Reinventing College: Is change really coming?

“There’s a growing consensus, wrong or right, that higher education is fundamentally broken: ineffective, overpriced, out of touch.”

This quotation from The Chronicle of Higher Education sets the scene for a series of articles aimed at answering the question, “What if college were reinvented?” The buzz continues with the news announced last week that the University of Wisconsin is offering a path toward a degree based on competency rather than seat time. Additionally, there are now several consortia of highly selective universities offering free online courses. Coursera seems to be the biggest player so far with an impressive list of universities. Harvard joined forces with M.I.T. and several others to form edX. And while Coursera and edX are free, Semester Online offers courses online for credit from great schools. This of course comes with a cost.

The ideas are flooding in, and it seems to me that change is inevitable. While I do believe that there will be new ideas that have merit, I think the change will be slower than anticipated. Any radical change in higher education will most likely be met with some skepticism. On the other hand, online options and innovative degree structures from established universities will be welcomed more quickly. I recently referred a colleague to this master’s program at the University of Oregon. This combination of online and global experiences will really benefit educational leaders. And if you don’t follow Yong Zhao on twitter, you should! @YongZhaoUO

We in K-12, independent education are following the conversation closely because many of the sustainability questions are similar. We have nine people taking the online course, “Introduction to Teaching Online” through the Global Online Academy. By investing in professional development, Newman will be well poised to participate competently in the conversations about the future of schools.

In the meantime, spend some times clicking through the links above. I think you will find it all quite fascinating.


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