The “New Degree”
Why would I curate a list of University classes that I would want to take? For years now, every since I took the class On Strategy: What Managers Can Learn From Philosophers on Coursera I haven’t stopped thinking about how education will change. I loved the class, it was a great way for me to learn. Ever since I always toyed around with the idea of an “A là Carte” Coursera education. So this is it! These are the 50 (plus 1) classes I would take it I were to go to University.
Try a class, they’re free!
What’s the worst that could happen? You quit? On the other hand what it you learn something? What if you’ve been learning the wrong way all along? Maybe this is how you’re going to master your favourite topic?
Before you start class it might be a good idea to go back to a long, LONG, time ago, before school existed, and ask the question many people are afraid to answer, what is the purpose of school?
What is the purpose of School?
To prepare one for the “real world”? To “get an education”? To find “ones’ self”? To acquire skills that makes you more valuable to the world? Maybe it’s simply to get a job to be able to provide for your family?
School has been evolving ever since it’s inception. 200 years ago if you wanted to become a blacksmith you apprenticed with a blacksmith. If you wanted to run the corner store you apprenticed with the store owner. On the job experience was vital in the learning process. Today you can get a 4 year degree, a two year MBA and start applying for upper management jobs without even have stepped in a cubicle let alone an office!
Sure if you wanted to become a Doctor, Lawyer, or Engineer you had to go to school. But many jobs in the business world you don’t need four years of theory to do your job. In many cases, four years of theory confuse students into thinking the world works like the textbook says it does. And we all know the world does not work like the textbooks say it does.
Sir Ken Robinson would say the purpose of school is to create more factory workers.
“Public schools were not only created in the interests of industrialism—they were created in the image of industrialism. In many ways, they reflect the factory culture they were designed to support. This is especially true in high schools, where school systems base education on the principles of the assembly line and the efficient division of labor. Schools divide the curriculum into specialist segments: some teachers install math in the students, and others install history. They arrange the day into standard units of time, marked out by the ringing of bells, much like a factory announcing the beginning of the workday and the end of breaks. Students are educated in batches, according to age, as if the most important thing they have in common is their date of manufacture. They are given standardized tests at set points and compared with each other before being sent out onto the market. I realize this isn’t an exact analogy and that it ignores many of the subtleties of the system, but it is close enough.”
― Sir Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
I think the purpose for University originally was to prepare students to keep the economy going. The more people that will do what they were told would keep the factories running. The problem is we don’t have anymore factory jobs, those have all gone overseas. We now need creative minds, problem solvers, stubborn people who are unreasonable about how things will change.
We don’t need to create more factory workers out of our students, we need to encourage our students to invent new factories.
When people ask, so what should my kid take in University? I have a difficult time answering, every kid is different and the odds they like what I like are slim to nil. In the new world your education will be self directed, it won’t come from just one school and anyone in the world will be able to access it. Welcome to Coursera. The self directed, worldwide, inclusive educator.
University isn’t a 4 Year program, learning should be a lifelong program
If I were to go back to school here are the courses I’d take. Some on the basics of Business, Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Leadership but also some on the future of business; Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Social Enterprise. The classes are sourced from 26 different schools from all over the world, from Taiwan to Eastern Canada, we’re taking classes in Italy, France, Australia, and all over the United States.