My comments on Online Education Will Be the Next ‘Bubble’ To Pop, Not Traditional University Learning — from Forbes.com by John Tamny

From a 50,000 foot level…
There is little question that higher education is a bubble. With the hollowing out of the middle class, and the vast majority of the nation’s wealth going to the top 1-5%, how does one think that the average person will be able to afford higher education in 5-10 years (given the current trajectories of decreasing incomes yet increasing costs of higher education)?  Many can’t afford it *now*, even when they want to send their kids to college.

Given the status quo and the current trajectories, things don’t look good at all.  I strongly disagree with that article/piece — and my guess would be that the author of the piece:

  • Is pulling down a decent size salary and he doesn’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck — i.e. he doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from
  • Is a proponent of the current status quo
  • Has likely never taught online (or hasn’t for very long)
  • Hasn’t caught the vision of what MOOCs could morph into if something like IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, or Google Now gets baked into the recipe
  • Doesn’t understand that those who thrive in the online learning world have to be highly-disciplined — i.e. they are the type of person who fits the often asked for “self starter” and the type of employee corporations love because they don’t have to supervise them much

But when parents spend a fortune on their children’s schooling they’re not buying education; rather they’re buying the ‘right’ friends for them, the right contacts for the future, access to the right husbands and wives, not to mention buying their own (‘Our son goes to Williams College’) status.

This may be true. But even the 1% will change their perspectives if employers start picking their talent primarily from predominantly online-based programs.  If Christensen and Horn are correct (which I believe they are), the innovations in the online world will continue to outpace innovations in the face-to-face world. Given time, the online-based programs could be mind-blowing. (That said, I still think blended learning is the most effective choice, as it combines the best of both worlds).

But the bottom line here is that for most Americans, there had ***better be*** a higher education bubble!!!

Then globalization and the Internet changed everything. Customers suddenly had real choices, access to instant reliable information and the ability to communicate with each other. Power in the marketplace shifted from seller to buyer. Customers started insisting on ‘better, cheaper, quicker and smaller,’ along with ‘more convenient, reliable and personalized.’ Continuous, even transformational, innovation have become requirements for survival.”

Steve Denning, “The Management Revolution That’s Already Happening,”
Forbes Magazine, May 30, 2013.

 

 

ChangeIsOptionalDanielChristian-evolllutionDotcom-June2013

 

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PDF of article here

 

 

A trillion dollar anvil dragging us down — from CNN.com by Van Jones

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

(CNN) — The student debt fight is back — with a vengeance.

Once again, current students are facing the possibility of interest rates on Stafford Federal student loans doubling.

A few weeks ago, Warren, D-Massachusetts, proposed groundbreaking legislation that would give students the same deal that big Wall Street banks get. This bill is good policy, and even better politics.

After all, why are we loaning money to mega-profitable international financial institutions at 0.75%, but demanding up to nine times more from our own young people?

The New ‘New Normal’ — by Kevin Kiley

Excerpt:

Mandatory tuition and fees at the University of California system have about doubled since 2007, but this year, if the state’s governor has his way, they will stay flat.

And the University of California is far from alone. Purdue University is freezing tuition for the first time since 1976. Iowa’s three universities will also probably hold tuition prices constant for the first time in more than 30 years.

 

From DSC:
Institutions of higher education seem to have been priding themselves on smaller tuition increases these last few years — while I’ve been disappointed that they rose at all!  In fact it should have gone in the other direction — i.e. price decreases.  Time will tell whether it’s too little too late; but tuition freezes may not prevent the alternatives from taking over now.

 

 

 

Michigan district fires all teachers, closes every school — from takepart.com by Suzi Parker
A funding crisis caused the Buena Vista School District to close its schools for the rest of the year—and perhaps permanently.

 

From DSC:
This is not right.

If the State of Michigan can’t resolve this…
I hope that a corporation or two — or a major philanthropist or two — steps in here to insure that all these students have Internet access. Then provide/allow these students to go online.  Let these students take any class that they want to — and help them enjoy learning as much as possible. They will learn things along the way — without even knowing that they are learning (along the lines of what Sugata Mitra has been saying).

Are there issues with this idea? You bet. I can think of several off the top of my head:

  • Parents out at work, kids at home…
  • Online learning works best with disciplined students…
  • The students may take courses that are not STEM-related
    (However, if they are interested in another discipline or topic, these things could be brought into their learning along the way.)
  • The students may not take courses related to the Common Core standards
    (However, this is not a big concern for me; as pounding everyone into a similar “mold” goes against the reality that each of us is different.  We each have different gifts, skills, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, passions, interests, and preferences.)

But we’ve let these kids down — and make no mistake, we will all pay the price for this type of thing — one way or another. We need to help these kids discover the joy of learning…before it’s too late. 

  

 

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
It seems that
The Walmart of Education has officially arrived — i.e. a 50%+ discount off normal prices!  A $7000 Masters in Computer Science! 

Are we going to see more partnerships/collaborations like this involving MOOC providers, more “traditional” institutions of Higher Education, as well as the corporate world?

Are we moving more towards the use of teams and consortia and pooling resources?

Are we witnessing the beginning of a more accessible infrastructure to support lifelong learning? 

Is AT&T going to hire the top performers?


Georgia Tech announces Massive Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science — from online.wsj.com
Institute teams with Udacity, AT&T to launch first-of-its-kind advanced degree program

Excerpt:

ATLANTA, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing announced today that it will offer the first professional Online Master of Science degree in computer science (OMS CS) that can be earned completely through the “massive online” format. The degree will be provided in collaboration with online education leader Udacity Inc. and AT&T.

All OMS CS course content will be delivered via the massive open online course (MOOC) format, with enhanced support services for students enrolled in the degree program. Those students also will pay a fraction of the cost of traditional on-campus master’s programs; total tuition for the program is initially expected to be below $7,000. A pilot program, partly supported by a generous gift from AT&T, will begin in the next academic year. Initial enrollment will be limited to a few hundred students recruited from AT&T and Georgia Tech corporate affiliates. Enrollment is expected to expand gradually over the next three years.

 

Massive (but not open) — from InsideHigherEd.com by Ry Rivard

Excerpt:

The Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a $7,000 online master’s degree to 10,000 new students over the next three years without hiring much more than a handful of new instructors.

Georgia Tech will work with AT&T and Udacity, the 15-month-old Silicon Valley-based company, to offer a new online master’s degree in computer science to students across the world at a sixth of the price of its current degree. The deal, announced Tuesday, is portrayed as a revolutionary attempt by a respected university, an education technology startup and a major corporate employer to drive down costs and expand higher education capacity.

 

Georgia Tech, Udacity to offer Master’s Degree — from edsurge.com

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

WHOA. Georgia Tech and Udacity today said that they would jointly offer an entirely online master’s degree in computer science with support from AT&T for less than $7,000, total.

That’s a game-changer.

STEM cloud pilot could level technology playing field — from by Tanya Roscorla

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Because of differences in lower-income and higher-income schools in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, not every student has access to identical technology — and both government and education leaders are working to change that by partnering with the private sector on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and communication pilot in the cloud.

The county’s IT office and school system worked with the Maryland-based company Lockheed Martin to tackle this unequal access challenge creatively, something that the global security and aerospace company does for a living, said Vennard Wright, director of the Office of Information Technology and CIO for the county. This is the first step in the county’s quest to work with industry on different problems.

 

 

Tagged with:  
Traditional institutions will close, number of colleges and universities will rise (audio and transcript) — from evoLLLution.com (where LLL stands for lifelong learning) by Richard DeMillo | Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities, Georgia Institute of Technology
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
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Well, for me, it always boils down to value. People misunderstand this as assigning value based on salaries or employability, but I mean value in the larger sense. You have to have a reason to ask students to pay more than the marginal costs of delivering education. And with all these revolutions in technology for course delivery, that marginal cost is going to zero very, very quickly [think journalism]. So, every institution that’s going to survive, I think, over the next 50 years, is going to have to make that case. Why is it that tuition at this institution is justified?

The interesting thing about this is it’s going to be accelerated because the old bureaucracies, the old institutional models… are crumbling. At least, their boundaries are crumbling. Let me tell you what I mean by that.

The accrediting agencies, which I think traditionally have had — at least for the last 120 years or so—an institutional focus, are now shifting their focus to students; to competencies, to demonstrations of what students know. And that really starts to cut against institutional entitlement.

I think the conclusion of all this is that, as it becomes harder and harder for… a “Me-Too Institution” to argue for a marginal increase in price, the amount of money that those institutions are going to have available to them to spend on anything but core mission for students is also going to go to zero. So, this is kind of a virtuous cycle; … institutions that are unable to make the value proposition will find themselves more and more strapped for discretionary funds in order to move themselves into a different space. And that’s an ending that’s not very good for most institutions.

From DSC:
How will our/your organization keep from becoming a commodity?  What are we/you all going to bring to the table that’s different, unique, and worth paying for?

 

WalmartOfEducation-Christian2008

 

 

Also see:

From DSC:
While I think MOOCs have a ways to go, I continue to support them because they are forcing higher ed to innovate and experiment more.  But the conversation continues to move away from traditional higher ed, as the changes — especially the prices — aren’t changing fast enough.

Besides President Obama’s repeated promptings for higher to respond and to become more cost effective — as well as his mentioning that the U.S. Government will be pursuing new methods of accreditation if the current institutions of higher ed don’t respond more significantly — here is yet another example of the conversation moving away from traditional higher ed.

I wonder…
How small/large is the window of time before traditional higher ed is moved into the “Have you driven a Ford lately?” mode…? 
It seems that it’s much harder to get customers to come back once they’ve lost their trust/patience/belief/support/etc. in an organization or institution.  As Ford has shown, it can be done, but my point is that there is danger in the status quo and broken business relationships can take a long time to heal — while opening up opportunities for others to step in (such as Toyota, Honda, and others in the case of the automotive industry).

Again, we see whether in higher ed, K-12, or in the corporate world, the key thing is to learn how to build one’s own learning ecosystem.

 

 

With thanks to Stephen Downes for mentioning the item below in his presentation here.

 

MyEducationPath-Feb2013

 

MyEducationPath2-Feb2013

 

MyEducationPathDSC-Feb2013

 

 

Other examples of the conversation moving away from traditional higher ed:

  • Educating the Future: The End of Mediocrity –by Rob Bencini
    Students facing uncertain future opportunities (but very certain debt loads) may increasingly turn away from private colleges and universities that offer little more than a diploma. Instead, they’ll seek more-affordable alternatives for higher education, both real and virtual.
  • The Half-Life of a College Education — from futuristspeaker.com by Thomas Frey
    Excerpt:
    6.) Expanding number of long tails courses – In much the same way “hit” television shows attract millions of viewers while niche TV shows are proliferating, far more niche courses will be developed as traditional college gatekeepers get circumvented.

 

Case study: Flipped classrooms work for students. Period. — from knowledgestarblog.wordpress.com by David Grebow and Greg Green, principal at Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Michigan.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I’m a principal at Clintondale High, a financially challenged school near Detroit. I’m in charge of doing my best to make sure that Clintondale students get the best education possible when they walk through our doors.

There are constant hurdles to making this happen. We are a school of choice, so not all students come in with the same skill levels in reading, math, science or other subjects. Almost 75% of our students receive free or reduced-price lunch because of today’s economic climate, and a large part of our student population commutes from Detroit, which often times takes an hour or longer, especially if the bus is late.

Every year, our failure rates have been through the roof.  The students weren’t paying attention, they weren’t doing their homework, they were being disruptive, or they weren’t coming to school at all. Sadly, these issues are not that uncommon, particularly in this economic climate, where the percentage of students who fall into the poverty category is increasing by the day.

To watch this happen every day, where it is your responsibility to try to provide the very best you can for the students, is beyond frustrating. It’s heartbreaking.

Our staff agreed that our failure rates were not good. But how do you go about addressing these issues with no money, no additional resources and no clear solution from the experts who already know the system is broken?

How do you get your staff on board with change you want to implement, but no one else has ever tried it on a mass scale? How do you get your students excited about learning when they’ve never shown much interest before?

You flip it. Here’s how it works…

 

From DSC:


Thanks Techsmith for helping out here. You demonstrated that there can be a higher calling for business — helping out our fellow mankind with tangible/concrete/immediate assistance.


 

 

From the January/February 2013 issue of The American Interest:

 

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Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

The most important part of the college bubble story—the one we will soon be hearing much more about—concerns the impending financial collapse of numerous private colleges and universities and the likely shrinkage of many public ones. And when that bubble bursts, it will end a system of higher education that, for all of its history, has been steeped in a culture of exclusivity*. Then we’ll see the birth of something entirely new as we accept one central and unavoidable fact: The college classroom is about to go virtual.

Because recent history shows us that the internet is a great destroyer of any traditional business that relies on the sale of information. The internet destroyed the livelihoods of traditional stock brokers and bonds salesmen by throwing open to everyone access to the proprietary information they used to sell. The same technology enabled bankers and financiers to develop new products and methods, but, as it turned out, the experience necessary to manage it all did not keep up. Prior to the Wall Street meltdown, it seemed absurd to think that storied financial institutions like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers could disappear seemingly overnight. Until it happened, almost no one believed such a thing was possible. Well, get ready to see the same thing happen to a university near you, and not for entirely dissimilar reasons.

The higher-ed business is in for a lot of pain as a new era of creative destruction produces a merciless shakeout of those institutions that adapt and prosper from those that stall and die.

But what happens when a limited supply of a sought-after commodity suddenly becomes unlimited? Prices fall. Yet here, on the cusp of a new era of online education, that is a financial reality that few American universities are prepared to face.

Anyone who can access the internet—at a public library, for instance—no matter how poor or disadvantaged or isolated or uneducated he or she may be, can access the teachings of some of the greatest scholars of our time through open course portals. Technology is a great equalizer.

Big changes are coming, and old attitudes and business models are set to collapse as new ones rise. Few who will be affected by the changes ahead are aware of what’s coming. Severe financial contraction in the higher-ed industry is on the way, and for many this will spell hard times both financially and personally. But if our goal is educating as many students as possible, as well as possible, as affordably as possible, then the end of the university as we know it is nothing to fear. Indeed, it’s something to celebrate.

 

 


* The old way:

Colleges rise as they reject — from online.wsj.com
Schools invite more applications, then use denials to boost coveted rankings


 

 

Daniel S. Christian - Think Virtual -- April 2012

 

Also relevant/see:

If you build it, debt will come — a solid article from quickanded.com by Jeff Selingo

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

When we read or hear stories in the news media these days about debt in higher education, we typically assume they are about the trillion dollars in student loans held by college graduates and their families.

But last week The New York Times put the spotlight on an often ignored angle to questions of debt in higher education: the amount of money owed by colleges and universities themselves.

“The pile of debt — $205 billion outstanding in 2011 at the colleges rated by Moody’s — comes at a time of increasing uncertainty in academia,” Andrew Martin of The Times wrote in a front-page story.

Yet judging from the college officials quoted in The Times story, it seems they still don’t get that the financial model in higher education is forever changing. They still seem to believe that the model that has carried them for decades will continue.

The history of the United States is littered with industries that had similar hubris in the years or decade before they underwent massive change. Higher education is following that well-worn path.

 

Also see:

 

From DSC:
I must confess that I really appreciate the new or significantly enhanced buildings on our campus (which was done via a successful campaign).  However, I created the graphic below to encourage our  development group and other such departments across the country — as well as the donors of those institutions — to also:

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Daniel S. Christian - Think Virtual -- April 2012

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When I created that graphic, I had the words of Steve Jobs in mind.  Jobs specifically wanted Apple’s campaign from years ago to say, “Think different” (not think differently…as that changes the meaning, he asserted); along those lines, I’m suggesting, “Think virtual.”

An additional note for folks who are interested in the Bible:

  •  After reading John 4 (the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well), I could just hear the LORD saying…hmmm…nope…ultimately, you need to think spiritual.

 

 

Combine the trends listed in this graphic:

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Trends-ReportFromDeptOfEdu-2012

— from The Economics of Higher Education, Dec 2012 (pg 2)

 

…with the next several graphics…

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Surging college costs price out middle class -- from CNNMoney.com on June 13, 2011

 

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The middle class falls further behind

 

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Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo (from 2009).

From 5/21/09

 

 

…and you can see that the Perfect Storm in Higher Ed has been amassed.  Massive change is in the air. People will find a way to achieve their goals/objectives — one way or another. College is still a good call — but what “college” and “university life” will look like in 5 years will likely be very different from what they look like today.

There is no returning to the “good ol’ days” — things are not going back to the way they were 5-10 years ago.  It’s time for massive — but controlled/intentional — experimentation within higher ed, to find out how best to use the Internet in order to promote learning (and, hopefully, to still make a living!).

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asdfsadf

 

 

 


Some examples that illustrate that change is in the air…and that the conversation continues to move outside traditional institutions of higher education (I mention these not to dog higher ed, but to get us to innovate, to reinvent ourselves, and to stay relevant!)


 

Big idea 2013: College becomes optional — from LinkedIn.com by Ben Smith

Jailbreaking the degree: The end of the 4 year diploma — from onlineuniversities.com by Justin Marquis

Excerpt:

What’s wrong with getting a college degree? According to the grassroots movement, “Jailbreaking the Degree,” being pushed by radical education startup Degreed.com, quite a bit. The organization has identified several fundamental flaws with the long standing college degree process. It aims to overcome them and dramatically change the nature of learning and credentialing in the process. In order to justify their initiative they present some dramatic numbers on their website…

Degreed wants to jailbreak the college degree — from techcrunch.com by Rip Empson

Saying no to college — NYT.com by Alex Williams

Do a Google search on uncollege.org and see what you get

The rise of college alternatives— from huffingtonpost.com by Dan Schawbel

educreations.com: Teach what you know. Learn what you don’t.

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