Friday, September 17, 2004

Two intriguing initiatives

There's more good stuff to post on this blog than time to post it...playing catch up. Also, trying to write shorter bytes for consumption, based on the findings of the Eyetrack III study.

1. Challenging corporations to improve online education. U Share - U Learn is a new corporate alliance program for organizations with online learning programs, announced by the Online University Consortium, a U.S. network of accredited universities and online degree programs.

The initiative will help companies benchmark themselves against other companies to create standards for online education and university-to-business alliance programs, says the press release.

Companies that would like to participate should contact Greg Eisenbarth at You can learn more about the Online University Consortium at

2. Anarchist University. Is this the future of learning? Anarchist U is a new model of university: non-hierarchical, self-organizing, blending online and in-person elements. The Website is used in combination with in-person meetings and learning sessions.

Anyone can propose a class at an in-person meeting, then once agreed on by consensus decision-making at that meeting, the Website helps sign up learners and organize curriculum using a wiki.

Then, learning sessions take place in-person at various sites around Toronto. Classes are on a variety of arts and science topics (with a definite progressive leaning) and last ten weeks. There are no fees or grades. Teachers are resources, not authority figures.

Will this approach replace traditional schools? Probably not, but there's a lot we can learn by watching how the experiment grows. Future of learning? More the past--think Socrates teaching under a tree, asking students questions rather than lecturing, not charging for the privilege.

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