professor 2.0

The Massive Open Online Professor

The challenges faced by higher education around the world are daunting and cannot be met by the traditional institution-based education system. For the current model to meet the needs of future generations, we would need to build and fund thousands of new universities. And yet the past ten years have demonstrated that there is another way. Scalable education on the web is increasingly possible, largely through the use of commodity software that is easy to use and available freely or

Upgrade Anxiety and the Aging Expert

By definition university professors are experts in their fields. Given the laws of the universe, however, professors are also aging experts. Not experts on aging, but, rather, humans who are aging. As Yeats wrote in his poem on getting older, Sailing to Byzantium, we are all “fastened to a dying animal.”

Growing older increases knowledge and experience while—one hopes—gaining wisdom. Few faculty members would willingly return to their graduate student days defending dissertations and preparing for job interviews.

Nevertheless, with

Becoming Prof 2.0

In October 2010, “So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities” was posted on YouTube and began to circulate rapidly through various social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. The video, a simple animation, features a starry-eyed undergraduate student who has come to ask her professor for a letter of reference for a graduate school application. When asked why she wants a PhD, the student answers, “I want to become a college professor.” Instead of

Challenges, Opportunities, and New Expectations

Last term, having received a request from the campus Disability Services Office, I asked my lecture class of 700 students for volunteers to take notes. After the lecture, I opened an email from a student offering to share his lecture recordings. Seated somewhere near the front of the auditorium, calmly and carefully capturing and redistributing my lectures without permission, the student had generously and unselfconsciously offered up his digital lecture bootlegs. I was dumbstruck, and not for the first time,

The Professor as Mass Communicator?

While much about being a university professor has remained unchanged for centuries, the way today’s academics research, teach, and fulfil administrative duties has changed dramatically, as a result of technological change and a cultural shift in what the public expects of academia.

In the United Kingdom, these changes are about to hit home for academics as the government’s Research Excellence Framework for assessing the value of research will now include a new component called “impact”, which requires professors to show