With all the information on the Internet, and with all the ways that students can connect with experts via Web 2.0 tools, who needs traditional courses? George Siemens, an education-technology consultant, argues that the day may soon come when the course outlives its usefulness.
“When content and conversations are distributed, we no longer need to have courses in their current iteration,” he says in a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation on his Web site. “We can instead create a global classroom with distributed learners from virtually every corner of the world participating in learning experiences, providing learning resources, creating learning resources, and playing a peer-mentoring role to others through the process.”
It’s a provocative point, but he offers no clear path to that future. And he concedes that some form of accreditation would be needed to give a seal of approval to all that distributed, self-guided learning. That’s a caveat as big as Harvard’s main library.
The argument seems a bit like the pronouncements that come, from time to time, predicting the death of the book. It is a fun thought exercise, even if the book never does die. —Jeffrey R. YoungReturn to Top