[LINK] Two views on online Learning

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Mon Aug 9 22:19:00 AEST 2010

> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman1.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of 
> Bernard Robertson-Dunn
> Sent: Monday, 9 August 2010 3:41 PM
> To: link
> Subject: [LINK] Two views on online Learning
> Bill Gates: Forget university, the web is the future for 
> education Aug. 7, 2010 (7:54 am)
> By: Matthew Humphries 
> http://www.geek.com/articles/news/bill-gates-forget-university
> -the-web-is-the-future-for-education-2010087/
> <quote>
> Bill Gates attended the Technonomy conference earlier this 
> week, and had 
> quite a bold statement to make about the future of education. He 
> believes the web is where people will be learning in five years from 
> now, not colleges and university
> During his chat he said:
> Five years from now on the web for free
> you'll be able to find the best lectures in
> the world. It will be better than any
> single university
> </quote>
> <brd>
> However there is a big difference between having access to "the best 
> lectures in the world." and getting a good education - see below.
> And let's not forget that Bill Gates knows more about business than 
> software engineering and even less about education.
> </brd>


Whilst we're remembering that, let's also remember that Bill dropped out
of Harvard after a year to fastrack his computer languages "elective"
due to a perceived inadequate technical competency by the University

I would say that as much as I dislike some of Microsoft's' M.O. and
product, he certainly has delivered a compelling and what can be
considered an empirical thesis on:

BA  - Skunkworks 
MBA - Business Marketing
BSC - Computers
PhD - Public Relations (Communications)
PhD - Law (Anti Monopoly Commission)

On a personal level, I did the hard miles and received my wax seals. Yet
I made my mark in an entirely separate area of endeavour due in part to
the Internet "friends" I made whilst studying overseas.

His conjecture that the Internet will be the Fountain of all future
knowledge is in my opinion an anecdotal observation of the empirical
value of crowd sourced datasets like Wikipedia, Youtube how-to videos
[and let's not forget TED] and commercial whitepapers [branding] now
exploding on the net at extreme levels.

I consider that in the last five years I have not had a question go
unanswered on the Net after only a few hours of research.

However; there has to be a however....

A few small problems:

Internet learning will remove the backbone of our political, financial
and matrimonial hierarchy that have traditionally depended on
relationships commenced in our schools of higher learning.

Internet learning is unstructured and creates a total void in the art of
social intercourse graces; as Roger so aptly noted the other day,
"Manners....???"   <tomk> Que, Meh! </tomk>"

Also, I would refer linkers to the conversations recently on plagiarism
and the lack of students understanding that they must cite for
corroboration and credit - without which, how can any science obtain
peer review and acceptance?

Yes, the Internet is a boon that has done much to move the balance of
power (knowledge) from those that can afford Hex [read: successfully
apply for and be approved] to everyone that understands how to structure
a search query syntax correctly to obtain the most accurate answer.

Where does one learn how to do that?

I would venture : In schools of higher learning.

Bill Gates is right.  For much of the world, an Internet education is
the only choice.
I consider thought that without at least a percentage of the population
benefiting from structured tutorial and the interpersonal relationships
founded at college/university our economy, Government and the very
fabric of society will disintegrate.


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