From The NY Times, Via Via Media: ‘California Bill Seeks Campus Credit for Online Study’

Full piece here.

Mead’s piece here.

What is the purpose of waiting around for a semester or two to get the one class you need, or sitting in a lecture hall with over a few hundred other students, or having to drive after work and sit in traffic to attend a night class…when you can get the same credit another way?

California is trying to address the problem:

‘The new legislation would use that panel to determine which 50 introductory courses were most oversubscribed and which online versions of those courses should be eligible for credit. Those decisions would be based on factors like whether the courses included proctored tests, used open-source texts — those available free online — and had been recommended by the American Council on Education. A student could get credit from a third-party course only if the course was full at the student’s home institution, and if that institution did not offer it online.

Despite the element of faculty control that would be built into the process, it is not likely to sit well with faculty.

“I think it’s going to be very controversial,” said Josh Jarrett, a higher education officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which finances research on online education. “The decision to award credit has been one of those solemn things that the faculty hold very dear. But it could be a catalyst for widespread change, driving community colleges where they turn away a lot of students to move quickly to put more of their own courses online, and charge tuition, to keep their students from taking the courses elsewhere.”

There is often a guild mentality amongst professors and teachers, who take the transmission of knowledge seriously as they ought to.  There are standards to maintain, and a free spirit of inquiry and rigor to follow and impart.  It’s one of the core missions of academia.

In this case, though, responding to market signals, the needs of students, and adapting to new technology will advance the core educational mission if done right.

California leading the way again?  Because they have to?

uploaded by mattbucher


Analagous to old media? What to change and what to keepFrom The Arnoldian Project: ‘Architecture, Campus, And Learning To Become’

Should you get a college degree, probably, but you also probably shouldn’t lose sight of why you’re going and divorce yourself entirely from the cost:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.
Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.  He has a big vision with some holes in it, but it’s one that embraces change boldly.