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[xmca] RE: Humane article by Mike Newman on education

Hello everyone,

In the light of Helena's article, I would like to share some ideas. On-line courses might be the only option for professional development, in particular in very small professional communities. Professionals in such communities might be between 100 and 500 people all over the USA. They are typically very motivated, highly educated, and basically search for new ideas even to the point of spying the competition. They also look to learn from best practices/best professionals. The market for such services may be only one small section per year. 

It is understandable that such people cannot get professional development courses in their home city. Flying and paying for a hotel is very expensive, maybe more than the tuition. Plus, they have to joggle several ongoing projects, very often with upcoming due dates. They cannot afford to leave their work for a week. 

However, this is a very different situation than the undergraduate education where every kid goes to college, just to get a degree. We have to consider the difference. In some way, this way of learning is similar to learning on a professional conference, however, without the necessity for traveling. 

It is good also to see on-line education in the framework of all educational opportunities and options, types of students, and types of educational practices. If we envisage education from kindergarten to professional continuing education coursework, we will see a vast continuum with very big differences at different educational levels. Teaching at kindergarten is all about method. The content is simple. "Teaching" at a professional conference or teaching a continuing education course should be all about content (new ideas and solutions) -- and not about teaching method like in grade school and college. The "students" should be bright and disciplined enough to appropriate and use the new ideas, no matter how they are presented. Actually, in the professional world new ideas, methods, and designs are always proprietary, patented, and kept secret. Professionals learn how to reach them overcoming all obstacles. That is the difference between college and continuing education. Or, at least should be the difference.

Best wishes,


Lubomir Popov, Ph.D.
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
American Culture Studies Affiliated Faculty
Bowling Green State University
309 Johnston Hall,
Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0059

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Worthen, Helena Harlow
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 7:55 AM
To: Mike COle; eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity; eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
Subject: [xmca] Humane article by Mike Newman on education

Hello -

Here's a link to a paper that may cheer people up a bit in the face of all the MOOC and automation bluster:


Mike Newman is an adult educator from Sydney, Australia. He's the author of four or five really good books on adult education, including one of the few books that touches on labor education ("The Third Contract").  This article puts forward the idea that non-credit adult education is a strong constituent of the creation of a civil society. This is the opposite of the view of adult education as remediating a workforce in employer-defined skills or setting up a ladder of opportunity to be climbed by adults who want to get more certificates and degrees for the purpose of individual upward mobility. Instead, he looks at non-credit adult ed as an open space where critical social collective work takes place.

Helena Worthen