Soon, the recession will end and the aftermath will demonstrate that the place of higher education in a global economy will be different. Higher education must stake out its turf, add value, differentiate and admit that external forces washing over it represent unprecedented opportunity.
The key opportunity for institutions is to take the concepts developed by the MOOC experiment to date and use them to improve the quality of their face-to-face and online provision, and to open up access to higher education. Most importantly, the understanding gained should be used to inform diversification strategies including the development of new business models and pedagogic approaches that take full advantage of digital technologies.
Beyond MOOCs Sustainable Online Learning in Institutions (PDF)
Leaders of California’s three state higher education systems met this week with Gov. Jerry Brown to pledge cooperation, especially in helping community college students transfer to state universities, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The AAC&U is working to redesign general education pathways, which it says are becoming obsolete and need to be better grounded in learning outcomes, or competencies. With a $2.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Association of American Colleges and Universities is leading the ambitious effort. The goal is to “develop a portable and competency-based framework for general education,” the association said in this written statement. The General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs) project began last month. It will focus on both online and in-person academic programs.
The point of higher education policy should be to make it easier and more affordable for good teachers to teach, willing students to learn, the economy to grow, and civil society to flourish.
Alberto Acereda, Ph.D.'s insight:
The idea is to allow the states to create their own accreditation bodies in addition to the federal one, which, crucially, would not be limited to degree granting programs. Instead, these could accredit any courses they deem fit be they MOOCs, corporate training courses, or even knowledge certification tests.
One of the topics that administration officials have focused on in planning meetings with college presidents -- and have discussed publicly -- is the issue of undermatching: a phenomenon education researchers have said occurs when high-achieving low-income students fail to apply to or enroll in the college to which they are best-suited.
The last several years have seen much white water in higher education. The currents of change have propelled the sector toward, or onto, one rock after another. This year offers no prospect for relief.
Electronic portfolios may help academic officers plug gaps in their programs, advisers guide students to a degree, and graduates find employment, but at a daylong conference on the increasingly popular tool, presenters urged their audiences not to get caught up in the hype.
The studies on MOOC users concur: students come to MOOCs not as replacements for college, but as supplements. The average MOOC user is more likely to work from an office desk than a classroom desk. Many of the colleges that extend transfer credits for MOOCs have seen a tepid reception. Traditional students who participate in MOOCs see them as complements to their classrooms--as do most of the professors who've incorporated MOOCs into their syllabi.
On weekend mornings all this winter, anxious high school juniors and seniors will be filing into school cafeterias to sweat through the SAT, ACT, and similar college entrance examinations as stern-looking proctors hover over them.
by Isabel Bloedwater After a couple of years basking in the spotlight the tide seems to have turned in MOOCland and we seem to be heading for the dreaded trough of disillusionment (now that's what I call a metaphor-rich opening!
The University of Texas System just unveiled an ambitious data tool that gives current and prospective students a wealth of information about how recent graduates like them have fared in the job market.
For MOOCs to work, a couple of things need to happen. First, MOOC providers must figure out how they can package their products for credential-granting institutions. In turn, a given institution must determine how, where -- and if -- MOOCs fit into an institution's general competitive advantage. That will depend on the nature of the institution. A top-tiered research institution employing renowned faculty of its own would probably have no place for MOOCs. In fact, such institutions are the very ones exporting their products to institutions on lower tiers of the higher education hierarchy.
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