Op ed blog post commending a November 2015 report from New America entitled “Flipping the Paradigm: Why We Need Training-Based Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree and How to Build Them” which advocates “flipping” the bachelor’s degree path to “start with applications and work upwards towards theories.”
We build degrees that move from the broad and general at the beginning — the theory, the survey — to the specific at the end. That structure pretty much guarantees that initial encounters with large and sweeping theories will be shallow at best, since they lack both context and a sense of why they matter. By the time students get to specifics, they’ve left the big questions behind. If they return to the big questions later, it’s despite, rather than because of, the way we’ve organized degrees. They rarely get the benefit of coming back to the big questions with the benefit of context, and that’s our failure.
Download the PDF of “Flipping the Paradigm: Why We Need Training-Based Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree and How to Build Them” by Mary Alice McCarthy. November 2015.