Some books are difficult to summarize. Platform Revolution is one such book because its descriptive content requires more. To follow up on my initial overview, I’ll provide a more detailed summary in this commentary and part III of the key platform attributes described by authors Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary.
Business of Education
Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You
Most people have heard of Uber, Airbnb, Amazon and PayPal. The growth and success of these companies and others stem from a technology-based business model that connects people and resources in an interactive ecosystem that creates and exchanges value while disrupting traditional businesses. That model is a platform and successful companies that utilize its power are transforming business, the economy and society.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Bharat Anand compares the success of media company Schibsted’s digital transformation (from text-heavy to picture-intensive, from careful editing to rapid publishing, and from daily publishing to real-time updating) to that of The Economist. The latter doubled its print circulation from 2000-2015 while integrating its digital and print content, without changing the speed and manner in which digital offerings were updated.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges’ (CCJC) president, Barbara Beno, was placed on administrative leave for six months up to her scheduled retirement. The leave begins 30 days before the Commission is scheduled to make its final decision on accrediting the City College of San Francisco (CCSF). Her removal also precedes the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) decision whether to revoke CCJC’s ability to accredit two-year colleges, scheduled to follow CCJC’s meeting to determine the fate of CCSF.
Reuters wrote about how a Chinese company, Dipont, bought access to admissions officers at elite U.S. colleges and universities including Vanderbilt, Tulane, the University of Virginia, and Wellesley College. Eight former Dipont employees were interviewed about the company’s practices with U.S. admissions officers. One of those practices, hosting a summer program in China and inviting U.S.
The Presidents’ Forum, established in 2004, is a collaboration of accredited, national, adult-serving institutions and programs that have embraced the power and potential of online education. The Forum provides a venue for leaders in higher education and stakeholders to share their knowledge and learn from others’ best practices. It was originally affiliated with Excelsior College and Excelsior’s president, John Ebersole, deserves credit for organizing and supporting it in its early years (note: I currently serve as Forum vice chair and APUS has supported the Forum for years).
‘THE END OF COLLEGE: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere’ by Kevin Carey
The best non-fiction tells a story rather than provides an analytical narrative. Kevin Carey’s new book, The End of College, weaves a compelling story about innovations in information technology that will disrupt the meritocracy of elite colleges and universities and enable low-cost education for hundreds of millions of people worldwide: “The University of Everywhere.”
Instead of attending traditional institutions, students will access books, lecture videos, and digital learning environments through the Internet.