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MOOCs, Mechanization, and the Modern Professor

Recently, in a course on classical political economy, my students and I discussed mechanization and its effects on employment. Having read Adam Smith’s classic text, The Wealth of Nations, we examined the productivity gains from the division of labor in his well-known pin-factory example—in which he demonstrated that workers who specialize in particular tasks outproduce those who perform every task themselves.

 

Read the article HERE.

MOOCs and The Meta U Part IV: Sustainable Education

george-tamas2 By George Tamas ~

In previous articles I have discussed the changes that online learning options such as MOOCs and MOOPs (Massive Open Online Programs) will eventually generate to transform higher education. But most of my observations related to future curriculum, program, and award/certification changes. In this article, I’d like to address a more fundamental change, one that I believe will be the eventual transformation of the very form of what a university is in the future: the metaversity (or “Meta U”, for short).

My basic premise is that the historical and current construct of the university is no longer sustainable. And I use the term “sustainable” both to mean economically viable and environmentally sensitive.

Whether one is talking about large, multi-campus systems, or multiple independent institutions in proximity to one another, there is a fundamental flaw to the model that will lead to an inevitable transformation. Simply stated, the replication at each site of physical plant, research and instructional delivery infrastructure, administrative staff, faculty expertise, program offerings, and degrees awarded is unnecessarily duplicative and inefficient. Such redundancy and inefficiency is also increasingly expensive and wasteful of natural resources.

So what will replace, or at least challenge, this model (i.e., the geographically fixed campuses, with full replication of all components)? I believe it will be the Meta U. And I have already seen the beginning – the 1.0 version – of it.

At present, the exemplar I have seen isn’t an academic institution at all, but rather a highly innovative corporation originating in the technology sector. This entity employs several hundred thousand employees, and it is committed to the education and “talent optimization” of those employees on a continuous basis. To facilitate this staff development, they have both an internal “university,” which offers more than 20,000 courses, and collaborative arrangements with academic institutions for “multi-sourced learning.”

In effect, this entity has dozens of “campuses” spread around the globe. It faces the challenge of offering a highly diverse curriculum without having to replicate facilities, instructor expertise at multiple locations, administrative staff, etc., or, alternatively, having to absorb tremendously expensive travel costs of specialist instructors or student groups.

The solution they have implemented is, I believe, an early model of the Meta U. It includes the following:

  • A technology-mediated learning delivery infrastructure called IVL (Integrated Video Learning) that provides:
    • An instructor “stage” at each campus
    • Interactive classrooms and labs for students at each campus
    • A central broadcast control center that can transmit the course to any/all classrooms 24×7 and provide face-to-face, student-to-instructor interaction across all classrooms, or alternatively to individual student laptops or tablets
    • Student controls to annotate and markup/copy/playback each lesson
  • Multi-sourced programs and awards/certifications (including advanced academic degrees) in collaboration with multiple academic institutions
  • A subsequent phase, wherein plans are under discussion to develop:
    • A comprehensive “curriculum hub” containing online course offerings of partner academic institutions, the MOOC providers, and various commercial learning websites, and
    • A “universal learning record store” for their employees to store “badges” (digital certifications of competency) from all such sources, and controlled  by the employee

I believe that this metaversity / Meta U model will, in fact, be ultimately adopted and adapted by major academic institutions and entire academic systems in the future, including direct curricular collaboration and facility/infrastructure-sharing with corporate learning partners. The massive reductions in cost and waste of natural resources will make Meta U a compelling model for sustainable education.

The Geo Chronicles

George Tamas, Geo Chronicles author, is recognized as a leading innovator in government and educational uses of technology, and particularly in the design and development of Web-based, multi-entity networks and databases. Since 2000, Mr. Tamas has served as Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board of Governet, innovators of Web-based technology solutions for higher education and creators of CurricUNET, the award-winning curriculum management and reporting system. Mr. Tamas has more than three decades of experience in top management positions for computer software/service organizations ranging in size from start up to publicly traded companies with more than $150,000,000 in annual revenues. After receiving his degree in Mathematics from UCLA, he taught Mathematics and Computer Science for several years before starting his first company. He has since led multiple companies that engaged in such areas as technology management consulting, software development, networking, and outsourcing. Mr. Tamas has been a featured speaker at numerous state, national, and international conferences and is member of the esteemed Gilfus Advisors Network.

Emergence of MOOCs in Higher Education

Governet CEO George Tamas to Speak at MIT Enterprise Forum

SANTA BARBARA, June 3, 2013—Governet, innovators of technology solutions for higher education institutions, announced today that its CEO, George Tamas has been invited to speak at the MIT Enterprise Forum on June 12, 2013 in Santa Barbara.

The main focus of the June forum presentations will be the phenomenon of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), which is sweeping higher education. Delivering world-class course content from the most prestigious, top-tier universities to students and life-long learners around the globe, MOOCs are now being offered as a viable solution to resolve impacted class offerings and student bottlenecks, and moderate skyrocketing tuition costs.

“MOOCs have recently created quite a stir in higher education,” stated Tamas in a recent article on the subject. “Initially created by two Stanford professors as a means to offer free online access to high quality courses to any student worldwide, such offerings have now proliferated and have become a phenomenon propelling the future of higher education.”

Mr. Tamas will be presenting Governet’s new “metaCAMPUS” initiative, which will both create a one-stop hub for students worldwide to search and link to online course offerings from multiple sources (colleges, MOOCs, corporate, and other sources), and will also create a repository for students to store “universal learning records” containing all the badges (digital certificates of competency) from all such sources.

About George Tamas:

George Tamas is currently the CEO of Governet, whose flagship product, CurricUNET, is the market leader in web-based curriculum management systems, with more than 550 colleges and universities in 14 states, two provinces of Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. His firm is also developing the ASSIST: Next Generation System, which provides the statewide articulation and transfer data for the 145 campuses of the University of California, CSU system, and CCC system.  Mr. Tamas has more than three decades of experience in top management positions for computer software/service organizations ranging in size from start up to publicly traded companies with more than $150,000,000 in annual revenues.

About Governet and CurricUNET:

Governet is a leading provider of innovative Web-based solutions for higher education institutions. These solutions address local campus, statewide system, and international collaborative network issues in curriculum development, management and accreditation. Governet’s core application is CurricUNET, the award-winning curriculum management system designed to streamline curriculum processes from planning to articulation by improving workflow efficiency, reporting and approval processes and institutional connectivity. Currently serving more than 550 colleges and universities, including several state-wide systems throughout the U.S., Canada and the United Arab Emirates, CurricUNET was adopted by California’s ground-breaking ASSIST, which connects and facilitates articulation between all of the state’s higher education systems. CurricUNET provides its users access to more than 600,000 course outlines and 47,000 program and degree programs. Via this transformational database, Governet is guiding the development of best practices standards for curriculum and creating what is rapidly becoming the Worldwide Curriculum Network. For more information about Governet and CurricUNET, please visit www.governet.net.

About the MIT Enterprise Forum:

The Central Coast MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) hosts the region’s top business and technology events. Each month, (MITEF) brings together veteran business leaders and experts to host events designed to educate, inform and inspire entrepreneurs. Its mission is to promote a unique process and atmosphere to develop and strengthen the entrepreneurial community in the Central Coast through interaction with experienced executives who have successfully navigated the challenges of building an organization. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum has 25 chapters worldwide, each offering unique programs and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs. Early stage businesses face many common challenges. In case presentations, the Forum provides local entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their business plans during an open meeting before a panel of specially chosen business experts and an audience of peers and other people interested in business development. This Forum format provides the presenting companies an opportunity to receive feedback and suggestions for their businesses from experienced professionals. Special topic presentations address current and specific challenges facing early stage businesses. A special panel of entrepreneurs and industry experts is assembled for an in-depth “round table” discussion of the issue.

 

Please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to:

Sherry Butler
Sherry L. Butler Communications
602.703.3659
sbutler@nullslbcom.com