Project-based learning

Really interesting piece about an MIT prof who’s starting a new university. Here’s a quote.

Basically the idea is that we’ll have a core that’s project-based learning, but where students can have a really deep, integrative longer-term project rather than shorter projects. And then all of the knowledge acquisition would be moved virtually. So instead of projects’ being at the periphery, to sort of flip it more toward the graduate-education model. And I think it would be much more inspirational for the students because they could come in and really work on projects from the get-go that they wanted to work on and that they were most passionate about, and they could tailor their knowledge base to the projects they want to work on.

This is exactly the idea I’ve been promoting about having students work on an open source project while at university. Some would go on to get jobs in companies that are using the technology. Some will start new ventures around the technology. And when they need a break, they can come back to school, teach, share what they’ve learned, and do some projects with other people, just for the fun of it.

The idea is to get beyond student projects, to use the university environment to do development. All aspects of it. Documentation, training, support, QA, interop with other projects, creating new standards. We know so much about these things now, we shouild be doing more than teaching it, we should be practicing it.

Our experience with the bootstrap of podcasting and political blogging at Berkman in the early part of the last decade were models. I think Dr Ortiz is really onto something.

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