A critique of Tapscott and William's views on university reform

Tony Bates, Weblog, Feb 15, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Tony Bates strikes exactly the right note in his critique of Tapscott and William in EDUCAUSE. "Tapscott and Williams write as if they have discovered something that has in fact been known by many people for some time," he begins, and then shows how they nonetheless get the analysis wrong. "Tapscott and Williams write about the 'new' constructivist way of teaching. I'm sorry, but this is not new. It's been around for over 100 years and has been used in elite universities from the middle of the 19th century... [and] The basic problem is that you cannot use constructivist learning approaches with classes of 100 students or more." Moreover, "Just putting students into social networks will not automatically lead to the development of academic knowledge." And finally, "the suggestion that the privatization of the universities or 'market forces' are needed to bring about change also misses the point."
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