The current higher education landscape 1.0 described from the inside …

Copy from the former FLOWCAMPUS blog, now dormant …

A very successful professor, a bit older than me and unknown to me personally, writes us a thank-you email for our book and the videos etc. pp. With his permission, I quote some excerpts anonymously. They paint a mirror image of the university landscape that more than confirms my sociological observations. I would like to emphasize that not all profs are like that. There are also critical spirits who want to shape our common future in a meaningful way and are actively committed to doing so. I’ve worked with a few myself, and I’m also increasingly back in touch with those who are starting to come out of the woodwork. But the bulk of the workforce and systemic environment is described here quite well in their comfort zone. Have fun reading 😉

Mail 1 from Prof

Hello all,

after reading your e-book “B(u)ilding 4.0”, one can only write nice things. Why?

  1. The explanations, which by the way are excellently documented, are not only an expression of professional expertise, but also show that you are one of the very few who take responsibility for the next generations. You care. The “after me, the deluge” attitude of a large part of my generation (19XX) has long gone against my grain. Therefore, I have tried to make constructive suggestions with a polemic “XXX” once, how the university teacher qualification, not the impersonal university teaching, should be changed. I am aware that this is of course not desired. One has made oneself too comfortable.
  2. If you have been involved with the developments in telecommunications and the platform economy for more than 2 decades, as in my case, you have also had to deal with certain consequences for the labor market and higher education/training at a very early stage, especially in terms of responsibility for the following cohorts of students. My proposals of a “media think tank” or other new ways in qualification for the platform economy, combined with realized prototyping projects (“XXX”), were half-heartedly noted. I saw early on how gradual job closures, early retirements, etc. were rampant in the banking, telecommunications or retail sectors. The AI-based digitization effects will force job cuts here even more blatantly. Nevertheless, many programs continue to (dis)qualify students with outdated skills content. One does not talk(e) naturally so gladly about it, did not let the young people know this. Worst of all, however, were the incredible self-importance, know-it-all attitude, lack of drive and passivity of the (non-)decision-maker executives found throughout the industry. Now they are faced with the shambles of omissions. Only, for the most part, they don’t care. That is why I speak of a wave of irresponsibility. Seriousness looks different.
  3. I am therefore currently being directly confronted with the consequential problems of this behavior, because in addition to the oversleeping of qualification requirements and conversions due to the (disruptive, can you even still hear the word?) digitization processes, qualifications for vocational school teachers and instructors for new IHK training professions (XXX) are now to be quickly launched in my specialist area XXX, for example, as a “beacon” of digitization efforts. While I was successful in this area relatively early on in making students “labor market ready and competitive” with relevant qualifications, and also in producing a high number of start-ups with a chance of survival can be launched, but the gap between the developments that you rightly address in your writing and the professional implementation requirements is becoming ever greater. Much of my generation abandoned the demands of computational thinking early on, left social media and the app economy apathetically to the next generation, and clung to their 60s/70s schooling, skill patterns, and attitudes. Of course, that had to go wrong. critical-rational thinking, the constant falsification of know-how is and was much too exhausting. In addition, many people were not and are not under any pressure to solve problems (I’m fine, right? attitude).
  4. The aspects mentioned should only briefly touch on why I read your inventory and proposed solutions with such great pleasure and satisfaction. You absolutely hit the famous nail on the head. Also with your other documentations on Work 4.0 etc.
  5. Raising awareness and “calling attention” to such development trends is one thing; serious implementation efforts are another. Maybe there will be an opportunity to exchange ideas and talk about serious transfers.

Thanks again. You have truly inspired.

Reply by me

Hello XXX,

Thanks for the great feedback! May I blog anonymized excerpts from it without people being able to infer who you are?

In terms of content, I see it similarly, and I’ve been wondering for years where this broad esprit de corps comes from in scientific circles. It’s all so ideologically charged and there are hardly any people in the systems who think for themselves properly. Quite strange.

However, I notice that something is happening very slowly. I continue to be invited to give lectures, to dare to think outside the box. More and more dare to admit this and also to acknowledge it as inspiration. That gives me courage.

On the other hand, these incrustations have been known for a long time. I’m currently collecting material on “dual education” – another one of those education policy memes that endures and keeps being recited like a loop.

It is so amazing how little actual critical thinking there is in the system. Sometimes one can only hope that the crisis will strike as soon and comprehensively as possible. Only then will something probably move.

Well then. Until then, we continue to plod along, working our way forward millimeter by millimeter.

Thanks & greetings from Berlin. Please feel free to report if in the capital.

Mail 2 from Prof

Dear Anja,

nice that you give hope for “gaaaanz slow”, tender awakening moods. I’m really pleased.

Feel free to blog excerpts of my statement.

Someone is writing to you here,

  • who is always looking for solutions,
  • does not make permanent whining the main scientific-academic task (“The young students are getting lazier and lazier and can’t do anything”, “Early selection and high dropout rates are my teaching philosophy”, “Teaching according to the motto ‘passing by understanding’ is much too costly for me, besides, only scientific publishing and research counts”, “I am not interested in the increasing alienation of lecturers and students”),
  • believes in the problem-solving power of the next generation and
  • who sees one of the most important tasks in making comprehensibility the most important object of criticism and productivity(sharing) as well as further development of (existing) know-how.

Critical views, which you demand again and again in your publications and videos, require three things in my opinion:

  1. Create curiosity by “setting fire” (learning is always possible only through emotional appeal),
  2. Establish an understanding of the topics and domains (I work in the AI or algorithm field, among others) and
  3. absolutely promote critical-rational thinking (constant falsification efforts).

This is what you have to want, that young people, and not only them, by understanding above all help to question the existing thought patterns, theories and models with fresh, constructive ideas. Many see themselves threatened here, because “knowledge is power”. We still have too many “arithmetic masters” who do not want the young talents to be enlightened and mature. We urgently need such “fire”-leaders and understanding-creators, also on the online platforms. An absolutely unsolved problem. Otherwise, knowledge will remain stored unproductively in the minds of a few. The job description of the all-knowing university teacher, called professor, is in dire need of a relaunch. But, who wants that? Let me do my research in peace.

Well, too much promised? Now exhale again …