The One World School House: Education Reimagined, by Salman Khan

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Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, has written about education.  While most of the book, which was release last month, deals with his experiences with Khan Academy and with K-12 education, he does devote a couple of chapters on higher education.

In the chapter “What College Could Be Like,” Khan describes what a campus in Silicon Valley could look like with students spending their time working internships and with mentors while continuing their education with self-paced learning like what offered by Khan Academy.

“Traditional universities proudly list the Nobel laureates they have on campus (most of whom have little to no interaction with students),” he writes. “Our university would list the great entrepreneurs, inventors, and executives serving as student advisers and mentors.”

Khan also advocates separating the universities’ instructional role from its credentialing role.  In his system described above, they would be graded based on portfolios completed with the mentors.  Assumably the university would then provide the credentialing.  He argues, “Existing campuses could move in this direction by de-emphasizing or eliminating lecture-based courses, having their students more engaged in research and co-ops in the broader world, and having more faculty with broad backgrounds who show a deep desire to mentor students.”

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, and heads an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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