The University and the Future of Knowledge

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk as part of a lecture series here at The University of Texas at Dallas. The series is part of the events commemorating the 40th anniversary of the University, and as such I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a stab at looking at the future of the University. The video of this lecture is now available. But, a couple of warnings/disclosures before you view it. The audio is good, but not great, as every once in a while there is interference. Also the first five minutes of the video is a bit shaky, but if you get through that the video quality gets really good. Special thanks to two of our EMAC students who made this possible (Kim & Adam).

My central claim is that the organization of the University is based on a factory/print broadcast, model of knowledge creation and dissemination, and thus is ill prepared (or perhaps cannot make the transition) into the new knowledge landscape.

Watch below, or click thru to the larger version.


The question and answer portion of this talk was really good, and maybe I can get it posted here in the future.

A few references:
There are two key inspirations for this talk.

Other references:

  • The Shirky reference is from Here Comes Everybody. I think at times Shirky can be overly praising of the network, without being critical enough, but his reflections on journalism and the internet are spot on, and help me to think through parallel changes in academia.
  • The Sir Ken Robinson reference is to this TED talk, but he makes this point in other venues as well.
  • “Transparency is the New Objectivity” is a phrase I first heard from Dave Weinberger, although I don’t know if he is the origin.