Thursday, December 6, 2007

The First University

The first appearance of the institutionalization of education came with Bologna’s university in the early twelfth century. Before this facility, all higher education was reserved for clergy or a small group of elite researchers. There were never tests and diplomas were not given. Any education of the masses was done informally and by specialized trade. With Bologna’s first traditional school, one can see many similarities to present day universities. There were set lecture times that spanned the course of the day. Due to the fact that students lacked books that were reserved for the teachers, notes were handed out during the class and there were designated times for questions and discussions over the handouts. Holidays were permitted within the schedule and, by 1219, degrees were awarded to those that had accumulated enough hours of study. Thus the establishment of the lecture based education emerged and would prove to be effective as evidence by its long standing existence since its adoption.
By the time the printing press emerged onto the scene more than 200 years later, universities were a common addition to most flourishing cities. This technology would revolutionize the process of educating. The abundance of knowledge was about to be matched with the same amassment of texts illustrating those very ideas. The quickness of the printing press afforded many with the ability to publish and circulate their ideas as well as offer opportunities to others to have access to this very information.

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