Education Revolutionary

America’s “National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education” is an organization funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an American philanthropic organization. Both of these groups try hard to get their state and federal governments interested in the quality of their nation’s post-secondary system. The Center’s seasonal magazine Crosstalk has a really nice article about Athabasca University in its Fall 2001 edition. It’s funny that all of the magazine articles about AU emphasize that it’s an “online” university when in fact one doesn’t need to have a computer to take their courses, which is a really good thing. Emphasizing the online component is good marketing I suppose, but it’s good to know that AU is wise enough to know that there are many ways to deliver quality education to people. Here in Ontario when I tell people who work in education that I’m taking a course from AU, they get all giggly and ask me if I’m taking an “online” course. I don’t know what to say.

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According to The Toronto Star, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty is considering a proposal from Queens University in Kingston to deregulate its Arts and Science programs. This would be great for the government because they wouldn’t have to pay as much money to Queens. Of course, student groups don’t like the idea because students would be paying more for their education. If Queen’s students don’t like paying high tuition, why don’t they simply enrol in arts and science courses at AU? The quality is better, the price is lower, and the flexibility and service standards make for a far superior learning experience. If students don’t like studying at home alone they can easily get together in a library or a spare room at the university or other school. It’s no big deal! Also, these students would be saving a bundle for the Ontario taxpayers, something Jim Flaherty would like. Come to think of it, back in November I sent Mr. Flaherty a letter explaining all this to him. Who knows? Maybe he listened.


The mutual fund companies sure do like to scare the bejeebers out of parents in order to sell their financial products. If you open up the cover of this season’s Maclean’s Magazine university rankings you see an ad from the Bank of Montreal with a male child’s face staring at you, “Hey Mom, could you lend me $96,000?” Reading further, we find out that “experts believe the cost of a post-secondary education may well exceed one hundred thousand dollars within the next twenty years. Yikes! Are parents really being sucked in to all this madness? Will they ever realize that these costs could be reduced to practically nothing if the higher education establishment would use learning-centered delivery techniques rather than the current high-cost, and mostly ineffective, teaching-centered techniques that produce needless and expensive duplication of learning materials across the country?