Sunday, March 8, 2015

‘The End of College’ by Kevin Carey

Book cover: The End of College by Kevin Carey. White letters in a black rectangle graphic superimposed on yellow cover. The upper-right hand corner of the rectangle disolves into pixels that bleed into and off the top right edge of the book cover.
In an essay printed March 5 by the New York Times, Kevin Carey writes about the effect that “open badges” or low-cost online degrees will have upon four-year colleges’ current “near-monopoly upon verifiable academic achievement.”

“Free online courses won’t revolutionize education until there is a parallel system of free or low-fee credentials, not controlled by traditional colleges, that leads to jobs.”

Carey’s essay was adapted from his book, The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere (Riverhead Books, 2015).

I found the subject so timely and so applicable to my own experiences and concerns, that I quickly filled out a recommend-purchase form through my local library.

Four-and-a-half years ago, I enrolled in an online program because I wanted to work in a library. My desired profession’s highest benchmark of quality is a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science, which can only be conferred by a four-year college.

(The City of Berkeley accepts “progressively responsible related experience” as a substitute for college coursework on a year-for-year basis.)

With tuition priced at near-$500 per unit, it was simply not realistic for me to pursue an MLIS. Instead, I opted for a program offered through a California Community College.

Cuesta College’s offerings gave me a firm foundation for work as a library paraprofessional. Volunteer opportunities, an internship and my part-time work in a library all served as “learning laboratories” where I could put what I learned into practice.

But with the idea still entrenched that only a post-graduate MLIS can “make” an official librarian, the profession’s future is essentially hostage to ever-rising tuition rates — unless it identifies alternative pathways to prove its highest level of competence.

I take optimism in the fact that a link to Carey’s essay was in this week’s eBulletin from American Libraries Direct (online counterpart to the official magazine of the American Library Association). Its inclusion bodes well for recognition that our profession needs to have this dialogue.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.