A response to “A Disrupted Higher-Ed System”

by hamiltonmj1983

A recent article at the Chronicle of Higher Ed speaks of the entire higher ed system now being disrupted because of courses available online at little or no cost.

The argument is that higher ed is being taught the same way it was two thousand years ago, instead of finding new innovative ways for the 21st century. My first response is simple: if it is not broken, why fix it? The basic idea of higher education is that a student decides to obtain an education. The student then decides on a school that will give them a well-rounded education but also allow them to focus on a single subject, in which they will be able to study under a professor or a group of professors who have mastered the subject. To work under those who have mastered a subject should be seen as an honor.

Enter 21st century education – students see themselves as buyers and the colleges and universities as suppliers. The student chooses the school based on many other factors, such as price, location, extra amenities, sports teams, etc. How many college students even know the names of the faculty in the department of their major when they arrive for the first day of classes? I know that I sure didn’t when I started undergrad.

The problem is not that higher ed is being done the same way that it has been for thousands of years; the problems that the students no longer feel honored to study under a master. Instead, students believe that they can do whatever they want and deserve anything they wish because they are handing out the paychecks. There is simply no respect, and education is simply seen as a means to an end. The ultimate goal of education for too many people is simply to obtain a larger paycheck than those who didn’t go to school. It is a very sad outlook for higher education if we cannot change the mindsets of young people earlier.

Sadly, this trend is true even in religious higher education. Most seminarians see no benefit in education, but instead only view it as a hurdle they must jump in order to become pastors.

How can we fix this? How can we change the mindsets of young people, in order to make them aware that being a student is so much more than being a consumer?