Tuesday evening, I had the chance to dine with two professors from Aalborg University, where we had a chance to discuss the subject of how a masters educations could be structured, if anything was possible!
Well, we quickly reached consensus that the current system is flawed, and is run on a "we know best, what the students and the industry wants". Well, do you now? I recall on my masters degree in Control and Automation, that we had courses, which seemed most of all like a mis-fit. Courses which didn't interest any of us, but we "had" to follow, cause it was part of our curriculum.
One idea, was to just liberalize the s*** out of this old-fashioned silo way of thinking, and instead of having a defined set of rules, let the students themselves define the rules. Instead of forcing everybody to follow the same path, just let people assemble their own education, like LEGO blocks.
The idea couldn't leave my head, which is why i'm now writing this piece. Not only would this create more motivated students (by removing the courses that you don't want to follow), but it could also create a much more dynamic curriculum. Courses on which less than 5/6 students had signed up, would not be run - which would aid in removing courses which didn't interest any students, and really interesting courses, could have as many as 100+ students per course! I know this is roughly how they run their universities elsewhere, but why are we not pursuing this idea at Aalborg University?
"But Rasmus, aren't you forgetting that at freshman on 7th semester won't be able to understand Lyapunov theory"? I haven't forgot it, i just haven't mentioned it yet. This could easily be overcome, by setting requirements to the individual courses as: "If you want course B, you need course A". In that sense, you still provide the students with the option, but you can also guide them in the direction you want. Toss in all the PhD courses, and I think we're moving towards a system, that could provide some really interesting candidates, not only for academia, but also for the industry! At least, if I was able to, my masters degree would have been a lovely combination of control systems theory, mixed with machine learning, AI and software development!
I think what i'm aiming at, is that its time to give up on hopeless conventional systems. Flip everything upside down - and give students the opportunity to create their own educations.
And on that note - I also have an idea for a cross-disciplinary free-study activity, but i'll keep you posted on that, once we get settled in Aalborg!
All the best,