Monday, December 06, 2010

Google thought...

I was sitting on a runway in Chicago today thinking Schencky thoughts as usual.  Here was one.

If I were the CEO of Google... or the president of a small dying college, I would either start a college as part of my company or, better, buy or cooperate with one about to go out of business.  The degree--a BS in Google whatever.  Why not let the industry cooperate with an innovative college to create a problem based curriculum whose main purpose is to feed a company like Google employees?

Google of course is just an example.  A degree in Intel whatever.  A degree in Boeing whatever.  Sure, we'll throw in humanities courses so these engineers have a soul.  Just because you can make a really nifty microbe that can wipe out the planet doesn't mean you should.  Sure, the college would insist the students get a little philosophy and history, not to mention an understanding of physics that is a little broader than how to put a transistor on a sheet of silicon.

But the building block model of learning is too slow to keep up with the cutting edge of the twenty-first century.  Technology companies should grow their own.  But to keep their people human, colleges could facilitate it.

What do you think?  I personally nodded off just after having this thought... ;-)

1 comment:

npmccallum said...

The problem is these companies go out of their way to find innovative thinkers. In short, they don't want employees who are fresh out of school and only know "the Google way." They want people with considerable technical achievements: either professional or post-graduate. This only comes from an environment where creative thinking is encouraged. This requires academic freedom to research what you want without interference. A "Google" school represents the exact opposite of that. Nor would such a school attract the kind of teachers they would need to create that kind of creativity. These professors are teaching at MIT, Stanford, CMU, Harvard, and other top notch schools. Additionally, such a school would not attract the kind of talent they need. No one who is a creative thinker is going to go to GoogleU.

In short, the schooling methods designed by the Industrial Revolution, and I think implied in this suggestion, are actually better at providing factory workers then they are at providing the creative engineers that drive the upper crust of silicon valley.