in one bucket of seawater, and perhaps it will be millions as other oceans are explored. . Such a quantity will challenge all the world’s universities, working in collaboration, to manage oceans of data, to organize it, to transform it into knowledge and wisdom and into useful learning. Perhaps something marvelous is--in a decade or two--going to come out the work reported, for example, at the conferences of the American Association for Information Science, new ways to coordinate the vast data seen in the information explosion. But ultimately it must involve the teamwork of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of minds—even with automated machine aid--and must involve thousands of universities working together.(2.P.)

Rheingold (2000) suggested that the trouble with science is that it has become too successful. As Vanniver Bush pointed out years ago the rate and volume of scientific publication have overwhelmed the capacity of our old print-era technology.” So it became essential for each scientific document to be linked to “its intellectual antecedents and to documents regarding related problems…(for) “the entire body of relevant scientific literature to be collapsed into each individual document.” Creator rights are but one small issue in the swamping ocean of data that is not yet knowledge, and knowledge that is not yet wisdom. We will discuss electronic online textbooks and the Global Brain idea as partial solutions to this dilemma and to how teachers must change from `experts' to collaborators in the in discovery and search for information in a new global information/learning system. (1.4)  (2.3)


A FOURTH social hurricane is seen in the rise of multiculturalism and its political implications. It is not only some Asian universities and schools that took a wrong step in copying elite European education. In a global strategy there must be a varied kind of learning institutions. Fernando Reimers of the Harvard School of Education argues that giving the same kind of learning to everyone will no longer do! For example, learning programs should also be designed for low-income and developing world learners which is relevant to their talents and needs, that involves their families and their unique culture and community. But education researchers and planners at present do not know enough about them to design relevant curricula that can be adapted for varied needs. Rare, he says, are education systems, policy makers and teachers that demonstrate sufficient respect for the `excluded’--such as physically and mentally challenged people--to organize education to fit their particular needs, culture and circumstances. Unfortunately much of academia suffers from an elitism in which the `elite nobility’ vendors, planners and researchers) assumes the right to decide what is good for the `peasants,' (learners and teachers) ’ often without enough attention to their real needs at all. (Incidentally, to these eight hurricanes Duderstadt would add political interference and radical shifts in government funding priorities.)

One illustrative problem area is the `mass assembly--line' production of international educational programs, e-textbooks and tests, needed for credits, admissions, degree and skills qualifications. Can tests be fair if they are not adequately adapted to each unique individual as well as to local dialects and languages, to local customs as well as the larger unique culture, to political and `correctness’ concerns? In Volume III we will point to some possible solutions that new technologies now make possible. Readings book, University in Ruins, points to a fundamental shift in culture. <http://www.louisville.edu/journal/workplace/issue6/cramer.html>.


A FIFTH hurricane is economic, and not just the question of how to fund learning opportunities for everyone in the world. With knowledge now seen as wealth, market-oriented economic globalization seems to determine the value of anything by its profitability, including lifelong education. Students become `customers.’ Universities talk of `marketing.’ President Duderstadt (2000) has said that many lament such a depiction of education as a business, nevertheless he sees the emergence of a global education industry. Many universities are increasingly operating in a highly competitive global marketplace, a knowledge industry. <www.uniconexed.org/  

Already there are more students in for-profit and corporation-run universities than are in conventional higher education; more than 1600 US corporations have such learning programs such as McDonalds’s `Hamburger University’ and American Airlines Flagship University. Junk bond entrepreneur Michael Milken once said that he had a hundred million dollars for a for-profit university that would "steal the lunch’ of traditional universities.” Book publishers are offering online courses. Wall Street estimated that for-profit higher education would in four years increase from a two billion dollar to an eight billion dollar business worldwide. And take note! Some of these new competitors, Duderstadt warns, are sophisticated in using discoveries about how people learn from cognitive sciences which most present faculty are neglecting. Also for-profits develop strategic alliances to make use of ‘brand names’ like Wharton in business and MIT in technology. A university rector in Portugal said in 1999: “Foreign for-profit universities are invading us!” 

Is education only for an elite? Shall the poor continue to get poorer, providing products at very low-cost, even slave-type labor? Or can the universities lead out in creating a global learning system, providing education for all, to create vast new markets that can improve the whole global economy, as online skills training help the poor get adequate incomes to enter the marketplace? <www.educause.edu/internetforum/2000/3.PDF> Derek Bok (2003), former President of Harvard, worries that universities may become subservient to corporations. Michael Lerner in TIKKUN magazine (Nov/Dec 2004) pointed out that the survival of humanity requires a different, less profit-oriented  view of globalization. It must enable "the healing and transformation of our planet, of our social relationships, of our global economy, of our politics and of our inner selves," a kind of global liberation to achieve a society of justice for all. "That must involve a "world of peace, environmental sanity and global kindness."

He proposes, for example, that all corporations with annual expenditures of more than thirty million dollars be required every ten years to be called to a hearing where for a renewal of their charter  they would be asked to  report what they are doing further justice for employee and the public. Perhaps some of the same questions should be asked of all educational institutions on a periodic basis to  justify what they are doing on global hunger, poverty and injustice.


Related to market globalization is a SIXTH driving force for change--pointed to by Duderstadt--is the deregulation of university monopoly.  He said that universities have held a kind of monopoly by controlling accrediting systems, degrees and credentialing.  Duderstadt said universities have already merged many of their activities, including their approaches to federal agencies and many major research projects. Also note the `University 21course sharing project.’ Competition in providing Internet courses, worldwide, is already sometimes almost ruthless. But Duderstadt notes, as in the restructuring of health care in America, restructuring alone may not succeed in improving the situation in higher education. What globally is to replace the old monopoly? See also President Emeritus of Cornell University (Rhodes 2001).

While such developments seem threatening to many in academia, how adequate are efforts to cope with social hurricanes? Or are social termites undermining foundations? Duderstadt quotes an exasperated university president as saying that the faculty may be the last constituency on earth to believe ”that the status quo is an option.” The research universities have become big business" and they no longer provide a significant intellectual culture for undergraduates. (Kats 2002) As classes become large and are taught by graduate students, undergraduates might just as well--as some begin to do--take their basic courses online even when living on campus. Perhaps faculty or tutors can advise students, work with them in some team projects, while undergraduates pursue individual learning. Thus perhaps faculty can have more time for research in their narrow specialized fields.  

We will look at some alternatives in the next chapters and some of them must involve economies and more sharing. Also amore closer inter-relationship between education programs for all ages..


A SEVENTH hurricane is the acceleration of international electronic learning and distance or distributed education. In June 2000 the World Bank announced that it was taking seriously the likelihood that global electronic education is the best antidote for eliminating poverty in the developing world. Already the Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept 19, 2003, reported a survey that "57 percent (of higher education institutions) said that Internet-based courses...were already at least equivalent to lecture hall counterparts in educational quality. So shouldn't education for all in the developing world build from the bottom up in every rural neighborhood, replacing the idea of school with a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week electronic learning center? (2.17, 2.18) With the arrival of the Internet and Web, universities began to negotiate with similar schools in other countries to offer joint courses and others—fearing competition or hoping for profit—began to offer popular courses online. By 2002 millions of students in other countries were taking courses electronically, many from universities in Europe, Canada, and the United States but also increasingly from other countries. In fact, the largest numbers of courses offered overseas were from Hong Kong Already universities were treading on each other’s toes; soon the trampling may be more like a cattle stampede! See: <www.usq.edu.au/electpub/e-jist/docs/old/vol4no1/2001docs/taylor.html

A partial antidote to prevent an unfortunate `stampede' might be a `partnership for a developing world’ plan among contracting universities--as part of a shared global curriculum. (1.1.7) Couldn’t each university, for example, offer at cost (or free) to the developing world on the Internet one high quality course in an area of its top expertise? Many higher education institutions are asking how else universities in poorer countries can keep pace with scientific research that is crucial to their future. One response to this need is MIT's project to put its entire curriculum online, available to anyone anywhere in the world. Many scholars use electronic networks for global-scale research projects and there might be discussion of how to avoid a messy “kludge. It might be avoided if all those involved in distance and electronic education, including business corporations, could be brought into some more comprehensive joint planning and coordination. (1.2.2) On lifelong education see: <http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/life/

Some `experts’ are foolishly debating which is best: online education versus the residential campus. It is possible that virtual `distance education' may never equal the quality of the best campus-centered education; but academia does not face an either/or alternative. In 3.6 we will discuss a third alternative, hybrid courses and learning tailored to the individual. In any case, those adolescents who can afford it will long continue to go to residential campuses, to get away from home, for college sports, field trips, for fraternity house friendships, being on stage in live theater, for hands-on experience with intricate lab equipment, for face-to face counseling and often for superior face-to-face education. Also an increasing number of adults go to campuses for a wide variety of learning experiences. However, resident campuses cannot meet the needs of the billion students who are left out, for whom education via the Internet and telecommunications may be their only alternative.

Academia must beware of judging the future of global learning on the basis of present efforts and technology. The head of the University of Phoenix has said that distance learning was still in the buggy wagon stage of electronic education; and universities and schools that try to ride the horse-drawn buggy into outer space are going to be in unbelievable trouble. University problems “with distance education so far,” President Duderstadt (2000) says, is that learning is still too often thought of as information transfer, “overlooking how university-based learning actually occurs.” Real education, he says, is rooted both in experience and social interaction and it thus needs learning communities.

More important, something new and transformational is coming and present distance education efforts are but a foretaste of what is moving education into as radical a change as those that came with the invention of writing and then of printing. <http://www.distancelearn.about.com/>.


The EIGHTH hurricane is the technological explosion, but again beware! Education must NOT be driven by technology alone, especially by the primitive  Model-T-Ford Rube Goldberg contraptions that today frustrate teachers, librarians, learners and researchers. The redesign and reconstruction of education must begin with a new global vision, with educational goals for the 21st century, with research to create imaginative new plans to meet those goals--and only then  develop technologies that can help accomplish what needs to be done. To do otherwise, Alan Kay has pointed out, to try to adapt for education the existing technologies, created first for business and other purposes, is like trying to play music on an adding machine. In any case they soon will be outmoded.

Burnett (2003) foresees the digital revolution as disrupting--and will continue to disrupt--"what we mean by learning and  and "how we organize our disciplines." To "think about interdisciplinarity in a networked world "is to think about disciplines in a different and evolving context;" a fluidity that will stimulate creativity. He proposes that learning research "is in the midst of a sea-change...in the underpinning for learning, pedagogy and education. "Information now flows from so many venues that what we mean by content needs to be examined from many different, sometimes conflicting  perspectives.

Bill Joy of Sun Computers stirred up a storm when he described--in the April 2000 issue of Wired magazine--the crises that may arise when powerful computer systems begin to out-perform the human mind, so that we human beings may no longer control them or even understand what they are doing. A global system's driving new vision (1.1.10) must be rooted in a better understanding of whatever it is that develops intelligence, compassion, ethics, creativity, hope and personality--whatever helps transform evil into good! (2.2 and 2.16). And as human-machine cooperation is expected to enhance human intelligence. Skeptics say that most Africans will not have such interactive technology for decades. However, with  cheap cell phones with Internet connections they begin to leap ahead of developing countries. Women of Africa already were showing signs that they will move more quickly into wireless space, one of many unexpected surprises ahead for those of us who use wires and cables to connect. See: <www.vita.org>, (2.18). Automatic translation will bring down language barriers. In 2004 Nokia was demonstrating in the Philippines a cell phone that could be put in the hands of a teacher download video from a satellite into any classroom.

It is urgent that planners and academics avoid limiting their planning to technology that now exists, or that soon will be possible; for example as Virtual TV--bringing together telephone, television and computers--that can have a thousand interactive channels with video for all kinds of interactive education, library services, cultural events and much more. (CME 1998) Already there are classrooms in which you can see and talk with people thousands of miles away as if they are in the same room with you. What will be possible when we have the billion-channel universe, if we have the molecular computer--which operates at the speed of lightning--inside of every learning tool? And what about virtual reality, holography, compression technology and thousands of other new technologies? The promise of a wireless connected world--which can make the developing world learners equal partners--is close to being realized. And if a global consortium would agree on the standards for the now being developed (Guttag 1999) inexpensive personal communication unit) `learning tool’--combining TV, computer, pager, cell telephone internet connections and much more, it could even now be mass-produced to make it affordable to billions of people. An important first step in that direction is the simputer that in 2001 was being developed in India. (2.18.2, 3.2) Meanwhile combinations of low cost current technologies --including CD-ROM, Internet access via cell phone, radio, etc., can be used to bring essential education to hundreds of millions of people.

Caution: We must beware of imposed standards, administered by government bureaucracies, which may–among other dangers—open the door to for-profit programs while closing it to needed variety and individualization.


All of the above social hurricanes affect global lifetime learning in one way or another and we must consider other barriers to the emergence of a global network and system, political, technological, financial, bureaucratic, and more. Perhaps we cannot yet imagine alternative blueprints for the architecture of a global learning system in virtual/hyperspace, and for any learning institution as it participates in an emerging global lifelong education system. (1.1.6) No one yet knows what architectures will emerge in virtual space. However, designers and `builders' will encounter many surprises along the way. It is likely that nearly everyone in education--and all the stakeholders outside—can now have a hand in creating and operating the global system if they choose to do so.

Just now, as education philosophers and researchers begin a journey of exploration into their future, networking planners should envisage themselves as riding a donkey along a jungle footpath. In coming decades that donkey will become a space ship, that footpath much more than an international electronic highway. Academia must now prepare for that journey into a space future, yet does anyone have no adequate road maps? And how can we create blueprints until someone truly knows what should be built? A space ship as metaphor can remind us of new technologies yet to come, technologies we cannot yet even imagine. Even those fantastic technologies must not drive education. New ones must be designed especially for learning, for achieving global goals yet to be established.

A space ship metaphor also reminds us that research into an adequate global lifelong learning system must explore at least three kinds of space: outer space, inner space and virtual space. The word `road map’ is inadequate. Airplanes and space ships do not fly on roads; indeed academics too must `map the stars.’ The World Wide Web is our path now through a confusing jungle of exploding knowledge and technologies but what next? Indeed, Gerschenfeld (1999) said, the Web may be just the trigger to set off much larger explosions in the 21st century. So we do not yet know what that electronic path will become. However there are proposals and experiments that suggest possible sky-maps and architectures for higher education in virtual space that is more than the satellite technology which is essential.(1.2).

Dertouzos (1997) foresaw infrastructure (3.8) will be “made up of all the information tools and services that enable its many activities to function smoothly and productively.” It will, he said, be widely available like the telephone. The Web and Internet are just a good start for a system that will make possible `numerous independent activities’ internationally. At a World Bank symposium on how to use distance education to reduce poverty the Internet itself was discussed as one possible model for the administration of a global learning system in cyberspace. As no one agency or interest group controls the Internet--it is an interconnection of many separate nets--so a global learning system might be such an online connection of many different kinds of learning institutions in many nations. So far, however, there is no Tim Berners-Lee (who got the idea for the World Wide Web) ready to work at it on his own time; nor does global education yet have anything like the `Internet Society,' a membership group that meets from time to time to work on problems. Perhaps in time some of the international professional, disciplinary and university associations  will move into that function; for example to work better at issues in accreditation and achieving excellence.

Already in  1974 President Hesbrough was asserting that the provision of `education for all' in the world was not going to be possible by conventional means, more school buildings and more conventional teachers. New and more creative thought was needed, he said, especially for developing countries. As early as September 1988, President Jean Mayer of Tufts University chaired a conference at Talloires in France of forty-five university presidents from all over the world, an almost unprecedented meeting of educators from “all regions and many cultures” (Van Kamp 1988). The participants drafted a declaration, a call to all of the sixty million students and two million researchers involved in higher education from many countries. In a world “that is plagued by war, hunger, injustice and suffering,” the educators endorsed the exchange of information by communications based on relatively low-cost technologies that, they said, can provide access to computer networks and afford two-way television linkage among university classrooms in various parts of the world, thereby creating a truly “global classroom.” One step towards a global technological infrastructure for education has been taken by the GLOSAS/USA Global University project.

Since differences in regional perspectives and academic traditions will necessarily create diversity in teaching, learning and research, the UNESCO 1997 conference proposed that universities should make every effort to support regional academic associations and in other ways encourage the development of “regional centers” to assist in the organization of research, the exchange of information and curricula, and the development of faculty. Can reasonably priced—yet global-scale —communications and computer-empowered learning tools now thus make possible for all people the kinds of learning and research which the space age requires? This, `UNESCO’ said, “can enable research and teaching programs to increase a common understanding of the cause of conflicts and their resolution, the relationship between peace and development, and the sources of injustice and hunger. Thus the universities can “better discharge our responsibilities to educate men and women who will lead our societies in the twenty-first century.”

Do we see signs of an emerging `invisible’ international global lifelong education system even before its virtual institutional forms exist?

(a) Increasing numbers of learners in one country are taking courses in another, using many kinds of systems and technologies, satellite telecommunications or cable television, e-mail via the Internet, on line courses on the World Wide Web (Volume III).

(b) Catalogs of available distance learning courses are scattered and incomplete and not yet interconnected and made available everywhere to prospective learners. Nevertheless a vast curriculum of courses in nearly every subject area are available somewhere but course evaluations are needed. (1.7.2) More is available every day.

(c ) An international `faculty' begins to exist, consisting of all teachers who offer courses electronically and all researchers who collaborate electronically with colleagues in other countries.  Many disciplinary `list-servs’ (online conferences), chat rooms and so forth are available globally. Faculty training and collaboration can be shared from country to country electronically. Many scholars, without leaving home, participate electronically in international conferences of associations and online `list-servs’ of scholars who meet by discipline and profession.

(d) Global  governance/administration for an adequate  learning system does not yet exist, yet there are networks of personnel in colleges, universities, government agencies, professional associations, and business corporations that are assigned to plan and administer such electronic education programs (1.2.7).

(e) Electronic classrooms and other facilities exist where learners and faculty meet, sometimes learners in two or more countries participating as if in the same room

(f) Student activities, coffee houses, clubs, and action projects begin to involve learners online among more than one country.

(g) There often is online provision for guidance and counseling. (A learner in Singapore met with her advisor in British Columbia whenever she wished on the Internet.)

(h) An  global electronic  library begins to emerge (1.1.5).

(i) “Co-laboratory” facilities-- through which scientists and apprentice learners undertake lab work together--connect them online across national boundaries (Volume Two.) Virtual science labs are coming into existence.

(j) Special event lectures and student action convocations (such as global “live aid” concerts) are shared from country to country. Outstanding lectures are shared from country to country. 

(k) Online electronic bookstores are available for learners in another country to use in ordering print books or for downloading electronic ones.

(l) Continuing  education conferences and workshops exist in which learners from more that one country participate electronically.

(m) Internet Web pages are available for  information, registration, courses and much more. Students share on blogs.

(n) And a worldwide electronic university press? “It is time to talk about joining institutions in a vast and powerful system for scholarly communication,” said a director of the New York State Library. A university-based publishing network to “bring order to the … inexorably growing online publication process” is beginning. International scholarly and scientific journals multiply, many cross-indexed for instant search and retrieval. On electronic books, see 3.7.)

(o) However, most crucial, much of the face-to-face dimension should be developed in neighborhood learning centers (2.18) that the International Telecommunications Union is bringing into existence. (Y.Utsumi 2004)

But who will plan and administer a global system? In addition to the above list of programs and functions, the term “emerging world virtual education system” involves much of that is not yet “seen” by many people in education and also that in a sense this emerging global learning system begins to exist as all electronic cooperation and exchange among learners, faculty, and researchers. Yet, Resnik (2001) has pointed out, "as scientific and technological advances are transforming agriculture, medicine and industry, the ideas and approaches to teaching and learning remain mostly unchanged." What society needs are better thinkers and learners, not just the passing on of information that is the focus of so much education today.


Following the Second World War, there were hundreds of proposals for world universities or other new forms of international education for intellectual enquiry and exchange among scholars of all countries and all fields of knowledge. For example the heads of eleven Latin American and seven European countries called a 1988 conference in Campinas, Brazil. They met to follow up on an idea--developed in 1983 at a conference of the International Association of Universities--about how to help colleges with low academic standards. The only way for developing countries to keep up, one participant said, “is the creation of a global system in which  education institutions share their resources.”

So how is lifelong education to be brought to everyone in the world? Experimentation is underway For example, plans were made in 1999 at a conference at the University of Tampere in Finland, funded by the World Bank, USAid, UNESCO and United Nations development, the Soros Foundation, the Pan American Health Association, and some other international agencies interested in bringing higher quality education and health care to everyone in the world. Heading these ongoing demonstration experiments in 2001 were a United Nations economist, a former head of the UN University and the retiring head of the UNESCO division of higher education. <www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/~steve_mc/asia-pacific>.Another proposal for next steps is here (3.10). See essays and sharing from many countries and many points of view on this project at <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/Global_University/Global%20University%20System/UNESCO_Chair_Book/Bk_outline-D13.html>.

The GU system as been actively working to create a multi-billion dollar fund. When the leaders of G8 nations met in July 2000 the Japanese government offered to provide $15 billion dollars to close the digital divide between the rich and poor. By 2001 the offer was on hold, perhaps because other countries did not follow suit, but in 2002 the International Telecommunications Union was beginning such a trust fund. Japan also offered to send 10,000 information technology trainers to developing countries. (The U.S. Peace Corps in 2000 began to work on a similar project.) Proposals have been made to the United Nations for a large fund to be created to bring Internet connections to everyone in the world.)

The Europeans on Oct. 21 2000 took a first step towards “a multi-campus virtual university as a network for lifelong learning. ”In March 2001 the British Council held a conference to establish the premature  British e-University, a step beyond the British Open University. In April 2002 plans were underway to create a virtual university for thirty nations--with population under two million--that were too small to have a separate university adequate for the coming age.  They and Japan may be the best prospects for initial funding a global electronic education system. Commercial vendors can help by making and sharing profit on learners in rich countries,  

Meanwhile, the World Bank was creating a controversial Global Distance Learning Network in partnership with government agencies, foundations and private companies: for example, with the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and the African Virtual University. By 1997 the bank network was already operating in 75 countries, harnessing Internet video, satellite wireless connections, electronic classrooms and more, --with the goal of closing the technology gap and educational opportunity gap between the rich and poor in the world. It is connecting a high-capacity communications network with varied kinds of learning centers in cooperation with partners like the Vietnam Development Center and the National Distance Education University in Madrid. In the years ahead, moving step by step, that learning network can connect to community tele-centers in every neighborhood and village school. IBM and the World Bank are working together on the prototype -- already in place in some pilot experiments -- of an affordable technology package for cooperative people-run neighborhood tele-centers. Internet connections are already in place in many developing countries; i.e., in the mountains of Peru on a truck that moves from village to village. (2.18.2) The paragraphs in this section simply report a few of a multitude of developments that are taking place worldwide.

Looking further ahead, many clues to the future are appearing. For instance, Internet 2 and its successor will in time be replaced by a global communications matrix and grid (perhaps somewhat like the grid that provides electricity to the public), much more sophisticated, affordable and comprehensive than existing worldwide telephone networks. Note that the long distance phone call USA to Japan that in 1999 cost $1.70 could cost only 16 cents in 2000. NOKIA and other firms were in 2002 ready to offer an inexpensive cell phone that could use the free airwaves to connect any learner anywhere in the world to Web based courses and segment videos. Nortel, the Canadian telephone company, was in 2000-01 putting wireless telephone, with Internet possibilities, into place all over Latin America. The August 2000 Unesco Courier, reported on the highly successful “village Internet program” in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries. It was bringing the Internet into every rural village, creating jobs, providing new product marketing opportunities, giving access to health care, creating a computer literate younger generation in rural areas and providing access to global distance education. Note also the USA Leland Initiative for Africa, and an exploding number of other such projects. It was in 2000 predicted at M.I.T. that within five years a half billion people in the developing world would be using the Internet.

The Global Electronic Learning Conference, held August 9-13, 1999, in Finland brainstormed plans to establish an advanced (wireless and satellite) broadband Internet system to provide electronic distance learning (EDL) in major global regions (the Pacific/Asia, North and South America, and Europe and Africa); and to discuss the information infrastructure, contents and the institutionalization and funding of a Global System that would link regional electronic systems on each continent. Takeshi Utsumi of GLOSAS who for two decades pioneered in experimenting with and demonstrating technological possibilities initiated the conference. Some of those present wanted satellites devoted exclusively to global education, one of which perhaps would contain a large digital library that could be accessed by anyone in the world. Much of the focus was on global health care and tele-medicine since much of the initiative was coming from health care proponents. Roger Boston, who had experimented with technological possibilities, demonstrated how low cost existing and available technology can be successfully used to bring all kinds of education to the developing world.

Robert Bonn, first secretary of the GLOSAS/Global University project, early asked about the values embodied in  education planning. Is the driving force of the emerging space-age education simply a further development of existing international course exchange and cooperation among scholars; or a dissemination of specialized western knowledge to the masses; or some kind of empowerment of local people to develop their own technologies/approaches to environmental/social problems? He asked about values such as sharing educational resources with more people, lower cost for the earth’s poor, orientation to democracy, focus on peace, and the creation of new educational communities. Others have asked how “every peasant” can get more adequate education in agriculture, medical treatment, sanitation, and community organization. There were dreams—but no idea how to fulfill them—for teachers in all countries to enrich each other’s experience; for Peace Corps young people in many countries to meet and share experiences; and for enlarging the vision and skills of political leaders. Others proposed joint scientific enterprises and research, aided by television, and cited the International Oceanographic project and the International Geophysical Year to show what can be done through cooperative effort on the part of the world’s scholars and scientists. The next step, however, would be to reach all the world’s students, and how could this be done?

In addition to values, Charles Ess has shown that there are serious ethical issues involved in using the western Internet and software technology with developing countries where the culture is radically different. <<http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html


Many planners at the turn of the century still tended to think that  electronic programs would be used to expand “extension courses.” Others proposed that smaller colleges and secondary schools could greatly enlarge and enrich their offerings by drawing upon such electronic resources (1.6.1); and to some it became clear that this could be true of any one university because, after all, no university can otherwise offer everything!

By 2001 large numbers of distance learners, sitting at their computer monitors, could participate in widely varied kind of learning experiences. Research was showing that when tested, and even when in prison, such distance students were often doing as well as—and sometimes even better than—the students who were actually sitting in the classroom. This was true not only for a Pennsylvania student who was connected to a classroom in Utah or Hawaii but also for a USA student enrolled in a class in Germany or Japan. So one saw the beginnings of a country-to-country sharing of resources that can enrich and bring enhanced quality into any school in the world, whether in distant jungle or isolated desert.

By 2004, however, something much more significant was also emerging, the possibility of bringing essential learning to everyone in the world; for people in the least developed areas of our planet--as well as those in poverty everywhere—and also to bring tele-medicine health care to all. Such possibilities were widely discussed in April 2000, for example, as over 4000 people from 130 countries discussed online the draft of the “World Development Report 2000/1: Attacking Poverty.” (Online then at <www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty>). (2.12) Many ideas and possibilities will be reported here.


A New York University dean (London 1987) predicted the end of the university as most Americans picture it—four happy years on a resident campus. Half of American students by 1990 were older than the traditional college age. By the turn of the 21st century the average age of college students was over twenty-six and getting older. Many people complete their college educations or take graduate degrees on a part-time basis as commuters, taking courses across many working years. Many corporations operate extensive college-level training programs for their employees overseas, wherever they are; IBM, for example, was said to operate the largest “university” in the world and several such corporations have joined forces with universities to varied new kinds of educational opportunities.

However, as these efforts multiply--and unless universities and government bureaucracies can agree upon plans to guide and coordinate these electronic developments--the profitable share of education in the world may indeed fall into the hands of business corporations or for-profit educational institutions. When the NYU dean spoke of the “death of the university,” however, he also had in mind the numbers of college faculty around the world not engaged in serious research. (2.1) Humanity is entering a period of history in which we are confronted with overwhelming problems that require more comprehensive, coordinated research that must engage teams of scholars who are often scattered around the globe. That dean also reported an “education malaise” in which universities were failing to prepare students for the sort of world they had even then, much less for the space/information age in which they will live in by mid-21st century. In a time of rapid change and accelerated growth of knowledge, people need lifelong connections to learning. Electronic courses can be sent to people wherever they are, whenever they have need for it, and can be pursued part-time and at any hour of day or night. Many traditional programs are in fact changing rapidly to serve a globally interdependent society that requires much more than mere dissemination of skills and knowledge.) If a large percentage of learners want job oriented courses, on-campus life may become much less a life of the mind.

Grim Assessments. Some researchers on the future of conventional higher and lifelong education come to pessimistic conclusions. For example, a former assistant U.S. secretary of education (Finn 1997) predicted that rising tuition costs, current cultural trends, and enrollment-driven marketing may transform the average campus into “something akin to a resort or entertainment center that will be-part multiplex theater, part guest ranch, and part love boat, with the occasional uplifting lecture or brow-furrowing seminar thrown in for no extra charge.” Resident  educational institutions may devote even more of their budgets to non-teaching staff that deliver counseling services, tend sports and other recreation, and enforce regulations. The faculty will know that they are paid for job training and not for research. Schools may use more part-time teachers. “Institutional governance will be a shapeless mess involving continual power struggles among four sets of forces: diehard supporters of collegial faculty governance; modern marketers pushing the university to respond to shifting demand and community needs; diverse campus factions seeking greater resources and status for their sectarian interests; and external regulators and funders pressing for greater efficiency and lower costs while imposing costly requirements.”

Saba (2002) compared the way business corporations have restructured to save money with information technology with the way university's have not achieved savings, indeed have increased their costs and loaded onto faculty responsibilities that should belong to a technological team. Another analogy suggests that it is as if the university added electricity service by requiring teachers to operate a generator in each classroom....and know how to repair it.

Rather than having a master plan for global lifelong learning, will separate institutions continue to improvise, looking for “a few ways by which providers could serve learners at lower cost?" Texas needs to serve an additional 500,000 students. (Gose 2002)  Some recommended ways to do that have been:

(1) Institutions should embrace unique missions, (See 1.6.1) seeing that their mission is to empower learning and that that their mandate is to impart it as effectively as possible at the lowest feasible cost.

(2) Or they might downsize by deciding to reduce enrolment with higher admissions standards and by refusing to admit students whose secondary schools have not adequately prepared them,” thereby giving their feeder schools a solid incentive for reform.”

(3) One reform that might increase tuition income might be to give graduates meaningful degrees and certification of real skills, perhaps including a warranty” or guarantee of attainment, which would require a reliable global assessment system for lifelong education, including funding issues and possibilities <http://www.aed.org/publications/TechnologiesForEducation/TechEdChapters/04.pdf

(4) Higher education institutions might become more efficient by outsourcing campus services and instruction to more efficient providers. They could base hiring, promotion, and compensation on teaching effectiveness, could close down surplus facilities, base their budgets on customer demand and might also adopt differential pricing, charging less for humanities and and more for professional and technical subjects. Schools might break down student bills to allow payment only for services that learners actually used, rather than requiring every student to support a campus recreation center which could sell memberships in it, like a health club. The first question to ask, Finn suggested, is whether higher education is broken and needs to be fixed. If so there are many options to explore (as in the last five chapters of this volume.)

Those suggestions, however, often look backwards rather that forward  to entirely new possibilities. Perhaps it is not just the institutional forms of  education that are `dying,' but the modern age that brought them into birth is coming to an end. Lukacs (2002) described the modern age that was born with the Renaissance, and how its "industries, institutions, forms of art and expression" have been crumbling to give way to the birth of a new era we cannot yet describe. Perhaps it will be a more adult `age of thinking' or rethinking everything. The term `primitive' is now applied to many disciplines from humanities (Solow 2002) to sports (Sperber 2000) to `Distance Education' which in its most advanced forms is probably still very very primitive.. (See Ford 2002)


Perhaps current distance education is already outmoded since so much of it at the turn of the century just seeks to reproduce the conventional lecture and classroom materials. So many would use `distributed learning.’ Enlarging possibilities propose a middle ground between the ideal and the existing reality. It is even more difficult to look ahead into what may be a revolutionary change in learning. For example, new information technologies have blurred the boundaries between on-campus and distance learning. Discussion of the future is complicated by the almost infinite variety of electronic programs and possibilities/ Today the electronic connection may be class to class or college to college and to workplace, as well as to individual students on campus or at home on another continent.

Conventional theorists have tended to think that a learner either attends a class in person or studies at a distance. Yet, in fact, half of the members of an on-campus class may be at a distant location. and a resident student may be taking courses electronically from another continent. A professor may use electronic segments, from a distance, for a resident class. Gershenfeld (2000) foresaw many if not most students spending part of a year on campus and the rest of the year online wherever they are. Electronic programs can enrich the lifelong educational possibilities of learners both at a distance and on campus. So we must move beyond the notion that electronic programs will be primarily for people who cannot come in person to attend courses on a campus or for graduate students who need access to up-to-date information in their research specialty. In any case at present, however, too much of what learners study is repeating the past. One future possibility is suggested by: <www.textweaver.org

It now seems that the shape of global lifelong learning is not going to be determined by governments and universities alone. As Peter Drucker (1989) pointed out, continuing education of the already highly schooled, as well as of employees who need new skills, has become so important that “the business enterprise is increasingly going to be an educational institution.” Drucker also said that the `age when bigger was better’ is definitely over, which may well be true of traditional university and school programs. Instead of a global virtual system directed by one “hub” administration, there probably will continue to be a network of “hubs,” some in government, some in business, some in universities. All learning institutions are already undergoing a transformation as such hubs begin to interconnect electronically. It is not only technology that transforms education; rather, the technology—and perhaps the shock effect of its potential opens the minds of educators and many learners to various new possibilities, ending some of the lethargy and resistance that have preserved so much obsolete `education.'

H. G. Wells in his 1938 book, World Brain, expressed concern over the enormous waste of human resources that results from outmoded styles of university education. He called for coordinated research and a new kind of less parochial university that could deal more adequately with large-scale global problems. It now appears that what Wells proposed is beginning to happen in those places where it can be helpful. A fundamental educational principle is crucial in the global renaissance of higher education has been is predicted by John Sculley (1988): every person and every culture, as well as every country’s educational institutions, have much to teach and much to learn. All peoples need to share what they have on a two-way basis, as equals—facts, science, knowledge, research methods, wisdom—so that ordinary people as well as scholars and political leaders everywhere can decide for themselves how to develop themselves and their learning communities for the good of all

Ford (2003) suggested that the post-modern university "will be problem-based" and must overcome the artificial divisions of the disciplines and their distance from the real world" and its needs, as will be essential for a global learning system.. Here in Volume I we will look at some ways in which that might be accomplished.

Return to Volume I Preface | Go to Chapter 1.2

Bibliographical Notes       (Some are sources, others with (*) are recommended reading.)

Altbach, P. G. 1993. "Students: Interests, Culture, Activism." In Levine, A. Higher Learning in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

*Bailey, James. 1996. After Thought: The Computer Challenge to Human Intelligence. New York: Basic Books.

Bok, Derek. 2003. Universities in the Marketplace. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Brock, Dee. 1990. “Using Technology to Deliver Education.” Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science. August-September.

Brown, John Seely. 2001.  "Learning in the Digital Age." From the "Internet and the University" forum/ <http://www.educause.edu/pub/>.

Burnett, Ron. 2002. "Shifting the Ground for Our Conversation." The Book of Problems. Association on Educational Communications and Technology, November. <http://www.learndev.org>.

*Campbell, John R . 1998. Reclaiming A Lost Heritage: Land Grant and Other Higher Education Institutions for the 21st Century. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

*Campbell, John R. 2000. Dry Rot in the Ivory Tower. New York: University Press in America.

CME 1998. "Reinventing Public Television for the Digital Age." Center for Media Education. See <www.cme.org>.

Dertouzos, Michael. 1999. “The Future of Computing.” Scientific American, August.

Drucker, Peter. 1989. “Managing the Post-Business Society.” Fortune, 3 July.

*Duderstadt, James. 2000. A University for the 21st Century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

*Duderstadt, James et al. 2002.  Higher Education in the Digital Age. Westport CT: Praeger Series on Higher Education, and American 

         Council on Education.

**Duderstadt, Jmes et al. 2005. "Envisioning a Trransformed University." Current Issues in Science and Technology, Fall.

Edmonds, Victor. 2008. "Video Vision." Educause,  Sept./Oct. (See other articles in the same issue.)

Finn, Chester. 1997. An address in Minnesota, Thomas Fordham Foundation.

Ford,.M .P. 2002. Beyond the Modern University: Toward a Constructive Postmodern University. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Garrison, D. R, and D. G. Shale. 1989. “Mapping the Boundaries of Distance Education.” in M. G. Moore (ed.) 1989. Readings in Distance Education. American Center for Distance Education. University Park, Pennsylvania:

Gershenfeld, Neil. 1999. When Things Start to Think. New York: Henry Holt.

*Gershenfeld, Neil. 2001. Address at Educause conference, October 2001. <www.educause.edu>.

Gertner, Jon. 2008. :"For Good Measure." New York Times magazine, March. 8

Gose, Ben. 21002. "The Fall of the (University) Flagships." Chronicle of Higher Education, July 5. 

Graham, Ellen. 1991. “Online Teaching.” Wall Street Journal, 13 Sept..

Guttag, John. 1999. “Communication Chameleons.” Scientific American, August.

Hanna, Donald. 2003. "Building a Leadership Vision: "Eleven Strategic Challenges for Higher Education." Educause, July/Aug.

Harasim, Linda. 2000. "The Virtual University: A State of the Art." In Advances in Computers. . New York: Academic Press.

Inayatullal, S. (Ed.). 2000. The University in Transition. Westport, Ct.: Praeger.

Jackson, Shirley. 2004. "Ahead of the Curve." Educause, Jan./Feb.

*Jonassen, D. 2002. "Thoughts on Learning." The Book of Problems. <http://www.learndev.org/>.

Katz, Stanley. 2002. "The Pathbreaking, Fractionalized, Uncertain World of Knowledge." Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 20. 

Keegan, Desmond. 1989. The Foundations of Distance Education. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Kelly,  James Patrick. "Meditation on the Singular Matrix." in Karen Haber, Exploring the Matrix; Visions of the Cyber Present. New York: St. Martin's/Byron

.Levine, A. E. (ed) 1993. Higher Education in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

London, Herbert L. 1987. “The Death of the University.” Futurist, May-June.

Longworth, Norman. 2003.  Lifelong Learning in Action. London: Kogan Page.

Nevins, C .L. and C. Urbanowicz. 1991. “Extra-Terrestrial Education.” American Association for the Advancement of Science., Washington, D.C. 14-19 February.

Paulson, Morton. 1991. “The ICDL Data Base for Distance Education.” American Journal of Distance Education. 5(2).

Reimers, F. et. al. 1997. Using Research to Shape Education Policies Around the World. Westport CT: Praeger.

*Pelton, Joseph. 2003. "The Future of Broadband Satellite Communication." In Global Peace Through The Global University System." Ed. by T. Varis, T. Utsumi, and W. R. Klemm.University of Tampere, Hameenlinna, Finland

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第一章 必然引发教育改革的力量


                                                                ——波尔特(Jay Bolter


                                                            ——雷斯尼克 Michael Resnik


                                                              ——布郎(John Seely Brown


                                                  ——朗戈吾斯(Norman Longworth


1.1.0 未来终身学习体系的构想

我们这里想要探索的主题是,我们需要建立一个全球性的电子学习体系—— 一种崭新的系统——为全球每一个人提供可靠的终身学习的机会和可能性的系统。




在我们专门讨论如何满足发展中国家和贫困地区的需求之前,我们在这套书的第一部首先提出一些问题,并探索如何通过网络论坛来制定合适的计划,以推动全球终身学习体系的管理和建立全球终身教育的资助系统。同时我们还认为,为促进人类学习和为大众提供知识来思考策略(参见第三部),特别是为了服务于社会弱势群体,是和健康问题营养缺乏问题贫穷和社会不公问题相互关联的。或许,必须进行改革和做出表率的,首先应该是世界各国的大学。欧洲人的观点可参看下列网站:<http://www.studymentor.com/studymentor/ >

很多会议,特别是网络论坛,对如何推进全球全民终身教育已经进行了很多探讨。最重要的是思想观念的转变。布郎(John Seely Brown2001)就很精辟地指出“学习是很明显的社会过程”。学习的产生并不仅仅只是“教”的结果,而是由一种有助于学习的社会结构和氛围推动的结果。特别是在发展新的媒体来支持学习的情形下,“更需要我们不仅仅只是把教学作为传输信息的过程”。如何利用信息和信息技术都非常关键,它们也是影响学习的众多力量中的一种。雷恩古尔德(Howard Rheingold2003)出版的著作《下一轮的社会革命:智能MOBS——瞬时交流时代文化和社区的变更》,其中就描绘出,即将到来的新兴技术很有可能会以我们难以想象的方式改变所有的社会机构,包括教育机构。《教育使命》(Educause 20049/10月刊和诺瓦大学(Nova)创办的网上期刊《求新》(Innovate)也谈到了同样的观点。

穆勒(Robert Mueller)曾经是联合国的一位充满了想象力的领导,后来就任位于哥斯达黎加(Costa Rica)的联合国和平大学校长。他曾经说过,他要用他退休后的一部分时光来构思一个理想的大学应该是什么样子。有哪些教育家不需要接受这样的挑战吗?这一套三部的网络书籍正是想邀请读者您也来加入这项探索——从众多可能性中——探索出适合于世界各地的, 有利于全民终身学习的, 新的终身教育的模式和体系,使其不仅仅局限于培训教职员工,还应该包括广大的民众。

要想实现上述目标,高等教育的首要角色是要做研究(参看第二部)。举例来说,我们应该考虑诸如此类的问题: 理想化的全球虚拟学习系统应该是在一个地方集中的高新技术研究机构, 通过电子网络连接全球呢?还是像现在悄然出现的各种通过数码、虚拟空间,或是数码和数码后时代技术进行合作研究的各种方式?一个理想的终身学习的大学是不是通过大学联盟将全球的课程和学科都联接起来?或是还有其他种种方式……? 雷恩古尔德(Rheingold2003)在他2003年出版的著作中描述了已经出现的“未来研究团体”。

联合国教科文组织2002年做出的“全民教育监控报告”中指出到2015年只有87个国家可能会达到全民教育的目标,其中还提到人口大国可能会更加落后。据估计, 将会 (什么范围, -Fan需要三千五百万新教师。所以我们很关注能否研制出通过互联网实施的自动辅导系统,来帮助没有教师和缺乏教师的地区的人民学习,也帮助没有得到足够教育的教师获得提高。日内瓦2003年和突尼斯2005年“世界信息协会”峰会提出了可实现的目标,争取在接下来的十年中把信息技术带给所有的学校、大学、医院和研究中心。参见<http://www.itu.int/wsis/>

高等教育应该不断探索新的需求,不断追求新的目标。乔那森 Jonassan2000)报道说“我们社会中学习的前景不容乐观”,并呼吁“推动学习的社会革命”。他认为应该促成思想的复兴, 将学习变成在我们的文化活动中无处不在的, 人人既愿意, 又乐于从事的事情。我们注意到人们对学校学习不甚了了,而且还通过电视观察到学习并未受到重视。商业化社会其实并不鼓励学习, 而是加剧人们的愚昧——只注重娱乐——使娱乐充斥在人们生活的各个领域。我们的社会看起来并不鼓励兼容并蓄的思维方式。教育评估研究者斯贝科特(Spector2002)说:“我曾认为我能很敏感地观察到学习的进程。”我们在2.1.7还要更深入地讨论对学习的本质和对学习过程的研究。本章我们着重讨论如何为我们地球上的每一个人提供真正的学习机会和必需的学习技能。

麻省理工学院的德尔图佐斯(Michael Dertouzos)对“数码空间”这个词很不以为然,他说工业革命时代并没有用“马达空间”去描述。他说整个交流和通讯的基础——互联网、电话网、无线通讯网或诸如此类——其实令人生厌而徒增烦恼。另外, 虚拟空间——超越数码空间——作为终身教育的落脚点来考虑似乎作用也不大。但是,亲爱的读者,你们此刻正徜徉在“电子环境”之中,你周围的声波满载着音乐,你只需要一个收音机去接听;你身边的气流中涌动着电影,你只需要一个电视机就可以欣赏;你周围充满了声音,你只需要一个手机就可以和对方交流;你周围的空间其实就是一个巨大的信息资料库, 默默地等待着你去挖掘。其实,这个虚拟空间还满载着大学的课程和讲座资料,可以传输给远航的孤独的水手和将来在宇宙空间站工作的宇航员。到了21世纪末叶,新型的学习体验兴许可以传输到在其他行星工作的人们。

和我们共同拥有这个空间的还有60亿地球村村民,包括巴西热带雨林中的不识字的人和非洲大陆的一些贫困交加的人们。上述的音乐、声音、电影、新闻、课程等巨大的信息资料库也同时存在于他们的周围,这种存在也可以供他们享用。我们不是谈关于未来的梦想, 而是要加速推动其进程,将知识、学习机会、保健和经济发展的机会通过虚拟空间带给他们。人们会谈论数码技术带来的鸿沟,或是对数码技术了解的差距。人们还会说在近几年他们还不会有足够的技术,或是集手机、互联网、计算机、双向宽带、数字卫星、宽带光纤网络、即时通讯、电子收音机之大成的个人通讯系统(PCUs),(2.1.7第三部),或者是提供“智能个人学习空间”的硅晶制品。但是,他们很快就会有电池驱动的收音机、电视机和光盘播放机,以及手机型个人通讯系统(PCUs)——有时造价可以在10美元以下——这种系统的出现已经在变革着青年人的文化。亚洲已经成功地研制出了造价低于50美元的此类系统模型。

威斯康星大学前任校长多汉那(Donald Hanna)曾经指出“高等教育面临的11项战略挑战”,其中一项就是如何消除学术圈子和大众的隔膜。还有如下几项:如何在新教员中促进跨学科合作以提供更多的跨学科课程;如何注重融会贯通的终身学习;如何组建各高校战略联盟;如何利用学习技术来促进策略性思考;如何变革官僚体系;如何衡量学科质量,等等。如今,这些都必须提升到全球全民终身教育和终身学习的高度上来认识。

如果我们要利用互联网为地球上每一个人提供教育,课程与内容比技术更重要。麻省理工学院院长威斯特(Charles Vest2004)在一篇文章中阐述了如何向所有人提供综合课程,文章谈到为什么麻省理工学院决定将自己的所有课程资料通过互联网向全球公开,参看<http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html> 。他希望更多的教育机构会效仿他们的作法,齐心协力构建一个在世界范围促进人类学习的学习网络,使学习资料向世界任何地方的任何人免费开放。他说,我们注意到人们在发展中国家受到技术短缺和没有足够网络资源的限制,我们不能让这种情形限制我们对未来的展望,我们将目前的现状看作挑战,并想出各种办法来战胜这些挑战。

密歇根大学前任校长杜德斯塔兹(James Duderstadt2000)指出, 一场社会变革的风暴正在席卷学术世界。他说,这场风暴有可能导致大学——也包括学院——失去对自己命运的掌控力。当然,他不是在谈论大学建筑所遭受的威胁,而是关于真正的大学赖以生存的功能……在网络时代将承受的考验。读者们,请您设想:有八个不同的龙卷风同时袭击一个大学城,使这所大学的所有房屋和设施彻底遭到破坏。在这种情况下,我们希望人们会瞄准新世纪的需求来认真构思重建校园的规划。校园规划者可以参阅《通过设计来成长》,从中可以了解2004326日关于建筑和校园规划的特殊专刊。比如,在重建大学剧院之前,设计师可能会研究麻省理工学院的多媒体实验中心是如何为麻省理工学院做建筑设计的;或者, 他想参考维也纳的令人赞叹的大剧院的设计;或者他会借鉴艾荷华州的“虚拟仿真”剧院的设计,了解如何修建一个无线控制的剧院,在地面、墙壁和天花板都充满了计算机操纵的三维图像,让观众自己通过自己的视角来控制立体三维图像的变化。这种建筑设计代表了未来的教室和实验室(参看3.4.1)。或许,社区的电子终身学习中心会代替周围的学校。纽约市开放的21世纪地球展览馆就通过开放展示激动人心的新科学的实验室来激发学生的学习动力(3.4)。在21世纪的头十年,数码摄相机将给每个学校和家庭带来令人惊叹的互动式学习。很多高中生都在通过网络课程进行学习<http://store.topress.com/0807742864.shtml>


1.1.1 八个社会风暴

拉瑞·司马(Larry Smarr2003)将日益逼近的危机称为“超级风暴”, 暗指我们教育所处的情形和一部电影所描绘的情形极其相似:影片中一条船在海上遭遇风暴,不仅是一个可怕的风暴,而是几个风暴同时聚焦在小船上,导致令人难以想象的混乱与恐慌。下面将谈到的各个社会风暴不仅同时向我们袭来,而且还汇集在一起,形成一个巨大的“信息——生物——纳米”技术风暴。我们的学术世界,以目前的状态,对其中任何一个风暴都还没有做好应对的准备,更不用说同时应对八个风暴的合力了。

所以,我们在此所关注的并不是学校的外部建筑如何承受这些风暴的合力,而是涉及学校思想观念的层面所受到的冲击。我们必须关注被杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt2000)称之为“变革的巨浪”如何冲击我们的社会、我们的各种教育机构,如何变革我们创造知识、保存知识、组织学习的最根本的方式。这八种社会风暴同时向教育袭来,虽然并没有损坏我们的建筑,却对我们上课的方式、系科分割的状态、官僚的管理体制、整合意识的缺失、越来越细化的研究带来了巨大的冲击、不安和变化。但是大多数教育者并没有深入思考新时代的全面计划就被带入了新的世纪,用乔伊(Bill Joy)的话来说,就是我们的教育缺乏必备的前瞻性。那么对终身教育带来不可避免的变化的力量究竟是什么呢?



在美国,马里兰大学发现到这里来求学的越来越多的是成人学生,他们代表了第一批需要得到继续培训、终身教育的人。他们为了满足数码时代的需求,必须接受继续教育。接下来,有这种需求的人数会达到数千万,甚至上亿人。加利福尼亚已经面临经费危机,没有足够的能力来满足上述新型学生的需求,导致了为所有人提供付得起的教育理想的破灭。肯德基担心,为了给美国受忽视的贫穷人口提供必要的教育会影响到美国所有人的健康和富裕。另外,如何对待那些从高中辍学的青年学生?他们并没有得到一技之长,以便在信息化社会能够找到工作而立足。坎姆普贝尔(John R.Campbell19982000)认为应考虑借鉴在美国历史上使美国发生重大变革的GI法案,那种像建立赠地大学一样有魄力的重大举措。他提出,我们要弄清楚当每一个低工资工作都被机器人和境外人士替代了的时候,美国本土会有什么样的变化。他注意到大部分农村青年和挣低工资的人付不起继续学习和继续培训各种技能的费用。韦尔斯(H.G.Wells)早在20世纪初叶就指出,我们人类社会处在教育和生存危机的竞争之中。从那时开始,每年的灾难都在加重(参看第二部)。林肯指出,美国如果有一半自由人和一半奴隶,作为一个国家是不会有幸生存下来的。同样道理,我们越来越清楚地看到如果地球上有一半人没有机会受教育,贫困交加,饥寒交迫,忍受疾病的煎熬,人类也不可能繁荣昌盛。实际上,这些差距通常就是滋生恐怖分子的温床。杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)总结到:对教育的需求将会是前所未有的严峻。

如果没有引领人类的前瞻性的和现实的规划,为近10亿曾遭忽视的年青人提供合适的教育,人类社会就会走上灾难之路:战争绵延不断;大批非法移民;更多的恐怖活动;全球性犯罪等。仅只全球性犯罪一项,因为其巨额获利会导致对弱小国家的控制和对警察和官员的巨额贿赂(2.13)。另一个重要的措施是要将我们的学习工具设计成以人类需求为中心,帮助我们加速信息革命的进程,从而为更多的人提供学习机会(Dertouzos 2003)。在21世纪初,世界上只有5%的人能够享用信息技术提供的便利。如果我们不加速行动情况会日益恶化。在此我们想要检验的主题是:充分利用信息技术有可能实现为所有人提供学习和提高技能的机会。幸运的是,2001年有一系列的会议和论坛通过网络展开,其间讨论了很多激动人心的新项目,新课程和新的组织方式,由此也引起了在国内和世界范围展开的关于应该采取什么措施来缩小技术鸿沟的热烈讨论。我们认为要消除这类鸿沟并不是为了显示我们的慈悲, 而是为了避免将来更多的流血之争(Dertouzos1999)。


            2 娱乐文化的影响

第二个社会风暴是随数码技术而来的娱乐文化——电影、电视、流行歌曲、计算机游戏、通过互联网播放的压缩录像——这些新型娱乐方式已在很大程度上控制了世界上青年人的生活方式,强烈影响到传统的教育方式。阿特巴赫(1993)指出教育研究只关注高等教育如何影响学生而没有去研究学生生活方式的变化如何影响高等教育。他认为学生的兴趣、态度、文化和政治同时影响到教育机构和社会, 世界各地均无例外。学生群体正在成为国际青年文化的一部分和不可忽视的群体,预示着将来社会的趋势。和娱乐文化一样,教育一直控制着学习者和电视观众的系统,决定该给学生和观众提供什么。罗斯(Rose2003)指出,“目前,新的学习方式就像一辆载重列车向我们驶来。”对学习的控制已转移到学习者的手中,他们越来越有可能决定想接受什么,而不是我们向他们布置什么。最初是录像机,接着是Tivo, 给电视观众提供了选择看什么,和什么时间看的便利。 学生的学习现在也越来越多的拥有这种便利。


同时,这也构成了一个全球性问题 Levine 1993)。电影和电视的普及使贫困地区人们的期望值和生活要求迅速提高。如果教育者们不从现在就加紧行动,来为这些人们提供信息化社会所必备的知识和能力,我们就会面临灾难性的混乱,如世纪之交在非洲出现的恐怖活动(参见2.13)。电子游戏和计算机游戏使学生以新的方式思考,同时也会改变我们的教学方法。基德雷(Inayatuliah-Gidley2000)在报告中指出,在全球范围,未来的大学都会经历学生对大学学习系统的强烈不满(五大洲的学生在巴黎参加联合国教科文组织的世界教育大会时也表明了这种担忧)。杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)警告我们说,我们这代人必须意识到不能拿我们多年前大学经历的眼光去为现代的学生设计大学生活。十年以内,数亿年轻人的生活都会被无处不在的信息技术联接起来,他们的将来绝对不是我们的现在,他们会从全世界各种文化中来取其所用,并贯通到他们的日常生活中,从而演变成一种新型的社会。面向将来的学习规划者更应该在全球范围联合起来,共同应对这些社会风暴。但是杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)还说道:大学城的报纸对学校间运动新闻的报道远远多于对学术界及对教学研究的报道。他还说道“在这场由娱乐商业形成的挑战中,有没有哪所大学愿意自动放弃自己的地位?如果我们不想放弃,我们就不得不去注意那些我们并不熟悉的,和我们学术研究相去甚远的,但又无时无刻不在影响我们一举一动的娱乐文化。”本书第三部将讨论除了将学习变得更像娱乐以外,我们还有什么其他的选择,以及我们如何利用娱乐文化的技术来达到我们的目的。


            3 知识爆炸

第三个社会风暴是日益加剧的知识爆炸。任森里尔工业大学 (Rensselaer Polytechnic)校长杰克逊(Jackson, 2004)指出,每周新增添的70008000篇医学研究论文摘要使得任何个人和团队都不可能跟上最新的医学研究的新的发展和突破。在化学领域人们遇到同样的情形,更不用说我们外层空间的卫星和望远镜所发送回来的大量信息和资料。而这些和进一步宇宙探索计划可能送回来的资料相比还只不过是“冰山一角”。提出下一代技术应该是文献挖掘,以每小时25万页的速度扫描大量文件,同时编目并提供链接和视觉图示来为研究者提供指导性服务。


雷恩古尔德(Rheingold2000)认为科学的问题是它太成功了。布仕 Vanniver Bush)几年前就指出,科学出版物的发行量和出版率远远超过了我们纸制出版技术的能力范围。最根本的是如何将每一个科学文件都做成知识履历,并使每一项内容都和有关文件链接起来,使得所有有关的科技文献在一个文件的根目录下都可以方便查找得到。在这些浩瀚如海的数据中,知识产权是一个小小的问题。其实数据并不等于知识,知识也并不等于智慧。我们将讨论如何利用网络教材和全球大脑来作为解决上述窘境的部分措施,并呼吁教师们从“专家”心态改变为“合作者”心态,以便能够在新的全球信息系统和学习系统中进行成功的研究和发现(参看1.4)和(2.3)。


            4 多元文化与多样性

第四个社会风暴是多元文化的崛起及其政治意义。不只是亚洲的大学和学校在模仿欧洲大学教育上走错了路子。在全球策略方面必须要有不同的学习机构。哈佛大学教育学院的雷梅尔斯(Fernado Reimers)提出,给每个人提供同样的学习已很不够了。比如,对发展中国家和低收入的学习者应该根据他们的能力和需求来设计学习科目,并将他们的家庭、他们的独特文化和社区特点考虑进去。但是,目前的教育研究者和规划者对他们了解的太少,以至于不容易将课程计划设计得满足这些人的各种实际需求。他说,很少有教育系统、政策制订者和教师对有特殊需要的群体表现出足够的尊敬,并设计出合适的教学计划来满足他们独特的需求,比如说残疾人。不幸的是,大部分的学术界享有精美至上的特权,由上层人士、出版商、规划者和研究者来决定“农民们”(学生和教师们)应该学什么,通常是一点也不曾考虑到他们的需求。 杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)会给这八个社会风暴再加上政府影响和政府基金资助优先性的变化。



            5 市场推动全球化进程

第五个社会风暴来自经济方面,这不仅是指如何在本国和全世界为每个人提供学习的机会和资助的问题。在知识就是财富的时代,以市场驱动的经济全球化将是否获利作为决定一切的唯一标准,包括高等教育。大学在大谈如何包装和推销自己,学生成了顾客。杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)校长在(2000)年指出,很多人已经将教育描绘成商业,很多大学在竞争日益剧烈的全球市场中竞争。关于知识产业请参看 <www.uniconexed.org/>

盈利大学和公司创办的大学的学生数已经超过了在传统大学学习的学生数1600个美国公司拥有自己的学习项目;比如麦当劳的汉堡包大学;美国航空公司的大学。实业家弥尔根(Michanel Milken 曾说到他如果有上亿美元,他就会建立一个大学,使现在的大学没有饭吃。一些出版商在推出网络教材,华尔街估计盈利大学会从2000年的两百万美元的产业变成80 亿美元的产业。杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)警示道:这些新竞争者们在非常老练的利用认知科学关于人们如何学习的新发现来设计他们的课件;相反的,我们的很多教师却对这些新发现置若罔闻。他们还策略的利用品牌效应,如沃尔顿(Wharton 在企业上和麻省理工 (MIT) 在技术上的名气。葡萄牙的一位大学校长在1999年惊呼:盈利大学在侵略我们。

教育是否只是为了培养精英?难道贫穷的人就应该越来越穷,只从事卑微的工作,或是奴隶般的工作?或许大学可以引领社会开创全球学习体系,为每个人提供教育,创造一个新兴市场来改善整个全球经济,利用网络培训来帮助贫穷人口得到适当收入来进入全球市场<www.educause.edu/internetforim/2000/3.PDF> 哈佛大学前校长博克(Derek Bok2003 就曾担心大学会变成公司的附庸。麦克尔·雷内尔(Michael Lerner TIKKUN 杂志(200411/12月刊 )中指出,人类需要一个不同的,不那么受利益驱动的全球化。这种全球化必须促进“我们地球环境的改善,我们人类社会关系的改变的向善,我们经济全球体系的变革和完善,我们政治的改革和导善,以及我们内心世界的升华和趋善。只有这样,我们才能获得全球的解放和争取建成对一切人都公正的社会。这就需要更多的教育家, 教育者拥有 “促进世界和平的理念,环境保护的意识和对保护全球生态系统的关注。”



            6 对大学系统自治的冲击



在看到这些变化发展对学术界产生的威胁的同时,我们应对这些社会风暴的努力又有多少呢?或者说,是否有白蚁在啃噬我们的基石?杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)引用一位恼怒的大学校长的话说到,大学教师是世界上最后一批人认为“比上不足比下有余”会是自己的追求。但是研究型大学已经变成了一个大型企业,不再为本科生提供关键的知识和文化(Kats 2002)。班级越来越大,而且很多是由研究生执教,很多本科生感到还不如选择网络课程尽管他们依然住校,一些人已经这样做了。或许教师和辅导员能够给予学生辅导,和他们一起做团队研究项目,同时学生可以自主进行自己的学习。这样教师可以有更多的时间在自己狭窄的领域进行研究。


            7 全球远程教育


一个可以从某种程度上阻止这种混乱状态发生的办法是建立合作大学联盟,把向发展中国家的大学提供网络课程来作为全球课程的一部分。有没有可能呼吁每一所大学收一些费用,或是免费通过网络向发展中国家提供自己学校专业领域最强的一门高质量课程?如果不这样的话,发展中国家的大学怎么能跟得上科学研究的发展呢?如果没有前沿的科学研究,这些国家又怎么能有较好的未来呢?麻省理工已经对满足这种需求做出了自己的贡献,他们已经决定通过公开网络课程将自己全部的课程向全世界任何地方的任何人开放。很多研究人员和学者也在利用电子网络在进行全球规模的研究项目,来研讨避免人类灾难的途径。如果这些通过远程通讯,电子网络教育,包括企业公司的各种努力,能够统一整合成联合规划和协调体系,那么我们争取免除灾难则大有希望。参阅有关终身教育的网站:<http://europa.eu.int/comm/education/life/ >


学术界还必须注意不要满足于以现在的努力去判断未来的全球学习。下列网站对现在的努力进行了总结:<http://www.enterprisentworksandservers.com/month/art.php/292> 凤凰城大学到2000年已有一万六千名学生。凤凰城大学的校长曾经说到,远程学习还只不过是在电子教育的马车阶段。各大学和学院正乘着马车驶向太空,这肯定要遇到令人难以置信的麻烦。杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt2000)讲到,大学在远程教育上所遇到的问题在于仍然把学习看作信息传输,而忽视了大学教育实际上是应该如何进行的。他说,真正的教育是扎根于经验,并需要社会互动,因而需要有学习社区。



            8 科技的迅猛发展

第八个社会风暴是技术的爆炸,但是请注意教育绝对不能只受技术的驱动,特别是那种原始的福特式大生产模式,至今都使教师、图书管理员、学习者和研究者受害不浅。教育的重新设计和重组必须从全球观念出发,以21世纪的教育目标为动力,通过深入研究来创设富有想象力的,能够达到这些目标的新型规划,在此基础上再考虑如何发展,利用技术来帮助我们实现我们的目标。阿兰· 凯(Alan Kay)指出,如果是另外的方式让教育去试图适应现存的、大体上以企业为目的的技术,那就只会像是在计算器上弹奏音乐——是不会奏效的。


《联接》(Wired 杂志20044月刊登了太阳计算机公司(SUN)乔伊(Bill Joy 的一篇文章,他文中描述到当计算机强大到超过人类大脑的能力时,人们就会面临危机,他的这种提法当时引起了很大的轰动。因为,如果他描述的情况果真发生的话,人们就无法控制计算机,甚至不能理解它在做什么。所以,关于全球教育系统的前瞻性思考,必须扎根于更好地理解究竟是什么使人们得以发展智力、开阔胸怀、完善道德、激发创造力、对未来充满希望和究竟什么是人的特性,了解到这些最根本的原因就会帮助我们抑恶扬善(2.22.16)。如果人— 机合作会提升人们的智力(参看Kelly2003),那么其他人类一切特性是否也可以增强呢?

有些怀疑论者认为非洲在几十年之内是无望拥有这种人—机交互式技术的,但是约翰·巴尔劳(John Perry Barlow1998) 却提出证据说,他们兴许会超越其他发展中国家的发展,非洲的妇女已经率先进入了无线通讯空间,即便对我们来说,也是一个意想不到的进展,因为我们还更习惯使用有线和电缆的连接,参看<www.vita.org> 。盖斯琴菲尔德(Gerschenfeld1999) 说自动翻译会消除语言的障碍。2004年诺基亚公司代表在菲律宾展示一部可以放在教师手中的手机,通过该手机可以从卫星上下载电视片而在任何教室接收播放。




1.1.2 创建全球学习体系的基础设施

上述所提到的8种社会风暴对全球终身教育都有不同程度的影响,我们还必须考虑阻碍全球网络和系统的其它的因素,政治的、技术的、财政的和官僚的等等。兴许,我们现在还不能想象出不同的,关于全球虚拟终身教育的蓝图,使得任一想参与创建这种新兴的全球终身教育体系的机构都能够参与进来并了解其进展(1.1.6)。目前, 还没有人了解在虚拟空间会出现什么样的建构。但是设计者和建设者在研制过程中会碰到很多意想不到的事。很有可能,现在教育机构中的每一个人,包括外部利益相关者,只要他们愿意的话,都能够在创建和操作这个全球系统方面发挥一份作用。

当教育哲学家和研究者们还在考虑是否应该踏上探究教育的未来的征程时,网络规划者已经骑着驴子自己在丛林小径中行进探索了。在下一个10年,这头驴子将会变成太空飞船,丛林小径将不仅仅是国际电子高速公路。学者们必须从现在开始就做好太空未来的准备,但是我们有合适的地图吗?在还没有人真正知道我们究竟在构建什么时,我们怎么来创设这幅蓝图呢?太空飞船作为比喻可以提醒我们关注即将到来的技术 我们现在还无法想象的技术。但即便是这些美好的技术,也绝不能够由它们来驱动教育,应该将新的技术设计成为教育提供特别的服务,为实现我们即将构建的全球全民终身教育的目标。

太空飞船比喻还可以提醒我们对全球终身学习系统的研究必须探索三层空间:外层空间,  内在空间和虚拟空间。“地图”这个词用起来不够贴切 飞机和太空飞船并不在路上飞行。的确,学者们必须来描绘新兴技术的“星际图”。万维网为我们提供了一个处理令人目不暇接的爆炸的技术和知识的路径,但是,下一步路在何方?盖斯琴菲尔德(Gerschenfeld1999)讲道,万维网也不过是一个点火器,它将会推动通往21世纪的更大的一步。我们目前还不了解电子路径将会是什么样子。但是,有提案和实验在构建高等教育虚拟空间的导航图和基本建构。这种进一步构思和作为基本考虑的卫星技术相比又高出一筹。

德尔图佐斯(Dertouzos 1997 1997年就预见到,所有的信息工具和服务都将整合起来而形成一种机制,从而保证各种活动和功能能够顺利和有效的执行。这种整合的系统会像电话一样普及,网络和互联网只不过是一个良好的开端,预示着一个国际规模的,大量的进行相互支持活动的系统的到来。在一次世界银行召开的关于如何利用远程教育技术来减少贫困的论坛上,人们认为互联网将会成为通过数码空间来运行全球学习系统的一个可能的模式,就像互联网是互相联结的很多网络,没有哪个人或哪个机构在控制互联网一样,全球学习系统也会是将许多国家的许多相似学习系统联结起来的联网系统。但是到目前为止,还没有出现像逖姆· 李(Tim Berners-Lee)(他想到了万维网的主意)这样的人来专门为建立这个系统来工作,也没有像“互联网协会”这样一个时常召开理事会来商议工作的一个“全球教育协会”来系统地推动这方面的工作。兴许,随着时间的推移,一些国际专业人士,一些国际学术协会或大学的联合会会承担这项工作,会对质量认证和追求教学质量上做出一些努力。

赫斯布罗(Hesbrough)校长早在1974年就提出传统的教育方式是不可能实现全球终身教育的宏伟目标的,因为靠增盖大楼和传统意义上的教师是不能满足全球终身教育的需求的。他说,需要的是创造性的新型的思考,特别是对发展中国家来说。早在19889月,塔夫斯大学(Tufts)的校长梅耶(Jean Mayer)就主持了在法国Talloires召开的来自世界各国的45所大学的校长联席会议。这是一个前所未有的将来自世界上不同国家和不同文化的大学校长聚集在一起的盛会 (Van Kamp 1988)。与会者签署了一项宣言,向所有6千万大学生和二百万研究者发出号召:在一个充斥着战争、饥饿、非正义和困苦的世界上,教育者有责任通过低成本技术来促进国际的信息通讯交流和资源共享。该宣言呼吁世界各国都应提供计算机网络,双向电视教室系统的全球联网,从而开创真正意义上的全球教室系统。全球大学(GLOSAS/USA)项目已经在通往上述宏伟目标的征程上开始迈出了第一步——研制全球教育的技术支持平台。





2) 然而,网络课程的目录还是分散的,没有互相联接而形成整合的系统向任何地区的学习者提供,但的确在网络世界里,学习者总能够找到几乎任一门课程,并且网络课程资源一天比一天多,只是课程评估还需加强。(1.7.2

3) “国际教师”开始出现,包括所有通过网络提供课程的教师和通过互联网和其它国家的研究者进行合作研究的研究人员。很多学科都有自己的全球范围的网络联系服务,和网上论坛项目或聊天室。教师培训和合作通过电子网络可以国际间分享。很多学者在自己办公室就可以参加自己协会举办的国际研讨会,并通过自己机构的网络服务和自己专业领域的学者们互相探讨问题。

4) 虽然全球的行政管理机构还没有形成,但是已经有很多大学或学院的人际网络和政府机构、专业组织、企业公司都在从事规划管理这种全球电子教育系统的研制和开发。(1.2.7

5) 电子教师和其它相应设施相继出现,来自不同国家的教师和学生可以通过该系统会面、交谈,效果像是在同一空间交流一样。

6) 学生的活动,像咖啡室、俱乐部、行动计划等已经跨越国界和不同国家的学生一同进行。

7) 在线咨询辅导已经习以为常(一个新加坡学生可以随时通过网络和他在British Columbia的导师会谈)。

8) 全球电子图书馆已在悄然出现。(1.1.5

9) 电子合作实验室和合作仪器正在出现,科学家和学生可以一起工作并通过电子网络跨越国界和不同国家的科研人员同步或异步合作。虚拟实验室已经出现。






15)但是,至关重要的仍然是面对面的交流,所以应该在社区发展学习中心2.18),国际通讯联合会正在做这件事情。(Y.Utsumi 2004)


但是,由谁来规划和管理这样一个国际系统呢?除了我们上面谈到的一些项目和功能以外,其实这种正在展开的全球电子虚拟合作教育系统还会牵涉到很多教育领域的人包括学者、教师、学生和研究人员。遗憾的是,很多相关人员还不曾看到,或不曾了解到各种新兴的技术和功能。从某种意义上说,这种全球终身学习系统已经通过一些学习者、教师和研究者利用互联网合作,从各个角度悄然出现,(我们不能对此视而不见)。但是正如雷斯尼克(Resnik2001)指出的那样“科学技术的进步和发展正在变革农业、医疗、医药业和工业,但是关于教和学的理念和方法并无多大改变。” 将来的社会需要的是更好的思想者和学习者,而不是我们目前的教育方式所注重的知识信息的接受者。


1.1.3 创建全球全民终身学习体系的梦想


那么如何向全世界每一个人提供终身教育呢?已经有人在做这方面的实验。比如,1999年在芬兰坦姆普贝尔大学(Tampere)召开的会议就做出了规划。这次会议得到了世界银行、USAid、联合国教科文组织、联合国开发署、索罗斯基金会、美国潘氏健康协会等国际机构的支持,旨在探讨如何向世界上每一个人提供高质量的教育和医疗。2001年主持这项持续进行的实验的是联合国的经济专家,联合国大学的前任校长和联合国教科文组织高等教育部部长。详细资料请参阅<www.kagawa-jc.ac.jp/`steve_mc/asis_pacific> ,关于后续研究的情况请参阅(3.10)。通过下列链接可以了解关于这项计划的来自不同国家和不同观点的看法。<http://www.friends_partners.org/GLOSAS/Global_University/Global%20Univeisity%System/UNESCO_Chair_Book/Bk_outline-D13.html >



同时,世界银行也在推行一个全球远程教育网络(尽管很有争议)和政府机构、基金会和私人公司共同合作:墨西哥的蒙特利理工大学 Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico)、泰国的楚拉龙孔大学 (Chulalongkorn University in Thailand) 和非洲的虚拟大学 Afraican Virtual University)。到1997年世界银行网联已在75个国家实施,充分利用互联网录相、卫星无线联结、电子课堂等技术,旨在消除世界上贫富地区在技术和教育机会方面的巨大鸿沟。这个联网系统将高能通讯网和各种学习中心联接起来,通过与诸如越南发展中心和马德里国家远程教育中心通力合作,来保证系统的正常运作,并收到预期效果。在不久的将来,这个联网将一步一步把每个村庄和社区的学习中心或远程中心联成学习网络。IBM和世界组织一起在设计整个系统的工作模型,并在一些长期项目中进行检验。这种工作模型会价格低廉,适应于在有人合作管理的远程中心运行。很多发展中国家已经有了互联网的基础设施,例如,在秘鲁的山区,一个卡车将信息技术从一村送到另一村,[ 参见《一村送到另一村(2.16.2)》]。本节只是从世界范围正在进行的大量努力和开发项目中选出几项向大家作一介绍。

向前展望,很多指向未来的迹象我们都不能忽视。举例来说,第二代互联网或后续互联网将会被全球通讯网格所取代(就像为公众提供电力的电线网一样)。这种通讯网格比现有的世界电话网络功能更完善,更复合,价格更低廉。我们应该注意到1999年从美国往日本打国际长途每分钟1.70美元,2000年才16美分。诺基亚和另外一些公司在2000年就已经研制出一种便宜手机,这种手机利用自由空气波来将世界各地的学习者联接到网络课程和录像片段。加拿大的Nortel电话公司已经于2000-2001年在拉丁美洲各地推出有互联网功能的无线电话。2000年《联合国快递》曾报道在孟加拉(Bangladesh 世界上最贫困的国家之一,是如何在各个村庄成功地利用互联网项目。报道中说,该国通过将各个村庄接通互联网来创建工作机会,提供产品的营销机会,提供医疗服务信息,使农村青年能够学习信息技术,并能够利用全球远程教育的资源。还应注意到的是,在美国,勒兰德(Leland)支持非洲项目,和越来越多的各式各样的其它项目,都在为缩小技术鸿沟而努力。2000年有人在麻省理工曾预期5年以内,发展中国家将会有5亿人利用互联网进行学习。

19998913日在芬兰召开的全球电子学习大会上,大家集思广益,制订出规划要在世界上主要地区(亚太地区、北美、南美洲、欧洲和非洲)利用先进的(无线和卫星技术)宽带互联网系统提供电子远程学习,并研讨了如何建立信息平台,管理运营方式,学习内容以及如何筹集资金来促进这样一个全球系统来联接各大洲和各个地区的电子网络系统。全球大学(Glosas)的尤特萨密(Takeshi Utsami)在最近的20年间都在率先研究、实验和展示如何利用技术来构建全球教育系统。一些与会代表认为应该有一些卫星专门用于全球教育,其中一个卫星应该包含大型电子图书馆,并使其向全球任何人开放。因为有不少项目来自医疗和保健领域,会上对全球医疗和远程医疗的前景进行了广泛的探讨。波斯逖恩(Roger Bosteon)曾经对多种技术的可能性做过实验,他向与会代表展示了如何利用现存的造价低廉的技术来成功地将各种教育资源传输给发展中国家。

波恩(Robert Born), GLOSAS/Global 大学项目的首任秘书,率先提出教育规划中所包含的价值观问题。这种信息时代教育的驱动力只不过是现存的国际课程发展和学者间交流的继续,还是将西方的专业化知识传输给大众?或是让当地人有足够的能力根据自己的需求来开发自己的技术能力和用自己的方式来解决当地的环境和社会问题?他提出诸如此类的价值观问题:如何和更多的人分享教育资源,为地球上贫困的人提供成本低廉的教育;如何崇尚民主;如何争取世界和平;如何开创新的教育社区。另外一些人提出农民如何得到和农业、医药、卫生、社区组织等方面的教育。人们畅谈各种梦想:如何使不同国家的教师互相借鉴教学经历来丰富自己的人生体验;在各国工作的和平工作队如何定期会谈,交流经验;如何使政治领袖拓宽视野,提高技能等等。但所有这些梦想还有待于提出具体的措施去一一实现。还有与会代表提出,在科学研究方面通过电视机的辅助来进行合作研究,并举出国际海洋学项目和国际地理物理年作为例子说明世界各地学者和科学家精诚合作而产生的良好效果。下一步是如何争取让全世界的学生都能够了解科技的最新进展。

除了价值观以外,艾斯(Charles Ess)还指出运用西方互联网和软件技术所涉及的道德问题,因为发展中国家的文化和西方文化有很大的不同。详情请查阅<http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html>


1.1.4 通过网络分享课程资源的趋势



2004年,一些更重要的变化正在发生,让我们看到将最基本的教育带给世界上每一个人的可能性,包括世界上最不发达的地方和迄今为止仍然很贫穷的地区,还可以给他们提供远程健康、医疗教育和远程医疗服务。这种可能性在20004月份网络会议上进行了深入的探讨,这是一个由130 多个国家4000多名人员参加的消除贫困报告大会,大会报告可参阅<www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty>, 从中可以看到很多建议和可能性。


1.1.5 我们所熟知的大学:即将消亡或是重生?

纽约大学的一位院长曾预言, 我们所熟知的记载着我们的幸福住校生活的大学兴许即将消亡。在1990年,半数美国大学生年龄超过传统大学学生的年龄。到2000年,大学生的平均年龄是26岁,而且还在逐年增长。很多人边工作边修课程,读学位,往返于学校和工作单位之间,用较长年限完成学业。有很多的公司为海外员工提供本科阶段的培训项目。据说,IBM经营着世界上最大的大学。还有一些公司大学和传统大学联合,一起为更多的人提供新型的教育机会。


不容乐观的预言。一些研究者对传统大学的未来做出很悲观的讨论,举例来说:美国教育署前任教育助理芬(Finn 1997)预言道,由于学费的提升,当前的文化趋势,追求招生数量等会极大地将一般学校校园变成一种娱乐中心,既有剧院,又像客栈,又像恋爱小舟,加上有些激奋人心的讲座和一些让人眉头紧蹙的研讨会,好在这些不另外收费。学校用于非教学人员的支出会越来越加大,像咨询、运动、娱乐和校规校纪管理者,教师们也会日益察觉他们被雇来是做职业培训的而不是通过研究追寻新思想。学校会雇佣更多的兼职教员。学校管理会变得散乱无序,并随时应付着以下四种势力的争斗:(1)教授治校的坚定支持者;(2)现代市场迫使学校满足社区及社会的需求;(3)学校中各单位团体为自己的小山头争取权利;(4)外部评价者和资助者要求学校缩减经费,提高效率,同时又对学校强加各种昂贵的评估和要求。


在还没有形成一个巨型全球终身学习计划之前,各地的教育机构是否能继续物美价廉地为学习者提供教育服务?德克萨斯州需要为50万新增学生服务(Gose 2002)。一些人提议可以采取下列方案:







但是这些建议,通常是向后看而不是向前审视所有新的可能性。兴许,不只是教育的形式在走向“灭亡”,而是产生高等教育这种模式的现代化时代在走向终点。卢卡克斯(Lukacs 2002)描述了伴随文艺复兴时期而来的现代化年代,以其工业化,各种机构和艺术表达形式为著称,现在正逐渐让位于一种我们目前还难以名状的新出现的时代。兴许人类已经从“青春期”走上了成年期,开始了学习对各种事物进行思考,再思考的年代。“原始”这个词现在正广泛地用于很多学科,从人文学科(Solow 2002)到运动(Sperber 2000)到远程教育,虽然已经非常先进了,但是如果以发展的眼光来看兴许还是非常、非常原始的……(参阅Ford 2002


1.1.6 超越传统的远程教育


传统的理论会认为学习者或者在校学习,或者在线学习。但实际上,可能有半数在校学生也有可能采取在线学习的方式,或者他可以选择通过网络课程选修另一大洲的课程。一个教授可能会运用网络课程的某一部分给他的在校生上课。盖斯琴菲尔德(Gershenfeld 2000)预见到,如果不是绝大部分,也会有很多学生只在校园学习一部分时间,而其余的时间他们会选修网络课程,这样不管他们人在哪里都可继续学习。电子课程可以同时对在校生和远程学习学生提供丰富的终身学习的可能性。所以我们必须超越传统的观点,即认为远程教育课堂主要是为了那些不能到校学习的学生或是那些需要获取其专业领域最新信息的人服务的。但是,在目前大多数情形下,学生的学习只是重复以前的方式。通过以下链接可以查阅有关未来的建议:<www.textweaver.org>

现在看来,全球终身学习的模式不单单由政府或大学来决定,正如德拉克(Peter Drucker)(1989)指出的那样,已经饱读诗书的人的继续教育,雇员学习新技能的需求使越来越多的企业单位变成了教育机构。德拉克还指出,那种越大越好的年代肯定已经一去不复返了,对传统大学和学院的情形也很有可能如此。将来出现的很可能会以一些集约地的网络联盟来管理全球虚拟教育系统,有些是政府的,有些是企业的,有些是大学的,而不是一个单一的管理体系。所有的学习机构都在随着这些集约地的互相电子联网而正在经历巨大的变化。其实并不仅仅是技术本身在改变着教育,而是技术加上认识到它的潜力带给人们的震撼效应使教育者和学习者能够解放思想,看到各种新的学习的可能性,从而使人们有意识地摆脱已经过时的旧有教育观念的束缚。

韦尔斯(H. G. Wells)在1938年出版的《世界大脑》一书中谈到由于大学教育的过时引起巨大的人力资源的浪费。他呼吁,要建立协调的研究和新型的有开放襟怀的大学从而才能更好地解决复杂的国际问题。现在看来韦尔斯(Wells)所希望的情况正在发生。全球高等教育的复兴的关键在于最基本的教育原则,斯库雷(John Sculley 1988)曾预言道:每个人、每个文化、每个国家和每个教育机构都有很多值得教和值得学的方面。所有的人都应遵从平等互利的原则,分享科学、知识、研究方法和智慧。只有这样,普通的人和学者,以及各地的政治领导才能自主地决定如何为了所有人的利益而发展自己和自己的学习社区。








The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
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July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman