Dismantling Education?

I keep hearing the observation (prediction?) that higher education is being disaggregated (most recently, here). What is meant by this is that the sources of the learning that add up to any given degree/diploma/certification are not going to come from a single or even small number of institutions. One will typically, it is said, take each course from the “best” teacher of that subject, wherever (and whenever?) that teacher might be located. There may be a covering institution that awards a degree based on completing a set degree plan, though few, if, any, courses are taken at that institution.

One brake on this model is that most of us are used to thinking of education happening in the social context we call school. But it is also the case that some of the success of the online/MOOC model comes from people knowing what to do with it given their previous understanding of what school is and out it works. Doing an online class is a move in the social institution we call “school,” or, more narrowly, “college.” Perhaps this is why so many of the young people I know strongly prefer face to face over online education.

But what happens when the school goes away? What happens when the institution in which online education “is a move” is no longer there? I’m wondering about not only the step of disaggregation, but of social disembedding. In what social context will the various moves that currently aggregate under the name “education” find a new home?

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