Chelsea Green Publishing

The Blogging Community at Chelsea Green

My Latest Presentation; A Little Piece in the Times

This is the first time I’ve put up a set of slides for DIY U on Slideshare, an omission which obviously violates the principles of intellectual openness that I go around promoting. The reasons I would give for not doing it until now would be the same that any professor would give, I imagine: that the presentation is a work in progress, updated and changed slightly for every speech I give; that nevertheless, for the pieces that stay similar from speech to speech, I don’t want audiences to feel that they’re getting something stale from me; that even though I know audiences are coming to hear me, not a Powerpoint deck, I still worry about diminishing the value of my presentation. But the arguments for doing it are far more powerful: I can get feedback and improve; It may serve as a form of promotion; and most importantly it gives people who aren’t able to hear me speak the opportunity to see a little bit of what DIY U is about. Since I haven’t blogged here in a while (i’ve been blogging like crazy at, first from TED, followed by SXSW) I have another note today: a 300-word statement in the New York Times Room for Debate. The question was: should we focus on career-oriented majors or the liberal arts? My response in part:
…while math, science and engineering are great — and there’s an argument to be made that technological skills constitute a new form of basic literacy for meaningful participation in society — it would be foolish to advocate a single, centrally mandated curriculum as the path to prosperity. What’s needed most are a set of educational practices — whether in the context of the traditional liberal arts, a technical program, or something in between — that empower students to seek knowledge independently, to collaborate, follow their passions and to connect their knowledge with the real world.

Amusingly, originally the editor got back to me and said “We took off the last graf because it seemed like a diversion into a different topic.” I wrote back, via my phone, and said “My comments stand as a whole. You asked what people should study–liberal arts vs. technical subjects. My answer is that it’s more important HOW we study than WHAT we study.”

I’m glad they decided to run it as I wrote it.

Read the original post at
diyu Anya Kamenetz is the author of DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.

Columbia, Brown, and 15 More Universities Join Coursera’s Free Online Platform

Coursera, the platform for “massively open online courses” founded by Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford, announced today that it has doubled its number of university partners. The new roster includes several global institutions. Since its debut earlier this year, 1.3 million people have signed up for a free six- to ten-week Coursera class, […] Read More..

Artisanal U.: The Radical Potential of College Without the Classroom

From GOOD magazine. Published December 2, 2011. Joyce Alcantara grew up in Rhode Island with her mom, three sisters, two nieces, and a cousin. Her dad, incarcerated in Florida, isn’t really a part of her life. Alcantara had trouble with classes her senior year in high school and almost dropped out; her saving grace was […] Read More..

Why College Is Not A Bubble (Except For The University Of Phoenix)

The college-is-a-bubble meme just keeps growing. Student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt for the first time in history last year. Tuition is rising at three times the rate of inflation, and there are growing concerns about the quality of education offered at even our nation’s fanciest schools. Meanwhile, prominent venture capitalist Peter Thiel is paying young […] Read More..

Top Ways to Save Money at College

College tuition at public universities is up 24 percent in just the last five years. With graduation right around the corner, many high school seniors and their families are wondering how they can save on one of the biggest expenses they’ll face. Assuming you’ve already made your choice of colleges, here are some top ways […] Read More..

Obama’s Lessons for Leadership in A Time of Change

The President’s speech to the nation last night was primarily billed as his chance to plead his case to the nation for the ongoing military intervention in Libya. But slipped into his remarks was a primer on 21st century leadership in a time of change, a topic Life in Beta is particularly interested in. Here […] Read More..