Willful Blindness & Education

Thoughts about Higher Education

Both the education and the higher part of higher education is broken.Research is the only game in town and as that relies more and more heavily on private (read: commercial) funding the research game becomes more and more private (and trivial).

Research is the only game in town and as that relies more and more heavily on private (read: commercial) funding the research game becomes more and more private (and trivial).

In my last post, I presented the sorry state of affairs in equipping our graduates with thinking skills. The ability to engage in formal operational thinking may be inherent, but the skills necessary to use formal operational thinking must be taught. With up to 40% of our graduates unable to engage in formal operational thinking, we aren’t doing a good job of teaching it. This is what the higher in higher education stands for, higher thinking skills.

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Information Scarcity – Institutions

Thoughts about Higher Education

Why would universities work under an information scarcity model of learning and resist moving to an information abundance model of learning?

I believe that there are several reasons such as research focus, efficiency of teaching, teaching rather than learning focus, and real – rather than stated purpose.

Research Focus

The definition of a university is a higher education institution that has research as the primary activity of the institution. Some would argue that the research interests come second to teaching, however, the reality is that research is the only game in town. The status and prestige of the institution is based on research and has nothing to do with teaching. Academic hiring and promotional opportunities pay lip service to teaching but are focussed on research activities with the few teaching only posts seen (and treated as) second class academics.

The very idea that teaching release is given for excellence in…

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Information Scarcity

The rise of universities in the C11-C12 was in response to the rise of merchants and traders who needed to keep track of their goods and exchanges in an orderly manner. There was also demand from traditional property owners to have access to those who knew the law and could prosecute or defend their interests … Continue reading Information Scarcity

Information Digitization – a Paradigm Shift

There is a paradigm shift taking place in learning today. I have written before that there is a paradigm shift in education, but the status quo is reinforcing the traditional trenches in a way that is unbelievable in today's world. Just as the Germans simply zipped around the impregnable Maginot line (the massively reinforced trenches from WWI) … Continue reading Information Digitization – a Paradigm Shift

How We Know

I know that this blog post will be old news to most of us, but I think it needs reiterating within the present context of my thinking - how do we find out what we believe in, or what are the methods of knowing? According to Peirce (1877), there are three methods of knowing information, … Continue reading How We Know

Information Abundance and Teaching

I have written a number of times about information scarcity and information abundance, however, it is a message that is ignored. I was in an exam today, watching students write an end of semester exam after having crammed over the past three or four days to get it all in. They were in a room … Continue reading Information Abundance and Teaching

Intrinsic Motivation

When I was growing up, I was a Yankees baseball fan. They were winning, my third grade teacher read us a story about Mickey Mantle, and my dad loved the Dodgers – so I picked the Yankees. In the early 1980s I listened to an interview on the radio with Reggie Jackson – Mr. October … Continue reading Intrinsic Motivation

Motivation (again)

In one of the first posts in this series, I talked about mindsets as a powerful influence on motivation. In this post (and the next), I want to talk about motivation as a phenomenon, and what we know about motivation, in general. At its simplest, there are two basic types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic … Continue reading Motivation (again)

Automaticy and Other Memory Information

The final aspect of memory I want to look into at this point are the controlled and automatic processes. Although we don’t often think of processes as part of memory, they are. When you are learning to drive a car, you are overwhelmed by the complexity of the skill. There is so much to think … Continue reading Automaticy and Other Memory Information

Declarative Procedural Memory

The next aspect of memory that is important in formal learning would be the declarative and procedural distinction. Declarative memory is made up of information that you can describe or talk about, whereas, procedural memory is made up of the information that allows you to do things (carry out procedures). Declarative tells you what, when, … Continue reading Declarative Procedural Memory