Knowledge, the University, and the LibraryA 21st Century Perspective James W. Marcum, Ph.D. January 2010
I: Competition II: Millennial Generation III: The Future of Knowledge CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGESFor the University
Higher education in America is a major industry and is viewed as ‘fertile ground’ and opportunity for: For-profit universities Corporate universities (Becton Dickinson) Global universities (including ‘rising’ powers) Open universities and Open Education Complacency is a high-risk attitude I: COMPETITION
Readiness to Compete? The university does not “come to the table” with a clear strategy and purpose (beyond “protecting what exists”)
Consider technology indispensable Learn By doing From each other Differently from elders Visually engaged Like multitasking Find many courses “obsolete” II: NEW STUDENT GENERATION "Millennials"
Millennial Generation “Our call phones often serve as web browsers, digital phones,and game consoles” - “Net gen” Gadgets Rule on College Campuses By Paul Davidson, CHAPEL HILL, N.C. —The American college campus, long an oasis of scholarship and coming-of-age, is now being transformed by an armada of laptops, cell phones and perpetual connectivity. “I store a lot of knowledge in my friends”
Challenges (con’t):University and ‘Net Gen’ Critics: the University lives in a “time warp,” locked in to: Agriculture age seasons “seat time as learning equivalent” Lectures as “solo performances” Disciplinary silos of declining influence Students: Perceive low levels of technological competence of many faculty and staff Is the University ‘out of step’ with the times?
University vs. Net Gen 2 While “millennial” generation expects: Interactive, collaborative activity Instantaneous, mobile communication Flexible, comfortable spaces Curricula geared to new realities, professions, challenges They also expect traditional learning … but tire quickly if not engaged in the process Carole Barone, The New Academy, in Educating the Net Generation (Educause 2005)
In their career, today’s college student will: experience repeated career changes face problems never experienced before have to develop expertise that we cannot imagine. Ergo: they must develop inquiry and lifelong learning skills*; we cannot teach them what they will have to know…. *(includes learning and creating knowledge socially) We must keep in mind…
Nature and Future of Knowledge The Biggest Challenge
III: THE FUTURE OF KNOWLEDGE Perhaps the gravest, if subtle, danger the university faces is the future status, creation, transmission, and uses of knowledge Long considered the ‘turf’ and arena for the university . . . We now face unprecedented challenges
We must remember that most major transformational revolutions: Scientific(17th Century) Enlightenment(18th Century) the Industrial(19th Century) all developed outside the university Will the same be said of today’s “networked learning and knowledge revolution”? Knowledge vs. Academia?
Communicated effectively via prices -Hayek Bringing forth the world through the process of living itself -Maturana and Varela Genealogy of discourses of practice producing power relationships -Foucault Most ‘research’ reports are false -Ionnidis Increasingly interdisciplinary -J. T. Klein Social and developmental –Valsiner & van der Veer From reason to agency and meaning -Kauffman … we can go on and on… Seeking to explain knowledge
Explaining knowledge (con’t) With fundamental “criticisms”: Socially constructed - Rorty With occasional major, “paradigmatic” revolutions - Kuhn Suggesting many ways of knowing the world have “equal validity,” Supporting the relativism of post-modernism … and many other fashionable but false “isms” - Baghossian, Fear of Knowledge
We have moved from knowledge in the individual mind (I think…) To socially constructed knowledge (I participate…) To knowledge as connections (I am networked….) But we should talk about how we know?A CHANGE of great consequence…
Cogito, ergo sum - Descartes
Modern/Western Intellectual Achievement Adam Smith great minds, working alone… Descartes Newton Machiavelli Einstein
Library = Books = Organized Knowledge
But now… “We participate, therefore we are” - John Seely Brown (Educom, 2001)
To CONNECTIVITY “I am a part of the electronic universe. I am visible to Google. I link, therefore, I am.” William L. Mitchell. Me++. MIT, 2003.
The tacit knowledgeof the virtuoso, the scholar, the expert, is of value to the extent of their individual performance and persuasion The explicit knowledgearticulated by the ‘master,’ the expert, can be shared (website) and preserved (book) and recognized for its importance over time The shared knowledgeof the team, the lab, (as it is verified) becomes the new theory, the ideology, the paradigm… that can shape a history, a science, or a nation The Social Power of Knowledge
Since the emergence of ‘intellectual capital’ as the key to innovation in the 1990s, corporations have jumped into ‘knowledge creation’ and ‘knowledge management’ in pursuit of competitive advantage in global competition Is the focus of knowledge creation shifting from the campus to the laboratory? … and what would be the implications of that for the university? Knowledge as Intellectual Capital
Library (300 BC–500 CE) Monastery (100–1100) University (1100–1500) Republic of Letters (1500–1800) Disciplines (1700–1900) Laboratory (1870–1970) McNeely and Wolverton, Reinventing Knowledge (Norton, 2008) What form will it take next? What institutions will represent it? Knowledge: “Reinvented” 6 times
We won’t presume to define what philosophers have debated for millennia Nonaka and Takeuchi, The Knowledge Creating Company (1995). We should take cue from two wise men…
The New Knowledge of the Day Big Bang Theory
Parallel computing Field Research WikiS Cloud computing
The search for today’s knowledge requires searching: Databases Laboratory findings; research reports Newsletters Conference proceedings Deep Web Social Web (twitter, facebook, etc.) Blogs, listservs, media news archives and features, institutional repositories, etc., etc. In addition to the traditional print materials collected by libraries.
Levels of Knowledge: An emerging approach… Cognitive (know-what) book learning Competence (know-how) implementation Understanding (know-why) meaning J. B. Quinn, et al., “Managing Professional Intellect,” Harvard Business Review, (March 1996); People (know who) expertise Positioning (know where) context Timing (know when) strategy Donald Norris, et al. “A Revolution in Knowledge Sharing,” Educause Review (Sept. 2003); K. E. Sveiby, The New Organizational Wealth (1997) Innovation (change how) engagement Problem solving (try how) teams, social Forecast (consider if) scenarios skills network naviga- tion
Knowledge: emergent, dynamic, and shared -Eisenstadt and Vincent, Knowledge Web (1998) Digital wisdom: digital enhancement of human thought-Marc Prensky, Innovate, 3/09 A Google monopoly? -ABC News, 7/12/08 Shotgun (gene sequencing) - J. Craig Ventner From reason to agency and meaning –S.A. Kauffman, Reconstructing the Sacred End of Theory: petabytes of data and cloud computing make scientific method obsolete –C. Anderson/Wired, 8/09 ALERT: PROPOSALS EMERGINGFor the ‘New Knowledge’
COMPLEXITY Information gathering Growth produces complexity (and some redundancy) Cope with systems and hierarchy (can understand processes) Herbert Simon We must lift our perspective from…
To focus on… COMPLEXITY Cope with systems and hierarchy (can understand processes) Herbert Simon Information gathering Growth produces complexity (and some redundancy) SUPERCOMPLEXITY Accelerating change Borders & disciplines crossed and smudged Uncertainty and unpredictability Concepts, systems, theories overloaded, undependable Ron Barnett
Preserving existing knowledge of value while coming to understand, participate in, and disseminate to future generations the new knowledge generated (diffused) by a LARGE number of educated people from many cultures interacting in a new global and digital information ecology. Can—and should—we endeavor to be certain that the university continues to play a central role in this process? How do we proceed? Greatest challenge?