Edtech’s Betty Crocker Moment

Betty Crocker introduced its cake mixes in the 1950s. The mixes made the process of baking cakes less prone to failure. Faster too. For many, especially over-burdened women working at home, this was a huge leap forward. But the cake mixes didn’t sell especially well. So, using market research and input from psychologists, the decision was made to design the…

Notes on Internet Economics and Online Higher Ed

:: The second piece of the series, “Internet Economics” can be found here: Scale, Economies of Scale and Online Higher Education.  The third piece of the series, “Internet Economics”, can be found here: The Network Effect and Online Higher Education.   :: It’s not often you hear a reference to the “economics of the internet” at conferences held on…

Notes: The Network Effect and Online Higher Education

:: Most people are familiar with economies of scale, which we discussed in a recent post. The Network Effect, sometimes called “Metcalfe’s Law”, is less well-known, but equally relevant if we want to understand how the unique economics of the Internet are influencing higher education. Economies of scale is concerned with the impact of increases…

Scale, Economies of Scale and Online Higher Education

:: The first piece from the series, Internet Economics”, can be found here: Internet Economics and Online Higher Education.  The third piece from the series, Internet Economics”, can be found here: The Network Effect and Online Higher Education.  :: The “iron triangle” of cost, quality and access in higher education has seemed, at times, unbreakable….

Online Learning at VSU: An Interview with Art Fridrich

Art Fridrich is the first Director of Distance Education at Virginia State University, where he’s charged with bringing courses and programs from the classroom to the online environment. Art also works with faculty members to change the in-class experience for students. Prior to his role at VSU, he spent over 30 years in higher education as a consultant, administrator and technologist with over 70 colleges and universities in the US and abroad.

The Trajectories of the Fourth Estate and Instructional Media

But the comparison to the music and news industries tends to understate the degree to which individual learners are restricted from seeking out and assembling educational experiences according to their own criteria. Whereas consumers of music and journalism are free to make up their own minds as to what constitutes good value, what constitutes “educated” is defined by social conventions, regulatory and loan systems, and, of course, employers. Determinations of what constitutes good value in education can’t be made unilaterally. New and more flexible forms of credentials will continue to become more widely accepted, but the processes of disintermediation and unbundling will unfold far more slowly than in other sectors.

Transparency, Instructional Content, and Competition

Then . . . MOOCs happened. Suddenly, this public demonstration of an institution’s instructional practices became front page news. Not merely local news or industry news (e.g. The Chronicle), but the New York Times, The Guardian, and The Atlantic. Now university presidents paid attention. They recognized that MOOCs could be one of the most potent forms of marketing for their institutions — for better or for worse. While they may not have shown much interest in online learning previously, Presidents of elite universities moved quickly to take part in this “me-too” public relations strategy. The investments made in these courses climbed quickly. Videographers, make-up artists, lighting crews and even actors started receiving invitations to the campus to help create a professional look and feel.

The Structuring of Debate: Notes on Higher Education

There is no end to the topics worth debating: rising costs in higher education (and who’s to blame), identity politics, the “adjunctification” of academic labor, and rising calls for accountability, to name but a few. The role of educational technology is now a frequent focus.

Institutional “Fit” and Educational Technology

As more opportunities and solutions get thrust in front of academic leaders, they need to combine an understanding of instructional value with a sensitivity towards how these different opportunities will or won’t succeed within the institutional setting.

University Rankings & Instructional Quality in Online Higher Ed

Great moments like these in the history of university rankings underscore the importance of an institution’s overall reputation on everything it does, what Brewer et al refer to as the “halo effect”. But it also points to the emphasis placed on research productivity: high-ranking institutions are those with faculty who have won the most rewards and captured the greatest volume of external research funds.

The End of College: Q&A with Kevin Carey

Kevin Carey is an American higher education writer and policy analyst. He is serving as Director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan research organization based in Washington, D.C. We asked Kevin about his recent, provocative book, The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere….

University of the People as Disruptive Innovation

Founded in 2009, University of the People (“UoPeople”) holds the distinction of being the first tuition-free, non-profit online university. To date, UoPeople has admitted more than 2000 students from over 150 countries, including the Sudan, Indonesia, and Haiti. Students enrol in either Business or Computer Science, for Associates or Bachelor’s programs. Most of the academic labour is supplied by volunteers, for…