Friday, March 27, 2009 - A glimpse at the future of education?

I was off the grid for a few days rock climbing at Indian Cove in Joshua Tree National Park.  Beautiful!  I highly recommend it.  One of the top rock climbing destinations in the world.

Getting back into the online world was oddly unappealing at first.  But then I found the tweets about YouTube/edu and that got me back into the game. 

Are Open Universities the future of higher ed?  I don't know, but oddly enough the OU web site looks an awful lot like a regular university.  I don't think its innovation when you simply do what you are doing...but instead do it online.  I have not taken any courses through OU and I have not deeply researched OU or contacted any staff.  I'm simply making an observation based on first impressions.

So, let's get back to YouTube.  The YouTube (actually Google) approach seems to blend more appropriately with the user in mind.  What I mean is, if a student were to create his/her method of using the Internet to learn (or earn a degree), my guess would be that it work EXACTLY the way they currently use the web.  Instead of supporting how users actually use the web, online universities seem to force the technology into the same old boring university model.  And yes, I understand the "paving the cow paths" analogy here.  And so I understand the THEY must follow this path, but the rest of us don't.

Google understands better than anyone how the web is being used and so EDU is paving the cow path from a different point of view.  EDU is not that much different for plain ol' YouTube accept that the content is specifically sorted and categorized by institution, topic, etc...all based on learning content.  So, a user can search for and learn something new in exactly the same way they search for the latest funny cat video.

I think EDU has much broader implications as well.  Many of which have not even been thought of or explored...yet.  What are your thoughts?

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