Archive for June 22, 2012

The Worrisome Ascendance of Business in Higher Education

By William W. Keep

To be sure, higher education faces unprecedented challenges: growing competition for new populations of students at home and abroad; the opportunities, costs, and uncertainties of new technology; declining state support for public institutions; rising tuition; increasing student debt. All demand a careful look at budgets. Stagnant or declining incomes and uncertain employment prospects sharpen pressure to demonstrate what a college degree offers.

In response, some critics have called for a more businesslike approach to higher education. Why? Because colleges face the same fundamental challenges of any business: securing steady revenue streams, covering expenses, using resources well, and planning for an uncertain future.

Over recent decades, we have heard about students as customers, learned to “manage” enrollments, shared and decentralized budgets with the goal of increasing accountability, identified per-student costs per major, and generally dissected the “service” of higher education. We have learned that programs in art and music are not cost effective. Engineering and equipment-intensive courses are expensive. Even as students and parents in the United States rail against the lack of low-cost public education, those in other countries that have such systems face unprecedented tuition increases.


Conflicted: Faculty and Online Education, 2012

June 22, 2012 1 comment

By Steve Kolowich

Faculty members are far less excited by, and more fearful of, the recent growth of online education than are academic technology administrators, according to a new study by Inside Higher Ed and the Babson Survey Research Group.

But professors are hardly the luddites many still assume them to be. Nearly half of the 4,564 faculty members surveyed, three-quarters of whom are full-time professors, said the rise of online education excites them more than it frightens them. And while more than two-thirds of instructors said they believe that students currently learn less in online courses than they do in the classroom, other findings suggest that their estimation of online education quality stands to rise as the technology improves and more professors get firsthand experience with the medium.

For example, 60 percent of professors at institutions that offer online courses have recommended one to a student or advisee — a proportion that holds true even among tenured and long-serving faculty members.


Download the Report:

Webinar: 7/10/12 – See “Events” in this blog

A GPS System for Student Information Is in Development

By Tanya Roscorla

Someday all students in the U.S. — there are 80 million K-20 students today — might have access to their education records from early childhood through college thanks to an Educational Positioning System that’s being built. Similar to the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Educational Positioning System will help students and parents track achievement, possible careers and chart a course for a job.

The Lone Star College System in Texas owns the concept for this system, and the nonprofit education group IMS Global Learning Consortium is acting as the holding agent that’s providing governance, which includes standards and protocols.

The EPS has many planned benefits. One big one is continuity and ease of use. Because many of today’s students change colleges at least once, they can’t access records — outside of their transcript and diploma — after they move on, said Michael Mathews, chief strategist for innovation and entrepreneurship at Lone Star College-University Park. But if they and their parents owned their information, they could access more information in the EPS anywhere at anytime.


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