Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Open Loop University

Link

At Stanford, where I teach, an idea still in the concept phase developed by a student-led team in the university’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design calls for the replacement of four consecutive college years in young adulthood with multiple residencies distributed over a lifetime. What the designers call Open Loop University would grant students admitted to Stanford multiple years to spend on campus, along with advisers to help them time those years strategically in light of their personal development and career ambitions. Today’s arbitrarily segregated world of teenagers and young adults would become an ever-replenished intergenerational community of purposeful learners.

This utopian ideal is admittedly quite a distance from the institutional arrangements we have inherited, which encourage the nation’s most privileged young people to enter and finish college by the ripe old age of 22. But the status quo is not sustainable. Unrelenting demand for better-educated workers, rapidly developing technological capacity to support learning digitally and the soaring costs of conventional campus life are driving us toward substantial change.