Having just finished my very first online lecture on the history of the internet, I am both heartened and dismayed by the experience. Heartened that 34,077 students can enroll in a class taught by a single professor, but dismayed that education (online or otherwise) continues to push learning-by-rote and a lecture based knowledge-transmission model. One thing remains clear – this is only the beginning of the disruption of higher education as we know it.
It has ever been a great contradiction in education that the very institutions that further education also perforce restrict its access to a relative handful. Esteemed universities like Cambridge, Paris/the Sorbonne, and Bologna (commonly held to be the first university in the western world in 1088, preceded by even earlier ‘madrasas’ in eastern civilizations) have held themselves to a high standard of excellence, yet relatively few have been able to attend them due to lack of mobility, resources or perceived ability.