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15 JANUARY 2014

Why online education is mostly a fantasy

"If you listen to the advocates of online learning, MOOCs and Internet–based courses will cure all of our education problems. Just hand out some Android tablets, stream some courses in Python, and sit back and watch as everyone magically becomes a highly productive knowledge worker propelling the United States to new heights of economic prosperity. But this vision of online learning is so ridiculous I'm waiting for Ricardo Montalban to show up in a white suit and welcome these people to Fantasy Island.

The online education utopians ignore the fact that free learning has existed for decades in the form of the public library and despite that availability, every kid within bicycling distance to his local branch didn't turn into a self taught entrepreneur. Suggesting that online courses are the cure–all for our educational needs is like saying all you have to do to teach kids in the ghetto is give away textbooks on the corner."

(Francisco Dao, 25 April 2013, PandoDaily)

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2013 • Android tablet • at-risk learner • availabilitybricks and mortar • classroom based students • completion • completion rates • cost effective • course completion • cure all • cure-all • economic prosperity • education problems • educational needs • face-to-face instruction • Fantasy Island (television) • fixed structure • free learning • Hallie Bateman • highly productive • Internet-based courses • knowledge workerMinerva ProjectMOOCsmotivationmotivational needsonline courseonline educationonline learning • online movement • online programme • online students • PandoDaily • physical campuses • public library • real world student interaction • Ricardo Montalban • self-motivated • self-taught • sense of belonging • time flexibility • universityuniversity educationutopian technological prophecy

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 JANUARY 2014

Massive Online Education Gets Less Massive

"The Web education phenomenon has hit a rough patch of late. After massive open online courses, or MOOCs as they're awkwardly called, lured tens of millions of dollars in venture funding and millions of users over the past two years, the dream of bringing a quality virtual education to anyone, anywhere isn't quite working out as planned.

Even Sebastian Thrun, the online education pioneer and founder of Udacity, told Fast Company in November that he's helped develop a 'lousy product' because so few students finish the digital courses."

(Ari Levy, 14 January 2014, Bloomberg L.P)

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2014Bloomberg LPcompletion • declining interest • digital courses • education for everybody • education phenomenon • Fast Company • lousy product • Massive Open Online CoursesMOOCs • online education pioneer • quality virtual education to anyone • retention • rough patch • Sebastian ThrunUdacityutopian technological prophecyventure capital • venture funding • virtual education

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
20 MARCH 2013

Radical Pedagogies in Architectural Education

"Pedagogical experiments played a crucial role in shaping architectural discourse and practice in the second half of the 20th century. In fact, the key hypothesis of our Radical Pedagogy[1] research project is that these experiments can be understood as radical architectural practices in their own right. Radical in the literal meaning from the Latin radice, as something belonging or relating to the root, to its foundations. Radical pedagogies shake foundations, disturbing assumptions rather than reinforcing and disseminating them. This challenge to normative thinking was a major force in the postwar field of architecture, and has surprisingly been neglected in recent years. ...

Architectural pedagogy has become stale. Schools spin old wheels as if something is happening but so little is going on. Students wait for a sense of activist engagement with a rapidly evolving world but graduate before it happens. The fact that they wait for instruction is already the problem. Teachers likewise worry too much about their place in the institutional hierarchies. Curricular structures have hardly changed in recent decades, despite the major transformations that have taken place with the growth of globalisation, new technologies, and information culture. As schools appear to increasingly favour professionalisation, they seem to drown in self–imposed bureaucratic oversight, suffocating any possibility for the emergence of experimental practices and failures. There are a few attempts to wake things up here and there but it's all so timid in the end. There is no real innovation.

In response to the timidity of schools today, the Radical Pedagogy project returns to the educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s to remind us what can happen when pedagogy takes on risks. It's a provocation and a call to arms."

(Beatriz Colomina with Esther Choi, Ignacio Gonzalez Galan and Anna–Maria Meister, 28 September 2012, The Architectural Review)

1). Radical Pedagogy is an ongoing multi–year collaborative research project by a team of PhD candidates in the School of Architecture at Princeton University, led by Beatriz Colomina and involving seminars, interviews and guest lectures by protagonists and scholars. The project explores a remarkable set of pedagogical experiments of the 1960s and '70s that revolutionised thinking in the discipline. Each student is working on one of these experiments and collectively mapping the interconnections and effects of these experiments towards a major publication and exhibition.

Fig.1 Tournaments in the Course 'Culture of the Body', at the Valparaíso School, 1975. Courtesy of Archivo Histórico Jose Vial, Escuela Arquitectura y Diseño, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso

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1960s1970s20th centuryacademic disciplinesactivism • Alberto Perez-Gomez • Alexander Girard • Alexis Josic • alternative visions • Anna-Maria Meister • architectural discourse • architectural educationarchitectural pedagogyarchitectural practice • architectural radicalism • architecturearchitecture schoolsartificial intelligence • autochthonous tools • Beatriz Colomina • brave new worldBuckminster Fullerbureaucratic reduction • bureaucratic structures • call to arms • capitalist structures • Cedric Price • challenging conventionsCharles Eamescold war • collective defiance • conceptual speculation • consumable plastics • conventional logicconventionalityconventions • cultural milieu • cultural transformation • curricular structures • curriculum innovation • cybernetics • Dalibor Vesely • Daniel Libeskind • David Leatherbarrow • decentralised university • Denise Scott Brown • design disciplinedesign educationdesign formalismdesign fundamentalism • disciplinary assumptions • disciplinary limits • disciplinary protocols • disciplinary self-reflexivity • emerging practices • Emilio Ambasz • Esther Choi • experimental pedagogy • experimental practices • experimental teachinggeopolitical landscape • George Candilis • George Nelson • Germano Celant • Giancarlo De Carlo • Gillo Dorfles • globalisationGyorgy KepesHannah Arendthegelian dialecticHenri Lefebvrehermeneutics • Ignacio Gonzalez Galan • information culture • institutional authority • institutional critique • institutional hierarchies • institutionalisation • instrumentality • Jean Baudrillard • Joseph Rykwert • linguisticsman machine • mass produced desire • mass productionmodernist tradition • Mohsen Mostafavi • new social ordernew technologiesNicholas Negroponte • non-architecture • non-school • Octavio Paz • pedagogical experiments • pedagogical institutions • pedagogy • pedagogy experiments • phenomenology • post-technological society • professionalisation • progressive pedagogical initiatives • provocationquestioning traditions • radical architectural pedagogies • radical architectural pedagogy • radical architectural practices • radical pedagogical experiments • radical pedagogies • radical pedagogy • radical practice • radical practices • radical strategies • radical upheaval • radicality • radice • rapidly evolving world • Ray Eamesreconceptualisationredesigningreinterpretationresearch project • retreat into formalism • return to order • Robin Evans • science fictionself-reflexivity • Shadrach Woods • socio-political • socio-political efficacy • spaceships • speculative interventionsspeculative proposalssubversive actions • Suzanne Keller • taking risks • techno-utopia • technological • technological advancestechnological determinism • Texas Rangers • The Architectural Review • transformational engagementUmberto Ecoutopian perspectiveutopian technological prophecyVietnam war

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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