Bill Gates challenged college leaders to reinvent their institutions with technology in a speech today in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the law that created the nationwide system of land-grant colleges. At the event, sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Microsoft founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also urged college officials to focus on making their institutions accessible to a broad range of students, rather than just measuring themselves by how selective they are.
He praised new hybrid approaches to college teaching, such as an introductory math course at Arizona State University that replaces the traditional lecture with adaptive software that can guide individual students through exercises at their own pace. “I know some critics worry about the loss of personal interaction that certainly is central to a high-quality education,” he said. “But this technology, when it’s well conceived, actually can be used to strengthen those interactions.” He also called on colleges to try out so-called MOOC’s, or Massive Open Online Courses.
Mr. Gates elaborated on his views on the future of higher education and of his foundation yesterday in an interview with The Chronicle. Included in this post are two additional videos from that conversation.