The education giant adapts — from MIT Technology Review by Jessica Leber
Pearson is the world’s largest book publisher. Now it wants to be a one-stop shop for digital education.

Excerpt:

Pearson pulled this off with a decade-long string of acquisitions that helped it shift its emphasis from selling books to selling education services. The London-based company styles itself as the “world’s leading learning company,” even if that learning isn’t delivered through traditional books. These days, Pearson is more like an IT department for classrooms and schools. It sells technology infrastructure, software, and consulting services to schools—services that in turn help deliver the vast stock of textbook content Pearson owns. The company says its revenue from online content and services will surpass those of the traditional publishing business this year.

From DSC:
I congratulate Pearson on reinventing itself.  The words of Steve Jobs ring in my mind…something about cannibalizing one’s business before someone else does it for you.  Several other words and phrases come to my mind after seeing the above article — that regular readers of this blog and my archived website will instantly recognize:

  • Dangers of the status quo
  • Staying relevant
  • Survival
  • Disruption/change
  • New business models
  • Game-changing environment
  • Using teams of specialists

Also relevant here/see:

 

A showcase of breakthrough models in higher education — from the Educause 2012 Annual Conference

Example slides:

 

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From DSC:
Again, this topic/presentation from Educause supports the idea of developing Centers of Innovation to have a smaller, more nimble group experiment with a variety of models, methods, pedagogies, etc.

 

From DSC:
Mr. Rob Bobeldyk and I were brainstorming last week about the
need to create A Center for Innovation — a smaller organization within our overall organization — that can be far more nimble and responsive.  Such a Center could be:

  • Constantly pulse-checking the relevant landscapes (technological, pedagogical, business models, other)
  • Researching potential approaches
  • Experimenting
  • Innovating
  • Failing
  • Succeeding some of the time — and handing off/transitioning the projects that gain traction to others in the larger organization (which may require building some new groups and/or departments at that point)

As I discovered HBR’s interview with John Kotter today, I felt our idea/direction/brainstorming is heading in the right direction!

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A revolutionary approach to strategic change -- John Kotter -- November 2012

 

That is, we are trying to keep the plane in flight while making some significant changes. Put another way, we are trying to keep the bread and butter in tact while experimenting with new business models and/or new products and services.

Kotter’s “Dual Operating System” affirms that a new/smaller/more nimble organization is appropriate.  Here are some graphics of Kotter’s “dual operating system”:

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The work of Christensen, Horn, and Johnson is highly-relevant here as well:

  • Disrupting Class
  • Disrupting College
  • The Innovator’s Dilemna


 

Addendums on 11/20/12:

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Taking the next step in online education with credit equivalency — from forbes.com by Daphne Koller & Andrew Ng

Excerpt:

At MOOCs like Coursera, offering web-based courses is the first step in increasing access to education for millions of people around the world.  But for many students, much of the value of taking a course is lost if that course is not helpful in allowing them to obtain a degree.  To help address this limitation, we recently announced a collaboration with American Council on Education (ACE) to begin a credit-equivalence evaluation of some courses offered on Coursera — which means that in the future, students will potentially have the opportunity to receive college transfer credit at institutions choosing to accept the ACE recommendations.  This move is well in line with the current trend to provide students with credit for prior learning (including on-the-job training) and for competency, a trend whose aim is to increase completion rate and reduce time to completion.

New consortium of leading universities will move forward with transformative, for-credit online education program — from 2U.com
Semester Online™ will be first of its kind featuring rigorous, innovative, live courses

Excerpt (emphasis DSC)

LANDOVER, Md. — Nov. 15, 2012 — Today, a group of the nation’s leading universities announced plans to launch a new, innovative program that transforms the model of online education. Consortium members include Brandeis University, Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Notre Dame, University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University and Washington University in St. Louis. The new online education program, Semester Online,will be the first of its kind to offer undergraduate students the opportunity to take rigorous, online courses for credit from a consortium of universities. The program is delivered through a virtual classroom environment and interactive platform developed by 2U, formerly known as 2tor.

 

From DSC:
Interesting to see the impact of competition…

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Addendum on 11/16/12:

Elite Online Courses for Cash and Credit— from insidehigheredy.com by Steve Kolowich

Excerpt:

A consortium of 10 top-tier universities will soon offer fully online, credit-bearing undergraduate courses through a partnership with 2U, a company that facilitates online learning.

Any students enrolled at an “undergraduate experience anywhere in the world” will be eligible to take the courses, according to Chip Paucek, the CEO of 2U, which until recently was called 2tor. The first courses are slated to make their debut in the fall.

After a year in which the top universities in the world have clambered to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) for no credit, this new project marks yet another turning point in online education. It is the first known example of top universities offering fully online, credit-bearing courses to undergraduates who are not actually enrolled at the institutions that are offering them.

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From DSC:
It’s not a stretch to think that we’ll soon be able to take part in this type of thing from our living rooms…

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

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Also relevant here/see:
Attend the Global Education Conference
from your living room

Addendum on 11/19/12:
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College crackup and the online future — from bloomberg.com by Mark C. Taylor

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College Crackup

Illustration by Keith Shore

Excerpt:

In the coming decade, emerging technologies will thoroughly transform higher education. Although distance learning and computer-assisted education have been around since the 1960s, financial pressures are forcing institutions to develop aggressive online programs.

These practical considerations shouldn’t overshadow one of the most promising innovations that online education will bring: The very structure of knowledge will change.

As students mix and match courses online, pressure will increase for professors to develop classes that integrate different approaches and disciplines.

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asdfsadf

 

 

Also see:

 

From DSC:
Creating “Innovation Labs” within each institution of higher education sounds like a good idea to me…we can experiment with things at smaller scales and see what works and what doesn’t.

Also see:
Take a lesson from Apple: A strategy to keep customers in your ecosystem — from forbes.com by Alonzo Canada

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

1.     Set focused, strategic targets.
2.     Create a portfolio of experiments. Like Apple or Mercedes Benz, once you have focused, strategic targets set, create a series of experiments.  A general rule of thumb is the 7-2-1 rule:  one experiment should be big and relatively safe.  Two experiments should be slightly more risky and moderately sized.  Then seven experiments should be highly risky and low cost. These experiments can be scaled accordingly across teams, business units, and the entire company. 3M is one of the first companies to mandate that its employees spend 20% of their time thinking up blue sky ideas beyond its current lines of business and this is how Post-It Notes were born.  Art Fry, an engineer at 3M wanted to find a better way to manage notes in his hymnal on Sundays at church.
3.    Leverage learnings to inform new experiments.

 

 

 

From DSC:
I understand that Mr. George Lucas is going to express his generosity in donating the $4.05 billion from the sale of Lucasfilm to education.

Here’s a question/idea that I’d like to put forth to Mr. Lucas (or to the United States Department of Education, or to another interested/committed party):

Would you consider using the $4+ billion gift to build an “Online Learning Dream Team?”

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Daniel Christian -- The Online Learning Dream Team - as of November 2012

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 Original image credit (before purchased/edited by DSC)
yobro10 / 123RF Stock Photo

 

 

From DSC:
What do you think? What other “players” — technologies, vendors, skillsets, etc. — should be on this team?

  • Perhaps videography?
  • Online tutoring?
  • Student academic services?
  • Animation?
  • Digital photography?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Digital Revolution’s Winners And Losers — from Information Week by John Foley
Workers with in-demand digital skills benefit most as computers increasingly take over
everyday tasks. In this InformationWeek 500 video, MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson discusses
how this trend could affect your enterprise.

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From DSC:
I agree with Erik that a large swath of people are being left behind, mainly because of technological changes and the pace of those changes. Again I ask, can you hear the engines roar?  How can we re-train folks to take advantage of the 3+million open jobs out there? How can we reinvent ourselves as quickly as possible?
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The pace has changed -- don't come onto the track in a Model T
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Addendums:
  • Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs?
    Robots and algorithms are getting good at jobs like building cars, writing articles, translating — jobs that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee walks through recent labor data to say: We ain’t seen nothing yet. But then he steps back to look at big history, and comes up with a surprising and even thrilling view of what comes next.
  • America’s jobs gap: 9 million — from cnn.com by Tami Luhby

Average student debt climbs to $26,600 for Class of 2011 — from The Institute for College Access & Success
Report, website include state-by-state and campus-by-campus debt levels for 2011 graduates

 

Average student debt now up to 26K+ for Class of 2011

 

Excerpt:

TICAS recently released Student Debt and the Class of 2011, our seventh annual report on the debt carried by new college graduates. Hundreds of news outlets around the country have already run stories featuring our findings, including The New York Times, USA Today, and PBS NewsHour.

We found that two-thirds of college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit four-year schools in 2011 carried an average of $26,600 in student loan debt, up 5% from the previous year. Private student loans comprised about one-fifth of the Class of 2011’s debt. Meanwhile, unemployment for recent graduates dipped from last year’s peak of 9.1% but remained high at 8.8% (still less than half the unemployment rate for young adults with only a high school diploma).

The report also shows that average student debt levels vary widely by state as well as by college. To view debt levels for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and more than 1,000 individual U.S. colleges and universities, visit our companion interactive map.

Read the press release
Read the report
Use the interactive map

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From DSC:
The above items support the need for greater experimentation within higher ed.

Also see:

 

The technology of Massive Open Online Courses -- from MIT Tech Review by Leber

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