Report: The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age

A new report from HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) has been released called, “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age”(available free online at MIT Press).

It is an abridged version of a book-in-progress by Cathy N. Davidson and David Theo Goldberg titled The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age.

They argue that traditional institutions must adapt or risk a growing mismatch between how they teach and how this new generation learns. Forms and models of learning have evolved quickly and in fundamentally new directions. Yet how we teach, where we teach, who teaches, and who administers and serves have changed only around the edges.


“Universities must recognize this new way of learning and adapt or risk becoming obsolete. The university model of teaching and learning relies on a hierarchy of expertise, disciplinary divides, restricted admission to those considered worthy, and a focused, solitary area of expertise. However, with participatory learning and digital media, these conventional modes of authority break down.”

One of the ten principles for redesigning learning institutions was open source education:
“Traditional learning environments convey knowledge via overwhelmingly copyright-protected publications. Networked learning, contrastingly, is an 'open source' culture that seeks to share openly and freely in both creating and distributing knowledge and products.”

The online report was made possible by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in connection with its grant making initiative on Digital Media and Learning.

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