5 Reasons Why BU’s $24K MBA Is A Big Deal — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
Why I’m intrigued.

Excerpt:

The newly announced $24K BU MBA, created in partnership with edX, is a big deal.

Here are 5 reasons why:
#1: The Evolving Connection Between Status and Price:

The Boston University Questrom School of Business is ranked in the top 50 global business schools by US News, in the top 70 by the Economist. Questrom is a brand name business school in a market where the value of the MBA is directly proportional to the status of the institution.

Today, status and price are tightly correlated in the postsecondary market. This is especially true in professional education. Student prices are not set at costs, but at perceived value.

BU should be given credit for challenging this status quo. I suspect that the Questrom $24K MBA will end up improving BU’s place in the global MBA rankings.

 

What is different now is that it will not only be enthusiasm for learning science that will drive schools (and MBA programs) to improve their programs. It will be the market. 

 

Cost, price and competition in online learning — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman
Colleges generally still price their online programs similarly to their on-ground counterparts. A panel of experts explores whether that is starting to change.

Excerpt:

BALTIMORE — Does online education cost colleges less to produce? And if so, should online courses therefore be priced lower for students?

 

 

Stanford profs: U.S. income inequality is only getting worse. Now what? — from fastcompany.com by
An economist and a business adviser discuss what might happen if the gap between rich and poor continues to grow.

Excerpt:

The U.S. economy hit a historic high in 2018, and today unemployment is at its lowest rate in five decades. Yet wage growth for the vast majority of Americans has stalled, and more people are struggling to afford housing, healthcare, education, and other basics.

 

From DSC:
If this trend continues, it will present more heat in higher education’s kitchen. It will further the need for an online-based, lifelong learning, next generation learning platform.

 

To End Student Debt, Tie Tuition to Post-Graduation Salaries — from wired.com by Austen Allred
Opinion: If colleges only get paid when their graduates do, they’re incentivized to provide a service that actually gets students hired.

Excerpt:

But unlike student loans, if regulated responsibly, ISAs power a risk-averse path to higher education. Responsible ISAs—which typically require zero upfront cost, repayment only if and when the graduate lands a job earning a sizable income, and an ethical repayment cap, such as $30,000 total—eliminate cost as a barrier to entry. But it’s the way that ISAs align the incentives of school and student that makes the model paradigm-changing.

The financial tool serves a diversity of students. People who can’t afford the cost of a traditional on-campus degree, or who don’t have access to federal- or state-based aid programs, can pursue a postsecondary education at no upfront cost. Additionally, those who are transitioning back into the workforce or changing careers can retrain in in-demand fields.

There’s no one-size-fits-all path to higher education. But Income Share Agreements prove that shouldering enormous risk doesn’t have to be a prerequisite for students. ISAs imagine a future in which graduates aren’t burdened by growing debt, and where opportunity is as evenly distributed as talent.

 

From DSC:
Can you hear and feel the culture clash that’s embedded here? I can.

On one side of the coin, there exists many faculty members, deans, provosts, and college/university presidents as well as other members of administration who maintain a more liberal arts perspective — that college is meant for learning and preparing students for many jobs…not just their first jobs. 

On the other side of the coin are students who are paying ever increasing amounts of money to obtain their degrees. They want good jobs, and aren’t necessarily at school for the noble cause of learning. Many of these folks have different perspectives about what higher education is for…what it’s purpose is meant to be.

As the price of higher ed has increased, the former ways of viewing what a college education is supposed to be about — i.e., learning and a broad-based liberal arts type of education — are being increasingly shoved out the door. This is now by necessity I might add.

Along these lines, I can hear one of my former colleagues — an academic dean from years ago –adamantly insisting that higher education is not a business and that our students are not customers.

Since that time, it’s become very clear to me that higher education is most definitely a business. Not focusing on the multi-million dollar TV contracts or what many football coaches get paid…or not focusing on the revenue that research universities make on patents…let’s just focus on charging someone the price of a nice home for a 4-year degree. That alone makes it a business in my mind. The rising price of education has created customers.

(By the way, this development occurred on the watch of many of those same faculty members, provosts, presidents and other members of administration, etc. that claim a more noble goal of higher education.)

Students today can’t afford to attend school the way boomers did. As the article states:

When I went to college, nobody talked about student debt. Nobody talked about trade-offs. Everybody lived by one credo: Go to the best school you can, study the thing that you love, and it will work out on the other side. Frankly, for Boomers, that’s what happened. If you got a degree, you could expect to land a decent job with a decent salary. Even if you did accrue debt during college, payments were often manageable and short-lived.

That is certainly not the case anymore, as the article points out:

Bottom line:

Change has to occur. It can’t keep going on like this. We are at the precipice of massive change. It has to change or we are in massive trouble as a nation. The ramifications of this kind of student debt last for decades!

This is why a next generation, online-based learning platform will be the answer for many people. Surely such a delivery method and learning experience will not work for everyone — as the face-to-face (F2f) experience is still excellent and preferred by many people. But the F2F experience is arguably becoming the Maserati….and increasingly out of reach…and it’s burying people in debt for decades to come.

 

 

DSC: Holy smokes!!! How might this be applied to education/learning/training in the 21st century!?!

DC: Holy smokes!!! How might this be applied to education/learning/training in the 21st century!?!

 

“What if neither distance nor language mattered? What if technology could help you be anywhere you need to be and speak any language? Using AI technology and holographic experiences this is possible, and it is revolutionary.”

 

 

Also see:

Microsoft has a wild hologram that translates HoloLens keynotes into Japanese — from theverge.com by
Azure and HoloLens combine for a hint at the future

Excerpt:

Microsoft has created a hologram that will transform someone into a digital speaker of another language. The software giant unveiled the technology during a keynote at the Microsoft Inspire partner conference [on 7/17/19] in Las Vegas. Microsoft recently scanned Julia White, a company executive for Azure, at a Mixed Reality capture studio to transform her into an exact hologram replica.

The digital version appeared onstage to translate the keynote into Japanese. Microsoft has used its Azure AI technologies and neural text-to-speech to make this possible. It works by taking recordings of White’s voice, in order to create a personalized voice signature, to make it sound like she’s speaking Japanese.

 

 

 
 

Reflections on “Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale” [Christian]

Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale — from philonedtech.com by Clay Shirky
[This was a guest post by Clay Shirky that grew out of a conversation that Clay and Phil had about IPEDS enrollment data. Most of the graphs are provided by Phil.]

Excerpts:

Were half a dozen institutions to dominate the online learning landscape with no end to their expansion, or shift what Americans seek in a college degree, that would indeed be one of the greatest transformations in the history of American higher education. The available data, however, casts doubt on that idea.

Though much of the conversation around mega-universities is speculative, we already know what a mega-university actually looks like, one much larger than any university today. It looks like the University of Phoenix, or rather it looked like Phoenix at the beginning of this decade, when it had 470,000 students, the majority of whom took some or all of their classes online. Phoenix back then was six times the size of the next-largest school, Kaplan, with 78,000 students, and nearly five times the size of any university operating today.

From that high-water mark, Phoenix has lost an average of 40,000 students every year of this decade.

 

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate both Clay’s and Phil’s thought leadership and their respective contributions to education and learning through the years. I value their perspectives and their work.  Clay and Phil offer up a great article here — one worth your time to read.  

The article made me reflect on what I’ve been building upon and tracking for the last decade — a next generation ***PLATFORM*** that I believe will represent a powerful piece of a global learning ecosystem. I call this vision, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.” Though the artificial intelligence-backed platform that I’m envisioning doesn’t yet fully exist — this new era and type of learning-based platform ARE coming. The emerging signs, technologies, trends — and “fingerprints”of it, if you will — are beginning to develop all over the place.

Such a platform will:

  • Be aimed at the lifelong learner.
  • Offer up major opportunities to stay relevant and up-to-date with one’s skills.
  • Offer access to the program offerings from many organizations — including the mega-universities, but also, from many other organizations that are not nearly as large as the mega-universities.
  • Be reliant upon human teachers, professors, trainers, subject matter experts, but will be backed up by powerful AI-based technologies/tools. For example, AI-based tools will pulse-check the open job descriptions and the needs of business and present the top ___ areas to go into (how long those areas/jobs last is anyone’s guess, given the exponential pace of technological change).

Below are some quotes that I want to comment on:

Not nothing, but not the kind of environment that will produce an educational Amazon either, especially since the top 30 actually shrank by 0.2% a year.

 

Instead of an “Amazon vs. the rest” dynamic, online education is turning into something much more widely adopted, where the biggest schools are simply the upper end of a continuum, not so different from their competitors, and not worth treating as members of a separate category.

 

Since the founding of William and Mary, the country’s second college, higher education in the U.S. hasn’t been a winner-take-all market, and it isn’t one today. We are not entering a world where the largest university operates at outsized scale, we’re leaving that world; 

 

From DSC:
I don’t see us leaving that world at all…but that’s not my main reflection here. Instead, I’m not focusing on how large the mega-universities will become. When I speak of a forthcoming Walmart of Education or Amazon of Education, what I have in mind is a platform…not one particular organization.

Consider that the vast majority of Amazon’s revenues come from products that other organizations produce. They are a platform, if you will. And in the world of platforms (i.e., software), it IS a winner take all market. 

Bill Gates reflects on this as well in this recent article from The Verge:

“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets.

So it’s all about a forthcoming platform — or platforms. (It could be more than one platform. Consider Apple. Consider Microsoft. Consider Google. Consider Facebook.)

But then the question becomes…would a large amount of universities (and other types of organizations) be willing to offer up their courses on a platform? Well, consider what’s ALREADY happening with FutureLearn:

Finally…one more excerpt from Clay’s article:

Eventually the new ideas lose their power to shock, and end up being widely copied. Institutional transformation starts as heresy and ends as a section in the faculty handbook. 

From DSC:
This is a great point. Reminds me of this tweet from Fred Steube (and I added a piece about Western Telegraph):

 

Some things to reflect upon…for sure.

 

The World’s First Full in VR Semester Course Taught by Survios CTO — from medium.com by Rahel Demant

Excerpt:

VR First is excited to announce its strategic partnership with Axon Park?—?the world’s first educational campus in VR. To kick things off, they are running a full semester course taught in VR. Launching this fall, the course will teach expert-level Unreal Engine VR development, taught remotely by Survios CTO and Co-Founder Alex Silkin with support from the Unreal Engine team.

To enable Axon Park’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through immersive education, VR First has signed a strategic partnership with Axon Park, an organization which maintains the largest network of VR lab enabled universities and science parks internationally. Together, Axon Park and VR First are announcing a needs-based scholarship program that will provide students with low cost or free access to VR hardware and resources through their partner network of 850 universities. With their expertise in VR/AR workforce education and regional tech cluster facilities, VR First is the international distribution partner for Axon Park training solutions to universities, businesses and governments.

 

 

Also see:

Axon Park -- in fall 2019, delivering the world’s first full in VR semester course

 

 

Online directory of college alternatives launches — from educationdive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Excerpt / Dive Brief:

  • Prospective students interested in nondegree credentials can look to a new online directory of more than 200 companies and other organizations providing apprenticeships, boot camps, short-term online courses and other credentials.
  • Called Alternatives to College, the directory was launched as a joint effort between leaders at higher ed investment firm University Ventures and WhatsBestForMe, a platform for applicants to connect with postsecondary education providers.
  • “The last-mile training sector moves quickly,” said Cassidy Leventhal, a vice president at University Ventures, in the announcement, adding that the directory will provide an “online ‘home'” for nondegree options.
 

Has Technology Made State Regional Universities Obsolete? — from campustechnology.com by Richard Rose
While SRUs do some things well, the current model is not sustainable, with students taking on enormous debt and receiving relatively little income benefit in return. Here’s how technology can help change the equation.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

What if the State Board of Higher Education assembled a team to create one exceptionally fine Official Texas Version of the sophomore Western Civilization course? The team would include brilliant subject-matter experts, the best graphic artists, senior instructional designers, professional film editors and sharp-eyed text editors, who could produce a 48-clock-hour video course of previously unimaginable quality.

When technology is fully embraced because the need for a better and cheaper product finally trumps the political protection of the status quo, the state regional university will be replaced as part of new state university systems in which local institutions will play a very different role. These new local institutions could be called Learning Satellite Centers (LSCs).

Much content will take the form of high-budget, high-quality multimedia productions with delivery available to all popular devices, from desktop computers to cell phones. Access to learning materials, from course movies and podcasts to reading materials, will be through an expanded electronic distribution system that will eliminate the need for paper-based academic libraries.

The goal of the University Center plus Learning Satellite Center model is to transfer agency back into the hands of the students, where it belongs. No longer will a self-appointed privileged group of professional academics with their arcane degrees and funny ceremonial robes be dictating to the rest of society what we all need to learn and how we need to learn it. Technology will be the great leveler and the marketplace will help individual students decide what choices are best.

Of course, a brief sketch like this one will raise many questions that cannot be explored in a single article, but the conversation must begin. The current State Regional University is not sustainable and can only be propped up by politics and sentiment for so long. Too many students are piling up huge debt to earn dubious degrees that don’t lead to marketable skills or significant economic benefits. Technology has made more effective models of higher education attainable and at a lower price. We need to fearlessly explore such models before our charming old regional campuses drift into irrelevance.

 

From DSC:
While the article has a bit of a bite to it (which I suppose readers of this blog would say they might see in my writings/comments as well from time to time), THIS is the kind of innovative, creative thinking that will get us somewhere. I really appreciate Richard’s article and the deep thought he was put into this topic.

In fact, as readers of this blog will know, I have long been a supporter of a TEAM-BASED approach. And listed below are some graphics that prove it — as well as this article I wrote for evolllution.com (where the “lll” stands for lifelong learning) back from 2016.

This page* lists those graphics plus the list of team members that I thought of in December 2008:

  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Instructional Designers
  • Project Managers
  • Recruiters
  • Legal Counsel
  • Researchers / Mind Experts
  • Digital Audio Specialists
  • Digital Video Specialists
  • Streaming Media Experts
  • Mobile Learning Consultants
  • Writers and Editors 
  • Programmers and Database Specialists 
  • Web Design and Production Specialists
  • Interactivity Designers
  • Multimedia Specialists including Multi-Touch Experts/Programmers
  • 3D / 2D Graphic Designers and/or Animators
  • MindMappers / Visual Learning Experts
  • Personalized Learning Consultants
  • Security Experts
  • The students themselves
  • Other

*BTW, I renamed this idea from the Forthcoming Walmart of Education
to the Forthcoming Amazon.com of Higher Education

 

.

While I’m at it…below are a couple of ideas that I documented back in 2009 that Richard might like…

 

.

As of today…I would simplify that last graphic to
include a subscription model to streams of content.

 

Ok…one more graphic from 5/21/09 that describes what I thought would happen if institutions of traditional higher education maintained the status quo through the years. I feel pretty good about how these predictions turned out, but I wish that we would have made even more progress along these lines than we have (since the time I created this graphic).

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Re: the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision of a next gen learning platform

 

Learning from the Living Class Room

 

…wouldn’t it be cool if you could use your voice to ask your smart/connected “TV” type of device:

“Show me the test questions for Torts I from WMU-Cooley Law School. Cooley could then charge $0.99 for these questions.”

Then, the system knows how you did on answering those questions. The ones you got right, you don’t get asked to review as often as the ones you got wrong. As you get a question right more often, the less you are asked to answer it.

You sign up for such streams of content — and the system assesses you periodically. This helps a person keep certain topics/information fresh in their memory. This type of learning method would be incredibly helpful for students trying to pass the Bar or other types of large/summative tests — especially when a student has to be able to recall information that they learned over the last 3-5 years.

Come to think of it…this method could help all of us in learning new disciplines/topics throughout our lifetimes. Sign up for the streams of content that you want to learn more about…and drop the (no-longer relevant) subscriptions as needed..

 

We need to tap into streams of content in our next gen learning platform

 

From DSC:
Here’s a ~4 minute piece from CBS News re: student loan debt.

Here are two excerpts from that video:

the cost of higher ed is out of control; 43 million borrowers now owe 1.5 trillion

the cost of higher ed is out of control; average household with student loan debt = $47,671

 

From DSC to potential college students:
You need to know that the ramifications of this type of debt can last for decades! Do everything you possibly can to either not borrow anything or to minimize these types of loan amounts.

This is another reason why the United States desperately needs a ***next generation learning platform*** — one that’s convenient, very inexpensive, and one that can also help people quickly reinvent themselves! One that is highly social, features human Subject Matter Experts (SME’s), and is backed up by #AI – based apps/features as well.

Along these lines…no longer are we running sprints (i.e., get a 4-year degree and you’re done). We’re now all running marathons (i.e., we’re now into lifelong learning in order to stay relevant and employed).

 


Also, the following item was announced today:

  • Cengage and McGraw-Hill to Merge, Providing Students with More Affordable Access to Superior Course Materials and Platforms — from businesswire.com
    Excerpt:
    NEW YORK & BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–McGraw-Hill and Cengage today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger on equal terms. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, will bring together two premier learning companies that will deliver significant benefits for students, educators, professionals and institutions worldwide.“The new company will offer a broad range of best-in-class content – delivered through digital platforms at an affordable price,” said Michael E. Hansen, CEO of Cengage. “Together, we will usher in an era in which all students can afford the quality learning materials needed to succeed – regardless of their socioeconomic status or the institution they attend. Additionally, the combined company will have robust financial strength to invest in next-generation products, technology and services that create superior experiences and value for millions of students.”

Also see:

 

From DSC:
Along these lines, I don’t think Cengage/McGraw-Hill will be the largest company on the Internet by 2030 as predicted by Thomas Frey (a prediction I think he’s right on with…by the way). They were on watch when the prices of learning-related materials soared through the years. As such, they’ve likely burned through a great deal of good will…but we’ll see. They might be able to persuade myself and others that they’re the platform of choice for the future. Time will tell I guess.

 


 

 

Coursera raises $103 million to prepare online learners for the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ — from venturebeat.com by Paul Sawers

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Founded in 2012, Coursera is one of a number of well-funded MOOCs — massive open online courses — to emerge. Coursera partners with universities and other educational institutions to deliver online courses to 40 million students, covering subjects like technology, business, science, and even autonomous cars.

“The fourth industrial revolution, marked by advancements in automation and artificial intelligence, is dramatically reshaping our lives, businesses, and jobs,” noted Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda. “Coursera is at the forefront of preparing individuals, companies, and governments to meet that challenge head-on and turn this disruption into opportunity. The additional funding gives us the resources and flexibility to further expand internationally and to accelerate the development of a learning platform that currently serves 40 million learners, 1,800 businesses, and over 150 top universities.”
 

 

Minerva’s Innovative Platform Makes Quality Higher Ed Personal and Affordable — from linkedin.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpt:

The first external partner, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), loved the course design and platform but told Nelson they couldn’t afford to teach 15 students at a time. The Minerva team realized that to be applicable at major universities, active learning needed to be scalable.

Starting this summer, a new version of Forum will be available for classes of up to 400 at a time. For students, it will still feel like a small seminar. They’ll see the professor, themselves, and a dozen other students. Forum will manage the movement of students from screen to screen. “Everybody thinks they are in the main room,” said Nelson.

Forum enables real-time polling and helps professors create and manage breakout groups.

Big Implications
With Forum, “For the first time you can deliver better than Ivy League education at absurdly low cost,” said Nelson.

Online courses and MOOCs just repackaged the same format and just offered it with less interaction. As new Forum partners will demonstrate, “It’s possible to deliver a year of undergraduate education that is vastly superior for under $5,000 per student,” added Nelson.

He’s excited to offer a turnkey university solution that, for partners like Oxford Teachers Academy, will allow new degree pathways for paraprofessionals that can work, learn, and earn a degree and certification.

 

Perhaps another piece of the puzzle is falling into place…

 

Another piece of the puzzle is coming into place...for the Learning from the Living Class Room vision

 

 

The Growing Profile of Non-Degree Credentials: Diving Deeper into ‘Education Credentials Come of Age’ — from evolllution.com by Sean Gallagher
Higher education is entering a “golden age” of lifelong learning and that will mean a spike in demand for credentials. If postsecondary institutions want to compete in a crowded market, they need to change fast.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

One of the first levels of opportunity is simply embedding the skills that are demanded in the job market into educational programs. Education certainly has its own merits independent of professional outcomes. But critics of higher education who suggest graduates aren’t prepared for the workforce have a point in terms of the opportunity for greater job market alignment, and less of an “ivory tower” mentality at many institutions. Importantly, this does not mean that there isn’t value in the liberal arts and in broader ways of thinking—problem solving, leadership, critical thinking, analysis, and writing are among the very top skills demanded by employers across all educational levels. These are foundational and independent of technical skills.

The second opportunity is building an ecosystem for better documentation and sharing of skills—in a sense what investor Ryan Craig has termed a “competency marketplace.” Employers’ reliance on college degrees as relatively blunt signals of skill and ability is partly driven by the fact that there aren’t many strong alternatives. Technology—and the growth of platforms like LinkedIn, ePortfolios and online assessments—is changing the game. One example is digital badges, which were originally often positioned as substitutes to degrees or certificates.

Instead, I believe digital badges are a supplement to degrees and we’re increasingly seeing badges—short microcredentials that discretely and digitally document competency—woven into degree programs, from the community college to the graduate degree level.

 

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the market is demanding more “agile” and shorter-form approaches to education. Many institutions are making this a strategic priority, especially as we read the evolution of trends in the global job market and soon enter the 2020s.

Online education—which in all its forms continues to slowly and steadily grow its market share in terms of all higher ed instruction—is certainly an enabler of this vision, given what we know about pedagogy and the ability to digitally document outcomes.

 

In addition, 64 percent of the HR leaders we surveyed said that the need for ongoing lifelong learning will demand higher levels of education and more credentials in the future.

 

Along these lines of online-based collaboration and learning,
go to the 34 minute mark of this video:

 

From DSC:
The various pieces are coming together to build the next generation learning platform. Although no one has all of the pieces yet, the needs/trends/signals are definitely there.

 

Daniel Christian-- Learning from the Living Class Room

 

Addendums on 4/20/19:

 

 

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