Concept for Formation by Design presented at TEDx Georgetown event
For the fourth year in a row, Georgetown University hosted a TEDx event, showcasing the voices and undertakings of some of the Hilltop’s most innovative and thought-provoking faculty and students. Titled “Ithaca: The Road Less Traveled,” the event highlighted the significance of one’s academic and intellectual journey, not the ultimate destination. A focus on the meaning and impact of a Georgetown education sat at the heart of a featured TEDx speech delivered by Vice Provost for Education Randy Bass.
Discussion included the possibilities afforded to Georgetown and other universities by enacting “less term-based” infrastructures and applying more focus on “impact and purpose.”
“The university no longer has a monopoly on learning and certification, and in the next ten to fifteen years, we’re going to be outcompeted on costs – on anything that looks like the delivery of content or the delivery of information,” said Bass.
“We won’t be able to be solely in that business –even though universities were in that business for a lot of the last thousand years.”
The aim of focusing more on the learning journey, along with the hybridization of three knowledges – of a domain, of the world, and of self – are at the heart of the Formation x Design work within the Future(s) initiative and ultimately serve as building blocks for transformational learning.
“High-impact learning [is] where you feel deeply invested in what it is you’re doing,” said Bass. “You feel a sense of ownership in some complex problem you’ve taken on… where you had a chance to integrate all the fragmented parts of your life; that’s high-impact learning.”
As iterated in the discussion, Formation x Design fuses the polarities of generic and interchangeable formal learning with the local and distinctive experiential education in Georgetown. While it is clear that the atmosphere for content consumption is drastically changing, Georgetown’s Formation x Design initiative seeks to build on the university’s unique qualities.
“I believe that by the 2020s, there will only be two things we can say that a university does that’s distinctive in the whole learning ecosystem – mentored learning and the arc of learning,” Bass said.
This transformative thinking about higher education will build and sustain the world’s future ethical leaders, critical thinkers and complex problem solvers. The Formation x Design initiative works not to separate these paths but to instead integrate them and create a path for students that is well worth traveling.
Check out the video of Randy Bass’ TEDx discussion on Formation x Design below: