History and Future of Higher Education [Graduate]

“The History and Future of Higher Education” uses an activist, purposive account of history to to help shape an agenda for learning innovation, in the classroom, in our institutions, in society, and in everyday life and work. We will be looking specifically at ways that the apparatus, structure, and metrics of higher education that we’ve inherited were designed to train the ideal worker for the Taylorist Industrial Age. Many of the most familiar features of higher education were designed roughly between 1865 and 1925 (from class rankings to majors, professional schools, graduate school, IQ tests, and multiple choice tests, including as part of college entrance requirements). Which of those methods and metrics are working for us now? Which are legacies that no longer serve their purpose–or ours? And how can we work, together, to share our most innovative ideas in order to change our own pedagogies and practices (on an individual level) and how can we mobilize to help transform our institutions too? How can we think critically about ideas touted as “innovative” (such as MOOCs, flipping the class, and other “disruptions”) that may or may not be truly innovative? What alternative models can we think about together?

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