Technology and education has been a personal interest for nearly 25 years. As a board member of McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, I was part of an ad-hoc committee to recruit a technology director in the early 1990s to spearhead the utilization and standardization of personal and faculty computers, classroom projectors, learning management systems, etc.
(keynote delivered at the Distance Learning Administration Conference on June 5, 2013)
I began writing this speech nearly three months ago. A week and a half ago, I wrapped it up and thought I had better run through it one last time in case any new educational technology had been released that I needed to discuss today.
I had the pleasure of attending last week’s Education Innovation Summit 2013 in Phoenix. Co-sponsored by Arizona State University (ASU) and GSV Advisors, this year’s event was the fourth and the largest by far. Because of my role in online education at American Public University System (APUS), I have been a member of the ASU/GSV advisory board and have attended all four conferences.
As an alumnus of the doctoral program in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (GSE), I attended Penn GSE’s recent conference entitled “Innovation in an Era of Disruptive Change.” Conference attendees and alums of the grad school heard Dr. Jack Wilson, President Emeritus of the University of Massachusetts, discuss his topic “Evolution or Revolution: Everyone Wants Universities to Change but Exactly How is Not so Clear.”
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.
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.
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.