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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 1.7 | Go to Chapter 1.9

Volume I - Chapter Eight

(Last updated  May 3, 2008)  In Chinese following the bibliography

GLOBAL VIRTUAL RESEARCH UNIVERSITY

The principle of solidarity and true partnership amongst higher education institutions worldwide is crucial for education and training in all fields that encourage an understanding of global issues, the role of democratic governance and skilled human resources in their resolution, and the need for living together with different cultures and values. –UNESC0 1997

The essence of our human mentality is to harness ourselves to the tremendous collective organizing energy of culture…Culture shapes our minds as the sculptor shapes clay…-–Merlin Donald.

It is impossible for any one person or team to have all the knowledge, technology and expertise needed to solve complex research problems. -- Robb Krumloff

Note: Preparing for the Revolution: Information Technology and the Future of the Research University. from the National Research Council. Also, staff of the European technical assistance program have pointed out that while course instruction can be provided by the ordinary Internet,  global research collaboration requires faster broadband.

Perhaps an essential part of a global learning system to serve everyone on the planet, for its planning if not for its administration--designed for the `coming age of creativity' and a `scientific research oriented culture,--might be a consortium of research institutions that in time could involve into a global virtual research system that can do what otherwise might never be possible. The USA National Education Association http://www.nea.org/he has proposed a  possible `quality driven’ model  that looks forward to a time when consortia “finally link into a global system of education at the graduate level.” It would no longer be necessary for researchers to travel to another country because all research libraries and faculty expertise would be available anywhere via `Internet3.’ Research students would, however, “come together as communities to complete lab requirements” although their partners might be half way around the world. <http://www.educ.fc.ul.pt/cie/seminarios/universidade/pross.htm

Is it futile at this time to discuss the possible plans and structures for a global virtual research consortium that might change every ten years or so as it increasingly involved all kinds of government and private research institutions and organizations. MIT’s Technology Review interviewed the innovative head of DuPont on the future potential of research. He said that he could not remember a time when there was more potential for solving big problems. (See Vol. III. Also see: <http://www.col.org/virtualed/>)  Duderstadt (2000) began his chapter on future research with a quotation from the Director of the National Science Foundation who has pointed out that research universities are crucial for dealing with the mammoth problems of our age. We devote Volume II here to an elaboration of that thesis and move beyond it to suggest that since difficult crises and problems lie ahead the research universities must begin to collaborate more effectively on a global scale; for example in the development of gaming and other new learning tools.

Such a global research system could focus on big projects (see III and below) and on the training of major scientists, but its goal also should be to help every learner in the world to develop research competencies. This implies a partnership with primary and secondary schools--a way to develop interest in math and science--as well as with all university and government research. Because of the rapidly expanding `knowledge explosion it is becoming almost impossible for anyone to keep up with all data and knowledge in any one field of research, much less in all other related fields of study. It also increasingly require enlarged partnership among researchers and also with an educated public; for example, school children who gather water samples for national research or people in every local community who help keep an eye out for terrorists and other criminals. Such active involvement will help develop public support.

In a sense a virtual global research system already begins to exist, consisting of all global-scale research projects that involve researcher partners in many countries. A goal of such a consortium could enlarge collaboration so that all pieces of research can come together into a larger, more holistic understanding of …everything? This thought raises another question: should not all students and learners—in our increasingly science oriented culture—be researchers? (Brown 2000) reported the surprising contribution that 15-year-old `consultants’ brought into a commercial research laboratory when invited to reflect on the laboratory of the future.

Duderstadt (2002) pointed out that the “great burst of energy to form the intellectual topography of the university as we know it today” came with specialization. Now the next burst of energy might come with the transcending of specializations so as to deal holistically with problems that will involve many disciplines and kinds of research institutions in their solution. That holistic coordination of research may first be most possible in a virtual global research system. Earlier stages of research in agriculture, medicine, national defense and economic development tended to encourage narrow specialization and the forming of new academic disciplines. The result, Duderstadt said, has been a splintering of departments that are “largely made up of loose confederations in rarefied sub fields who have had more in common with peers at other universities than with campus colleagues.” One result has been bits and pieces of uncoordinated research in many of the social sciences, as more funding for the natural sciences widened a gap between them and the social sciences and humanities. As a result, the speed of change and the information glut now make it clear, he says, that there must be basic alterations in the discipline-focused culture and the structure of the university.’ Can we undertake experiments in cyberspace in areas where traditionally-structured universities are reluctant to make drastic changes? Dertouzos of MIT (Henderson 2001) foresees cyberspace merging with physical space and disappearing.  <http://www.umuc.edu/ide/modltabl.html>

The largest and most comprehensive research projects—the space program is an example—have to a great extent been made possible by government funding, and of course research funds also from foundations and university budgets. Can experimentation beyond the contemporary system be internationally financed in areas of global research need? Or as in the USA will it require partnership between universities, government, foundations and business corporations? Can science and politics ever deal, for example, with better solutions for global pollution (see McDonough 2002) without enlarging that partnership on a global scale? In cyberspace small teams of researchers—anywhere in the world—who are working in the same area to be more aware of what others are doing, and, where possible, can increasingly collaborate and divide up responsibilities as in the Human Genome Project.

Duderstadt laments the `publish or perish’ and `competing for grants’ mentality that pushes individuals into working on small pet projects that are often not coordinated with any larger need. The real issue, however, is a shift in paradigms—in the character of partnerships between governments and universities--transforming “the character of the university itself and in the nature of scholarship itself.” There is, he says, a great confusion about the appropriate balance between basic and applied research, or perhaps better stated between curiosity-driven personal interests of investigators versus strategic research aimed at addressing national priorities. We here move beyond Duderstadt by adding `badly needed global priorities.’ It is not clear how they can be addressed within the framework of the present system that gives the highest priority to grants for military and other government priorities that often are not the ones most needed globally. (See chapter list of Volume II)

Peter Drucker has pointed out that “the great educational needs of tomorrow” are not yet on the research agenda of the major research universities. This is especially true of research areas that need to integrate many areas of knowledge. A National Research Council report (Berry 1997) examined ten then major forces of change resulting from emerging technologies, including the increasing capability for remote collaborative work. One illustration underway is the Alliance between the National University of Singapore, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Nanyang Technological University. In 1999 that alliance launched a highly-collaborative program which had planned by 2005 to develop and offer five interdisciplinary world class graduate engineering programs that would “form a new paradigm for distance collaboration in education, research and `technopreneurship.” (Cerny and Heines 2001)

However, humanity needs more larger-scale research projects. For example, a press report on the USA “National Virtual Observatory” (NVO)  reported that where the Internet brings the world online, the NVO plans “to put the universe on line.” Uniting astronomical databases of many earthbound and orbiting observatories and the latest technology, data storage and analysis techniques, its goal is “to maximize the potential for new scientific insights from the data by making them available in an accessible, seamlessly united form to professional researchers, amateur astronomers and students.” First, one of the planners reported, “science conducted theoretical models,” second conducted experiments. Now this project illustrates a third significant step forward: scientific exploration through computation methods as a way to cope with the tremendous volume of data that is doubling annually. The NVO was planned to build upon an earlier multi-disciplinary project, also funded by the National Science Foundation, developed to improve methods for “accessing and analyzing large volumes of scientific data.” If ways to distill information and insights from “floods of data” are not developed, one scientist said, “We will end up like shipwrecked sailors on a desert island, surrounded by salt water and unable to slake our thirst.” So the NVO will “do this work through a series of approaches and techniques …known as `grid’ computing (that) lets scientists in multiple institutions easily and rapidly share data and other problem-solving resources.”

This NVO project was “inspired by the Digital Sky Project that made data from four different databases available through one seamless web portal. <http://www.npaci.edu/envision/v15.3/digitalsky.html>

The NVO planned to seek simultaneously to analyze data from dozens of different databases that are organized differently. Data archives are to be built for the use of the “broad scientific community” to “produce new discovering many years after the data were originally gathered.” Rather than seeking to impose standards on databases, it is hoped that “competition among standards” will encourage further development of standards with links to similar initiatives in Europe and Asia. “Organizers are planning to keep the NVO `virtual’--not located at any one facility—and accessible enough for non-specialists like science teachers and students to use.” The NVO aims to “enable the public to explore directly the wealth of information from society’s investment in our national research facilities.” The NVO will therefore reach across a large community and therefore is likely to change this field of research, as it has been known.

Next, we ask, can the `social universe’ of human society also be more holistically researched also? Can forthcoming technology and methods make research in the liberal arts more `scientific’ by inter-relating and cross indexing all databases—and enlarging the volume of case studies (see education research below) so as “to put the `social universe’ online too? By “maximizing the potential for new insights by making more comprehensive data available in an accessible seamlessly unified form to professional researchers, amateur scholars and students? Hitherto this has been impossible because of the vast amounts of data organized in so many different ways. Here too the total scattered information gathered is vast and can be expected to more than double each year. Box charts could be developed to show the interrelationships of many kinds of research, but that would not be the same as a simulation model and map of thee structure of a virtual research university itself.

1.8.0  MOTIVATION, VISION, TASKS

Humanity's motivation to design a  global virtual research coordination institution and network system for the next (creative) age global society may already be here as new and converging technologies shake up the institutions left over from the agricultural, industrial and knowledge information ages. Motivation may also come from the angry turbulence of our planet and in human society from crises, present and future, that threatens to destroy our planet and civilization. Even now, we cannot be content with institutional structures that permit ethic cleansing, terrorism, that allow hundreds of millions of children to be unnecessarily hungry and sick, that allow the heads of nations to rob their people of billions that should be used for schools and hospitals. We cannot let our current institutions--many still medieval and inadequately researched--fester until all of our children are endangered. Also how can we better cope with organized crime that infiltrates business corporations, government, police, the media and entertainment may require global scale simulations and research? Nor can ignorance of the facts no longer be an excuse in this information/communications age.

The term mega-research is ambiguous. It can refer to `big science projects' like outer-space exploration. Shenk (1997) discussed the information glut's overload that is causing "stress, confusion and even ignorance." Too much information is leading to "paralysis by analysis." This causes some scholars to say--with reason McLeod points out--that to try to put all information in a model is the only way to find what fits, what is pertinent and what is missing. H.G. Wells over fifty years ago pointed to the wasteful duplication that results from a lack of coordination in research. What Wells proposed for data management may then have seemed like an unrealistic dream. Now we see it beginning to happen, although only first steps are taken toward what must be done in the next thirty years.

Volume 3 here discusses a similarly unmanaged glut of the technologies which could and should make a great contribution to higher education and research. We here provide--by necessity--only a sketchy introduction to the issue of research technology convergence. In various combinations the new technologies can be used for global-scale map-making, design, simulation, creating the architecture for remodeling or redesigning what larger-scale research requires. Paul Kennedy (1993) said that the greatest test facing humanity is how to use the power of technology to find effective ways to free billions of people from starvation, ignorance, injustice  and other crises. To ward off criticism that "what you propose is not possible with existing technology," we here ask how to plan how, in coming decades, to use technologies on the scale of orbiting space satellites for dealing with the human social universe. This book, not by or for technologists, questions the extent to which technology drives what happens rather than being shaped to do what humanity now most needs.

Wildberger (1997) reported that computers, used for networking and simulations, now have the capacity "to activate the world." The Society for Computer Simulation International's Mission Earth activity focused on simulation as a tool "for use in monitoring a sustainable future for the planet. Scientists and scholars work on research that no one team can do alone.” Shaping adventurous science around problems such as environmental issues requires an extended peer community. Wildberger (1997) anticipated a global multidisciplinary research "natural disaster consortium," related to the mega-research global weather system. He also proposed a spin-off, "a natural disaster industry" which would include telecommunications, insurance, construction, utilities and the manufacture of monitoring devices for communities and families. Tens of thousands of scholars and scientists, scattered all over the world, are at work on bits and pieces of what can add up to some astonishing results as they seek planetary strategies to deal with world hunger, health and ecology. (2.8, 2.9, 2.10.)

UNESCO (1995), and at the 1997 conference on the future of higher learning, insisted on international cooperation, based on partnership "and the collective search for quality and relevance," reporting that a dangerous research gap is causing developing nations to fall far behind in ways that can be tragic for humanity's future. Many scientists cannot, for example, afford scholarly journals that are essential if they are to keep up with their own fields of research. (In 2001 thousands of scientists have been rebelling against prohibitively expensive scholarly journals and have been discussing moving all new research papers online where they can be free of charge.)

Attention must now be given to the development of global-scale research goals, priorities, values, and philosophy that can create an international research community that adequately incorporates the developing world. Academic freedom must be maintained in the balance between government, academia, volunteer and private educational organizations and business corporations, so that no one commercial or bureaucratic forces will dominate. This requires replacing cumbersome, bureaucratic institutions, such as government monopolies, with flexible networks.

Most  researchers are modest in their expectations. Yet, as banking, entertainment and politics are being transformed by information technology, something remarkable may also be happening in research. It may be three decades before we know what new shapes of research will emerge, but, whether we wish it or not, the blueprints for what is to be built in cyberspace are being drawn now. The 1997 UNESCO higher education conference noted the importance of advancing knowledge through research in science as well as the arts and humanities and the sharing of research results and of transdisciplinarity. The intellectual and cultural rights on the results of research should be used to the benefit of humanity and should be protected so that they cannot be abused.” Research must be enhanced in all disciplines, including the social and human sciences, education (including higher education), engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, informatics and the arts within the framework of national, regional and international research and development policies. This requires ethical standards, political impartiality, critical capacities and, at the same time, a better articulation with the problems of society and the world of work, basing long-term orientations on societal aims and needs, including respect for cultures and environmental protection.” The UNESCO conference proposed that higher education should reinforce its role of service to society, especially its activities aimed at eliminating poverty, intolerance, violence, illiteracy, hunger, environmental degradation and disease.

A major difficulty in this book is how to write for those who have been too busy to keep up with the literature in every field of learning (all of us). Another problem is posed by the research needs of scholars in developing countries whose involvement is crucial for dealing with global crises. We cannot hope to please the experts in any field discussed here. Yet each expert is a novice in many fields other that her/his own. So these brief chapters intend only to ask questions about possible future research and to provoke discussion. We begin with the assumption that the planet’s most crucial crises are all inter-related and can best be coped with by dealing with all of these major problems together. (2.1)

1.8.1   A PROBLEM/RESEARCH-CENTERED VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY

Needed is a new driving vision and design for a global virtual model that is research-focused with a vision of education to provide the skilled scientists--and citizen support-- who can enable the healing, feeding, teaching of the world; a vision of expertise to cope with the most difficult crises facing humanity; a vision of a global virtual university system which is focused on the solving of basic problem; a vision that can turn those eight social hurricanes (1.01.) into opportunities. Educators need to decide how academic and other research can and should be restructured to meet the needs of six (to ten?) billion people in an increasingly global society and then develop the technology that best serves these ends:

Supposing that it is true that much-larger scale, holistic research is needed to solve humanity’s most difficult problems, how then might a global virtual research system be structured for such tasks? And what structures—academic not buildings—might help improve the quality of research at all levels of education, primary, secondary, college, graduate school and life long education? Let’s propose these for discussion:

1.   How can we create, sustain, inter-relate and improve such “research communities?’
2.   In the context of a global virtual research university what structure could better create, sustain and improve the work of research teams and major research projects?
3.   The most important part of any research takes place in human minds. How can partnership with technology empower the minds of researchers? How can such technology partnership empower research teams—whose members in many countries work together online and in cyberspace—and their `collective mind?’ (These questions need to be elaborated a bit in Volumes II and III.)
4.   Exploring the implications of Donald’s (2001) description of how human minds develop in culture and are inseparable from culture, what could a global virtual university do to facilitate, enlarge and improve the quality of `scientific culture’ as the context for professional researchers?’
5.   Or should the goal be to infuse an emerging global culture with an enlarged appreciation for science and especially to help every person value research and participate in some of it? Does this require a structure that provides partnership with education of youngsters also?

Educators, when they take a long-range view into the future, tend to agree now that we must move into an era of lifelong learning. In part this is true because of the rapid rate of change that is likely to accelerate even more in coming decades.

We note three dimensions.
-- (a) What is done in one’s future, across a lifetime;
-- (b) what an individual does in the present to prepare for the future (also involving school children); and
-- (c ) what has been accomplished in the past. A global research system, we suggest, must give more attention to the earlier preparation of each present and future researcher by expanding bridges to primary and secondary education and by undertaking partnership with and being continually involved with those pre-university programs that involve science and research. Many problems in higher education are the result of inadequacies in secondary and primary school education.

It is recognized that children with special talent (3.8.11) in music—and not only the child prodigy—should have opportunities to develop that talent. However, they also need a broad general education as well. So also children with special aptitudes for science should also have better opportunities to develop that talent, but all children should be encouraged to do research and get an aptitude for real research that can last a lifetime. This is an underused idea rather than a new one. Children have for decades now been cooperating with major `adult’ science research, gathering data, for example, by gathering water samples to test for acid rain. What is missing in most such projects is large-scale research system involvement in recognizing, encouraging and enlargement of such programs. The technology is in place now to do the unthinkable: to involve more and more primary and secondary age students in `adult’ learning and research communities. We will return to this topic here in Volume III, especially in relation to Jonassen (1999) on constructionist learning environments and Jonassen (2001) on mind tools to help children engage in critical, creative and complex thinking.

1.8.2   GLOBAL LEARNING AND RESEARCH COMMUNITIES

How can we design, create, sustain and improve global “virtual learning communities’ that are research oriented and `research communities’ that are learning oriented? Jonassen (1996) reported research on using technology informing learning communities. These include discourse communities; communities of practice, knowledge-building communities and learning communities which tend to overlap and combine in various ways. Classrooms, however, have generally not been learning communities “because students are disconnected or are competing with one another” rather than working together to accomplish common tasks and goals. Rather than being places of enquiry many higher education classrooms also are still “requiring student to conform to prepackaged instructional requirements.” Yet they are taught to learn `what will be on the test’ rather than becoming partners in using technologies to explore, construct, experiment, evaluate, reflect and in other ways venture into the unknown to learn together.

“The human brain is the only brain in the biosphere whose potential cannot be realized on its own,” Donald (2001) says. “It needs to become part of a network and our human networks—complex, fuzzy and multilayered—are radically different from our computers and their networks. We depend deeply on our communities and education depends on our learning communities Constructing learning communities, Jonassen (1999) points out, ‘is an emerging science, so the state of the art is changing rapidly. He has proposed `constructionist learning environments that are based on technologies that “afford students the tools to explore, experiment, construct, converse and reflect on what they are doing, so that they learn from their experiences.” Since environments are spaces, the global virtual research university must design and construct more than the virtual laboratories that now exist through telecommunications. How can every learner—whether on a campus or isolated at home can participate in `group exploration spaces.”

For one thing, communities require personal acquaintance, and some faculty are surprised to discover that at the end of a term they still know very little about silent class members on the back row. On the other hand, distance educators are often discovering ways to become better educated with each class member since learners must present a great deal of information about themselves to the other member of the class. The same could be done in a face-to-class, of course, as each class member shares a web page of personal information about long-range goals and plans for this class. This technology-facilitated acquaintance of course, is but on way that new tools can help the process of creating community and powerful research environments. Community grows not only out of personal acquaintance, but more importantly out of shared work goals, experiments, discussion and other aspects of effective research teamwork. This takes for granted now available sophisticated communications for exchange of data and real-time collaboration—described in Volume II (2.3, 2.4., 2.5., 2.6)

Donald (2001) pointed out that we find it easy to picture in our minds the collective work that went into the construction of the great pyramids or that built thousands of Model-T Ford cars. It is more difficult to picture the “invisible mental labors of generations of scholars, composers…and research institutes.” Today thousands of people are involved in “distributive cognitive systems “ Even if absolutely convinced that they are working totally on their own, they actually are nodes in a system, “especially those who are close to the heart of culture.” In research “the individual, on a good day, might render some small service to a vast system that has assembled knowledge networks…and is developing a global reach.”

We elsewhere note the research potential of computer networking, the World Wide Web and whatever their successors may be, for `collective intelligence' (CI), the bringing of many minds from many countries together in cyberspace for creative thinking and collective imaginative. Ornstein (1990) worried that the human mental system is failing to understand our complex technological society. How can scattered efforts be brought together to produce a rapid change of mind; perhaps even the equivalent, in our human social universe, of the unified theory of everything that cosmologists seek in understanding the physical universe? The potential of networking for CI is illustrated by a conferencing that proceeded, facilitated and afterwards continued discussion on whether global poverty (2.12.1) might best be overcome by providing distance education to everyone in the world, (2.17.1) examining that process to see what might be learned. (http://www.globalknowledge.org)

Possibilities for a virtual global research consortium are seen, we suggest, when Duderstadt points to the “speed of change itself (becoming) the central issue of intellectual life. Global teams are needed to cope with vast amounts of ever-changing data. Biology, Duderstadt pointed out, is becoming more dependent upon other fields, such as math, physics and chemistry, not to mention the serious ethical questions contemporary biology is raising. Furthermore, he says, as the interdisciplinary momentum (becomes) a fundamental and long-term restructuring of the nature of scholarly activity—knowledge becomes central to the global economy.” Narrow answers will not succeed in an increasingly complex, interdependent world.”

So the scientists and other scholars who collaborate with others in quite distant fields and nations are “the potential seeds for a new and vibrant intellectual community” in the shift from `small think’ to `big think.’ This global-scale expansion of what Duderstadt proposes will be facilitated, he says, “when intelligent software agents roam far and wide, instantly and effortlessly extracting necessary details from networks containing the knowledge of the world.” It is essential to note that we are not speaking of an either/or here. University departments and disciplines will long be valued and continued. At the same time wider communities and entire new paradigms can be explored in collaborative global virtual space. It is clear to Duderstadt that the universities of the future “will be far more interconnected through a web of structures,” some virtual and some in traditional space.”

Perhaps, he says, the most straightforward strategy will facilitate the creation…of alternative structures that are non-disciplinary in nature.” We suggest that these alternative research structures may first appear in virtual space.

The most important part of any research takes place in human minds. How can partnership with technology empower the minds of researchers? How can such technology partnership empower research teams—whose members in many countries work together online and in cyberspace—and their `collective mind?’ (These questions need to be elaborated a bit in Volumes II and III.)

“Everyone in my field," one distinguished social scientist said, “Is pushing a different theory, everyone is working with a different set of data. There is little talking with other researchers in our own field--much less in other disciplines--and "we seem to know more and more about less and less. Perhaps we need to know more about chaos theory!" Another also said "we are swamped by complexity and seem lost in a swamp of chaotic uncertainty."" Soon perhaps researchers will better be able to cope with it has science and engineering unite and new technologies converse. We earlier pointed to; <http://itri.loyola.edu/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_pre_publication.pdf>

Although many researchers may feel that they do their scholarly work and scientific thinking in isolation, they actually “ do (their) most important intellectual work as connected members of cultural networks. This gives (their) minds a corporate dimension that have largely been ignored until recently.” (Donald 2001) Banks and other corporate business structures distribute work over many minds that develop ideas, perceptions and agendas. They too “distribute their intellectual work over many minds” using symbolic devices such as computers. “Individual minds are thus integrated into a corporate process, in which individual minds play an indispensable role.” Connected individual minds are even more important. Language, Donald says, originates in cognitive communities “in the interconnected and distributed activity of many brains” and involves knowledge networks, feeling networks and memory networks, “all of which form the cognitive heart of culture.”

1.8.3.  MINDS, RESEARCH AND CULTURES

Exploring the implications of Donald’s (2001) description of how human minds develop in culture and are inseparable from culture, what could a global virtual research university do to facilitate, enlarge and improve the quality of `scientific culture’ as the context for professional researchers?’ Donald says that scientists have neglected enculturation. Cognitive science, he says, has studied `mind’ as if it is entirely within a single brain, seeing culture as relevant only as part of the environment. The `isolated mind model’ works well with animals but humans link with and profit from “a vast storehouse of knowledge and skill they have accumulated in our cultural memory across any millennia. Deep enculturation is quite distinct from the effect of the social environment… leading to the installation of totally new cognitive architectures, such as the neural wiring diagram that supports mathematical to musical literacy.”

Our cultures invade us and set our agendas, Donald (2001) pointed out. And once we have assimilated and internalized the norms, habits and symbolic conventions of a culture we can never again be totally alone even if we are in solitary confinement. “Culture influences what moves us, what we look for and how we think for the rest of our lives.” Sure, he says, the creative spark still depends on the `individual conscious mind,’ “but creativity cannot be exploited or even defined, without a cultural context.” Geniuses travel within the cultural system and culture can confer great power on anyone “who plays the system.”

Donald said of culture that across the centuries a complex web of habits, customs and beliefs have emerged…as also in science. “These are now unconscious…in cultures as in individuals” and automation has become “the other side of advanced consciousness.” The conscious mind is thus part of a larger fabric, much of which exists outside our grasp.” Nevertheless, he says, our minds “harness themselves to the tremendous organizing energy of culture.” But ironically our elaborate `cultural games are subjecting our brains to forces that are far beyond our control. If it is true as he suggests—“that we are a culturally bound species and live in a symbiosis with our collective creation; if it is true that we seek culture as birds seek air and that in return, culture shapes our minds—then shouldn’t the relation of minds and culture be central and crucial in the shaping of virtual university research structures?.

“The nature and range of human conscious experience are no longer a biological given,” Donald has concluded. Rather they depend on a somewhat unpredictable chemistry of brain and culture “whereby the processes of mind can be endlessly rewritten and rearranged by cultural forces.” Can virtual higher education take culture and cultures more seriously, without neglecting the `individual-conscious-mind-in culture?’

1.8.4.  A GLOBAL CULTURE THAT IS SCIENTIFIC

Or should the goal be to infuse an emerging global culture with an enlarged appreciation for science and especially to help every person participate in and value research as along-range goal? The walls between disciplines and professional schools seem firm and often almost impenetrable in the conventional residential university, often even in areas and on projects when it is essential that they work together. Perhaps in virtual space they can become more flexible, more transdisciplinary, so that the discovery, transmission and preserving of knowledge can be more holistic. `

Michael Dertouzos (1997) confessed that bringing opposites together has always intrigued him: “Faith and reason, Art and technology, Creativity and analysis. Humor and seriousness.” All of these, he said, are apparent contradictions “yet they harbor in their union a power greater than each part.” He mentions that because of his concern for the gulf between technologists and humanists. Surely, he reminds us, we need specialties but as it is, scholars are less and less able to do more than cooperate, to actively collaborate on more large-scale research projects as well as joint courses. He laments “that the world’s people, having drifted away from their wholeness in the pre-Enlightenment age” found comfort in successful science and increasing prosperity. But now “we have discovered, often painfully, that something is still missing.” As a result there is unrest with academia as it is. Yet, he says, it is a big mistake to blame technology. That is like blaming the hammer you built for smashing your thumb. Or course it did but you wielded it.” And it also helped you do an important job! Many complaints about technology are really in part a longing to put together again many things that “the Enlightenment yanked apart.” And there is a real danger that ‘remote` and virtual’ information technology and its effects will greatly increase the unrest.

Those who begin to see across the gulf between the humanities and technology, and of course Dertouzos began with himself, will see this split “as a further reduction of our ability to cope with the increasingly complex world around us.” Some researchers and decision-makers, as the crises grow worse. will “try to break the hammer.” Those who successfully move to a new course can begin by recognizing that the Enlightenment, including its current consequences, was “our historic process” through which humanity had to move. But now we must move ahead into a time when each discipline will no longer looks at a problem only through its own eyes and will not study its own isolated pieces of the problem only through its separate discipline. If, Dertouzos has said, we see that our world is “a huge ball of intertwined red and blue string” then sooner or later we must see that we can never understand it by focusing only one color. Humanities and technology are interwoven strands, and whether we realize it or not both humanities and technology are inside each of us and central to our existing culture and future. So “the big challenge before us...is the…unification of our technology with our humanity.

We will continue to need our specialties, he says. “For we need them to cope with the complexities around us.” Integrative thinking, however, must reshape the curricula of high school and college, with children adequately prepared for it “by childhood stories and toys.” And he points to the fact that the reshaping of information technology, so that it has a more human face can contribute significantly to the new collaboration between human values and purposes and our machines. Bailey (1996) has pointed out that the goal, now possible with new collaborative technologies, should be for students not to practice science as scientists do who are “still grounded in the sequential maths of the Industrial Age” but rather a collaborative science that can involve tens of thousands of computers and humans in large collaborative projects; for example in bringing together what may be learned about the world’s great river systems.

Learners will be able to `listen’ to data they never had heard before, much as the first scientific scholars learned to listen. “The availability of new public data about our planet represents the Information Age’s first big `gold rush,” Bailey says. “ In mining the data and o sharing the evolving programs that explore it, today’s informational forty-niners may do more than find gold patterns.” The difficulties of `listening’ to the wider patterns of life,” Bailey has said, “are formidable. The Egyptians, for example, have been trying to do so from the dawn of history” so they could control floods. More recently, “while physical scientists were finding ways to predict successfully the behavior of planets…the patterns of the Nile valley remained a mystery.. .” Scientists need “computers to do more than listen to patterns of rainfall and subsequent flooding.” They must deal with an environment in which humans play a crucial role as well as satellite data about the Nile valley.

“Organizations such as the Consortium for International Earth Science information Network <http://www.ciesin.org>  have been established specifically to bring together “data on actions involving a human component, such as agriculture, industry, and population (with physical science data like ice levels and global temperatures.” (Quote from CIESIN) The current availability of such vast data, Bailey has said, “puts us at the same sort of historic threshold that the first Greek and Babylonian scientists successfully crossed.” So today’s students are entering equally exciting possibilities for exploration. “Given the new data riches available,” he says. “Our goal must be much higher: in Thoreau’s words, `to anticipate, not the sunrise and dawn merely, but…Nature herself;” a job for big science. (From the bottom-up.)..

1.8.5. TOWARD WORLD RESEARCH SYSTEM/PLANS; HOLISTIC, SOCIAL, POLITICAL

It is too early to anticipate that a global virtual consortium of research universities will develop comprehensive, unified research plans for dealing with all human problems together. Perhaps, however, the slogan: Think globally, act locally can begin to replace present procedures which often seem Think sort of globally once in a while and act locally on occasion. Some gardeners do a beautiful job locally to plan and develop a specialized, beautiful and very productive garden even where soil and other factors are limiting. Now that the tools are at hand shouldn’t we develop a plan to treat the entire earth as a `natural global garden?' (as on research in volume 2.)

The entire earth is photographed from space in such detail that a farmer can be advised where best to locate his pig pen and what crops to plant on different parcels of land, as seen in the CARES project at the University of Missouri (1.2) which can increasingly bring together all of the data relevant to one meter of land. A farmer can turn ever meter of his acres into a `specialized garden, beautiful and more productive.’ Farmers in a region can work together on a larger plan to preserve, enrich and beautify their acres. On learners learning to use and using satellite information, see <http://www.esri.com/esripress>.

On the historical, cultures and civilizations context see <http://apolyton.net/>.

Collaborative Research. For example, all the agricultural researchers in world’s universities and other research institutes could now network together with all other helpful disciplines needed for a “global ecology and agricultural research design.” It might take decades to inter-relate and harmonize all of the regional ecological simulations and photo data all over the world, but the results could perhaps save humanity from as yet unforeseen famines or other disasters. Interestingly enough, because of the Internet, the World Wide Web and other new technologies the effort need not be prohibitively expensive. It could make better use of existing research funds and programs by coordinating them as part of an emerging global-wide plan. All kinds or local information, collected and researched locally, could be interconnected so that bits and pieces of research--even river pollution data collected by school children--could become part of a master “global garden” plan. Many minds could come together to use collective intelligence to match what can be done on thousands of interconnected super-computers in developing a `global holistic global garden design with the goal of replacing polluted, most degrading and impoverished environments., transforming them into healthy places for children. For example, the major objective of a Global Garden Cities Plan would be to redesign cities for people rather than just for industry and transportation. So why not research on a great master plan for the planet (see Volume II)?

A Virtual Research University simulation model should perhaps begin to map all of the world’s research organizations—and their online collaboration. <http://www7.nationalacademies.org/guirr/Impact_of_Info_Tech_for_the_Future_of_the_Res_Univ.html

Return to Chapter 1.7 | Go to Chapter 1.9


Bibliographical Notes

Astronomy and Astrophysics in the New Millennijum. 2000. Decadel Report of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bailey, James. 1996. After Thought. New York: Basic Books.

Berry, R.  S. et al. 1997. “Bits of Power: Issues in Access to Scientific Data.” Washington DC: National Academy Press.

Brown, John Seely. 2000. “Growing Up Digital.” Change. March/April.

Cerny, Melinda and Jesse Heines. 2001. “Across Twelve Time Zones.” T. H. E. Journal, February.

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

Donald, Merlin. 2001. A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness.. New York; W. W. Norton.

Duderstadt, James J. 2000. A University for the 21st Century. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. (And <http://milproj.ummu.umich.edu>.

Henderson, Carter. 2001. “How the Internet is Changing Our Loves.” Futurist, July.

Jonassen, David. 1996.Computers in the Classroom. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall.

Jonassen, David. 2000. Computers as Mindtools for Schools. Upper Saddle River NJ, Merrill/Prentice Hall..

Jonassen, David et al. 1999. Learning With Technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Merrill/Prentice Hall.

Rhodes, Frank H. T. 2001. The Creation of the Future: The Role of the American University. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Shenk, David. 1997. Data Smog. San Francisco, HarperEdge.

Wildberger, A. M. 1997. ‘AI and Simulation.” Simulation, July.

第八章 全球虚拟研究性大学

随着全球化社会和空间时代的出现,人们已经迫切期望建立一个全球化学习系统,其最基本的规划和实施系统应该是由各研究机构围绕科学研究文化进行合作,逐渐演变而来的全球虚拟研究系统,该系统可以成就其他方式不可能企及的建树。美国国家教育协会提出一个可能的质量驱动模式推动教育联合体和全球研究生教育体系互为联网的时代的到来.)

 

在全球范围内,各高等教育机构之间团结一直形成伙伴关系的原则对于各个领域的教育和培训都是非常关键的。这有助于人们对全球问题的理解;有助于民主政府发挥作用;有助于人们解决问题;有助于来自不同文化,有不同价值关的人们生活在一起。

--联合或教科文组织(UNESCO 1997

人们内心的本质想法就是希望能处理利用由文化集合所产生的巨大能量。这正如雕刻家雕塑泥土一样,文化也能雕塑我们的心智。

--多纳德(Merlin Donald

现在任何个人或团队都不可能具备所有必须的知识、技术以及专业去解决复杂的研究问题。

--库姆罗夫Robb Krumloff

 

也许创建一个全球化的学习体系关键在于自己能有一个由各研究机构组合的共同体。这一共同体能及时地推进合理化的虚拟研究体系。这一体系并不是为政府行政机关服务的,而是为了空间时代space age 的到来以科学为基础的文化而设计的。全国教育联盟(the National Education Associationhttp://www.nea.org/he已经提出了一种质量推动模式(a possible quality driven model)。这一模式的目标是希望在将来能有一个公会团体把全球研究生层次的教育系统连接起来.这样一来,所有的研究型图书馆和教授专家等信息都可通过因特网进行查找,研究者就不必浪费时间往返于各国了.而且,即使研究生们的同伴在世界不同的地方,他们仍可以像在一个社区里那样一起完成实验要求。<http://www.educ.fc.ul.pt/cie/seminarios/universidade/pross.htm

此时此刻我们讨论建立一个全球化的研究型虚拟机构的可行性是不是徒劳无功的呢?因为事物的变化是很快的,每十年就会有很大变化,或者很快就会有各政府,私人研究机构以组织参与进来。MIT Technology Review曾经就未来社会研究的可能形式采访了具有创新精神的DuPont领导。该领导就曾指出他不能明确指出什么时候需要解决多大的问题[he could not remember a time when there was more potential for solving big problems.] (参见 Vol. III.并参见: <http://www.col.org/virtualed/>)  杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt 2000)在他关于讨论研究的文章开篇就引用了国家科学基金会会长的话[the Director of the National Science Foundation] 的话,会长指出在我们的这个时代研究型大学在解决巨大问题方面将起着到头等重要的作用.我们在第二卷里会详细地展开这一主题。他还进一步指出各种危机与困难已摆在面前时,研究型大学应该在全球范围内(例如网络游戏发展及新的学习工具的出现)更有效地展开合作。

这样一个全球性的研究体系可以关注许多大的项目问题(见下面卷3,关注主要科学家与小学中学的合作伙伴关系的培训,以及所有大学及政府的研究。这是发展提升大学在数学及科学方面兴趣的途径。由于知识爆炸的快速蔓延,任何一个人都不可能了解其自身研究领域里的所有新的技术资料和信息,更不用说在其它相关研究领域里的信息了。这一趋势就不断地要求在研究所之间扩大合作能形成一个有素质的公众群体。例如:学生们能采集水标本形成全国性的研究,或是在不同社区的人们能够一起关注恐怖分子及犯罪分子,这样一种积极参与将有助于形成一种社会支持(public support)。

从某种意义而言,这种全球化的研究性虚拟系统已经产生。这一体系囊括了所有全球性的研究工程以及许多国家的研究者。建立这样一个共同体的目标在于它能够扩大各个研究领域的范围,使人们对研究项目有更广泛更全面的理解。但它这一想法又引出一个问题:当以文化为基奠的科学不断增长时,为什么我们的学生和学习者就不能都成为研究者呢?[Should not all students and learners in our increasingly science oriented culture be researchers?] (Brown曾在2000年就报导了由15岁的顾问们所做出的惊人贡献,当他们被邀请一起对未来实验室作出反思预见时他们提了商业性的研究实验室的设想。

杜德斯塔兹指出:正如我们所了解的,在这个能量爆炸的时代形成了大学里的地形志,专业分化也就随之产生了。[Duderstadt points out that Burst of energy to form the intellectual topography of the university as we know it today came with specialization] 现在我们跨过专业更全面的考虑与解决问题时将会产生新的能量与动力,并吸引更多的学科研究所的参与,这样一种全面整体的研究合作将会在全球化的虚拟研究系统中首先得以实现。较早阶段关于农业、医药,国防和经济发展方面的研究要求细化专业方向形成新的学科。但其结果正如杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)所说,各院所细化后由更多更专业领域研究组成使得合作更加松散,而且这样一来使得大学之间的相似性增加而不是在大学同事之间,这也导致了在社会科学领域出现了许许多多零星的不相合作的研究,在自然科学领域投入的大量资金也远了其与社会科学以及集体主义科学之间的关系,杜德斯塔兹(Dudrstat)指出快速的发展变化以及知识信息的供大于求要求我们要对只关注学科的文化与结构的大学有根本性的变革,我们能对那些不情愿作出彻底的传统结构大学在网络空间里进行实验变革吗?麻省理工的德尔图佐斯(Dertouzos(Henderson 2001) 就曾预言网络空间与物理空间将融合并最终消失。<http://www.umuc.edu/ide/modltabl.html>

最广泛最复杂的研究工程--空间项目是在政府基金、合作研究基金及大学预算的支持下进行的。它将可能成为一个样本,被广泛采用。与当前的体系不同,我们考虑的是一种研究实验能否因其全球性研究的需要而得到各地的资金支持,或者如美国一样,这一研究实验能否取得各大学,政府、基金会以及团体的合作,例如,如果不在全球范围内扩大合作伙伴关系科学与政治能很好地解决全球污染问题是吗?(See Mcdonough2002)。在人类基因工程中(the Human Genome Project),世界各个地区的研究者们虽然从事相同的工作领域,但通过网络空间他们能赶上研究进程与前沿,如果有可能,他们还可以增加合作并重新分工。

杜德斯塔兹Duderstadt laments the publish or perish and competing for grants mentality that pushes individuals into working in small pet projects that are often not coordinated with any larger need.然而真正的问题是在政府与大学之间的合作特征上要有一种范式转变,我们应该改变对能否达到基础研究与应用的平衡这一问题的想法,更准确的说就是:在追求国家特权时,如何处理由研究者个人兴趣推动的研究与有计划的战略性研究之间的关系。We here move beyond Duderstadt by adding “badly needed global prioities。目前并不清楚为什么军事等国家权利在目前现在的体制下得到这样高的重视,其实他们并不是最需要全球化的.

德拉克(Peter Drucker 曾经指出,未来巨大的教育需求还没有成为主要研究型大学研究议程中。各研究领域很有必要综合各个领域的知识。在Berry 1997年提到National research council 的报告中就曾指出由于不断的涌现的科学技术而产生的十种社会推动力中就包括了增加远距离的合作能力。正在进行的新加坡国立大学、麻省理工学院和南洋技学院的合作便是一个很好的证明。该联盟于1999年创立了一个高度合作项目目标:在2005年时能发展并提供5门世界级多学科的研究生工程项目这将会教育研究以及technopreneurship领域提供远程合作的新范式.

然而人文科学需要的是更大范围的研究工程。曾有一则关于NAO National Virtual Observatory 的报道。报道中指出因特网能将连接世界连接,那么NVO就能将宇宙连接。各earthbound and orbiting 天文台、庞大的天文数据库、最新技术数据储存库以及各种分析技术,并将其完美地整合起来且让专家研究员,业余天文爱好者及学生的易于搜集。通过整合后的数据能最大程度的开发我们新的科学视角。其中一位计划者指出,科学研究首先可指导理论模式还可指导实验研究。这一工程还阐明了更具意义的奋斗目标:以通过计算方法进行的科学研究来应对每年成倍增长的惊人数据量。The NVONational Science Foundation早期资助的多学科(multi-disciplinary)工程为基础,不断改进、获得并分析大容量科学数据的方法.一位科学曾经说过:如果在数据泛滥时代不改进行精炼提取信息和观点的方法我们将会像惨遭海难的船员,被遗弃在荒岛上一样被海水包围但又无能解渴。因此NVO将通过一系列的方法来进行这一项“grid computing”工程,以让在多样研究所里的科学家们快速简便地到数据及解决问题所需要材料。

NVO项目的提出是受到了Digital Sky Project的启发。<http://www.npaci.edu/envision/v15.3/digitalsky.htmlDigital Sky Project4个可进行的不同数据库中取得数据后整合到一个网站中。

与此同时NVO也打算分析几十类以不同方式组成的数据库里的数据,他们将建立数据档案带以更好地为广阔科学化社区服务(the use of the broad scientific community)数据在开始被整合后的几年里将会有新的的发现,NVO并不是要给数据套上各类标准框框,他们是期望通过这种标准间的竞争来推进欧洲及亚洲地区与其有相似发明的标准发展(Will encourage further development of stands with link to similar initiatives in Europe and Asia)。组织者将NVO虚拟化,使它不局限于一个(one facility)各种非专家型人员如教师和学生也能参与其中。NVO的目的在于增加公众以国家研究机构的社会投资中直接探究信息财富的能力(最后一句不够理解)

也许我们会接着问,关于人类社会的社会宇宙social universe)也能够进行更整体的研究吗?即将到来的科技手段会使文科领域的研究更科学化吗?通过数据间的相互联系及指示,扩大案例研究的范畴(see education research below)能使社会宇宙在线连接吗?能否做出便于取用且以完美形式结合的综合数据帮助专业研究员、业余学习者及学生能最大限度地开发新视角的前能。迄今为止,由于大量数据以各种不同的方式结合,这些设想还不可能实现。Here too are the total scattered information gathered is vast and can be expected to more than double each year. 我们可以改进Box Charts 以展现各种研究间的联系。但这与虚拟化研究大学其本身的虚拟模型以及树状结构图是不相同的。

 

1.8.0研究动机、研究前景和研究使命

随着全球化社会空间时代的出现,人们已经迫切期望建立一个由各研究机构与网络合作的全球化虚拟研究,因为新的整合技术促使农业、工业以及知识信息时代下的研究机构必须进行大的改组和改革。而各种现在正在产生或将来即将爆发的对我们的地球及人类文明的破坏和危机,会使社会上不断出现暴乱,这也是促使我们希望创建一个全球化虚拟研究的动因。即使是现在,我们对那些纵容种族灭绝的事件、恐怖事件、以及让成千上万的孩子无辜地得病的状况,以及某些国家领导侵吞千万人民上缴的本该用来修建学校和医院的钱财的不完善的法制度结构仍然感到束手无策。目前许多机构还很保守,没有充分地对上述现象进行研究。我们不能任其恶化直到我们的孩子陷入危机之中。那么,我们应如何更好地克服那些有组织的犯罪呢?现在,这些罪行已渗透到各种商业组织,政府警察,媒体以及娱乐等各方面,可能会需要全球规模的仿真研究。 在当今信息交流时代,没有足够信息和资料进行这方面的研究已经是站不住脚的理由。

超级研究mega-research的定义还很模糊。它可以指空间项目那样的大科学工程。杉克(Shenk 1997)曾说过,大量信息已超出人们的负荷,已经使人们感到压力和困惑甚至变得无知。太多的信息反而会使人们变得分析麻木,正如麦克劳德(Mcleod)论证的那样。许多学者由此指出,我们应该努力建构一个可以容纳所有信息的模式,这是唯一的途径帮助人们去判断哪些信息是最相关最适宜的,还缺失了哪些信息。曾在50年前)韦尔斯(H.G. Wells)就指出由于研究中缺乏了合作会导致许多重复性工作的浪费,他提出的数据管理在当时看来是一个不切实际的梦想。但现在我们发现这个梦想已经能够实现。虽然现在只是万里长征的第一步,在接下来的30年里必定会最终实现。

第三册中,我们也会讨论与之相类似的难以控制的技术爆炸情况,这将对我们的高等教育和研究做出巨大的贡献。在这里,我们很有必要对关于研究技术整合的问题作一个简要介绍。由于各种各样的相互联系,各种新技术可用来进行全球范围的地图绘制、设计、模拟实验或因更大范围研究的需要而对建筑进行重新设计与规划,肯尼迪(Paul Kennedy 1993曾说过,人类目前面临的最大的挑战就是如何利用科学技术的力量寻求人类摆脱饥荒、无知、不公平及其它危机的最有效的方法。为了避免人们关于你提出的设想仅依靠当前的技术是不可能实现的之置疑,我们想知道的是在未来,通过环球卫星技术我们怎样去制定我们解决人类社会问题的计划和步骤。这本书不是由科学技术专家所写的也不是为他们而作。这本书所要讨论的是科学技术能在多大程度上促进那些正在发生的事情为人类最需要解决的问题服务,而不是把它们局限起来。本书所关注的是,目前是技术在驱动事情的发生, 而不是人们根据需要来掌握技术的发展。

韦尔德博格(Wildberger 1997)在报告中指出那些原来只用于网络工作及模拟实验的计算机,现在已经具有监控测定我们星球可持续未来的功能。科学家及学者们仅单独工作是不能很好地进行研究的。要形成对问题的大胆假设与科学研究设想,例如关于环境问题的研究,就必须要有一个广阔的研究团体

韦尔德博格(Wildberger 1997)就曾期望建立一个与大型全球气象研究系统相似的全球化多学科的自然灾害研究会,。同时他还提议建立一个派生的预防自然灾害产业。这一产业中包括电信业、保险业、建筑业、公共事业和以社区和各个家庭为终端的制造业。遍布世界各地的成千上万的研究学者及科学家正在进行的分散性的研究,如果能在饥荒、健康卫生及生态环境等问题上寻求更广泛更综合的策略,将会产生更惊人的效果。(2.8, 2.9, 2.10.)

世界教科文组织在1997年关于未来社会高层次学习中强调要促进对质量和相关问题进行的联合研究,及促进以伙伴关系为基础的国际性合作。报告还指出,存在一种危险的研究差距正在使发展中国家越来越落后。例如许多科学家购买不起那些对于跟上研究步伐很重要的学术期刊。2001年时曾有成千的科学家反对这样昂贵的学术期刊对学术研究所带来的限制,还提出建议来推动将所有新的学术研究文章刊登在互联网上付费使用。

我们现在关注的是,在创建一个能充分联合发展中国家的国际性研究社区时,如何发展全球范围的研究目的、权利、价值以及观念;在保持政府、学者、志愿者、私立教育机构以及商业合作组织的平衡中必须坚持学术自由,只有这样才能使商业或政府力量在其中起好的作用。这就要求通过灵活自由的网络合作改变像政府专权那样的难以应对的官僚政治组织。虽然,大多数研究者不敢对此有过多的期望,但事实上信息技术正在改变着银行业,娱乐业及政界的操作运行方式。在研究领域也许可能出现惊人的变化,我们还远远没有真正知道新的研究形式将会是如何,说不定还将需要三十年的时间。但不论怎样,关于网络空间的未来蓝图正在绘制。1997年联合国科教文组织在关于高等教育的会议上就指出在科学研究领域研究成果及学科之间分享的重要性。研究结果的智力与文化权力必须服务于人文方面的需求。同时必须对其进行保护以免滥用。在国家、地区以及国际研究和政策发展的框架中,各个学科都必须加强研究:社会人文科学、教育(高等教育)、工程、自然科学、数学、信息学以及艺术等。这就要求有道德标准、政治公平、预警能力,等等,以形成对社会和世界问题的更清晰的认识。这些都要长期以社会目标和需要为基础,包括对不同文化的尊重与特色的保护。此次会议着重建议高等教育应加强其服务社会的职能,尤其是要在减少社会贫困、偏激、暴力、文盲、饥荒、不幸、环境恶化及疾病上发挥作用。

此书的主要困难是如何和那些由于太忙而不能掌握各个学习领域最新著作和进展的人们对话;另一个问题则是由各发展中国家,由于恶劣的研究环境而不能很好应对全球危机的学者们针对其研究需要所提出的。我们不奢望能够给任何领域的专家们满意的答复,然而任何一个专家在其自身研究领域之外的其它领域都是初学者。所以,这些简要的章节只是对未来研究的可能形式提出问题以引发讨论,我们的假定是,影响我们星球的各种最严重的灾难都是相互关联的,只有通过把这些问题综合起来统一思考, 才有可能得到最好的解决方式。(2.1)

 

1.8.1   以问题研究为核心的虚拟大学

新的需要为全球化虚拟模式提供了一种新的观察与设计视角,那就是在关注研究时以教育为观察点,要为有经验的科学家和市民提供帮助, 使他们能对世界改革、温饱和教育做出贡献,要以专家为切入点去解决人类正在面临的各种最棘手的困难;要以全球化虚拟型的大学体系为视角来关注基本问题的解决,要考虑将(1.01.)中提到的八大社会危机转化为各种机遇。教育者需要考虑和决定的是如何重新构思学术研究和其他研究以满足正在不断增大的全球化社会的60~80亿人的需要,并且能够发展科学技术,更好地促进以下目标的实现。

·全世界能有充足的食物(http://www.fao.org)

·完善的健康医疗保障,房屋供给制度和就业机制(http://.who.org)

·改善地球上的生态环境,减少空气、土壤以及水资源的破坏(See http://www.unep.org and http://www.johannesburgsummit.org)

·通过全球化的管理系统保证公平公正,为全人类提供安全保障,可以不通过战争就解决各种矛盾纠纷

·实现《联合国人权宣言》中所期望的目标(http://www.undp.org/info21/hr/hr-main.html)

·所有人都有富裕的机会(Seehttp://www.who.organdhttp://www.worldbank.org)

·按照联合国教科文组织的宣言让全人类都受到教育,其他目标的实现才有可能(See http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/index.html, )

·建立一个终身教育的全球化大学系统,人类需要开发那些迄今还没有机会得到足够教育的人的脑力资源  <http://www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/>.

 

如果我们确实需要进行更大范围和更全面的研究去解决人类所面临的各种棘手难题时,那我们应该怎样构建全球化的虚拟研究系统呢?究竟什么样的学术结构可能帮助提高各教育层次的研究质量,包括小学,中学,大学,研究生和终身学习各方面。我们对此进行以下的探讨:

1我们应怎样建构、维持、建立相互联系并发展这样的研究共同体?

2在全球化虚拟研究大学的内容体系下什么样的结构框架能更好的建立,维持和发展研究队伍的工作以及主要的研究项目。

3任何研究其最重要的部分都是在人的大脑里进行的,怎样使和科学技术的联合为研究者们的构思设想提供帮助?怎样使这种技术联合让许多国家的成员组成的研究队伍在网上虚拟空间能一起工作,集思广义。

4探究多纳德(Donald)对人类智慧对文化发展紧密相连的内在含义。全球化的虚拟大学应怎样促进、扩大科学研究和提高人们的科学文化素质?是把它作为专业研究的内容,还是应该扩大科学文化的内涵使其融入到全球化的文化中?这样是否需要为年轻的一代的学习者之间的相互合作也建立一个框架?

如果教育者能以更长远的目光来看待未来,就会认为我们现在必须进行一个终身学习的时代,而社会的迅速发展在未来的几十年里会越来越快,对终身学习的要求也就越来越紧迫。

 

我们注意到以下三个方面:

(a)       在人的一生中,他的未来要实现什么?

(b)       每个人现在应为未来做些什么?

(c)       过去已完成了些什么?

我们认为,全球化研究系统必须更多地关注于现在及将来研究者的早期培养和准备。把这个范围扩大到小学及中学教育阶段,使更多的学生不断地参与大学前科学研究项目的合作。许多在高等教育里出现的问题常常是由于中、小学教育的某些方面的缺失所引起的。

 

我们应该承认每个孩子在音乐方面都有天赋。(3.8.11)不应只把发展的机会留给那些所谓的神童。他们也应该得到更全面的教育。同样地,那些在科学方面具有特殊资质的孩子应有更好的机会去发展他们的才能,但应该鼓励所有的孩子去做实验研究并使其天赋在一生中都能得到发展,以便他们在来能够进行真正的研究。这不是一个新理念,而是一个未完全充分利用实行的想法。在许多年里,孩子们都是与成人进行科学研究,收集各种资料。例如,他们收集水样本以测试酸雨。而大多数工程项目中缺失的是一个有较大范围的研究参与系统以促进项目得进行、对参与者鼓励和和对研究成果得扩大。现在。科学技术正在实现人们不敢想象的事情,让越来越多的中小学生参与到成人的学习与研究团队中来。我们将在第三册Volume III 中重新讨论这个话题,特别是把它与乔那森(Jonassen 1999)谈到的建构的学习环境以及2001年谈到的利用心智工具来帮助鼓励孩子参与到具有批判性、创造性以及复杂性的思考中来。

 

1.8.2 全球化学习和研究社区

我们应该构建和发展全球化的以研究为导向的虚拟研究型社区还是以学习为导向的虚拟学习型社区1996年乔那森(Jonassen)曾在报告中介绍了利用技术推进学习型社区的研究。这些社区包括:讨论社区、实习社区、知识构建社区,以及学习型社区。这些社区间将以各种各样的方式交叉联合。然而,由于学生之间未能相互联系或形成彼此之间的相互竞争,现在已逐渐不再是学习型社区了,不再有联合起来一起工作,共同完成任务或目标的要求。大学课堂也不是探讨研究的场所,大学教师仍然要求学生遵循已预先制定好的教学要求。学生们所学习的仍然是那些考试中将要考到的内容,而不是学习怎样在进入一个未知领域时如何利用科学技术进行开发、建构、实验、评价和反馈等,或是与他人一起进行合作学习。

多纳德(Donald 2001)曾指出:在整个生物圈中,人的大脑是唯一的不能单独发挥其自身潜能的器官。它需要成为人的整体网络的一部分,而由我们人类智慧所构成的网络是复杂、多层次的,完全不同于电脑以及由许多电脑所连接成的网络。我们都十分依赖社区、社会;而教育依赖于学习型社区的建立。乔那森(Jonassen 1999)曾指出:构建学习型社区是一门新兴的科学。因此,人类文化正处于快速变化的发展状态中。乔那森建议开创建构的学习环境 这一环境是以科学技术为基础的。它能帮助学生探索、实验、构建知识,并对正在进行的活动提供反馈信息和工具设施。这样,他们可以在实践经历中得到学习。因为环境是需要一定的空间, 因此,全球化虚拟研究型大学设计与构建时应优于现在的学习空间,建立可以通过网络电信传输的虚拟图书馆,能使每个学习者,不论是在校内还是独自在家时都能参与到小组探索的空间中去。

一方面,社区可以提供空间使人与人之间相互熟悉与了解。然而一些教授到了一学期快结束时会惊讶地发现他们对坐在后排常保持沉默的学生知之甚少。反之,远程教育者常会从其班上成员那得到各种启发和感悟。这是因为学习者在远程学习中必须将关于自己的大量信息呈现给班上的其他成员。当然,在面对面的班级授课中也应当这么做。实际上,计算机辅助的课程管理系统提供班上每个成员的基本信息,课程的计划、目标和课程安排,并可以提供练习、测验及成绩管理。这种以技术支撑进行的相互了解是一种新形式。这些新工具的使用在我们创建学习社区和有活力的研究环境的过程中起到很大作用。一个社区的形成发展依靠的不仅仅是个人交往,更重要的是形成共同的工作目标、经验、讨论以及各种有效的团队研究工作。当然,这些复杂的信息交流手段和实时合作方式正在进行开发和利用,我们将在第2 (2.3, 2.4., 2.5., 2.6)中进行详细介绍。

多纳德(Donald  2001)曾认为:当我们考虑到建筑金字塔和成千上万辆T-型福特车时比较容易想象合作式的工作。但是,如果让我们想象一代又一代的学者、作曲家或是研究机构等看不见的脑力劳动时就不那么容易了。如今,已有许许多多的人进入了各种分散的认知系统中,尽管他们自认为自己完全是为了自身而工作的,但他们确实也成为了一个网络系统的连接点和输送终端。尤其是那些靠近文化中心的人们。在研究中,每个个体在某一天都将对这些庞大的系统做出应有的微薄贡献,而这一已经联接到各种知识网络的系统正在发展成为一个全球化的研究系统。

在另一些地方我们注意到电脑网络在研究方面的潜能,国际互联网及其新一代系统所提供的联合智能,网络空间可以将不同国家的众多人的智慧整合起来进行具有创造性的思考和集体想象。但奥恩斯坦(Ornstein)在1990年的时候就担心我们人类的智力体系将无法理解复杂的技术社会。我们应该怎样整合各种分散的力量以加快思想的更新?在我们人类社会宇宙中,这一追求也许与宇宙论学者对物理世界的追求是一致的。在一次会议讨论中人们对联合智能网络的潜能进行了阐述。在接下来的讨论中,将继续关注全球贫困问题(2.12.1)。如果我们通过向世界上的每个人提供远程教育,并在这一过程中把握人们学习的内容,那么这将会在最大程度上解决贫困问题(2.17.1) (http://www.globalknowledge.org)

杜德斯塔兹(Duderstadt)指出:当发展速度本身正在成为知识生活的核心问题时,我们就开始关注建立各种全球化虚拟型研究共同体的可能性。我们要建立全球化的团队以应对大量的不断变化和更新的数据。正如杜德斯塔兹指出的,生物学科越来越依赖其他学科的发展,例如数学、物理、化学,更不用说当前日益突显的严重的道德缺失问题。他还进一步指出:跨学科的趋势已逐渐成为重构学习研究活动的基础并将会长期存在。知识已经成为全球化经济的核心。简单狭隘的答案已不能在这个日益复杂且相互依赖的社会中获胜。

因此,现在那些不同领域不同国家的科学家和学者之间的相互合作为建立一个新的且充满活力的知识型社区播下了种子,这会引导人们逐渐从小型思考转向大型思考。杜德斯塔兹所设想的这种全球范围的合作将会得到发展。他还指出:智力软件的代理商们正在及时且毫不费力地从包含各种世界知识的网络系统里选取所需要的各种信息。但必须强调的是我们这里谈到的不是一种非此即彼的关系。大学院系、学科仍应得到重视和发展。与此同时,要在相互合作的全球虚拟空间里创设出具有更广泛意义的学习社区及研究的全新范式。杜德斯塔兹明确地指出:未来的大学将会通过网络结构更紧密地联系着,大学可以是虚拟空间与传统真实空间的有机结合。

 

他还说到也许最简捷的策略有助于创建不同的结构,其本身是不分学科的。我们所设想的这些新的研究结构将先在虚拟空间里出现。

任何研究,其最重要的部分都是在人的构思中进行的。怎样通过信息技术合作来帮助研究者思考呢?如何利用技术的合作让不同国家的研究者能在网络空间里合作进行集体思维呢?这些问题在Volumes II and III中会有进一步地说明。

一位著名的社会科学家曾说过:在我的研究领域里,每个人都在提出不同的理论。每个人研究的数据也各不相同,与自己领域内的其他研究者交流得很少,与其他学科的学者交流的就更少了。我们好像是知道的越来越多,其实是领域越来越窄。也许我们必须对混沌理论(chaos theory)有更多的了解。另一位科学家也说过:我们已经陷入了这一复杂性中并且正在这混乱的不确定中迷失自己。也许不久之后,随着科学与管理的结合以及和新的技术的结合,研究者们会更好地处理这一问题。这一点我们在前面已经提到<http://itri.loyola.edu/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_pre_publication.pdf>

也许,许多研究者会认为他们是在独立地进行研究工作和科学探索。但事实上,他们已经作为与文化网络有关的成员进行着最重要的智力活动了。这也就给研究者一个合作空间。但这一空间的范围是直到最近才受到关注的(Donald 2001)。现在各个银行及其他机构都在进行商业组织间的合作,在工作中融合各种想法并发展新理念、新思想以及新的工作计划。他们还利用各种具有象征意义的工具、利用电脑将他们的智力型工作分配给其他有才智的人。这样,个人的智慧就整合到这一合作过程中来,在这过程中,每个人都起着非常重要的作用。但将每个人的智慧相互连接是最为重要的环节。多纳德(Donald)说过,语言起源于认知社区; 起源于相互联合却又分别行动的脑力活动,这其中包含着知识网络系统,感觉网络系统和记忆网络系统。所有这些都源自于文化的认知核心。

 

1.8.3 思想、研究和多元文化

当我们探究多纳德(Donalds 2001)所描述的人类智慧是怎样在文化中发展又与文化紧密联系的深层含义时,我们应该思考全球化虚拟研究型大学应怎样去促进、扩大和提升其科学文化的质量,以作为专业研究人员的研究背景。多纳德(Donald)说,科学家们现在疏忽了对文化的适应。认知科学在研究心智时仅仅是考虑和大脑有关的各种问题,只把文化当作其相关环境的一部分。这种孤立大脑模型在研究动物时是有效的,但人类在与巨大的知识和能力储备相联系,并从中受益。这是通过千百年的积累、沉淀在我们的文化记忆中的。对某种文化的深入了解与适应与社会环境所产生的作用是有很大的区别的。它会引导人们建成全新的认知结构。例如,利用神经书写表来帮助学习数学和音乐。

多纳德(Donalds 2001)曾指出:文化侵略我们并为我们安排了一切。一旦我们吸收适应了文化中的概念、习惯以及象征性传统,即便我们被限制孤立起来,我们也不会感到完全的孤单。文化影响着那些推动我们前进的事物,影响着我们寻找观察的事物,影响着我们对自己未来的思考。多纳德承认灵感的火花源自个体的有意识想法。但是,如果脱离了文化的内涵,创造力是得不到开发和彰显的。天才的精神智慧要在文化中畅游呼吸,文化会赋予那些和制度交锋的人更大的力量。

多纳德认为经过几个世纪,从一系列复杂的习惯、传统、信念以及科学中产生了各种文化。对于个人这些文化都是在潜意识中形成的。自动化操作已经成为高级意识的另外一个方面。人的意识活动现在是一个更大的组织结构的一部分,并不大容易被我们掌握。尽管如此,我们的意识活动还是自我开发并融入文化的巨大的组织能量。但是,具有讽刺意味的是,我们煞费苦心经营的文化游戏正在将我们的大脑置于某种我们难以驾驭的力量控制之下。如果正如多纳德所说我们是受文化制约的种群,在与我们所创造的事物共同生活着就像鸟儿迎风展翅寻找空气一样,我们也在寻找着文化寄托,同样,文化也在改变着我们的思维。那么,虚拟大学的研究结构的形成过程中,思维与文化的关系是否就应该放到中心和关键的位置上来考虑呢?

多纳德总结到人类的意识经验的性质与范围已经不再仅限制于生物机理,更确切地说,他们依赖于一种不可预测的大脑和文化的相互作用,在这种作用力的推动下人的思维过程才会在文化的影响下无止境地改写与重构。我们的虚拟高等教育是否也应该更慎重地将文化以及多元文化纳入考虑之中,不要忽视了存在于文化中的个人意识形态。

 

1.8.4 一种科学的全球文化

我们的目标是不是应该在不断发生扩展的全球性文化中加入科学性,对科学也应该有更广泛意义上的正确评价,并让每个人都参与其中,重视研究,把它作为一项长期的目标呢?在传统的大学校园里,学科与专业院系之间壁垒森严,难以跨越,甚至在那些必须进行合作的项目中也是如此。也许到了虚拟空间里,两者之间的关系会更加灵活,有机会进行多学科的交流。这样,在知识的发现、传播和保存方面就会更加全面完整。

德尔图佐斯(Michael Dertouzos 1997)曾说到,将各种各样的对立面结合在一起能引起他的兴趣和好奇信念和动机、艺术和科技、创造与分析、幽默与严谨等等。所有这些从表面上看都是对立的,然而,他们结合之后产生的能量会比分开时更为强烈。德尔图佐斯指出这一点是因为他发现了在科学技术与人文艺术之间已存在着巨大的鸿沟。但与此同时,他也提醒我们:必须承认专业分工的必要性。但研究学者们只有通过合作才能取得更多的进展。他们应该继续在扩大研究工程的范围以及课程联合方面进行更积极的合作。但他也遗憾地表示全世界的人正在离启蒙时代前期的整合统一观越来越远。人们正在享受科学给他们带来的成就感以及不断发展的物质繁荣。但现在我们经常会痛苦地发现有些东西正在消失。这一现象也引起了学术界内的动荡与不安。然而,德尔图佐斯也指出:如果我们由此抨击抱怨技术,那又是一大错误。那就会像你抱怨自己制造的但又用来砸你自己拇指的锤子一样可笑。的确,锤子可以用来砸碎你的拇指,但关键是你自己必须懂得如何支配和控制它。如果你利用好了,它同样会帮助你做出伟大的事情。许多人在抱怨科学技术的同时,是期望将那些在启蒙运动期间被支解分离的事物整合起来。但事实上这其中还存在着一种风险:遥远虚拟的信息技术及其产生的效应会使这种不安急速上升。

当然,德尔图佐斯已经开始关注人文与技术之间的鸿沟,而那些也开始关注这一问题的人会发现这一隔阂会进一步降低我们应对日益复杂的世界的能力。随着各种危机的日益恶化,一些研究者和决策者正试图粉碎这把锤子,而那些已经成功迈入新阶段的人开始重新审视启蒙运动及其对现在所产生的影响。正是经历了这一历史性的过程,人文学科开始发生了变化。但现在,我们还必须考虑将来可能出现这样的情况:如果只从自身的视角出发,任何单一学科将不会再出现什么新问题,如果孤立起自己的学科,只研究自己领域里的零散问题也同样不可取。德尔图佐斯说,如果我们把世界看成是一个由红、蓝两色带子缠绕而成的大球,那么,我们很快就会发现:如果我们只把注意力放在一种颜色上面,我们就不能全面认识这个大球。而人文与技术就像这两种相互交织的色带,不论我们是否意识到,人文与技术都已经融入我们现在的生活,对未来将产生深远的影响。因此,当前我们面临的巨大挑战是怎样将技术与人文整合统一。

但德尔图佐斯也指出:我们还是需要专业分工的。因为我们需要专业人才去解决世界上各种错综复杂的事物。然而,我们必须用整合的思维方式来重新调整大学学科和课程。其实,孩子们童年时代的故事和玩具已经帮助他们做好了充足的准备。德尔图佐斯还相信重整信息科学技术使其更具有人性化将会对人文目标价值与机器之间的新结合产生巨大的作用与贡献。贝雷(Bailey)在1996年也指出:新型合作型技术为我们带来了可能性,我们培养学生不再是让他们都成为科学家,像科学家那样扎根于工业化时代连续不断出现的数字信息进行科学实验,而应该让孩子学习合作式科学,让所有人,让成千上万的计算机都能够参与到大型的合作项目中。例如,学生可以集合在一起学习世界上最庞大的河流体系。

正如一流的科学家们学会倾听一样,学习者们也要学会倾听数据。这是大家以前所没有听说过的。贝雷指出关于我们星球的新公共数据的有效利用表明了信息技术时代第一个`淘金期'的到来 对数据的挖掘以便共同开展计划项目是推进这一高潮到来的重要因素。现在信息技术的forty-niners 不仅仅是发现了金子,他们还能够做得更多。例如,在历史发展之初,埃及人就一直努力这样做。所以他们控制了各种洪流的泛滥。但直到最近,但当物理学家在探索如何预测行星的运动趋势时,尼罗河大峡谷的各种形态却还是个迷。科学家们需要利用计算机去做更多的事情而不仅仅是去知道降雨的形式有哪些,会引发怎样的洪涝灾害。科学家们面对的应该是整个环境,在这其中,人类以及关于尼罗河大峡谷的卫星数据起着同等重要的作用。

现在有许多像土地科学信息网络协会的专门性组织< http://www.ciesin.org >已经建立起来。他们将收集具有人性化的行动数据,例如:农业、工业、人口等,但也有物理科学数据,例如冰层结构、全球温度等。(摘自CIESIN)。贝雷说到:当前,这一庞大数据的有效利用引导我们走向同一历史门槛,正如最初希腊和巴比伦的科学家们成功跨过的门槛。所以,当今学生们应该以同样的激情去探索和开发。由于我们能够方便的获取各种丰富的新数据,我们的目标就应该更加宏大一些。梭罗曾说要有所期望,但不仅仅是对良辰美景的期望,而是对探索整个大自然都充满了向往。我们应该为了大科学而努力(从基层开始)

 

1.8.5 趋于世界规模的研究计划: 包含社会领域和政治领域的整体研究

正如现在有人预言说:由各种研究性大学联合建立的全球化虚拟型共同体将使研究项目综合化、统一化,以便更好解决人类面临的各种问题。也许谈这一问题还为时过早,但全球化地思考,地区性地行动这一口号可以代替我们当前的常规惯例:偶尔全球化思考,但经常性地地方性行动。正如一些园丁,尽管那里的土地贫瘠,还存在着各种限制因素,但他们仍然呆在那儿,试图栽培出一个美丽富饶的特殊花园。现在,我们正掌握着工具,我们是不是应该把整个地球看成是一个自然的全球花园,重新调整我们的计划?参见第二册

现在,从太空拍摄的照片中,我们可以清晰地看到地球各个角落的具体面貌。这样,农民就可以知道哪个地方最适宜建养猪场,在不同的土地上适应种植哪些农作物。密苏里洲立大学(1.2)CARES工程就在不断发展,他们努力收集关于每寸土地的所有数据。这样,农民就可以将他土地上的每寸地方都充分利用,把它们变成美丽富饶的特殊花园。在同一个地方的农民也可以为一个更大的项目进行合作,使他们的土地保养得富饶和美丽。

合作研究。例如在世界各大学以及各研究机构的农业研究员可以系统地组织起来,利用其他相关学科进行全球化生态与农业研究设计。也许还需要很长一段时间才能把全世界关于地区性的生态模拟实验以及图像数据相互联系并整合起来,但它终将帮助人类免受饥荒与未知灾难的洗劫。而且,随着因特网以及其他技术的开放,许多研究的费用已经大大减少,我们所做的努力也会越来越有意思,有意义。我们应更好地利用当前已有的研究基金和项目,把它们协调统一起来,使其成为全球计划的一部分。

各种各样由地方收集、研究的资料信息应该相互联系,这样,研究中的各个部分,即便是由学校孩子们采集的水污染标本数据都可以成为全球花园工程的一部分。为了改变已被污染并且日益恶化、动植物不断减少的环境,发展全球化全局性的全球花园蓝图,使我们的孩子有一个健康的生存环境,有识之士应该联合起来,利用联合智能去利用千上万的超智能电脑。例如,全球花园城市计划的主要目标就是为了人类重新设计城市而不仅仅是为了工业和交通。所以,我们为什么不为了我们的星球而进行更宏伟的计划与实验研究呢?( Volume II)

 

关于虚拟大学模拟实验的模型,应该包括所有世界研究机构以及他们的网络合作。. <http://www7.nationalacademies.org/guirr/Impact_of_Info_Tech_for_the_Future_of_the_Res_Univ.html

 

The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
http://ecolecon.missouri.edu/globalresearch/chapters/1-08.html
For more information contact Parker Rossman
July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman