Fragment – Reversing History

A trick I learned from Brian Kelly – reverse history.

Imagine, today:

  • the dream of a technology driven institution providing a scaleable alternative to HE provision, open at the point of access and providing a lifelong learning opportunity to widen access to HE and make HE level learning available to those who need it for career progression throughout their life or who may be able to benefit or draw benefit from ideas transported out of the academy and into wider society. The reality? Creating an institution as a direct competitor to already existing institutions, chasing school leaver undergrads with full length named degrees, adopting a similar pricing model that makes second degrees of top up learning throughout life unaffordable in terms of both time and money; access to educational materials for a limited period associated with a course registration period via controlled online access; broadcast of primetime “factual” programming with a remit to inform and entertain. But mainly entertain.
  • scroll forward / back another 5-10 years: a move away from named degrees with formal pathways to open degree programmes where learners can take affordable courses / modules that reflect their own learning needs and educational histories throughout their life, irrespective of the previous educational attainment levels, over a period of months rather than years;
  • scroll forward / back 5-10 years: a move away from full qualifications to a more modular offering where learners can take single modules, affordably, on specialist subjects that help them meet a current need in upskilling to a new technology (in the widest sense) at any stage in a person’s career or enriching their cultural life at any point in a lifetime, irrespective of previous educational attainment levels; free and universal access to course materials through deposits of print material to education-establishment libraries; embrace emerging technologies through in an-house software house producing innovative, high quality educational software in direct support of teaching;
  • scroll forward / back and 5-10 years: an institution offering large numbers of courses, freely selected as part of open programmes, allowing freedom of choice reflective of, and sympathetic to, personal life histories and current educational needs; as a side-effect, large enough numbers of learners take courses that clear pathways across several courses become evident (“people who took this course also took that one”). Innovations in curriculum offering courses providing systems level, socio-technological views that contextualise advances with social understanding and seek to broaden curricula rather than narrow them down. Free universal access to broadcast lecture style tutorials delivered as educational, rather than entertainment, programming.

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