Why the Time is Ripe to Disrupt Higher Education

A second generation of online educational opportunities is beginning to revolutionize higher education in ways sorely needed, argues the Economist.

What's the Latest?

A second generation of online educational opportunities is beginning to revolutionize higher education in ways sorely needed, argues the Economist. Originally called Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, the movement of lecture-style courses on topics like electrical engineering and artificial intelligence failed to realize its immediate promise. But now one online-ed provider, Udacity, is working with AT&T and Georgia Tech to offer an online master's degree in computing, at less than a third of the cost of the traditional version. "Harvard Business School will soon offer an online 'pre-MBA' for $1,500. Starbucks has offered to help pay for its staff to take online degrees with Arizona State University."

What's the Big Idea?

The ballooning cost of college plus the pace of technological innovation has ripened the time for innovating higher education. In the US, government funding per college students fell 27% from 2007 to 2012 while the cost of tuition fees, adjusted for inflation, rose 20% simultaneously. The labor market has also changed, requiring serious mid-career efforts at continuing education. "According to a study from Oxford University, 47% of occupations are at risk of being automated in the next few decades. As innovation wipes out some jobs and changes others, people will need to top up their human capital throughout their lives."

Read more at the Economist

Photo credit: Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock

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