Cathy Davidson (Duke) Why Higher Education Demands a Paradigm Shift: Access, Equity, Diversity
In this paper, Cathy N. Davidson analyses new directions in higher education in light of peer-to-peer and connectivist methods of collaborative learning and the top-down, centralized online education being promoted by Massive Online Open Courseware (MOOCs) emanating from a few elite universities and corporate funders. In light of the capacities of the World Wide Web that allow for participation, collaboration, and self-publication, the recentralizing of learning in MOOCs seems, on the face of it, more in keeping with 19th century forms of silo’d education designed for the Taylorized Industrial Era. In this talk, Davidson looks both theoretically and experientially at some assumptions behind new modes of learning, including by reference to her upcoming "meta-MOOC" on "The History and Future of (Mostly) Higher Education" and a companion initiative being staged at some thirty learning institutions around the globe. Some of the questions this talk raises include: How can we rethink inherited structures of formal education in ways that enhance free, creative expression for the world we live in now? Are there new ways of opening access and fostering diversity that make the "commons" stronger? How can we change models of assessment so that we can count what we value--and value what we count? How can we experiment with new paradigms for shifting the assumptions of higher education in order to find inspiring cross-cultural and cross-institutional ways of thinking, reading, writing, publishing, and creating together?