Focal Topic Proposal Draft

I only have one idea for my research blog that I am truly interested in. However, I am confident that it is a subject that I can carry through twelve weeks of research and focused writing. The idea came so naturally to me I actually couldn’t imagine having the same level of enthusiasm for a different subject matter.

I would like to research the connection between the evolving debate over access to information, specifically digital information, and education. I would like to explore the various mediums that people, both professional and amateur, have used to produce and share educational content. I would like to explore the question of who deserves access to information and why. Historically it has always been those who could afford it. In ancient Greece only the sons of the aristocracy could afford the time and monetary cost of the gymnasium. Philosophers and thinkers were the products of the upper tiers of society.

I believe that this trend has continued into modern society. A college education is required for any white collar profession. However, the cost of such an education is beyond the means of most people. For example, my parents have never been wealthy but they have earned steady incomes from white collar jobs their entire lives. Even so I know with absolute certainty that I will be paying off my student loans well into thirties, if not beyond. Formal education has been and remains a bourgeois institution.

However, as technology progresses the idea that Matt Damon’s character in “Good Will Hunting” epitomized is slowly becoming truer than ever.  We drop thousands of dollars for information we could get “for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.” I would like to address the way technology has changed education, the modes educators use and the relationship between education and freedom of education. 

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