All sorts of voices have arisen in recent years criticizing American colleges and universities as ivory towers where students throw away a ton of money and learn nothing of value. The high unemployment rate of recent college grads is often the proof given of the current poor state of higher education.
But in an interesting piece in the New York Times, columnest David Brooks makes a strong argument that American schools need to get back to their original concept of helping to create a fully realized person rather than just prepping students for a trade. Online education technologies, he says, are actually forcing schools to get back to their older, more humanities focused mission.
- Technology is making pure tranfer of information a commodity. If colleges want to show value, they’re going to have to show there is a reason for people to actually come in and by physically present in a classroom.
- Students want to be exposed to several moral systems so they can pick one to live by.
- It’s important to expose students to al sorts of interests to they can get a better understanding which direction they want to go in, rather than simply focus on a career path a student chooses at the beginning of school.
“Universities are more professional and glittering than ever, but in some ways there is an emptiness deep down,” says Brooks. Read the commentary here.