Revolutionising the global knowledge society

Revolutionising the global knowledge society Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association     A revolution can be defined as a fundamental change to the status quo that occurs in a relatively short timeframe. Revolutions of all types (political, economic, social, technological) have occurred numerous times throughout human history. Although the seeds of revolutions are usually planted over many years, they typically do not reach full fruition until triggered by a momentous innovation, event or other actions. Historical analysis shows that revolutions serve as major catalysts for change. In other words, revolutions upset the established order. Some revolutions were particularly important (and necessary) for the continued development of mass learning and universal education. This phenomenon is analysed and explained in more depth in the book, Democratizing Higher Education. Emergence of mass learning In the modern era (1450 CE to the present day) the Printing Revolution – triggered by...

A catalyst for change

A catalyst for change Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association The continuing universalisation of higher education reflects the growing democratisation of knowledge around the world. In this emerging paradigm, higher learning is no longer the province of the knowledge elite, but is increasingly available to all. For instance, with the move towards open educational resources, massive open online courses, open universities, and the like, access to higher learning is now available to virtually anyone. In many respects, the continued de-monopolisation of higher learning allows for greater political, social, economic and personal empowerment. Democratising knowledge for all Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. Arguably, the first significant democratisation of knowledge occurred with the advent of the Printing Revolution in the 15th century with the invention of the printing press. The wide-ranging utility of the printing press laid the foundation for future political, social, economic and scientific revolutions such...

Building a Global Knowledge Society through Universal Lifelong Education

Building a Global Knowledge Society through Universal Lifelong Education Patrick Blessinger International HETL Association and St. John’s University An explosion of new information is created every minute and, aided by the continuous development of globally connected information and communication technologies, this creation of new information continues to grow exponentially. In an age of increasing ubiquity of information and knowledge, and through the ongoing development of MOOCs and OERs for instance, it has become increasingly easier for people anywhere in the world to acquire high quality knowledge on demand and for free. These and other phenomena continue to drive the development of the emerging global knowledge society. Data vs Information vs Knowledge Although the terms data, information, and knowledge are often used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings. In information theory, the primary characteristic that distinguishes these concepts from each other is the degree and quality of meaning and processing applied to...

Why are Fewer Foreign Students Heading to the U.S. and More to Australia?

​Why are Fewer Foreign Students Heading to the U.S. and More to Australia? Patrick Blessinger International HETL Association and St. John’s University The U.S. has arguably led the world in higher education for much of the twenty-first century. But while there is much to be proud of, there are also some trends that should give U.S. educational leaders and policy makers cause for concern. The share of international students who choose a U.S. university has dropped from 23 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2011. Meanwhile, other countries including Australia and the U.K. have experienced significant share increases. And although the U.S. ranks high in post-secondary degree attainment, its student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion with average student loan debt near $30,000. Private expenditure per student is eight times higher in the U.S. than in Europe and this has real potential economic impact. The rich legacy of democratic education in the U.S....

Lifelong Education as an Equalizer

Lifelong Education as an Equalizer Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association Throughout much of human history hereditary privilege was often used as a means of organising society (for example, politically, economically and socially) and allocating resources. Hereditary privilege was not determined by one’s talents or skills or motivation or any other self-determining factor but rather by the class, gender and race one was born into. In other words, throughout much of human history, one’s status within society and one’s lot in life, to a large degree, was determined primarily by factors beyond one’s own control. Revolutions upset the established order The hereditary systems of power and privilege tended to create a system wherein the ruling class benefited by maintaining the status quo and by maintaining a monopoly over how resources were allocated within society. This is not surprising since established orders have a vested interest in maintaining...

Why Universal and Life-Long Higher Education is the Next Step in Advancing the Social Contract

Why Universal and Life-Long Higher Education is the Next Step in Advancing the Social Contract Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association Nearly a century after John Dewey published the landmark book Democracy and Education, the principles of learning he espoused for democratic societies are applicable to higher education. He saw education as the primary vehicle through which democracies develop socially responsible citizens, equipped with the knowledge, skills, and values to become full participants in the economy and democratic social order. By now it is clear that, in an increasingly complex and risk-filled world, all citizens require increasingly prolonged periods of learning beyond basic schooling. Higher education for all becomes a gateway to lifetimes of learning. The Rapid Transformation of Higher Education For most of its 800 year history, higher education has progressed at an evolutionary pace, but changes have come at a faster pace in the past...

Lifelong Learning as a Human Right

Lifelong Learning as a Human Right Patrick Blessinger St. John's University (NYC) and International HETL Association Higher education systems around the world have been undergoing dramatic changes over the past few generations. In fact, the changes have been so dramatic that one could argue we are experiencing an educational revolution that has impacted on every aspect of higher education. This is perhaps most evident in the fact that participation in higher education worldwide is expected to grow to 262 million students by 2025, up from 28 million in 1970, according to the OECD. The worldwide demand for higher education is being driven in large part by increasing globalisation and the internationalisation of higher education, resulting in new access and delivery models and increased student choice and mobility. For example, the European Bologna process aims at providing a continental-wide framework to better connect disparate higher education systems across Europe and also at...

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