Good article from the John W. Pope Center's Duke Cheston about a new online course, Great Big Ideas, from a for-profit online institution, The Floating University. Looks like another 'disruptor' for the higher education market.
The course assembled all-star lecturers to examine some of the deep, timeless questions. Apparently, F.U.'s founder, Adam Glick, came up with the idea when he saw how narrowly trained and unflexible his employees were, unable to think well.
Cheston makes some cogent points about the varied quality and objectivity of the content.
As I may have been harping on in this blog, assembling the best lectures for online use is valuable; helping students learn how to think about the content is another matter.
Some students may be able to hear or read content from the best thinkers and figure out how to hone their thinking abilities for themselves, just like some students can listen to a lecture and mentally engage in a question and answer session with the lecturer.
But most students won't be able to do these things themselves. The entire progress of civilization depends on those who figure out how to do things, and then help those who can't figure these things out for themselves to learn the new ideas, methods, practices. And learning thinking skills are at the root of it all.