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!!!

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?

Northern Arizona wins regional accreditor’s approval for personalized learning program– from nextgenlearning.org by Nancy Millichap

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It’s all systems go, at last: Northern Arizona University, one of the ten institutions presently developing breakthrough degree programs with NGLC support, recently got the green light to start enrolling students in their Personalized Learning program. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), NAU’s regional accreditor, approved their application to offer a competency-based degree program that moves away from the credit hour standard to use an approach referred to as “direct assessment” instead. In this approach, students receive credit related not to their presence in a real or virtual classroom for a specified period of time but instead to their successful completion of assessments that show they have mastered clearly defined competencies or are able to perform specific, predetermined tasks. HLC has created a pilot group of four institutions now approved to offer a competency-based degree program: NAU, the University of Wisconsin Colleges (a system of two-year campuses), the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Capella University.

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.

 

 

 

State systems go MOOC — from insidehighered.com by Ry Rivard

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Universities from New Mexico to New York will join Coursera in a sprawling expansion of the Silicon Valley startup’s efforts to take online education to the masses.

Together, state systems and flagship universities in nine states will help the company test new business models and teaching methods and potentially put Coursera in competition with some of the ed tech industry’s most established players.

 

Also see:

  • A Q&A on the launch of Penn State’s first MOOC — from by psu.edu
    Anna Divinsky and Keith Bailey talk about the launch of the first of the University’s five massive open online courses.
    Excerpt:
    UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State launched its first massive open online course (MOOC), Introduction to Art: Concepts and Techniques, yesterday — an effort that has been three months in the making. Anna Divinsky, lead faculty member of the Digital Arts Certificate Program at Penn State, has been instrumental in creating the first of the five courses that Penn State is offering this year on the leading MOOC platform, Coursera.

Higher Ed in 2018 — from InsideHigherEd.com by Jeb Bush and Randy Best

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Half a decade from now, almost all universities will offer their students the option of undertaking their coursework in high-demand degree programs online. However, online offerings will no longer be the competitive advantage they are today.

This unprecedented competition and the availability of many high-quality, low-priced options will have caused the tuition bubble to burst and the cost of attending college to tumble, putting even greater pressure on institutional budgets.

While the relative cost of instruction will have declined due to increased scale, the incomes of many professors providing online instruction will have risen sharply.  Some of these professors will have become the free agents of academe, with their courses widely accepted at both public and private universities around the world.

 

 

TheNextGenerationUniversity-May2013

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Excerpt:

As the nation struggles to find new ways to increase college access and completion rates while lowering costs, a handful of “Next Generation Universities” are embracing key strategies that make them models for national reform. The report The Next Generation University comes at a time when too many public universities are failing to respond to the nation’s higher education crisis. Rather than expanding enrollment and focusing limited dollars on the neediest of students, many institutions are instead restricting enrollments and encouraging the use of student-aid dollars on merit awards. But, according to the report, some schools are breaking the mold by boldly restructuring operating costs and creating clear, accelerated pathways for students.

Download the full report here.

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In addition to the report, see:

 

Also see:

  • What happens when 2 colleges become one — from chronicle.com by Ricardo Azziz
    Excerpt:
    Earlier this year, Moody’s Investors Service released its annual assessment of higher education in the United States, a report that viewed the sector’s short-term outlook as largely negative amid growing economic pressures. The analysts, however, applauded the efforts of a few states that were trying to merge or consolidate campuses because such efforts “foster operating efficiencies and reduce costs amid declining state support.”

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.

Online education for the pros: Udemy launches corporate training tools — from venturebeat.com by Christina Farr

Excerpt:

Online course providers typically target students, but Udemy is going after an underserved group: professionals.

 


Also, from Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie – April 18, 2013
#768 – Updates on Learning, Business & Technology
55,949 Readers – www.masie.com – twitter: emasie – The MASIE Center.
Host: TeleWork 2013 – A National Forum – www.telework2013.com

1. MOOC’s & Corporate Learning?
There is a great media interest in MOOC’s – the innovations for Massive Open Online Courses – where one instructor runs a course for thousands or tens of thousands of learners.  I have been a student in three MOOC’s and a teacher/facilitator in three.  Now, we are hearing from many learning colleagues about the applicability of the MOOC to workplace learning.

I would urge TRENDS readers to approach MOOC’s as important beta/lab experiments – where important and cool innovations are emerging in the construction, delivery and economics of educational “packages”.  My experience as a MOOC learner has been exciting and mixed.  While there were over 70,000 learners in one program – very few made it to the end of the program – and fewer were fully successful from a competency point of view.  It was exciting to see how learners could be co-designers of the program and many resources were developed and disseminated from the learners.  Finally, there were mixed models of how well the social/collaborative side of the MOOC’s worked.

As a teacher – I struggled with the format shifts reflected by MOOC’s. Were the assignments suggestions or could I predict a level of engagement of the learners.  Was the content that was posted by learners legal – some added video that wasn’t within their IP ownership.  And, the issue of fees were also interesting. A free MOOC will get high starts but perhaps high drop offs.  When fees were added, did that take away the “open” label.  It is also interesting to see colleges and universities that have never made a profit on classroom offerings think they will generate good margins by adding MOOC’s to their offerings.

It is early and really too early to predict how MOOC’s might evolve within the corporate world.  I have been advocating that we take each of the letters as distinct areas for innovation:

– M: Massive dissemination of content
– O: Open content and content reuse along with curation by learners.
– O: Online resources added to both 1 mode and mixed/blended mode delivery.
– C: Course? Perhaps the MOOC might become a MOOP (Program) or MOOA (Assets)

And, is there a Competency check assumed in a MOOC – as well as certification or even college credit?

MOOC’s are important innovations.  Now, we need to label them as Lab or Beta tests – and gather evidence as we experiment with the use of all or some of MOOC’s elements in corporate settings.  We will be experimenting with the MOOC as a corporate model in an upcoming Learning LAB of our Learning CONSORTIUM.  Interested in hearing from TRENDS readers exploring MOOC’s in our world.

 


The College of 2020
If #HigherEd stays way it is, w/ 19th century style lectures, w/in 10 years Google U. and Walt Disney U. to take it over – Wim Westera


 

Addendum on 4/19/13:

Bridging the Skills Gap — from trainingmag.com by Lorri Freifeld
Employers want certain skills. Employees don’t have them. Why? And what can organizations and Training, employees, and the educational system do to eliminate the disconnect?

Excerpt:

With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering around 8 percent and millions of people desperately looking for jobs, why are many employers claiming they can’t fill their vacant positions?

The answer: A skills gap that threatens the sustainability of businesses around the world. And while a big part of the skills gap is a shortage of people skilled in the STEM (science, technology, education, and math) industries, there also is a gap in soft skills such as communication and advanced leadership skills.

What is causing these skills gaps? What can—and should—employers and their Training departments, employees, and the education system be doing differently? This first article in a five-part series will address these questions. Subsequent articles will explore how corporate partnerships with colleges and universities can help bridge the divide (May/June), how to motivate employees to take advantage of skills gap training and eliminate any sense of promotion entitlement (July/August), how technology can help (September/October), and additional potential solutions and strategies for success (November/December).

 

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From DSC:
We had better start talking STEAM not STEM from here on out (i.e. add the ARTS!).  You can’t get creative thinkers without fostering some creativity.

 

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