At this year’s TEDx VillanovaU event, Michele Pistone — a professor at Villanova School of Law— spoke about the future of higher education. She called the current system “medieval” and suggested that the reasons why the university system developed as it did no longer exist, because of the evolution of the Internet. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of the video:
Today’s universities are based on a medieval model, which brought together uniquely, in one central, geographical location, three related, scarce resources:
- Information: Massive amounts of information collected in the university library.
- Subject-matter experts: Professors.
- Socially acceptable mechanisms for certifying mastery in complicated fields. Think here: tests, exams, degrees, diplomas.
So students who wanted access to professors and to information, and students who, after studying all that information from those professors, wanted a way to signal mastery to the outside world? They had one choice. They traveled from home to study at a university. And we haven’t moved far from that medieval model today.
Pistone goes on to elaborate on her ideas about how education will change in the coming years. We encourage you to watch the full 18-minute video below and then let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.