Transcript of "WAOE - The Future of Universities"


This discussion was the synchronous event for the mostly asynchronous World Association for Online Education (WAOE) 2002 Annual Members' Meeting. WAOE collaborated with TappedIn for a MOO session with Dr. Parker Rossman, a former dean at Yale, hosted by Prof. Steve McCarty in Japan.

Permission for this publication has been received by all those named below.

Edited Transcript

Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 19:26:09 PDT
Subject: text from WAOE - The Future of Universities (#25077)
X-Mail-Agent: TappedIn ( 7777)

Started recording in Oasis Cafe (#271)[TappedIn] at Wed Jul 17 19:54:37 2002 PDT.

SteveMc says, "Some of us in the World Association for Online Education have tried to to read up on Dr. Parker Rossman's remarkable online book"

FrancesL says, "thanks for the link, Steve"

SteveMc says, "especially sections relevant to facilitating Net empowerment for non-Western scholars, starting with Vol. II Chapter 2.17 & 18:"

SteveMc says, "Here is his self-introduction for WAOE's Views list: 'Steve asked me to introduce myself. You are invited to discuss my daily-updated free online book on the future of education (addressed basically to the developing world), a project
suggested to me when in 1997 in Paris I was briefing some developing world delegates to the UNESCO world conference on higher education. There was a complaint that my book THE EMERGING WORLDWIDE ELECTRONIC UNIVERSITY was too expensive. So, since it was going out of print, I agreed to put a new and expanded edition online, free and regularly updated as an experiment in an e-textbook with many links to related research. You can click on my name here to see my picture and something about my years of research on "the nature and future of the university" (now defined as lifelong education in the context of the UNESCO 'education for all' initiative. I welcome your comments, corrections, and suggestions for additions and improvement, especially in relation to your geographical or research area. Feel free to send me personal e-mail or through the discussion here."

SusanneN says, "Looks like i really ought to read what Parker has to tell"

SteveMc says, "Please introduce yourselves, everyone."

SusanneN projects A few words about Susanne Nyrop.
Hello! I am from Denmark, Europe. A graduate student of education, a Tapped IN helpdesk and community builder since 2000 - and an active member of webheads in Action a community , investigating ways of using the internet for learning and teaching English as a foreign language.

BeeD projects Bee's intro.
Barbara Dieu is Coordinator of Foreign Language Dept. and EFL teacher at the Lycee Pasteur, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Jan_NS [k-8science] projects AboutJ.
Jan Naher-Snowden is focusing on meaningful integration of technology into the curriculum, especially science content areas (K-16) and teacher education. She is especially interested in Webquests and interactive formats for learning. Currently, she is working as Part-Time Faculty in the College of Education at the University of Akron. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Dept. of Curricular and Instructional Studies.
Her avocations include: bicycling, golden retrievers, choral music, and being the neighborhood Nature Lady.

FrancesL says, "I am frances, I teach people how to teach online"

JeffC says, "Jeff Cooper, Education Technology Specialist, School of Education, Pacific University"

JacobP says, "My name is Jacob, I am a student teacher in a Masters Program"

SteveMc says, "I'm your host, Steve McCarty, Professor, Kagawa JC, Japan and President, World Association for Online Education (NPO)"

JeffC projects JeffC.
My name is Jeff Cooper. I have been a Computer Resource Teacher, taught English, ESL, Drama (my degree), Computer Applications and Desktop Publishing. Currently I am the Education Technology Specialist at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. I am very interested in the integration of technology into curricula, and completed the LInC program at Fermilab, where I collaborated with e-educators throughout the year. I believe in shifting pedagogy away from teacher centered didacticism towards student centered projects. I also believe in breaking down classroom walls and using MUVEs (MultiUser Virtual Environments) such as Tapped In to facilitate team teaching on a global scale. If you are interested in collaborating, please don't hesitate to contact me.

SteveMc says, "One project Parker and I have been involved with is the Global University System, an idealistic but grant-dependent movement like so many NGOs."

SteveMc projects the URL:

ParkerR says, "It is remarkable the progress Utsumi is making, building from the bottom up and cooperating to help educators on their own projects."

SteveMc . o O ( a shame to have to wait for funds from competitive grants. )

JeffC says, "To me the basic question is whether or not professors will be willing to open source their curriculum, so that students around the world may study online *for free* ...and worry about assessment issues separately. This indeed is what I'm looking to do... not study at one institution (online or off), and pick and choose my curriculum."

ParkerR says, "The shame is the brutal competition that creates a confusing picture so that there is no one place where academics from many countries can go online to discuss and negotiate their crucial issues."

FrancesL says, "good question, Jeff. The value, they say, is in the instruction - not the
content online"

SteveMc asks, "I'd like to ask Parker about the University of the World. Was it an idea before its time, to unite the world's universities, or were there problems of self-interest in the organization?"

DonnaMH says, "I know that Bernie Poole no longer publishes his book with McGraw Hill, but publishes it online (updates and all) for free. (the text was originally in the neighborhood of $90)"

SusanneN [to Jeff]: "a very interesting viewpoint. E-learning seem to be considered as a big money machine in many (non-academic?) circles"

ParkerR says, "Of course MIT is putting many of their courses online, in the future to be free of cost...that gets no credit or instruction...but can help update professors with limited resources."

JeffC says, "I'm not as concerned with instruction as I am about learning. Almost all of the discussion involves how educators will present online... but very few if any look at how students will play a role."

[staff] agrees with JeffC.

FrancesL asks, "do you have any further thoughts along this line, Jeff? I mean - what are the roles that you see?"

SusanneN feels she represents the ever-learning student having profited immensely from the Net for knowledge-building and cooperation.

ParkerR says, "The University of the World grew out of EDUCOM, one of the largest meetings of IT people...and with the help of the US Department of State tried to persuade all countries to contribute to a budget...some did and it limped around a while on limited funds...had an impressive board and sponsors, but never got enough money to really get off the ground. It was a mistake, I think, to begin with the education
bureaucrats who all had their own axes to grind and other uses for their limited resources."

JeffC says, "I have quite a few thoughts... I've been coalescing them for some time. For starters... if professors would open source their curriculum, they could gain prestige in the sense that thousands (indeed millions) of currently disenfranchised students could now access their material, and knowledge."

[staff] says, "Not to speak for Jeff, but students being self-directed, for one."

BeeD shares the same thoughts as Susan being a self-taught teacher most of the time

SusanneN asks, "Either the academic journals get freeware in some way or another, or we cannot get to the real knowledge without a fee?"

FrancesL says, "anytime [to guest] ... I am just very curious about this thinking"

[staff] nods.

JeffC says, "It would cost the professors nothing, and indeed, they would gain through the feedback that could be made through online discussion groups... mirroring their regular discussions at Universities (online or off)."

ParkerR says, "It is my hope that year-old courses can be made available to those who lack they replaced new more up-to-date courses. That is not ideal for the long run, but can provide a lot to those who have little."

SteveMc asks, "Thanks, Parker, then rather than educational bureaucrats...?"

[guest] says, "is there anything for homeschoolers, free courses?"

JeffC says, "Students would find the best online classes, create mirror sites for discussion, and contract in different ways with professors and possibly institutions (both online and off) for assessment and credit."

FrancesL says, "I think that we will come to this eventually - open source content in a lot of institutions"

ParkerR says, "Steve Eskow today, commenting on the DEOS listserv, suggests an online continuing conference of educators ..not the bureaucrats, but people who are really doing the work, to gradually build a community of people concerned with providing education for everyone in the world."

BeeD asks, "But then to access this material...students need to be taught...need to have the do they learn?"

JeffC says, "There are free courses online... I wish Steve Eskow were with us... I've spoken to him about my idea."

FrancesL says, "there are many free courses online ... just not facilitated"

BeeD says, "you need access and to know how to access"

ParkerR says, "Yes, the University of the World wanted to create a free catalog of everything available."

[staff] says, "Absolutely ... But it needs to incorporate local conditions and interpretations..."

FrancesL says, "it changes so often, it's hard to keep up-to-date"

JacobP asks, "Wouldn't it be always changing?"

SusanneN says, "I'd like to point to the Willinsky & Wolfson initiative, the free online Journal of Electronic Publishing"

[staff] [to JacobP]: "It does now, doesn't it?"

SusanneN asks, "anyone interested in the url?"

ParkerR says, "Yes, and I think every neighborhood school should be a telecenter with teachers as advisors and counselors to help people find what is available.."

FrancesL says, "yes"

SteveMc says, "MIT and others will make not courses but course contents available. The really idealistic educators will make courses available."

FrancesL says, "unfortunately many adult teachers are still nervous about the Internet"

JeffC says, "Yes... but not student-centered curriculum. Students need to feel free to explore curriculum, pick and choose (even pieces, not whole courses), and then go from there. I've attempted to get professors to open source their online ed classes (mainly in staff development, online and distance ed, etc.) and have met with mixed success so far. Harvard wouldn't open source, neither would Cappella, Boise, or Phoenix. Professors at Pepperdine were responsive. But bear in mind, most institutions will have a major cow about this. Because there isn't major money in it for them. Especially because it presupposes students will take courses all over."

ParkerR says, "Yes, I think they can, but their institutions may not let them make the most current courses least not in the near future."

BeeD says, "Schools have to be open to the community and so do universities...they must interact much more than they do"

[staff] [to FrancesL]: "But that will diminish relatively quickly, don't you think?"

ParkerR says, "Yes, In my online book I talk of university...but mean a central service for personalized online education ..lifelong."

JeffC [to SteveMc]: "MIT's open source classes are a good idea... a step in the right direction... but if you look at the curriculum, it is high powered computer courses relating specifically to open source issues. You don't see many Education, Psychology, Business, or any other courses (or universities) going free."

[staff] asks, "What's the role of business as an educational organization?"

FrancesL says, "with retirement, David... this attitude will change...but right now - the teachers will say here is the computer - good bye"

SusanneN feels an urge to project an url to you about the JEP open source

[staff] says, "It seems to do more and more "training""

ParkerR says, "MIT is going to be most useful to instructors who need updating, and to some highly intelligent students who lack access to what they need"

[staff] [to FrancesL]: "Yes, you are correct."

SusanneN asks, "ready for another new website projection?"

ParkerR says, "Eskow would include business and others in his online planning symposium."

[staff] nods.
[staff] [to SusanneN]: "Sure."

SusanneN projects the URL:

JeffC says, "It can come down to professors versus institutions. Bear in mind that institutions now are exploiting professors through their overuse of adjunct professors. Currently, tenure track professors don't have many weapons to fight back with on contractual levels. Open sourcing their curriculum would be anathema to the institutions they work at... possibly a major political fight. What would institutions say to the idea of an educated world? Letting everybody learn? Bitter irony ensues."

ParkerR says, "My online book is full of URL's and we welcome many more to add"

Jan_NS . o O ( and also exploiting the adjunct professors, too. )

JeffC [to Jan]: "Absolutely... big time"

ParkerR says, "I wonder if the global virtual university needs to be built above the existing institutions, not changing them until they are ready, but proceeding to make what is available for all...and then much more can be added"

BeeD says, "And how would the professors earn their living? Here in Brazil many survive by doing extra jobs here and there"

Jan_NS . o O ( as I personally know so well. )

SusanneN says, "Jeff, where I come from, education used to be all free! But for the last three years, more and more has been directed towards very expensive courses. Universities are in a new situation since they used to be free of economic speculations, and now they get far too few registrations than they need for getting enough money"

ParkerR says, "Yes, when I was in Brazil I met a professor who earned his living off tourist tips when he conducted tours week ends. I see at this time no global source that can be locally available, except perhaps foreign aid education vouchers to individual students who then will pay professors."

SusanneN . o O ( I come from Denmark, Europe, which used to be a social democracy but is now quite right wing liberalist organized )

[staff] says, "In the US, Universities seem to be much more turning into businesses and away from "Non-Profit" models..."

JeffC [to BeeD]: "Currently, they're employed by Universities, who pay them to educate perhaps 3% of the world. I don't see "real" universities disappearing any time soon. Many people will still pay outrageous tuition to attend IRL. Meanwhile... billions more could gain access and revolutionize education in the long run. And in the long run...professors, and all of us, would gain, not just financially."

BeeD says, "Here in Brazil what you see happening is plain son has just been admitted to pay for every breath you take"

SusanneN says, "It is so disgusting to imagine that higher and further education will be reserved for the payable public."

JeffC says, "The Internet isn't free or cheap either in 90% of the world. I'm working with an educator in Rwanda... remember Rwanda? He pays an outrageous hourly amount to connect. And yet... we are *connecting*."

SteveMc says, "I don't think the privileged could compete with those who are hungry to learn, so the Internet for education for all threatens some vested interests."

[staff] [to JeffC]: "That's very impressive..."

JeffC says, "The term "public education" is an oxymoron, especially at the collegiate level."

ParkerR says, "We must fight against education that is just for the elite, but for a long time only the elite will have access to the best...until the education revolution? But we can with existing resources have a system that can provide the basic 25 courses for
everyone in the world, as Alfred Bork proposes, with automatic delivery and tutoring."

[staff] smiles.
FrancesL smiles

SusanneN wonders what would be the standard "25 basic courses"

SteveMc says, "In the World Association for Online Education we give Web directories and e-mail accounts to non-Westerners, for example."

ParkerR asks, "Has anyone looked at my online book?"

JeffC says, "Wire (or satellite) Africa for starters. Steve Eklund is working on that, along with Professor Agbo here at Pacific. I'm helping to facilitate it."

[staff] [to ParkerR]: "Not yet, but I plan to..."

SteveMc projects the URL:

SusanneN says, "Parker, not too much yet, i cannot read and discuss at the same time."

SteveMc says, "Some of us in the World Association for Online Education have tried to read up on Dr. Parker Rossman's remarkable online book"

ParkerR says, "Wire Africa? For a long time much must be done by radio and CDs that are being produced with basic learning and which can be listened to on music-type VD players. All kinds of technology is needed if we are really going to bring essential education to everyone in the world."

JeffC [to ParkerR]: "Yes... and I must apologize... I should shut up and let you discuss your book. I've bookmarked it, and other sites..."

ParkerR says, "I will be glad to answer questions and receive comments via e-mail at any time in the future since there is no time to look at it tonight"

JeffC says, "I think just Chapter 17 was projected... let me project the homepage:"

JeffC projects the URL:

[staff] says, "World Bank is supporting a project for Net access in parts of Africa."

ParkerR says, "There are important pilot projects underway all over...and perhaps soon we will find affordable IT, much produced then at low cost in the developing world."

SusanneN says, "One major problem here is the economy; as long as the southern part of the African continent is near dying from AIDS, what is the core point to help them survive? The World Bank need to support health projects concurrently if they want things to make any difference"

ParkerR says, "I hope it is not either/or (AIDS or education) because good education is essential for dealing with AIDS."

BeeD says, "I was in contact with a school director in Congo...he was participating with his school via snail mail in our Time project...and paid to connect...he needed books in French...we were willing to send him but could not due to customs problems and all"

SusanneN agree with Parker

SteveMc says, "The before-mentioned Global University System tries to combine e-health with e-learning, to share bandwidth and other resources."

ParkerR says, "I have been asked if my online book could be offered in French and Spanish but it would take an organization to keep it up to date in several languages...until we have automatic translation that works better"

BeeD says, "The European Union has now a new project for this called @lis for Latin American countries"

SteveMc says, "Our colleague Dr. Afele from Ghana says that Africans need knowledge now -- just as much as food."

SusanneN says, "E-health sounds like a very neat use of a future technology"

[staff] agrees with SusanneN.

ParkerR says, "Yes, the Global University project originally assumed that there would be money for health care and medical education and the rest of us could piggy-back on it. That may yet be true. Utsumi also wants to do peace-gaming to deal with global crises."

SusanneN says, "Knowledge, food - and a better health system"

[staff] says, "Interrelated, I believe..."

SusanneN . o O ( and NOT that the western countries import the knowledge
& welfare reserve from the poorer countries )

BeeD says, "and global standards...if this can ever be possible"

ParkerR says, "All these, health care, education can be provided when everyone has a income adequate to afford them...and some kind of online education system may be the best route to help everyone get that income."

[guest] says, "I agree with you Susanne"

JeffC says, "I find myself agreeing with what I'm reading in Parker's book... haven't gotten far enough to know if he asks the question yet: 'Is there a conspiracy to keep the third world uneducated?' I think I know the answer, though."

SusanneN says, "I have read how the best qualified and experienced doctors and nurses are encouraged to move from, e.g., South Africa to the U.S. and other rich countries"

ParkerR says, "Well, there is a real struggle within the World Bank...funded by the rich...and with a younger generation who genuinely want to get the developing world educated. Leadership to accomplish what ought to be done must, I think, come from Scandanavia and other smaller nations that can work to build public opinion."

BeeD says, "Because there their work is recognized, paid for and they can do research"

JeffC asks, "When the U.S. spends $500 billion a year on defense... how much is left for education?"

SusanneN asks, "yes, Bee - but what if they were better paid and rewarded with research opportunities in their homeland?"

ParkerR says, "I do not think there is a conspiracy, but I think we work too much at bits and pieces...and do not deal with all the crises at once...those for example discussed in volume 1, chapter 1."

SusanneN says, "The whole warfare system stinks"

BeeD [to Susanne]: "I believe they would stay"

ParkerR says, "Well, the US is pretty much a lost cause at this time and the rest of the world is showing that it does not have to be dominated by the USA, but can go ahead and do what ought to be done."

ParkerR says, "One problem is that many of the younger generation know what they are against, but not enough know what they are for and how to work for it."

SusanneN says, "sure thing, Parker. But the opposite seem to be going on since the terror fear made its effect"

BeeD agrees completely

ParkerR says, "Yet the Internet makes it possible for many on a global scale to work together as never before."

BeeD says, "I for one...have never worked so much before"

SusanneN says, "let us believe in the internet revolution, then, and promote it as far as possible"

[staff] smiles.

JeffC says, "That's interesting, Parker, saying that the rest of the world has written off the U.S. That's a pretty sad (but undoubtedly true) statement. The U.S. may be a lost cause in terms of taking an international role as supporter of worldwide education..."

ParkerR says, "For example, the only real way to defeat terrorism is to drain the swamps of ignorance, injustice and poverty that breed terrorists."

JacobP asks, "I have heard that more than half of the world's population has never used a telephone, so how can you expect people to use the Internet to their advantage if they are not able to use telephones?"

BeeD says, "or is the Internet revolution just a means to sell more and more"

JeffC [to ParkerR]: "Absolutely"

SusanneN says, "I work on this project every day, as a volunteer of some kind"

FrancesL asks, "half?"

SusanneN says, "Jacob, I know this is true. But you CAN skip the telephone if you get a pipeline into the internet"

FrancesL says, "We are very lucky in Canada"

ParkerR says, "There are kids all over the world (often using illegal methods and home made equipment) who are finding ways for very poor people to make connections Chinese students did at the time of the T'ien-an-men Square disaster, when they made home-made modems to connect with the world."

JeffC [to ParkerR]: "And most of America is absolutely clueless in that regard. In fact... after John Walker pled and was sentenced to 20 years (for what?)... the Justice Department hailed it as a "message to terrorists." What kind of message?"

BeeD says, "There are many volunteers every sphere of life...Brasil for instance has people who do not earn one cent helping others who have even less"

JeffC [to Jacob]: "Internet Broadband Satellite."

SusanneN . o O ( telephones are actually less important for knowledge building )

SusanneN says, "the telephone is an antiquated technology kept alive by the phone companies :-)"

[staff] smiles.

ParkerR says, "When I was lecturing in Portugal, and students were talking about East Timor, I saw the possibility of an online 'peace corps' with student volunteers all over the world working together to help each other. In fact, I think in the next generation students will build the virtual online university, for all, much as students at Berea College have constructed their own campus buildings to learn the construction trade."

JeffC [to Susanne]: "Good point... I have a number of friends who freely communicate overseas with webcams."

SteveMc says, "Everyone, I have to run off for a class now, but you have all made it very meaningful and memorable, and please continue. Thanks."

JacobP says, "I wasn't saying the use of telephones for technology per se, I was just thinking if these people don't have access to something like a telephone, do you think that their families, or their government can find ways to provide something like the Internet to all of those people?"

SusanneN nods to Jeff

[HelpDesk] says, "thanks, Steve for organizing this discussion"

BeeD says, "I believe committed people will build what they need and make it work... in education or any other field"

SusanneN says, "telecottages are not THAT far out, Jacob"

SusanneN says, "Thanks for being with us, Steve"

BeeD says, "it just may not manifest in the proportions they envisage...but one step follows the other"

ParkerR says, "In the Philippines I saw a Japanese scholar using solar power up in the mountains to operate all kinds of technology, in working with indigenous mountain people. In some ways they were ahead of poor people in the developed world. (Because they saw the need )"

JeffC says, "Mind if I project that site? It involves bringing Internet to Ghana..."

JeffC projects the URL:

JeffC says, "The trouble here in America, is our total ignorance of the world situation. We don't care, let alone *know* about the civil war in Rwanda (1,000,000 dead), or the genocide in East Timor. Unless and until we realize that the worldwide poverty diminishes *our own personal freedom*... we will continue to do nothing about it."

ParkerR says, "Abraham Lincoln said the US could not exist half slave and half free; now we must all realize the world cannot survive half ignorant and half poorly educated."

[staff] thanks everyone here for a VERY stimulating discussion.

FrancesL exclaims, "yes - thanks!"

BeeD exclaims, "Thank you all for this memorable day!"

ParkerR says, "Good night. I'll be glad to hear from any of you."

[help desk] [to ParkerR]: "thanks so much for coming!"

BeeD says, "I have listened, participated and learnt a lot...hope I can pass it on"

SusanneN says, "This has been a great discussion"

[staff] agrees.

An event of the fourth annual TAPPED IN Summer Carnival

WAOE: The Future of Universities by Parker Rossman

8:00-9:00pm PDT/11:00-12:00am EDT [July 17, 2002]

Web page and editing by

WAOE President Steve McCarty

Updated 20 August 2002