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Broken university

Author: joe

Thursday, 01 May, 2008 - 17:49

I have a lot of other stuff to write about, and I will get around to it. In the meantime, I just want to note an observation which occurred to me recently. A moment of realisation.

I've been delving into writing code for collective intelligence, and as I worked through some of the intellectual ideas behind the various algorithms and principles, it occurred to me that universities are exactly the sorts of place where collective intelligence does not emerge.

Despite the fact that universities form a hub and focus for people who value intelligence, and sometimes, even creative thinking, actually the entire tertiary education system is set up to discourage collectivity, and incentivise secrecy and competition.

Universities do not exist for the benefit of learners, they exist for the benefit of researchers. Reward systems recognise research and publication, exercises which demand 'originality' and 'novelty' - which discourage people from sharing their ideas - and scarcely notice pedagogy. Researchers talk more about whose ideas are whose rather than what those ideas are.

The minor army of people who are there because they want to help people to learn are invisible, unrecognised, overlooked, ignored, tolerated. How have we managed to have such broken universities?

Categories: university, education, learning, collective-intelligence, irony,
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