Education startup OnlineDegree.com makes the first year of college tuition-free — from forbes.com by Richard Vedder

Excerpt:

If you were told that an educational institution existed that would enable you to earn a year of college credit at zero financial cost and with minimal hassle –from a for-profit private entrepreneurial venture — you would no doubt be suspicious. I receive several pitches a week from individuals trying to promote all sorts of innovations, so I was especially dubious of this proposition – until I talked to Grant Aldrich, the fellow who helped initiate this project, and after reflecting a bit on modern internet-based businesses.

Hundreds of millions daily use at zero cost an immensely popular social media platform, Facebook. It provides much joy to user’s lives. Moreover, Facebook, Inc. has, of this writing, a market capitalization of $539.6 billion and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is at age 34, one of the richest people in the world. I suspect Grant Aldrich thinks that the Facebook model can be replicated successfully in higher education. Aldrich’s website (https://onlinedegree.com) will provide users with free, high-quality online college-level courses, financed through advertising, sponsorships, etc., much like Facebook and Google do.

The venture is brand new and modest in scope and is just now ready to launch its project.

 

He is bringing market-based capitalism to higher education without the crutch of government-subsidized student loans.

 

Yet Aldrich claims that he is not out to destroy traditional higher education, but rather to revitalize and support it. Students ultimately would go from his online courses into traditional schools, saving at least 25% of the cost through credit transfer, making traditional education significantly more affordable and viable.

 

 


The information below is from Grant Aldrich, Founder of OnlineDegree.com (emphasis via DSC)


Rather than bypassing traditional universities like the MissionU’s or Coursera’s, we have a disruptive solution to innovate within higher ed to combat student debt and bring students back to a collegiate path.

Here’s the quick summary: At OnlineDegree.com, anyone could receive credit, up to their freshman year of college, completely tuition-free. All from home, on their own schedule, no pressure, and no applications.

We offer students free college-level courses and work with accredited universities across the country to award college credit for the courses students take.  With many options to complete their entire freshman year equivalence, there are potential pathways to receive up to 44 units of recommended semester credit at over 1,400 colleges throughout the US…and growing.

By understanding the predicament that working adults have, it’s obvious that the current educational system hasn’t made it simple or easy enough for them to go back to school.  They’re busy, can’t afford it, and have a lot of anxiety taking the first step.  We’re changing that.

Further information is below.



Who Are We?

OnlineDegree.com is a team of startup veterans, leading academics and PhDs (from NYU, West Virginia University, Georgetown, etc). We’ve been working for over 2 years to make higher education more affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s been an incredible adventure to combat entrenched roadblocks and norms. More about us here:

How it Works
Students take as many college-level courses as they’d like on gen ed topics like Psychology, Robotics, Computer Programming, Marketing, History and many more…free. We’ve then worked with participating accredited universities across the country like Southern New Hampshire University, Excelsior College and others, so students can receive college credit for the courses they’ve taken. In addition, there are pathways to receive credit at over 1,400 schools in total throughout the US.

Our courses are:

  • Online and Available 24/7 – No class schedules, no fixed times, and completely self-paced.
  • Easy to Get Started- No applications, No entrance exams, and most importantly, No tuition.
  • Interesting and Top Notch- Our professors are experts in their respective fields with PhDs and advanced degrees. The courses are incredibly interesting.
  • Recommended for over 44 units of semester credit by the NCCRS

Why Is This So Disruptive?
Working adults now have a “bridge” to start their path back to school in 1 minute instead of 1 year in some cases…regardless of their finances or busy schedules. They can test drive different courses and subjects on their own schedule, be better prepared for college-level coursework at a university, and potentially receive college credits toward their degree. Given the common unfortunate student perception that applying directly to a community college or 4-year is intimidating, inflexible and/or costly, we’re more like “wading” into the pool rather than expecting everyone to jump in.

How Have We Made It Free?
We will always be 100% free to students…we’re not going to compromise on that. We’re exploring a marketplace for tutoring, Patreon, Kickstarter, university sponsorships/advertising, private grants, and many other avenues. We are bold enough to look outside of the traditional tuition paradigm to ensure we don’t exclude anyone from participating. There are all kinds of ways to keep the lights on without charging students or sacrificing educational quality.

Why Now?
Despite overwhelming demand to go back to school in the face of eroding manufacturing jobs, robot automation, and a quickly modernizing economy, millions of working adults are still not going back to school at a traditional university. The key is to understand the predicaments of the working adult: accessibility and affordability. Other marketplace offers that circumvent higher education have become increasingly popular. We’re solving this by removing all of the barriers to enable that first critical step in starting back towards a traditional university.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

Google and Udacity offer scholarships for 75,000 aspiring developers — from thenextweb.com

Excerpt:

Google has announced its plans to extend its partnership with Udacity to offer 75,000 Android scholarships for aspiring developers and data scientists seeking to pursue careers in the digital field.

The initiative builds on the company’s two-year long collaboration with Udacity, which granted 1,000 and 10,000 scholarships for passionate newbie coders in 2015 and 2016, respectively. German media giant Bertelsmann will also be contributing to this effort.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

University of Michigan offering free tuition for families making less than $65K — from mlive.com by Martin Slagter

Excerpt:

ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan is offering free tuition to in-state families earning up to $65,000, the university announced at its Thursday, June 15, Board of Regents meeting.

UM President Mark Schlissel surprised the audience inside the Michigan Union by announcing the creation of the Go Blue Guarantee to kick off the meeting Thursday, prior to the Regents’ vote on the budget for the upcoming year.

 

 

The first state to offer free community college to nearly every adult – from npr.org by Emily Siner

Excerpt:

The opportunity to go to college for free is more available than ever before. States and cities, in the last year especially, have funded programs for students to go to two-year, and in some cases, four-year, schools.

Tennessee has taken the idea one step further. Community college is already free for graduating high school students. Now Tennessee is first state in the country to offer community college — free of charge — to almost any adult.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has long preached the importance of getting adults back to school. He says it’s the only way that more than half of Tennesseans will get a college degree or certificate.

And the program is simple: If you don’t have a degree, and you want one, your tuition is free.

 

From DSC:
I’m listing universities and colleges as some of the selected keywords/categories here as well, as such institutions will certainly be significantly impacted if this becomes a trend.

Increasingly, people need to reinvent themselves in order to remain marketable and employed — and to do so as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. That’s what I want to be involved in/with. But the direction that I would like to personally pursue is the development of a next generation learning platform/paradigm/system that helps people reinvent themselves, quickly and cost-effectively.* A system that offers constant, up-to-date, curated micro-learning streams of content on a lifelong basis. Team-based efforts will leverage this platform within K-12, higher ed, as well as in corporate learning & development space. Such a system will be accessed on the road, at home, in the office, in group study spaces/learning hubs, as well as in the classrooms across the land.

 

*If you or someone you know is working on a state-of-the-art, next generation learning platform, please email me at danielchristian55@gmail.com and let me know. I would greatly appreciate being involved in the development of this kind of learning platform — working on what the various pieces/tools should be and how the various features should work and interoperate. I can plug into other areas as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking to build the campus of tomorrow? 5 trends you should know — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Ascione
Today’s trends will bring about a new vision for the traditional college campus.

Excerpt:

“Innovations in physical space must be made to accommodate demands for accessibility, flexibility and affordability,” according to The State of Higher Education in 2017, a report from professional services firm Grant Thornton.

Changes in infrastructure are being driven by a handful of trends, including:

  • Digital technology is decoupling access to the classroom and information from any specific geographic location.
  • Learning is becoming more “modular,” credentialing specific competencies, such as certificates and badges,, rather than the model of four years to a degree via fixed-class schedules. This requires a less broad range of academic buildings on campus.
  • Students will engage with their coursework at their own time and pace, as they do in every other aspect of their lives.
  • Price pressure on colleges will create incentives for cost efficiencies, discouraging the fixed-cost commitment embodied in physical structures.
  • Deferred maintenance is a problem so large that it can’t be solved by most colleges within their available resources; the result may be reducing the physical plant footprint or just letting it deteriorate further.

These developments will prompt physical space transformation that will lead to a new kind of campus.

 

 


The State of Higher Education in 2017 — from grantthornton.com

 

Browse the report articles:

 

 

Innovative thinking will be vital to successfully moving into the future.

 

 

Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Press Briefing on Household Debt, with Focus on Student Debt — with thanks to Mr. Bryan Alexander for his post on this

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts:

Student Debt Overview
  • Student debt was $1.3 trillion at the end of 2016, an increase of about 170% from 2006.
  • Aggregate student debt is increasing because:
    • More students are taking out loans
    • Loans are for larger amounts
    • Repayment rates have slowed down
  • About 5% of the borrowers have more than $100,000 debt in 2016, but they account for about 30% of the total debt.
  • Recent graduates with student loans leave school with about $34,000, up nearly 70% from 10 years ago.

 


 

  • While the total level of household debt has nearly returned to the 2008 peak, debt types and borrower profiles have changed.
    • Debt growth is now driven by non-housing sectors, and debt is held by older, more creditworthy borrowers.
  • Student debt has expanded significantly because of higher levels of borrowing and slower rates of repayment.
  • Student debt defaults peaked with the 2011 cohort and have improved somewhat since. However, payment progress has declined.
  • College attendance is associated with significantly higher homeownership rates regardless of debt status. Yet, student debt appears to dampen homeownership rates among those with the same level of education.
  • College attendance appears to mitigate the impact of economic background on homeownership rates.

 

 

 


 

Also see:

 


 

 

 

The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
The blockchain provides a rich, secure, and transparent platform on which to create a global network for higher learning. This Internet of value can help to reinvent higher education in a way the Internet of information alone could not.

Excerpt:

What will be the most important technology to change higher education? In our view, it’s not big data, the social web, MOOCs, virtual reality, or even artificial intelligence. We see these as components of something new, all enabled and transformed by an emerging technology called the blockchain.

OK, it’s not the most sonorous word ever, sounding more like a college football strategy than a transformative technology. Yet, sonorous or not, the blockchain represents nothing less than the second generation of the Internet, and it holds the potential to disrupt money, business, government, and yes, higher education.

The opportunities for innovators in higher education fall into four categories:

  • Identity and Student Records: How we identify students; protect their privacy; measure, record, and credential their accomplishments; and keep these records secure
  • New Pedagogy: How we customize teaching to each student and create new models of learning
  • Costs (Student Debt): How we value and fund education and reward students for the quality of their work
  • The Meta-University: How we design entirely new models of higher education so that former MIT President Chuck Vest’s dream can become a reality1

The blockchain may help us change the relationships among colleges and universities and, in turn, their relationship to society.

Let us explain.

 

What if there was an Internet of value — a global, distributed, highly secure platform, ledger, or database where we could store and exchange things of value and where we could trust each other without powerful intermediaries? That is the blockchain.

 

 

From DSC:
The quote…

In 2006, MIT President Emeritus Vest offered a tantalizing vision of what he called the meta-university. In the open-access movement, he saw “a transcendent, accessible, empowering, dynamic, communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced.”

…made me wonder if this is where a vision that I’m tracking called Learning from the Living [Class] Room is heading. Also, along these lines, futurist Thomas Frey believes

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider. (source)

Blockchain could be a key piece of this vision.

 

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

 

Virtual reality homebuying is on the horizon — from latimes.com by Phillip Molnar

Excerpt:

Would you buy a home without ever stepping foot in it?

Thanks to virtual reality, prospective homebuyers can check out for-sale properties by viewing them through a headset — exploring faraway kitchens and bathrooms without ever leaving the couch.

“VR is the next natural evolution in terms of marketing real estate,” said David Scott Van Woert, account director at Transparent House, which has developed a virtual reality mobile app for home builders. “A lot of these companies are very tech-forward and always looking for, not only an edge over competition, but to stay current.”

 

 

From DSC:
For those of us working on creating and renovating learning spaces, consider producing VR-based pieces for your donors to check out. It could really help paint the picture — the vision — of what your selected space will look like once it’s done. Very compelling visuals — and a very compelling experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Two things happened today that got me to reflect on the word resilience:

  1. An all-campus conference with faculty and staff, whereby one of the breakout sessions was about supporting emotional resilience in our students. It was led by the head of the campus’ counseling center. She gave some data on the increased use of the counseling center over the last 4 years. Evidently, this isn’t just happening at our campus, but all over the country.
    .
  2. Then I ran into the article below; some excerpts are listed below as well.

When I’m teaching a First Year Seminar course this fall, one of the topics deals with resilience. When I’m addressing it, I want to focus on the parts highlighted in green below, and stay clear of the caution noted in red below.

An additional thought on this is that today’s students are dealing with the high prices of obtaining a college degree. This means that many of them have to work to get through school. Otherwise, many of these students will come out of school with enormous debts — debts that don’t go away until they are paid up. I’m not saying that by them working the students can pay all of their expenses — that’s becoming highly unlikely these days. But it can reduce the amounts of their debts.  These debts affects when students get married, when they can buy a home, when and how much they can save for retirement, and more. So the stresses are very realand different from many of us from a different generation. We can’t just say they need to be more resilient as an entire generation.

No, the job for us working within higher ed needs to be to bring the price of obtaining a degree down. Not just “no more increases.”  No. Bring the costs down! 

We can’t expect to have an arms race in the facilities that we offer as well as in our sports programs (and though I was an athlete in college I still say this) and expect costs to go down. Technology looks to me to be our best chance of bringing costs down, while maintaining quality. I don’t have the time to expand on that perspective now, but the greater use of online learning as well as the increased use of emerging technologies that can deliver more personalized learning should help.

 

 

Struggling students are not ‘lacking resilience’ – they need more support — from theguardian.com by Gabbi Binnie

Some excerpts:

Students often see the word as a synonym for strength, and therefore feel that lacking resilience is a sign of weakness. A professor could be saying “be more resilient” and mean that a student shouldn’t take critical comments on their work personally. But what a student hears is something like, you aren’t strong enough, or you need to man-up, or you lack backbone.

Times have changed
Problems are often discussed with an “it was different back in my day” attitude. So if students are accessing university counselling services more, it’s because the entire student population is losing its resilience. If disability services are overstretched, the same reason is given. And when tutors are asked to provide pastoral support – historically always a part of the personal tutor role – they feel it’s because these “modern students” need extra help.

Students might be asking for help earlier and for problems that they once might have kept to themselves. But to dismiss an entire generation isn’t fair.

Students are coping with all sorts of factors that make their lives a challenge: the worry about tuition fee debt, an intensely competitive graduate jobs market and the pressure of social media. By recognising this, university staff can start to support their students to become more resilient.

Resilience is a great concept. Learning not to be discouraged by past failings and recognising shortcomings is an extremely useful skill. Students need to be equipped to spring back from tough situations, or times when they didn’t achieve perfection – this is vitally important in universities.

As support staff we need to enable students to learn the skills of resilience. We need to standardise what we mean by it. And we should never use the term when discussing mental health.

 

 

 

FACT SHEET: ED Launches Initiative for Low-Income Students to Access New Generation Of Higher Education Providers — from ed.gov

Excerpt:

[On 8/16/16], the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.

These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.

 

 

Obama Administration to Fund Nontraditional Training for Students — from wsj.com
Education Department will give up to $17 million in loans and grants for training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration will inject millions of dollars into a group of nontraditional education providers to address a vexing problem: Many Americans are leaving college with debt but without skills the economy needs.

The administration is turning to the private sector for help. In a novel experiment, the Education Department announced Tuesday up to $17 million in loans and grants for students to undergo training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges. Most are for-profit companies. They include coding academies such as New York startup Flatiron School and Portland, Ore.-based Epicodus, as well as websites such as Study.com and StraighterLine that provide online courses at reduced costs.

The one that stands out from the group is corporate giant General Electric Co., which won’t receive funds directly but will provide training at one of its jet-engine plants under the program.

The program, called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, or Equip, is designed to enable low-income Americans to learn skills in areas where colleges often fall short, such as learning how to write computer code, or using new software to operate high-tech manufacturing equipment to make jet engines.

 

 

 

Can’t Afford Coding Camp? The Feds May Have a Loan for You — from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky

Excerpt:

A new Department of Education program focused on skills training aims to address that second part. Announced last year, the so-called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships program will offer federal student aid to students enrolled at non-traditional institutions like coding bootcamps and skills-training programs.

[On 8/16/16], the Department of Education revealed the eight organizations and educational institutions with programs that will be covered as part of the EQUIP pilot program. For now, the programs are located on both coasts and in Texas. They include bootcamps like The Flatiron School, as well as newly launched training programs from companies like General Electric. The Department of Education chose the programs from dozens of applications, and each organization will partner with an established, accredited college or university. Meanwhile, third-party quality assurance partners have signed up to monitor students’ results.

 

 

 

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