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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 1.6 | Go to Chapter 1.8

Volume I - Chapter Seven

(Last updated June 18, 2008.)  In Chinese following the bibliography

A GLOBAL MULTI-CULTURAL (LIFELONG) VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY

When historians look back at higher education in the year 2050 they may well view the advent of virtual universities as having had an impact on higher education as great as the G. I. Bill and the land grant act of 1964. --James Morrison.

Unless public colleges and universities become the architects of change, they will be its victims.  –Kellogg Commission on the Future of Land Grant and State Universities.

Those with the courage to flaunt convention have formed coalitions, consortia, and other collaborations on and off campus to accomplish more than would be possible by acting independently. -- Carole Barone.

Digital technology will not only transform the activities of the university– our teaching, research, outreach–but as well lead to a restructuring of the current higher education enterprise. --James Duderstadt

Industry restructured dramatically in response to IT progress, and education leaders should prepare for similar upheaval. --Stuart Feldman

Note: Jane Robbins. Toward A Theory of the University. University of Chicago Press 2008

The traditional university--that offers wide variety on a campus-- can be at the center of a global learning system that receives and offers all kinds of resources to a global multi-cultural effort  It must deal with all ages, with multi-age groupings, with on the job learning, with lifelong learning, with tailored individualized learning and more. Stephenson (2006) foresees a global "knowledge eco-system." On a mixed learning system note a blog on a university in Malaysia:  <http://elearningmalaysia.blogspot.com>..

Probably there should be a global digital learning system that coordinates all learning and all kinds of learning institutions. For example, for a start, Pedro Aranzadi reported to a November 2005  UNESCO `virtual university conference on free course software that `Universia'--in which more than 800 universities in Spain and Latin America were shareholders--had for several years been translating MIT's free courses into Spanish and Portuguese. Then Universia egan "to help member universities publish their own "open course ware." Mitrano (2006) has proposed some imaginative ideas about `building a global university'  that would "turn traditional education on its head (by placing "learning n service of larger questions, such has how to accomplish environmental sustainability, international law to settle disputes, better world governance, end world hunger and lift the ethics of research as many students from various countries cooperated on research projects  in which they might participate for four years or longer. The fact that the technology exists to make this possible "should turn the possibility into an imperative.".

We are here discussing some models for a future `global virtual lifelong learning system'  that could provide essential needed knowledge for nearly everyone in the world, especially for individuals who do not have the chance to be involved in on-campus supportive learning communities.’ Having in the last chapter proposed for discussion a model that has not much been discussed, it is useful now to consider the model that may be inevitable, one that is evolving without design or planned structure. It is a market-driven model wherein learning programs are `marketed’ to distant customers, and with business corporations, publishing houses and others entering the ` market’ to offer competing courses and programs. Its structure or system might in time involve something like the World Trade Organization (WTO) that at the turn of the century started to see distance education courses as a commodity it should regulate. Important policy issues are discussed at:
<http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/forums2.php?queryforums_id=1=1 <http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/forums2.php?queryforums_id=1&querychapter=1>

Already available online--soon in theory available in every neighborhood on the planet--are tens of thousands of courses. Osborn (2006) uses the word organic for the style needed so that education can be more imaginative, creative and transformational. He reports on a system for innovation in which learners acquire a passion for learning. By contrast most traditional and existing educational structures have top-down `control' organizations industrial-age type systems in which creative innovation is difficult on the local, regional and national levels 'Computing in higher education has evolved from islands of innovation, to activities that depend on campuswide and worldwide infrastructures, to an ecosystem with many niches of experimentation and resulting innovation." (Smith and Cohon 2005).

Many of educational institutions have had splendid architects for campus buildings, but where are the architects for academics in virtual/cyberspace? Brown 2001 has said that "we are witnessing a profound blurring of the classical boundaries separating  teaching, learning, research administration, communication, media and play." So, he has said, an architecture is needed that  that unifies these  separate `infospheres' so as '"to produce a new form of learning ecology" where the virtual and the physical co-exist seamlessly.  When asked what a virtual university would look like, one expert recommended : <http://www.ivc.illinois.edu/> For a largest directory of E-learning courses see: <http://www.worldwidelearn.com/>.

One of the most significant developments of 2003-04 perhaps may have been the decision of Massachusetts Institute of Technology to give away free "all of its course materials--approximately 2000 courses-- via the Internet. (Vest 2004). The president of MIT has expressed the hope that this will help "build a web of knowledge that will enhance human learning worldwide." Over time, he said: we expect to innovations in all kinds of multidisciplinary education. and research." The goal is to "create a model that other universities can follow and improve. MIT has, he said "taken an ethical stand against the idea that knowledge should only be accessible only to those who can pay for it. We hope, he said: "that access to the work of faculty members from diverse disciplines and institutions will increase in order of magnitude the benefits to educators and learners who otherwise would not have access to such materials"  In 2005  the University of Maryland was preparing to do the same. . Some other universities have also made their entire curriculum available online, but not free.  A second may be the X-O computer (3.7) in the hands of the world's poorest children.

For a discussion of  some 2004 projects see: <http://www.enterprisenetworksandservers.com/monthly/ar               t.php/292>.UNESCO called together a `summit' of top officers of the largest `open universities, such as in Indonesia, Iran, Spain, the UK and the USA, Korea, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. Together they began plans to create a global network. Utterback (2004), however, has said that he  doubts that increasing the size of existing institutions to mammoth proportions--so as to serve many more students--is more likely than to "pursue intellectual labors on a small but efficient scale.'

The years 2002-04 saw several articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education (i.e, Breneman 2002, and many articles in Sept. 19, 2003) about the  financial crisis facing state-supported universities in the USA. Some universities and colleges were hoping to recruit tuition-paying online students, even from other countries. In some states there was discussion of the possibility that money could be saved by eliminating duplication of courses, as students on one campus could take courses online from another tax-supported university within the same state.  Raschke (2003) speaks of the coming of the `hyperversity." Among pioneering experiments, for example, was Universitas21: <http://www.universitas21.com/u21global.htm>

However, this effectiveness of this market model in providing essential learning to everyone in the world requires bottom-up collaboration with neighborhood electronic learning centers that can provide counsel and help connect the individual with help in finding what fits into his or her special needs.

1.7.0   ADMINISTRATION  AND STANDARDS

Michael Moore (2001) nicely summarized some problems and possibilities for online learning. He pointed out that “the fragmented nature of our distance education system (with its) multiplicity of courses and course materials and services that are delivered by thousands of independent providers.” They often fall short of good quality, he said, “and there are no common standards.” In the late 1990’s representatives of some higher education institutions met “to see if they could create a set of standards “ and since then the effort has been continued by the Instructional Management System (IMS) Project http://www.imsproject.org> of EDUCAUSE’S <http://www.educause.edu> National Learning Structure Initiative. “The membership of EDUCAUSE consisted of over 1,800 colleges, universities and education organizations, and over 180 corporations.” The IMS proposed to develop “marketable `learning objects” which could be used to assemble differing educational programs. Moore explained with this analogy: “learning objects are the bricks out of which an institution could construct a program according to its own preferred architecture. By using the standard bricks” a small institution could “build its course offerings module by module rather like adding rooms to a home, or to pick up the whole whose and merge with another.” These standard bricks—`learning objects' based on standard learning objectives—would for example include

(a) educational content, (on technology standards see 2.3.
(b) procedures to help learners locate and use the content, 
(c) activities to help track learner progress, 
(d) to report learner performance, 
(e) and to facilitate better interaction between administrative systems.

Any instructor, moving to a new institution or preparing a new course, could thus not have to be an expert in all phases of the operation but could make use of standard pieces already available for assembly. Moore pointed to the advantages in “areas as certification and transfer or credits and makes “economic sense as well as educational sense.” What Moore described fits into a market-oriented global strategy.

Yet who is going to evaluate and choose among the multiplying jungle of technologies and electronic learning materials   for learning from all over the world. (See here 2.3. and 3.3) Are a vision and administrative structure needed to create standard `dedicated education technologies’ for global education that can be mass-produced so as to be more affordable to all? A global electronic infrastructure was proposed at the University of Tampere, Finland, in 1999 at a conference funded by UNESCO, USAid, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Bank, the Soros Foundation, the ITU, etc. A University of Massachusetts anthropologist worries that his university is going too far in replacing faculty with technology that soon will be out of date. . .without funds to maintain and replace it. An advertisement in the T.H.E Journal recommends technology that can be rented over the Internet instead of being purchased - and that can be regularly updated.

In chapter two we discussed some ways in which such a model might be administered, and President Duderstadt (2001) suggested another, modeled after HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organizations.) To make higher education available to a larger segment of human society “we need a new paradigm.” Fortunately it is becoming clear that as synchronous learning technology can be made available to anyone, anywhere, “who wants to learn” and “at the time and place of choice. So, as an HMO contracts to provide a full range of health-care services through its own staff or by outsourcing from other health care providers, there might be EMO’s (Education Maintenance Organizations) that agree to provide whatever learning opportunities individuals may need throughout their lives. Indeed, he suggests, some existing universities might “evolve into this role, essentially entering into lifetime agreements with their students and graduates.” However, Duderstadt said, it is more likely that an EMO would be a broker of educational services…which would link learners with educational service providers whenever, wherever and however they need knew knowledge and skills.” Perhaps a lifelong contract would begin when a baby is born, a sort of insurance supported at first by family and government assistance and then later also in partnership with employers.

Meanwhile, in advance of possible future developments, what is seen as happening now is here labeled as a possible `lifelong worldwide electronic learning system.’ It seems to be coming into existence as a linking and combination of all that education institutions are doing from country to country.  Ryan (2000) described technologies and procedures enabling this, such as `resource-based learning' (RBL) that promotes student-centered learning in a mass-education context. <http://westworld.dmu.ac.uk/vu-rbl>.   

1.7.1  NOTES ON CONTEXT

We propose the word “emerging” that suggests a more evolutionary learning model as a living ecological system that may not need much human biological/management and organization. Brown (2001) proposed "a learning ecology with a substantial richness." The tropical rain forest, for example, is a marvelous, functioning system, perhaps the most complex one on earth; and it is weakened when human beings try to manage and control it. If the global learning system is to be understood like that, it is essential to deepen its roots in the rich soil of a primary and secondary education that also is rooted in the history and experience of many world cultures.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities  was at the turn of the 21st century anticipating lifelong learning that would involve "continuous conversations between high school and college educators about learning outcomes. curricula and curriculum practices" that would better prepare for higher education; and college programs that would prepare graduates for lifelong learning.  A global system should be seamless, cradle to grave.

 To contemplate an ecological model--focusing on quality at all levels--would require a research on the extent to which it can just be allowed to evolve without bureaucratic planning and and top-down control. Systems of control often get out of hand, and replicate themselves in ways that limit needed creativity. An alternative would not be bound by semesters, fixed class hours or "strict discipline borders"...but could allow students to develop over time and track that development along several paths....a liberal education grounded in practice." (Brown 2001)

Perhaps that contemplation should begin with `chaos theory? For this chapter examines what many consider to be a `kludge’ model. If this market model is inevitable can it function well without some kind of formal or informal global administration structure? It could be facilitated by the creation of a very large and sophisticated online course catalog, available to all on the web. It could have advanced searching mechanisms to organize the information—course evaluations, content and availability-- in a wide variety of ways. Such a catalog with a specialized search engine might expand procedures now recommended by the Academic Library Association’s `Tool Kit for the Expert Websearcher;' for example, multimedia search engines that locate photos, graphics, video, sound, numeric data and that could search for much more. (Also see the Wayback Machine (http://www.archive.org) for other possibilities.)

Many assume that for online learning a central issue is how to turn each class into a learning community. A larger question is this: can each such small online learning community--in the market approach--adequately be transdisciplinary and multicultural?

When educators are asked for the mental model they have of a virtual online learning community, many of the pictures that come to their minds are not yet encouraging. Words like `holistic’ and ‘lifelong distance learning’ do not fit onto the organizational charts, the boxes, the diagrams of relationships between divisions, schools, departments, learner age, development offices, black study centers and whatever. There are of course some imaginative courses and programs—but they are far from adding up to what a billion off-campus learners need.

We have already suggested that that there may be many consortia, and that what is inevitable may be a linking of consortia with all global virtual learning not otherwise included. So the model examined in this chapter would include—as is now true in K-12 education—publicly (tax) funded education, `home schooling’ for adults, for-profit higher education ventures and private virtual higher education (such as religious.)

When we speak of a `model,’ the first mental-picture may be the buildings on a college campus. However, just as a church is the people and not just a building; so also a learning structure is not the buildings, however fine they may be. It is not so easy to simulate the learners—especially when they are scattered and need to become a virtual “learning community.” The goal of universities is often described as “serving the nation.” What kind of new design—at least of links-- is needed to serve all the peoples of the planet?

In 2001 it was reported that 70 percent of the over 4000 higher education institutions in the USA were already offering some distance education courses online. Millions of students all over the world take such courses, many from countries other than their own. It is expected that by mid-century nearly all higher education institutions, and many secondary schools and technology training academies will be offering courses to the world. Perhaps one reason to design a lifelong learning structure will be to define new goals, methods and purposes; beyond the needs of industry the focus for many learners will be on their own personal desires and needs. These questions will also be further discussed in Volume III.

One of the `hurricane forces’ driving change  is multi-culturalism. Another is learner-centered curriculum. Already we see such forces coming together when, for example, one student in Kansas want to take a course in Arab poetry and she wants to take it from an expert in the Middle East, not from some local teacher who knows no Arabic and has no access to primary sources. The quality of foreign language study improves when learners can spend time in a language lab listening to software programs that repeats a word over and over until feedback indicates that the learner has mastered the pronunciation. But language programs have always been better when learners can go to another country to learn language in the context of absorbing the culture there on a face-to-face basis. Since everyone cannot do that, learners are beginning to profit from a class where, for example, half the learners are in Japan and wish to learn English and the other half are in Hawaii and want to learn Japanese. And the learning will be much more interesting and effective if the study of a language is combined holistically with a study of a foreign country’s history, culture, contemporary life and so forth, with `virtual’ visits to museums and other sites there. However, as the World Wide Web is huge and therefore confusing can we expect great confusion also in whatever emerges, in this model, within a lifelong learning system.

 It is also important to include other international projects such as the European Commission proposal for Erasmus Mundus, a project "to promote intercultural understanding through co-operation with third world countries in higher education" and the development of virtual universities.

1.7.2   AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL?

Shall we consider the possibility that, as such educational programs develop, a global virtual lifelong education system and structure is already evolving--as the Internet has also been evolving--without a master plan or a carefully studied design to be applied? Goonatilake’s (1999) view of it may provide a theoretical basis for such an evolution. He sees the coming together now of three `lineages’ in the history of humanity’s development –millions of years of biology/genetic development; thousands of years of cultural development, and now a century of information technology and new cognitive systems. Today the shift from human to machine processing--of the vast almost already unmanageable amounts of data now being collected--may be leading to the evolving of a system quite different from what educators today could yet imagine or propose. As these three ‘lineages’ or information streams come together as a `river,’ something new and unexpected maybe evolving in global learning. “Current approaches used for discussing human interactions of other technologies,” he says. “Do not capture these particular deep changes.”

Planners can have biological models, cultural models, and computer simulation models. Perhaps all three are coming together now to provide a “new educational world view,” and “a window into the subjectivities of each lineage.” A result in mid-century may be the emerging of `ecological models’ for global virtual lifelong education. However we cannot yet with confidence begin with that or any assumption. These chapters on models begin with five different emphases and organizational principles.

(a) Chapter 6, the last chapter’s SLARC model, began with the content of courses in a face-to-face context and with a focus on the knowledge and skills needs of individual learners. 

(b) This chapter 7’s modle begins with courses already being offered from one country to another, assuming that it will be difficult to bypass the offerings from many campuses. For example (Lenn 2002) the University of Michigan has been training corporation managers in S. Korea and Temple University, offering ten undergraduate majors and several graduate degrees in Japan. Chapter Two already examined some of the difficulties, however, in existing experiments in administrating such global virtual learning projects. Perhaps this ecological model will evolve into a new global system, existing in cyberspace/virtual space `in the air' above the structures of existing learning institutions and program, including in its variety all of these five models and others also. Note European `distributed virtual university: <http://prometeus.deis.unibo.it/Prometeus/Journal00/Index.htm

(c) Chapter 8 and volume 2 propose a model that focuses on large-scale and powerful new kinds of research by linking the world’s research universities.

(d) Chapter 9’s model is a global virtual community college that focuses on area and neighborhood needs.

(e) Chapter 10’s model begins with an adaptation of the USA Land-grant college idea that becomes a professionally oriented system, organizing curriculum, research and outreach `extension services’ to professionals on the job.

This chapter's ecological model might include everything in a healthy balance including, among other things, a possible global curriculum as the structure for a catalog of courses and communities of learning. But how? The 2000 American Prospect article, “Can the Net Govern itself?” might be adapted to “Can competitive institutions govern themselves globally to avoid electronic distance learning from becoming a new kind of global imperialism? Perhaps there could be UN treaty arrangements, as for the world airlines, postal and TV/radio systems?

Seymour Papert—in Newsweek, October 29, 2001, assumed the technology but said that the real transformation in education will come "when we have new ways of organizing people and knowledge.” Instead of “fragmenting knowledge into `subjects” and segregating learners by age, we “will see new groups formed around common interests.” How to do that for a billion people in the world is a mind-boggling problem. Higher education learners in Asia are expected to grow from 17 million in 2002 to 87 million by 2025." (Lenn 2002)  Few countries in Asia can on their own can accommodate the number of young people needing learning, much less the re-education of employed people.   

Tony Judge (1980), reviewing Systematics by John Gall, warned against systems themselves and that efforts to develop or improve organizational systems often merely deals with the symptoms which then merely take on a new form. The wholeness of the system fragmented by the different interests of each organization involved, in this case of each university offering distance education. The larger and more complex a system becomes increase the problems rather than solving them as system functionaries develop them own goals. Further, “a complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work.” And “great advances are not produced by systems designed to produce great advances.” When he finds that “loose systems last longer and work better” he seems to be arguing for an ecological system that grows simply out of what is happening.

1.7.3   VAST GLOBAL LIFELONG CURRICULA

No one is intending it, and no institution is seriously tending it, but a new kind of global curriculum may be emerging, which tat first consisted of learning materials and distance education courses that were online available anywhere. <http://www.usdla.org/html/resources/dllp.htm> A learner of any age and experience will need help in finding just the right mix of courses for a program tailored to her unique needs or his special interests. Someday, hopefully, there will be a comprehensive catalog, daily updated, regularly evaluated by learners, teachers, and curriculum specialists. The New York Times, January 12. 2003, reported that the European Union has determined to develop--in nearly all European universities--a common curriculum with standard and interchangeable degrees and standards."

At the heart of it, for example, could thee increasingly be specialized programs (as in health care for example) that offer a varied mix of all kinds of learning opportunities from many sources and countries, but with no guarantee that everything needed will be provided, especially for the poor who cannot pay.  Also as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology puts all of its courses online it is with the understanding that an MIT education requires time on campus. Nevertheless those who cannot come to MIT and higher educations online and elsewhere can profit from course material prepared at MIT. See: <http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=979>  The African Virtual University offers courses from many sources: <http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-12/njio-ndi121003.php>.

New human objectives and purposes can arise once this vast curriculum of offerings and a useful and helpful catalog come into existence. Some of the new possibilities could be enabled by new technologies that no one has yet thought of, or at least that no one is yet developing. It can be a global curriculum for all ages and needs. For example there might be a curriculum of stories, available on the internet, for pre-school children to listen to as they play alone or go to sleep, each story part of holistic lifelong recommended curriculum with planned objectives and from which parents or teachers can choose alternatives best suited to their own values and culture. It could provide a curriculum for youngsters who are home schooled when and because they are isolated, are in a hospital, or when parents have chosen to do some home schooling. Its materials could also be adaptable to every age in different cultures and for unique family values. At every age it will provide alternatives, for example for the Japanese family temporarily in Mexico. The virtual resources could provide, for example,  a mix of what children in Japan would be studying as well as the richness that Mexican culture can provide..

The talented, gifted learners of any age could work at their own age level in math -- or areas where they may not be talented--while working at a greatly advanced level in other studies. The twelve-year-old genius will not need to go to a campus—for which she is not yet socially prepared-- but can undertake advanced  courses at her own school or at  home. The city or university librarian who is confronted with a ten-year-old who wants to check out graduate school level biology texts will not need to refuse because of the child's age. Any secondary or college-age student, anywhere in the world, can take courses in art or in elementary farming or building trades skills. Dertouzos (1997) asks: “How can you know that you have options to build shelters for the poor if you are completely unaware of hammers and that they can be used to build houses faster, cheaper and better than clay and leaves?” Also see McDonough et al.( 2002) on new ecological design for everything. (Actually, of course, a great Arab architect has been showing how to build better, cheaper houses out of clay!) But Dertouzos is saying that help-needing people can be matched with `help offering’ people through information infrastructure through a global virtual system.

But how is this to be coordinated with essential planning undertaken? Who will offer courses that are not profitable in a market-driven virtual global university system? All kinds of technology can be used—adapted to local bottom-up discovered possibilities and needs—but many are skeptical that quality learning can be provided at a distance. So let’s explore some possibilities that will use newer technologies that are just beginning to be used, and which will be more powerful and feasible in the coming decades. Girod et al. (2001) say that educators use technology in two ways:

-- To do better what we now do,
-- And to radically change what we do and how we do it.

Emerging technology is pushing educators to look at learners and learning in new ways.(3.3) Technology will not improve learning “until teachers also begin to transform technology.” We cannot describe possibilities for a thousand different kinds of courses but can offer a few examples:

Science Laboratories. How can an isolated learner on a remote island have the laboratory experimentation that is essential in modern science? Forinash and Wisman (2001) have pointed out that “experimental “design…can only be learned from using real equipment in real experiments.” The three delivery technologies that up to now have been used the most for performing experiments in distance learning, they report, have been “computer simulations, videos of real laboratories, and laboratory kits sent to the student.” These are useful where real experimentation may be dangerous or too complex “such as controlling a nuclear reactor.” Equipment for an advanced physics course, for example, might include lasers and other very expensive equipment. Soon new technology can in many cases provide lab experience that can be superior to the typical lab for resident students. Safety issues are minimized. Limits of time and space can be transcended, “allowing experiments that monitor geographically distant phenomena such as weather and seismographic data.” Computers to manage, collect and analyze data, and Internet connections make it possible distant labs “to compare favorably with an in-residence laboratory.”

What is lacking as yet are, for example, “an educational model for distance science laboratories, the lack of delivery technology standards for instrument hardware and software. Forinash and Wisman proceed to report, for example, on how distant learners could study the frequency of sound, using musical sounds where they were. In another virtual lab students did not need to line up to take turns using a computer running an oscilloscope program but could use it at any time that was most convenient to them when it was part of a Web page. With no limits to time and space to analyze electromagnetic signals, students could share information gathered at various locations. Also they found that distance education offered opportunities such as large-scale collaboration; for example in using weather data, testing air quality in various locations. Imagine, Forinash and Wisman suggested, “If students had been able to monitor local radiation levels in various locations in Europe after the Chernobyl disaster.” The use of distant labs can be greatly improved not only with the use of simulations but soon with virtual reality labs in which learners and participate together online as if in the same room. 

University of Southern California engineers (USC 2001) reported work on 3-D internet technology to enable people to see and talk –as if together in classroom or lab—with people at a great distance--seeing facial expressions and gestures. They not only will be able to see and participate in biology experiments, they also they enter into those experiments through virtual reality technology. As even Internet2 gets more crowded, scientists and academics entered the 21st century anticipating the National Science Foundation's `teragrid.' We might look at any subject area more imaginatively, such as: .

History can come alive through the use of documentary and news films on interactive CD-ROMs. While a distant learner may wish to see the teacher from time to time, a lecture on history might in any case be a voice behind films of real events or of virtual reality staging of historic events. Creating such materials will for a time be very expensive, but once created the films and electronic texts (3.7) could be used by millions of students across space and time. Virtual reality tours can also be conducted to the actual sites of historical events, to museums, to Pompeii as the locus of discussion about life in Roman times, and so forth. This kind of `lecture’ can be experienced at home as well as in class and can be videotaped to be viewed over and over. For online question and answer sessions the most frequently asked questions could also be included on tape (or using better digital technology as it emerges.) Such presentations in history and many other kinds of courses can be adapted to local interests, cultures. Students can update the history of their own communities on the global historical database as an exercise in historical method.

Accounting. As with many subjects, software exists to teach basic accounting skills, enabling students to work at their own pace until the essential is mastered. This makes it possible for class sessions—online or on campus—to become seminars on ethical, more and practical problems that accountants face. In an online graduate level course (Gagne 2001) students could communicate with other and the instructor via “telephone, e-mail, threaded bulletin board discussions and synchronous chat technologies. The online students never met in person so they created `a class feeling’ by “exchanging information about each other on the class Web site.” In many such online classes the students learn more about each other—work history, family, hobbies, career plans—than students in resident classes ever know about all the others. They also were given helpful supplementary materials in addition to the textbook (the same so that two kinds of classes could be compared.)

Sociology. Will the availability of web connections, vast databases and imported modules that can be brought into any course expand and enrich courses of all kinds? How would a course, say, in criminology be different if it was connected to all the points of view of all countries and cultures--to deal with often unmanageable global crime syndicates--and  on punishment (filmed visits to prisons), rehabilitation, crime prevention. If research makes it possible, on a medical model, to treat each case individually?

Such possibilities are examined in more detail in Volume III.

1.7.4   A GLOBAL CATALOG OF LINKS TO EVERY ONLINE CATALOG

Since there is not yet an adequate global catalog (3.8.6), students--who would take a course their own community does not offer--may use the web to explore possibilities, asking for information about courses anywhere in search of a specific course needed. At present this tends to be dependent upon serendipity. A student may not find out about a course that would be just right. Or someone on an e-mail conference such as DEOS-L at Pennsylvania State University may reply on-line: “I took such a course at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey that pioneered in offering courses that can be taken anywhere.” Barone (2003) has pointed out that education and "the commercial sector "appear to be finding ways to work together in more realistic and sensible arrangements." <http://www.directoryofschools.com/link/education.htm>.

There have been beginnings of an on-line global catalog of courses at the University of Texas, at the International Center for Distance Learning (ICDL) in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The ICDL has been a documentation center of the British Open University. It’s internationally accessible computer database has provided available information about subjects available, media used, entrance require­ments, and information on specific courses offered electronically by Commonwealth institutions. A student in Europe could thus explore on-line the course offerings and available funding for courses in some other countries. A 2001 computerized database has provided descriptions and registration information about 50,000 available “distance/online courses from 60 countries.” Courses can be located “by keyword, course name/subject, country of origin, or name of institution. (See <http://www.dlcoursefinder.com>.

However, an adequate catalog might best be achieved through linking and cross-indexing of all existing online catalogs from individual schools and businesses with faculty and course descriptions. As such a global electronic catalog of offerings becomes available to anyone on line, each university and each nation could discover what it has to give and what it needs to receive in and from a global education network. It has been suggested that an on-line catalog might be regularly up­dated like the computerized telephone directories in France. It would seem more possible if such a directory of courses and personnel could be “distributed,” that is, a system for indexing and organizing could make it possible for information about each course to be kept on computers at each school. Again, one model might be the way the American telephone system refers information seekers to a distributed on-line directory. More than seventy higher education institutions have experimented with a “white pages” directory on the Internet, a sort of “world-wide online phone book.” McGregor (1991) described the technology then available that could be used for “a worldwide, online, interconnected Directory with all sorts of information.”

The adequate global catalog for tomorrow should be a multi-lingual file of online learning resources. It would not only list all that is available, but would include student and peer-reviewed evaluations which should compare various offerings with information on methods of instruction, faculty, costs, quality and results.  (Barry 2001).

1.7.5  FOR PROFIT?

The ‘market approach’ to global virtual education is not the way to provide adequate education for people who earn a USA dollar a day. Also this model raises other questions. For example, will for profit institutions create supportive learning communities? Isn't the love of leaning being replaced with a desire just to make money? (Engell 2005)  Will the for-profit sector drain off resources that are needed for research? Is education to be a `protected’ market in which governments restrict access? Journalists report the bad science for money that in 2005 was tempting many university researchers.

As France--when it began to b e the world’s second largest exporter of educational services--fought to increase its share of the market, a UNESCO publication wondered if France was moving to a protectionist position. The UNESCO Courier, February 2000, reported that the World Trade Organization “had launched a process that could open up to competition the expanding and highly protected market in education.” New Zealand, it was reported, had decided to open up to outside competition its whole private education sector, from primary school to university. Education employs over fifty million people worldwide with a budget of a thousand billion dollars and was reported to be growing at breakneck speed. If a country’s education is completely funded and administered by the government, “which is hardly true anywhere,” it could stay outside the agreement. See Ruch (2001) on the rise of the for-profit university that is the "only sector of...higher education that is growing."  See: <http://www.directoryofschools.com/>.

Educational bureaucracies and unions are seen as slowing the process of needed change. This may be especially true in the production and approval of curricular materials. Textbooks and other such materials are very profitable to many companies, and most of the world’s school systems do not have the money necessary to re-tool the system with electronic textbooks and materials. This, the World Trade Organization and others propose, makes it inevitable that education will move toward “greater market responsiveness, coupled with an increasing openness to alternative financing mechanisms.” This, it is said, will tend to limit government monopolies and provide more openness to foreign suppliers.

Heretofore the international market in education has largely been that of students from one country going to study in another, which in 1995 was a 27 billion dollar enterprise. Globalization efforts focused on abolishing immigration red tape and regulations that restricted student mobility. Now in the 21st century, however, the expansion of courses sold over the Internet has been exploding globally. “A working group at the Services 2000 conference” (Hirtt 2000) concluded that the education sector “needs the same degree of transparency, transferability, mutual recognition, and freedom from undue regulation or restraints and barriers that the United States acknowledges on behalf of other service industries.” To illustrate with some American projects, Sylvan Learning Systems, announced in August, 2001, that it was forming a higher education division “as further proof that online higher education is becoming extremely competitive.” One of its divisions enrolled more than 35,000 teachers in graduate education programs; another division had expanded to offer 1,700 courses to twenty thousand online students.” (Chronicle of Higher Education, August 10, 2001.) In addition to the well-known University of Phoenix, many others office extensive courses. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 14. 2004, however, reported the demise of the previously much touted British Virtual University.  

As American universities began to create for-profit subsidiaries and even subsidiary online universities, many questions were emerging regarding profit and collaboration to increase profitability.  As many competing universities add online courses there is not yet evidence that many such projects--such as Cornell University's for-profit venture-- can produce significant income. On the other hand, there may be significant economies as consortia exchange courses; for example the South Dakota Board of Regents was in 2002 creating a common electronic data base to bring together the records of all students, since so many of them were online courses from several different campuses. The state of Virginia in 2001 created a Virtual University to allow students to take courses from different schools as a solution to a projected great increase in the number of students.

In August, 200l,  the U.S. Army’s Portal was Up and Running. <http://www.earmyu.com>.This `eArmyU’ was making it possible for 80,000 to register for courses from more than 20 accredited institutions. Textbooks could be ordered automatically. That $453 million project demonstrates infrastructure that can target other specific groups such as teachers. For example, Fathom, owned by Columbia University and “a dozen other institutions including museums, signed a contract with the American Association of Retired Persons to offer discounts to members over fifty. 

The Networking Academies set up by Cisco Systems have been another kind of global education program. Through partner relationships with universities, governments and the United Nations Development Program in 136 countries worldwide, these Academies. As of 1999 served some 33,000 students in the Asia Pacific region alone. <http://www.cisco.com/asiapac/academy>.

Many for-profit ventures began to face problems. The August 10, 2001 Chronicle: “Thomson Will Shut Down Harcourt’s Online College” which during the past year had enrolled 32 students. Again from the Chronicle: May 4, 2001: “Rich in Cash and Prestige, UNext Struggles in Its Search for Sales.” UNext began in 1997 with impressive university partners, Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon, Columbia, University of Chicago and the London School of Economics and Political Science, to offer business courses to customers like General Motors, AOL, Time Warner. It’s degree-granting subsidiary was named Cardean University. It has also sold courses to universities. Newsweek reported in April, 2000, that UNext’s founder hoped it would become an elite Internet university serving people around the world who were unable to attend conventional schools and people who already had degrees but need additional education to advance their careers. Expecting to spend a hundred million dollars before going online, UNext’s faculty already included three Nobel prize winners, and was preparing to develop “a whole new way of teaching,” for example replacing `boring lectures’ with an interactive style “more like a video game. Students would have a variety of interactive tools at their disposal as they would seek to solve real business problems. May 25, 2001: “Leery About Use of Their Names, Michigan and Toronto Opt Out of Universitas21.” Headed by the president of the University of Melbourne, Australia, the consortium’s 18 universities in ten countries had signed an agreement with Thomson Learning Company to operate the project.

As of 2003 many for-profit universities were merging or being purchased by increasingly large companies. (Blumenstyk et al 2003) , DeVry for example paid "$310 million in cash for Ross University"

1.7.6  MANY UNRESOLVED PROBLEMS

This market-ecological model for future global virtual education still faces many difficult problems for students, faculty, colleges and for-profit educators and government bureaucracies. Some examples are:

What about mass production? Sir John Daniel proposed that an academic lecture by a major scientist could be delivered at once to a million students--soon with automatic translation--but that must be supplemented by local counsel and support. Effective learning for millions of online students in the same electronic venue must rely on local seminars for discussion and clarification. Many basic courses may be automated so that they can be cheap. In time, one for-profit university may enroll millions of students

In volume III (3.1) we say more about the problems facing the online learner. Albert Bork (Educause, Nov. 1999) and others see new technology as enabling entirely new self-directed learning systems, greatly empower the capacities of individuals. But what about the enrichment of humanity through art, literature, drama, music, etc.? (More in Volume III). How can the individual learner sort out and choose among thousands of available courses?

How can every culture and language be respected (automatic translation issues)? Can impoverished universities in developing countries trade courses on their traditions, cultures, history, etc. for advanced science courses that they need? Not likely with for-profit institutions. Is distance education--indeed all learning--still in its Jurassic age, as proposed by the president of the University of Phoenix who discusses the pitfalls and unexpected developments that lie ahead? (Educause. April 2000.)

Academic freedom and security issues? A Chronicle article, July 6, 2001, “A Right-Wing Hindu Group Exerts Its Muscle in Indian Academe,” suggests possible problems in global academic freedom. Scholars worry that the independence of universities is threatened by demands of a right-wing government that astrology and `Vedic math’ be taught.

Conflict of Interest? Some universities such as Harvard have debated whether and how faculty members could be allowed to teach online courses for commercial or other institutions, especially if they do so with the Harvard name.Answers to some provocative questions on the future of higher learning in EDUCAUSE, January 2000, support this chapter’s market model without answering the question of how it can provide needed higher education to the entire world. Lenn (2002) reported progress in in the establishment of agreed-upon standards.

The Funding Crisis. Duderstadt  (2003) worries that universities are doing to be asked to do  more with less money, especially government funds.

How can the burgeoning global demand for higher learning best be addressed?” Barry Munitz replied: “With the same miraculous variety of type and quality that has driven American higher education….national and chauvinistic protection will give way to global networks.”

Are for-profit institutions a threat to higher education as we know it?” Chancellor Ward of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, replied: “Most for-profits are currently serving a new clientele or one different from that served by major residential universities, but the increase customization of their mode of delivery will greatly influence how we teach and learn.” Munitz added that while for-profits would not replace them, traditional universities will have to adjust dramatically to the challenges. The president of Pennsylvania State University added “in the end we will be competitive” although we will face financial difficulties. 

How can the poorest in the developing world be best served by this market modelThe ecological model that lets many flowers bloom is at the center of many emerging projects, such as the Australian National University's  satellite-based videoconferencing initiative to provide e-learning to developing countries. Another illustration may be the International Cyber-university which in advance of its opening in 2003 already involved nineteen universalities in Asia and Pomona College in the USA. Many more such institutions in many countries were expected to join this project of the Pacific-Asia Consortium for Research and Human Resources Development that "projects an enormous reach." 

Finally, a simulation of a market-driven model can perhaps only be a model or map of all the online distance education that exists. Jedediah Purdy, speaking of social and moral ecologies also, hopes that learning will no longer be separated from living.  On virtual learning communities see: <http://www.educause.edu/vcop/>.

Return to Chapter 1.6 | Go to Chapter 1.8


Bibliographic Notes

On the African Virtual University: <<http://www.infodev.org/projects/education/001AVU/>, <http://www.infodev.org/projects/education/001AVU/fin alavu.pdf> ,

Barone, Carole. 2003. "T he Changing Landscape and the New Academy." Educause, Sept./Oct.

Barry, Lansa. 2001. “Rising Expectations.” Univ. of Virginia Office of Technology.

Blumenstyk. G. et al. 2003. "In For-Profit Higher Education, Buying Binge Heats Up." Chronicle of Higher Eductation, July 13.

Breneman, David. 2002. "For Colleges This is Not Just Another Depression." Chronicle of Higher Education, June 14

Brock, Colin. (Ed.) 2000. Education In A Single Europe. New York: Routledge.

Brown, J.S. "Learning in the Digital Age." The Educause Internet and the University project, <http://www.educause.edu/pub/>.

Duderstadt, James. 2001. A University for the 21st Century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Duderstadt, James et al. 2003. T he Future  of the Public University in America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press.

Engell, James. 2005. Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money. Charlotesville: Univ. of Virginia Press

Forinash, Kyle and Raymond Wisman. 2001. ‘The Viability of Distance Education Science Laboratories.” T. H. E. Journal, September.

Fuchs, Richard. 2000. “Telecenters Share the Tools of the Information Age.” UNESCO Courier, March..

Gagne, Margaret and Morgan Shepherd. 2001. “Distance Learning in Accounting.” T. H. E. Journal, April.

Girod, Mark and Shane Cavanaugh. 2001. “Technology As an Agent of Change in Teacher Practice.” T. H. E. Journal, April.

Goonatilake, Susantha. 1999. Merged Evolution. Long-Term Implications of Biotechnology and Information Technology. Malaysia: Gordon and Beach, Publishers.

Hirsch, W. Z. et al.. 2002. As The Walls of Academia Are Tumbling Down. Brookings Inst. Press.

Hirtt, Nico. 2000. “Will Education Go to Market?” UNESCO Courier. February.

Judge, Anthony. 1980. “Why Systems Fail and Problems Sprout Anew.” (http://uia.org.

Lenn, Marjorie Peace. 2002. "The Right Way to Export Higher Education." Chronicle of Higher Education, Mar. 1.

Moore, Michael. 2001. “”Standards and Learning Objects.” American Journal of Distance Education, vol. 13, no. 3.

Morrison, James. 2001. “Editorial.” The Technology Source. October.

Osborn, Hugh. 2004. "Interview by James Morrison: Imlementing Organic Education." Innovate online journal.

Purdy, Jedediah. 1999. For Common Things. New York: Knopf.

Raschle, Carl. 2003. The Digital Revolution and the Coming of the Postmodern University. New York; Routlege.

Ruch, Rischard S. 2001. Higher Ed., Inc. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ryan, Steve et al. 2000.The Virtual University. London: Kegan Page.

Smith, G. G. et al. 2001. “Teaching College Courses Online vs. Face-to-Face.” T. H. E Journal, April.

Smith, Joel and Jared Cohon. 2005. "Managing the Digital Ecosystem." Issues in Science and Technology, fall..

Solo off, David et al." Real Time Physics." Portland OR, Vernier Software.

Stephenson, Robert. 2006. ""Open Source/ Open Course Learning.": Innovate online journal, Oct./Nov.

Tiffin, John et al. 2003. The Global Virtual University. London" Routledge. ($150, also online).

UNESCO book on virtual university <http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/home.php.>

USC. 2001. “USC Engineers Hail New Internet Technology.”, vol. 21, issue 10. <http://uscnews.usc.edu> http://www.vernier.com/

Utterback, James. 2004. "The Dynamics of Innovation,"  Educause, Jan./Feb.

Vest, Charles M. 2004. "Why MIT Decided to Give Away All Its Course Materials via the Internet." Chronicle fo Higher Education, Section B. January 30. 

第七章 全球化多元文化虚拟大学

(最近更新至2005230日)

 

2005年历史学家们回顾起高等教育的发展时,他们可能会发现虚拟大学的出现对高等教育的影响之大可以与1944年的复员军人法案(G.I.Bill)和1862年的赠地法案(Morrill Act)相媲美。

                ——莫里森(James Morrison

如果公立院校无法成为变革的设计者,它们就会成为变革的牺牲品。

              ——关于赠地大学和州立大学未来的研究计划

那些怀有藐视传统勇气的人们已经在校园内外形成各种联盟及进行其他方面的合作,并通过独立发挥作用以达到其目的。

                 ——巴罗恩(Carole Barone

数字技术不仅改变了大学的各项活动,如我们的教学、科研、outreach等等,还改变了我们的组织、资助和管理方式,甚至改变了我们将其看作学生和教员的人们,这可能会直接导致当代高等教育机构的重新建构。

—          —杜德斯塔兹(James Duderstadt

 

全球学习系统接收并为全球多元文化体系提供各种资源,而为校园内部提供广泛资源的传统大学也能成为其中的一部分。因此,其必然会成为联合了所有学习和各种学习机构的全球数字学习系统的组成部分。

 

我们这里所探讨的未来全球化虚拟终身学习系统可以为全世界几乎每一个人,特别是为那些没有机会到校园学习而在社区接受教育的人们提供必要的知识。上一章提到了一种模式,并没有进行深入的探讨。现在,则是很好的机会来探讨这个不需设计和规划就会不可避免出现的模式。在这个市场推动型模式中,学习程序被销售给远程学习者,并和商业公司、出版机构等共同参与市场以提供具有竞争力的课程和项目。这种模式的结构或体系可能会及时涉及到世界贸易组织这样的机构,如世界贸易组织在世纪之交已经开始把远程教育看作需要加以规范的商品。相关重要政策的探讨请参见http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/forums2.php?queryforums_id=1=1 http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/forums2.php?queryforums_id=1&querychapter=1

 

来自成百上千所学校、学院和大学的成千上万门课程目前已实现在线可用,从理论上来看,这些资源很快便可以在地球的每一个角落加以利用,也许不久可达到十倍以上的资源。许多这类教学机构拥有杰出的校园建筑规划者,但是虚拟空间的学术设计者又在何处呢?布朗(Brown 2001)曾说过,我们正在目睹分隔教学、学习、研究管理、交际、媒体和娱乐的界限变得日益模糊。因此,我们现在需要一种学术风格来统整这些分离的信息区,以形成一种全新的学习生态系统,在这个系统内虚拟与现实可协调共存。当提到虚拟大学是什么样子时,一位专家推荐到:***http://www.ivc.illionois.edu/ 查看最新信息。查看最大的网上学习目录请到:http://www.worldwidelearn.com/ 。查看学生可用课程或大学可提供课程请到:http://pbs.org/campus/

20034月最重大的进展之一可能要数麻省理工学院决定将其所有课程材料(约2000门课程)在网上公布(Vest 2004)。麻省理工学院的院长希望借此计划能有助于建立一个知识网,以促进全世界人类学习水平的提升。过后,他谈到:我们期盼着各种多学科教育和研究的创新,其目的就是树立一个可令其他大学效仿和改进的典范。他还说到:麻省理工学院已经站在人道的角度反对那种认为只有为其交费的人才配接触知识的谬论。我们希望,通过接触来自不同学科和机构的教研人员的工作,可以对那些无法获得此类资源的教育者和学习者大有裨益。这也包括为介绍课程而设计的游戏软件。发展中国家的人们可能会从中受益最多。也有其他一些大学将其整个课程放置在网上,但不全是免费的。

2004年一些项目的探讨请参见:http://www.enterprisenetworksandservers.com/monthly/art.php/292 联合国教科文组织曾召集全球一些最大的开放性大学高层领导进行会谈,尽管会议代表来自多个国家,包括中国(会议召开地)、印度尼西亚、伊朗、西班牙、英国、美国、韩国、巴基斯坦、南非、泰国和土耳其等,会议发现印度拥有目前最大的开放性大学。与会者开始计划创立一个全球网络系统,但是乌特别克(Utterback 2004)曾说过他怀疑,比起在小而有效的范围内寻求智能型劳动力,将现有机构扩大至巨型比例以服务于更多学生是否更具可能性。

笔者在20024月在《教育大纪元》上看到几篇有关美国州立大学面对财政危机的文章(如Breneman 200220039月的几篇文章)。一些院校正希望招收付费的在线学员,甚至是来自国外的学生。一些州已经在讨论通过减少课程的重复性是否可能节省资金,因为某校学生可以学习本州其他公立大学的网络课程。 拉斯奇克(Raschke 2003)谈到多重联合大学(hypervisity的到来。例如21世纪大学(Universitas 21)就是先导性的尝试之一:***http://www.universitas21.com/u21global.htm

 

尽管如此,这种市场模式为全世界每个人提供必要的学习是否能行之有效有赖于周边电子学习中心自下而上的通力合作,这些中心将有助于建立与学习者个人之间的联系,以符合其特定的需求。

 

1.7.0 生态模式的管理与标准

莫尔(Michael Moore 2001 很好地总结了网上学习的一些问题及可能性。他指出,我们远程教育具有支离破碎的特性,其中课程和课程材料由上千个独立的提供者进行传递,经常是重复的。他说这些课程通常质量不高,缺乏统一的标准。在90年代末,一些高等教育机构的代表们会谈商讨能否建立相关的一套标准,从那以后,出现了各种特殊的机构进行各种努力,如:教学管理系统项目(IMS) http://www.imsproject.org;教育理想(EDUCAUSEhttp://www.educause.edu ;国家学习结构项目(National Learning Structure Initiative),等等。EDUCAUSE的成员包括1800多所院校和教育组织,还有180多家企业。IMS提出, 应该发展可进行市场运作的学习目标,用于评估不同的教育项目。莫尔(Moore)用这样一个类比来解释:教育目标好比砖块,教育机构可根据自身喜好的建筑风格用其建构任何一个项目。用标准的砖块,小型机构也可以一个一个模块地建构自己的课程,这就好像将房间填加到整个房屋里,或提取整个房屋与其它房屋进行合并。这些建立在标准学习目标之上的标准砖块将包括:

 

(1)       教育内容(有关技术标准请参见2.3

(2)       帮助学习者自我定位和运用学习内容的过程

(3)       有助于追踪学习者学习进展的活动

(4)       汇报学习者的表现

(5)       促进管理系统之间的良好互动

 

任何教师在来到一家新的机构或准备一门新的课程时,都不可能在所有运作方面成为专家,但可以运用现有的标准条款进行整合。莫尔(Moore 指出了????Moore所说的符合市场为基准的全球战略。

但是由谁负责从纷繁复杂的科技电子学习材料中为全世界的学习者进行评价和筛选呢? 是否需要有一种视角和管理结构来建立专门的教育技术,使全球教育能大批量进行生产,让更多的人负担得起这种教育?1999年在芬兰坦贝雷大学(Tampere University)举办了一次全球电子教育会议,由联合国教科文组织、USAid、美国潘氏健康组织(the Pan American Health Organization)、世界银行、索罗斯基金会(the Soros Foundation)、ITU等机构资助。会议提出了一项全球电子基础设施计划。麻萨诸塞大学的一位人类学家担心他所在的大学由于没有足够的资金保存和更新技术,无法培训教职员工尽快掌握很快升级的技术。《高等教育》上的一篇启事建议应该通过网络租用技术而非购买技术,使之能进行定期的更新换代。

在第二章我们谈到了一些管理模式和方法,杜德斯塔兹校长(Duderstadt 2001 健康保护组织HMO)之后提出了另外一个模式。为了使人类社会中更广泛的人群能接受高等教育,我们需要一个新的范式。幸运的是,很明显,同步学习技术能够应用于任何人、任何地方,任何想学习的人都可以不受时间和地点的局限。当HMO协议通过自己的员工或通过获得其他健康服务供给者的资源来提供全方位的健康服务时,可能需要有一个EMO同意为每个人所需要的终身学习提供机会。他提出,一些现有的大学确实可能投入这一角色中,与其学生和毕业生建立必要的终身协议。然而,杜德斯塔兹又指出,一个EMO也有可能成为教育服务的经纪人,无论学习者在何时何地并如何需要得到这种知识和技能,都能将其与教育服务提供者沟通起来。可能当婴儿降生时就应有一份终身契约,作为一种最初由家庭和政府资助,而后又由雇主资助的教育保险。

同时,随着未来发展和进步,现在在网络教育中所发生的一切将被看作一个可能的世界终身电子学习系统。这一系统似乎正成为世界各国教育机构成果的纽带和联接。赖恩(Ryan 2002)形容道,技术和程序使得很多学习形式成为可能,如以资源为本的学习促进了大众教育背景下的以学生为中心的学习。http://westworld.dmu.ac.uk/vu-rbl

 

1.7.1对背景环境的关注

我们用悄然出现一词来说明将一个更加先进的学习系统看作鲜活的生态系统,这个系统可能不需要太多的人为管理和组织。布朗(Brown 2001)提出了一门拥有肥沃土壤的学习生态学,举个例子,热带雨林是一个奇异的功能系统,可以算是地球上最复杂的系统之一了。当人类试图驾驭并掌控它时,其功能被严重削弱。如果从这个角度来理解全球学习系统,则很有必要将其扎根于初等和中等教育的肥沃土壤,甚至还要扎根于许多世界文化的历史和经验中。

 

美国大学联合会在世纪之交期望着终身学习能涉及到高中与大学教育者之间持续的对话和沟通,如有关学习结果、课程及课程实践。这将有利于人们更好地为接受高等教育做准备,又如大学计划将使毕业生更好地为终身学习做准备。全球化终身学习应该从人的出生到离去连贯进行。

 

要对一个生态模式进行深思熟虑,需要注重各个层面的质量,这就要求研究应该恰恰在其被允许发展的范围内,而不受政治计划的影响和至上而下的控制。生态系统经常会不受控制,并用限制其所需创造力的方式进行着自我重复。另一个代替方法不会受学期、固定课时或严格的学科界限所约束,但是允许学生随时间发展并沿着多条轨迹追踪其发展……这就是以实践为基础的自由教育。”(Brown 2001)

可能应该以混沌理论为起点进行思考。本章讨论很多人称之为Kludge 模式的管理结构。如果市场模式势不可挡,但是没有某种正式或非正式的全球管理结构,它能很好地发挥其作用吗?建立大型的交错的网上学习目录,使在线所有成员都可以加以利用,可以促进该模式的发展。另外还要有先进的搜索装置来组织信息,如课程评价、内容及有效性等,更多的方方面面。这样一个具有特定搜索引擎的目录可能会扩展而成为被学术图书馆收为工具大全并推荐给网站管理专家系统。例如,可以搜寻照片、图表、影像、声音、数据、甚至更多资料的多媒体搜索引擎。(其他应用可能性请参见the Wayback Machine http://www.archive.org )。

 

许多人猜想网上学习的一个中心问题是如何将每个班级转化为学习社区。其实,更大的问题是如何运用市场的方法,使每一个小的网上学习社区保证是跨学科的并具有多元文化性。

 

当教育者们被问到他们脑中虚拟网上学习社区的模式时,很多闪入脑海中的影象并不令人振奋,像整合的远程终身学习这样的概念并不符合部门、学校、院系、学生年龄、发展办公室、黑人研究中心等等机构中现有的组织管理流程图,以及关于描述学习与各项管理之间的关系图表。.当然,会有人制订一些富于想象的课程和计划,但这些远远不能满足上千万校外学习者的需求。

我们前面已经提到可能会存在许多财团,而且这些财团必然会与全球虚拟学习链接在一起,因此本章所考察的模式包括基础教育、公众(税收)资助型教育、成人家庭学校、赢利高等教育结构和私人虚拟高等教育(如宗教)。

当我们提到一个模式,首先可能会想到大学校园的建筑物。但实际上,就像教堂不仅仅是一座建筑还意味着人群和社区一样,一种学习结构也并非是建筑物,无论这些建筑物有多漂亮。要激发学习者并非易事,特别是当他们是分散的,并需要成为一个虚拟的学习社区的时候。大学的目标常常被说成是为国家服务,那么我们需要怎样的一种新的设计或者至少是链接来为全球所有的人类服务呢?

2001年有报道称美国4000多家高等教育机构中有70%左右已经提供某些网上远程教育课程,全世界几百万学生正在学习这类课程,其中很多学生学习的是国外的课程。预计到本世纪中叶,几乎所有的高等教育机构、大量中学和技术培训学院将会提供面向世界的各类课程。也许设计一种终身学习体系的原因之一是为了定义新的目标、方法和目的。对于许多学习者来说,学习重点已不再仅仅根据工业发展的需要,而是更重视个人的愿望和需求。在第三册我们将进一步讨论这些问题。

引发变革的风暴式动力之一是多元文化主义,而另一个就是以学习者为中心的课程。比如,一名在堪萨斯的学生想学一门关于阿拉伯诗歌的课程,而且她希望能从师于一位中东的专家,而并非是那些对阿拉伯语一无所知、缺乏原始资料的本地教师。这时,我们就会看到这类动力正在聚集在一起。学习者可以在语音室里花些时间听听某些软件程序,这些程序可以一遍又一遍地重复某个单词,直到反馈表明该学习者已经掌握了其发音,这时外语学习的质量也得到了提高。但是如果学习者能够到另一个国家在可以吸收其文化的语境下面对面地学习语言,语言程序将会达到更好的效果。但正由于并非所有人都能这样做,学习者就要首先从课堂学习中获益。例如,一半日本的学习者想学习英语,而另一半夏威夷学习者想学习日语。如果将语言的学习和外国历史、文化、当代生活整合地结合起来,并虚拟性地参观国外的博物馆和其他景观,那么学习将会变得有趣和有效得多。然而,由于万维网如此巨大和令人眼花缭乱,在这个模式中我们会发现,在终身学习系统中出现的一切在开初都会让人感到巨大的困惑。

关于虚拟大学的案例研究请参看<http://www.aed.org/publications/TechnologiesForEducation/TechEdChapters/14.pdf>同样重要的是要包括其他国际项目,如欧盟对曼都斯(Erasmus Mundus)的提案,通过与第三世界国家在高等教育领域的合作来促进跨文化理解的项目和虚拟大学的发展。

 

1.7.2 一种生态模式?

我们是否应该考虑一种可能性:随着这些教育计划的发展,一种全球虚拟终身教育体系和结构已经发展起来(因为因特网的发展并没有一份显著的计划或一份指导实施的经过认真研究的设计方案,Goonatilake 1999)。此观点可能会为这样的发展演变提供一种理论基础。古那提拉克(Goonatilake)发现,在人类发展的历史上,有三种源流汇聚到一起:百万年来的生物/基因发展,数千年来的文化积淀,以及一个世纪以来的信息技术和新认知体系。目前,从人到机器处理的改变(现在收集了大量几乎无法处理的数据)可能会引起一种新体系的变革,这与今天的教育者可以想象或计划的体系有相当大的不同。当这三种源流或者信息流汇聚成一个潮流,让我们在全球性学习中可能看到某些新的和意想不到的发展。他还提到,当前用于探讨人与技术相互影响的方法并没有挖掘到这些深层次的改变。

规划者可以利用生物模式、文化模式和计算机模拟模式,这三者可能正汇聚到一起,提供了一种全新的教育世界观和一扇通往每个支流的窗子。到本世纪中叶,可能会出现为全球虚拟终身教育建立的生态模式,但我们对此还没有足够的信心。以这种或其他猜想为出发点,关于模式的这几章将以五个不同的重点和组织原则作为出发点。

1)第六章(上一章)的SLARC模式着手于面对面环境下课程的内容,并将焦点集中在学习者个体对知识和技能的获得。

2)本章(第七章)的模式已经由一个国家提供给另外国家的课程,并设想要回避这些来自许多校园的课程。例如(Lenn 2002)密歇根大学已经在韩国和坦佩尔大学合作培训公司经理,并在日本提供10个本科专业和几个研究生学位。但是第二章已经考察了在现有的管理这类虚拟学习项目的实验中所存在的一些困难。也许这个生态模式会发展成为一个新的全球体系,存在于电脑空间/虚拟空间之中。现在学习机构和项目结构上的空中,包含了其五个模式的全部方面,参见欧洲分布式虚拟大学 <http://prometeus.deis.unibo.it/Prometeus/Journal00/Index.htm>

3)第八章和第二卷提出的模式通过链接世界各个研究型大学,把焦点对准大型的、强大的新型研究

4)第九章的模式是一个全球虚拟社区型大学,并注重区域和当地的需求

5)第十章的模式着手于美国赠地学院理念的应用,这种应用成为一种专业基础性体系,为从事某种工作的专业人士组织课程、研究和延伸扩展性服务

本章的生态模式包括处于健康平衡中的一切,这种平衡包含着其他事物中一种可能的全球课程,来做为一系列课程和学习社区的结构。但是如何才能形成这种平衡呢? 2000美国展望中的文章《网络能自我管理吗?》可能正适应了那句话,竞争性机构能否自我进行全球化管理,以避免使电子远程学习成为新的全球帝国主义?可能会有像对世界航空、邮政和电视广播系统一样的联合国条款对其加以规范安排。

帕佩特(Seymour Papert)在20011029日的《新闻周报》中提出当我们不再把知识分为零碎的学科,把学习者按年龄割裂开来,而是用新的方式组织人与知识的学习,真正的教育革命才能来临,我们将会目睹关注公共利益的新的群体的产生。如何使得全世界几十亿的人们都达到这一目标是相当令人头痛的问题。亚洲接受高等教育的人口将从2002年的一千七百万增长到2025年八千七百万 (Lenn 2002)  而亚洲几乎没有哪几个国家能够承担如此多的适龄学习青年的教育,还有少得多的劳动人员的再教育。

贾基(Tony Judge 1980 在回顾了高尔(John Gall)的《系统学》后反对系统本身,认为努力发展或改进组织系统通常很少能解决而后以新形式出现的各种症状。一旦每所大学都提供远程教育课程,参与的组织从不同利益出发会导致系统的整体性支离破碎。一个系统变得越大越复杂,而系统内部的职员都有各自的目标利益,最后的结果将是产生更多的问题,而非解决问题。而且,一个复杂的系统通常是从分散的而不是运作需要的角度设计的,因而也不可能将其拼凑起来发挥效用巨大进步的产生并不是因为那些为产生巨大进步而设计的系统。当他发现松散的系统更加持久,效率更高时,他似乎更倾向于从现实中衍生出来的生态系统。

 

1.7.3大规模的全球终身学习课程

一种新型的全球学习课程可能会在无人计划,也没有任何组织认真考虑的情况下出现,并有可能包含适用于任何地方的全部远程教育课程。<http://www.usdla.org/html/resources/dllp.htm>,无论学习者多大年龄或有过何种经历都需要找到适合其特定需求或特殊兴趣的最佳课程组合。但愿有一天会出现一种综合性的课程目录,学习者、教师和课程专家能对其进行每日更新和定期评价。《纽约时报》在2003112日曾报道欧盟已经决定在几乎所有的欧洲大学内开发一种共同课程,并具有规范的可互换的学位及标准。

例如这一课程的中心内容可能会逐渐成为某种专业科目(如健康护理),并提供来自多种资源及多个国家的各种学习机会的整合课程。但是,该项目无法保证能提供所需的一切,特别是对于那些由于贫穷而无力上学的人们更是如此。不过,麻省理工学院将其全部课程通过网络向全世界公开,因之也就使上述问题的解决成为可能。那些无法亲自来到麻省理工学院,无法从其他地方接受高等教育的人们仍可能从麻省理工学院准备的课程材料中获益。参见 <http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=979>。非洲虚拟大学就提供国外的课程:见<http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-12/njio-ndi121003.php>

一旦存在大量的课程和一个有效的课程目录,新的人类目标就会出现,无人预想过或至少目前还无人开发的新技术也许会产生许多新的可能性,这可能就是适应各个年龄阶段和各种需求的全球课程。例如在网上可能会出现一种故事课程,学前儿童在独自玩耍或睡觉前可以听听这类课程,整体终身学习课程的每一个故事段落都设计得很客观,父母或老师可以选用最适合他们自身价值和文化特点的部分。这种全球课程还可以提供给那些在家接受教育的孩子们,包括当他们被隔离或生病住院或是父母已经选择对他们进行一些家庭教育的各种情况。课程材料可以适应不同文化和特定家庭价值观的不同阶段的人群,它还可以在任何时候提供不同的选择,例如为临时呆在墨西哥的日本家庭提供课程,这种课程实际上整合了日本儿童所学的课程和墨西哥文化所提供的养分。

任何有天赋的学习者可能在数学或他们不太擅长的领域仅能达到他们同龄人的水平,但同时可以在其他领域遥遥领先。由于没有足够的社会经历,十二岁的天才儿童不能进入大学,但即便如此他仍能在其所在学校和家庭里学习高级的课程。一个十岁的少年想进入城市或大学图书馆查阅研究生水平的生物学课本,管理员不应因为他年少的缘故而将其拒之门外。所有中学生和大学生无论身在何处都应学习艺术、基础农业或建筑贸易技术等相关课程。德尔图佐斯(Dertouzos 1997问道:如果你对锤子一无所知,不知道用锤子建造房屋比用泥土和树叶更快捷、更廉价、更坚固,你又如何知道在为穷人建造房屋时你还能有多种选择?参见麦当那等(McDonough et al. 2002)有关新型万物生态设计的论述。(当然,实际上一位伟大的阿拉伯建筑师曾演示过如何不利用泥土还可以建造更好更廉价的房屋!)但是德特佐斯说道,通过全球虚拟系统的信息基础结构,需要帮助的人们与愿意提供帮助的人们可以联系在一起。

但是如何协调这类课程与已有的课程计划?谁又能在市场驱动下的虚拟全球大学系统内提供非盈利的课程?参见<http://www.metacollege.com/>另参见麻省理工学院带来的希望:<http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Global/AboutOCW/presidentspage.htm>

许多技术已经被应用于满足本地教育的需要,但是仍有许多人怀疑通过远程教学是否真的能提供高质量的学习。那么就让我们探寻一些有可能发生的事,即运用刚刚被采用和将来被采用的新技术有可能在未来的几十年中发挥更为强大和灵活的作用。吉拉德等(Girod et al. 2001)曾指出教育者运用技术的两种方式:

 

——将我们目前的工作做得更好

——从根本上转变我们工作的内容和方式

 

悄然出现的科学技术正在推动教育者将崭新的目光投向学习者和他们的学习。3.3只有教师们开始转换技术的时候,科学技术才能真正改善我们的学习。我们无法一一列举上千门不同种类的课程来加以说明,这里仅仅举几个例子:

科学实验室。在荒凉小岛上与世隔绝的学习者如何拥有现代科学所必须的实验室?佛里那什和维斯曼(Forinash and Wisman 2001)指出实验性的设计方案只能通过使用真实实验中的真实设备才能习得。他们还指出,在远程教学中最常被用于演示实验的三大传达技术是计算机模拟技术、仿真实验录像、发送给学生们的实验配件。进行真实实验,诸如控制核反应堆,有可能会过于危险或者过于复杂,这时运用这三大技术是非常有效的。很快新技术将在各个领域提供比在校学生所进行的传统实验更为优良的实验。安全隐患将被最小化。时间和空间的限制也将被冲破,同时还可以监控远距离的各种现象,比如地理现像,气象状况和地震信息。用于管理、收集、分析数据的计算机以及网络使得远程实验室更加优越于传统的本地实验室。

现在所缺少的是一种适用于远程科学实验室的教育模式,缺少设备硬件和软件方面的传送技术标准。佛里那什和维斯曼继续指出,譬如远程学习者如何研究声音的频率,他们可以在他们所处的地方利用音乐的声音 在另一种虚拟实验室里,学生们不必排队轮流等候使用一台计算机来运行一个示波器程序,而这一程序被放到网页上后,他们可以在任何方便的时间使用它。学生们在分析电磁信号时可以不受时间和空间的限制,还可以和各地的学生共同分享收集的信息。佛里那什和维斯曼还发现,远程教育还可以提供诸如在使用各地的气象信息和空气质量测试等方面大规模合作的机会。佛里那什和维斯曼还提出建议,学生们是否能够在彻尔诺贝利核电站灾难之后检测到欧洲各地的核辐射能量。远程实验室的启动不仅能极大地改善模拟实验的质量,而且随着虚拟现实实验室的出现,学习者以及其他参与者可以同时在线互动,好比他们是在同一个房间里一样

南加利福尼亚大学的工程师们(USC 2001)汇报了他们在3维网络技术中的成果,这一成果使得人们可以像在同一间教室或实验室一样,看到千里之外人们的表情和姿态,并与之进行交谈。人们不仅能够看到或参与到生物实验,还能通过虚拟现实技术感到身临其境。<http://uscnews.usc.edu/>As even Internet2 gets more crowded, scientists and academics entered the 21st century anticipating the National Science Foundation's `teragrid.' 我们可能会愈加富有想象力地看待所有的专业领域,比如:

历史学由于运用了互动式光盘存储器中的记录片影音文件而变得生动鲜活。远程学习者可能会希望能从早到晚都能看到老师,这时这段历史的讲解可以成为真实事件影片或历史事件虚拟现实舞台的画外音。制作这样的学习材料在一段时期内可能相当昂贵,但是这样的影片和电子课本3.7一旦制作出来,就可供上百万的学生使用而不受时空限制。在讨论到罗马时代的生活时,虚拟现实旅程将引导学生来到历史事件发生的真实场景,来到博物馆,来到庞培城,等等。学生们在家就可以体验到这种与在学校一样的讲解,而且还可以把这些录制下来,反复观看。在网上问答中被频繁提及的问题也可以录制到磁带中,或者在问题一出现时就运用更高的数字技术记录下来。这种在历史学和许多其他课程中的展示可以适应当地的文化兴趣。学生们可以在全球历史学数据库中更新自己所在社区的历史,作为一种历史研究方法的练习。

会计学。教授基本会计技能,使学生按自己步调学习直至掌握该技能的软件已经出现了。这使得原有的在线课堂或校园课堂模式转向解决会计师所面临的实际问题的研习班模式。在一门网上研究生课程中(Gagne 2001),学生可以通过电话、电子邮件、分类网上论坛和同步会话技术与其他同学和导师进行交流。这些学生从没面对面看到过同学本人,因此他们通过在班级网站上相互交换信息来营造一种班级氛围。较之那些彼此见面的在校生来说,许多这类在线班级的学生更了解彼此,比如他们的工作历史、家庭、爱好、职业计划等等。除了课本以外他们能够获得有用的补充材料(这是这两种班级可比的共同点)。

社会学。网络连接、大型数据库、输入模块可以引入到任何课程中,这真的会扩展和丰富所有类别的课程吗?如果犯罪学的课程被连接到各国及其不同的文化,就会有不同的观点来解决通常很难控制的全球犯罪组织的问题,比如刑罚(参观监狱的影片)、复原、犯罪预防等等,这门课程又该如何体现其差异性?是否医学模型的研究可以根据具体的病例达到区分对待?

关于该问题第二部将会有更详尽的介绍。

 

1.7.4 链接到每一个在线目录的全球课程目录

由于目前还没有一个全面的全球课程搜寻目录(3.8.6),那些想学习本社区没有的课程的学生就有可能为了找寻所需的特定课程而上网到处搜寻各种信息。目前这种搜寻多是依赖意外的发现。一个学生也许找不到恰恰需要的课程。或者某人在一个诸如宾西法尼亚州立大学DEOS-L的电子邮件会议上在线回复:我参加了新泽西州托马斯爱迪森学院的一门课程,这个学院最先提供各类能被带到任何地方的课程。巴罗恩(Barone 2003 已经指出教育和商业部门似乎正在以更现实和合理的安排方式进行合作。

在德克萨斯大学、英国的国际远程学习中心(ICDL)和其它的一些地方已经开始开展了一部分有关全球课程目录的工作。国际远程学习中心是英国开放大学的数据资料中心,它的国际可用计算机数据库已经可以提供有关现存科目、所需媒体、入学条件等多方面的信息,另外还提供公益机构开设的特定电子课程。一个欧洲学生可以在线搜索其他国家提供的课程以及参加这类课程所需的费用。一个2001年计算机化的数据库可以提供有关“60个国家5万多门远程课程的简介及注册信息。通过关键词、课程名称/科目、提供国家或机构名称的搜索可以找到相关的课程(参见 <http://www.dlcoursefinder.com>)。

尽管如此,要想将这些改进成为一个完善的全球课程目录,还需要将来从各个学校和企业的所有现存网上目录按师资力量和课程简介链接起来,并能够相互参照索引。一旦网上的所有人都可以用上这种全球电子课程目录,每所大学、每个国家就会发现他们所提供的和需要的课程都来自一个全球教育网络系统。已经有人提出这种网上目录应该像法国的自动化电话号码簿一样可以定期地进行更新。如果这样的课程和员工目录能被分发下去,索引和组织系统就可以使得每门课程的信息都有可能保存在各个学校的计算机中。另外,美国的电话系统为信息查询者提供了一种分布式的网上目录,这种做法可以为全球课程目录提供参照的模式。70多家高等教育机构已经开始这方面的尝试,他们在网上制作了一种白页目录,一种遍布全世界的网上电话簿。马克格勒格(McGregor 1991)谈到目前的科学技术可以用于制作一种提供各色信息的遍布世界的网上互联目录。

未来完备的全球课程目录应该是整合了在线学习资源的多语言文档。它不仅仅列出了所有可用的课程,还包括了学生和同伴的评价,这种评价应该是基于授课方式、师资力量、课程费用、课程质量和效果的多种信息比较的结果。

 

1.7.5 以赢利为目的吗?

全球虚拟教育的市场化方式并不是为那些每天只有一美元收入的人们提供适当教育的良好方法,而且这种模式会引发许多问题,例如,赢利性机构会创造出支持学习型社区的模式吗?赢利性部门会用尽其资源来搞科研吗?对学习的关注会不会被赚钱的欲望所取代?(Engell 2005) 教育会成为政府严格控制准入的保护性市场吗?Journalists report the bad science for money that in 2005 was tempting many university researchers.

拿法国来说,作为世界第二大教育服务出口国,它也不得不奋力争取世界市场的份额,联合国教科文组织的公开出版物质疑法国是否正逐渐转移到保护主义的轨道上。20002月《联合国教科文组织向导》报道说,世界贸易组织已经开始逐渐开放对处于高度保护状态下的教育市场的竞争。据报道,新西兰已经决定向海外竞争开放其从小学到大学的整个私立教育系统。教育系统要为全世界五千五百万人提供就业岗位,预算达到一万亿美元,而且据说还会以非常危险的速度继续增长下去。如果一个国家的教育完全由政府资助和管理,虽然现在已没有哪个国家是真正意义上的完全由政府资助,就可能不被协议所包括,参见卢奇(Ruch 2001 有关唯一不断增长的高等教育部门”——赢利型大学的成长的论述。

教育的官僚机构和联盟被看作是减缓所需的教育变革进程的阻力之一。这在课程材料的指定和审核过程中显得尤为突出。教科书和其他此类教学资料对于许多公司来讲是相当有利可图的,而大多数的学校系统没有足够的财力改进或更新电子图书系统。世界贸易组织等提出,这使得教育将具有更强的市场敏锐性,并且对可供选择的财政机制更具开放性,这一趋势势不可挡。据说,政府的垄断行为将受到限制,同时教育对于外国投资者的开放力度也会加大。

教育的国际市场在很大程度上是指一国的学生到另外的国家进行学习,这个市场在1995年就已经是一项270亿美元的庞大事业。全球化强调取消对于移民的烦琐程序和规定,因为这些程序和规定限制了学生的国际流动。然而,处于21世纪的今天,在网络上出售的课程已经扩展到全球各地。在服务2000会议上的一个工作团队(Hirtt 2000)认为教育部门需要同等程度的透明度、转移性、互相的认可以及不受非分规定限制的自由,而美国承认这些条条框框和各种壁垒已经表现在其他的服务性行业中了。为了以一些美国的例子来说明问题,希尔万(Sylvan)学习系统在20018月宣称正在形成的高等教育分化将在未来证明网上高等教育正变得极有竞争性。分化的一部分引进研究生教育计划中的35千名教师,而另一部分则为2万名网上学生提供1700门课程。《教育大纪元》2001年八月10日版报道,除了著名的凤凰城大学外,许多其他的大学也提供扩展型课程。但是,《教育大纪元》2004514日又报道了以前相当热门的英国虚拟大学的瓦解。

当美国的大学开始创建赢利型的附属公司,甚至附属的网上大学时,许多为增加利益而产生的有关利润和合作的问题也浮现了出来。当许多相互竞争的大学不断增加网上课程时,却没有证据表明像康奈尔大学的赢利性冒险计划确实能产生巨大的收益。另一方面,可能会有重要的组织(比如财团)互换课程,比如由于处于许多不同校园的学生参加了网上的课程,南达科他州教育董事会就在2002年建立了一个电子数据库,将所有学生的记录收入其中。弗吉尼亚州在2001年建立了一所虚拟大学,允许学生选修不同学校的课程以应对学生数量的不断增长。20018月,美国军人电子大学创建并开始运营<http://www.earmyu.com> 军人电子大学(eArmyU)使得8万人注册学习20多家授权机构的课程成为可能,课本的定购实现了自动化。这项4亿53百万美元的计划展示了定位于教师之类的其他群体的基本结构特征。例如,哥伦比亚大学和其他包括博物馆在内的国际十几家著名机构所拥有的Fathom知识网络联盟,与美国退休人员联合会签署了一项协议,向50岁以上的会员提供优惠服务。该网络联盟的所有在线资源免费向全世界提供,见:<http://www.fathom.com/>

由思科系统(Cisco Systems)创办的思科网络技术学院是另外一种形式的全球教育计划,通过与全世界136个国家的大学、政府和联合国发展计划进行合作,该技术学院1999年单单在亚太地区就向33千名学生提供了教育服务。详见思科网络技术学院亚太地区网站:*******<http://www.cisco.com/asiapac/academy>

许多赢利性行为逐渐开始面临许多问题。在2001810日的《大事记》上报道说:汤姆森(Thomson)将关闭哈科特(Harcourt’s)的网络学院,这一学院在过去的一年中仅招收了32名学生。另一条在200154日《大事记》上的报道:财大气粗——Unext奋力寻求销售市场Unext1997年与许多著名大学进行合作,比如,斯坦福大学、卡耐基-梅隆、哥伦比亚大学、芝加哥大学和伦敦经济政治科学学院等,旨在向通用汽车公司、AOLTime Warner等客户提供各类商业课程,其学位授予的附属部门被称为Cardean大学。Unext还向大学出售其课程。新闻周报20004月的报道称,Unext的创建人希望Unext成为一所精英式的网络大学,为世界上那些无法接受传统学校教育的人和那些已获得学位但仍想通过继续教育推动其事业发展的人提供教育服务。Unext的课程在尚未上网之前的预算已达到一亿美元,它的教工中包括了三位诺贝尔奖获得者,并准备研发出全新的教学方式,例如用酷似视频游戏的互动式风格代替枯燥乏味的讲座式授课。当学生想寻求各种真实商业问题的解决方法时,他们可以任意选择多种互动工具。2001525日:巧用品牌,密西根和多伦多联手推出21世纪大学联盟。由澳大利亚的墨尔本大学校长牵头,该组织在10个国家的18所大学已经与汤姆森学习公司签署实施这一计划的协议。

2003年,许多赢利性大学建立起来,或者被日益壮大的大公司收购 (Blumenstyk et al 2003),如DeVry University为购买罗斯(Ross)大学花费了3亿1千万美元。浏览以下网站了解DeVry University: <http://www.devry.edu/>

 

1.7.6 许多尚未解决的问题

这个未来全球虚拟教育的市场——“生态模式将面临许多有关学生、教师、大学、赢利教育者和政府部门的许多难题。

大规模的教育生产究竟怎么样?丹尼尔(Sir John Daniel指出,一个著名科学家的学术演讲可能在很短的时间就传播到上百万的学生那里,但是这必须要有当地的支持和倡导。在同一个电子结点要使几百万的网上学生都能得到有效的学习必须要依赖对于问题讨论与澄清的本地研讨会。许多基础的课程实现了自动化,这使得它们更加便宜,这时一所赢利型大学就可能招收上百万的学生。

在第三册3.1,我们将探讨更多网上学习者面临的问题。博克(Albert Bork  Educause, Nov. 1999 和其他一些人发现由于新技术能够成就全新自主学习系统,极大地增强了个人学习的能力。但是如何通过艺术、文学、戏剧、音乐等来实现人性的完善呢?(本套书第三册中将有进一步的探讨)学习者个人如何从上千门课程中挑选自己中意的课程呢?

如何使每一种文化和语言得到尊重――自动翻译问题?在发展中国家中那些贫困的大学能够将有关他们传统、文化、历史等方面的课程与他们所需要的先进课程进行交易吗?这对于赢利性机构来说是不太可能的。真的,正如凤凰城大学的校长在谈到在前方陷阱重重如何意外发展时所提出的那样:远程教育——确切地说是所有种类的学习——仍然处于侏罗纪时代吗?(20004Educause)

学术自由和安全问题?200176日《大事记》中登载的一篇文章《某右翼印度教团体正在印度学术界施展他们的力量》指出,在全球学术自由方面可能存在的问题。学者们担心由于右翼政府要求在学校教授星象学和吠陀数学,大学的独立地位会受到威胁。

利益的冲突?在哈佛等一些大学里已经展开辩论:教师能否和怎样为商业组织教授网上课程,特别是他们以哈佛的名义进行这样的活动是否应得到允许。针对20001月在Educause上有关未来高等教育的一些挑衅问题,结论支持了本章所提出的市场模式,而没有回答这一模式如何为全世界提供所需的高等教育资源。列恩(Lenn 2002报道了在建立一致标准方面所取得的进展。

财政危机杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt  2003 担心,大学要满足来自各方面越来越多的要求,但是大学资金却在减少,特别是政府财政拨款日益下降。

如何才能更好地满足对高等教育的快速增长的需求?幕尼兹Barry Munitz回答到:课程种类和质量的惊人提高驱动着美国高等教育的快速发展,这使得国家保护主义不得不向全球化网络让步。

赢利性教育机构真的像我们所认为的那样对高等教育构成威胁吗?威斯康辛麦迪森大学是这样回答的:大多数赢利性机构目前正服务于新的客户,或者与主要的本地大学服务对象不同的客户,他们交付模式的日益订购化将会极大地影响我们教和学的方式。幕尼兹(Munitz说到:虽然赢利性机构不会代替传统大学,但是传统大学将不得不作出巨大的调整来应对这种挑战。宾西法尼亚州立大学的校长也说到:尽管我们面临财政困难,但最终我们还是具有相当大的竞争力。” *****<http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=section&id=19>

这个市场模式如何服务于发展中国家那些最穷苦的人们?这个硕果累累的生态模式正处于许多悄然出现的项目的中心,比如澳大利亚国立大学以卫星技术为基础的视频会议计划开始尝试为发展中国家提供在线学习的服务。还有一个例子,于2003年提前开放的国际电脑大学已经联系了亚洲19所大学和美国的珀默那(Pomona学院。许多国家的这类机构都希望能加入研究与人类资源发展亚太共同体这一计划,这个计划涉及到了非常广泛的领域

最后,市场驱动模式可能仅仅是所有现存网上远程教育的样式或地图。珀迪(Jedediah Purdy在谈到社会和道德生态时也希望学习不再与人们的生活相脱离。有关虚拟学习社区的相关问题请参见:<http://www.educause.edu/vcop/>

 

 APP

The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
http://ecolecon.missouri.edu/globalresearch/chapters/1-07.html
For more information contact Parker Rossman
July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman