D-School Leading Project on Stanford’s Future

On April 15 this year, I attended a very interesting seminar as part of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education’s Digital Future, on “Learning and the Life Course.” One of the panelists was Sarah Stein Greenberg, Managing Director, D-School, Stanford University, who talked about a project led by the D-School on the future of Stanford–and how it could better serve its various constituencies in the future.

I took a few notes that I thought i would share with you, as it might give “food for thought” and be a basis for some questions we might want to ask during our upcoming session at D-School next week.

You can also visit http://www.next.stanford.edu/ to see some more information on “@Stanford: Reimagining the Future of Learning/Living on Campus”

Here are a few notes I took on Sarah’s presentation:

o Year-long project at Stanford—Imagining the future of learning/living on campus
o Four scenarios they have examined: (1) Paced Education; (2) Purpose Learning; (3) Axis Flip (balance of skills and knowledge); and (4) Open Loop University (“alumni” term would go away, and be replaced by “members”)
o How to break the mold of traditional 4-year model?
o May 1 and 2: Experiential taste of Future Stanford
o Open Loop University: [This is the one scenario I found most interesting]
• Age blind admissions
• Six years distributed over your life
• Taking time off would no longer carry stigma
• Students would ‘loop in’ later in life to pivot careers
• On-campus learning sharpened by real-world perspectives
• Mentoring would play a bigger role as paths diverged
• The ‘late start’ advantage?
• ‘Alumni’ become….

As most of you know, Stanford is one of the world’s leading universities and has many, many more applicants than they can accept–even though the cost of tuition (and especially when you add in room and board) is VERY high. In this context, I find it very interesting that Stanford is still looking ahead to the future and realizing they need to do things differently–for the sake of its students and for Stanford to continue to be a leading university–so it will be interesting to see how this D-School project helps shape Stanford’s policies for future change at this great university.

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