2017 Milken – Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

The eighth annual University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) Education Business Plan Competition, co-sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation, was held on campus on April 25. As a Penn GSE graduate, I have been involved with the competition as an early- or finals-round judge since its inception, and APUS has sponsored a major $20,000 Venture Path prize for the past six years.

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Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future

In Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, and Jeff Howe, assistant professor and founding director of the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University, accurately describe the state-of-the-art in technology  through nine organizing principles whereby adaptive individuals and organizations can respond to ever-accelerating technology advancements.  In the introduction, the authors write, “our technologies have outpaced our ability as a society to understand them [and] now we need to catch up.”  They note that the principles are not intended to be rules or laws, but rather complementary, unranked guidelines for achieving this goal.

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In Defense of Colleges Granting Admissions Preference to Alumni Children

An opinion piece by Jeff Selingo last week in the Washington Post criticized colleges giving preference to alumni children. Let’s start with the irony of that criticism*. If a non-elite, non-selective college gave preferential admission to a child of an alumnus, no one would object. After all, non-selective schools admit nearly everyone. While the Post didn’t reference “elite” in the headline, the colleges cited include UVA, Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Princeton, most of which accept 10% or fewer of their applicants.

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The Tipping Point in Distance Education May Be Closer Than You Think

Over my past 15 years in online higher education, most related industry research came from the Sloan Consortium (now Online Learning Consortium, or OLC). Many higher education institutions did not offer online courses earlier on and many whose experience was limited to traditional classroom instruction were skeptical of the new format. As a result, OLC surveyed provosts annually to monitor changing perceptions of online education.

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The Tipping Point in Distance Education May Be Closer Than You Think

Over my past 15 years in online higher education, most related industry research came from the Sloan Consortium (now Online Learning Consortium, or OLC). Many higher education institutions did not offer online courses earlier on and many whose experience was limited to traditional classroom instruction were skeptical of the new format. As a result, OLC surveyed provosts annually to monitor changing perceptions of online education.

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Artificial Intelligence – Choosing to be a Victim or a Victor

Last week, serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban created a stir with his statement at the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference that the world’s first trillionaire will be someone who masters artificial intelligence (AI). In the past, Cuban has been an avowed proponent of the value of a liberal arts degree for its ability to teach critical thinking. However, at SXSW, he advocated the study of computer science, stating, “Whatever you are studying right now, if you are not getting up to speed on deep learning, neural networks, etc., you lose."

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Lifelong Learning

The January 14-20, 2017 issue of The Economist includes a special report on the topic of lifelong learning.  The writers note that lifelong learning today mainly benefits high achievers and likely leads to increased inequality.  The classic model of education that provides many years of learning during youth, supplemented by training at work, is breaking down.  In fact, on-the-job training in the U.S. is shrinking, and more and more people doubt that a four-year degree is worth the cost.  During the 19th and 20th centuries, countries worldwide saw major improvements in education. The Economist argues that we should seek similar breakthroughs today.

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