You can’t read a recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education or Inside Higher Ed without seeing an article discussing the disruption that technology or MOOCs (Massively Open Online Course) are having or will have on the higher education sector. Because of the publicity, I receive questions from colleagues at conferences and other events asking me for my opinion about the potential for higher education disruption, the roadmap that it will take, and who will survive.
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.
I have read three articles in the last three days about alternatives to earning a college degree, primarily through certification of one kind or another.
The first article, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, discusses the concept of “badges” that are awarded by various websites, training companies, individuals, etc. The concept is that the badge is relatively easy to earn (to keep the learner motivated and engaged) and indicates that they have achieved a certain skill level or learning competency.
Rich DeMillo has a lengthy background in academia serving as a professor at four different universities, Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech College of Computing, Director of the Computer and Computation Research Division of the National Science Foundation, and was Hewlett Packard’s first Chief Technology Officer. His latest book, Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities, developed from a five page memo that he planned to send to his colleagues about what was wrong at his university then evolved to a whitepaper in which he solicited the advice of friends and colleagues, and eventually to a book.
I read an article in the October 15, 2011 issue of The Economist entitled “Trouble in the Middle.” The article begins by stating that interest in MBA programs at American business schools peaked in 2009 and applications have fallen since then. The author states that some business schools are worried that the trend is related to more than just a slow recovering economy, but in fact a greater change.
When I read Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, I enjoyed Clayton Christensen and his co-authors’ application of the potential of disruptive innovations to the K-12 classroom. As a result, I looked forward to reading his new book, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out.