• Civic Mission in the Information Age: Higher Education’s relevancy in the 21st century

    Joel Thierstein (OpenCourseWare Consortium, US)
    Session Information
    July 25, 2012 - 4:15pm
    Institutional Level: 
    Audience Level: 
    Session Type: 
    Keynote Address
    Galileo 901-906 & 1001-1006
    Session Duration: 
    90 Minutes
    Virtual Session

    With the exponential growth in access to information brought about by the availability of digital technology, the learning paradigm has shifted significantly. At the same time, the costs of traditional Higher Education are skyrocketing. The plethora of informal learning opportunities, the failure of the academy to develop effective prior learning assessment tools and processes, and the failure of the U.S. Higher Education system to adequately respond to the curricular needs of the 21st century learner have begun to call the value proposition of the traditional academy into question. The toll of the academy critic’s bell rings loudly. “Why do I need to pay over $100,000 for a college education that I can get online for free? What can college do for me that the internet and my own drive can’t?” Many parts of traditional higher education are struggling to maintain their relevancy. Civic engagement/civic learning are a part of the broader civic agency movement and portend to breathe new life into the traditional academy. Dr. Thierstein will discuss the civic agency movement and its positive manifestation through civic learning/civic engagement in the traditional academy. He will map a pathway forward for Higher Education to reclaim its civic mission through the use of Open Educational Resources, alternative credentialing/badging, and civic learning/civic engagement.

    Lead Presenter
     Joel Thierstein

    Dr. Joel Thierstein has served as a leader in the academy for nearly two decades. Most recently, he served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Under Secretary of Education in the U.S. Department of Education.

    Prior to working in the Department of Education, Dr. Thierstein served as Associate Provost at Rice University and Executive Director of Connexions. He also served as Associate Professor and Director of New Media Communications at Oregon State University. He served as a professor at Baylor University, Purdue University Calumet, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and as a visiting professor of Communications Law at Syracuse University.

    Dr. Thierstein’s innovative work in education extends beyond his work with Connexions. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Open CourseWare Consortium and is one of the founders of Peer 2 Peer University.

    Before coming to the academy, Dr. Thierstein spent nearly a decade as a leader in industry. Since coming to the academy, Dr. Thierstein maintained his ties to industry working on projects with many companies and organizations including Sony, British Petroleum, and the National Association of Broadcasters.

    Dr. Thierstein has worked in advanced technology throughout his career. For over a decade, he worked with the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the standards setting body for digital television. He began working with the ATSC in 1999 and sat as a voting member from 2002-9.

    Dr. Thierstein has written and spoken extensively about education. He has presented numerous conference papers. He has also been quoted extensively by the press as an expert in education and has been an invited panelist and guest speaker on many occasions.

    Dr. Thierstein has a Ph.D. from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He has a J.D. from Syracuse University as well.

    Dr. Thierstein has worked extensively in the conservation community where, among other things, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Fossil Rim Wildlife Center since 2000. He served as Board Chair from 2003 to 2009.