|Posted on October 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM|
I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year—not just Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle but also links provided by the Lumina Foundation’s daily e-mail, which is great for getting a handle on what the world outside higher education is thinking. In case you don’t have time to keep up on all this (and who does these days?), here are some of the big ideas I’m seeing:
• Don’t build any more lecture halls. Whatever is presented in a lecture can be presented online, and probably better, with interactive engagement. Then face-to-face class time can be used for more interaction and deepening understanding and skill development. The buzz word for all this is “flipped classroom.”
• The push to compare tuition against post-degree salary isn’t going away. Will it further devalue work in the arts and social services, pushing students away from considering careers in these fields? Will most colleges eventually offer only degrees that are both cheap to offer and well-paying resulting in, say, a surplus of forensic accountants but a shortage of forensic nurses?
• The push to move more courses online isn’t going away either. Will it leave students with an out-of-balance set of skills? Every student needs skills in teamwork, leadership, and making an effective face-to-face oral presentation before a group—skills that are hard to develop in an online environment. Also high on employers’ lists are creative, innovative thinking—challenging though not impossible to teach online.
• The push to move more programs completely online also isn’t going away. Will this price those programs that require face-to-face interaction or hands-on work out of reach of most students? Yes, many business, technology, and social science programs can be offered online, but what about teaching? nursing? social work? chemistry? environmental biology? mechanical engineering? musicians? hospitality management? theater professionals? Will the required face-to-face, studio, and laboratory experiences push the costs of these programs out of reach of most students, leading to shortages of well-prepared professionals in these disciplines?