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For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)


This 3-volume online book on the future of lifelong education for everyone in the world has been translated by Professor Fan Yihong  Professor of Education Leadership, Institute of Education Research, Xiamen Universityand her team at the Institute of Education Research, Xiamen University for pulication by China Ocean University Press in 2006 and 2007, in P.R. CHINA. . Note translation into Chinese at the end of the sections of the first volume here online.

Special apprecation is due to Fan Yihong for her dedicated work and for her saying at the UNIQUAL 2005 conference at the Norway University of Science and Technology that "students... are getting very inspired by the bigger vision presented by (Rossman's)_book for the future of higher education and are trying to get ready for more broader collaborations with researchers and educators from different parts of the world

"The "we" used in this book also recognizes the assistance of Thomas Maxwell (this project was first online at the University of Maryland,) Alfred Bork, Arun Tripathi,  Michelle Rossman and more others than can be named, including faculty and students in  Hawaii and elsewhere who have used sections or chapters in class, and of course to the variety of information and discussions on the World Wide Web. Little of this online project could have been accomplished with out the expert technical assistance of Stan Wood at the University of Missouri, Columbia, CARES. For space reasons, only one name is used in text citations where there is more than one author

I especially thank Takeshi Utsumi and his colleagues around the world who have taught me so much and who continue to do so daily; and also all of the participants in online discussions of these issues as on the DEOS listserv from Penn. State University and the WAOE listserv.  I appreciate many comments and suggestions from readers,  including those received during an online conversation with people in Asia. An interview article about the hopes and intentions of this project is appended at the end of the acknowledgements section. Presentation at Classical University of Lisbon conference on university futures: <http://cie.fc.ul.pt/seminarioscie/universidade/pross.htm>

This is a sequel to The Emerging Worldwide Electronic University,  (Praeger 1993). A revision of some of it that appears here as an introductory chapter was published in the January 1998 issue of SIMULATION, the journal of the Society for Computer Simulation International. A version of chapter 2 was presented at the World Brain Workshop at the University of Calgary, Canada, in June 1997. Special appreciation is due to Professor H. J. A Goodman for that invitation and for his assistance in updating material included in my first volume. Also British experts Alan Mayne on H.G. Wells and Jan Wyllie, author of Global Learning: Constructing the World Mind; library scientists Boyd Rayward from Australia and Dean Glynn Harmon of the University of Texas; physicists Gustav Mayer-Kress (German) and Francis Horber (French but at the Einstein Inst. In Switzerland) and many others at the workshop. I also acknowledge Wildman and Gridley's "World Brain as a Metaphor for Holistic higher Education" from the World Wide Web.

Special appreciation is due to many people at UNESCO, especially Marco Antonio Dias who is writing in Spanish on the future of higher education, and many at the University of Missouri who counseled me on one chapter or another, especially Chris Fulcher, economists Uel Blank and  Ken Miller; Andrew Twaddle on world medical care, Elmer Kiehl, former Dean of the College of Agriculture and Bill Wickersham on governance and peace; and to those who participated in the Global Knowledge 97 conference in Toronto, sponsored by the World Bank and the Canadian government and those like Yolanda Gayol at the World Bank symposium which preceded it.

Parts of chapter 7 were put online for discussion by the U.S. Peace Institute Foundation.  The sections on Africa, and especially chapters 17 and 18 were critically read by Magnus John of Sierra Leone and of the British Open University. Sections of chapters 17 and 18 were prepared for a panel organized for a World Bank Symposium at Pennsylvania State University in May-June, 1997. I appreciated the counsel of participants there, especially Peter Knight of the World Bank and Michael Moore, head of the American Research Center on Distance Education. Central concepts for this book were prepared for the first conference on international distance education at Pennsylvania State and were published in an interview in the American Journal of Distance Education and in my article, "Collective Intelligence and Teamwork: Some New Faculty Roles in Distance Education" in Internationalism in Distance Education: A Vision for Higher Education, the report of that 1994 conference edited by Melody Thompson. I wish to thank my wife, Jean, and daughter, Kristen, for manuscript assistance. And of course I should thank the Internet Society and everyone who is cited in the bibliography!

Many of the individuals who ought to be thanked are given credit in footnotes. I appreciated the suggestions on enhancing `the brain and memory' from Ben Houston of Canada, who I met at the 2001 Global Brain conference in Belgium. Chapter One, volume One, profited greatly from suggestions by President Emeritus John Campbell of Oklahoma State University and from Paul Miller, former president of the University of West Virginia and Rochester Tech. 

The opportunity to serve as member of the board and  chair of the Long Range Planning Committee of the University of the World project gave me the opportunity to 'pick the minds' of government leaders and educators from five continents who were planning on the education of the future; such as Kjell Samuelson of Sweden, Lord Perry of Walton and the British Open University, the systems theorist James Grier Miller, Ambassador Jose Chavez, James Maraj of the Commonwealth of Learning, Rashmi Mayur of India, President Peter Meincke and many others at Educom conferences. It is impossible to list all those on five continents who have spent comments and suggestions as this has been updated, but their guidance and help continues to be greatly appreciated.

I have made revisions to take account of comments of peer reviewers of the interview article below.

-- Parker Rossman


The Future of Higher Education Project:
An Interview with Parker Rossman

go to previous version

I first encountered Parker Rossman's work in the early nineties via his groundbreaking The Emerging Worldwide Electronic University: Information Age Global Higher Education (Rossman, 1992). When I saw that his current project is a freely accessible online book-in-progress on the future of lifelong and higher education, I asked if he were available for an interview so that Technology Source readers could learn about and participate in this project. He graciously consented to the interview.

James L. Morrison [JM]: Parker, I note on your website that you have three book-length volumes concerning the future of higher education: Volume I, The Future of Higher (Lifelong) Education and Virtual Space; Volume II, Research On Global Crises, Still Primitive?; and Volume III, Future Learning and Teaching.

What struck me in particular was your note asking readers to contact you if they saw errors, or if they could contribute Web site URLs or items of information that were pertinent to the material. As these notes indicate, you clearly regard this to be a work in progress. Certainly this project is in keeping with the free online scholarship movement described by Peter Suber in our September/October issue (2002). It is also a great way to develop the manuscripts relatively quickly, although this "moving target" will be difficult for people who need to cite your work in their papers. What do you expect to accomplish via this technique?

Parker Rossman [PR]. My objective is to examine the ways a global virtual education system can come into existence, and to raise questions about needed research and more comprehensive planning on learning, teaching, and overcoming the problems (such as hunger, bad health, war, and revolution) that stand in the way of providing education for everyone in the world. I realize that education for all is impossible, but perhaps only in the sense that the US, out of necessity, accomplished what was "impossible" after the attack on Pearl Harbor. I assume that H.G. Wells was right when he said that civilization is in a race between education and disaster. So I am willing to be audacious—as someone retired and with no axe to grind—to initiate a project that might at least stimulate thinking and discussion.

For thirty years or more I have been studying the university, higher education, and academia in the developing world. In the 1980's I began to see the emergence and potential of a global virtual university, which culminated in a book (Rossman, 1992) that was widely read and used, and led to my being invited to lecture in various countries. Then the next year Praeger published it as a paperback in their Contributions to the Study of Education series (Rossman, 1993). Developing world delegates to the 1997 UNESCO conference on higher education in Paris complained that it was too expensive for them. So I said that I would put a sequel online, free to anyone in the world. I asked that in return they send me feedback and suggested links. And I have now accomplished this.

JM: Doesn't your online manuscript deal with far more than higher education? Your classification is a bit confusing to me, because each volume looks like a book. Why not say that you have three books on the Web?

PR: It must be one book if it is to be holistic. It should introduce all of the needs and problems that must be dealt with at once as we enter a time of lifelong education. "Education for all" must include programs for pre-kindergarten children, for primary and secondary school age learners, and for college students. It must also include continuing educational programs that foster job skills, career planning, and hobbies, as well as special interest programs for senior citizens. Instead of talking about a "global university," the time has come to explore possibilities for a global virtual education system.

JM: Then why do you keep speaking of the "future of the university?" 

PR: It is also my assumption that the university, however it changes, will continue to be the major research center for all education. It will be a crucial locus of educational vision and the gathering place of scholars and educators. There will continue to be residential campuses for those who can afford them, and higher education institutions will continue to be the springboard for online education for all—all places, all ages, all needs, lifelong, in the world. Now is the time to begin online planning on how to accomplish that.

JM: Aren't you taking an anti-corporate stance when the global programs you propose must have the financial support of commercial businesses that are already tremendously influential in education?

PR: No anti-corporate stance is intended. Elite and avant-garde profitable products will continue to thrive. As in many potential areas of conflict or competition, we do not face an either/or situation. Alongside the elite must be the best that can be provided for billions of people. Big business has a well-established role, but it will continue to devote itself to areas where money can be made. Any aid given to poverty areas will likely be seen as charity until experimentation provides mass-produced products that can be profitable.

JM: What are your other assumptions?

PR: I begin with other theses that are also debatable and that propose conversation about larger-scale planning. In fact, I wish that this project could stimulate online global conferences—at least on the scale of the 1997 UNESCO conference that anyone in the world could audit online, and with developing world educators encouraged to participate online as in the 1997 Global Knowledge Conference I describe in Volume 2, Chapter 4. Anyone in the world should be helped, not only to listen in, but to set up and participate in spin-off discussions.

Therefore, one assumption is that larger-scale online discussions are now an urgent need. There are many online mailing lists on many aspects of education, globally and locally, but they are not coordinated, nor are they integrated into a global planning process. Their archives are not cross-indexed.

A second assumption is that within two decades we will have powerful new technologies that will make it possible for us to do things never before possible. For example, one might consider the computing power that thousands of inter-linked supercomputers will be able to provide in concert with a more intelligent "Internet3" or "Internet 4." We need to begin preparing for these new possibilities now, rather than only trying to keep up with current or emerging technological tools.

Third, it will soon be possible to accomplish the UNESCO goal of "education for all." The Internet, Web, and their successors can bring essential education to nearly everyone in the world, when and where it is needed, across an individual's lifetime.

Furthermore, much education can be automated—and inexpensive, as Alfred Bork and Gunnesdottir (2001) have demonstrated—for those who cannot afford to go to a campus, or to purchase expensive courses online. The poor will be able to obtain basic education, literacy (including multimedia literacy), political savvy, entrepreneurial skills, and agricultural skills; those with ability will be able to move on to advanced education online. The technology available in a particular neighborhood or village of a developing nation will determine what learning resources can be initially provided (battery-powered CD-ROM and radio can, for example, be used until Internet connections are established).

Another possibility is the ability of educators to conduct global-scale research and be more holistic and transdisciplinary, bringing together many pieces of research and experience that are now separate, but that exist around the world (see National Science Foundation/Department of Commerce, 2002). This is especially true as educators seek to cope with crises that limit educational opportunity in the developing world, such as hunger, mental and physical health, poverty, warfare and revolution, and ecological problems. We must approach crisis-scale global problems simultaneously, rather than one at a time. It is now possible for helping agencies to better coordinate their efforts.

I see a global virtual university already coming into existence. Maybe it need not be organized and planned, but it is evolving on a biological model. The five models I propose in Volume 1 to stimulate discussion and the imagination, might all be part of one virtual institution. This idea of what consortia might do for the developing world is discussed in 1.6 (liberal arts colleges), 1.7 (for-profit institutions), 1.8 (major research universities), 1.9 (a local need based consortium of community colleges), and 1.10 (land-grant university professional schools, especially those that prepare teachers and physicians).

JM: What kinds of constructive criticism or negative feedback are you getting?

PR: Well, the list is long. I try to cover too much. Some of the data and information is out of date. Web URL addresses disappear, which limits my ability to include links to the latest research in order to avoid providing excessive detail in the text. Also, different readers come with expectations that are not met. In discussing technology, for instance, how can we address those who are technological experts, and those in the developing world whose knowledge is as yet limited? My project seems out of focus in that it struggles with the nature and future of the university in a time of lifelong education, and with the added problem of how to provide education for everyone in the world.

JM: How much of this project do you do by yourself?

PR: Only a little bit. I have many partners who do not know that I am leaning on them; for example, authors of books and articles that are cited and that I link to. I depend on mushrooming Web pages. My project is already useful to some educators, particularly in the developing world as I point them to such references. Those who give me feedback—and even small suggestions and possible links—are essential partners. I make use of many education mailing lists. However, the project cannot continue to be useful over time unless it is taken over by a team, and that probably means some sponsoring agency or university. Meanwhile, it is a worthwhile experiment in seeing how far one person can go. In the long run, this idea of a regularly updated and enlarging online global textbook would probably require an international team on each chapter. So I am just trying to see what the problems are and are going to be.

I am stimulated by history. Years ago, Charles Ferguson (1938) published an experimental book entitled A Little Democracy is a Dangerous Thing. He decided to create it democratically. This was before online and electronic books. He invited everyone involved in producing the book to participate. Even the janitor at the press was invited to read the book and make comments and suggestions. So also were all the editors, printers, and wholesalers; their suggestions were included as footnotes in the text. Late in the last century Jay Bolter (1991) in Writing Space pointed out that new technology now makes it possible to have "growing books" that are regularly updated, and hypertext books that could leap in many different directions, not having to be linear like the printed page. In the 1990's Dean William Mitchell (1995) of MIT created an experimental "growing" online book on urban architecture into which colleagues could insert text, criticisms, and so forth. The idea was exciting and highly significant (at least to me), but it soon got too voluminous and out of hand, even though it had a team working on it. So it is no longer online. Projects like an encyclopedia that need to be kept up to date generally have each section assigned to a different scholar or team of scholars.

JM: Are you encouraged that others are getting involved?

PR: One reader has suggested that the most important thing about my online project is that it is a call for larger and more sustained conversation—globally—on what the future of global education ought to be. Personally, I wish it could be developed in a way similar to the community of technicians that has continued to work on Linux, without official sponsorship and funding. Recognizing the perils in my experiment, I must be prepared for all kinds of criticism, even antagonism. Perhaps, now that I am retired, I am better prepared to face antagonism and scorn than those who have jobs and careers to consider. Even if my project could be seen as a sort of annotated bibliography of some articles and books that I would personally recommend, especially for educators in the developing world, I am only partly successful. However, I see the whole project as an initial effort that might later be enlarged to be more useful to those who need to discuss current problems and future issues. I see it as nothing definitive, but as an outline on which to hang all kinds of ideas and topics that might stimulate discussion, imagination, and conversation.

JM: What are your aspirations for the long term?

PR: Well, if you want me to dream about what this or some other project might grow into, I would wish the following:

  1. That the G8 and other political leaders would establish a global network (and, perhaps, designate a satellite) devoted exclusively to education that would contain all essential programs, resources, texts, media, and so forth to meet the needs of "education for all." In time it would become a semantic network, which among other things would cross-index everything for instant retrieval. It also would contain many textbooks (including mine) (a) that would be in all languages; (b) that would allow users to click on any word for a definition or a translation; (c) that would likewise allow users to click on any idea or concept and jump to an encyclopedia article on that topic; (d) that would incorporate links to related sections of the text, so that one could click on any author's name and go to an annotated bibliography that would contain other links; and (e) that would provide simpler explanations or multimedia illustrations for concepts that a youngster or a person with limited education would not otherwise understand. Thus the network textbook would exist in the context of a "cosmopedia" (i.e., an encyclopedia that links everything as briefly discussed in my Volume 1, Chapter 3).
  2. That we would employ a "bottom-up strategy" for lifetime education for all, whereby, for example, a neighborhood-empowering school could be the local center for lifetime education, connected to all needed resources, and operated by a community education cooperative. I would wish also for a global "cooperative" distribution network that would provide "second hand" learning materials free of charge, once a for-sale upgraded version has been produced. Perhaps it is just a dream that some universities would undertake such a project; however, MIT has set a precedent.
  3. That we would learn more about each learner's talents and gifts, opportunities and needs, and handicaps or limitations. Future materials will be able to "study the learner" in an automated process, while the learner studies the electronic materials. This is the hope also of some researchers who have been studying possible learning uses of computer games such as Nintendo. Technology can create a computerized profile that could be the basis for a tailored, individualized education plan that grows and changes across a lifetime. Such profiles and individualized education could be the real revolution in future education.

JM: How could such a vast education network and services be funded?

PR: Bork and Gunnesdottir (2001) suggest that such a network can be financed out of existing funds spent on education. To accomplish that, they anticipate, among other things, financial savings as software becomes standardized and mass-produced, and as many such learning activities become automated. If all the software and services were online, the latest editions might be paid for—like long distance calls—with a per minute user fee. If the telephone had been invented today, it would be seen as an impossible task to fund a global network for a billion telephones. Yet such a network was financed, at first, with five cents a call. Software, textbooks, and multimedia education modules need not then be replaced every year. They can be connected to the Internet and updated. Much more could be said about this once we see the possibilities of technology that will soon become available. Costs of wireless connections and downloads can be affordable once there are billions of learners using the same standardized products. Meanwhile, the elite will still be able to use new learning programs and technologies before they can be made available to many in developing countries.

JM: What are your next steps?

PR: A number of retired college and university presidents (and some younger faculty who see that there are going to be radical changes for global education) have been making helpful suggestions. For example, one has called for seminars to discuss my project, saying "it is the most important existing book on the future of higher education." (In all humility, I must assume that he means the most important online book.) So he and several others are working with me in getting the text criticized and improved. I have been online with educators on four continents (for example, using the TAPPED IN virtual campus with World Association for Online Education (WAOE) sponsorship—another venue for ongoing discussions). I have met online with students in several classes to discuss a chapter of my online text. In the summer of 2002 a number of experts—including some from Africa, Asia and Latin America—are inserting comments into one chapter that is then being sent to others to add comments, criticisms, and suggestions. If that experiment is successful and enlarged, then it will help define several major issues and questions that might be discussed in spin-off online seminars. One retired college president has proposed a larger-scale discussion of the entire project, but the most qualified people like you, Jim, are too busy to do that with the entire three volumes.          

JM: Parker, via this interview and the subsequent webcast, many more people will learn of this creative, exciting, and valuable project. Be prepared for a flood of eager volunteers!


Bolter, J. (1991). Writing space: The computer, hypertext, and the history of writing. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.

Bork, A. & Gunnesdottir, S. (2001). Tutorial distance learning: Rebuilding our education system. New York: Kluwer.

Ferguson, C. (1938). A little democracy is a dangerous thing. New York: Association Press.

Mitchell, William. (1995). City of bits. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


莫里森 J. L Morrison




詹姆斯L莫里森[ JM ]: 帕克, 我注意到您的关于未来高等教育的在线著作分三大部,分别是:第一部《未来高等(终身)教育与虚拟空间》、第二部《对全球性危机的研究仍处于初级阶段?》第三部《未来的学与教》。特别触动我的是您在按语中标明请发现错误或能提供相关的网址及信息的读者与您联系,这说明您明确指出这一著作将不断更新。这个工程显然与苏波在我刊九/十月期中提出的不受限制的网上知识的趋势(Peter Suber, 2002)相一致。虽然这个"动态的目标" 将使需要在文章里援引您著作的人感到困难,但这样可以相对迅速地改进原稿,。您准备通过这个方法达到怎样的效果?

帕克罗斯曼[ PR ]:我的宗旨是审查全球性虚拟教育体制可能的存在方式, 提出所需的研究和更加全面地实施教和学、克服譬如饥饿、 疾病、战争、社会动荡等阻挠人人接受教育的问题。全民教育可能实现吗?美国在珍珠港袭击事件后必需品短缺的情况下成就了很多当时被认为不可能的事,我想或许从这个角度来说全民教育并不是不可能的。 我想H G韦尔斯说得不错,文明是在教育和灾难之间的竞赛。因此在我退休而又没有负担的情况下,我愿意大胆尝试,这项工程旨在激励和引发对未来高等教育的思考和讨论。

我花了三十年以上时间研究发展中国家的大学、高等教育和学术环境。二十世纪80年代我开始注意到全球性虚拟大学的诞生及其潜力,我的研究(Rossman, 1992) 出版后被广泛阅读使用,我也应邀到各国演讲。隔年Praeger出版社把它作为《对教育的研究的贡献》系列之一出版了平装书(Rossman, 1993)。出席1997 年巴黎科教文组织高等教育会议的发展中国家代表抱怨说,此书对他们来说价格太高。因此我承诺在网上续写此书,对全世界任何人免费开放,交换条件是他们给我提供反馈和相关的链接。我现已完成这一工作。

JM: 您的网上原稿涉及的似乎不仅限于高等教育。因为各部更像是独立的书,所以您的分类使我迷惑。您为什么不把它作为三本书分别放在网上?

PR: 整体来看,这必须是一本书。 它必须介绍我们进入终身教育时代过程中所有需要和必须处理的问题。"全民教育"覆盖的年龄段从幼稚园前、幼稚园、小学、中学到大学,并包括培养工作技能、职业生涯规划和兴趣爱好的继续教育项目,和符合老年人特殊兴趣的项目。我们所处的时代要求我们探索全球性虚拟教育系统的可能性,而不仅仅是"全球性大学"

JM: 那么为什么您一直谈论"大学的未来?"

PR: 它也是我所设想的大学, 不管它如何改变,它将仍然是所有教育的主要研究中心。它将是教育理念的关键所在,是会集学者和教育家的场所。对于可以承担费用的人,校园将仍可寄宿, 高等教育机构将仍是世界范围的,不分地点、年龄,满足一切需要的联接终身网络教育的跳板。现在时机已经成熟,应该开始通过互联网来计划如何实现这样的教育。

JM: 当代商业和企业界对教育开始产生巨大的影响,您倡议的全球性项目又必须得到其财政支持,但为什么您的立场似乎是反公司的?

PR: 我没有反公司的意图。精英的、超前的赢利产品将继续蓬勃发展。在许多存在潜在冲突或竞争的领域, 我们不得不做出选择。 最佳的教育必须提供给除精英以外的亿万大众。 大企业已在教育活动中形成其确定的作用, 它将继续积极投入能赢利的领域。在证明大批量产品也能赢利前,给贫穷区域的援助将更像是慈善行为。

JM: 您还有怎样的设想?

PR: 我的书中还有其他可争议的论点,希望引发关于大型规划的探讨。实际上,我希望这个工程能引发网上全球性会议(规模至少等于我在第二部第四章第四节中阐述的1997年全球知识会议),当时全世界任何人都能在网上旁听这一会议,它鼓励了发展中国家教育工作者在网上广泛地参与。世界上的任何人都应该得到帮助,不仅有机会听,而且能提出意见,参与其派生的讨论。


其次,我认为二十年之内我们拥有的新技术将使以前很多人们认为不可能做成的事成为可能。例如,数以万计交互相联的超级型计算机能提供更加智能化的"第三代互联网" "第四代互联网"。我们现在要开始为这些新的可能性做准备, 而不是仅仅试图跟上已有的或刚形成的技术工具。


此外, 正如博克和甘内斯德蒂尔(Alfred Bork & G unnesdottir 2001)所论证的,为经济上无法负担大学校园学习或昂贵的网上课程的人提供自动化且价格便宜的教育是可能的。穷人将能获得基础教育、文化(包括对多媒体的认知和使用)、政治知识、 企业管理技能和农业技能; 有能力者将能在网上进一步得到高层次的教育。发展中国家的一个特定地区或村庄所能利用的技术将决定它最初能提供何种学习资源 (例如建立互联网连接前可以使用电池驱动的CD-ROM和收音机)

现在世界各地许多研究和经验互相孤立(参见国家科学基金/商务部, 2002 ),在不久的未来,教育家能把这些材料集中起来,并得以开展全球性研究,从而更具有全局性的和跨学科的视角。发展中国家的教育者正努力应付限制教育机会的危机,譬如饥饿、精神及身体健康问题、贫穷、战争和社会动荡、以及生态问题,对于他们来说,这更为重要。我们必须同时地、整体地而不是一次一个地处理全球危机性问题。国际援助机构间的相互协调现在是能够实现的。

我认为一所全球性虚拟大学已经逐渐形成。它不一定需要组织和计划, 但它正以一种生物模型的方式在演变。我在第一部中提出了五个模式以引发讨论、激起想象,这些模式也许能构成一所虚拟院校的局部。提到学院的联合能为发展中国家做什么的章节有 1.6 (面对面的学习社区), 1.7 (全球多元文化虚拟大学), 1.8 (全球虚拟研究型大学), 1.9 (全球社区-- 学院联合组织), 1.10 (另一种理念:全球赠地大学模式的前景)

JM: 您得到了哪些建设性的批评或消极反馈?

PR: 哦,很多。比如我试图涵盖太多内容;一些数据和信息已过时;我试图提供对最新研究的链接以避免在文本中涉及过多细节,但有些网址消失了。而且,不同的读者期望不同。 如在谈论技术时,我们要如何针对那些技术专家和那些知识有限的发展中国家的人? 我努力在探讨终身教育时代大学的本质和未来,及其附加的问题如何为世界上每个人提供教育,因此看来似乎缺乏中心。

JM: 这个工程有多少是您独立完成的?

PR: 只有一点。我有许多合作者,比如被我援引和链接的书和文章的作者,他们也许不知道我在依靠他们。我靠的是雨后春笋般涌现的网页。我的项目已为一些教育家所使用,特别是发展中国家的教育者,因为我为他们提供了这样有益的参考。给我反馈甚至小建议和链接的人们是我的主要合作者。我还利用了许多网上教育资源和信息。但随着时间推移这个工程将无法继续发挥作用, 除非有某一团队(像资助机构或大学)来接管。同时,我认为我这样做很值得,可以实验一个人究竟能做到什么程度。从长远看,这个定期更新和扩充的网上全球性教材的各章可能都需要一个国际团队负责。因此我正努力找出现在和将来要处理的问题。

我受到了历史的启示。几年前,在网上书籍和电子书籍产生之前,查尔斯弗格森(1938) 出版了一本实验性的书,题为《一点民主是危险的》。他决定民主地创作。他邀请了所有有关人士参与创作。甚至连出版社的工友也被邀请阅读此书并提出评论和建议,除此之外还有编辑、排版工人和批发商;他们的建议都作为脚注出现在书中。上个世纪晚期,杰伊波尔特 (1991)在《文字空间》中指出当今的新技术使定期更新的成长的书籍成为可能,超文本的书籍不必像印刷品一样是线性的,而能在许多不同的方向间跳跃。90年代麻省理工学院建筑系主任米切尔(William Mitchell 1995) 创造了一项关于都市建筑学的实验性的 "成长的"网上书,同事能插入文本、评论等等。 这一观念振奋人心,意义重大(至少对我来说), 但虽然有一个团队负责,它很快还是变得篇幅太长且无法控制。因此它不再在网上了。百科全书式的,需要不断更新的工程一般要把各个部分分配给不同的学者或学者小组。

JM: 其他人的参与是否使您得到鼓励?

PR: 一个读者提出我的网上工程最重要的是呼吁全球性的,规模更大和更持久的的关于全球性教育的未来的交流。 就我个人来说, 我希望的发展方式类似于Linux技术员社区, 无须正式资助人和资金。我知道这是一个冒险的实验, 我必须准备面对各种的批评甚至敌意。我已经退休,比起要考虑工作和事业的人来说,可能更容易应对敌意和轻蔑。假使我的工程成为带附注的参考书目,由我亲自推荐(特别是为发展中国家的教育家推荐)一些文章和书,我还不能说是完全成功。我把整个工程看作一种初步成果,日后它将进一步发展,为探讨当今和未来的问题发挥更大作用。在我看来,它是不受限定的、可以整合各种观念和课题的大纲,可以激发讨论、激起想象和促进交流。


PR: , 我对于这类工程发展的理想如下:

  1. 八国集团和其它政治领导建立全球网络 (也许还选定一枚卫星) 来完全致力于教育,其中包含所有必需项目、资源、文本、媒介等等以适应全民教育的需要。最终该网络会形成一个语义网络, 能立即检索和互相索引所有内容。其中包含众多有如下特点的课本(包括我的) (a) 以各种语言写的; (b)允许用户点击任一个词取得定义或翻译; (c) 同样允许用户点击任何话题或概念并跳跃到百科全书中相应的文章; (d)合并文本中相关部分的链接, 以便用户能点击任一位作者的名字并得到包含其它链接的附注的参考书目; (e) 为概念提供简化的解释或多媒体图示,即使是青少年或接受教育有限的人也能理解。从而使网络教材存在于宇宙全书cosmopedia)的环境中。(注:我在第一部第三章简要的谈到了这种链接一切的百科全书 ).
  2. 为所有人的终身教育采取自下而上的战略”, 例如, 地区授权的学校成为当地终身教育的中心, 与所有所需资源相连, 由社区教育合作团体运作。我还希望全球性"合作的"分布式网络在学习资料的升级版本上市后能提供免费的"二手"学习资料。或许,希望一些大学承担这样的工程是一个梦想; 但麻省理工学院作为先行者已树立了榜样。
  3. 我们更了解各个学习者的天赋和才能、机会和需要、障碍或局限。未来电子教材能在学习者学习时自动地"学习学习者" 。这也是一些研究计算机游戏的学习用途的研究者如任天堂公司(Nintendo)的希望。技术能创造计算机化的档案,并以此为基础量身定做个性化的的终身教学计划。这样的档案和由此促进的个性化教育是未来教育真正的革命。

JM: 这样庞大的教育网络和服务如何得到资金?

PR: 博克和甘内斯德蒂尔(Bork & Gunnesdottir 2001) 提出这样的网络能在现有教育资金以外筹措资金。他们预期,尤其当软件规范化并大量生产,大量的学习活动自动化时,资金积累将成为可能。如果所有软件和服务是在线的,最新版本可以是有偿的-- 象长途电话一样以分钟计用户费。假设电话是今天发明的, 投资建设全球十亿台电话的网络也会被视为不可能。 这样的网络起初是通过每通一次电话收费五分钱来筹措资金。软件、课本和多媒体教育模块不需要每年更换,而是联到互联网并更新。不断产生的新技术将在这方面提供更多的可能性。一旦有亿万学习者使用相同的规范化的产品,无线连接和下载的费用将不再高昂得不可承担。同时, 发展中国家的少数精英能在普及之前使用新型学习计划和技术。


PR: 一些退休的学院和大学校长(和某些较年轻的认识到全球性教育将发生根本变化的教职员)已提出建设性的建议。 例如, 有人倡议召开讨论我的工程的研讨会, "这是现有的关于高等教育未来的最重要的书。"(谦虚地说, 我想他的意思是最重要的网上书。) 因此他和其他几个人与我合作批评和改进此书。我正在网上与来自四个大陆的教育家交流(其中一种途径是通过世界网上教育协会 (WAOE)资助的TAPPED IN虚拟校园)。我在网上与不同学生群体讨论我的网上作品的章节。2002年夏天一些专家(其中还有来自非洲、亚洲和拉丁美洲的) 在其中一章中插入评论,然后把它送给另外的人添加评论、批评和建议。如果那个实验成功并扩展,它将有助于明确衍生的网上研讨会所要探讨的一些重要问题。一位退休的学院院长还倡导对于整个工程进行大规模讨论, 但像詹姆斯您一样的最佳人选总是过于繁忙以至于无法参与整个三大部书的讨论。

JM:帕克, 通过这次采访及其在网上发表对您的采访, 许多人将获悉这项创新的,激动人心的可贵的工程,你将迎来一群热切的志愿者!


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Bork, A. & Gunnesdottir, S. (2001). Tutorial distance learning: Rebuilding our education system. New York: Kluwer.

Ferguson, C. (1938). A little democracy is a dangerous thing. New York: Association Press.

Mitchell, William. (1995). City of bits. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Morrison, J. L. & Suber, P. (2002, September/October). The free online scholarship movement: An interview with Peter Suber. The Technology Source. Retrieved September 15, 2002, at http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=1025

National Science Foundation/Department of Commerce. (2002, June). Converging technologies for improving human performance. Retrieved September 15, 2002, at http://itri.loyola.edu/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_pre_publication.pdf

Rossman, P. (1992). The emerging worldwide electronic university: Information age global higher education. Westport CT: Praeger. Bolter, J. (1991). Writing space: The computer, hypertext, and



Morrison, J. L. & Suber, P. (2002, September/October). The free online scholarship movement: An interview with Peter Suber. The Technology Source. Retrieved September 15, 2002, at http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=1025

National Science Foundation/Department of Commerce. (2002, June). Converging technologies for improving human performance. Retrieved September 15, 2002, at http://itri.loyola.edu/ConvergingTechnologies/Report/NBIC_pre_publication.pdf

Rossman, P. (1992). The emerging worldwide electronic university: Information age global higher education. Westport CT: Praeger.


This article may be reproduced and distributed for educational purposes if the following attribution is made under the title and author's name:

Note: This article was originally published in The Technology Source (http://ts.mivu.org/) as: James L. Morrison, and Parker Rossman "The Future of Higher Education Project: An Interview with Parker Rossman." The Technology Source, January/February 2003. Available online at http://ts.mivu.org/default.asp?show=article&id=1041. The article is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.



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