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William G. Vicars, Ed.D.
"A brief consideration of the future of education"


As an instructor of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies the ability to provide my students with archived VIDEO of my teaching has a huge beneficial impact on the learning processes of the students. My situation is a bit different in that I do not need (nor want) audio in my classroom (since I teach in the target modality of vision and gesture). For the times when I need to engage students in their native language I prefer to do so via typed English -- thus necessitating the use of some sort of monitor in the background.

Additionally, I think it is important to consider the idea that "language" is an "infinite" topic and that an instructor of language who is utilizing an archival system in his/her teaching can create (each semester) "new material" by rearranging vocabulary into new sentences -- thus creating an ever expanding and ever more powerful library of "language utterances." Even if I teach ASL 2 in the studio twenty more times (which would take a decade) I could rearrange the vocabulary into NEW sentences twenty more times thus creating a massive, useful practice library for future review AND testing.

Some thoughts on this:
1. Why not become a World-class institution and start offering open courseware to the world?

2. Why not open up these courses to become MOOC's?

3. Prepare to accept the fact that repeated "lecture" is "dead." We only need to "lecture" ONE TIME and from then on the teacher should invest his/her time in creating ever more engagement in the form of interactive online games, activities, and structuring of opportunities for the student to become "the creator."

4. Video editing is to the point now where if a "fact or figure" in a recorded lecture becomes "outdated" -- that few seconds of misinformation can be edited out and replaced fairly quickly.

5. Other institutions are DOING this sort of thing now. We either become one of them or we become like the dinosaurs.

6. At some point we are going to need/want to record and archive in 4K with the option to downsample for streaming purposes. Within a relatively short period phones and mobile devices will have 4K screens. I volunteer to be involved in such an endeavor.

7. Look at what is happening with Khan Academy. They have provided a way for students to "learn for free about math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more."

We should be doing that! We should be teaming up with the College of Continuing Education and letting students world-wide study for free and then we would offer the "value added" option of providing DOCUMENTATION for a small fee. Thus instead of teaching 28,000 students at $3,000 a semester we would teach 2,800,000 students at $300 per semester. This is coming. The only question is if it will be us or some other university.

- Bill
William G. Vicars, Ed.D.

p.s. Also, for your amusement, my youtube channel is up to 59,000 subscribers now. (Fall 2015)




This article was part of a correspondence between the author and and administrator at Sacramento State University Wednesday, November 11, 2015.


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