How eager should we expect the civilized to be?

“The essence of learning is found neither inside nor outside the classroom, neither online nor offline. It’s in the flow from lived experience and practice, to listening, researching, and sharing the fruits of your work with a community and back out to the world again. Now that so much high-quality information is available for free–like the 1,900 courses on MIT Open Courseware–and platforms to allow people to exchange words, images and sound online are exploding in use, many of us are excited about the possibilities of self-organized education that is pared down to this essence, thus affordable, efficient and accessible. But whether or not you attend a traditional university, you will need to trace this path again and again, from experience to theory, from empirical to abstract, from action to reflection, from real to ideal, in order to keep learning throughout your life.

Today there’s a lot of emphasis on getting the best value for money in higher education. This is important. But the most important resource in higher education is free. That’s the motivated learner. That’s you.” (Anya Kamenentz, “DIY U in Forbes,” DIY U, 13 August, 2010)

Increasingly, the net is being conceived as an abode for loud, impulse-ridden losers. “We’ve given it it’s chance,” is what they say, “and even if there are gems amidst the slush … couldn’t they just tone it down some?” Owing to this, traditional universities aren’t seeming quite as ridiculous as they should for their stodginess. I would hazard a guess that the most important resource in higher education is now perhaps more the CIVILIZED learner (that is, the tamed-down one), more than it is the motivated (eager) one. Universities may be where people go to become gentlemen / ladies — if to an elite one, then up a notch to aristocrat. I’m noticing it more: it’s not so much what you have to say as how you say it (impatiently? excitedly? did you drool?). The winners may be those who say nothing much new, but do so becalmed, with consideration.

Link: DIY U

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