Education Beyond Knowledge Acquisition: A Conversation About Olin College

The Resonance Test 26: Jon Stolk

September 24, 2018
by Toby BottorfKen Gordon

Jon Stolk is in the midst of an experiment. But then, so is everyone at Olin College, in Needham, Massachusetts. This project-based engineering school is trying to find a way to do higher education differently. They are, in many respects, succeeding, as we learned when EPAM Continuum’s Toby Bottorf, VP of Service and Experience Design, recorded an electric conversation with Stolk, who serves as Olin’s professor of materials science and engineering education. Listen and learn what it’s like to provide “just enough scaffold for teams of students or for individuals to dig into questions or problems that are exciting and interesting to them.” Stolk admits he and the school have quite a task in front of them: “It’s scary as hell sometimes.” What causes such fear? Could well be, as Stolk says, that a school that was “created to transform education” can’t “get stuck with one curriculum.”

Host: Pete Chapin
Editor: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

The Resonance Test 26: Jon Stolk</

filed in: education, business model innovation

About the Author

  • Bottorf Toby
    Toby Bottorf
    VP, Service and Experience Design

    Toby joined Continuum to establish a digital design capability, and is now a VP in service design, leading teams to design solutions for complex human and technical systems. His work builds on a career in UX and interface design.

    Recent work includes Audi on demand, a premium mobility service; the design of a client communications tool for a financial services company; and the strategy and experience design of a digital coaching platform for a leading American health insurer.

    Toby holds a master’s degree in communications design from the Institute of Design (IIT) and a BA in art from Yale University.

  • Gordon Ken
    Ken Gordon
    Principal Communications Specialist

    Ken makes Continuum’s work visible to the necessary people. He creates superlative content, works with colleagues to do the same, and employs social networks to share it widely.

    A card-carrying humanist, Ken co-founded QuickMuse, the improvisational writing website, and JEDLAB, the Jewish education community. He has written for, the New York Times, and many other pubs.

    Ken has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MA in English from the State University of New York at Albany. He framed both diplomas long ago, but can’t seem to find them now—a fact he considers all-too-human.