The Physical College

In a New York Times opinion piece today, Jeff Selingo of The Chronicle of Higher Education lays out 'urgent needs' for American colleges and universities--but completely ignores the physical changes that would be necessary for successfully meeting those needs.Selingo's 'needs':Improve usage of technology in the classroom;Offer more online instruction;Make 'academics' the top priority;Cut back on … Continue reading The Physical College

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same?

In today's New York Times, Stanley Fish writes about Andrew Delbanco's new book College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. As something of both a traditionalist and an innovator, I appreciate what Fish has to say, and will likely be reading Delbanco's book soon.Fish describes the book as one that:seeks to persuade not by … Continue reading The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same?

“Objectivity” As a Barrier to Education: Teaching Intellectual Responsibility and the Role of the Citizen

Often, when people wonder if American higher education might follow the fate of journalism, falling victim to inability to adapt to new technological milieux, they are thinking in terms of money and its impact. The financial structures of protected and centralized institutions can collapse when product becomes cheaply and widely available, both for creation and … Continue reading “Objectivity” As a Barrier to Education: Teaching Intellectual Responsibility and the Role of the Citizen

The "He Said/She Said" of Education

Jay Rosen provides a smell test for he said/she said journalism:There’s a public dispute.The dispute makes news.No real attempt is made to assess clashing truth claims in the story, even though they are in some sense the reason for the story. (Under the “conflict makes news” test.)The means for assessment do exist, so it’s possible … Continue reading The "He Said/She Said" of Education

When Will They Ever Learn?

In the 1950s and early 1960s, my father was involved in exploring possibilities of programmed instruction and teaching machines.  In 1961, I remember rewards of a quarter as I participated as a subject in someone else's experiments in learning with a big machine at Harvard, where my father was participating in some sort of summer … Continue reading When Will They Ever Learn?

No More Teachers?

At the start of "Good-bye, Teacher... " Fred Keller quotes one version of that old doggerel:Good-bye scholars, good-bye school;Good-bye teacher, darned old fool!I learned it as:Good-bye pencils, good-bye books;Good-bye teachers' dirty looks.It doesn't matter; the point's the same.  We were glad to get rid of teachers, for the summer, at least.We hated them.  Or, at … Continue reading No More Teachers?

The Keller Method, Updated: One Possible Way for Improving Higher Education

How might universities and colleges be structured to reflect the needs of the 21st century?Nothing I could suggest is going to be perfect, or even practical. But change is needed. Our present system was designed for an age that has slipped away. If we don't begin to try, at least, to find means of educating … Continue reading The Keller Method, Updated: One Possible Way for Improving Higher Education

Broadening Teaching

Oh, how I wish I'd paid attention!But I was only seven or eight years old.My father, John A. Barlow, was an experimental psychologist. Friends and colleagues I remember include B. F. Skinner, Fred Keller, Charles Ferster, and Tom Gilbert. Dad was particularly interested in teaching machines: he was a paid consultant for Field Enterprises (which … Continue reading Broadening Teaching