Reforming higher education: when online degrees are seen as official

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In early 2012, leading minds from Harvard, Stanford and M.I.T. started three companies to provide Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs.  They were open to anyone in the world with an Internet connection, no cost, millions of students signed up, and pundits called it a revolution.  The technology was supposed to transform higher education. What happened?   Continue reading… “Reforming higher education: when online degrees are seen as official”

Can Massive Open Online Courses change the way we teach?

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The first Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs), Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (also known as CCK08), led by George Siemens of Athabasca University and Stephen Downes of the National Research Council, was offered in 1998.  Twenty-five tutition paying students from the University of Manitoba and over 2,200 tuition free students from the general public, participated. Continue reading… “Can Massive Open Online Courses change the way we teach?”

Should coding schools have free enrollment under Obama’s new free community college initiative?

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If the fundamental premise of President Obama’s new initiative to make community college free is to open up career and life opportunities for the nation’s young — especially those from underprivileged backgrounds — then the federal government should also be thinking of ways to cover the tuition costs of individuals attending coding boot camps. Instead of paying for a two-year community college program, the government could instead get more bang for less buck by paying for a 12-week program. That’s something that the nation’s first coding president should understand.

Continue reading… “Should coding schools have free enrollment under Obama’s new free community college initiative?”

You can go to college in Germany for free no matter where you are from

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Germany didn’t just abolish tuition for Germans, the ban goes for international students, too.

Lower Saxony has made itself the final state in Germany to do away with any public university tuition whatsoever. As of now, all state-run universities in the Federal Republic—legendary institutions that put the Bildung in Bildungsroman, like the Universität Heidelberg, the Universität München, or the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin—cost exactly nothing.

The new $10,000 college degree has everyone talking

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Students leave college with an average $29,400 in loans.

The appeal of a $10,000 college degree is impossible to deny. Average tuition for a public university is more than $35,000 for four years. Students leave college with an average $29,400 in loans. Who wouldn’t get behind an effort to offer bachelor’s degrees that won’t shackle young people to debt for decades after they graduate?

 

 

Continue reading… “The new $10,000 college degree has everyone talking”

The Sorry State of Higher Education

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It’s dismaying how easy it is to screw up college.

I don’t know exactly when, why, or how it happened, but important things are breaking down in the US higher education system. Whether or not this system is in danger of collapsing it feels like it’s losing its way, and failing in its mission of developing the citizens and workers we need in the 21st century.

This mission clearly includes getting students to graduate, yet only a bit more than half of all US students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities complete their degrees within six years, and only 29% who start two year degrees finish them within three years. America is last in graduation rate among 18 countries assessed in 2010 by the OECD. Things used to be better; in the late 1960s, nearly half of all college students got done in four years.

Continue reading… “The Sorry State of Higher Education”

12 tech trends that will alter higher education

Technology trends will transform higher education.

Higher education is facing an onslaught of disruptive forces right now. Technologies such as MOOCs and mobile devices are disrupting institutional structures from the classroom and across entire campuses. As tech transforms these learning environments, universities must decide whether to resist the change or get out in front of it. To choose the latter option, however, we need to envision what universities of the future will look like—if they exist at all.

 

 

Continue reading… “12 tech trends that will alter higher education”

Providers of free online higher education add more schools, including foreign schools

Coursera adds 29 universities and institutes to their online venture.

Providers of free online higher education are expanding the ranks of universities that contribute courses to their Web sites.  They are also adding many schools from outside the United States.

 

 

Continue reading… “Providers of free online higher education add more schools, including foreign schools”

The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (from a marketing perspective)

The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (from a marketing perspective)
Seth Godin: For 400 years, higher education in the United States has been on a
roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the
1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play
another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the
amounts of time and money and prestige in the college world have
been climbing.
I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at
it.
Most undergraduate college and university programs are
organized to give an average education to average
students.
Pick up any college brochure or catalog. Delete the brand names
and the map. Can you tell which college it is? While there are
outliers (like St. John’s College, in Maryland, Deep Springs College,
and Full Sail University), most colleges aren’t really outliers. They
are mass marketers.
Stop for a second and consider the impact of that choice. By
emphasizing mass and sameness and rankings, colleges have
changed their missions.
This works great in an industrial economy where we can’t churn
out standardized students fast enough, and where the demand is
huge because the premium earned by a college graduate dwarfs the
cost. But …
College has gotten expensive far faster than wages have
gone up.
As a result, millions of people are in very serious debt, debt so big
it might take decades to repay. Word gets around. Won’t get fooled
again.
This leads to a crop of potential college students who can (and will)
no longer just blindly go to the “best” school they get into.
The definition of “best” is under siege.
Why do colleges send millions (!) of undifferentiated pieces of junk
mail to high-school students now? We will waive the admission
fee! We have a one-page application! Apply! This is some of the
most amateur and bland direct mail I’ve ever seen. Why do it?
Biggest reason: So colleges can reject more applicants. The more
applicants they reject, the higher they rank in U.S. News and other
rankings. And thus the rush to game the rankings continues, which
is a sign that the marketers in question (the colleges) are getting
desperate for more than their fair share. Why bother making your
education more useful if you can more easily make it appear to be
more useful?
The correlation between a typical college degree and
success is suspect.
College wasn’t originally designed to be merely a continuation of
high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places,
though, that’s what it has become. The data I’m seeing show that a
degree (from one of those famous schools, with or without a
football team) doesn’t translate into significantly better career
opportunities, a better job, or more happiness than does a degree
from a cheaper institution.
Accreditation isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.
A lot of these ills are the result of uniform accreditation programs
that have pushed high-cost, low-return policies on institutions and
rewarded colleges that churn out young wannabe professors
instead of creating experiences that turn out leaders and problem
solvers.
Just as we’re watching the disintegration of old-school marketers
with mass-market products, I think we’re about to see significant
cracks in old-school colleges with mass-market degrees.
Back before the digital revolution, access to information was an
issue. The size of the library mattered. One reason to go to college
was to get access. Today that access is worth a lot less. The valuable
http://chronicle.com/article/The-Coming-Meltdown-in-High/65398/
The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education
was to get access. Today that access is worth a lot less. The valuable
things that students take away from college are interactions with
great minds (usually professors who actually teach and actually
care) and non-class activities that shape them as people. The
question I’d ask: Is the money that mass-marketing colleges spend
on marketing themselves and making themselves bigger well
spent? Are they organizing for changing lives or for ranking high?
Does NYU have to get so much bigger? Why?
The solutions are obvious. There are tons of ways to get a cheap
liberal education, one that exposes you to the world, permits you to
have significant interactions with people who matter, and teaches
you to make a difference (see DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and
the Coming Transformation of Higher Education, by Anya
Kamenetz). Most of these ways, though, aren’t heavily marketed,
nor do they involve going to a tradition-steeped 200-year-old
institution with a wrestling team. Things like gap years, research
internships, and entrepreneurial or social ventures after high
school are opening doors for students who are eager to discover the
new.
The only people who haven’t gotten the memo are anxious
helicopter parents, mass-marketing colleges, and traditional
employers. And all three are waking up and facing new
circumstances.

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Blueprint for a revolution

Seth Godin: For 400 years, higher education in the United States has been on a roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the 1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the amounts of time and money and prestige in the college world have been climbing.

I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at it.

Continue reading… “The Coming Meltdown in Higher Education (from a marketing perspective)”