quick notes on DIY-U: Introduction


Quick notes on the introduction to Anya Kamenetz’s DIY-U. I’ll post more as I work through it.

I met Anya at Open Education 2009, while she was researching the book, and I’m curious to see where she took the stuff she was asking attendees about.

I’m reading the book through Kindle for iPhone, so I have no idea what page these notes apply to. YMMV. Also, the Kindle for Mac app is a steaming pile of donkey turd. I’ll be holding off buying any more ebooks until I see what the iBooks thing looks like. I’m guessing it will suck much, much less than what I’ve seen of Kindle so far…

On the rising number of people seeking out higher education: The reason education raises people in socioeconomic status is that it places them above the average (or at least at a competitive advantage) compared to their peers. If everyone gets education, it loses its effect. What next? Quality of education? Will a new elite show their wealth by choosing NOT to be educated?

The introduction is very US-centric data on policy and cost. I’d love to see comparisons to other countries. Canada? England? India? South Africa?

On moving online to reduce costs: At my institution, online courses cost up to 4x what a f2f course does, to get around provincial tuition regulations. Just pushing stuff online doesn’t necessarily make it cheaper (even if it could be argued that it costs less – that might not be necessarily true, either).

On the estimated 63 million people who have accessed (“raided this trove”) MIT OCW as of 2009: Define “raided” – does it include “followed a google query result to a page on a course” or is it “actively engaged in the course” ?

On distributed, P2P universities etc…: Great. What about accreditation? Are potential employers going to grok DIY U?

On the “modern day multiversity” with research/teaching/vocational/technical/sports/social stuff: This is a strength. This is why Education is important – the serendipitous connections etc. that are possible – even mandated – by this model. NO! Separation for the sake of separation (or, worse, simply to save money) is BAD!

On learner centricity via technological magic: This proposed shift to learner centred education does not require technology. Learner centricity is a philosophy, not a technology.

On “The Great Unbundling”: Boiling education down to the equivalent of an MCSE? really? Who does this benefit? How can we make sense of such a structure (or lack thereof).

On “Techno-hybridization”: It’s called Blended Learning. Don’t make up new words to mystify it.

On education as a conservative enterprise to pass on stuff from previous generations: Not necessarily. Education is not about content dissemination. It is about personal development and skill building. Neither requires anything from a prior generation.

On federal/state incentives for online/open/networked education: Networks cross borders. How to deal with multinational contexts?

6 thoughts on “quick notes on DIY-U: Introduction”

  1. BTW more with my current interest in blasphemy against the modern religion to incite silence as to prove what is holy and profane.

    > Education is not about content dissemination. It is about personal development and skill building.

    Education is (also) about coercion, control, class warfare. It’s about supporting power. It’s about providing a medium which mirrors the workplace as to condition the body and the mind to respond properly to that stimulus. It about conditioning the worker to receive coercing rewards for arbitrary performance of regulated, arbitrary tasks that are forgotten as soon as the reward is dealt. So education is not only about personal development and skill building, but also building a proper type of worker. Outside of that environment how is the worker to know his place, how to behave, how to express themselves, how to respond to coercion, etc. What is profane and what is holy. What is righteous and what must be condemned with silence?

    I think the biggest failure of online education is in this avenue. That it does not provide all the other education that employers find to be useful.

  2. I actually finally read the Economics chapter the other day because of a conversation we were having around DTLT. Now, after reading your post, I definitely need to go read the whole thing. I can’t really comment on what I thought about that one chapter without reading the whole book, of course, and thanks to you, I really want to comment now!

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