I am still processing this article which outlines Obama's big plans to give billions of dollars to Community Colleges; $500 million of which is dedicated to building free online credit based courses. Wow! What a paradigm shift in education. One thing is for sure. People are realizing that information is no longer at a premium. Almost all human knowledge is floating around in the air around us and all one needs to do to access it is download it via an internet connection. However, good teachers that can translate information to knowledge, and especially one's that have adapted to teaching online effectively, ARE AT A PREMIUM. Just because someone is a good brick and mortar teacher, does not mean they are a good online teacher. They should consider questions such as: Do the courses take advantage of the Internet's multiple modes of communication and engagement such as video conferencing, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, etc. Verily verily, building a high quality online courses is less about uploading content and more about organizing the content, and engaging the content, the student, and the community.
My brain is swimming in questions as I ponder what systemic effects big government backing of Community Colleges and Free Online courses will have on our educational system as a whole. Ask yourself, "what is the purpose of our educational systems?" (Feel free to comment below). In the end, my gut feeling is that individual people are the ones best able to choose the learning institutions that best meet their needs AND the learning institutions that flourish will be the one's that are able to identify those needs, adapt quickly to those needs, and meet those needs effectively. This should prompt Universities to work harder at giving prospective students the best "inside look" at the University when students are shopping for their higher ed future. This must go beyond getting a facebook and youtube account for universities. What do you think it will be? (Feel free to comment). Also, one final thought...When a university becomes too dependent on government money for survival, they become less agile to adapt, so those jumping into new monies should do so with razor sharp calculations and a bit of caution. How do you think Obama's proposed plan will affect the Educational Systems in the US? I'm still processing.