Academia vs The Real World
The more I read and the more real world experiences I acquire I cannot help…
Just wanted to let you guys know that going forward I will be posting reviews of comics/graphic novels I have currently read. Check it out if you get a chance. Now the Future of Learning…
About a year ago I sent Brian Greene, the author and physicists an email. I had just finished his book The Fabric of the Cosmos and had a ton of questions for him. I was also writing a story that had a lot of physics and ideas dealing with the cosmos in it. Needless to say I never got a response, don’t worry Brian I will not hold it against you!
But the other day I did receive an email from him. I guess because I sent him one he had one of his minions add me to some distribution list he has. The email was about the launch of World Science U. It is a website where anyone can go and sign up to take watch videos and learn what physics students are learning in college. The coolest part about this is that it is free! Yep that is right Brain Greene set up this whole platform for free.
From what I understand it is an attempt to get people focused on science again and make it fun and more interactive. I think this is a very cool idea. I love learning about the universe and how things work, so this is right up my alley. The fact that it is free and all you have to do to get started is go the website listed below and sign up.
This idea got me thinking about college and how this idea could potentially shape the future. If you have read my earlier posts I am not a fan of the system we currently have in place. A system that makes people pay thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education that will help them get a “good job” and make lots of money. Outside of a few very technical professions I do not think this system is proving fruitful, at least not for the students involved. The students are more or less screwed. If they do not attend college, good luck getting a decent job! But even then with the economy, being sub par to say the least, that decent job may not happen. So a kid just spent well over eighty grand on an education and is now working for minimum wage.
I currently have a Bachelors degree in Finance and it makes me cringe every time I think about how much my parents spent on my education. I cannot say that it was entirely worth the cost either. I did learn quite a bit in college but at the same time I would say well over 60% of what I learned was not really relevant to any job I have held. Even if I went into work in a true financial setting like JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs, I still do not think I would have used very much of what I learned in school. On the other hand I will say that the experiences I had in college will last a life time! Thanks mom and dad, money well spent!
So what if this free online forum changes all that? What if in the future traditional college is a thing of the past and students, or just anyone for that matter, log on and take courses in a field they are interested in. I am not saying this will happen tomorrow or even in the next few years but I think this could be the start of something new for the future of education.
How cool would this be? There could potentially be a lot of problems with this idea but let’s just say for arguments sake that this idea revolutionizes the way people learn in the future. Think of how hard it is now to switch careers. I have a background in finance and have worked in similar jobs since I graduated. I am finding it exceedingly difficult to try and break into the writing field. I have only been writing for about a year and everything I have learned I have had to do on my own. Either by reaching out to other writers and asking for tips or simply Googling certain questions I might have. I am sure there are some online classes or what have you that have to do with writing where I could learn more about it. But what if it was as easy as a quick Google search and I could take a 5 week online college level course about writing. Now think about doing that for any trade or skill. Imagine a blue collar worker taking classes to become a stock broker, or taking finance classes to understand how to invest his/her money better. Or what about a stay at home mom who wants to take courses so she can get that job she has always wanted. The possibilities are endless.
The other cool thing about this is that the person is the one seeking out the courses. Raise your hand if you dreaded your sophomore year in college because you had to declare a major, my hand is raised. I went into finance because I wanted to make millions of dollars working on Wall Street. Life is funny sometimes and only six years out of college quite a lot has changed. Now I am trying my hand at writing. I still have a passion for finance, but writing is this whole new thing that I love to do now. Most importantly it is FUN!
That is another thing that I find a little strange about college is making a 20 year old figure out what it is they want to do the rest of your life. How many 20 year olds can answer that? This is again something that is very odd to me. How many people knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives when they were 20 years old? I am 28 and I am not 100% sure what I want to do the rest of my life.
Enough rambling, I think this online forum is the start of something big. I can only imagine what could happen if this were to take off. As David says in Prometheus, “Big things have small beginnings.”