But one highly ranked program, at Georgia Tech, has taken a very different approach. Its master’s in computer science costs less than one-eighth as much as its most expensive rival — if you learn online. And a new study by Harvard economists found that in creating the program, Georgia Tech may have discovered a whole new market for higher education, one that could change the way we think about the problem of college costs.
Almost all U.S. colleges and universities now award certificates, digital badges and other forms of microcredentials. Driving this fast-growing trend are workforce millennials who want to learn, for instance, how to operate an Amazon delivery drone or repair a self-driving car without having to earn another degree.
“I think there are simply some people within this administration who are opposed to the concept of the private sector being involved in the delivery of education at any level and they want to dramatically reduce or eliminate the sector’s existence,” said Steve Gunderson, CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, which represents the for-profit education industry.
Looking for safe spaces on campus or trigger warnings on a syllabus? Incoming students at the University of Chicago have been warned they won't find either in Hyde Park. They all received a letter recently from John Ellison, dean of students, which went beyond the usual platitudes of such letters and made several points about what he called one of Chicago's "defining characteristics," which he said was "our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression." Ellison said civility and respect are "vital to all of us," and people should never be harassed. But he added, "You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort."
Going to college just got a little bit less expensive for students at Wytheville Community College (WCC). WCC now offers students significant savings by providing classes this fall that do not require them to buy books or supplemental course materials. This cost-saving measure is possible through WCC’s use of open educational resources in several selected courses.
Eight colleges will team with companies that run computer coding boot camps or online courses for an experiment that lets students pay for nontraditional training programs with federal grants and loans.
“We teach evidence-based medicine all the time,” William Jeffries, senior associate dean for medical education at UVM, said in an interview. “If you have the evidence to show one treatment is better than the other, you would naturally use that treatment. So if we know that there are methods superior to lecturing, why are we lecturing at all?”
Following the National Collegiate Athletic Association's lead, the Atlantic Coast Conference -- one of the major Power Five college sports leagues -- will move its athletic championships from North Carolina, due to state laws there that many say discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people.
Students tend to want flexible class schedules – evening, weekend, and online classes so they can graduate in a reasonable time frame – and credit for previous experience, whether they earned it inside or outside the classroom. Returning students want an easy way to transfer their previously-earned credits. Some have already worked in their chosen field of study, and want credit for their on-the-job knowledge. A seasoned bookkeeper, for example, may deserve a chance to test out of Accounting 101.
Jeff Selingo: Recently, as part of a report on the decade ahead for higher education that I authored for the Chronicle of Higher Education, I laid out five potential scenarios for the faculty of the future at colleges and universities:
Almost all U.S. colleges and universities now award certificates, digital badges and other forms of microcredentials so students can quickly show an employer specialized skills they’ve acquired.
Driving this fast-growing trend are workforce millennials who want to learn, for instance, how to operate an Amazon delivery drone or repair a self-driving car without having to earn another degree, says James Fong, director of the Center for Research and Marketing Strategy at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.
A generation immersed in social media, millennials are also drawn to the gamified aspect of collecting and displaying digital badges, says Fong, who recently completed a study on the growing influence of microcredentials in higher ed.
If Congress wanted to make an actual difference regarding the rising cost of college, and to give universities and colleges a fighting chance to solve this problem, it would strip from the Higher Education Act the requirement that colleges publish a “tuition” number. The figure is as good as useless now.
Colleges should instead publish five numbers: how much they spend each year on educating each student; the range a family is expected to contribute to that expense, from zero to a maximum; how much a family contributes on average; the range of what a college itself will contribute for each student; and how much the college contributes on average to the total expense for each student.
With increasing urgency, today’s colleges are being asked—by business, government and the nonprofit field—to impart so-called “21st century skills” of communication, collaboration, problem-solving and creativity to their students.
What’s often missing from the list is leadership, which galvanizes these other skills and equips students to make informed decisions, take meaningful action, and develop pathways to accomplish goals large and small.
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