Following close upon the agitation recently made by members of the University faculty against the sale and use of printed notes before the mid-year examinations comes the announcement of the organization of a publishing company in New York for the purpose of printing and distributing broadcast printed notes of lecture courses on various academic subjects given by prominent college lecturers in the East.
The charge of "intellectual bootlegging" made by Dean Greenough against the vending of printed notes in Cambridge, however, does not apply to this new enterprise. It is being carried on under the supervision of the People's Institute, an endowed educational institution which for the past 25 years has been giving lecture courses to adult audiences at Cooper Union in New York. The printed lecture courses are being inaugurated to extend the work of this institution, and they are designed not so much for students in college as for those men and women who are unable to attend college.
A Cultural Correspondence School
It is, according to Mr. W. W. Norton, an officer of the People's Institute who is directing the project, an attempt to apply correspondence school methods to the teaching of academic subjects. There have long been correspondence schools which have given courses by mail in technical subjects such as draftsmanship, electricity and the like. But never before have these methods been attempted in the teaching of strictly academic subjects such as history, literature, philosophy, or psychology.
Aristocracy of Brains Threatened
That the printing presses may destroy altogether the old "aristocracy of brains," diffuse cultural education to all members of society, and reduce the existing Universities to mere laboratories for the Lecture-Publisher, were among the effects hinted at by Mr. Norton in a special acticle prepared for the CRIMSON, which is given in part below:
"'If only it were possible to gear my lectures to a battery of linotype machines,' Dr. Charles A. Beard, then Chairman of the faculty of the New School for Social Research, once said, in lamenting the fact that after a life time of study he was still teaching at best only a few hundred students each year. And so it is with many others whose work has largely been limited to the confines of the class-room.
Lectures Improved Text Books
"There are scholars, Dr. Beard included, who work up their lectures every few years in text-book form. Such books, however, distilled as a refined product out of their study, are not the same live material as the original lectures. Furthermore, from the stand-point of the publishers it is not practicable to bring out new editions with every advance in a subject. In consequence, text-books are often very much out-of-date. So, with the constant revision and revaluation of knowledge, the lecture is the instrument in education best designed to accomodate itself to the needs of our time.
"To meet these conditions The People's Institute Publishing Company will publish lectures by leading scholars concurrent with their delivery. Each Lecture Course will compose a series of conveniently shaped pamplets which will be mailed to subscribing students weekly. For those who wish to do more intensive work Study Courses are in preparation with questions based on the lectures as texts."
First Course In Psychology
The first course which will be so printed and distributed is one of psychology based on a series of lectures now being given at Cooper Union by Everett Dean Martin, the well-known author of "The Behavior of Crowds". This course, which will combine both a discussion of Psychoanalysis and Behaviorism will be published in 20 pamphlets to correspond to the 20 lectures at Cooper Union.
In speaking of the effects of this new educational venture, Mr. Norton declared:
Jolt to Reactionaries
"If the picture of this new education has been convincingly drawn, it may strike terror into the hearts of the trustees, faculty and students of existing academic institutions. Perhaps they visualize the crumbling ivy-colored walls of old Holworthy Hall and their alma mater no longer required at a time when education has become the possession of all members of society. Let them have no fear. The University must remain--as a laboratory for the Lecture-Publisher
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