Last week, the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the Milken Family Foundation hosted the fourth annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. The competition website explains that “there is an urgent need to find ways to reach and educate every person” while also noting that “The United States is the largest exporter of education in the world, and education is our country’s fifth largest export.”
Pilot Program Forces Discussion of Online Learning, MOOCs, Student Retention, and the Future of Higher Education
Earlier this week, the California State University System (CSU) announced an online pilot program with Udacity, a for-profit provider of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses). Udacity will provide a remedial algebra course, a college level algebra course, and a statistics course as part of the pilot that will initially be limited to 300 students at San Jose State University and several local community colleges.
Ithaka S+R recently published a report funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and titled, “Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education.” I have written extensively on this blog about the economic constraints facing institutions of higher education, issues of student persistence and retention, and the litany of other issues daunting the American higher education system today.
Vincent Tinto’s research related to student retention is well known among academicians. His 1975 paper in the Review of Educational Research creating a theoretical construct of the major factors leading to student retention has been cited in hundreds, if not thousands of papers and publications. Additionally, Tinto’s sociological construct of the college dropout influenced future researchers toward examining the cause of dropouts instead of blaming the victim.