While higher education today is facing a crisis of access and quality, MOOCs (massive open online courses) offer a way to reach wider audiences but also raise questions about who produces knowledge and who is responsible for mass education. MOOCs are part of a long lineage of attempts to mobilize new media environments for educational purposes. The exhibition The University Is Now on Air: Broadcasting Modern Architecture offers a close reading of a pioneering case study: A305, History of Architecture and Design, 1890–1939. This third-year undergraduate arts course, offered by the Open University via television and radio broadcasts between 1975 and 1982, was a radical project for sharing knowledge through the convergence of mass media and mass education.
The Open University—founded in 1969 with headquarters in Milton Keynes, UK—a key experiment in distance and adult education, was part of the socially progressive reforms of the Labour Party between 1964 and 1970. Through courses such as A305, the Open University extended higher education beyond a typical class of students by using media as a tool to transform both the production and transmission of knowledge. A305 used publication, correspondence, and a complex system of local and regional centres to disseminate that knowledge across an entire country.
Curator: Joaquim Moreno
Exhibition design: APPARATA, London and Basel
Graphic design: Something Fantastic, Berlin