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THE FUTURE OF HIGHER (LIFELONG) EDUCATION:
For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)

Return to Chapter 1.5 | Go to Chapter 1.7

(Last revised April 1, 2008)  In Chinese following the bibliography

Chapter Six: FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING COMMUNITIES

Nothing is permanent. Everything seems to change. And nothing changes quite like technology—and everything technology touches. Higher education has been no exception…we are recommitting ourselves to the challenging process of a technologically enabled transformation. – Msgr. Robert Sheeran

..it is through participation in communities that deep learning occurs.   --John Seely Brown

Large universities can spread the (information technology) costs...over many thousands of students  (where small colleges must collaborate and cooperate.)  --M. S. McPherson and M. O. Shapiro. 

...the ability to individualize the learning experience for each individual...the modeling of the strength and weaknesses of each student and developing strategies tp focus on the problem area of each learning,,,students of any age, toddlers to adults, will be able to access the best education in the world anytime and at any place.   --Ray Kurzweil;

At each stage of life, an individual's  planned learning  should  be tailored to her or his unique talents, needs, opportunities and take account of handicaps to be overcome, but also beginning at a young age an area should be found, wherever possible, where an individuals greatest interests lie. It  is easy to see how this is true for a youngster who has fantastic talent as a musician, but by early adolescence serious help should be given to finding--not only the talent that every person has--but also what youngsters find so fascinating that they love to study more about it.  Where such a compelling interest is found--at any age--each person should be helped to take a degree on such a campus, attend short courses there or keep connect online to resources there.

This could become the role of many a small liberal arts college, for it can have the capacity not only to create a tailored program for each learner, but also can help design the multi-disciplinary program that will be essential in the coming age of creativity.

THESIS: Pink (2005) proposed that the logical and precise `left brain' information age will be followed by a `right brain' age "ruled by artistry, empathy and emotion;" a quality of life age.  Instead of worrying about knowledge age jobs going to other countries, educators should see that shifting of computer jobs to poor countries, for example, can help raise the economies of those countries, bring prices down, and thus increase the quality  life and the prosperity of the whole world. Meanwhile USA educators should re-tool for the creative, personalized  jobs that will flower in the coming  age that focuses on quality of life; for example jobs. in the arts, films, crafts, electronic gaming, personalized services and new kinds of job that will emerge in the  `right brain emotion and empathy age.

This suggest some very interesting things to discuss about how to use forthcoming technology to do far more than just provide education for everyone in the world. In a system that builds from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down. Education planners, however, will need to focus on active participation in music, art, dance, film-making, theater and other ways to stimulate imagination  and creativity in the early primary years as well as in higher education where research and planning is likely to take place. The 2005  UNESCO `virtual university' conference on OER (open content for higher education)--such as the whole curriculum of MIT being put on line--identified the need for coordination and cooperation among institutions offering courses as a crucial issue...along with quality control and faculty training.  <http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/forums.php>.

So in this and the next four chapters adaptations of five lifelong and higher education  models are discussed ,in the hope that thinking about these models might produce better ideas for their transformation. and potential roles in a global education system. . All five build upon and expand existing types of higher education institutions that need a lifelong learning perspective. All five, and others also, might all become part of some future global lifelong learning system and strategy. A comprehensive global strategy and system (see below) would want to provide face-to-face personalized. participatory experiences for as many lifelong  learners as possible, not forgetting the following basic long-range goals:

(a) That of providing relevamt education and job training for every person in the world; and
(b) The solving of humanity’s most serious crises and needs (see Volume II)
(c) Are music and visual arts used as well as words? Human society has too much neglected these other valuable types of communication and the importance of imagination and emotions in learning.
(d) In this chapter we add a another goal, that of providing face-to-face community experience with `real personal touch’ for as many people as possible across a lifetime. For it has been noted that `the poverty of student intellectual life is a major problem today. See for instance <http://www.collegiateway.org/> .

Some `experts' predict that `classes' will disappear as learning in the Internet age  becomes more tailored to the individuals who assume responsibility for their own learning. But surely classes like seminars and labs will continue, for the athletic team is a class, the drama cast is a class, the orchestra is a class and new kinds of teamwork will be increasingly important in science and elsewhere.

The five models here should not be seen as serious proposals but as a form of brainstorming to stimulate the imagination and raise questions for discussion about better ways—with information age technology and opportunities—to create and improve the planning and administration of global virtual learning institutions: One way or another such a system should provide for five characteristics described by Peter Senge (1994):
 --(1) The ability of learners, teachers and researchers to suspend their assumptions and freely think together, thus involving  “dialogue in the true meaning of the word, as a flow of meaning
;"
that is, moving beyond personal defensiveness to be willing to go out on a limb
-- (2) The development of a shared imaginative visions of what they are creating together.
-- (3) Being capable of identifying previously hidden mental models or assumptions, bringing them out in the open, and working with them 
-- 
(4)  Building on each learner’s own visions, talents and abilities to encourage personal mastery and creativity.
-- (5) And the ability and practice of consistently examin
ing the `whole system” and not just isolated problems. (Then also n
ote also Linda Harasim's book (2000) on the `how to' of a virtual university. <http://www.uwex.edu/disted/virtual.html>.

We might call this new age in learning the `age of empowered humanities,' as left brain, right brain and all the Liberal Arts come together, suggesting the role of liberal arts college in a global learning system.

           Now in this chapter--as something that might be considered by a global learning system planning group-- we introduce a model that would bring together a consortium of small face-to-face residential college communities that would focus on `personal touch’ emotion, the spirit, and all arts in virtual subject-area lifelong `learning communities.’ Not only, for example is music a subject, it may be found to have a role in the leaning of all `subjects.' Also see: <http://www.educause.edu/vcop/>. We use the word `touch' with the new meaning proposed in Pink (2005). He says that the left-brain logical analysis `knowledge age' jobs are going to continue to get automated or go to poor countries. So future jobs in highly developed countries will be right brain jobs in creative arts, liberal arts that search for meaning in life, enrich the quality of life, and that express emotion.

The left brain, and the forthcoming technologies that will continue to empower it, are important also so bringing the two brains together should create a great forward step for global lifelong education that is a partnership among learners and teachers. The word pupil can be changed to learner and the word undergraduate might be changed to collegian. 

A right brain step might begin with efforts to design and model a global virtual lifelong learning system that would be individualized and with `personal `touch' by encouraging and enlarging the links among--and seek to empower globally the quality of-- `learning communities’ provided by disciplines, fields of study and specialized international programs. However, this first model’s variation could create a consortium of `residential learning communities,’ each of which would focus on quality in one specialty or niche; for example through a consortium (or perhaps several kinds of consortia) among small liberal arts colleges. This may in time be essential for many such small colleges to survive with excellence. On some experimentation see: <http://www.educause.edu/internetforum/2000/5.PDF> In the ideal world perhaps every neighborhood would be a `learning community.'

In all possible models the phrase ` higher education’ may become obsolete, replaced by some `lifelong learning' term  that has a number of stages: (1) infant, (2) pre-school, (4) primary school, (5) secondary school, (6) advance degrees and certification, (7) career continuing education and re-training, (8) hobby and retirement instruction. Will colleges and universities be limited to number six? Or perhaps, will what we now call universities be the research, training and planning centers for a global seamless cradle-to-grave educational system? This chapter asks what might be the role for small liberal arts colleges in providing right brain-type education for the whole world.

This chapter suggests that a consortium of small residential colleges--even in many different countries-- together might--by sharing resources--make available to learners at each of them a curriculum equal to the best offered at any of the largest elite universities. At  the same time each liberal arts college, each unique campus would in this model develop excellence in a specialization to be shared with all. And all of that large curriculum online could be offered to the world, possible with existing technology. (Technology Review, Sept-Oct. 2000) The personal touch and other values of a small college could at the same time be preserved for learners on campus.

Personal touch?  For example in this model, a college specializing in dance, could preserve an essentially human and higher quality personal dimension--to global distance, distributed and electronic learning--through online film and live performances on streaming video. Experts on the campus that specialize in dance, for example, could meet and dance together via future telecommunications of such high quality that it will seem as if they are in the same room. But dancers need to touch, so do sculptors, and adolescents who meet their life partners at a resident campus. So do athletes, scientists, humanists and in one way or another so does everyone else. So a virtual global lifelong learning strategy should find a place for small, residential colleges, perhaps many more of them rather than less as at present. `Personal touch’ also means reaching the hearts, the emotions of learners, with inspiration and motivation, touching learners at the core of their deepest concerns, their emotions, passions and hobbies, their talents and personal ambitions.

For an increasing number of learners there need be no choice between small campus-centered face-to-face learning, and all that is online. A learner may spend the traditional college years—or other times of life—in residence and there have access via the Internet and telecommunications to almost anything taught anywhere in the world. Many distance-learning projects now try hard to get learners onto a campus for at least a few days and that can be essential for `personal touch' dealing with emotions, creativity and compassion.

Three questions:
-- (1) Should a hypothetical global planning conference redesign/reform existing institutions, or explore new designs for some entirely new global-scale possibilities?  
--
(2) What might the contribution of a consortium of smaller `humanities' colleges to global virtual learning be? Perhaps each could offer one course in its specialty to the world, perhaps the second version of a `creativity area' course first developed for use on campus then adapted for automated use globally. A limited number of talented students from developing countries (i.e., a sculptor, might be invited to visit the campus where that kind of art was its specialization, and then work at home with continuing instruction and criticism via telecommunications. Such possibilities will perhaps depend on the extent to which international communications become very cheap as technology speed advances.
--(3) Could a small college consortium also be evaluated in terms of its contribution to solving major human problems, personal as well as social, such as those discussed here in volume III? As we look around the world today it more and more seems that humanity must, indeed, choose between new kinds of education or disaster; and faces a disastrous lack of comprehensive, holistic plans and strategy to win that race. One small college might host conferences on the water shortage, for example, and let them grow into a course for the world; a global curriculum in this way developed from the bottom-up. . 

1.6.0  NOTES ON CONTEXT FOR PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION

Specialization. Prensky (in Forman, Educause, Sept. 2004) proposed that every school might pick one subject area like photosynthesis and would b e responsible for "putting on line everything related to that subject," open source so others could participate. A school could thus "build a reputation, recruit experts and other people who who are interested in this particular area and try to create the best products there are in the world." Experts and interested persons would then come to that campus to add what they have and share in more learning.. 

People who love cowboy films—such as those with pioneers and Indians--may now possibly be helped to enjoy this era when learning is moving into a wild and very adventurous global frontier. So as we look at some new models, no doubt these preliminary thoughts are totally inadequate except to initiate discussion. But let’s see the realm of emerging lifelong learning “as a community of pilgrims, not an academy of refugees.” The refugee, Fehl (1962) reminded us, mourns the security of the past where the pilgrim is venturing forth to explore an exciting new frontier.

In online/virtual global learning—that is more adequate for a pluralistic world society—each segment, such as the isolated small college, should come alive to a new vision of mission in the context of the needs of all learners, teachers and researchers. How can a small college help learners in some far corner of the planet? A small, isolated college can see that it is an inheritor of a great academic tradition, a tremendous past so that, once a student decides to matriculate, to make a conscious decision to enter on a purposeful and structured program of learning, he or she can  finds a new mother, an alma mater that is now part of a global consortium?

In Europe and America that `mother’ has a family tree whose roots draw nourishment from the soil of ancient Greece, intellectual traditions of the enlightenment, modern science and much more. Fehl pointed out that a  university’s family tree has many other roots; for example the emperor of China’s call in 124. B.C. for the establishment of a state university with the most illustrious scholars as its faculty. Global higher education is the inheritor of wisdom from many cultures; for example Islamic higher education at Cairo and Cordova. Too often now the college is but an extension of the secondary school, focusing on classroom teaching of language, math, and basic skills and trying to fill the head with facts. Even in graduate schools the focus increasingly is only on preparation for a future job. Higher education, by contrast, should focus on theories of things, basic principles, the making of a mind. An increasingly large numbers of students come to a graduate school program without ever having thought through anything critically, nor have they ever written a term paper that seeks to do so. So many students resent the professor requiring them to do anything that is not important to memorize for the final examination. And `orientation’ for the university freshman today--more likely to discuss parking and facilities—rarely takes the student on a tour of intellectual history. One now could be a multi-media presentation that raises great human problems and ideas.

Newman wanted the first year college student—or the new learner at later points in life also—to see herself or himself as an apprentice who is aware of the richness of learning opportunity to be welcomed as joy, not a series of chores, a grinding away at boring assignments. That requires a high quality faculty-student relationship. Fehl, contemplating higher education in a Chinese context, proposed that if science is a venture of free minds, then philosophy, poetry and history should be in dialog with science, rather than just being some optional electives in the background. And it is sad when the student wants the teacher to package learning in some morsels to be swallowed without chewing.

Indeed, Fehl said, the university that considers teaching to be its only proper function is likely to be a place where there will be little true learning. It seems especially true for a global virtual learning system, that a most essential beginning point for advanced learning education must be with helping each learner—on campus or isolated on a distant ranch—to get the skills essential for independent study. This is essential if there are to be online and virtual `communities of learning’ instead of cafeterias of learning or `department store campuses’ where learners become bargain-hunters and teachers become just packagers. William Temple once argued that many of the problems of human society--such as juvenile delinquency and other resurgences of barbarism--are the result of the disintegration of cultures—that is, among other things, the loss of history, a waste of experience and the rise of attitudes that see life’s purpose as entertainment. Where but in communities of learning can cultures—especially `culture’—be renewed since it must include an initiation into an exciting worldwide tradition. A global academic culture may soon be possible as traditions of east and west, north and south, confront each other in a global virtual community of learning that is shaken up by the confrontation. Hopefully liberal arts institutions can pave the way to dialog and sharing within a global virtual learning system.

Humanity must not lose the values of tradition in education and the rich experience of existing universities and other institutions. A new global system is needed, yet planners must be cautious about systems. Tony Judge of Union of International Associations (UIA no date) has explained the need for caution in a review of John Gall’s classic book, Systematics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail. Gall examined international systems and their subsystems that were set up to solve humanity’s key problems. He concluded “that nothing complicated works and for many complicated reasons.” For example, systems tend to be run by bureaucracies that, generally without intending it, give priority to maintaining the system—and their jobs—rather than doing the job they were hired to do. Since they need to appear to be successful they tend to deal with symptoms rather than the more difficult basic problems. Gall found that some complex systems do work and generally have evolved from a simple system that worked. And “a complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work.” Since complex systems are difficult to understand—an executive of the California higher education system once remarked that it was almost impossible for anyone to understand—“and even total malfunction may not be detectable for long periods, if ever” and “great advances are not produced by systems designed to produce great advances.

Those few summary statements do not do justice to Gall’s analysis, but we can take some hope from his conclusions even though they predate the Internet. Loose systems, for example networks, “last longer and work better.” They can be more flexible, open to change, less defensive and open to cooperation and collaboration. So we here proceed to explore the possibility that computer networking and forthcoming more powerful technologies can make possible a workable global learning system that can preserve many of the values of the small campus, including `personal touch' while at the same time undertaking its share of providing learning opportunities for everyone in the world. With the counsel of Judge and Gall each of the models discussed here build upon tradition and existing systems.

1.6.1   FIRST MODEL: A CONSORTIUM OF SMALL RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES

Green (2002) has suggested `consortium arrangements' in which each cooperating campus could could select one unique niche .For example, a consortium of small liberal arts residential colleges (SLARCS)—for global virtual learning--might make it possible for them, together, coordinating their efforts, to equal or even excel the greatest existing university. Long (2002) thinks that "small colleges...risk being marginalized or becoming economic backwaters."   Eskow (2001) proposed that perhaps together they might become “a kind of ‘Global Oxford.’ Perhaps some such consortium, based on a new model, may be the only possible future for many small, private colleges in a time of declining enrolments, financial crises and agonizing about the future. The association of governing boards “predicts that one third of independent colleges in the USA will close in the next ten years.” Another report predicts that fifty percent of small liberal arts colleges will close in the next twenty-five years. (Also see Brenneman 2002 for the difficult fund-praising situation higher education is going to face. At the same time, two thousand new kinds of  education institutions will come into existence. The new ones presumably will include those of publishing houses, business corporations for their own employees, etc.

What might small residential colleges become if many joined together to transform themselves into something global while at the same time preserving their value as providing a more personalized face-to-face residential campus experience? Could existing small colleges survive by becoming new kinds of supportive `learning communities in a niche,’ and thus continue to be highly desirable places of residence? No one yet knows how a global lifelong learning system will emerge or be invented, and how in that context many existing institutions will be restructured as the 21st century rolls on. A global planning conference might foresee some new possibilities for a global consortium of SLARCs: Small Liberal Arts Residential Colleges.  The Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 2, 2002, reported that some colleges were finding a unique niche. Carnevale (2006) tells how some colleges are joining together to share courses and offer couses they could not otherwise have.u 

Chapter 1.3 discussed some of the technology—as yet only a primitive Model-T Ford car compared with space ship era technology to come—that could turn mobilize and empower small residential face-to-face learning communities where, as at present, students can be close to counselors and faculty, with kinds of personal attention and opportunities that are difficult for large residential universities to accomplish. 

Could a more focused small campus--half virtual--become even more personal? Could a `niche' college overcome some of the limitations of education that are seen in what some call “the tremendous ignorance of many people who actually have had more `education’ than was available at any previous time in history…and yet feel (and are) ignorant in face of the tremendous explosion of knowledge? That might happen if instructors lectured less--with that information online--and gave more personal attention to individual learners.

Soon there will be simulation and modeling technology to use in designing new models of small residential learning communities--not the buildings although there are promising new possibilities there also--but; for example, the structure for learning (discussed more in chapter 1.9 and in Volume III). Using the powerful Internet-Grid (in 2001it was being developed by the USA National Science Foundation in cooperation with IBM and other computer companies) it will be possible to use compute simulations and models to examine various alternatives and new ideas. For example:

1.6.2  A `BRAND NAME’ GLOBAL VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY CONSISTING OF RESIDENTIAL FACE-TO-FACE COLLEGE LEARNING COMMUNITIES

Many other models of face-to-face learning communities, for example within huge residential universities, are worth modeling. First, however, we here consider building up an information-age consortium that brings into collaboration many kinds of small residential campuses. Might they come together to empower themselves and education for a new global generation by reconstituting themselves, together, as a major global virtual lifelong learning system?

`SLARCs'—united together--could offer more prestigious degrees or certification. At present, why should students go to Podunk College when a degree from a state university would be much more prestigious? So the SLARCs might join together under a brand came can be even more prestigious. A brand name makes it possible for many small rural auto dealers to offer the same quality (and prestige) as the big auto dealer in the city. Experiments at brand names in higher education are already underway as noted by Levine (2000). Some for-profit distance education services now contract to offer business courses from `brand names’ like Wharton and technology courses from M.I.T, etc. As the smaller campus of the University of Missouri at Rolla can offer the prestigious `University of Missouri’ brand name on its diploma. When Podunk College joins the SLARC consortium, it could emphasize, for example,  one niche focus as it announces:

“Podunk College - a residential campus of `Superior Global University' offers a face-to-face learning community and a unique specialty, a special focus on the use of theater arts as a useful skill in conflict resolution, reducing violence and developing compassion. Globally-known artists and  actors regularly perform at its community theater to help develop courses in this specialty for the entire world. At the same time any student in residence can take any other kind of course from any other of the colleges in the consortium.”

A brand name could achieve international prestige—based on a new quality of community and offering excellent course from other campuses--without an existing college losing its own name, character, uniqueness and traditions. The president of West Virginia Wesleyan College (Haden 2001) reported that that “Our campus may be located in rural West Virginia but our students can reach out to the world, (enjoying) the benefits of both local touch and global reach.” (And global mission?) The college’s commitment to remain a strong liberal arts institution, he said, “can serve as a model for similar institutions nationwide” (why not worldwide?) as we capture the power of emerging technologies top enhance the liberal college environment.

What other weaknesses of small colleges might a virtual consortium overcome? To survive, many of them have become area colleges, serving commuting students much as Community Colleges do. This has meant that some of them, such as religious colleges, have had to minimize and neglect the values and traditions that were one of their major assets and contributions to higher education. As a result they lose even more money and students from their denominations. As part of a consortium each could build upon the value of being a unique residential learning community; for example, a college for feminists, a Roman Catholic college, an African-American college, tribal college for Indians, and a thousand other types. Thus a global consortium and system is developed from the bottom-up.

A major current problem of many SLARCs is financial. They need

(1) Students who can pay tuition that will support the basic educational functions of the college. The president of Columbia University Teachers College (Chronicle Of Higher Education, Oct. 27, 2000,) said that in his judgment most scholarship funds will in time go directly to students rather than to colleges themselves, a historical precedent suggested by the USA G. I. Bill. This can provide a new opportunity for SLARCs if they plan together to be unique residential learning communities, each with a special focus to share. New income can be found, for example:.

(2) A corps of alumni and life-long learners—in its specialized focus area--who will provide annual gifts for budget and endowment and who will often pay tuition for continuing education programs. To this source a consortium could add those donors who are interested in a specialty that a particular SLARC may develop; for example one residential college might specialize in TV scriptwriting with international network connections to the best businesses and professional resources available online and with experts in that field resident from time to time on campus and regularly connected to the campus via the Internet. That faculty could then offer high quality courses in that one specialty to all of the other SLARCs and to the world. We will say more about other such possible delimited specialties, but this one for example might be inspired by the national script writing `contest’ at the Eugene O’Neill theater (and Yale Drama School) which produces before audiences the best scripts  with help from professional critics, audience, actors and others to continually re-work a script until it is ready for production.

(3) SLARCs could save money by jointly outsourcing and purchasing all kinds of technology and equipment and in other ways economize on annual budget expenses as some already do. SLARCs might get income by producing –each in its own specialty--some intellectual products to market as well as share among themselves; for example, course modules, educational software, courseware and services to community education centers worldwide. (2.18). Money could be saved by offering fewer but better courses. Each campus could develop one specialty to share with all of the others, while at the same time providing online access to the specialties of all of the others. This can be an answer to a problem of many colleges and universities, the lack of clarity about “who is the potential `customer,’ where should they look for students?”

Haden (2001) of West Virginia Wesleyan reported joining with five similar colleges in The Independent College Enterprise “to streamline administrative and data processing procedures and that they “hope “to increase our collaboration with other colleges and companies in the coming years.”

1.6.3   ACHIEVING EXCELLENCE TOGETHER

In a SLARC consortium each college might preserve and expand a unique cultural or traditional identity. One might be a math-oriented community, an Islamic community or both. This is something that other kinds of higher education institutions would find difficult to do. A Protestant residential college, however, that is part of a university such as the University of Toronto, might be included in the consortium if it developed a unique specialty to contribute to all the others. . As part of a SLARC consortium some of them again make a highly significant contribution to their denominations and to the entire Church. They could share courses in religion, each campus preparing to share one that is excellent. They could join in much larger scale and more significant research projects in religion. (See 2.16) Each religious college could become a center for retreats, conferences, research and continuing education in relation to one area of religious studies; and could--like the Evangelical Academies in Germany, or the Ecumenical Institute in Switzerland--become gathering places for research or dialog conferences of theologians and scientists. <http://www.metanexus.net/metanexus_online/index.asp>.. 

For excellence, each campus in the consortium would need to offer more than face-to-face community and personal attention. In this model each could create a residential learning sub-community in one unique area—that together could add up to a curriculum better that any large virtual university might offer. A thousand such face-to-face learning communities, scattered across the planet, could offer a thousand unique specialties and together thus constitute an impressive global learning system, --a system defined as many units working together. As a part of its research for instruction it could include `a game design program and other advanced technologies to share with a global learning system'

To illustrate, one SLARC might specialize in global nutrition problems, working closely with and helping nutrition specialists in many cultures and neighborhoods and at the same time offering specialized courses  on nutrition for all SLARCs. That campus could be developed as a logical place for nutritionists to gather for conferences, professional meetings, marketing, periods of residence for solitary or collaborative work, etc., across a lifetime. Often these visiting experts could help create, evaluate and help update the online courses offered to the world, and the campus would attract the learners who want to work on problems in the field. Librarians on that campus might be the curators of nutrition manuscripts from many countries as well as link to information existing in libraries everywhere, collecting and preserving videos of village and urban nutrition programs and problems..

The many SLARC campuses could thus each become a center for lifelong learning, specialized research, and residential short courses for one of  perhaps thousands of professional specializations. Podunk College could, for example, became a gathering place for those seeking to develop new kinds of music. It might encourage sub-communities for research or artistic creation that would bring together partnership teams of experts, teachers and students.

Each SLARC might specialize on research and action planning on its choice of one among a thousand basic human problems. The Center for Dispute Resolution that may get lost and ignored at a large university could be empowered to improve politics in a face-to-face community that specialized only in that, with faculty, visiting experts and students who are there to specialize in that unique area. That SLARC could become a center for and establish network connection with researchers, organizations, journals and activists all over the world in its area of specialization without in any way minimizing the opportunity for any student there to major in any other subject or take any other kind of course from vast choice of courses—not only from other SLARCs--but also from a wide range of electronic courses available on line from all kinds of institutions. The online catalog of a SLARC would offer World Wide Web connections to recommended courses for a major in any subject or transdisciplinary program.

Students who choose a campus because of its specialty could there be helped to design an individual learning program. Their term papers in that specialty could each year be passed on to the next generation for further research and improvement as at Dalton School. Many interests might better come into focus for an individual learner when, for example, a journalism major discovered an interest in dispute resolution in central Africa which would then open exciting new career opportunities and a need for online courses from other SLARCs. This could help develop a writing career that could begin while he is still a student; and which could across a lifetime be enriched through his continuing relationships with his SLARC as in his professional field. Small colleges have often developed such a specialty, but without the fund-raising possibilities and supportive international publicity and connections that a global consortium could provide.  Successful economizing through joint purchasing was discussed in the Chronicle of HIgher Education, July 26, 2002.

This model is one which some learners and faculty in small liberal arts colleges could begin to dream about, much like the faculty-student collaboration to design a new ecology course and a campus (where the grounds demonstrate ecology practice) at Rice University. Some ideas for such discussion are:

(a) Monsignor Robert Sheeran, in Educause Review, July/August 200l, discussed “lessons learned in transforming teaching and learning” at Seton Hall, a Catholic college that seeks to preserve its unique residential community while at the same time establishing a virtual component. Where many colleges see themselves as “homes for the mind,” he saw this religious university seeking also to be a home for the heart and the human spirit. The mission of the institution is to produce “servant leaders in a global society.” And to do so by developing “a student-centered, network centered, mobile computing environment’ with a digital library at its center. Couldn’t the linking of all Catholic libraries become that section of a global religious, moral and ethical library (2.14) that would become part of the global online academic virtual library? Other SLARCs could each develop a library in its area of specialization, which then could be used and added to by alumni and experts in its area of specialization from all over the world.

As we examine the possibility that many small face-to-face colleges might focus on one specialization to share with all—often a specialization in a discipline where the campus already has expertise—then how would its research there in its specialty become part of and related to the coordinated efforts of major research universities? Together, SLARCs could each and all together be linked to major research universities. SLARC faculty and students could then participate in large research projects that can improve not only quality of courses and the prestige of campuses, but also can make a major contribution to solving global problems. For courses now available to colleges via PBS see: <http://www.pbs.org/campus/>.

The fact that each SLARC would focus on and specialize in one `content area’ could be an antidote to the current emphasis on technology for global lifelong learning. This SLARC consortium model might be seen as more than a way for smaller residential colleges to survive and cope with overwhelmingly powerful competition from the (Internet and telecommunications) mass-production courses offered by the world’s major universities and business corporations and taught by `professor stars. Why take a technology course from Podunk College when one can take the course online from M.I.T? Why take a writing course at Podunk when Harvard offers one on the Internet that offers lectures by leading authors?

SLARCs, we suggest, could offer short term resident continuing education to people of any age who are interested in their specialty. A SLARC could provide a place where an older learner could spend time in a rich and intimate residential environment, an intellectual community with personal acquaintance with resident novelists, for example, if that is what a learner is seeking. At the same time, the student who wanted the community that a SLARC offered but did not go there because that campus could not offer the journalism major she also wanted, could easily transfer to another campus for a year – since they are all part of the same virtual university. Or at her own SLARC she could take any course –Robotics or Chinese-- from the university that offers the best ones in the world. At the same time, as a partner in the residential community, she could join others in providing feedback as an aid in improving courses and modules for the whole consortium, and one free online course for impoverished areas of the world.

Kirp (2003) had described Dickenson as a college that has found its `niche.'

1.6.4   A CONSORTIUM CAN WHOLESALE COURSE MODULES

When an instructor uses an electronic course module or package (see 3.7 here) prepared by a specialized team on another campus-- which like an electronic text book (3.7 here) can be updated each year to include new research and to take account of feedback from users—they can share feedback and can

(1) Spend much less time on course preparation and much more time with learners personally and in small seminars to help them relate the material of the course to each individual’s unique needs, aims and interests. (3.3)

(2) In addition to being liberated from repeating the same lectures year after year, instructors can provide videos of their lectures (see Tegrity software) that a student can view over and over until everything is clear. Instructors can thus also can have more time and opportunity for research in their own fields, and especially to coordinate in virtual electronic `co-laboratories’ with other researchers -- anywhere in he world -- who are working on t he same piece of a larger problem. This provides an opportunity for the young instructors at a SLARC to become `experts’ much sooner--creating a more prestigious faculty at each SLARC. (Also see 3.6).

(3) Through the consortium SLARCS could arrange electronic visits from leading experts. Very few small colleges otherwise have the privilege of a personal visit and lecture from today’s Freud, Darwin or Einstein. Yet when a college in Japan wanted a major USA Economist to come and lecture, and he replied that he did not have the time to go to Japan just then, he gave his lecture via telecommunications, and economics students on thirty campuses in Japan heard him and had the chance online to ask him questions and talk with him. It would be a great service to SPARCs for the international office of the consortium to take the initiative in creating such enrichment resources; and also to keep an eye out for any such event initiated anywhere in Hawaii or Pakistan, in which a student or seminar at any SLARC could also participate.

1.6.5  COLLABORATION ON TECHNOLOGY

Many small colleges are in danger of closing because they cannot afford expensive technologies that are essential for meeting the competition. Collaborating in the purchase of technology could often greatly reduce the cost from what it would cost if each negotiated with the vender alone. Also when a large number of colleges collaborate, they together can take advantage of technology that may be too expensive for each of them alone. For example, the New York Times on 9 Nov. 2000 reported on `VLearn 3-D' (and there is something new and better every day) that can make possible classrooms which model famous places, events, or objects such as the inside of a microcomputer which increases the personal element in online education. The incorporation of virtual reality and other powerful technologies will at first be very expensive. However, , the collaboration of a large number of educational institutions can put pressure on the creators of such technologies to develop what higher education most needs. The vice-president for Computing Services at Carnegie-Mellon, for example, (Furthey 2001) has lamented the slow pace in development of large-scale, distributed computer environments that are adequate to “meet the distinctive requirements of higher education.” However, higher education institutions can be “living laboratories for systems in ways that vendors cannot hope to replicate in their labs or across an entire corporation.” If higher education institutions are “to stop throwing resources into a black hole, she says, they need to solve the problem in ways “that let student spend more time in learning, the faculty more time in teaching and research…Clearly, the magnitude of the task will be large…but,” she says, “Anything seems possible.”

One criticism of a SLARC consortium idea is that residential campuses, being more expensive, perpetuate an elite, separating SLARC students from those who can only afford to commute. However, a SLARC may--in addition to its niche-- also continue to serve its local area by offering any online course to commuting students, many of whom attend college part time because they also have full time jobs. However, a teenager whose family can afford can have the opportunity for the SLARC residential experience even while taking a vocational skills course online. Also a consortium of SLARCs can set up a larger-scale alternative funding and scholarship possibilities for students who will do better on a small, more personal residential campus. (Also see 1.3, 2.3 and 3.2). Also, until there is experimentation no one is yet sure what the effects will be when all students on a small campus have the `swarming' technology the Rheingold (2003) describes in Smart Mobs, which he sees as probably creating significant new learning communities.

1.6.6   VISION AND PRACTICAL MATTERS

In this model, all SLARCs, and not just the religious colleges, should enlarge their vision to include the entire world, and not only through exchanging students in residence. Nor would any one college necessarily have a monopoly on a specialty, as can be seen in several more illustrations.

The UN University of Peace in Costa Rica might be included in a sub-consortium of Peace Institutes and colleges in many countries that engaged in research and teaching of peace studies. Also peace studies departments of large university could also be linked and related.

SLARCs that feature one kind of music or another could all be linked in a global consortium of all kinds of music schools; some focusing on composing, some on production of musical events, some on religious music or Middle Eastern or South Asian music with close links to residential colleges in those countries. The first opera designed for presentation on the Internet <http://www.blackart/sour/htm>  suggests many such innovative projects that a specialized SLARC might create, much as a small regional theatre creates and tries out dramas in the home that they will go to Broadway. <http://www.apple.com/education/profiles/sacramento/

A cluster of residential colleges in many countries might work together on history and archeology, often in close relation to archeologists on the field. They would then logically be related also to a college like Macalester which “combines courses in traditional classical subjects”--Latin, Greek, history, ancient texts—with “interdisciplinary courses that reflect students’ interests in issues of ethnicity, gender and class.” (Monaghan 2000)

A residential liberal arts college near a correctional institution might use it as a laboratory in a specialty program on crime and delinquency. How would a course, say, in criminology for example, be different if on a medical model it treated each inmate individually with unique problems and possibilities? And if it had a global perspective, bringing into focus all the points of view of all countries and cultures on punishment, rehabilitation and crime prevention’ and if research made it possible, on a medical model, to treat each case individually? See "Prisoners in a Virtual Classroom," Chronicle of Higher Education, Aril 2, 2004 and 2.13 here.

A cluster of SLARCs that specialize in the history, culture, anthology and archeology of a locality and then be linked to research universities that link disciplines in a regional and global pattern of such research.

In each case, a residential community could provide a unique dimension of personal discussion and collaboration among learners and faculty who are working together online and across international boundaries. Many such telecommunication classes would be small seminars. Some SLARCS might be a part of a larger university and would focus on one area of global need, such as water shortages, ending global poverty etc..

Each college--with its unique specialty--would need its own vision for the future. But where can we look for a global vision to facilitate choice among many possible specialties, models and scenarios that are closely connected to the needs of the larger society and the local community? In any case, building from the bottom-up.

The UNESCO conference on Higher Education and Foresight, journal of strategic planning and policy, February 1999) have suggested questions that challenge any discussion of a SLARC consortium, especially in the context of providing adequate education for everyone in the world. What can be expected from harried college presidents and trustees?

(a) As tens of thousands (now) and hundreds of thousands of courses and degree programs come on line from all over the world, available to learners almost anywhere, who is going to evaluate them and create a comprehensive catalog for a consortium of SLARCs? A SLARC faculty might do that in the area of its narrow specialization.

(b) What can be the inexpensive structure of a responsible global administrative body for a SLARC consortium, especially one that can do its work on line and coordinate its work with other global virtual consortia?

(c ) Who would evaluate and choose among the multiplying jungle of technologies for education from all over the world. A SLARC consortium probably could not alone cope with the issues of intellectual property rights, as electronic textbooks and a global virtual library are created. “A key factor has been the willingness of the whole spectrum of the Seton Hall Community—students, faculty and staff—to take risks…being like those nineteenth-century American pioneers who opened up the entire western United States, the President of Seton Hall (2001) has said. “We too are entering a vast and unexplored territory with amazing potential—and many risks.”

An imaginative description, with many practical details, of a college--with a rich on campus community experience--with vignettes of a resident student there taking a course from Moscow State University, from a business corporation, from Carnegie Mellon University and so forth: <http://www.wfs.org/dunn.htm>.

If the SLARC consortium idea does not appeal to you or apply to you,  the next four chapters will explore other models for virtual lifelong learning where many of the same questions should be asked, especially how can this model facilitate the use of the Internet and other technologies to provide basic education for everyone in the world. 

Return to Chapter 1.5 | Go to Chapter 1.7


Bibliographical Notes:

Brenneman, D. 2002. "For Colleges This is Not Another Recession." Chronicle of Higher Education, June 14.

Carnevale, Don. 2006. "Liberal Arts Colleges Create a Joint Effort for Online Courses/" Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 24.

Dunn, Samuel. 2003. "A Webcentric University." World Future Society forum, online at <http://www.wfs.org/dunn.htm>.

Edwards, Richard. 1999. “The Academic Department.” Change, Sept-Oct..

Eskow, Steve. 2001. Personal correspondence about his unpublished paper, “A Global Community College.”

Fehl, Noah. 1962. The Idea Of A University East and West. Hong Kong, Chung Chi College.

Furthing, 2000. “Going to Class in a 3-D Lecture Hall.” New York Times,, Nov. 9.

Green, M. 2002. "Joining the World." Change, May-June.

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

Haden, W.R. 2001. “Implementing A Comprehensive IT Plan: A Small College Response.” EDUCAUSE Review, September/October.

Hebel, Sarah. 2001.“A New Push to Integrate Black Colleges.” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 8.

Judge, Anthony. (n.d.) “Why Systems Fail and Problems Sprout Anew.” <http://www.uia.org/uiadocs/systfail.htm>.

Kirp, David. 2003. "Mindshare..." Change, Oct. 

Kurzweil, Ray. 2005. The Singularity is Near. New York: Penguin.

Levine, Arthur. 2000. “The Future of Colleges: Nine Inevitable Changes.” Chronicle of Higher Education. Oct. 27.

McPherson, M. and Shapiro, M. 2002. "Mark Hopkins and the Log-On." Educause, May/June.

Pink, Daniel. 2005. "Revenge of the Right Brain." Wired, February.

Rheingold, H. 2003. Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution. New York: Perseus

Sheehan, Robert. 2001. “Beyond the First Five Years.” Educause Review, July/Aug.

Smith, Newton. 2002. "Teaching as Coaching." Educause, May/June.

“To Improve Education, Schools and Colleges Must Find Ways to Cooperate.” eSchool News, Oct. 2000.:

第六章 面对面学习社区

没有恒久不变的事物,一切都在改变。然而技术和一切与技术相关的事物变化之大无可比拟。高等教育也不例外……技术所带来的转变使我们再次面临挑战。

--希兰 大主教 Msgr. Robert Sheeran

……深层次的学习通过参与团体而产生。

――--布朗 John Seely Brown

大型高等学校可以将(信息技术)费用分摊给成千上万的学生,(小型学校必须协调合作)。

――--麦克弗森和夏皮罗(M. S. McPherson and M. O. Shapiro

 

论题: 平克 ( Pink 2005) 提出强调逻辑和准确的‘左脑’信息时代之后将是注重艺术才能、感怀他人和情感主导的‘右脑’时代——一个注重生活质量时代。计算机工作转移到发展中国家,教育工作者不应对此感到担心而是应该看见它的好处。例如它有助于提高那些国家的经济,降低价格,从而提高生活品质并促进世界繁荣。同时,即将到来的“右脑情感时代”强调生活质量,在艺术、电影、工艺和电子游戏等等方面将会涌现出富有创造性个性化的工作。美国教育工作者应该为此而改造教育

这里提出了一些有趣的现象,以讨论如何使用即将出现的技术,使其不仅能为全世界每个人提供教育,而且发挥更大的作用。 在自下而上而非自上而下建立起来的系统里,教育规划者必须在早期教育中重视如何促进积极参与以激发起学生的想象力和创造性,可能的方式有音乐、艺术、舞蹈、电影摄制和戏剧等等。对于高等教育领域可能进行的研究、规划也同样如此。

因此本章和以下四章讨论高等教育的五种模式,希望这几种模式能引发更好的想法。这五种模式都是以现有的需要面向终身教育的高等教育机构类型为基础进行扩展。这些以及其它模式都可能成为一些将来的全球终身学习系统和策略的一部分。 综合性的全球性策略和系统(如下)若要为尽可能多的人提供面对面的、个性化的、参与性的学习体验,其基本的长远的目标如下:

(a)    为全世界每个人提供适当的教育

(b)    解决人类的最严重的危机和需要 (II )

(c)    音乐和视觉艺术是否如同文字一样得到运用?这些宝贵的沟通形式以及想象、情感在学习过程中的重要性常常被严重忽视。

(d)    本章我们增加另一目标,即为尽可能多的各年龄段的人提供面对面社区学习经验与'真实的人际接触'。其原因是有人提出“学生的思想生活贫乏已成为当今主要问题 <http://www.collegiateway.org/>

一些'专家' 预言在因特网时代,学习适应个人需要,学习者对自己的学习负责,'班级'将消失。但讨论会和实验室一类的班级肯定将继续,因为足球队、剧组、管弦乐队都是一种班级,在科学等各个方面新型协作将越来越重要。

这里提出五种模式并非重大的提议,更重要的目的是激发想象,引起讨论——如何才能利用信息时代的技术和机会创造并改进全球虚拟学习机构的规划管理:无论如何这样的系统应该具有圣吉(Senge 1994)所描述的5 种特性:

(1)学习者、教师和研究人员能保留他们各自的设想并自由思考,“进行对话、交流

真实的意思” , 避免个人保守、孤立无援的境地       
(2)一同创造、发展共同的设想和理念。
(3)能确定潜在的心智模式或假定,将其公开,并充分利用
(4)基于各个学习者自身的理念、才华和能力鼓励个人学习、创造。
(5)能持续检验“整个系统”的能力和实践,而非孤立的问题。此外参看哈雷希姆(Harasim 2000)虚拟大学指引的有关著作。 <http://virtual-u.cs.sfu.ca/vuweb.new/vu_product.html >

这一新的时代可以被称为“人文学科发挥作用的时代”,左脑、右脑和全部人文学科结合起来,显示了文科学院在全球学习系统中的作用。

本章介绍的模式是非虚拟的面对面的提供住宿的小型学院的联合体,以供全球学习系统规划参考,这一模式强调个人接触'情感,精神和虚拟的主题是终身学习社区的全部艺术,如音乐不仅是一个主题,它在所有‘主题’学习中也能发挥作用。也可参见 http://www.educause.edu/vcop/。这里‘接触’一词具有平克(Pink 2005)提出的新的含义,他认为强调左脑逻辑分析的‘知识时代’的工作将日益自动化或者转移到不发达国家,因此发达国家未来的工作将是追寻生命意义、丰富生活质量和表达情感的艺术人文的右脑工作

未来的技术将使左脑继续发挥作用,左脑也同样重要,因此大脑左右半球联合将使全球终身教育前进一大步,使学习者和教师成为合作关系。学生一词可被学习者一词替换,大学生可被称为学院的一员。

鼓励并扩大基于学科、研究领域和专业国际项目的“学习社区”间的联系,并提高其质量,以此设计个性化的容纳“个人接触”的全球虚拟学习系统,将是迈向右脑时代的第一步。 这一模式的变体能形成“居民学习社区”的联盟;各成员着重一个专业的某一方面,如小型文科学院形成一个联盟(或几种协会)。最终只有这样的小型学院才能在优胜劣汰中胜出。参见有关实验:http://www.educause.edu/internetforum/2000/5.PDF

理想状况下每个地区都将成为“学习社区”。

在可能的模型中,'高等教育'一词可能变得过时,被包含以下不同阶段的'终身学习'取代: (1)婴儿期, (2)学前期, (4)小学,(5)中学,(6)高级学位、证书, (7)职业继续教育培训,(8)业余爱好和退休教育。大专院校会仅限于第6阶段吗?又或许我们现在所谓的大学将成为全球一体化终身教育系统的研究、培训、计划中心?本章探讨的问题是小型文科学院在为世界提供右脑型教育中将发挥何种作用。

本章提出小型寄宿学院联盟可以通过共享资源为学习者提供与优秀的大型精英高校同等优质的课程。同时,每所文科学院和大学校园都能以这种模式取得专业化的卓越发展并与所有人共享。 现有技术使大型在线课程为全球共享成为可能。(《技术评论》,2000910)。个人接触及小型学院的其他价值仍为校园中的学习者保留。

个人接触? 比如采用这个模型的舞蹈学院,既能保留以人为本的高质量的人际交往,又能通过在线的电影和流媒体直播表演在全球范围开展分布式的、电子的学习。通过未来电信技术大学校园中的舞蹈专家们将能见面并且一同跳舞,效果如同他们身处同一房间内。但是舞蹈家们需要接触,雕刻师也需要接触,寄宿于大学校园的青少年同样需要与伙伴交往。运动员,科学家,人道主义者以至于每个人都不例外。 因此全球虚拟终身学习策略中小型寄宿学院应发挥作用,其数量可能增长而非减少。 “个人接触”的另一层意思是触及内心,触动学习者的情感,使他们得到启发和激励,打动学习者的内心最深处,与他们的情感、激情、兴趣、爱好、才能和个人理想紧密联系。

由于学习者越来越多,小型校园面对面学习与网上学习之间不存在选择。学习者可以在传统的大学生阶段或任何年龄阶段寄宿校园学习,同时经由因特网和电信可以接受几乎世界上任何地方所提供的教育很多远程教育工程现在努力尝试使学习者至少几日时间在大学校园,因为对于培养情感,创造性和同情心的“个人接触”是必要的。

三个问题:
(1)设想中的全球计划会议应该重新设计/改革现有机构还是探索全新的全球性机构的可能性?
(2)小型人文学院联盟对全球虚拟学习能做出怎样的贡献?或许每个学院能给世界提供一门专业课, 或许再版的“创造性领域”课程首先在大学校园里发展应用再经改编后供全球自动化使用 发展中国家的少数的有才华的学生(如雕刻师)可以被邀请访问专业大学校园,然后通过电信接受指示和批评在家工作,其先决条件是技术高速发展,使得国际通讯变得非常便宜。
(3) 卷三讨论了人类面临的主要问题,包括个人问题和社会问题,小型学院联盟是否也能依据对解决这些问题所做的贡献来进行评价?今天从世界范围来看,人类若不进行新型教育灾难将不可避免;而现在赢得那场比赛必需的综合整体的计划和策略却严重缺乏 比如一所小型学院可以举办会议研讨例如世界缺水等问题,并使之发展成一门课程; 一门全球课程以这种方法自下而上发展起来

 

1.6.0 对规划和行政管理情境的关注

专业化。浦仁斯基(Prensky 引自FormanEducause20049)提议每个学校应选择一个科目(如光合作用),并负责的将“关联主题的一切”置于网上,成为人人都能享用的资源,从而能“营造声誉,招募专家和对这一领域有兴趣并愿意为此努力的其他人”,再由他们进一步扩建并共享这一资源。

喜爱描述开发者和印第安人的西部牛仔片的人也许易于进入未知的全球前沿的学习。新的模式无疑是初步设想,很不充分,重要的是引起讨论。让我们把新兴终身学习领域“作为朝圣者的集体而非流亡者的团体”,费尔(Fehl 1962)提醒我们流亡者哀悼安全的过去而朝圣者开拓令人激动的新领域。

全球在线学习将更适合多元化世界,其中的每个部分,如独立小型学院,应该基于全部学习者,教师和研究人员的需要建立使命的新理念 小型学院如何才能帮助远程学习者?长期以来形成了伟大学术传统,一旦学生决定入学,开始有目的有组织的学习,他就找到了新的母亲母校。小型独立的学院将使学生的母校成为全球联盟的一部分。

在欧洲和美国,大学来源于古希腊、(十八世纪欧洲)启蒙运动的理智的传统以及现代科学等。费尔指出大学的家世还有很多其他根源:如公元前124年中国皇帝召集最杰出的学者为教员而成立的国立大学。全球高等教育传承了多种文化智慧如开罗和科多瓦的伊斯兰教高等教育。

现在学院往往是中学的延伸,强调语言、数学和基本技能的课堂教学并试图用事实充满学生头脑。 即使在研究生院重点也仅放在为未来职业做准备上。相比而言,高等教育应该更重视理论、基本原理和智慧的培养。越来越多的研究生不具备批判精神,也不曾写过具有批判精神的学期论文。很多学生对教授要求他们为期终考试记住一些并不重要的东西感到不满。现在大学的新生开学情况介绍活动更多讨论停车位及校园设施,却很少引领学生回顾思想史。其实现在若用多媒体演示思想史将能大大激发学生提出问题、进行思索。

纽曼希望大学新生或较为成熟的学习者视自己为学徒,享受充裕的学习机会,而不是把学习当作一堆琐事,枯燥乏味地完成作业。那需要高质量的师生关系。费尔(Fehl)回顾了中国高等教育,提议如若科学是自由思想的冒险,则哲学、诗歌和历史应与科学对话,而非是幕后可有可无的选修课。如果学生只希望从教师处得到无须消化的打包的知识,将是十分可悲的

费尔认为把教学作为唯一适当功能的大学里可能没有真正的学习。全球网上学习系统似乎更是如此, 高等学习的最本质的起点必须是帮助每个学习者不管是在校学习或远程学习者们——能独立学习。 在线虚拟“学习社区”而非“学习自助餐厅”或“超级市场式大学校园”的学习者好像到处找便宜货买的人,而教师只是打包者,这样的学习者更需要学会独立学习。威廉·坦普尔曾经提出人类社会很多问题(如青少年犯罪和其他暴虐行为)是文化瓦解的结果,历史被遗失,经验被浪费,视生活为娱乐的态度日益泛滥。学习社区必须传递包括激动人心的世界性的传统,文化(特别是”文化”)将能得到更新。东方西方,北方南方的传统在全球虚拟学习社区彼此碰撞、相互影响,不久以后也许将形成全球性学术文化。 希望文科学院能为全球虚拟学习系统内的交流、共享铺平道路。

人类不能丢失传统的教育价值观和现存的大学和其他院校丰富的经验。新型全球系统是必需的,然而计划者必须谨慎。在对高尔(John Gall 的经典著作《分类学:系统运作及其故障》所作的书评中,国际合作协会(UIA) 的贾基 Tony Judge)解释了为何需要谨慎。高尔研究了致力于解决人类关键问题的国际系统及其子系统,结论是“鉴于错综复杂的原因,很多错综复杂的系统无法发挥功效。” 例如系统常常由官僚机构运转,常见的结果只是使维持系统运行现状,而并非促进系统以最佳状态运行。因为需要表面的成功,他们倾向于处理表面症状而非那些更为困难的基本问题。高尔还发现有些由简单系统逐步形成的复杂系统确有成效,而“从开始就复杂的系统从未成功,也无法修补成功”。加利福尼亚高等教育系统主管人员曾经谈到复杂系统几乎无人能理解“且整体故障可能长期不被发现甚至根本无法被发现”,而且“为取得重大进展而设计的系统产生不了重大进展”。

这几句总结无法全面代表高尔的分析。虽然在他的时代因特网还未产生,但他的结论——松散系统如网络“持续更长时间而且功效更佳”,仍给我们以希望。松散系统更为灵活,易于改变,保守性不强并面向合作开放。在此我们继续探索计算机联网和即将到来的更强大的技术能否构造可操作的全球学习系统,使其中的大多数小型大学保留其包括‘个人接触’在内的价值,并承担为世界上每个人提供学习机会的相应责任。接受贾基与高尔的建议,这里讨论的每个模型都基于传统和现有的系统

 

1.6.1 第一种模式:小型寄宿学院联盟

格林(Green 2002)提议联盟的安排应使每个合作校园都能选择其独特的适当的位置。为全球虚拟学习而建的小型文科寄宿学院联盟(SLARCS)相互协调,联合其成员力量可能等于或优于现有的最好的大学。龙 (Long 2002) 认为“小型学院存在脱离社会进程或经济上停滞不前的风险”。艾斯考(Eskow 2001)建议如果联合起来,他们可能形成“全球性牛津大学”。或许如此的新型联盟才是小型私人学院解决诸如注册人数减少,资金紧缺,并为发展前景苦恼等问题的唯一出路。大专院校董事会协会“预美国1/3的独立学院将在今后10年内关闭”有一份报告预言百分之五十 的小型文科学院将在今后25年内关闭。关于高等教育未来资金困难形势可参考布伦尼曼文章(Brenneman 2002)。与此同时,将新增2000种新的教育机构,其中可能包括出版社设立的,工商企业为自己的雇员设立的教育机构等等。

如果小型寄宿学院联合起来为全球化进行改革,同时保留自身价值比如提供面对面的更个性化的寄宿校园经历,他们将发生怎样的变化? 如果成为新型的以学习社区为特点的学院联盟,现有的小型学院能否免于关闭,校园寄宿能否依然令人向往?现在还无法知道在二十一世纪如何创造全球终身学习系统,如何重新构造现有机构。全球计划会议也许能预见小型文科寄宿学院联盟(SLARCs的新的可能性《教育大纪元200282日报道有些学院正在找到其发展特性。

1.3 章讨论的技术迄今只是雏形,就像福特T-型车和太空船时代技术相比一样。它将使小型的面向居民的面对面学习社区成为可能,在这样的社区里,学生能像现在一样接近顾问和教师,而这样的对个人的充分重视和机会对于大型寄宿大学来说是难以做到的。

半虚拟的小型校园能否对个体学习者更有针对性?现代的人接受的教育超过以前任何时代,但在知识大爆炸面前,许多人却仍然感到“人的无知”。如果学习者能从网上得到信息,教师能减少说教而给予个体学习者更充分的重视,也许这样一所特色学院能够突破这种教育的限制而解决所谓的“惊人的无知”。

不久,仿真模拟技术将被用于设计新型小型寄宿学习社区(虽然也可用于设计大楼,但并非重点),例如学习构造(第三部第1.9 章有更多相关内容 )。使用2001年国家科学基金会与IBM 和其他计算机公司合作开发的强大的网格技术,计算机仿真模拟将能用来检验各种方案和新的设想。举例如下:

 

1.6.2包括面对面学习社区的全球虚拟大学品牌特色

很多其他模式,如大型寄宿大学内部的面对面社区值得模拟。但我们首先考虑建立由多种小型寄宿学院合作组成的信息时代的联盟。他们能否相互合作进行重建改组成为一个主要的全球虚拟终身学习系统,发挥自身和教育的作用?

SLARCs联合起来能提供更多的有声望的学位或者证书。目前州立大学的学位更有声望,学生又怎么会愿意去读Podunk学院?因此SLARCs应联合起来以期能形成更有声望的品牌。品牌使很多小型乡村汽车经销商能够提供与城市大型汽车经销商同样的质量以及声望。莱文(2000)发现高等教育领域中品牌名称的实验已在进行。一些赢利性远程教育服务签约提供'品牌'课程,如沃顿的商业课程和MIT技术课程等等。作为密苏里大学罗拉分校的更小的校园能在其毕业证书上印上有声望的‘密苏里大学’品牌名称。Podunk学院加入SLARC联盟后,可宣布其适当的位置:Podunk学院是 ‘优质全球大学’的寄宿校园,能提供面对面学习社区,其特色专业是运用戏剧艺术化解冲突、降低暴力、发展同情心。全球知名的艺术家和演员定期在社区剧院表演,以帮助完善这一着眼于整个世界的专业的课程。同时寄宿的学生能选修联盟中任何学院任何种类的课程”。

基于社区的新质量以及来自其他校园的优质课程,品牌名称能取得国际信誉,而不失去自己的名字、特性、唯一性和传统。西弗吉尼亚韦斯利学院校长(黑登2001)报告“我们的校园可能位于西弗吉尼亚乡村,但是我们的学生拥有与世界的联系,既有真实的本地接触又有延伸至全球的联系范围。”(那么全球使命呢) 他还说,“我们借助当时新兴技术以提高文科学院环境,致力于保持其文科优势,成为国内(为什么不是全世界?)类似机构的模范”。

一个虚拟联盟还可以克服小型学院哪些弱点? 为了生存,许多小型学院已经成为地区学院,像社区学院一样接待走读生。其中像宗教学院等一些学院被迫规模最小化并且忽视作为自身主要资产和对高等教育贡献的价值和传统。结果他们失去了更多的收入和学生。而联盟的成员能贡献其作为独特的居住的学习社区的价值,(如为男女平等主义者设立的学院、罗马天主教学院、印第安人部落学院、为美籍非洲人而设的学院以及上千种其他类型的学院),从而自下而上建立全球联盟系统。

当前很多SLARCs的主要问题是财政问题。他们需要:

(1) 学生支付学费以支持学院的基本教育功能。哥伦比亚大学教师学院院长(《教育大纪元》,20001027) 认为大多数奖学基金应及时直接给予学生而非学院,历史上复员军人教育法案已开了这个先河。如果联盟中每个成员提供专业特长共享,这将给SLARCs提供新机会,也能有新收入,例如:

(2) 校友和终身学习者——在其专业领域——每年捐资助学,经常为继续教育项目支付学费。联盟的这种资金来源还对包括关注某一SLARC特色专业的捐资者:例如一所寄宿学院致力于电视剧本写作专业,通过国际网络提供最好的商业和专业资源,并有专家常驻大学校园并定期通过因特网与大学校园联系。这样的师资能为其它SLARCs甚至全世界提供高质量的本领域的专业课。在国家剧本写作‘竞赛’中,剧本作者在尤金·奥尼尔剧院(和耶鲁戏剧学院)在观众面前创造,并在专业评论家和其它人帮助下不断改进,直到剧本适合上演。这种做法可能有启发性。

(3) SLARCs能通过共同采办购置各种技术和设备节约资金,并用其他方式节约年度预算费用,有些小型学院已经这样做了。SLARCs可以生产其特色专业的智力产品,如课程模块,教育软件,课件和为全球社区教育中心提供的服务,在市场销售或在成员间共享,以此创收(2.18)。提供质量较高数量较少的课程可以节约资金。各个大学校园发展各自的特色专业与他人同享,同时提供该专业的网上资源。这能解决大专院校不了解其“在”客户,不知何处寻找生源的问题。西弗吉尼亚韦斯利学院的黑登(Haden 2001)报告他们与5 所相似的学院联合成立“立学院企业”,以“高管理和数据处理过程的效率,并希望将来与其他学院、公司加强合作”。

 

1.6.3 共同追求卓越

SLARC联盟的每所学院可以保留并且发展其独特的文化个性或传统个性。一所学院可以成为教学导向的社区或伊斯兰教社区,或者兼任二者。这是其他类型高等教育机构难以做到的。但是,某所大学如多伦多大学的耶稣教新教寄宿学院如果有独特专业供共享也可以成为联盟的成员。作为SLARC联盟的部分为其宗派进而为整个教会做出重要贡献。每个校园编写其最好的宗教课程以供分享;参与更多更大规模的宗教研究计划(2.16 )。每所宗教学院能成为宗教研究某领域的静修、会议、研究和继续教育中心;并像德国福音派研究所或者瑞士的促进全世界基督教团结研究所一样,成为神学家和科学家研究或对话的集会场所。

联盟内的大学校园仅仅提供面对面社区和对个体学习者的充分重视还不够优秀。用这个模型每个校园在一个独特领域创建次级学习社区——联合起来提供的课程有可能优于大型虚拟大学。1000个这样的面对面学习社区遍布全球,能提供1000种独具特色的专业,如此共同形成给人深刻印象的全球学习系统——其定义是一同工作的多单位系统。其教学研究中可能包括全球学习系统同享的游戏设计程序和其他先进技术”。

举例说明如下,一所SLARC可以致力于全球营养问题,与来自不同文化和邻近地区的营养专家密切合作并为他们提供帮助,同时为全部SLARCs提供关于营养的专业课。其大学校园将发展成营养学家们聚集、召开专业会议、进行营销的场所,和定期住校开展个人或合作工作的场所等等。访问专家常常能协助创建、评价和更新在线课程,大学校园将吸引想要在该领域进行研究的学习者。那里的图书管理员管理着来自很多国家的营养学手稿和连接到全球各个图书馆的信息的链接,收集并保护城乡营养项目和问题的录像。

众多SLARC大学校园每个都能成为成千专业中一个专业化的终身学习、专业研究和短课程寄宿学习的中心。例如Podunk学院能集合致力发展新音乐的人;鼓励发展研究或艺术创造的附属社区,形成专家,教师和学生合作团队。

每个SLARC可以专业化(在人类成千个基本问题中选择其一)进行研究和计划行动争议解决中心在大型高校中也许会被遗漏忽视,而专业化面对面社区的争议解决中心的访问专家和学生致力于这一独特领域,能有助于改进政治策略。SLARC成为全世界研究人员、组织、刊物和积极分子建立联系的中心, 而那里的学生完全可以主修任何其他学科或学习大量可选课程中的任何一门,这些课程不仅来源于其他SLARCs,而且包括各种机构提供的广博的电子课程。SLARC提供在线目录推荐某个专业课程或跨学科项目的万维网链接。

选择专业化大学校园的学生将在协助下设计个人学习计划。他们的专业化学期论文每年被传递给下一批学生以进一步研究改进,多尔顿学校就是如此。很多问题可能为个别学习者所聚焦研究,例如一名新闻专业学生对中非争端的解决的产生兴趣,从而引发激动人心的新就业机会和对其他SLARCs在线课程的需要。这有助于他的写作事业在学生时代就开始发展,而他与这一专业领域SLARC的联系将不断丰富他的写作小型学院经常发展这样的特色专业,但缺乏全球联盟所提供的筹集资金的可能性和辅助的国际性宣传和联系。关于通过联合采购成功节约开支的讨论参见高等教育史2002726日。

小型文科学院学习者和教师现在就能开始设想这一模型 像赖斯大学师生合作设计新生态学课程和开展生态学实践的校园。以下是相关讨论:

(a)罗伯特希兰阁下(Robert Sheeran 《教育事业》, 20017/8月中讨论哈尔(Seton Hall)在“教学变革中学到的经验”,这所天主教学院设法在建立虚拟校园的同时保存自身独特的居住社区。很多学院视自身为“智慧家园”,而这所宗教大学进一步探索成为人类精神和心灵的家园,它的使命是培养“国际社会公仆型领导人”。 并通过发展“以学生为中心,以网络为中心的移动计算环境”并以数字化信息库为其中心。全部天主教图书馆应该能连结成为全球宗教、道德和伦理图书馆(2.14 )的一部分,进而成为全球在线学术虚拟图书馆的一部分。 其他SLARCs能各自在其专门领域发展一座图书馆,而后由其校友和全世界该领域专家使用并加以扩大。

我们探讨了众多小型面对面学院专业化(通常是校园已具备专门知识的学科内的专业)并共享的可能性,怎样将这些特色专业的研究与大型研究性大学的研究相互协调联系?SLARCs能各自和共同链接到大型研究性大学,SLARC师生能参加大规模研究计划以改进课程的质量、提高大学校园威望,并能对解决全球问题做出较大的贡献。 现在通过PBS已向大学提供的课程参见: <http://www.pbs.org/campus/>

每个SLARC集中某一专业“中心领域”有可能矫正全球终身学习当前对技术的强调。SLARC联盟可使小型寄宿学院继续生存,并且能面对压倒性的强有力的竞争,即(因特网和电信)由世界的一流大学和工商业公司提供批量生产的知名教授任教的课程当人们能接受M.I.T的网上课程时,Podunk学院的一门技术课程怎样才有吸引力?当哈佛在网上提供当代知名作家的讲座,Podunk写作课如何吸引人?

我们建议SLARCs为对其特色专业有兴趣的(任何年龄的)人提供短期寄宿的继续教育。 SLARC能提供一个场所,使一个年长的学习者在丰富而亲切的居住环境里生活,例如依学习者意愿他能在知识分子社区与长驻的小说家交往。同时如果SLARC能提供学生理想的社区却不能提供她理想的新闻专业,她能方便地转到另一个大学校园学习一年因为这两所学校同属一所虚拟大学。她也能在SLARC本校选修一流大学提供的任何课程--机器人技术或者中文。同时,作为居住社区内的合作者,她能和其它人一起提供反馈协助改进联盟的课程、模块,改进一门为世界贫化地区免费提供的在线课程。

克里浦(Kirp 2003)认为Dickenson学院已经找到其“适当的位置”。

 

1.6.4联合大学课程单元的整体提供

教师使用另一校园的专业团队编制的电子课程模块或组件(参见3.7)——就如同电子课本(3.7)能每年更新加入新研究并接受用户反馈。与此同时,教师能分享反馈并且其优点如下。

(1)教师在备课上花费较少时间和用更多时间在小研讨会上帮助学习者将课程教材与学习者个人独特的需要、目标和兴趣联系起来。(3.3)

(2) 教师不再年复一年重覆同样讲座,还能提供讲座录影(参见 Tegrity 软件)以便学生能多次观看直到完全理解。教师因此有更多时间和机会从事自身领域的研究,特别是在虚拟电子合作实验室与世界上其他地方研究同样问题的研究员相互协调。这使年轻教师有机会在SLARC快速成长为专家,各个SLARC得以培养更有名望的教师队伍。 (也参见3.6).

(3) 通过SLARCS联盟能安排知名专家进行电子访问。否则几乎没有小型学院能有机会邀请到当代弗洛伊德、达尔文或爱因斯坦进行访问和演讲。当一所日本学院需要一位重要美国经济学家访问演讲,即使他没有时间去日本,他可以通过电信进行演讲,日本三十个校园的经济学学生听讲并有机会在网上向他提问、与他谈话。SPARCs联盟需要国际办公室主动创造丰富资源;并且留意其他任何地方(如夏威夷或巴基斯坦)的这样的资源,以便SLARC学生或研讨会能够参与。

1.6.5 技术合作

因为在竞争中不能负担所需的昂贵的技术竞争,许多小学院面临关闭的危险。与个别院校单独与销售商谈判相比,合作购买技术通常能大幅降低费用,并且大量学院合作,可以共同利用单个院校负担不起的技术。例如, 2000119 日《纽约时代周刊》 报道的` VLearn 3-D ' (技术发展日新月异),这一技术能使教室模拟著名地点、事件、或对象如微机内部,增加了网上教育的感性元素。虚拟现实和其它强有力的技术的结合起初将是非常昂贵的。但是大量教育机构合作能对开发者施加压力促进高等教育所需技术的开发。比如卡内基梅隆计算服务副总裁 (Furthey 2001) 哀叹“符合高等教育的特殊需要”的大型分布式的计算机环境开发步幅缓慢。但是,高等教育机构能成为“销售商天然的系统实验室,而在他们的实验室无法复制”。如果高等教育机构要解决“资源投入黑洞”的问题, 就要“让学生花更多时间学习;教师花更多时间教导研究”。显然,任务艰巨但她说,“任何事都有可能”。

SLARC联盟设想的批评意见之一是寄宿校园比较昂贵,永远是精英教育,SLARC学生与负担不起寄宿的学生互相隔离。但是除找到其“适当位置”外,SLARC还继续服务于地方,通过网上课程服务于不寄宿的学生,如全职工作而参加学院业余学习的人。而家庭能负担SLARC寄宿学习的青少年还能在网上选修职业技能课程。另外,SLARCs联盟为适于小型寄宿校园学习的学生设定大量可选的资助和奖学金。(也参见 1.3, 2.3 3.2)           雷恩古尔德所著(Rheingold  2003) 聪明的暴民》描述了‘swarming’技术,他认为使用这一技术可能创造效果显著的新型学习社区,但其实际效果还有待实践证明。

 

1.6.6 展望和实践问题

在这个模型中所有SLARCs(而不仅是宗教学院)都应该延伸他们的理念,涵盖全世界而不仅交换寄宿学生。没有一所学院有必要垄断其特色专业,有例为证。

格斯达里加的联合国和平大学也许包括和平学院和许多国家参与和平研究研究和教学的学院的次级联盟,并与大型高校和平研究部门也有联系。

某所SLARCs致力于某类音乐的专门研究,它将与全球各种各样的音乐学院的联盟相联系,其中有的专门研究谱曲,有的研究音乐事件的产生,有的研究宗教音乐或中东或南亚音乐并与那些国家的寄宿学院有密切联系。从第一部为互联网设计的歌剧<http://www blackart/sour/htm> 可以看出这样专业化SLARC也许能创造许多创新项目,作为小型地方剧院创造和试验戏剧,从此走向百老汇。 <http://www.apple.com/education/profiles/sacramento/>

一组来自许多国家的寄宿学院也许能共同研究历史和考古学,与该领域考古学家有经常而密切的联系。他们理所当然会与把“传统古典科目”(拉丁语, 希腊语, 历史, 古老文本)和”反映学生对于种族、性别和阶级问题关注的跨学科课程”相结合的Macalester 这样的学院相联系(Monaghan 2000)

寄宿人文科学学院可以将临近的感化院作为犯罪和少年犯罪专业项目的实验室,改造传统犯罪学课程,采用一个医疗模型针对个别被收容者的特殊问题和可能结果进行治疗;放眼全球,引入 所有国家和文化在惩处、改造和预防犯罪的各种观点,研究使采用医疗 模型进行个别治疗成为可能。 参见2004 42日《教育大纪元》 虚拟课堂与犯人”和 2.13

一组SLARCs专门研究区域历史、文化、文献和考古,他们链接到研究型大学,而研究型大学使本学科区域性和全球性研究相衔接。

无论如何,寄宿社区都能提供一个独特的维度,学习者和教师在网上合作,进行跨国界讨论和合作,未来大量小研讨会将通过远程通讯在课堂上展开。

每个有其独特的专业学院对未来要有各自的理念。但有没有一种全球性理念,便于在各种可能的和大社会及地方社区需要紧密联系的专业、模型和方案之中进行选择? 无论如何,应该自下而上建立。

科教文组织关于高等教育和远景的会议(战略计划和政策学报19992月)提出了SLARC联盟提议的讨论中具有挑战性的问题,特别是如何为全世界每个人提供充分教育的问题。苦恼的大学校长和理事们能做出怎样的贡献?

(a) (现在)来自世界各地数以万计甚至几十万的课程和学位项目通过网络提供给全世界的学习者。谁来进行评估并编制SLARCs联盟全面的目录? 一所专业SLARC的教职员可以编制其细化的专业领域的目录。

(b) SLARC联盟如何建立结构精简而又负责的全球性行政机关,特别是使它能够在网上完成工作并与其他全球性联盟协调工作?

(c )技术日益倍增形同密林,谁来为全球教育从中进行评估选择。电子课本和全球性虚拟图书馆已经产生,SLARC 联盟不太可能单独应付知识产权问题。”关键是西顿霍尔大学Seton Hall)的整体--学生、教师和职员愿意冒险, 就像十九世纪开发美国整个西部的先驱。西顿霍尔校长(2001)认为,“我们同样进入了浩大而未开发的疆域,这里有惊人的潜力和许多风险”。

<http://www.wfs.org/dunn.htm>描述了一所提供丰富校园社区生活的学院,其寄宿学生可以选修来自莫斯科国立大学、企业公司、卡内基梅隆大学等的课程,文章富于想象并有许多实用细节。

如果 SLARC 联盟设想不能吸引您或不适用于您, 以下四个章节将探索虚拟终身学习的其它模型,探讨许多相同问题,特别是这个模型如何使用互联网和其他技术更为便利地为全世界提供基础教育。

 

 

 

The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
http://ecolecon.missouri.edu/globalresearch/chapters/1-06.html
For more information contact Parker Rossman
July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman