DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education

Overview

The price of college tuition has increased more than any other major good or service for the last twenty years. Nine out of ten American high school seniors aspire to go to college, yet the United States has fallen from world leader to only the tenth most educated nation. Almost half of college students don't graduate; those who do have unprecedented levels of federal and private student loan debt, which constitutes a credit bubble similar to the mortgage crisis.

The system ...

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DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education

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Overview

The price of college tuition has increased more than any other major good or service for the last twenty years. Nine out of ten American high school seniors aspire to go to college, yet the United States has fallen from world leader to only the tenth most educated nation. Almost half of college students don't graduate; those who do have unprecedented levels of federal and private student loan debt, which constitutes a credit bubble similar to the mortgage crisis.

The system particularly fails the first-generation, the low-income, and students of color who predominate in coming generations. What we need to know is changing more quickly than ever, and a rising tide of information threatens to swamp knowledge and wisdom. America cannot regain its economic and cultural leadership with an increasingly ignorant population. Our choice is clear: Radically change the way higher education is delivered, or resign ourselves to never having enough of it.

The roots of the words "university" and "college" both mean community. In the age of constant connectedness and social media, it's time for the monolithic, millennium-old, ivy-covered walls to undergo a phase change into something much lighter, more permeable, and fluid.

The future lies in personal learning networks and paths, learning that blends experiential and digital approaches, and free and open-source educational models. Increasingly, you will decide what, when, where, and with whom you want to learn, and you will learn by doing. The university is the cathedral of modernity and rationality, and with our whole civilization in crisis, we are poised on the brink of Reformation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Kamenetz, author of the alarming personal finance expose Generation Debt, drops another bombshell on the emerging cohort of young Americans, this time regarding higher education. While she mounts a standard (though illuminating) attack on spiraling tuition and the bottomless pit of student loans, Kamenetz also questions the fundamental assumptions of modern American education culture: the twin, contradictory ideas that college must be universally accessible, and that the smallest accepted denomination of educational currency is a bachelor's degree from a four-year, liberal arts institution. Kamenetz explores those ideas' fallacies as they play out daily in American classrooms, as well as students' myriad alternatives, from community colleges to online learning collectives. In great detail, Kamenetz explains the flawed economic models that underpin higher education, the faulty premises they maintain and the government's failures to address them. Kamenetz's approach is methodical and balanced, showcasing extensive research and thoughtfulness, while acknowledging one of the chief problems with reform: no one wants to experiment on their own child. This volume merits consideration from high school students and their parents, as well as educators preparing a generation for uncertain job prospects, an information economy still in its infancy, and the steady erosion of geographical barriers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review-
Kamenetz, author of the alarming personal finance expose Generation Debt, drops another bombshell on the emerging cohort of young Americans, this time regarding higher education. While she mounts a standard (though illuminating) attack on spiraling tuition and the bottomless pit of student loans, Kamenetz also questions the fundamental assumptions of modern American education culture: the twin, contradictory ideas that college must be universally accessible, and that the smallest accepted denomination of educational currency is a bachelor's degree from a four-year, liberal arts institution. Kamenetz explores those ideas' fallacies as they play out daily in American classrooms, as well as students' myriad alternatives, from community colleges to online learning collectives. In great detail, Kamenetz explains the flawed economic models that underpin higher education, the faulty premises they maintain and the government's failures to address them. Kamenetz's approach is methodical and balanced, showcasing extensive research and thoughtfulness, while acknowledging one of the chief problems with reform: no one wants to experiment on their own child. This volume merits consideration from high school students and their parents, as well as educators preparing a generation for uncertain job prospects, an information economy still in its infancy, and the steady erosion of geographical barriers.

"A fascinating and provocative book."--John Merrow, Education Correspondent, PBS NewsHour, and President, Learning Matters, Inc.

"Anya Kamenetz brilliantly reveals the illogic and wasteful inequities of America's blind faith in higher education. Her book will be devastating for older people who still believe one more graduate degree is the road to personal success and a prosperous economy. Younger people will feel relief that someone has finally told the truth about their predicament. Kamenetz offers a radically different way to think about the future and she gives young people a more rational and promising way to think about theirs."--William Greider, author of Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country, and National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation

"Kamenetz shows us 'higher education' as a crumbling facade. It doesn't work well or deliver on its promise. Meanwhile, a thousand alternative flowers are beginning to bloom and the means for any of us to educate ourselves have become available. Let's get on with it."--James Marcus Bach, author of Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar

"Anya Kamenetz takes the reader on a journey through the challenges and opportunities facing the American education system. Her compelling narrative brings alive a thoroughly researched description on the history (and future) of the university. She provides not only a thoughtful critique of American academia, but also provides creative solutions as well as provocative advice on how students should take control of their own educational future."--Mike Dover, co-author of Wikibrands: How to Build A Business in a Customer-Controlled Marketplace

"Anya Kamenetz is one of the best reporters and commentators on the millennial generation and its economic future. In DIY U, she offers a provocative, highly-readable take on the growing challenge of ensuring an affordable college education, and she envisions an alternative path that would shake up the established order and radically transform how we learn."--David Halperin, Director, Campus Progress, and Senior Vice President, Center for American Progress

"Never before has a college degree been more important, making the need to address the failure of many higher ed institutions to deliver on that promise that much more critical. Kamenetz captures a higher ed system on the brink of dramatic transformation, and paints two provocative futures: revolution from within the system and disruption from the outside. This is valuable reading for higher education leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in understanding how innovation and market forces can begin to drive real and necessary change."--Josh Jarrett, Senior Program Officer for Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

"A vibrant democracy depends on vibrant education. Anya Kamenetz shows a way to shake up education to release more potential at every level. The transition won't be easy for institutions mired in the past, but students will have more--and better--options in a world in which knowledge increasingly must bypass gatekeepers and find new paths."--Naomi Wolf, bestselling author of The End of America and Give Me Liberty

"Anya Kamenetz offers a thoughtful and much-needed call to rethink higher education in a world of spiraling tuition costs, a 50 percent college drop-out rate and a growing understanding that the one-size-fits-all college model is broken. According to Kamenetz, it's high time to put student learning at the center of the educational process. This book is not only a smart and forward-thinking look at new and exciting trends in self-directed higher learning, it's also a smart resource guide for students and their families anxious to take their education into their own hands."--Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603582346
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/28/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 451,842
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Anya Kamenetz is a staff writer for Fast Company magazine. The Village Voice nominated her for a Pulitzer Prize for contributions to the feature series Generation Debt, which became a book in 2006. She has written for the New York Times, appeared on CNN and National Public Radio, and been featured as a "Yahoo Finance Expert." A frequent speaker nationwide, Kamenetz blogs at Fastcompany.com, The Huffington Post, and anyakamenetz.blogspot.com. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

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Table of Contents

1. History : how college-for-all became part of the American dream
2. Sociology : human capital and meritocracy, race and class--can we build a system that works for everybody?
3. Economics : why college tuition is caught in a cost spiral, and how to stop it
4. Computer science : open content, virtual-reality and smartphone classrooms, serious games, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and robotic telescopes
5. Independent study : free and open-source education; vocational, experiential, and self-learning
6. Commencement : what the transformation of the university might mean for the future of humanity
7. Resource guide for a do-it-yourself education : a four part guide for the student who wants to hack her own education; includes a listing of web sites of organizations mentioned in the text.

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