Two Disruptive New Precedents in Higher Education

This article will cover two new trends in higher education which may disrupt the institution of higher education in the US and elsewhere.

I cover education reform, as an institution not only as a public policy, quite often. In one article I specifically mention that MOOCs provide an new model of education with significant benefits to education efficiency. I’d like to elaborate on that including provision of hard statistics based on this article on the subject from Jose Ferreria which I found on LinkedIn. That article also has implications for the future trajectory of institutions of education. Another article, found here, also discusses yet another disruptive experimental business model for higher education.

Highlights from article Jose’s article:

  1. MOOCs have had limited ability to generate profit and therefore some MOOC providers, such as Udacity, are moving to a SPOC model. SPOC means small, private and online course. These courses are still far cheaper than traditional courses.
  2. As of 2012, all but 13.5% of higher education organizations offered online courses.
  3. 34.5% of schools offered fully online degrees in 2002. This number grew to 62.4% in 2012!
  4. The author predicts that when online degrees become the norm, even elite institutions will be comfortable producing them.
  5. There is a ton of social and commercial value in MOOCs and SPOCs even besides obtaining a degree.

The second article discusses a new and revolutionary idea by organizations of higher learning including Southern New Hampshire University, Northern Arizona University, and Western Governors University. The idea is competency based education! Can you believe it? That’s what they are calling it anyway. The model has three essential aspects:

  1. You pay a flat fee to the university for access to the university for a particular length of time, usually 3 months at a time. Cost is not based on class load.
  2. You may take unlimited competency tests for credit instead of traditional classes, theoretically possibly conferring a degree in 3 months! Ability to pass these tests justifies award of a degree rather than time spent in class.
  3. You may also take traditional classes, online classes and skill-oriented classes which are not for degree purposes as well.
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