Vanessa Joho and I hacked together a website based on the concept of demand-driven education. You can see it here: http://itp2014.com/itopia/. We are testing the idea in the driveby environment, but do believe this type of system has a permanent place in the future of education.
Here’s the deal:
Class offerings and curriculum are currently supply-side, top down: program heads and administrators decide what classes to supply to a group at a given time, and the group gets to enroll in said classes. But we think this doesn’t make much sense. Instead, we propose a system where the community proposes topics and classes that it is interested in, and then the topics are voted up or down by the community in the style of reddit. We call this demand-driven education.
For our current experiment, ITP students can propose driveby topics. The community can vote the topic up or down, giving the community a better picture of what is in demand. People can suggest a teacher or more specifics in the comments, and that can be voted up or down too. Once the specifics are final, the class is created, and in our current version, streamed online in a specific area of the site.
This could work for a program like ITP as well. Each semester the faculty could ask the students to propose topics and classes that they are most interested in. The community could vote the ideas up and down, giving the faculty a better idea of what classes to look for and create in the coming semester.