Thoughts on the course

I’m sure everyone knows that this course is being taught both at the Harvard Law School and at the Harvard Extension School. Speaking 9/12 about their class at a Berkman Center luncheon, Rebecca and Charlie Nesson brought up a very interesting point, about how information produced by scholars at colleges should be transmitted. Should we tape every class and make it available on the internet? Probably not. But Charlie and Rebecca seem to have struck on an interesting way to bring students into the fold in a society that is ever-increasingly placest the highest premium on a good education.
It especially struck a chord for me, as someone in the process of getting a degree in journalism, as to how it is possible to make education available to everyone. Ask anyone with a passing knowledge of journalism history and they can tell you that 20-30 years ago the vast majority of journalists didn’t have college degrees. These days, any journalist thinking of specializing in a specific kind of journalism needs at the least a bachelor’s degree and possibly more. There’s no need to have a journalism, liberal arts or any kind of degree, but it’s what gives you the edge.
I don’t mean to imply this affects just journalism. It’s a market wide symptom. Getting better than a bad-paying job that doesn’t use any of the skills you learned is college is near impossible. Even harder is finding a job that pays off the loans most are faced with getting to attend the centers or higher learning.
My point? With an increased focus on higher education as marker for social wealth, this class seems to break the barriers of what most people are forced to live with, by combining the cream of the crop with those who have a passionate desire to learn without the means necessary to make it happen and moves toward finding some sort of solution to bringing the academics out of the Ivy Tower.

1 Comment

  1. Ian Lamont

    September 27, 2006 @ 10:44 pm


    Interesting thoughts about the sharing of knowledge. This class you are participating in is actually a very special experiment in that “at large” students are anticipated and catered to — it’s not a closed environment, like most HES online classes. I think this class shows that it’s possible to strike a balance between serving the global public and creating a successful, self-funding academic program.

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