Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dean of University of Oklahoma Honors College Discusses Higher Edu Change

A recent video dean David Ray of the University of Oklahoma Honors College discusses the value of higher education and how that education will need to change to encourage greater skill development in students. He talked for nearly 20 minutes on TEDxOU to discuss the changes in higher education, how that education is viewed by students and faculty, and where it should move. 

The discussion includes information on past recessions and when the economy recovers most employers began to hire again. More modern recessions, including the Great Recession, have seen a jobless recovery. This means that it took 12 or more months for employers to start hiring and this in turn created a shift in the type of jobs and skills employers are looking for. 

This shift has created a need to encourage more rigorous academic standards. Students read about half the amount they did in the past and engage in college much less. There is a lack of motivation from students while the job skill requirements are increasing. Students may be graduating from the unchanged academic system not being prepared for the working world. More radical change is needed to make it work again.

Technology affords some changes and benefits in education. Content rich information that helps students understand and apply concepts is important. However, these content rich formats need to include reading and writing as part of the coursework. Without the skill to write well it is difficult for students to formalize concepts and express them accurately. 

Because of a lack of motivation MOOCs have not done as well as originally thought. Free classes mixed with an instant culture and lack of motivation means that 90% of students either fail or drop out. There are 10% of students that are highly motivated and they are willing to learn on their own and use the MOOC system to enhance that learning. 

The speaker offers a suggestion for engineers and scientists in the audience to go read about Iliad. For those with Liberal Arts Degrees they should take a MOOC on math to develop their skills. This type of humanities balanced with analytical skills helps people understand the development of greater lives and societies.

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