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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 1.8 | Go to Chapter 10

Volume I - Chapter Nine

(Last revised onMay 3, 2008)   In Chinese following the bibliography

CONSORTIUM OF COMMUNITY AND TECHNOLOGY COLLEGES
RURAL AND URBAN FOR
LIFE-LONG EDUCATION IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

The day the telegraph was invented, the first reaction of the Pony Express.. . was to try to buy faster horses. Then they tried to hire better riders. They did not realize that the world had changed.  -- Ray Mabus

Of one thing we can be certain: business as usual will not suffice. Either we will shape the future or it will shape us.  Either we will change or we will be changed.  -- John R. Campbell

The most damning testimony against higher education today may be that students have not rebelled.  --  Steve Talbott 

Adequate education for the future must  begin with the youngest children to prepare them for a lifetime of education -- Primary School Report

Community colleges have sought to provide young people with the education and skills needed in their own communities. Now that is going to be a continuing need of people of all ages, lilfelong education in the emerging era in which many people will frfequently change jobs across a lifetime.  On one hand (1.6) that will mean learning much more about an individual's talents and needss.  On the hand it will require needing to know more about society's changing needs. 

In any case  global higher lifelong education for all, taking a bottom-up approach, begins with regions and neighborhoods. (Note also the research chapter on planetary governance 2.15). In Volume II we also discuss some possibilities in poverty areas such as Africa south of the Equator and for large urban areas.)  Whether planning for a rural African community or a sophisticated urban neighborhood, educators should begin with existing networks of people rather than attempting to impose an electronic structure from outside. This can involve simulation games in which learners can study  their rural or urban neighborhoods. Heinrich (in Foreman 2004a) has reported that many community colleges are beginning to have `game development programs that are `breeding a generation of doers," students who can begin to "create their own learning environments" for the forthcoming digital decade in education.. 

In this chapter we discuss a community college model for global virtual higher education that is rooted in the local community and closely tied to its needs. This bottom-up model therefore includes vocational and technological colleges and those urban institutions that focus on local needs and problems. Such a consortium would—as many community and urban colleges do now—seek close relationships with business and industry, to serve the job training and continuing education needs of all employees. This also means basic education and skills training in technology schools, agricultural schools, community colleges and urban universities. It also is likely to require very different ways to help each individual learn, on his or her own initiative, what they need to know. Note <http://www.learningtimes.net/league.shtml>.  

This kind of global strategy would seek to reconstruct a bottom-up  scenario for restructuring, re-inventing, redesigning (lifelong, not just higher) education and neighborhoods themselves.. While some top-down administration is inevitable, this model proposes a  global structure that would be bottom-up, in a “seamless, cradle to grave education program. It might begin and be enabled by making available all available information on each urban neighborhood and rural community in the world. Jose Silvio in an online discussion suggests that `local' higher education institutions should all "seek to provide community development" to eradicate poverty and rural isolation, through the use of `virtual mobility' and `mobile learning."

 Satellite photos, for example, as other layers of data are added to the information, can provide helpful data on any neighborhood and region. Community Colleges generally serve a small region and a global virtual network of community and tech colleges could focus on the needs of small regions all over the world and on the needs of each individual there. (Note, for example CARES (1.3.2) Such information on needs, problems, economic potential and resources could provide the basis for a a bottom-up education strategy in which every unique individual could find opportunity and job skills. As Utsumi has pointed out, `small regions’—such as desert areas that have limited economic resources—can be places where people work at home via the Internet, as many prisoners now do; for example, processing information and other kinds of work that can be done anywhere for international companies.

1.9.0. FOCUS ON IMAGINATIVE LOCAL JOB POSSIBILITIES. 

Thus a planning strategy could be developed in every community, rural or urban neighborhood with specialized education available to help local leaders meet its unique needs for health care, housing, water and ecology problems, for community cultural enrichment and for education for people of all ages. This requires an economic development focus whereby education helps people use existing resources--or where necessary bring in outside resources--for the development of adequate local incomes.  Many people already work far from a home office when a company in one country employs people in another.  This suggests how local education--connected to global virtual educational resources—can train local people who wish to do so to stay in their own community, with their own language and culture, and work for a company or project on another continent.

A global virtual consortium of community and local tech colleges could divide up curricular and course development strategies to make it possible for anyone in any location to secure locally what is needed (such as continual job re-training).  Another test of the effectiveness of the consortium, and its local affiliations, would be its success in developing leadership, job skills and motivation to deal locally and effectively with the major human problems and crises discussed here in volume II.

Community college and teechnical colleges might thus have a key place in emerging global virtual higher education by expanding their role in providing skills for the local job market by cooperating, for example, with secondary schools in studying the needs, potential and possibilities of the geographic region each college serves. An effort could be made to create a community/tech college in every such `area’ in the world; one that would work closely with communities through local `telecenters.” (Fuchs 2000) often at local community learning centers. While those neighborhood centers (see chapter 2.18 and 1.9.3) would serve every individual in the neighborhood, they could especially focus on bringing in from the world all the resources needed to help each learner develop life goals, find a job plan, perhaps even a `calling,’ and develop a educational program to meet those plans and goals.

Elsewhere we have stressed lifetime education and the fact that the 18-24 year olds are now a minority in higher education. In this `community college’ model we look at higher education from another perspective.  A high percentage of  the world’s population does not yet have needed educational opportunities. Many are bitter and despairing—which may create future terrorism problems for human society. The community college can be seen as the place to correct that, with a global focus which, for example, could enable a small ethnic community keep many young people at home, developing and enriching their own culture, language and traditions, while participating in the emerging global economy.

O’Donnell  (2001) points out that distance education in the 1990’s too often  “pursued an unimaginative extension of traditional forms,” simply using new technologies to continue old ways of teaching. Now, however, rather than merely passing on information and skills to an adolescent generation, new technologies increasingly make it possible for individuals to take initiative in planning a lifelong learning program to meet their own unique needs.  This chapter's model wishes to push beyond that, to help learners study their own community and its needs with a new seriousness and initiative. Learners in the first decades of the 21st century may find themselves living in one of the most difficult periods of history—as they face the possibility of major catastrophes in ecology, global hunger, poverty and terrorism—but they also face the future with tools to solve these problems on a global scale, as never before in history.  And increasingly learners are in touch with each other across national borders, and this `touch’ is probably only just the first experimental beginnings of what is likely to become vast networking between schools, between learners who share the same interests and concerns, and may give a new power to learners as a more mature and educated generation assumes leadership at home and in the service of global needs. A bored and impatient generation may become empowered to solve the problems of local neighborhoods—as well in the service of global needs--rather than drifting into the swamps of slum cities.

Steve Talbott (http://www.oreilly.com/stevet/netfuture) points to a consensus that emerging information age technologies foretell the end of  higher education as we have known it,  but that does not mean the end of  colleges and other institutions, but rather “the end of an old regime’s shortcomings.”  For a long time now, he points out, it has been thought that adequate education merely involves the transfer of information from one data base or brain to another.  This “fact-shoveling” model of teaching “can hardly hope to compete successfully with computers in that sterile game.” If  transfer of knowledge is the goal of education then teachers, and even students, can become superfluous since “it is more efficient to transfer information from one computer to another” than to a mind.  Also if transfer is the purpose of education then students can soon at any time buy a superior package for accomplishing that from a business firm.  It is high time, he says that educators see that this fact-shoveling, assembly-line, standardized credentializing model of education ”leaves little room for schools or ultimately for students.” The better model, he says, is not in the classroom, not even in the wired classroom. Every individual, he reminds us, “follows a unique path through this world, and the teacher’s failure to enter upon that path with the student is a failure to teach This failure also makes any profound assessment of the student’s performance impossible.

Walking the hard path with the student, he says—and we will turn to this again in Volume III—is likely to change the teacher as much as the student as they both becoming learners together.  And it will not be an easy task for institutions either, until they all become collaborating learners together also.  Locally it means that there must be entirely new kinds of neighborhood 24-hour-a-day schools--with all kinds of online and multimedia resources--to deal with what many see as a lost generation of entertainment culture dominated youth. (Powell 1996) The Union of South Africa initially provided an interesting case because, as in America, India and China the developing and underdeveloped world exist there side by side with the developed world. The report of a two-year study in the 1990's asked how electronic media and modern telecommunication systems could assist…South Africa in solving some of the critical problems.” Spier (1991) asked how the imaginative application of electronic media might assist South Africa in solving pressing problems such as these: incrfeasingly

(a) A huge population to serve with iincreasingly high population growth, some 50 percent of the population under fifteen years of age and tuition too expensive for those whose need is greatest.

(b) A shortage of funds for education, resulting in large classes and under-qualified teachers, irrelevant syllabi; shortage of infrastructure, teaching materials, laboratories; many schools without electricity.

(c) A high dropout rates: only 5 percent were graduating from secondary school.

(d) Higher education skewed towards academic subjects at the expense of the technical ones (and proper job training) and colleges and technical schools under funded with staff that need retraining and upgrading.

To address such problems, a nonprofit “Learning Network Cooperative” (LNC) was proposed to train subject experts in designing electronic courseware in a team contest and to produce such courseware for all subjects where there is a large demand, shortage of teachers, and marketability of the skill or knowledge, It was also proposed to establish `Community Learning Centers equipped with workstations ca­pable of transmitting the courseware (called Tele-Centers below) as well as Corporate Learning Centers in which employees of business corporations could provide courses on a decentralized basis (for example, the NTU model from chapter 1.2. which the South African report saw as “the most impressive model for tertiary education using electronics”).

To accomplish these objectives developing nations need the support of partners in the developing countries, more adequate international support and cooperation which UNESCO has been encouraging.

1.9.1. A GLOBAL CONSORTIUM OF COMMUNITY AND TECH  COLLEGES?

McMurtrie  (2001) wrote about “Community Colleges becoming a force in developing nations worldwide.”  In developing countries, she reports, community colleges are a new phenomenon since higher education has usually been only for the elite. Now, however, as in industrial nations, new technology skills are everywhere needed for the information age. McMurtrie reported, for instance, that Luwan Community College in China has no building. It uses  a high school vocational school for evening classes. The college’s president, however,  hoped that the college can become a place “where older adults can take computer classes, where the unemployed can be retrained” and where talented people—in a program which cooperates with Shanghai Teacher’s College, can prepare for a second chance at university admission, a neglected idea in most developing countries. China, she reports, has many three-year vocational colleges but so far they had “little connection to local economic needs.” So an institution located  in one of the poorest regions in China was reaching out to Bronx Community College in New York and Mesa Community College in Arizona., with help from the Ford Foundation..

Many in Africa, Latin America and Asia, McMurtrie reported, look to  vocational education programs in countries like Germany, but each year hundreds of visitors come from developing countries  also come to visit American community colleges.  “Tailored to their nations political and economic situation, the community college systems being created vary greatly from country to country.”  Mexico, she reported, had created  a network of 44 two-year technological colleges in close cooperation with business and industry. Internships are required of all students and the skills required give them good jobs on graduation.. In Chiapas where the focus is on agricultural skills, courses are taught in the native Indian language.

The consortium we are discussing here would need to develop local, national and global collaboration among government institutions, business programs and efforts of the community and religious organizations. In India the Roman Catholic Church established 61 community colleges in the 1990’s in cooperation with “Sinclair Community College in Ohio and the Eastern Iowa Community College district.” They have provided courses in auto repair, for example, often using borrowed facilities and volunteer teachers. They provided “basic skills training to more than 2,000 poor people  during a five year period,” often in cooperation with businesses which “help develop curriculum, provide internships and send employees to teach classes.” While they need government support, the success of these community colleges lies in their ability to be flexible, serving all kinds of students who could not meet government standards and prerequisites  for admission to higher education institutions.

South African businesses are investing in technical schools to provide skills so as to reduce the country’s high unemployment rate. The face the dilemma that, as in many developing countries,  government education officials are “ill-equipped to run a college.” And those that exist still adhere to the elitist, often snobbish view, that neglects basic and skills education for the poor. “American community colleges,” McMurtrie concludes, “have been proven eager to share  their knowledge with institutions abroad. “ Some have initiated faculty exchanges, to bring overseas community college instructors to America for more training.  Others have partnerships with “vocational colleges in places like Kenya and Sri Lanka.” The International Consortium for Education and Economic Development has brought technology schools in Mexico into relationships with community colleges in the United States and Canada.  She quotes the director of international education programs at Arizona’s Maricopa Community College as saying that American community colleges value overseas partnerships as a means of curriculum development, not just to provide opportunities for faculty to go abroad.

Our question here, however, is how to move beyond these individual relationships to create the structure for a global virtual community-college-type system that could play a major role in bringing essential education to everyone in the world. For a global virtual community college consortium--with extension and distance education links--to bring needed education to impoverished rural and urban neighborhoods must there be physical campuses? Or could a great deal of money be saved by making such institutions mostly virtual?  Would it help to create computer simulations, models for such a virtual college?  Or can we find some models that already exist? How can there be more effective partnerships with secondary schools?

One proposal has been the `Africa Virtual Community College,’ a plan for education for development, using information technology networking.  This Education for Development and Democracy Initiative (EDDI) grew out of  a three year dialog  between educators and business people in Ghana and the United States and included conversations with “government officials, academics, church and business leaders students and officials of USAID.  Out of these discussions grew the idea of an African Virtual Community College. (There already is an African Virtual University.) It would use information technology to provide more higher education opportunities for African high school graduates, only a fraction of whom can be accommodated in existing institutions.  The plan was to enable them to enroll directly in cooperating American Community Colleges without having to leave their homes. They would provide the kinds of technical and vocational education that is needed in their communities.

There also was discussion of how to provide for mutual  exchange and support, including a plan to link all relevant groups in Africa to their counterparts in America so as to create

(1)  A Service learning Corps which would take USA students and volunteers to Africa for a year, similar to “Study Service” in England and the `growing movement around the world to connect Peace Corps and national service kinds of experiences to formal learning.” American students in Africa might, for example, “help a women’s craft cooperative set up a bookkeeping plan,” or computer science students could help keep tele-center equipment repaired and operating.  Such service would be part of a neighborhood-centered educational plan, contracted with their academic advisors at home who would help them  with reading and term papers they would write about the experience.

(2) A plan which would not merely make courses available but “would create an online development environment” that would support employers, government officials, professors and teachers, professional associations and “all the groups in Africa that can benefit from a dialog with American counterparts and resources.”

(3) The plan proposed study and experimentation by A US-African Committee on Technology and similar planning an administrative groups in Africa to study the needs of  employers, government agencies, students and others. There would be a US-African Advisory Council made up of “representatives in education, technology and telecommunications, government, business and industry; international agencies;  non-government agencies such as churches, synagogues and mosques and professional associations.” The Council would “flesh out the plan” and seek funding sources.

The American structure for involving in the project could be a consortium of Community Colleges, institutions that would work together to enrich their own American programs as well as to create `virtual learning communities’ and social networks to link Africans with Africans and also between Africa and other nations.  This experiment in practical global education “would assume that a college is more than a collection of courses; it is a complex environment for learning that includes human resources—librarians and counselors as well as  teachers; intellectual resources—books and films and labs; and spaces for learning—offices and seminar rooms as well as classrooms and lecture halls.

In this model, each African nation would have its own online campus, such as the Ghana Virtual Community College or the Rwanda Virtual Community College.  Each online virtual campus would be structured to have an academic center, a library, a counseling center and other `virtual centers’ to be determined locally, such as a Woman’s Center or perhaps a “Center for Micro Industries.”  Matching this, each college in the cooperating American consortium would also have its own virtual campus—in addition to its physical campus.  The virtual library for example could then be linked to the African virtual colleges.

This model, developed cooperatively in each culture would be different from most conventional distance education programs that European and American institutions now offer overseas because of its Pan-African two-way sharing and exchange. Also, instead of just being course sharing, the plan for initial experimentation between Ghana and California would emphasize `social networks of dialog’ among and with Africans. As African and American students meet in classes online relationships can be created that can persist and “lead to economic growth and job generating activities.”  

Since “virtual buildings online” can be relatively inexpensive, the virtual college could “have a growing group of specialized facilities to house conferences, workshops and institutes that connect African groups to their counterparts in America and other nations.” Much of the initiative would come from local groups in Africa who define their own needs with new forums and programs developed  “that connect directly to African interests.”  American Community Colleges “typically offer development and remedial education” and the same could be provided for African students “with deficits in literacy and numerancy” as well as instruction in other languages.

In this context, programs for the learner would be planned to meet individual and community needs in an active partnership and continuing dialog with employers and the neighborhood learning coopeeratives understand of local needs. The foundation for a locally-developed  basic education curriculum for all ages and educational needs--pre-school to higher education—could be made available in the local dialect and adapted to area culture. It first of all should be developed to meet local needs, then the needs of society and the culture. It would be adaptable also to the needs of the individual learner. (In all cases involving  education courses, modules and resources  from elsewhere in the world as appropriate and adaptable.)

Ultimately every village and neighborhood would need a “tele-center or `community learning center,’ and many of them are already coming into existence.

1.9.2. NEIGHBORHOOD LEARNING CENTERS  (See 2.18)

So we begin locally by proposing a neighborhood model for the future community education center. Perhaps it will begin as a tele-center at a neighborhood school which gradually enlarges its educational offerings for adults also, in cooperation with the area’s virtual community college.’ It can be empowered by use of X-O computers (see 3.7) that continually improve.

There was a proposal in Oregon, some years ago,  for a statewide center that, among other things, would franchise local stores in every community to sell and rent such software and equipment. The store would also provide access on an hourly fee basis—whether for children, business people, or adult study and action groups—to any and all of the world s 10,000 computer networks and hundreds of thousands of data bases on all subjects (also see Ditlea (1990). Does that suggest a useful model for making such connections and equip­ment available in poor communities and countries? There, for example, if it cost one person ten dollars an hour to connect to global ecology data bases and to rent the equipment for research there, a club of local ecologists could share the cost, ten people at a dollar each, or a hundred people at ten cents each. Teachers and students could thus rent high-quality educational hardware and software—videodiscs and multimedia textbooks-and could access on-line library services, even from distant countries, by paying a low cost per minute.

The electronic resources needed by neighborhood learning centers would vary from region to region and country to country. A first model was the “rural tele-service and information center” built in Denmark in 1985 which then began to spread across Scandinavia. Some were located in libraries or schools, and some in remodeled houses, whatever is adequate to provide work space for computers, modems, printers, VCRs, fax ma­chines, and a great variety of software. These centers were widely used in communities as small as a thousand people for distance education, information services, teleconferencing, and consultation. Because of the success of these centers in helping enrich and transform rural life, for example, in towns too small to have schools, an Association of Tele­Service Centers was formed with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2.18 we report on the increasing number of tele-centers in the developing world.

Nicolas Negroponte of MIT once suggested in Wired magazine that the place to begin reconstructing education would be with that half of the world’s schools that have a one room school and one teacher for all ages.  Many educators consider those largely rural one room schools as inferior. In fact, some may often be superior to large poverty area urban schools. One room schools may become models for much future electronic education once the local teacher/guide/counselor can make use of vast educational resources which can be adapted to the need of each individual learner  The rural one room school has a small, personal environment which potentially can produce a rich learning experience.  Older pupils help the younger and each is likely to work on each subject at his or her own level. They are likely to be close to parents. For these and other reasons Negroponte would make it a high priority to put digital technology in all of these schools worldwide. This might be the most significant anti-poverty program conceivable. (1.3.7)   This was recently the conclusion of a group of scientists and scholars whose primary education had been in one room rural schools. They decided that they had received an education superior to what their children were experiencing in sophisticated suburban schools. For one thing, the whole community was involved in the small school. For those who do not have computers or the technology to access the education they need, such centers can also have “fax machines, CD-ROMS as well as  the necessary communications connectivity.” Also, while many African students, for example, speak English, provision for translating programs into other languages can in time be provided through computerized automatic translation.

So this chapter examines a model in which tomorrow’s `one room rural school’ is an electronic learning center for everyone in the neighborhood; school age pupils during the day and ac learning center for adults evenings and week ends. The Internet could then provide any kind of needed education, including graduate degrees as well as literacy teaching and basic agricultural skills, so as to meet the need of any local learner. In Volume II it is suggested that as neighborhood community organizations are restructured, the creation of many “learning cooperatives’ related to the neighborhood school and area community college may be the place to begin. The organizations that are being created to facilitate the emergence of electronic global education are also giving lip service to “cradle-to-grave” education. They also begin to propose developing for  villages a `knowledge system’ created for that purpose with maps of what exists and what is needed, and with links to what can be most helpful. <http://www.world-links.org and http//www.worldbank.org/worldlinks/>

A retired college president who has been involved in developing a virtual global community college model  sees it helpful to remember the `university extension idea’ and how it spread it around the world. It is important, he says, to see a global federation or consortium community colleges  as having a vertical rather than horizontal integration, colleges working with other colleges without an overhead umbrella of control . In this model, he says—and this is probably true of all distance education and global education strategies—“we need to do more to popularize the idea of `information float;’ that is the time it takes for a new development to get new ideas and programs” into those places around the world that can receive the idea and move it into their communities. And this requires strong roots in neighborhoods and local communities. In Africa, he reports, much initiative is coming from church and other religious organizations in the local community.

A neighborhood learning center could stimulate initiative by the individual learner (and the family for children) to define needs and take initiative in her/his own education planning. Every neighborhood and village school/library could become a seven day a week, 24 hours a day electronic learning center, used by children during the day, for `business’ in the late afternoon , for adults at night and week ends. Short courses during school vacations to help individuals plan their next steps in lifelong education. 

(a) with online connections to technology support (an online technology `peace corps.’)

(b) with online  connections to other schools of the same type (language, culture, needs and problems)

(c) with online connections to the global virtual community college (for local job training and entrepreneurial skills, etc.

(d) with connections to online library sources (including special possibilities for advanced research)

(e) with online connections to tele-medicine and other health care resources

(f) with online connections to teacher training and resources, etc

(g) The local learning co-op could be organized around  basic local needs, such as job training and entrepreneurial training in food production, housing, criminal justice, governance, income production, ecology, etc.  Neighborhood governance structure could be organized around those same needs found to be common everywhere. Two-way network connections could  make available all agency relationships and services and keep them involved and informed. 

(h)  Instead of a school board there could be a `consumer co-op’ learning organization (to which all active learners belong) which selects `local school board’ members by lot (as in jury selection), and requires three months of online training and education for them before they serve; and which provides online connections (parallel) to other school boards for continuing exchange of ideas and case studies of success.  Bottom-up relationships imply local representatives to regional learning center governance and from regional to national, to global.

Fifteen community colleges in Illinois tested a support center concept during the project's first year and established the following six essential criteria that defined all forty‑plus Centers: access to computers and the Internet: Access to technical support; Access to libraries, Advising; and Marketing. (see http://www.ivc.illinois.edu/StudentCenter/Map.htm"  Each college used existing physical spaces; such as academic advising centers, computer labs, libraries, and testing centers.

1.9.3. CONTRIBUTIONS OF A GLOBAL CONSORTIUM

To achieve such goals, a global consortium, a network of community colleges could offer models and experience, shared from one country to another, in what technology can do and not do, possibilities that can encourage a conservative educational bureaucracy (which exists in nearly all countries) to understand and sup­port some experiments; and some demonstrations of how to make electronic education and connec­tions affordable. The challenge would be to move towards a “learning society” which brings education into every home and enhanced educational opportunities into every school and learning center;

This is but one illustration of possible areas of sharing.. Funding is not adequate to extend education to all as the world’s population grows from six to perhaps ten billion people. However, efforts can move ahead for two reasons.

Sharing knowledge and Skills. Human beings have long known that much more can be done with limited resources if everyone collaborates and shares. Second, there is no shortage of what is most needed: knowledge and skills. The supply is almost unlimited. Indeed, the more knowledge and skills are shared, the more there is! More importantly, forthcoming information technology will make pos­sible some new kinds of sharing with other community colleges without reducing the amount or extent of knowledge in the giving institution. Further, as suggested in Chapter Six, shared resources can be greatly enriched as each Community College or Technical School develops expertise in one specialty and to share with other Colleges globally. This can be the foundation for a drastic global retooling of outmoded educational programs and institutions, just as factories have to be retooled for a changing global economy

A suggestive model for such sharing is already provided by many interlibrary loan systems. If a local library does not have a requested book, it turns first to the area consortium of libraries, then to the state library, and to the libraries of universities. However, that analogy cannot be pressed very far, as the needed kind of book may not be available or may be of poor quality. How is better education—excellence—to be share from one continent to another

Sharing Encouragement and skills with `Teachers” (or neighborhood learning facilitators.) A major contribution of a global community college consortium may in some cases be the provision of master teachers and to demonstrate that, at least when necessary, the master teacher can be in another town or another country. The technicians who keep the system operating may also be in another town or another country. Mageau (1991) foresaw such desirable outcomes as

--inspiring and motivating tired teachers;

--being a catalyst for reforms in education;

--providing sustained training to help everyone use new tech­nology successfully;

--helping equalize opportunity for all learners students, and

--helping everyone see the centrality of learning as the key to human survival.

Sharing of `Borrowed’ Facilities. An American film corporation that was planning to build “multi-media entertainment complexes” in many developing countries, with “state of the art” digital technology for downloading prize fights or rock concerts while they occur, once suggested that during free times their centers might be loaned to provide developing countries with teacher training and specialized courses. If the latest films could be sent instantaneously from Hollywood or Europe, then why shouldn’t such facilities--generally used only evenings and weekends, be shared for education?

            The same idea should not apply only to major corporations. Many developing world neighborhoods could insist that technology for business and medicine that comes into their neighborhoods should also be shared for education when not otherwise being used. State-of-the-art electronic materials, downloaded via satellite onto vid­eotape and laser disc—perhaps on the model of an “education utility”—might thus in time be made available to even the poorest schools.

Sharing Courses. As with other small colleges many consortium members could develop a specialty to share with a larger constituency. One school might share a course in health education, or ecol­ogy, or in citizenship education with special electronic connections to agencies of government. One might specialize as a crafts/arts center (including computer art, using new software to learners in any rural area to compose or to preserve the music of their local culture. Another might prepare a course on job finding, including information on apprenticeship, counseling, preparing for an online job interview and so forth.. One might provide a course on how to help the disabled, hospitalized, imprisoned, or homebound stu­dents get education with on-line courses and tutoring available on a seven-days-a-week basis. Not having to prepare every course, faculty teams on each consortium campus could create at least one unique course for sharing globally. It might be a course on the history and culture of its state or region or in some other special area of expertise.  

January 2002 saw the launch of a joint venture between Seattle Community College—which had 51,000 students—and several tele-course producers. Thirty Broadband Internet courses were being offered via streaming video to over 900 institutions worldwide. (http://www.iriseducation.org>.  Science, social science and business courses were among the initial offerings.  Individuals in the developing world will find it expensive and must have DSL or cable,  so these first courses are expected to be used by institutions. This experiment points the way ahead, however, to new technological possibilities for providing education for all. Educause Review, in September 2001 reported that eight community colleges—in the Alliance of Community Colleges for Electronic Sharing—were saving large sums of money through cooperative projects, for example paying only $27,000 rather than $216,000 for needed software.

Especially in poorer countries and `third-world-type’ districts of cities, the heart of educational retooling may begin by using secondary schools as regional computer/resource centers. They might have a lending library of computers, videodisc players, multi-media textbooks, and software for composing music or making films. The regional center might also provide services like counsel in the repair of technology, in operating electronic equipment, as well as help for those who need to function in a technological society but who do not wish to prepare for a trade. Through electronic connections to the virtual community college—as well as to online `peace corps technicians,’ such a district center could help with purchasing the right technology that retooled neighborhood schools are going to need.

  Many public school districts have are developed media centers, with the active cooperation of business corporations which are developing very sophisticated technology for schools. (See the advertisements in the T.H.E. (Technology Horizons in Education) Journal. Such a center's first task is training teachers, for example, to use tools like a video ency­clopedia—which includes film and video clips of major historical events-and other sophisticated resources. The center s software will make it possible for a teacher to line up segments in advance to be delivered at specific times to a particular class. It is not science fiction to suggest that such facilities and programs can be electronically interconnected for sharing, at first perhaps for poorer schools around the world to use at off-hours.

1.9.4. A PHILOSOPHY FOR EXCELLENCE

   A philosophy of self-directed, individualized education can empower people to create wealth and jobs--so they can pay for better ed­ucation, homes, health care--and to bring cultural enrichment into all lives and communities. So a global virtual Community College model must include more than technology and exchange of courses.  An adequate model will also provide for an entirely new kind of learning to replace the rote memorization and lecture method of so much existing education. Some experimentation in this direction can be seen in the “Learning College” program of the  League for Innovation in the Community College. It can focus on “life goals” and especially on teaching students “how to learn.” (Jamilah 2001)    http://www.pbs.org/als/revolution/tools/index.html,    http://www.league.org/league/projects.lep/ 

  A `learning’ community college, as contrasted with a `teaching’ college is defined by several changes that turn conventional college courses upside down. It seeks to change the usual understanding of how individuals learn by seeking to engage “learners as full partners in the learning process” and requiring them to assume full responsibility for their choices. This expands the options available to learners; assists them in forming and participating in “collaborative learning activities;” defines the job and roles of teachers as `learning facilitators’ who are guided by the needs of the learners;  and the testing of success, evaluation, and assessments are based upon the improvement and expanded learning of students.”

  The League for Innovation in The Community College proposed that it should not seem revolutionary for a college “to place learning first in every policy, program and practice in higher education;” not research, not politics, not spectator sports, but real learning!  This means that “everyone from janitor to chancellor becomes focused on improving learning,” not seat time, not courses, not grades, not publishing, not grants…but everyone learning and learning to learn, to think critically and creatively!  Those who are developing the idea insist that it will be very hard. They remind us of  “the old saw—it is easier to move the cemetery than to change the curriculum.” However, it is not just the curriculum that needs to be moved into the cemetery to provide room for something better. The traditional classroom must be changed to enable individuals to assume responsibility for their own learning; and not just in electronic distance education.

This shift is crucial for efforts to use distance learning, via electronic communications, and to reach the billion who cannot come to a conventional campus with its seat-time requirements for graduation. For the advocates of this “learning college’ idea, “the time-bound, place-bound, efficiency-bound and role-bound institution is not sufficient to the tasks facing us in the 21st century.” No longer do community colleges exist in an agricultural and industrial society alone, but in an a global information society where these radical changes are required if a global virtual higher education is to meet the essential needs of the new age.  Students need a lifelong continuing learning process where school is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Therefore a global virtual community college should be restructured from the ground up, beginning with the electronic learning center in every neighborhood and in times and places where the old methods are no longer adequate. Education reform movements in the past—and there has been little change in the typical college classroom across several centuries--“have merely pruned the branches of a dead tree. It is time to plant a new tree,” the League for Innovation in the Community College is saying. The tools needed are ready. So how can this necessary transformation be taken into neighborhoods and into a global effort to provide education for all? The `learning college’ developers themselves ask: “How can you invent a new, learner-centered  college?” We here expand that question to ask how it can be extended into a model for a global virtual community college.  

If the needed revolution in teaching and learning, in the information age, presents “difficult issues and immense challenges for higher education,” work must being on new global architecture to meet global education needs. Many poorer countries must—with international assistance--concentrate their efforts in first developing better education for chil­dren and for universal literacy, then for secondary schools and job training, and, third, for higher education for leadership and entrepre­neurial training to raise the economic level of the community and nation. All three of these can be brought into any neighborhood.

Perhaps the most significant ideas in the `learning community college’ concept will be difficult to implement until international telecommunications technology is cheaper and more advanced, but ways should be found to help distance learning students `work together in groups.” Some can, for example, work together on problems in their own geographic neighborhoods. It will be more difficult perhaps, even then,  to do online what Jamilah (2001) reports at a `model’ community college: “involve students in the design of the course; they take more responsibility (then) for their learning.” However, perhaps by mid-century students will also be involved in the design and continually redesigning of the global virtual community college itself. Love (2000) has argued that the global knowledge economy requires ways to reach huge numbers of students on a mass scale.

     Perhaps urban universities as well as  community colleges will network globally to serve all their neighborhoods, but they may better serve poverty neighborhoods only after undertaking the research required to develop better models and through sharing `best practices’ from around the world. As the UNESCO 1998 conference on higher education recommended, “links with the world of work can be strengthened, through the increased use of domestic and international apprenticeship/work‑study opportunities for students and teachers, the exchange of personnel between the world of work and higher education institutions and revised curricula more closely aligned with working practices As a lifelong source of professional training, updating and recycling, institutions of higher education should systematically take into account of trends in the world of work and in the scientific, technological and economic sectors. In order to respond to the work requirements, higher education systems and the world of work should jointly develop and assess learning processes, bridging programmes and prior learning assessment and recognition programmes, which integrate theory and training on the job. Within the framework of their anticipatory function, higher education institutions could contribute to the creation of new jobs, although that is not their only function.

There probably will be other and better models for a global virtual cooperation among community and colleges that will concentrate on neighborhood community. The goals stated by UNESCO direct higher education institutions to equip local populations with new skills needed for an information age. The United States has already become a ‘learning society, with more than 40 percent of the population in some organized learning situation. In urbanized countries where support is eroding because the schools are failing so many children, especially the disadvantaged, education leaders begin to see that everyone in the community must now be their con­stituency. Ultimately that means taking seriously the partnership of all kinds of schools with business and with all of the other educational and training institutions to provide adequate learning opportunities to meet the educational needs of everyone on the plane while also being significantly involved in the needs of society.

Return to Chapter 1.8 | Go to Chapter 1.10


 Bibliographic Notes.

  Ditlia, Steve.  1990. “The McDonald’s of Information.” PC Computing, October

  Eskow, Steve. No date. “Africa Virtual Community College.” Unpublished paper, Pangaea Network.

 Foreman, Joel. 2004. "Game-based Learning."  Educause, Sept./Oct 2004

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

 Jamilah, Evelyn. 2001. “A Community College Offers Directions for the Road of Life.” Chronicle of Higher  Education, October 12

 Kantrowitz, Barbara and Keith Naughton. 2001. “Generation 9-11.” Newsweek, Nov. 12

 Levin, John S, 2001. Globalizing the Community College. New York, St. Martins’s Press.

 Love, Patrick. 2000. “Education, New Economy, New Challenges. Foresight, October

Mageau, Therese. 1991. “Ten Smart Lessons for the 90’s.” Agenda,  spring issue

McMurtrie, Beth. 2001. “Community Colleges Become a Force in Developing Countries Worldwide.” The            Chronicle of Higher Education, May 25.

O’Banion, Terry. 1997. A Learning College for the 21st Century. American Council on Education

O’Donnell. J. J. 2001 To Youth Camp: A Long Farewell.” Educause. November.

Powell, Andrew. 1996. Lessons From Privilege. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Spier, Andrew. 1991. Personal Correspondence

Talbott, Steve. 2000. “Who’s Killing Higher Education.” Educom Review, March/April.

第九章 发展城市和乡村的社区和技术院校联合体,推动社区终身教育

(本章一些新增资料和修改神秘消失了,对此我们深感抱歉。)

 

电报刚刚发明之时,“彪骑快递”的第一反应是购买跑得更快的马,接下来他们是招募更好的骑手。他们并没有意识到整个的世界(由于电报的出现)已经今非昔比了。

——马布斯(Ray Mabus

一个我们能肯定的事就是:按老一套来做是不够的,要么我们塑造未来,或者未来塑造我们。不是我们主动改变,就是我们被改变。                   

——坎佩尔(John.R.Campell

对于目前的高等教育来说,最糟糕的莫过于学生还没有起来造反。

——塔尔玻特(Steve Talbott

 

全球全民教育的另一自下而上的视角是从地区和社区的需要出发。(参看2.15关于新型研究中的全球管理)。第二部中我们还讨论了如何解决大面积地区贫困问题的可能性,如赤道以南的非洲地区和大部分城镇地区。不管是为非洲贫困农村还是发展相当成熟的城镇地区制订规划,教育者都应从很好地利用当地的人际网络入手,而不是从外部强塞进来一个电子体系。可以通过仿真游戏让学生研究城镇社区。海因里奇(Heinrich)(见Forman2004a 报道了很多社区学院正在利用游戏开发项目来培养一代善于行动的人。这一代学生能够在教育的数码化年代“开创自己的学习环境”。

在本章我们讨论扎根于当地社区并紧密服务于当地需求的社区学院型的全球虚拟化的高等教育模式。这种自下而上的模式包括职业和技术学院和关注社区问题和需求的市区教育机构。这种社区教育联合体,如同众多的社区学院和城市高职院所做的那样,寻求和工业、企业的密切合作,对所有雇员进行在职培训和继续教育。同时这也意味着将基础教育和职业技术教育、农业院校、社区学院和城市大学有机地结合起来。这也需要以不同的方式来帮助每个人按他们自己的需求,发挥他们自己的主观能动性来学习。参阅<http://www.learningtimes.net/league.shtml>

这种全球战略将会重新建构自下而上的模式来重新构思和设计终身(不只是高等)教育,如通过构建学习社区来达到终身教育的目的。虽然一些自上而下的管理不可避免,但新的模式更强调自下而上的努力和协作,为人们从出生到暮年提供有机的、一体化的终身教育。可以从为全世界每个城市和乡村的社区提供所有信息入手并持续发展这种服务。希尔维(Jose Silvio)在一次在线研讨中,呼吁各地的高等教育机构都应该通过虚拟流动和流动学习的方式来寻求帮助社区发展的途径, 从而消除贫困和城乡差别。

举例来说,通过卫星传输的图片、照片可以为任何社区和地区提供有助的信息(纽约公立图书馆已经将几十万幅图片通过网络向全世界开放,译者加2005.3.26)。社区学院通常是服务于小范围社区的需求。全球的虚拟社区学院和技术学院虚拟联合体可关注世界各地的小范围社区的和个人的需求,参阅CARES1.3.2)的例子。该案例中所提到的对于需求问题,经济潜力和资源问题的研究为自下而上的教育战略规划奠定了基础,从而发展每个人的学习、促进生活技能的提高, 使每个人都能拥有一技之长而得到自己满意的工作机会。正如尤苏米(Utsumi)所指出的,小范围地区——比如资源有限的沙漠地区,人们可以在家里通过互联网工作,现在很多监狱中的服刑人员都在这样进行工作。比如说,他们可以为国际公司做信息处理和一些相关工作,这些工作都不受他们所处位置的影响。

1.9.0 关注地方工作机会

应该发展利用专门化教育的规划策略,在城镇和乡村的每一个社区帮助当地领导人满足当地的医疗、健康、住宅、水利建设和维护生态环境的需求,为创建社区文化,为社区中不同年龄层次的人提供教育。这就需要教育人们把充分利用好现有资源作为经济发展的侧重点,并在必要时引入外部资源,从而提高当地的收入水平。当一个国家的公司雇用其它国家的职工时,已经有很多人远离母公司的办公室而进行工作。这表明地方教育也可以和全球虚拟教育资源联接起来,培训居住在当地为其它国家的公司和项目工作的当地人。这些人虽然为国外公司和项目工作,但更愿意呆在自己熟悉的社区,运用自己的语言和文化。

全球虚拟社区学院和职业技术学院联合体还可以将自己的课程发展计划分为不同的模块,以满足该社区任何人的需求。另外一个使联合体和当地分支机构有效发挥作用的方法是检验他们是否在当地发展了足够的领导力、工作技能和动力,在当地有效地解决我们在第二部中所提到的人类所面临的主要问题和危机。

在悄然兴起的虚拟高等教育中,社区学院应该起到关键作用。社区学院可以通过和当地的初高中密切合作,研究各校的地理条件和潜在的发展空间,从而针对当地的工作市场需求培养人们相应的工作技能。可以努力在世界上每一个地区创建一个这样的社区职业技术学院,通过远程教育中心或是通过社区学习中心和社区密切联系(Fuchs 2000)。这些社区中心在为社区内每个人服务的同时(参看2.18,1.9.3),还应该特别重视将世界上所能得到的各种资源引入社区来帮助人们发展人生目标,职业规划,甚至帮助人们找到自己的使命,并开发出教育项目帮助人们实现自己的目标和规划。

在本书各处我们都在强调终身教育的理念,试图让人们了解18-24岁的人群只是高等教育的少数部分。在这种社区学院模式中,我们从另外的视角来审视高等教育。世界人口中有相当大的比例的人还得不到所需要的高等教育机会。很多人生活在痛苦和绝望之中——这种状况可能会导致将来的恐怖运动,为人类造成很多问题。社区学院可以看成是解决这个问题的地方,当人们意识到这种全球问题时,就会利用当地的社区机构将少数民族的青年人组织起来,在参加全球经济的同时,发展和丰富自己的文化、语言和传统。

欧多内尔(O’Donnell 2001)指出,20世纪90年代的远程教育“追求缺乏想象力的传统式教育模式”,只不过是运用新技术来实施老式的教学。现在学习不仅仅是传递信息和技能,新兴技术越来越能够帮助学习者提高学习主动性为满足自己终身学习的独特需求而做出具体规划本章的模式还要在此基础上再推进一步,使学习者以更大的热忱和主动性来研究他们自己社区的需求21世纪初的学习者会发现自己生活在人类历史上最困难的时期,面对着各种大的灾难和问题,像环境生态问题,贫穷饥饿问题,恐怖主义问题等等。但他们也有足够的工具和条件在全球规模下来解决所碰到的这些问题——这是历史上前所未有的。越来越多的学习者可以和国外学习者保持接触和联系,而这种接触和联系只不过是更大的合作网的试验性开端。将来会是具有共同兴趣的人在各自之间,学校和学校之间的更广泛的合作,从而给学习者一种新型的力量来成长为成熟的、受过良好教育的一代,成为为自己的家园需求和国际需求服务的新型领导者。这样的一代就会成为有能力解决自己当地问题,同时又服务全球需要的一代,避免自己的社区成为贫民区。

塔布洛特(Steve Tablote(http://www.oreilly.com/stevet/netfuture) 指出一种共识,即信息时代的新兴技术预示了我们所熟知的那种高等教育的终结。这并不意味着大学和其它高等教育机构的终结,而是“存有缺陷的旧式垄断”的终结。他指出,在很长一段时间,人们都认为教育只意味着将知识和信息从一个人的头脑传输到另一个人的头脑。这种填鸭式的教学是“无法在这场和计算机的角逐中竞争取胜的”。如果传输知识是教育的目的的话,那么教师和学生都将成为多余的。因为从一台计算机将信息传输到另一台计算机会比将信息传输到人的头脑效率高得多。而且,如果这就是教育的目的,学生可以很快从一个公司里买一个高级软件来达到这种目的。他说,需要教育者们认识到这种填鸭式的、生产线式和标准化考试式的教育“给学校和学生留下很少的发展空间”。他说较好的方式并不存在于教室,甚至也不在多媒体教室。他提醒大家说,每一个个体“都在这个世界上遵循一个独特的生命轨迹,教师如果不能关注学生的生命轨迹,其实就是教学的失败。由于这种失败,则无法从深层意义上评估学生的表现”

他认为,和学生同行生命的旅程(第3部还会再讨论此问题)就好比通过教师和学生一起成为学习者而促使教师和学生一起变化。这对教育机构来说也远非易事,需要所有人成为合作学习者。从地方而言,需要与过去截然不同的新型社区学校,每天24小时开放,提供各种各样的在线多媒体资源,来使由于受娱乐文化影响而迷失的一代青年找到生活更深层的意义(Powell 1996)。南非工会首先提供了一个有趣的例子,说明像在美国,印度和中国一样,在国家内部同时存在着发达的、发展中的和未发展的社区1990年的一份经两年研究得出的报告认为电子媒体和现代远程通讯系统能够帮助南非解决一些关键的问题。斯佩尔(Spier 1991)提出,富有想象力地应用电子媒体可以帮助南非解决下列问题:

1)巨大的人口增长, 其中50 左右的人口低于15岁。学费对于最需要教育的人群来说过于昂贵;

2)教育资金短缺,从而使班级庞大,师资质量低下,课程计划不切实际,缺乏基础设施、教学资料和实验室,很多学校没有电;

3)辍学率很高,只有5%的学生从高中毕业;

4)高等教育重学术轻应用,高职和技校资金短缺,教师急需培训和提高。

为了解决上述问题,一个非盈利组织的“学习合作联网系统”(LNC)培训科目专家,继而通过团队竞赛形式设计电子课件,面对各种需求大,教师少的科目研制出教学软件,同时兼顾学生学到的知识和能力在市场上的应用。该组织还提出建立配备工作站的社区学习中心,以便将课件传输到合作学习中心(下文称远程中心)。地方各公司的培训机构也可以提供学习资源,例如,1.2中提到的NTU模式,南非报告中称作“运用电子技术进行三级教育的最引人注目的模式”。

要达到上述目标,发展中国家需要发达国家一些合作伙伴的支持,形成联合国教科文组织所鼓励的那种国际合作和支持的良好机制。

 

1.9.1. 全球社区学院联合起来

马克默特利(McMurtrie  2001写道:“社区学院应成为在全球范围推动发展中国家的一种力量。”她说,在发展中国家,社区学院还是新生事物,因为高等教育一直以来只是精英教育。现在,像发达国家一样,到处都需要信息时代的新技术。马克默特利报道举例说,中国的卢湾社区学院没有校舍。该校利用一个中等职业学校的校舍作夜校。学校的校长希望该校能成为给成人提供学习计算机技术和下岗人员接受再培训的地方。他还希望通过和上海教师学院合作,给有能力的人提供准备高考的第二次机会。大部分发展中国家都没有注意到提供这种机会。她还报告说,中国有很多三年制的职业学校,但迄今为止,这些学校都和当地经济需求没有什么联系。因此,一个中国最贫困地区的高职院校在福特基金的支持下,正在和纽约市布朗克斯(Bronx社区学院和亚历桑那州的美萨(Mesa社区学院积极合作。

她还报道说,很多非洲,拉丁美洲和亚洲国家向德国的职业技术学校取经。每年也有来自发展中国家的成百上千人的人访问考察美国的社区学院。“创办社区学院时需要考虑当地的政府和经济状况,不同国家建立的社区学院有很大不同。”她说,墨西哥创立了44家技术学院的网络联盟,和工业界企业界密切合作。学生毕业前都要求实习, 实习带来的真正技能为他们求职带来很好的保障。在恰帕斯(Chiapas),由于那里的主要需求是农业,课程采取以当地的语言教授。

我们所讨论的联合体需要发展当地的,国家的和全球的合作,包括同政府机构,企业项目的,社区的或宗教团体的广泛的合作。印度的罗马天主教会在1990年代创建了61所社区学院并和美国俄亥俄州的辛克来尔 (Sinclair)社区学院和东爱荷华社区学院地区密切合作。他们提供汽车维修课程,常常由志愿教师利用借来的设备上课。在五年期间内他们为2000名以上的贫困人口提供了基本技能的培训。通过和企业的合作,他们也帮助开发课程,提供实习基地,并选派人员开设实践课程。虽然需要政府支持,这些社区学院的成功主要在于他们的灵活性,为各种学生服务,这些学生通常是由于某种原因高考落榜的学生。

在南非,企业界出资兴建技术学校来降低该国的高失业率。他们所遇到的窘境和在很多发展中国家所遇到的情况一样,政府官员不擅长管理学校。现存的学校只注重精英教育,忽视基础教育和提高贫苦民众的生存技能。马克默特利做出结论说,“美国的社区学院急切希望和国外类似教育机构分享他们的知识”,一些学校开展教师间的交流,将国外社区学院的教师请到自己学校参观考察,接受培训。另一些和肯尼亚、斯里兰卡等国的职业技术学校建立伙伴关系。国际教育、经济发展联合体帮助墨西哥的技术学校和美国和加拿大的社区学院建立关系。她引用亚利桑那州玛丽克帕(Maricopa)社区学院国际交流处处长的话说美国社区学院将和国际上职业技术学院的伙伴关系看成是课程开发的极好机会,而不仅仅是给教师提供到国外访问的机会。

             但是,我们现在所关注的是如何超越这种个体间的关系来建立一个全球的虚拟社区学院型的体系,使之在全球实施全民基本教育方面发挥重要的作用。对于全球社区虚拟学院联合体以及相关联的远程教育中心来说,在贫穷农村和城镇社区提供所需的教师是不是一定要有校园呢?如果大部分课程都可以由虚拟机构提供的话,是否可以节约大笔费用呢?或者我们可以借鉴现有的一些模式?

            有一个“非洲虚拟社区学院”的教育发展计划就充分利用信息技术网络作为发展教育和促进民主的项目。EDDI是在加纳和美国由教育界、学术界、企业界、学生、政府以及USAID官员进行三年对话后而形式的非洲虚拟社区学院项目(过去已经有非洲虚拟大学)。这种新型的虚拟社区学院将通过信息技术给更多的高中毕业生提供接受高等教育的机会,因为现有高等教育机构只能容纳极少数高中毕业生。这种计划是使这些学生能直接进入合作的美国社区学院而不必离开家就可以学习。这些美国社区学院向加纳学生提供各种当地社区所需要的技术和职业教育。

            讨论还谈到如何促进相互交流和支持,包括将非洲的有关组织机构和相应的美国机构牵线搭桥的计划,从而开创下列局面:

            1,美国成立一个学习服务工作队的志愿者组织,每年招募美国学生到非洲国家服务一年,如同美国的“学习服务”工作队和世界上日益增长的将和平工作队和其它国家各种服务经历和正规学习结合起来的运动。举例来说,美国学生可以帮助非洲的妇女手工艺合作社建立起财政收支计划;计算机专业的学生可以帮助远程中心进行技术指导和技术维护。这些服务成为他们教育计划中社区服务的一部分,和他们自己学校的导师一起制定学习服务计划,导师通过指导他们撰写论文总结他们服务经历来帮助他们。

            2,实施计划不仅只是通过网络提供课程,而是开创一个在线指导发展的环境,支持非洲的公司雇主、政府官员、教授、教师和职业团体,使非洲的各团体各部门都能从和美国的相关团体和机构的对话、合作中获益。

            3,计划提出由美—非技术委员会和非洲类似规划管理机构的研究公司根据雇主、政府机构、学生和其它各类人的实际需求,建立一个美—非顾问委员会。该委员会由下列各方面代表组成:教育、技术、远程通讯、政府、企业、工业、国际机构和非政府组织比如宗教团体,以及职业协会等。该顾问委员会将完善计划,寻求基金资助。

            美国方面参加该项目的是社区学院联合体,他们的介入不仅丰富美国方面的课程和项目,并且创立虚拟学习社区以及社会关系网络,将非洲各国以及非洲和其它国家之间联接起来。这种全球教育的实验基于这样的理念:学院不应只是课程的集合,而是一个有利于学习的复杂的环境包括人力资源,诸如图书馆员、咨询师、教师;学术、智力资源;书籍、影视资料和实验室;以及学习的空间,如办公室、研讨室、教室和演讲厅等等

在这种模式中,每个非洲国家都会有一个在线校园,比如加纳虚拟社区学院或日旺达虚拟社区学院。每一个在线校园都会有下列网上空间:学习中心、图书馆、咨询中心、以及和当地需求相关的各种中心,比如“妇女中心”或“小型工业中心”等等。和此类结构相应的是美国的合作社区学院联合体中的每个学院也在自己的真实校园之外建立虚拟校园,并和非洲虚拟社区学院的各相关网站连接起来,诸如图书馆等等。

这种模式由于是和各种文化合作建立起来的,拥有互相交流互相分享机制,将和大多数欧美国家现在向国外学生提供的远程教育课程大不相同。另外,除了分享课程资源外,加纳和加利福尼亚合作进行的初期实验将强调促进非洲和非洲人的社会对话关系网络的建设,当非洲学生和美国学生在网络上“会面”时就会建立一种关系,这种关系可以通过讨论和互相学习促进经济发展和建立工作机会。

因为在线虚拟机构相对便宜,虚拟学院将拓展日益增多的各种专门空间来召开研讨会、工作论坛和培训/研修班,将非洲各团体机构和美国的以及其它国家的各团体、机构联接起来。大部分的项目议题会由各地的非洲机构通过确定自己的需求,再经过新的论坛和项目形式直接服务于非洲各地类似的需求。美国社区学院通常是提供发展教育和补习教育,同样,这种教育也可以帮助非洲学生解决语言、文化和教学的问题。

在这种背景下,学习项目将会设计的既满足个人发展又满足社区发展的需求,形成一种和雇主以及当地学习合作团体的关于社区需求的持续对话,充分理解当地的和个人的需求,针对社区需求发展起来的、满足各年龄段教育需求的从幼儿园到高等教育的教育资料可以通过异地分享来进行,并使之适应于当地的文化和社会需求。首先,这种资料应满足当地的需求,进一步满足社会发展和文化发展的需求,同时也适应于个人的需求。在各种情形下,都可以尽量地引入世界各地的相关的和合适的课程、课程模块或各种资源。

最终,每个乡村和地区都需要建立一个“远程中心”或是“社区学习中心”,很多这种中心正如雨后春笋在各地涌现出来。

 

1.9.2社区学习中心(参看2.18

我们从地方出发提出建立社区学习中心的社区教育发展模式。这可以从在当地的一所学校建立一个远程学习中心开始,并和该地区的虚拟社区学院合作,逐渐提供更多的成人教育课程。

几年前在俄勒冈提出建立一个全范围的中心,授权各地的商店销售或租借软件或设备。这些商店以小时计费使儿童、商人、成人学习或其它行动组织通过网络联接到世界上10000个计算机网络和成千万的各门学科的数据库上(参看Ditlen 1990)。这是不是提出了一个使贫困地区能够利用到网络资源和相应设备的一个有用的模式?比如说,如果一个人需要付10元钱租用研究设备联接到全球的生态保护数据库的话,如果一个当地的生态专家俱乐部有十人分摊这项费用,每人只需付1元,如果100个成员,每人只需付10分。同样偏远地区的教师和学生也可以以较低的费用租借高质量的教育硬件和软件,比如录象资料、光盘资料、多媒体课件、在线图书馆服务等等。

当然,各地学习中心所需要的电子学习资料都不相同。第一个成功的模式是1985年在丹麦成立的“农村远程信息服务中心”。该模式很快就传遍了斯堪的那维亚各地。一些位于各地的图书馆和学校,另一些在一些重新整修的屋子里,只要能够有足够的空间安放计算机、

调制解调器、录像机、打印机、复印机,以及大量的软件就行。这些中心在很多上千人社区都起到了远程教育、信息服务、远程会议和远程咨询的作用。由于这样的中心丰富了农村的生活,为农村的生活带来了巨大的变化,在苏黎士的日内亚成立了远程服务中心协会。我们在2.18对发展中国家的越来越多的远程中心作更详细的介绍。

            麻省理工学院的尼格洛泊尼(Nicolas Negroponee)曾在《有线杂志》上撰文提出,重新塑造教育要从争取世界上一半学校成为一间教师,学校由一个教师向各种年龄的学生授课入手,很多教育者认为这种一间学堂的学校不够标准。其实,一些这样的学校可能比市区大型的学校优越,在当地的教师/指导者/咨询师充分利用网络资源并使之适用于每个个人需求时,一间学堂的学校有可能成为将来电子教育的模式。这种小型学堂以一种人性化的环境更容易产生丰富的学习经历。年长的学生帮助年幼的学生,每一个人以自己的速度和方式进行学习,学生也可以和父母密切接触。为了这种和其它原因,尼格洛泊尼更乐意将电子教育优先带给世界上这类的学校。这个计划可能是最容易实现的消除贫穷的计划(参见1.3.7)。有一批科学家和学者声称,他们的小学教育就是在一间学堂里进行的,他们认为比目前他们的孩子在城市大型学校里所接受的教育要强得多。但是,有一类需要说明,他们所经历的一间学堂有全社区的人的关注。对于没有计算机或足够的技术联接的学习中心,应该有CD播放器、传真机和必须的通讯联接使他们获得必要的学习资料。另外,虽然大部分非洲人讲英语,很多教育资料都应该逐渐通过计算机互动翻译,翻译成各种当地语言。

            所以,本章提出的将来农村教育模式是在农村地区建立这种一间学堂,亦即当地每个人都可以利用的中心,白天为学生学习使用,晚上和周末由成人学习使用。本书系列第二部还要具体谈到地方社区组织的重组,通过构建学习合作组和当地的学校和地区的社区学院密切合作,支持从幼年到暮年的终身学习。他们还提出要为村民们建立知识系统,一方面提供现存的可利用的各种知识,一方面提供需求信息,将村民们联接到最有用的信息源。

            一位参与构建虚拟全球社区学院的退休大学校长认为延伸大学作用的观念很有帮助,可以将大学的作用推及全球。他说应该将全球社区大学联合体看作是纵向的整合体系,而不是横向的合作机构,这样的合作没有上级总体的人控制。他说在传播这种模式时和所有远程教育和全球教育策略一样,我们需要将“信息流通”的想法流行化,即确保新思想、新项目、新发展能很快传播到世界各地,并为当地人很快采用。这就需要在社区层面有很强的当地和社区的基础支持。他说,在非洲,很多当地社区的组织工作是由教堂和宗教组织进行的。

            一个社区学习中心能够激励学习者个人(或是家庭和儿童)来确定自己的需求和对自己的学习作出主动规划。每个当地的学校和图书馆都应该每天24小时开放电子学习中心,学生白天使用,企业晚上使用,成人夜间或周末使用。还应该在学校放假期间为成人提供短期课程帮助他们制订下阶段终身学习的计划。

(1)       和技术知识联网(网络和平工作队)

(2)       和同类学校的联网(语言、文化、需求、问题等)

(3)       和全球虚拟社区学院的联网(当地工作培训、创业技能等

(4)       和网络图书馆联网(包括进行高级研究的特殊可能性)

(5)       和远程医疗、医药资源联网

(6)       和教师教育资源联网

7  当地学习合作组围绕当地的基本需求进行学习,包括工作培训、创业技能、食物生产、住宅建设、罪犯公正、政府运作、生产收入、生态环境等等,当地的管理模式可以借鉴各地有类似需求的社区的管理模式。所有牵涉到的团体和人际网络关系和服务机构都应该建立全方位双向沟通机制。

8  有一个类似于学校懂事会的“消费者合作团体”(所有学习者参加的组织),推举学校懂事会成员,要求通过3个月的网络的上岗培训,并和其它地区的学校懂事会保持网络联系,交流看法、经验和分享成功的案例。这种自下而上的关系应由当地学习中心向地区学习中心、同地区的国家,然后向全球传送代表。

伊利诺伊的十五个社区学院在执行一个项目的第一年积累了大量经验的基础上提出了下述六条标准:1)配备计算机和互联网;2)配备技术支持;3)联接到图书馆;4)咨询服务;5)宣传;6)《---------------------------》。每个学院都充分利用了现存的物理空间,如:学习咨询服务中心,计算机实验室、图书馆、测试中心,等等。

1.9.3 全球联合社区学院所做出的贡献

为了达到上述目标应组织联合社区学院,在全球形成社区学院网络联盟,使不同国家可以共享利用信息技术方面的资源、经验,借鉴成功模式和可能性,推动教育界官僚们(各国都有这么一批人)理解和支持一些教育实验活动,并给有关人士展示如何使电子技术质优价廉地为教育服务。

下一步的挑战是如何争取构建学习社会,使每个家庭、每个学校和学习中心都有丰富的学习机会。这只是对一个方面共享情形的说明,当世界人口从60亿增长到100亿时,就不会有足够的资金向全民提供适度的教育。但是,还是可以从两方面做出推动。

共享知识和技能。人类早就了解到在资源紧缺的情况下,如果人们互相协作,互相分享,就会产生较大的效益。另外,最需要的东西:知识和技能并不短缺——这种供给几乎是无限的。事实上,知识和技能分享得越多增长得越快!更重要的是,将来的信息技术会提供共享的新形式,使接收方获益,给予方并不会因此而减少自己的知识量。再者,如同第六章所谈到的,如果每个社区学院都将自己最擅长的一个专业和世界上其他社区学院分享,这种资源就会越来越丰富、充实。这种模式将会在全球大大地改变目前早已过时的教育机构和学科结构,就像过时的工厂模式早已被新型模式所代替一样

图书馆借阅系统就是一个很好的例子,如果你要借的书当地图书馆没有,就会从地区图书馆帮你索借,如果地区没有就再联系州立图书馆或大学图书馆,使你最终能看到你所需的书籍,但是这也有一定的限制,也许这本书哪里也没有,或是已经很破旧不适合外借。现在需要考虑的是出色的教育怎样可以使一个大洲和另一个大洲共享资源。

和当地的教师或当地的社区学习组织者互相激励和共享技能。全球联合社区学院另一个主要贡献是提供大师,对具体问题给予指导,而这些大师可能是在其他地区或国家,那些使系统正常运转的技术员也可能在其他城镇或国家。马格(Mageau 1991)就已经预见了这种理想的结果:

——激励和鼓动退休教师

——做教育改革的积极媒介

——提供持续培训使每个人都能成功使用新技术

——帮助为每一个学生提供平等的学习机会

——帮助每个人认识到学习是人类生存最关键的能力。

共享“租借的设备”。一个美国影视公司计划在很多发展中国家兴建“娱乐中心”,一流的数码技术使这些中心能够下载得奖游戏和摇滚乐演唱会实况直播,该公司宣称这些中心的空余时间可以借给当地人用来进行教师培训或提供专业课程。如果最新的电影可以从好莱坞瞬时传到欧洲,这些通常只在晚上和周末利用的设备为什么不能共享来服务与教育目的呢?

同样的例子不仅局限于娱乐公司,很多发展中国家的一些社区引进的用于企业和医疗健康事业的设备和技术在其空余时间也可以用于教育。通过卫星下载到录像机或光盘的一些一流电子资料,也许可以以教育类专用的方式提供给最贫困地区的学校。

共享课程。联合社区学院的成员在和一些小型社区学院或职业技术学院协作的同时,也可以和一些大型机构共享资源。比如一个学校可以通过电子联网和政府机构共享医疗、健康教育、生态环境教育或公民教育资源。某个中心可能以手工艺制品而擅长,可以利用计算机软件设计艺术作品,并通过软件来谱曲或保存当地的音乐与文化。另一个中心可以起到信息中心的作用,提供求职培训课程,包括面试准备、职业咨询、在线面试技巧等等。还有一个中心可能会提供一种课程,帮助残疾人、住院病人、监狱犯人和刚毕业返回家乡的学生利用计算机网络所提供的一周每天都有的在线课程和辅导材料进行学习。利用在线资料,联合社区学院和校区的教师就不用全程准备每一门课程,这样就可以腾出精力来精心准备一种要和全球共享的代表自己特长的独特课程。这门课程可能是关于自己地区或州的历史和文化,或是其他方面的专长。

2002年元月,拥有五万一千多名学生的西雅图社区学院和几个远程课程开发公司合作开始一个项目,通过流媒体向全世界900个教育机构提供30门宽带网络课程http://www.iriseducation.org 。第一轮提供的课程有科学、社会科学、企业管理等等。发展中国家的人们可能会觉得这种课程还是比较贵,必须要有DSL或是有线联接,所以这首批课程旨在供学校和有关部门使用。但这种实验确实指出了利用新兴技术实现全民教育的前景。《教育事业评论》20019月刊报道了8所社区学院电子共享联盟进行合作项目节省了大笔开支,每个学院支付了二万七千美元后就可共享价值21万六千美元的软件。

特别是在贫困的第三世界国家的地区和城市,重铸教育的重心应放在利用当地的中学或高中作为地区的计算机中心或资料中心。也可以由一个图书馆来租借计算机、放映机、多媒体课本、谱曲或摄影的软件。地区中心可以提供技术咨询、设备操作、维修指导,使那些只会使用设备和技术而不懂维护和维修的人得到足够的帮助。通过和社区学院的联网和与“技术和平工作队”的联网,这些地区学习中心可以帮助购置改造当地学校所需要的技术设备。

很多公立学校拥有设备一流的多媒体中心,他们和一些为学校研制教学和管理软件技术的公司积极合作(参看《教育的技术视野》)。这种中心的首要任务是培训教师,使他们掌握如何最佳地利用光盘百科全书,其中包含有关主要历史事件的电影和录像片段以及其他各种多媒体资料。中心的软件可以使老师能够将所选取的片段按所需的顺序排列起来,为某个课程按计划播放。这些设备和课程都能够通过电子网络和世界上贫困地区的学校共享——这已经不是科学幻想了。

 

1.9.4 追求卓越的理念

自我导向,个性化教育的哲学能够促进人们创造财富和拓展工作,这样他们则有能力支持教育开支,赡养家庭,注重保健,参与购买医疗保险,既而丰富社区的文化和生活。所以,全球虚拟社区大学模式不仅仅是技术和课程的交换,完善的模式还应该提供一种全新的学习模式,这不同于现存教育只侧重记忆的课堂学习。在这个方向上所做的实验可以从社区学院创新团队的“学习型学院”的项目中窥见一斑。这个项目以促进学生了解“人生目标”为中心,并特别注重引导学生学会“如何学习”(Jamilah 2001http://www.pbs.org/als/revolution/tools/index.html http://www.league.org/league/projects.lep/

一个学习型的社区学院和过去教学型的社区学院有很多不同之处,起最重要的一点就是颠覆了传统课程的理念。通过对个人是如何学习的理解,该项目寻求将学生作为学习过程中的完全伙伴,并要求他们对自己的选择承担全部责任,这样就扩大了学生的选择空间,帮助他们组织和参加“合作学习活动”,将教师的角色和工作定义为“学习的促进者”,围绕学生的需求设计课程,对学习效果的测评基于学生学习能力的提升和改善。

社区学院中的“创新团队”倡导说,“高等教育中的每一项改革、每一个科目、每一次实践都应该把学习放在首位”。这意味着学校中的每个人,从楼管员到校长都应该变得注重改善学习,不是指学习的时间,不是指课程,不是指成绩,不是指出版,不是指获得多少研究基金,而是真正的学习,每个人都在学习,又都在学习如何学习,如何能够批判性地创造性地思考。那些设计出这些理念的人提醒我们大家,要想实现这些理念是非常困难的,因为曾经很多有识之士都说过:“改变课程比掘某家的祖坟还要困难。”然而,并不仅仅是要将旧的课程习惯送入坟墓,从而为新的课程理念腾出空间,就连传统的教室也应有彻底的改变,从而使学生有相应的空间可能为自己的学习负责,这不仅仅是指远程学习。

这种转变对通过电子通讯技术而进行远程学习非常关键,对那些上十亿的不能够到学校学习,完成不了在校学习时数的人来说无疑是一种福音。倡导“学习型学院”的人士认为,过去那种受时间、地点、效率、角色等限制的学校学习方式是无法满足培养21世纪人才需求的。社区学院已经不是处于农业或工业化时代,而是处在一个全球信息化社会中。如果学校想要应对这个全球化时代的需求,就必须发生根本性的变化。学生需要的是终身持续学习的机会,所以要求学校每天24小时、每周7天、全年365天对外开放。

所以全球虚拟社区大学应该重新构建,在社区创建一个不受时间和班级限制的电子学习中心。过去几个世纪的教育改革都成效甚微,原因是都只动了皮毛而没有涉及学习的根本理念,就像为死去的树修剪枝叶。“创新团队”说,现在是需要种出新树的时候了,我们已经拥有了所需的工具。那么,这种必要的根本性转变怎样引入社区,又这样扩展为全球的努力来为所有的人提供教育呢?“学习型学院”的开创者们提出“如何设计一个新型的,以学习为中心的学院呢”的问题,在此我们将这个问题扩展为如何建成一个全球性的虚拟社区学院?

如果信息时代所需要的教和学方面的革命代表着对高等教育的最重大的挑战和最难解决的问题,就必须开始重塑新型的全球教育结构来满足全球教育的需求。很多贫困国家,在国际援助下,必须集中精力首先发展为了儿童和通用知识的教育,接下来是初中教育和职业培训,第三,发展高等教育和创业培训,从而提升社区和国家的经济水平,这三种层次的发展适用于各个国家。

也许这种非常有意义的“学习型社区学院”的理念只有在国际远程技术更先进和更便宜的情况下才能得到广泛实施,但即便是在目前也能够找出办法来帮助远程学习的学生“进行小组学习”。举例来说,有一些人可以和其他人合作解决他们自己地区的问题。即便是这种情况,要实施吉米拉(Jamilah 2001)所报道的社区学院模式“让学生自己设计课程,他们就会对自己的学习更加负责”也需要花很大力气。然而,到本世纪中期,学生可能就会更踊跃地加入对全球虚拟社区学院的设计和再设计的持续努力中来。拉夫(Love 2000)争论说全球化知识经济要求采取积极的方式使教育以大规模的方式服务于学生。

也许大学和社区学院能够建立网络关系来为全球的社区服务,但是只有当通过研究和向全世界最好的经验学习之后才能对贫穷地区提供更好的服务。1998年联合国教科文组织高等教育大会提出通过不断加强利用国内和国际的各种联系为学生和教师提供工作和学习的机会,教师应该在高等教育机构和真实的工作领域多做交流,课程的改革也应该更接近工作实际的需求。作为职业培训和终身教育资源的高等教育机构应该不断开发和循环利用资源,应该系统地思考工作领域、科技领域以及经济领域的变化趋势。为了应对将来工作的需求,高等教育机构和工作领域应该联合开发和评估学习项目、学习过程,将所学项目和当前的学习评估和建议联系起来,在工作过程中将理论与培训有机地结合在一起。如果前瞻作用发挥得好,高等教育应该对开拓新的工作领域做出贡献,尽管这不是高等教育机构的唯一功能。

临近社区的全球虚拟社区与学院之间可能还会有其他更好的合作模式。联合国教科文组织所提出的目标倡导高等教育机构为当地人民提供新的所需技能以应对信息时代的到来。美国已经成为一个学习型社会,其40%的人口正处于有组织的学习环境中。在一些处于城市化进程中的国家里,大量学生从学校学习中辍学,特别是那些处于不利地位的学生,这使其支持率大幅度下降,他们的教育领导者开始看到目前社区中的每一个人都会是他们的选民。最终,这意味着所有的学校与商业、与所有其他教育及培训机构要通力合作,在满足社会的需求的同时为满足地球上每一个人的教育需求提供充足的学习机会

 

 

The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education: For All Worldwide: A Holistic View
http://ecolecon.missouri.edu/globalresearch/chapters/1-09.html
For more information contact Parker Rossman
July 12, 2006 -- Copyright © 2002-2005 Parker Rossman