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Higher-ed business model must stress connection, not isolation

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Northeastern University president Joseph Aoun’s Nov. 17 op-ed on massively open online courses omits two radical shifts that are transforming education. One is the staging of hands-on projects chosen by students and aimed at a practical result, such as the design of a machine that solves a community problem. The other is the emergence of peers engaging peers in each other’s education — actually, the re-emergence of this practice, which goes back to the symposia of Ancient Greece and Talmudic debate. Educators’ challenge is to enhance these experiments and raw insights with the traditional contributions of experts to education, and to build a business model around this combination. An educational future based on isolated students sitting in front of monitors answering canned questions would be bleak and sterile indeed.

Andrew Oram

Arlington

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