A week of educational dystopias

by VanessaVaile

Bryan Alexander

Bryan and a big slideThis past Friday I keynoted a Penn State World Campus conference.  While the event was very energetic and forward-looking, my talk was ultimately quite gloomy, because I focused on offering negative visions of higher education’s future.

That was a new approach for me.  Generally I prefer to offer a mix of scenarios optimistic, gloomy, and strange.  This time I wanted to scare the audience, goading them into rethinking higher education and its next phase.  I was hoping to get people out of the mindset that things will be all right, if we just hang on and keep going. To be fair, after the dystopian quartet I suggested a dozen ways we could act to avoid bad futures.

This seemed to succeed.  Most people told me the materials were impressive, once they got over their shock.  Only one person (out of hundreds) complained that it was too dark.  But you can…

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