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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Education on Demand

I thought by now there would be no movie theaters. I have nice TVs and sound systems at home, subscriptions to various movie services and if I want it, video on demand that I can pay for. I never have to leave the house or put up with annoying people sitting next to me.

Still people (even I) go to the movies. They do it to get out of the house, to see an even bigger screen with better sounds and to keep current with the latest offerings that are being talked about in their circle of friends.

You get the feeling that movie theaters still won’t be around much longer anyway. But people who run the movie business are fighting this in every way they can.

61% of adults said that they rarely or never go out to the movies.  Of those who do go to the movies,  55%  said that they go see films less often now than they did before. 73% prefer watching movies at home. Many in the industry are scared to death of DVDS being released at the same time as the movie itself.  “The theater industry is facing something of a crisis. Theater owners don’t quite get that going to the movies is a social experience, and that they need to make that social experience a lot more enjoyable.”

Well, of course, I am not worried about the movie industry. I am just an observer who takes note that when something is available on demand at home or in your favorite place for social experience with others, its appeal in the standard bricks and mortar public format will go away.

Of course I am talking about education. Why would anyone go to school or put up with the annoyance of school regulations, certifications, classroom situations, and being told what you must learn when, if they didn’t have to? Schools were designed for poor people. The rich had private tutors who came to them, or failing that an elite upper class venue where they were treated respectfully. (Do Oxford students still have personal butlers?)

Today school is a miserable mass experience for everyone. Yes, it fun to go to Yale, but there are plenty of lost, bored, and angry kids at Yale too. (They all seemed to find their way to me when I was there.)

If we had education on demand, wouldn’t this be as threatening as movies on demand to the existing system?

So, in that spirit, I am announcing “Education on Demand.” We will offer, and by "we" I mean my team of respected computer science professors (XTOL, on line short courses that can be taken on demand (more or less, they will have start dates so students can work in small teams with mentors.)

Below is a list of short courses we will offer starting in January 2013. These courses run about two week full time and four weeks part time. More are coming. They are open to anyone who wants to take them. They are meant to teach people to do things that might need to do. We will issue a certificate to hang on your wall if you like signed by the relevant faculty. Students succeed by actually doing things. No lectures. No tests. Just producing. Open to anyone, anyone at all. Just do the work.

Introduction to Website Development
Web Application Development    
Mobile Web Application Development  
Native Mobile Application Development for Web Programmers
Sensor-based Mobile Applications Introduction to ecommerce
Search Engine Optimization
eCommerce Data Analytics 
Big Data Software and System Requirements
Managing Software Professionals 
Setting Software Projects Up for Success 
Team-Based Agile Software Development 
We are building more of these every day. There will be short courses in other areas than computer science soon (starting with learning sciences.) We are in discussions with industry on building other short courses that industry feels it needs. Feel free to contact us about courses we should build.
In summary:

Learning by doing
Deliverables that prove you can do something you couldn’t do before
Working in teams
Enhancing your employable skills
On line, no need to go anywhere
Education when you want it
The beginning of the end of brick and mortar education
The beginning of the end of rules about what you must do before you do what you want to do
If you can do the work, then sign up


Deb Kauffman said...

Thank you!!!

jake said...

Where do we sign up?

Forrest Hayes said...

Dr. Schank,

I'm eager to learn more about your future courses in the learning sciences. What projects will be involved? Can you describe some of the stories in the curriculum? Will this course prepare someone to help you and Socratic Arts to design and build other learn-by-doing, story-based online courses?

Thank you for your time,