The Future of Higher Education

If there’s a topic you want to learn today, the best tutors for it are on YouTube. YouTubers explain things with the best visuals, best graphics, best animations, and simplest examples. They add interviews, animated maps, images that support the subject, and fast-paced music to their videos. Whether the topic is mathematics, biology, or economics, there is beautiful and descriptive content in almost every language. Best of all, the competition on YouTube is continuously improving what’s available. YouTubers compete to do better than each other and to increase the number of views and likes. Many instructors and professors in classical schools have little chance of competing with YouTubers. Many instructors try to enrich their lessons by using videos prepared by YouTubers in their classic classroom lessons. There aren’t only young YouTubers on YouTube, but also professors, researchers, and TED speakers from the best universities in the world. Therefore, for someone who has a mind to learn a subject, it is enough to open YouTube on a mobile phone. Some of the YouTube videos go beyond explaining the topics and criticize authors, theorists, and experts. The fact that the work reaches the criticism and discussion dimension helps to deepen the content.

The only missing part of learning from YouTube, for now, is classroom discussions. Discussions between a teacher and students are not available in the process of learning from YouTube. However, innovations never end in social media. Don’t be surprised if a social new media, bringing random people and students together for academic debates, soon starts. For example, consider a group discussing cobweb theory in economics. Members of this group do not know each other; they don’t go to the same school, they don’t live in the same country; their only common point is to understand better and discuss cobweb theory. Inside a zoom-like video discussion platform, they find the relevant group, attend one of the scheduled meetings, and discuss cobweb theory with people they never know. This type of social media will also provide the opportunity for classroom discussion on the internet.

Meanwhile, learning through smartphone apps is measurably more successful than the teaching of a professor. In traditional education, the professor teaches and examines student. Although the passing grade varies from school to school, usually a student who scores between fifty and eighty-five on an exam passes. In fact, this grade band indicates that the student has not fully learned. However, smartphone/computer applications are much more successful in learning. For example, a smartphone learning application asks a student 30 questions. The student only answers twenty-five of them correctly; of course, there are five wrong answers. The app does not allow the student to pass to the next level until the student masters 30 questions. Therefore, this student progresses by learning the subjects entirely. In traditional university education, while there are many subjects that the students go through without full learning, there is no subject that is missed or left incomplete in learning with learning apps.

What is the place of knowledge in learning? You might think, “All the information is on the internet, no need to know anything by heart.” This logic is true to a certain extent, but not entirely. According to Bloom’s learning taxonomy, we first acquire knowledge. Then we remember the knowledge we have learned. We recognize it when it comes across in the real world. We use this information. If necessary, we analyze it. We evaluate and combine information to create something new. Now here is the first step to obtaining knowledge; others cannot happen without securing information. I’m not saying that we should fill our heads with information that we can easily access on the internet, but interpretation and creativity are impossible without a knowledge base. Obtaining information through applications plays a critical role in our learning. Now almost everyone loves movies. The directors and screenwriters who create popular films are quite knowledgeable and combine their knowledge to make them. For example, it is not possible to create many elements of Star Wars without knowing the medieval history or knowing Indian mythology.

But will YouTube content and smartphone learning apps replace professors entirely? One of the most critical functions of professors is to help understanding and interpretation. Professors and instructors should stop teaching and play a role in the interpretation. Students should meet with their professors once a week or every fifteen days to discuss topics in a physical class or a Zoom-like platform. Since the student will come to this meeting with full knowledge, the professor will not have to spend time to teach at the meeting.

You may find my thoughts revolutionary, and you are right in that. However, the revolution has already happened to a large extent. Almost everyone checks YouTube to learn something new. Not many people think, “let me go to college and ask a teacher” to learn something new. Recently, I wanted to make a crepe, and I checked YouTube recipes.  All recipes required some rest time for the batter. Three days before writing this post, I found a new recipe on YouTube, which doesn’t require resting the batter. When I decide to learn to crepe, I didn’t enroll in a culinary school. I just did up-to-date research on YouTube. It is up to university administrations to recognize and admit this learning revolution and restructure themselves accordingly. After 2050, the university, as you know it, will either be erased by the realities of the market, or they will continue to exist by reinventing themselves. The situation of private universities is even more difficult. In a world where learning becomes free, it will become increasingly difficult to find some people willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a college education.

In business, some institutions started to mention that they don’t look for diplomas anymore; they want to recruit talented people. Peter Thiel and the like are recruiting talent, not graduates. These institutions are few today, but they will increase gradually. The traditional university’s demand will gradually decrease in a world where a university diploma is not proof of learning.

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Corona Virus: To die or not to die: that is the question

Mel Arat

City people generally do not think about death or remember much about it. They only remember death for a short time on the rare occasion when an acquaintance or neighbor dies, but people quickly forget during their daily lives. Only those who lost their loved ones have a little grasp of their mortality. The coronavirus created two major differences in our lives. Firstly, it has forced life to grind to a halt for city people. Secondly, the Corona Virus reminded people worldwide about their mortality and their fear of death.

The daily rush has a drug-like effect. It does not allow us to focus deeply on something. If you have a nice meal at a restaurant in the evening before you realize it, you will be on a subway or bus to go home. After completing a project at work, you will receive a new to-do list. In the evening, when you get home, you will notice the missing food in the fridge. When you go out to the market, you will get a notification reminding you of your bills. Without realizing what you’re doing, all the week goes by, and if someone asks, “How are you?” you will answer, “I don’t understand how the week has passed.” During this rush, it is nearly impossible to remember our mortality.

The television series “Dead Like Me” on Amazon Prime tells the story of an eighteen-year-old girl named Georgia who dies when a toilet seat from the de-orbiting Russian space station falls on top of her.  After her death, she is assigned as an angel of death. Her job becomes taking the souls of people whose time has come. The two-season drama offers interesting opportunities to question life and death. Georgia is not the only angel of death; there are others. One of them is a character named Betty. Betty takes Polaroid pictures of the people before she takes their souls. In the fifth episode of the series, she gives tens of thousands of photos to Georgia. Dozens of shopping bags full of pre-death pictures. I found this scene very dramatic. Everyone reading this article may consider themselves the center of the world, and maybe lost in their daily hustle and bustle without ever remembering that we will die one day. If we knew this series depicted reality, perhaps we would go into one of Betty’s polaroid photo bags one day, and this life we care so much about would end. Fortunately, Betty takes pictures of people whose souls she has taken; because if she doesn’t, there would be no one to remember them fifty years after their death.

We only judge what is right and what is wrong by time. Taking something that is not yours is stealing, but until one gets caught, the person who steals may think it was the right thing to do. For example, a few opportunists during the demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in America ransacked the shops and stole the goods. Sometime during protests, the cameras showed one who stole a big television screen in New York. This person may think that what he did was the right thing to do while watching the TV that he stole. However, two months later, when police identified the thief who stole the television from the camera footage and went to his house to arrest him, he realized he made a big mistake. A lot of stuff sound right in the short run but appear to be wrong in the long run.

Knowing the time of your death hugely impacts our decision making. In terms of our to-do lists, there is a big difference between dying the next day and fifty years later. In addition, the existence of a reward and punishment system changes the decisions we make. Remembering the concept of death with the coronavirus and this television series has led me to review most of my choices.

Whether we believe in the existence of heaven or hell, it will not change the result, just like how believing in gravity does not change the existence of gravity.

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Birthday and Gratitude

gratitude

I recently celebrated another birthday. This one’s a little more special. I revised my life. Often from the daily hustle and bustle, we only live by thinking of current the period, recent times or near future. This short-term determines our happiness and unhappiness.
I have been thinking about what has happened since my birth on this birthday. Since it was my birthday, I focused on the positive things. I thanked God for all the good things that have happened in my life. It made me feel good. As I said, one forgets important things from the struggle for daily life.
Would recommend to all of you. Review things you should be thankful for in your own life since the day you were born.

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5 Steps of Success for Clever People

5 stepsWhat distinguishes successful people from people with high potential? Especially in the business world, there are many talented, educated and intelligent people among professional employees. However, many of them have limited success in their professional careers. Some of them retire one day, and some start a business. Setting up a company can be considered a success, but it may not always be a great success. We can talk about a few steps to turn your potential into success. Read more 5 Steps of Success for Clever People

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Is Netflix killing your creativity and imagination?

 

netflix addictionNetflix is our new addiction. People started to use the word Netflix when they want to refer to the television. Even Netflix is not alone in video streaming services among Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, and others; it represents all in daily conversations. People are spending hours on Netflix and other streamlining services by watching thousands of tv shows and movies. Netflix takes so much time and does not leave space for reading books, playing games, or other activities.

Since Netflix and other streaming services provide mostly fiction based shows and movies, there is no need for imagination. A scriptwriter and director bring their creativity to the screen and viewer only consumes that creativity. All effects, professional acting, video, and story editing leave no room for the imagination of the viewer. Everything is already on the screen. In contrast, while reading a story and novel, the narrative and the descriptions demand the imagination and visualization of the reader. The readers should create spaces, characters, and their actions in their mind throughout the reading process. That’s the reason why the readers of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter hate the movies of these literary works because the films are entirely different than imaginative creations of the readers. Reading a book requires hard work to construct all the scenes and spaces in the mind, but it pays to the reader as a personalized and satisfactory experience. On the contrary, we can also claim that Netflix is increasing creativity and imagination. Each movie or show provides a lot of input to the minds of the viewer. All films, tv series, and documentaries may trigger some sort of creativity. The variety of ideas, creations, and productions on Netflix can quickly start a parallel creativity and coproduction process. Hasan Minhaj, Friends from College, Continuum, The 100, Mind Hunter, Silicon Valley, Startup, Night off, Mr. Selfridge, Brooklyn 99, Clone Wars, Last Week Tonight, Sorry to Bother You, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Beverly Hills 91210, and Entourage are a few examples that can induce your creativity. These works or similar works can make you think, imagine and create a desire to create something similar or dissimilar. The first paradox created by Netflix is while it provides a lot of input to be creative the addiction to watch it doesn’t allow to use the time to be creative. The second paradox is successful original works on Netflix feed the imagination but again since they answer all the questions they don’t give an opportunity to use the imagination. In conclusion, I can say that people who want to be creative use Netflix as an abundant resource but there is a great danger to remain just as a consumer while losing hundreds of hours.

Mel Arat

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Are you unemployed or is your company bankrupt?

 

im-possibleIn some of the letters I receive, people say they have been unemployed for a long time and they are looking for work. They ask my advice.

Personal crises are actually great opportunities. If you are unemployed, if your business went bankrupt, actually you have a blank paper in your hand. Most of the time, our dependency on our old life order makes us repeat what we used to do. In fact, what we have to do is to turn this personal crisis into an opportunity. Read more Are you unemployed or is your company bankrupt?

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