Reconstituting the Ivy League in the 21st century? Nice shoutout to Fathom from Tamar Lewin @NYT. #highered

Today’s NYT coverage of the Harvard/MIT announcement.

I am remembering a 2001 0r 2002 interview with a Yale student newspaper on whether Fathom was a success or failure.

What year are you in? I asked the young woman.  If you had left college as a first-year student, would we call you a failure, or would we say that you were just getting started?

That was Fathom.  A pioneering initiative that had all the right instincts and will remain a milestone in higher education.

Terrific to see Harvard, MIT, Stanford, others getting their act together for large-scale projects.  All non-credentialed, but as Harvard Business School knows very well, you can have highly profitable lifelong learning/professional development certificate programs.

Our great public institutions are the ones with the most experience with scale in higher education, though mostly of the silly old lecture hall style of distance learning.  Herb Allen had it right in the Fathom-era — create virtual accredited introductory courses and free university resources up for professors worthy of a student’s real-life presence.

Which reminds of the interesting science fiction book I’m listening to — Ready Player One, a dystopia about life lived in the Oasis, the Internet morphed into a virtual life/videogame.  At the moment, I’m slogging through a tedious description of a videogame battle, but the description of the Oasis school is worth reading.  Also, I really want to know what happens when the young virtual lovers meet IRL.  [you’ll figure it out in a minute.] Not quite Neuromancer, but enjoyable.




  1. Lorretta Downey says:

    Since the public seems to think that the entirely Republican controlled Congress is fighting Obama’s “moderate” plans, a strong argument can certainly be made that a candidate who embraces Congressional confrontation will especially play right into Obama’s “story.” n nWhat is not part of that argument, though, is who will vote. When only 50% of voters actually go to the polls in an average election (and not too much higher when people have excited strong feelings for either side), a lot of who will win is a matter of turn out for your side. I would certainly think Republicans, as they showed in 2010, will be motivated to vote no matter who is the nominee; but the Obama plan of motivating your base to all go vote isn’t a bad plan either. That is, is it going to come down to independents … or is it about getting the base out in key swing states?