DIY U and a New Vision For Higher Education
|February 9, 2013||Posted by Josh Boldt under Activism, Adjunct Professors, Book Reviews, Education, Teaching, Technology|
I read DIY U in about 24 hours. Anya Kamenetz’s book is only 163 pages, but I don’t think it contains a single skippable sentence.
DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education is one of the most interesting and exciting books I’ve picked up in the past year. I grabbed a copy from Amazon a week ago and within one day of its arrival, I had seven chapters full of heavily annotated and underlined text. Anyone who is researching/writing about/interested in the future of higher education needs to read Kamenetz’s book.
It all started when Marc Bousquet invited me to make the journey over to Atlanta last Tuesday for Emory University’s Symposium on Digital Publication, Undergraduate Research, and Writing. Glancing at the website, I spotted my friends Pete Rorabaugh and Robin Wharton, both of whom were presenting at the symposium. I figured Brian Croxall might also make an appearance, and I decided it was worth the day trip over from Athens. Thank god I did because it was a good day.
Pete was nice enough to let me crash at his place the night before, thereby allowing me to avoid a stupidly early alarm on the morning of the symposium. That night a few of us met for drinks. Our small group contained some important figures in digital scholarship, one of whom was Jim Groom, the director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies at the University of Mary Washington.
Later that night Pete and I started seriously discussing an idea that had recently gotten a lot of traction on Twitter when I had asked the Twitterverse:
What if #adjuncts created a new non-profit, faculty-run university?
— Josh Boldt (@josh_boldt) January 26, 2013
The conversation spread quickly. See Pete’s storify, if you’re interested. Bottom line: It’s apparently a subject lots of people are curious about.
I know there’s a lot more to say about this project that we’ve loosely termed an “educational collective,” but this post is allegedly about my reading of the book DIY U, so I think I’ll stick to that for now. More to come on educational collectives in future posts . . .
I was familiar with Kamenetz’s book, but I didn’t own it. At some point in our conversation, Pete and I decided we should both check it out in light of our #edcollective brainstorming session. And here’s where things started to get interesting.
In Which I Decide DIY U is a Must-Read
On my way back to Athens later that day, Pete called to read me a passage from Chapter 5 of DIY U where Kamenetz interviews both Jim Groom and Alec Couros of the University of Regina, another educational innovator we had been talking about all day. These guys are discussed in a section she labels the “monks” of “educational futurists” who “contend that community- and practice-based learning can transcend the limitations of existing educational institutions” (109). Hmmm . . . sounds a lot like a category into which we might place our educational collective.
Needless to say, I walked in the door and bought a copy of DIY U on Amazon. It arrived two days later and one day after that, it was finished. If this kind of talk excites you, do yourself a favor and grab a copy of Kamenetz’s DIY U.
Oh, and if you want to talk more about the educational collective concept, let’s do it. What are your thoughts? What if adjuncts created a new non-profit educational collective?