Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world’s top-rated universities, has announced its first free course which can be studied and assessed completely online. An electronics course, beginning in March, will be the first prototype of an online project, known as MITx.
This is the leader column from a recent BBC Report on online learning. Undoubtedly this is a potentially disruptive innovation in the world of education with 77% of US Companies now reporting that they use online learning In such a world, universities may turn into clubhouses, where social networking and pure socialisation take place, with learning taking place anytime, anyplace, anywhere in the world, accessing the world’s experts on particular subjects. Professor Charles Handy foresaw this many years back when he wrote “The Empty Raincoat”. Here’s a picture of us, when we last met.
Handy also talks powerfully about youth as a driving force for change. My own touchstone for the MIT report and Handy’s observation comes in the form of my 19 year old son Tom, who is studying Computer Sciences in his second year at University. Tom claims that nearly all his lectures could be handled remotely, making going to University an irrelevance, were it not for the social experience and peer to peer learning. Whilst he possibly exaggerates a tad, he has spotted a potential future which many universities have not yet embraced.
We took the initiative ourselves a few months back, when we partnered with online education specialist Udemy, in the provision of an MBA level online business leadership programme covering strategy, creativity, innovation and change. Take a free five minute tour of the programme via this LINK. This is not the only development in this field. BBC Radio 4 recently featured Coursera, who are offering the same product, but using university lecturers instead of practitioners, with the product leading to qualifications. Clearly people are moving faster than the average university here. This is typified by a comment I received from a university lecturer recently when I was called in to develop some Business courses:
This is an exciting time in terms of developing the programme at the University and I think it would be great to have you involved in one way or the other. Your enthusiasm is much appreciated. However, as we do operate within a bureaucratic system these things take a long time to develop and any possible new courses will not start before at best, Sept 2014. I will keep in touch with any progress, good luck with everything.
By the time the University in question gets started, Darwin may well have swung his evolutionary axe! You can listen to the BBC Radio programme at Zeitgeisters. Take a look at our curriculum for a pragmatic approach to business leadership where you can drop in and drop out of the lectures at any time you please, as you keep the materials for a lifetime:
Will Universities turn into social clubhouses teaching kids lifeskills whilst they learn their chosen subject from subject experts on platforms like Udemy? Will this be the end of the ‘duff lecturer’? Share your thoughts here. My title gives me yet another excuse to play REM:
About the Blogger: Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org