Online Learning – some day?

I have this gut feeling that one day (in the crazy-future?), people will acquire college degree based solely on tests and interviews. Say over a couple of weeks. Learn it “however you like,” and come pay us when you want to be “certified”.

Most information is already available via google these days, and there are thousands world wide who are willing to try and explain things to you.

The magic of transferring Student-teacher interaction online hasn’t been cracked yet, and this is a very limiting factor for the growth of online learning (As far as I can tell online classes still tend to only have 30 open slots. and teachers are basically teaching an entire separate class, with little guarantee they’ll be paid more). Kinda scares me when I read people editorializing that states should just offer it all free. (er, I kinda worry for the teachers who would drown in work if this happened. that is. Personally, I’m leaning towards the idea that the current forms of student-teacher interaction are holding back the process of growing online-learning).

By just charging for the certification, you can offer limitless tests. And hopefully interviews for those who pass (i’m thinking of something to ensure people haven’t just hacked the tests). My dream here is that you spend a couple weeks “officially qualifying for your degree” rather than 4 years. Sort of like a GED, except tailored to each university?

Just seems like it would be better to focus our efforts on tests that can be randomized into endless permutations so they’re harder to cheat on- than to focus on dragging all these old school teachers into an online environment they don’t understand.

(…which makes me wonder if this worked – wouldn’t everyone just go to MIT to be certified? …? )

Well, that’s an old thought. That basically you aren’t paying for the “learning” when you get an online degree these days. You’re just paying for a certain University’s seal of approval.
And these days, it seems like online classes are being filled up by students who are on campus already (because they can register before distance students). which kinda ruins the whole point. I sense that people just expect online classes to get larger. but they don’t respect the notion that a single teacher can’t handle more than about 30 to 40 people.

My thought-of-the-day is this:
Part of getting this futuristic “re-defined degree” should mean agreeing to teach/advise others who are pledging to that school.
Like jury duty? heh.

This way you can retain the “4 years (or more) of payment” idea for those that are thinking of getting a degree from your school- but rather than attending classes on your physical campus: they are subscribing to a social network of graduates. Who act much like a network of teachers.

Thus, you’d create this vast pool of a “teacher-student” workforce- who can handle many more students. What we’ve classically thought of as “teachers” could be more like respected moderators. Hired to either oversee ongoing interactions, or to generate materials (games, videos, lectures, etc.) that will draw more people in.

And by being called upon to put in this time teaching, say for at least on week each year, perhaps accumulated through some form of online monitoring, these graduates would be more likely to retain knowledge they once tested so well in.

Kids would pay to go to OSU because everyone knows their grads are good/active teachers. Which in turn reinforces the idea that they are offering a degree that the world will respect.

And you could be working the hours you need to pay for it, and keep living locally (rather than choosing to travel, and take on huge loans). meh?

… not sure I’m saying it well. … or maybe it’s just a really retarded model. I sense that I”m overlooking some important feature of modern higher-education. meh? football games? dorm sex? Whatever? Get that shit elsewhere?

research i guess. though some snarky voice in me keeps whispering that research is horribly perverted these days by corporate interests.

I guess it’s so weird it’ll never happen. but. just wanted to jot down this daydream.


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