Virtual Teams in Education

The future of business is not in brick and mortar institutions as historically viewed. The proliferation and miniaturization of communications mediums, cellular telephone, fax, Internet, personal data devices, and lap top computers, make offices available where people are – not where the office is. Carpenter (1998) wrote the internet is more versatile for communication than any medium available today. People can interact with individuals or groups, they can identify by name, pseudonym, or be anonymous. She says the internet is “…a virtual community where people meet, engage in discourse, become friends, fall in love, and develop all of the relationships that are developed in physical communities” (pg. 1).

However, the internet may not be a panacea. The internet goes beyond technology into social interaction. Organizations face a dilemma of encouraging successful interactions and community building online. Statistics suggest almost ten million people work in virtual offices and that 40 percent of large organizations have policies on telecommuting. Yet, Carpenter (1998), cited above, says virtual employment equals only seven to ten percent of the work force.

Why hasn’t the virtual office flourished? Sociologists suggest it is the need for informal interaction – office banter. Organizations are stubborn to accept virtual teams believing team projects work best carried out over conference tables and virtual workers can only participate in individual assignments. Still other organizations believe virtual workers do not receive adequate supervision. However, is the problem supervision or trust?

Kohrell (2005), an adjunct professor at Bellevue University, is president of Technology As Promised. He is a specialist in developing virtual teams and addresses developing trust on virtual teams. He explains virtual trust in simple terms. Virtual trust is getting on an airplane, not knowing the air traffic controllers, yet trusting they are doing their jobs correctly. He explains building virtual trust through communication – frequently, with integrity, with certainty and predictability.

Other data, taken with Kohrell’s, also supports the economics of the virtual office. Verma (2005) offers some information that shows senior executives from Europe, Asia, and the Unites States report cost savings (69 percent) and increased productivity (64 percent) when using telecommuting. Verma cites comments of Joe Roitz, AT&T. Roitz said, “Telework alone generates over $150 million annually in productivity increases, real estate savings, and enhanced retention for AT&T.” These statistics suggest business recognize change and develop strategies for successful change.

Tucker, Kao, and Verma (2005) write there are trends in employment that organizations cannot ignore. One point they make is the work force globally is getting smaller. They also recognize that cultural norms are different now, more loose. Adding to the mix is more freedom for people to move globally. They point out there are personnel trends that organizations can count on 1. Smaller and less sufficiently skilled

2. Increasingly global

3. Highly virtual

4. Vastly diverse, and

5. Autonomous and empowered

They conclude that leadership focus within these trends “demand a new generation of talent management.” This new talent management has to take some strategic steps to manage the new work force in future oriented organizations. Those steps are:

1. Predictive Workforce Monitoring and Strategic Talent Decision Making

2. Flexible and Anticipatory Talent Sourcing

3. Customized and Personalized Rewards and Communications

4. Distributed and Influential Leadership

5. Unified and Compassionate Cultures

Computer-mediated Communication (CMC)

It is important to discuss CMC as virtual workers depend on – rely on – computer-mediated communication. Jones (1998) cites Patton (1986) in discussion about highway building as a means to connect people to one another. Patton observed that highways have not connected us rather increased our sense of separateness. Cities are divided, neighborhoods split, city intimacy destroyed. From this negative view, Jones concludes the internet may actually do what highways failed to do Computer-mediated communication, it seams, will do by way of electronic pathways what cement roads were unable to do, namely, connect us rather than atomize us, put us at the controls of a “vehicle” and yet not detach us from the rest of the world. (pg. 3)

CMC offers new realms for social scientists to study. Traditionally, social scientists observed communities within certain identified boundary. However, new cyber societies exist without bounds and determination of membership in cyber society does not satisfy traditional categories given community.

Education in Cyber Society

What does this mean in terms of education? The United States Department of Education (US-DOE) provides a look into higher education statistics for twelve months 2000 to 2001. US-DOE figures from that period show 56 percent (2320) post-secondary two- and four-year schools had online courses. Another twelve percent desire to go online within the next three years. Finally, 31 percent said they would not go online. Clearly, two-thirds of colleges and universities have or want online educational opportunities for students. What does this mean for faculty? The following paragraph addresses that question.

The Higher Learning Commission accredits Bellevue University in Nebraska. It has an online presence offering 17 undergraduate degree completion programs online and 7 graduate degree programs online. The College of Professional Studies (CPS) of Bellevue University administers all of the undergraduate degree programs. CPS administers three of the seven graduate degrees, MBA and Master of Arts in Management reside in the College of Business, and MS Computer Information Systems and MS Management of Information Systems reside in the College of Information Technology. Although the College of Arts and Sciences administers no online degrees, it does administer several course clusters and individual online courses. Therefore, Bellevue University is an example of an institution highly oriented to the online student.

Online, mostly adult learner, students equal approximately 40 percent of the University population. Bellevue University also has both traditional four-year campus students and non-traditional in class adult learners making up the rest of the University student population. A boast made during the 2004/2005 academic year was that Bellevue University has students in all 24 time zones around the world and the North and South Poles.

CPS accounts for the largest number of faculty members. Of CPS faculty, about 150 are adjunct and one-third of those are faculty members at distant locations teaching online (information provided the Assistant College Administrator).

However, this is not unique to Bellevue University. A web search of colleges with online offerings returns dozens of institutions. Narrowing a web search to fully accredited schools with online offerings returns numerous hits. Well known in the online arena are University of Phoenix, Capella, Nova Southeastern, and Walden. Among these, University of Phoenix is very aggressive in both student and faculty recruitment. It is not unusual for students to transfer between online schools searching for lower tuition rates and/or more liberal credit transfer policies. In addition, it is likely an adjunct professor may instruct in multiple universities. Online Faculty Interviews

Of the about 50 online distant faculty members at Bellevue University, five responded to invitations for phone or email interviews. Another interview with an online adjunct that lives in the Omaha metro area serves to validate other faculty comments. One distant faculty member does teach at two other institutions, one online, and one face to face. Finally, I will submit personal observations, my experiences, as an online adjunct, face-to-face instructor and one that taught in multiple institutions.

All those interviewed were unanimous in answering why they are adjunct college professors, they like teaching. The responses varied from “I like sharing what I’ve learned,” to “It is fun to see, through their postings, how they (students) grow and change over the year period of a degree program.” To follow up, they answered teaching online is new to them, an interesting way to link students, and a way to connect people geographically separate for a common goal (education).

One interviewee, a medical doctor in Indiana teaches healthcare administration at Bellevue University to “stay connected with nurses and other medical administrators. A hard lesson for doctors to learn is they don’t run anything.” In addition to teaching at Bellevue University, he developed a course adopted into the Master of Healthcare Administration in CPS. He shared that he also is a mentor for third and fourth year medical residents working to pass their medical boards. He does not teach in this role, rather facilitates medical residents’ leaning and board preparation. He related that this role requires developing a trust and trusting relationship between him and his mentored doctor. He said he always begins the mentoring relationship in a face-to-face environment before moving it to telephone or email. He told that teaching online and handling student problems and misunderstandings is much less trying than mentoring new doctors.

The local interview, conducted in person, was with the executive assistant to the university president. He used to teach in the classroom; however, schedule demands took him out of class. Teaching online lets him keep his connection to students while maintaining a busy travel schedule.

When asked why they applied to teach at Bellevue University, the answers ranged widely. One instructor, an Army retired Chief Warrant Officer, began teaching a year after graduating with a master degree from Bellevue. The university approached him rather than him initiating an application. Another, now teaching at the Atlanta campus of the University of Georgia, and previously at the U.S. Air Force Academy, applied to Bellevue because of the University’s close ties to military students. One respondent is an empty nester, disabled from her nursing profession, and wanted to stay active pre-retirement. There was not a consistent answer to this question except when tying it to their enjoyment of teaching.

All those interviewed are online instructors, therefore, virtual to their students. All reported using email and telephone as primary communication devices with their students. Additionally, they all use the Bellevue University Cyberactive® learning environment powered by Blackboard to conduct classes. They reported highs of 40 percent and lows of ten percent use of email for student communication. All reported using the telephone to contact students; however, telephone use was a low five to ten percent. Low telephone use is not unexpected considering the worldwide locations of BU students.

Probing deeper, email use is actually higher from instructor to student. Within the Cyberactice® environment there is a tab titled “Communication.” Within this link is an option to send an email to all or select users. All adjuncts confirmed this option is the choice they use to send messages to individuals, select groups, or an entire class. When probed, instructors agreed they use this email option regularly. After another query into percentage of communication by email using the Cyberactive® email option, instructors replied their email communication is higher, up to 50 percent. It is important to clarify that instructors did not directly associate email in the Cyberactive® environment with other email engines.

There were very broad concerns expressed by the interviewees and all were technical, from needing more technical support to wanting less technical support. This question needed more clarification. The respondents confirmed their meaning of technical support as surrounding the electronic classroom. Although all online instructors must complete the Online Facilitators Course, four of the five realized their attention to it was not the best possible. Challenged for why the four did not participate more in the facilitator course, they admitted to “filling a square” to teach online. All replied there are times when they all call or email the Cyberactive® Help Desk for assistance.

Another unanimous concern was how well prepared students are to enter an electronic classroom. Each respondent related at least one story of a student ill prepared to study online. Instructor receives a profile of each student in class, therefore a follow up question on student age suggested age was less a concern than students’ career and regular use of computers for email, topic research, and understanding of inter- versus intra-net. Feeling as Part of a Team

The adjuncts all feel they are part of a work team. Specifically, they felt part of their work team, part of the Cyberactive® classroom group, but not closely connected to the University. The reason given is distance from the physical location – Bellevue, Nebraska. They did report steps taken by the College of Professional Studies as helping them become more connected. One example they all like is the weekly email of the campus bulletin, another is periodic email messages of faculty development seminars. Faculty development seminars are now video taped, converted to digital media, and available in streaming video online or DVD format mailed.

Supporting some of the research reported earlier, the respondents felt disconnected from the University and more connected if they could make trips to the campus, meet with program directors, deans, and fellow faculty members. Clarifying this point, they did not feel under supervised, rather did not feel a personal (personally) connected. An expectation was that those now adjuncts who were Bellevue University students would feel more connected. While the former students felt more connected, they too did not feel a close bond.

The discussion moved to questions of leadership. Specifically asked was how well do they know (know of) the University leadership team. All knew names and positions of the president, provost, deans, and program directors. They did not know any of the names associated with positions of senior administrative people and senior people outside their particular college. Asked if they knew any names of board members, each knew U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel is a board member. Others knew names of benefactors thinking they were board members.

Tying the interviews together, the discussion turned to specifics of communication. The focus at this stage was the level of interdepartmental communication compared to intradepartmental communication. Those interviewed commented that intradepartmental communication was good. Adjuncts knew, through email and/or telephone communication, their program director, some or all the department faculty. All reported a lack of knowledge outside their program area. An adjunct in healthcare administration is unlikely to cross-communicate with faculty from management or leadership. An instructor in business administration will not know anyone teaching in human resources or security management. Distant adjuncts in the College of Professional Studies seem isolated from faculty members of other colleges. Generally, faculty members in one college do not teach in other colleges.

The interviewees made recommendations to improve communication ranging from more email communication to making trips to the campus to meet the staff. Trips to campus from distant locations seemed impractical from a cost aspect because such a trip would not be at university expense. Asked how to improve electronic communication, all agreed more is better. Citing an example of missed opportunity, they said the university produces a faculty roster and places it on the server “shared drive.” However, distant locations do not have access to the internal system. Personal Experience

Stated early in this paper, I am an online adjunct but live in the community the university calls home. This gives me a different perspective because I can personally interact with instructors from different colleges and programs. After five years in administration as a graduate enrollment counselor, I developed personal networks with many senior program directors and deans. For nearly the same period, I was an adjunct, first in the College of Arts and Sciences and now in CPS. I taught Organizational Communication in a face-to-face classroom and Leadership online.

Validating the interviewees’ comments, communication to adjuncts has been limited. One limiting factor was the capability of the university email server to support several hundred email addresses. This problem is resolved with the installation of a new larger email server. Another limiting factor was not all adjuncts had a “(name) @” university email address. An initiative of the Quality Council was requiring all adjuncts have an internal email address and remote access to the email server. This initiative is now complete with separate distributions for “all campus,” “all adjuncts,” and “all (college specific) adjuncts.”

An advantage to being an online adjunct in the same community where the university is located is proximity. With proximity, there is access to many in leadership positions and interaction with peers. A closer connection with faculty peers allows a support system to develop face-to-face that a distant adjunct cannot as easily develop. Proximity allows faster communication and reaction to communication. Closeness permits attendance to faculty development live rather than streaming video or DVD.

While the advantages of proximity seem favorable, there are some downsides. There are greater expectations that a local adjunct spends time on campus when there primary job allows. The faculty resource center offers an adjunct an office environment where one can have the office time expected. College meeting attendance by local adjuncts is not mandated; however, it is more favorable to attend. Those operating at a distance desire to attend meetings and cannot have it. Conclusion

The interview process with adjunct instructors working at a distance offer supporting data to the statistics reported earlier in this paper. The adjuncts interviewed are part time virtual employees who feel less a part of the University team than someone local. They reported incomplete communication with and knowledge of many key leadership people.

Communication seems the center of disconnect. The Academic Quality Improvement Process also recognized this problem and implemented institutional change to tie all members to campus life. Although more effort is underway for broader communication, distant employees do not have access to local systems through remote means.

Considering these elements and considering the U. S. Department of Education’s statistics, online education is likely to flourish. Bellevue University attracts students from around the world with many of them earning degrees online from their home countries.

Despite the drawbacks, virtual professors as virtual team members are successful at Bellevue University because of the expressed desire to teach and watch their students grow and learn. The professionalism and expertise these professors exhibit in the online community of students supports the data from industry executives indicating improved productivity and cost savings.

Pfeffer (1998) identifies the use of sub-contractors in the work force. Adjuncts are sub-contractors. The adjuncts serve in non-traditional ways contrary to how professors previously served. It is apparent that education is no different from other industries using virtual workers. Virtual workers, like temporary workers, feel less connected – not given the same level of training.

In interview, establishing trust was critical to two adjuncts. In-person trust is much easier to develop than in virtual relationships. Bell (2002) says trust is a leap of faith and places trust below truth, “… caringly frank and compassionately straightforward… in pursuit of clean communication” (pg. 9).

An indirect conclusion from the interviews highlights that mentoring a virtual adjunct may help develop a sense of team participation through greater knowledge and understanding of the institutions vision and values. By developing greater emersion into the vision and values of the system, adjuncts may want to be more aware of those people filling leadership roles. Successful virtual workers need the same assistance and opportunity for growth as the worker inside the brick and mortar institution.


Bell, C.R. (2002). Managers as Mentors: Building Partnership for Learning (2nd edition). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Carpenter, J. L. (Fall Semester 1998). Building Community in the Virtual Workplace. Online at

David Kohrell (personal communication, September 18, 2005) noting virtual team performance.

Jones, S. G. (1998). Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers.

Kohrell, D. (2005). Effective Virtual Teams [PowerPoint presentation]. PMI North Carolina: Technology As Promised.

Marilyn Urquhart (personal communication, October 3, 2005) noting total number of adjuncts and number of adjuncts teaching online from distributed locations.

Pfeffer, J. (1998). The Human Equation: Building profits by putting people first. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Tuker, E., Kao, T., and Verma, N. (2005). Next-Generation Talent Management: Insights on How Workforce Trends are Changing the Face of Talent Management. Business Credit 107, 7. 20-27.

U. S. Department of Education (2001). Washington, DC. Online at [].

Verma, N. (2005). Making the Most of Virtual Work. WorldatWork Journal, 14, 2. 15-23.

Education for the Advancement of Women and the Social Development of the Planet

Not often does it fall to individuals to be a part of history in the making. For the few who are given that privilege, its true value can only be estimated only in hindsight. More than 150 years ago in a garden at Badasht, Tahireh - Iranian poet and revolutionary - renounced her veil and before the stunned participants announced through the power of this deed a new age in the cause of women. Four years later, at the moment of her execution, she cried "You can kill me as soon as you like but you cannot stop the emancipation of women".

One and a half centuries later, and a decade into a new millennium, I pause to remember Tahireh, and all those men and women since, who have kept the flame of her cause burning brightly down all the years and passed this torch on to our generation here today; another people, another land, another century. In my mind they remain with us, and will continue to inspire and guide us just as we too must inspire and guide the generations still to come.

The Connection Between Education and Emancipation In the globally disseminated statement "The Promise of World Peace" the Universal House of Justice describes the important connection between education and discrimination, stating "...ignorance is indisputably the principal reason...for the perpetuation of prejudice."

More and more we realise that if we are to change the cruel, destructive ways in which human beings treat one another, we must first change the way they think, and the things they value. Highlighting the supreme urgency of re-educating the souls and minds of humanity, H. G. Wells said "Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe."

A crucial aspect of this education which is necessary if we are to avert catastrophe and bring balance to the present state of disequilibrium, and which will eventually contribute to a new definition of humanity, is the process which some have called the 'feminisation' of the planet.

'Abdu'l Baha, son of Baha'u'llah, Prophet Founder of the Baha'i Faith, described this process;

"The world in the past has been ruled by force and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the scales are already shifting, force is losing its weight, and mental alertness, intuition and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilisation will be more properly balanced."

The first entry in Collins Dictionary defining the word education is " the act or process of acquiring knowledge...". This broad definition vastly extends the sphere of education beyond that limited and formalised type of education provided by the state school system. Clearly 'the act or process by which we acquire knowledge' takes place on many levels. One purpose of this paper is to identify some of the primary ways in which we have acquired our present beliefs about the role and value of the sexes, and to suggest positive directions for future educational change.

True Education Creates Enduring Change The real value of education lies in how it permanently changes our behaviour and our thoughts. Professor B. F. Skinner offers this definition; "Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten." People can learn to behave in outwardly politically correct ways, but the real challenge is to so internalise new values that they become an inseparable part of the individual. This is what Baha'u'llah asks of us when He calls for us to become "a new race of men." Steven Covey, author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" says "What we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do." How you behave in your day-to-day life is a truer indication of your inner beliefs than are the words you speak. For this reason we need to focus upon our deeds rather than our words. Baha'u'llah says "The reality of man is his thought, not his material body". In seeking to promote the advancement of women, we need to retrain thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and values. We need to do this for ourselves as individuals, but we also seek to influence others at every level of our personal and collective lives.

A popular catch cry of feminism has been the statement that "The personal is political". "The Promise of World Peace" describes how personal attitudes do indeed have political and international consequences, stating that denial of equality "promotes...harmful attitudes and habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations."

In the article 'Training for the Year 2000', James Aggrey maintains that the education of girls is of the greater importance because "To educate a man is to educate a single individual, but to educate a woman is to educate an entire nation." The words of William Ross Wallace that 'The hand that rocks the cradle Is the hand that rules the world' have become legendary.

An earlier quotation from 'The Promise' described how inequality promotes harmful attitudes and habits which men carry with them into all spheres of life. It continues by saying "Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge" and in the subsequent paragraph states " is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society."

Here then are two key factors in the education and feminisation of our society; * the education of women which will enable them to participate equally in all fields of human endeavour and in doing so become in themselves a source of education; a 'feminising influence' to others * the crucial role played by women in the education of the coming generation

The Education of Men is Crucial to True Equality It is impossible to consider the issue of the advancement of women as belonging to women alone. In fact the Universal House of Justice states it is an issue that men too must own; "It is important to acknowledge that the wellbeing and advancement of men is impossible as long as women remain disadvantaged. Men can not be happy whilst women are oppressed, and neither can they hope to remain unaffected by the changes women are making for themselves. The growth and development of women needs to be balanced by complementary growth and development on the part of men."

Poet and pacifist Robert Bly stated:

"Contemporary man is lost... damaged by a childhood lack of contact with a strong male figure to initiate him into manhood. He has become a "soft' or naive' male, who, by rejecting the aggressive and obnoxious male traits that he has been taught women dislike, has also abandoned the forceful and heroic aspects of masculinity, to the detriment of society."

Christchurch psychotherapist Paul Baakman bluntly observed "No wonder when boys grow up they can't talk with other men, they've never learnt to talk with their bloody fathers."

The N.Z. Dominion newspaper carried a report of an 11-country study of parental involvement with children. The study reported that "Preschoolers worldwide are alone with their fathers on average less than one waking hour a day...". In their survey of the routines of four-year-olds, researchers found young children were rarely in the sole care of their fathers, regardless of the culture, and the article quoted an editor of the study as saying that "It certainly indicates that the rhetoric of equality and the male taking his share of the responsibility for child-rearing is a lot of talk but certainly not a lot of action."

Sandra Coney writing in the N.Z. Sunday Star Times (22.1.95) describes how faulty perception of male roles in society creates negative behaviour patterns which may have contributed to that country having the world's highest youth suicide rate, reporting;

"Research by the Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit at Auckland University found low self esteem was the dominant characteristic of today's young men.

The men's peer group was their principle source of belonging, support and acceptance. The group's solidarity was reinforced by drunken, foolish exploits which won approval and became part of the lore of the group.

Women threatened the young men and the cohesion of the group. They represented commitment, responsibility and the possibility of rejection. The men protected themselves from this by being hostile and offensive around women.

The cultural context we provide for young men is all wrong. We expect, even tolerate their antisocial behaviour. Fathers provide poor role models as husbands and fail to develop emotionally close relationships with their boys."

And, as final evidence of the faulty role modelling of males in Western society, let's not forget comedian Rod Dangerfield who also suffered from low self esteem as a child, and complained; "Once I told my father, 'Nobody likes me'. He said, 'Don't say that - everybody hasn't met you yet." "

The need to develop positive sex roles is common to both men and women, and presents an important challenge for our communities in order to heal past sufferings and bring about personal transformation, through identifying and developing strong options for the future. As Elizabeth Kubler Ross said; "I'm not OK, you're not OK, but that's OK".

'Abdu'l-Baha emphasises that the equality of men and women presents issues which will negatively affect us all until they are resolved;

"Until the equality between men and women is established and attained, the highest social development of mankind is not possible....Until woman and man recognise and realise equality, social and political progress will not be possible."

Supporting the advancement of women is clearly in the interests of men, on many levels. Because women are the first and most influential trainers of sons, their development will in turn enrich men, who will be better educated from the earliest years at the hands of proficient mothers. When fully one half of the world's human resources, lying largely untapped in the hearts and minds of women, are released and developed, the potential for global transformation on every level is profound. Therefore, in view of the eventual advantages to both males and females, it is easy to see why Abdu'l-Baha states "The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the race. She has the greater burden and the greater work..." '

New Concepts of Power Many people have felt the need to coin new terms for the advancement of women that are not burdened with the negative associations many now attach to the word 'feminism'. The term 'feminisation' has already been mentioned. Another phrase used by Maori in New Zealand-"mana wahine"-refers to a recognition of the rights of a woman to participate in all aspects of society. Until recently there have been clear distinctions between politically feminist and more spiritually-inspired thought. Feminism has focussed strongly on the achievement of equality through the acquisition of power by women. The spiritually-inspired ideal seeks power too, but in a different context. The development of a more balanced view was expressed in the opening address at the 1985 Nairobi Conference on Women by the Conference Secretary-General who commented ;

"Power, as it is increasingly seen by women today, is not a means of dominating others but rather an instrument to influence political, social and economic processes to create a more humane and democratic world. Will this vision be translated into reality? Let us hope so."

In this context women seek the power to influence, to have access to areas of human endeavour where our voices can be heard and our feminising influence, our 'mana wahine', felt. We seek for men to actively support us in becoming more educated, more influential. One potent means of educating others is through the 'power' of example.

Role Modelling Role modelling is a popular term for what is referred to in Baha'i teaching as 'the dynamic force of example'. Tahireh was an early champion of this influence, in her challenging words to "Let deeds, not words, be your adorning." 'Abdu'l-Baha offered the example of His own life, saying; "Look at Me, follow Me, be as I am". The Universal House of Justice calls upon the Baha'i community to be a model.

Women have always exerted a strong yet often unacknowledged influence upon following generations through the power of their own lives. Macho Australian league player Alan Jones said; "What Australia needs today are examples and heroes, people and standards to look up to and live by. My mother will always be my hero."

The powerful attraction exerted by mothers makes them important teachers and role models for better or for worse, whether they do so consciously or unconsciously. Even the physical proximity of mothers is powerfully attractive; Helen Keller recalled; "I used to sit on my mother's knee all day long because it amused me to feel the movements of her lips and I moved my lips too, although I had forgotten what talking was."

The creation of more role models for young women was considered to be one of the lasting benefits of Women's Suffrage Year. Our communities need to consider how we can promote good role models for both our male and female children, within our families and within wider society, in day-to-day life and in their formal education.

Women's History How well does the present system of state education promote healthy sex role attitudes? Personally speaking, my own experience of school inclines me to the same view as rugby-playing All Black Andy Haden who said "I make no secret of the fact that I went to school to eat my lunch"

Does the content of our formal education promote healthy attitudes free from prejudice or is prejudice still perpetuated in ways which are especially dangerous because they are so insidious, subtle and deceptive? Our present education system is in reality only a narrow slice of human knowledge; it omits the input of many cultures and, with few exceptions, fully one half the world's population since it is largely the history and knowledge of men. It denies intuition, and creates an artificial separation of church and state, of science and religion, of materialism and human values.

For example, Rosalind Miles, in 'Review of The Women's History of the World' tells us what we could have been, but were not, taught, that;

"Aspatia, a women of Miletos was Plato's principle teacher.

Aristoclea, another woman, taught Pythgoras.

In the fourth-century Alexandria, Hypatia, again, a woman, invented the astrolabe, the planisphere and a hydroscope, Artemesia in the command of the fleet, defeated the skilful Athenians near Salamis.

Mary Reiber was transported to Australia in 1790 at the age of 13, for stealing a horse; she was to become a grain trader, hotelier, importer, property developer and shipping magnate."

It is no surprise that girls have grown up burdened by a belief that they have only a narrow sphere of influence and opportunity in the world, whilst males have an opposite but also burdening belief that they must know everything. This societal pressure has produced what was wittily described in an article called "Male Answer Syndrome; Why men always have opinions, even on subjects they know nothing about." I admit the tone of this article is a little flippant and unscholarly, but readers who are able to approach it with a sense of scientific detachment can easily recognise the key point, which is of course an exposure of the tragedy of faulty sex role stereotyping.

Mothering Politically-slanted feminist conceptions of power usually diminish the role of motherhood with its attendant physical and historical limitations and restrictions. Spiritually-based teachings on equality place great emphasis on the role of women as mothers. Indeed, this is the area in which women have the greatest manifestation of their power. 'Abdu'l-Baha states that the greatest of all ways to worship God is to educate the children and that no nobler deed than this can be imagined, thus acknowledging the primacy of mothers in their capacity to shape minds and souls during a child's most formative period. In this context it is mothers who, upon receiving the necessary education and resources to maximise their own potential, can "..determine the happiness, the future greatness, the courteous ways and learning and judgment, the understanding and faith of their little ones."

The role of women in educating children, particularly in early childhood, provides the vital foundation for the collective education of humanity, for it is in early childhood that values are most effectively transmitted from one generation to the next, and " is through educated mothers that the benefits of knowledge can be most effectively and rapidly diffused throughout society." It follows that the role of the family in the advancement of women is a crucial one for it is here that attitudes are most rapidly and effectively disseminated from the individual to the family and ultimately to the world.

Therefore, in considering future directions in the advancement of women, primary considerations include; * raising the status and perceived value of mothering * providing training and resourcing for women to become competent mothers * developing and promoting quality parenting programmes * investigating and demonstrating how such mothering is compatible with full participation in wider human society * providing good role models of this compatibility * educating and supporting fathers, and providing strong role models *fostering an understanding and value of the importance of families to the world *fostering the development of scholarship and literature to develop new models for mothers, fathers, families, workplaces etc.

The Transmission of Values A primary function of the mother is to teach good character and conduct, to train the children in values. Without morals or values, education can become as much a source of harm as advancement. G.M.Trevelyan observed of education that it "...has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading."

There appears to be one noteworthy exception to the lesser role into which men have traditionally cast women. Those values which men may not be able to recognise in women collectively, they are often able to appreciate in their own mothers. The musician Glenn Miller testified to his mother's training in values, describing her as "The inspirational head of a family in which she tried hard to establish an exceptionally high code of morality and a really deep-seated and lasting mutual love."

Len Evans said of his mother; "There was great love, affection and care, but there was also a rigid code of conduct which followed her perception of exactly what was right or wrong...inflexible, stubborn perhaps, but also totally honest, upright, endearing and supportive. A woman to be reckoned with."

The development of courses such as The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative inspiring the practice of virtues in everyday life, have proven to be effective first steps in helping mothers and fathers raise a new generation committed to equity, justice, cooperation, peacefulness and those other divine qualities which will transform individuals, galvanise nations, and unite the world.

Ultimately, all those who labour in the cause of the emancipation of women must realise that concepts of equality, unity and equity are spiritual concepts. Their true attainment is reached only through spiritual striving, They cannot be lobbied, legislated or demonstrated for. Feminism for the most part seeks to create outer forms and representations of equality, but it is not looking to the only sure and underlying source of sustained unity which is achieved through spiritual education which begins in the family.

Peace Issues New Zealand is distinguished for being the first country in the world to grant votes for women; it is also a country distinguished for horrific loss of life on the battlefields of the twentieth century.

"My poor little New Zealand" said James Herbert Henderson. "Exporting frozen meat in peace, live meat in war."

Women are the most important factor in world peace; surely the present day battlefield of women, having attained distinction in winning the vote, is to become distinguished in the pursuit of a peace which will preserve the lives of sons and grandsons to come. The Universal House of Justice states;

"The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes, is one of the most important, though less acknowledged prerequisites of peace. The denial of such equality perpetuates an injustice against one half of the world's population and promotes in men harmful habits that are carried from the family to the workplace, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. There are no grounds, moral, practical, or biological upon which such denial can be justified. Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavour will the moral and psychological climate be created in which international peace can emerge."

The peace which spiritually-minded women seek is not to be gained by waving banners and lobbying politicians, but by creating in our human society a climate both moral and psychological, in which the attitudes of peace will gain widespread acceptance. The process of the feminisation of the workplace will introduce into daily life those qualities essential to the creation of a peaceful world, as women model the reality of "Abdu'l-Baha's words that "...women are most capable and efficient...their hearts are more tender and susceptible than the hearts of men...they are more philanthropic and responsive toward the needy and suffering...they are inflexibly opposed to war and are lovers of peace."

When women, aided and encouraged by those very men whose own lives are most at risk from war, achieve full partnership in all areas of influence and decision making, the qualities of tenderness, compassion and peacefulness will prevail in human affairs, and the Most Great Peace, the Kingdom of Heaven, will come.

I began by recalling the events of the conference at Badasht, and the occasion on which Tahireh chose to announce the liberation of women from the shackles and veils of the past. I close with those same words from the Qur'an with which Tahireh, the Pure One, concluded that address, and which foreshadow the age of peace to come;

"Verily, amid gardens and rivers shall the pious dwell in the seat of truth, in the presence of the potent King."

Pros And Cons Of Online Education For The World Citizen

More and more young people are choosing non-traditional education to start and advance in their careers while completing and furthering their formal education. "Typical distance learners are those who don't have access to programs, employees who work during scheduled class hours, homebound individuals, self-motivated individuals who want to take courses for self-knowledge or advancement, or those who are unable or unwilling to attend class" (Charp, 2000, p. 10). Three key elements surround the online learner: technology, curriculum, and instructor (Bedore, Bedore, & Bedore, 1997). These elements must be keenly integrated into one smoothly and operationally functional delivery tool.

While an online method of education can be a highly effective alternative medium of education for the mature, self-disciplined student, it is an inappropriate learning environment for more dependent learners. Online asynchronous education gives students control over their learning experience, and allows for flexibility of study schedules for non traditional students; however, this places a greater responsibility on the student. In order to successfully participate in an online program, student must be well organized, self-motivated, and possess a high degree of time management skills in order to keep up with the pace of the course. For these reasons, online education or e-learning is not appropriate for younger students (i.e. elementary or secondary school age), and other students who are dependent learners and have difficulty assuming responsibilities required by the online paradigm.

Millions of students use e-learning solutions in over 140 countries: corporations such as Kodak and Toyota and education providers like ExecuTrain, New Horizons, the Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS), Phoenix University amongst the hundreds of schools and colleges.

Studies have shown student retention to be up to 250% better with online learning than with classroom courses. Several recent ones have helped frame the debate. The Sloan Consortium published a widely distributed report titled "Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States in 2005" that examined the growing prevalence of online education across U.S. institutions.

In addition, a study conducted by the Boston-based consulting firm Eduventures found that, while about half of institutions and more than 60 percent of employers generally accept the high quality of online learning, students' perceptions differ. Only about 33 percent of prospective online students said that they perceive the quality of online education to be "as good as or better than" face-to-face education. Ironically, 36 percent of prospective students surveyed cited concern about employers' acceptance of online education as a reason for their reluctance to enroll in online courses.

But what actually drives quality? A March 2006 report released by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education identifies six quality indicators: mission, curriculum and instruction, faculty support, student and academic services, planning for sustainability and growth, and evaluation and assessment.

The debate rages on while the Pros and Cons of Online Adult Education for today's international students are constantly analyzed to determine if this type of education platform can deliver predictable and measurable results.

The Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS) is one institution which uses this type of delivery system. ENOCIS enhances their learning experience by offering many other "value added", cost reducing benefits to students. Online pupils can apply for scholarships available to students of excellence and other financial aid programs like the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS), with attractive interest rates. They also provide convenient payment facilities, on line banking, Western Union Quick Collect, bank cards and a student who is granted a loan can start repaying it after two months if they have a corporate guarantor.

Pros of Online Education:

The key advantages of the online education experience are briefly explained below:

1. Cheaper: Online courses may be more affordable than those offered at colleges or trade schools. You may also save on transportation costs like gas, bus passes, and parking permits because you don't need to commute to school and there are no housing or meals plans to worry about since you do not need to live on or near a college campus. Housing expenses and other costs associated with living expenses are usually the most expensive aspects of a college education, so by taking an online course you could save quite a bit of money.

The best part of online education is the absence of travel and immigration problems. Some students may prefer not to pursue traditional on campus education, as it involves traveling to attend lectures. With online education, an applicant does not need to travel. Courses simply require accessing the internet in order to begin the learning process.

2. More Convenient: By taking courses online, you're able to decide when you study and for how long. You are also able to schedule your studying around your work or social schedule.

Since you're not bound to a classroom, you may do your work wherever you have access to a computer and the internet. You'll be able to set your own pace and decide exactly how fast you want to go over the material.

Take online courses when you need them, not based on some college's annual or semester schedule. You can learn when you need it (Just-In-Time) A course is as close as a computer with an Internet connection.

3. Flexibility: with no set class times, you decide when to complete your assignments and readings. You set the pace. In some programs, you can even design your own degree plan. The online students can carry out their private or official work, along with the online education. As it provides the convenience of time flexibility, a student can login and logout as per his desire whereas, the traditional education do not provide such flexibility in learning.

Flexibility of online education allows the student control over their studies. They can allot more time in the topics, which they feel comparatively hard and vice versa. The speed of learning depends solely upon the students.

4. Technology: With the help of the scientific technology, students can do their online education at any place. The only mandatory pre-requisite is the availability of computer along with an internet amenity. Side benefits include the learning new technologies and technical skills

5. Availability: distance-learning opportunities have exploded over the past few years, with many accredited and reputable programs.

6. Accessibility: with an online course, you can work on the course just about anywhere you have computer access. Your learning options are not constrained by your geographic location. The new virtual classrooms have created a myriad of learning opportunities for global learning and education center. On line education is a new era experience adapting to the needs of the world citizen.

7. Self-Directed: you set your own pace and schedule, so you control the learning environment.

8. Time Spent in Classroom: now you can take a course on just about any subject without ever having to be in, or travel to, a classroom so you have very little wasted time. Note, however, that some distance-education programs still do have an in-class component and normally to receive a fully accredited US university degree an international student must spend one or two semesters on campus.

9. High Quality Dialog: Within an online asynchronous discussion structure, the learner is able to carefully reflect on each comment from others before responding or moving on to the next item. This structure allows students time to articulate responses with much more depth and forethought than in a traditional face-to-face discussion situation where the participant must analyze the comment of another on the spot and formulate a response or otherwise loose the chance to contribute to the discussion.

10. Student Centered: Within an online discussion, the individual student responds to the course material (lectures and course books, for example) and to comments from other students. Students usually respond to those topics within the broader conversation that most clearly speak to their individual concerns and situations resulting in several smaller conversations taking place simultaneously within the group. While students are expected to read all of their classmates' contributions, they will become actively engaged only in those parts of the dialog most relevant to their needs. In this way, students take control of their own learning experience and tailor the class discussions to meet their own specific needs. Ideally, students make their own individual contributions to the course while at the same time take away a unique mix of information directly relevant to their needs.

11. Level Playing Field: In the online environment learners retain a considerable level of anonymity. Discriminating factors such as age, dress, physical appearance, disabilities, race and gender are largely absent. Instead, the focus of attention is clearly on the content of the discussion and the individual's ability to respond and contribute thoughtfully and intelligently to the material at hand.

On line adult education can be more effective and better for certain types of learners (shy, introverted, reflective, language challenged, those that need more time). Distance education courses are often better for people who learn through visual cues and experiential exercises.

12. Synergy: The online format allows for a high level of dynamic interaction between the instructor and students and among the students themselves. Resources and ideas are shared, and continuous synergy will be generated through the learning process as each individual contributes to the course discussions and comments on the work of others. The synergy that exists in the student-centred virtual classroom is one of the unique and vital traits that the online learning format posses..

13. Access to Resources: It is easy to include distinguished guest experts or students from other institutions in an online class as well as allow students to access resources and information anywhere in the world. An instructor can compile a resource section online with links to scholarly articles, institutions, and other materials relevant to the course topic for students to access for research, extension, or in depth analysis of course content material in the global classroom.

14. Creative Teaching: The literature of adult education supports the use of interactive learning environments as contributing to self-direction and critical thinking. Some educators have made great strides in applying these concepts to their on ground teaching. However, many classes still exist which are based on boring lectures and rote memorization of material. The nature of the semi-autonomous and self-directed world of the virtual classroom makes innovative and creative approaches to instruction even more important. In the online environment, the facilitator and student collaborate to create a dynamic learning experience. The occasion of a shift in technology creates the hope that those who move into the new technology will also leave behind bad habits as they adopt this new paradigm of teaching. As educators redesign their course materials to fit the online format, they must reflect on their course objectives and teaching style and find that many of the qualities that make a successful online facilitator are also tremendously effective in the traditional classroom as well.

Cons of Online Education:

Briefly explained are some factors that could negatively affect your success with distance learning courses:

1. The Technology:

a. Equity and Accessibility to Technology: Before any online program can hope to succeed, it must have students who are able to access the online learning environment. Lack of access, whether it be for economical or logistics reasons, will exclude otherwise eligible students from the course. This is a significant issue in rural and lower socioeconomic neighborhoods and educating the underserved peoples of the world. Furthermore, speaking from an administrative point of view, if students cannot afford the technology the institution employs, they are lost as customers. As far as Internet accessibility is concerned, it is not universal, and in some areas of the United States and other countries, Internet access poses a significant cost to the user. Some users pay a fixed monthly rate for their Internet connection, while others are charged for the time they spend online. If the participants' time online is limited by the amount of Internet access they can afford, then instruction and participation in the online program will not be equitable for all students in the course. This is a limitation of online programs that rely on Internet access. Equity of access to learners of all backgrounds and parts of society

b. Requires New Skills/Technologies: if you're not computer-savvy or are afraid of change or new technologies, then online education will probably not work for you. The online students are required to learn new skills, such as researching and reviewing the internet. For the online students, they need to learn the techniques of navigation on an online library for necessary information. Technical training and support of learners and instructors

c. Computer Literacy: Both students and facilitators must possess a minimum level of computer knowledge in order to function successfully in an online environment. For example, they must be able to use a variety of search engines and be comfortable navigating on the World Wide Web, as well as be familiar with Newsgroups, FTP procedures and email. If they do not possess these technology tools, they will not succeed in an online program; a student or faculty member who cannot function on the system will drag the entire program down.

d. Limitations of Technology: User friendly and reliable technology is critical to a successful online program. However, even the most sophisticated technology is not 100% reliable. Unfortunately, it is not a question of if the equipment used in an online program will fail, but when. When everything is running smoothly, technology is intended to be low profile and is used as a tool in the learning process. However, breakdowns can occur at any point along the system, for example, the server which hosts the program could crash and cut all participants off from the class; a participant may access the class through a networked computer which could go down; individual PCs can have numerous problems which could limit students' access; finally, the Internet connection could fail, or the institution hosting the connection could become bogged down with users and either slow down, or fail all together. In situations like these, the technology is neither seamless nor reliable and it can detract from the learning experience.

2. The Institution: Many online education facilities are relatively new with many courses and hence, lack in modern instructors for instructing the new curriculum. Estimates show that there is still a need for an increase of more 50% of qualified instructors for online education.

b. The Administration and Faculty: Some environments are disruptive to the successful implementation of an online program. Administrators and/or faculty members who are uncomfortable with change and working with technology or feel that online programs cannot offer quality education often inhibit the process of implementation. These people represent a considerable weakness in an online program because they can hinder its success.

3. The Facilitator :Lack of Essential Online Qualities: Successful on-ground instruction does not always translate to successful online instruction. If facilitators are not properly trained in online delivery and methodologies, the success of the online program will be compromised. An instructor must be able to communicate well in writing and in the language in which the course is offered. An online program will be weakened if its facilitators are not adequately prepared to function in the virtual classroom.

4. Perceptions/Reputation: while slowly changing as more and more mainstream colleges and universities embrace distance learning, there still is a stigma attached to distance education to the student's interaction in the online education. Some of the students believe that, there are few opportunities with regards to face-to-face interactions and feedbacks.

5. No Instructor Face Time: If your learning style is one where you like personalized attention from your teachers, then online education will probably not work for you.

6. Little Support: students are expected to find their own resources for completing assignments and exams, which is empowering for some, but daunting for others.

There is little support and limited guidelines provided in online education system. Online students are required to search as per their own imaginations for completing exams and assignments.

7. Lacking Social Interaction: while you often interact with classmates via email, chat rooms, or discussion groups, there are no parties or off line get-togethers. If you enjoy meeting new people and learn better while you're interacting with other people, you may want to reconsider online education.

8. No Campus Atmosphere: part of the traditional college experience, of course, is the beauty of the campus, the college spirit, but you have none of that with distance-education courses.

Since you're not on campus or in classes, you may lack opportunities to meet other students. You will not have many opportunities to interact face-to-face with your professors, so they may not have a real sense of who you are as a person.

9. Making Time: if you are a procrastinator or one of those people who always needs an extra push to complete work, you may have a hard time making time for your online classes. On line learning requires new skills and responsibilities from learners

10. Academic honesty of online students: requires a new mindset to online assessment. Most education experts agree that rote memory testing is not the best measure of learning in any environment and new measurement and evaluation tools are evolving.

11. Types and effectiveness of assessments: The importance of outcomes in online learning cannot be over emphasized. Does the program have measurable results? Are students learning what you say they should be learning? Then there are institutional outputs: course completion rates, job placement rates (if that's the goal of the institution), graduation rates, student success on third-party tests, and student satisfaction scores.

These factors, both the pros and cons, contribute greatly to making an informed decision about the direction of your career path and how you are going to accomplish your goals: on line, in the classroom or a combination of both.

Institutions and companies that use continuing education to meet their needs also face similar decisions. Institutions that deliver online education are confronted with a series of challenges, including the search for good faculty, use of technology, and provision of adequate student services.

The Sloan Consortium report "Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States in 2005" found that 64 percent of chief academic officers and faculty believe that it takes more discipline for a student to succeed in an online course than it does in a face-to-face course.

More and more major business and industry is turning to on line continuing education as a viable and cost effective resource for training its personnel. Hilton Hotel has 380 hotels worldwide and is represented in 66 countries.

When you weigh the benefits and advantages of on line adult continuing education the cost of study and flexibility of scheduling tip the scales of programs like the Enoch Olinga College, Capella and Phoenix University's distance learning program on line adult continuing education is becoming a world wide respected form of education.

However, as with any situation, there are both pros and cons with the concept of online education and the benefits of the virtual or global classroom. You may want to evaluate both before you decide on an online education program. By examining the advantages and disadvantages, you will be able to make a more informed decision. But, at the end of the day, online learning is independent learning. A lot of structure has been put into online programs, but it still comes down to a learner sitting in front of a computer by him or herself. The knowledge you receive or the benefits it will generate either in development of self esteem or increasing earning capacity will depend sole upon you the student.

The End of Education As We Know It

One hundred and fifty years ago the world shifted. At that time people left their farms and began working in factories. When the children of the age ran ragged in the streets, our cultural forefathers asked:

How do we prepare our children for this new world, the world they will inherit?

This translated to, "How do we prepare them for work in factories?" And in response the "modern" school was born. In this school children sit in rows, act properly, respond to the bell and raise their hands to ask to be allowed to change tasks. This schoolhouse became ubiquitous and from then until now people have been educated in this manner.

In the 21st century the world has shifted again, and as before children run ragged in the streets. It is still early days yet, but not enough people are asking:

How do we prepare our children for the world they will inherit?

Like the proverbial ostrich many people stick their heads in the sand and say, "What is WRONG with these children?" "Where have the moral values of our youth gone?" "We should be more strict!" Because being strict was what worked in the day of the factory, just as creativity is what will work in the world our children now will inherit.

This article is intended to do more than raise the question, "How do we prepare our children for the world they will inherit?" It is also meant to point the discussion in a few of the more obvious directions.

First, there is not going to be one, "Future of Education" and we might do well to stop using that phrase because it limits us. Instead we will see many Future(s) develop. It is clear that any system as complex as education needs to grow and change across a network of possibilities, with each sub group, community or nation creating its own type of response to the needs of their young people, yet being linked to the greater network of educational possibilities in order to make use of innovations as they develop. The particulars will change with local context but all will undoubtedly be called upon to share which ideas and technologies work best for them. This is already happening. Consider:

  • In Scotland, local government called together older students to engage in planning the next school they would build. The students designed drop in centers rather than anything close to a traditional school.
  • In New Zealand standards require local creativity be included in the ways students are assessed on their level of academic achievement.
  • In the United States, educators who face as much as 50% change in their school population each year due to mobility of their students due to poverty found that the key factors to improving their schools were through providing creative access to education services, a welcoming culture, and flexible instructional strategies.

No ONE future will encompass these and the millions of other stories that exist around the world.

Just as climate changes affect the seas, and therefore fishing in all parts of the world, so the change in communication patterns has affected daily life everywhere. With the change in communication has come a change in how we receive, create, and publish knowledge. All are done at a much faster pace, and the children of today more than any previous generation will need to take their place in a global economy.

Ideas used to take years to come to the public's attention and now the people attuned to social media around the world will know of developments in less than 24 hours. Likewise only a few were privileged enough to work at creative tasks over the length of time it took to invent something new, let alone have it be widely received. Now teams of people working in international networks use open source ideas to build entirely new technologies together in their spare time.

How do we prepare our children for the world they will inherit?

Our ancestors could have only imagined the world that their children would inherit as local, maybe national (for a few) and only the privileged would have moved into international settings. Children everywhere are likely to travel internationally and many will live far from the place they were born. They will bring back to their homelands societal norms from other places, as radio, television and the internet bring ideas. The world our children will inherit will stretch everyone's ability to keep what is valuable in local culture while embracing what is valuable in international ideas. Our children will need the knowledge skills, and social abilities to move between family, community and international cultures and contexts with ease.

How do we prepare our children for the world they will inherit?

These words are meant to be a call to action. A small network is beginning to apply participatory research to the questions involved with the Future(s) of Education. Some are blogging, writing, speaking and consulting with others on these topics. As educators around the globe wrestle with the difficulties that occur as the old systems break down, some are banding together to discuss, "What is next?"

This article is written in the hopes that it will propel both local action and connection to an international network.

  1. If you are intrigued, then it is hoped that you take a copy of this article and pass it to others or share the link to this article with others.
  2. If you are in higher education then please discuss this with both your students and your peers and encourage everyone who has time to devote to this idea to join the network mentioned above.
  3. If you are already working in this area then connect with the Future(s) of Education Project so that we all can share academic resources and ideas.

What else will be occurring as this network grows? Small teams of people in various countries around the world are beginning to design pilot projects. These teams will use this model and in rotation will study, act, measure and reflect on changes that evolve as they study what might be the best future for education in their area.

As Ron Heifetz from Harvard has pointed out, we can create change if we have a holding environment which keeps us moving and feeling safe throughout the difficulties we face. PAR is such a holding environment - one that the Future(s) of Education projects will use for connecting internationally and report on as we grow the international network that surrounds us.