Skip to main content

The Fiscal Cliff for Higher Education - Next - The Chronicle of Higher Education

This column offers solutions with which I disagree, but it is thought-provoking.
The Fiscal Cliff for Higher Education - Next - The Chronicle of Higher Education: Moody’s notes that the number of students accepting admissions offers from colleges that the agency rates has been dropping at a fast clip since 2008. That comes even as those institutions are spending more to enroll those students. The trend, Moody’s said, is particularly serious at the lower-rated private colleges, “which are increasingly competing with lower-cost public colleges and feeling the most pressure to slow tuition increases and offer more tuition discounting.”
What bothers me is that online education is viewed as the savior of struggling campuses, not for pedagogical reasons but because online courses can generate revenue.
Southern New Hampshire could easily have been one of the many struggling small private colleges in the Northeast, but... it has transformed itself into a test-bed for ideas on the future of higher education, and in the process, has bolstered its bottom line. A highly successful online operation for working adults subsidizes a traditional residential undergraduate college for 18-year-olds
Or, as the article suggest, online will be used to out-source general education. Once you outsource any part of the experience, how can you justify the “brand” of any college or university?
There has been a lot of talk about how fragmented, simplified services on the Internet could replace the less tangible aspects that define the college experience. The best example of this are the commodity intro-level courses taught at nearly every college that could be supplemented or have the lectures largely replaced by online courses offered by some of the best institutions and instructors online. There are plenty of other examples of companies in Silicon Valley looking to take a piece of what traditional colleges are doing now. 
If a business outsourced its core function, eventually people (“customers”) would realize there is no value-add to the proposition. If you farm out general education, parents will start to ask if other courses are special or not. If not, why take them at your institution? Imagine the admissions office trying to explain, “Well, we don't teach basic math or composition courses, but we have great math and English departments. They just don’t teach our undergraduate core.”

I believe that we are going to see a period of consolidation and “standardization” that will reduce the lower-tier of higher education even further than it has already sunk.


Popular posts from this blog

Slowly Rebooting in 286 Mode

The lumbar radiculopathy, which sounds too much like "ridiculously" for me, hasn't faded completely. My left leg still cramps, tingles, and hurts with sharp pains. My mind remains cloudy, too, even as I stop taking painkillers for the back pain and a recent surgery.

Efforts to reboot and get back on track intellectually, physically, and emotionally are off to a slow, grinding start. It reminds me of an old 80286 PC, the infamously confused Intel CPU that wasn't sure what it was meant to be. And this was before the "SX" fiascos, which wedded 32-bit CPU cores with 16-bit connections. The 80286 was supposed to be able to multitask, but design flaws resulted in a first-generation that was useless to operating system vendors.

My back, my knees, my ankles are each making noises like those old computers.

If I haven't already lost you as a reader, the basic problem is that my mind cannot focus on one task for long without exhaustion and multitasking seems…

MarsEdit and Blogging

MarsEdit (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Mailing posts to blogs, a practice I adopted in 2005, allows a blogger like me to store copies of draft posts within email. If Blogger, WordPress, or the blogging platform of the moment crashes or for some other reason eats my posts, at least I have the original drafts of most entries. I find having such a nicely organized archive convenient — much easier than remembering to archive posts from Blogger or WordPress to my computer.

With this post, I am testing MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software based on recent reviews, including an overview on 9to5Mac.

Composing posts an email offers a fast way to prepare draft blogs, but the email does not always work well if you want to include basic formatting, images, and links to online resources. Submitting to Blogger via Apple Mail often produced complex HTML with unnecessary font and paragraph formatting styles. Problems with rich text led me to convert blog entries to plaintext in Apple Mail and then format th…

Screenwriting Applications

Screenplay sample, showing dialogue and action descriptions. "O.S."=off screen. Written in Final Draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A lot of students and aspiring writers ask me if you "must" use Final Draft or Screenwriter to write a screenplay. No. Absolutely not, unless you are working on a production. In which case, they own or your earn enough for Final Draft or Screenwriter and whatever budget/scheduling apps the production team uses.

I have to say, after trying WriterDuet I would use it in a heartbeat for a small production company and definitely for any non-profit, educational projects. No question. The only reason not to use it is that you must have the exclusive rights to a script... and I don't have those in my work.

WriterDuet is probably best free or low-cost option I have tested. It is very interesting. Blows away Celtx. The Pro version with off-line editing is cheaper than Final Draft or Screenwriter.

The Pro edition is a standalone, offline versio…