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Education and AI Expert David E. Goldberg on How Five Shifts Can Help Repair Higher Ed

Education and AI Expert David E. Goldberg on How Five Shifts Can Help Repair Higher Ed


Jon Stojan, Contributor
February 18, 2024
The US’ higher educational system is encountering three major crises. First, declining enrolment as university-age students and their parents question the value of a university degree; second, the COVID pandemic making online and distance learning more popular; and third, the rise of generative AI and other technologies making theoretical knowledge much more accessible to everyone. These have placed unprecedented competitive pressure on the traditional higher education/university system, as it is no longer the dominant form of transmission for highly technical knowledge.
David E. Goldberg, a pioneering AI scientist and educational change advocate, says that the blueprint or operating system of the modern university is more than 900 years old – and it should be updated. It dates back to the establishment of the University of Bologna in Italy in 1088 when scholars were rediscovering the knowledge of the Roman Empire that was previously lost to the Dark Ages. Universities were set up as a community of experts where knowledge and theory are central, while application and practice are mostly left as an exercise for the student or learner. This ‘technical rationality’ model was criticized by Donald Schoen in 1983, calling for a shift towards practice-oriented ‘reflection-in-action’.
In 2023, Goldberg published his book, A Field Manual for a Whole New Education: Rebooting Higher Education for Human Connection and Insight in a Digital World, which outlines the solutions he gathered from decades as an educator and co-founder/co-director of the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education (iFoundry), a bottom-up incubator for educational change based in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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