College Degrees Are Both Too Long And Too Short

Forbes, MAY 26 2020

Brandon Busteed argues that current college degrees are both too long for students looking for an effective pathway into a job and too short to make a lasting impact throughout an individual’s career. He argues that with roughly 4-out-of-10 bachelor’s degree seeking students never completing their degree, we should shift to a model of an ‘evergreen degree’. This ‘evergreen’ model requires continual, lasting and more evenly spread education that does not abruptly end after a couple of years of concentrated study. Busteed states that the biggest problem with degrees is that they are ‘terminal’. He writes, ‘We need to shift from graduating to gradually learning.’

'Students like the flexibility': why online universities are here to stay

The Guardian, MAY 27 2020

Lauren Razavi reports on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on traditional UK universities. She forecasts that it will force them to move away from the “boarding school” model of higher education and towards the model of universities such as Southern New Hampshire University in the US, where online learning enabled it to slash its tuition fees by 61%. She points to this trend beginning in the UK with a consortium of 10 universities led by Coventry being recently awarded £3.7m to develop partly online postgraduate conversion courses in artificial intelligence and data science.

The Value of Higher Ed Access

Inside Higher Ed, MAY 26 2020

Inside Higher Ed report on a recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research that quantifies the economic value of a four-year degree in the state of Georgia. During the current pandemic, where higher education’s financial value to students is placed under increased scrutiny, this paper trumpets a resoundingly positive message for HE institutions. “The marginal student’s enrollment in public four-year university is a break-even proposition 10 years after initial enrollment and has a net present value of nearly $100,000 after 20 years and over $150,000 after 30 years,” the paper states.

Remember the MOOCs? After Near-Death, They’re Booming

New York Times, MAY 26 2020

Steve Lohr reports on the recent success of MOOCs’ (Massive open online courses). He states that after they entered stutteringly into the world of higher education ten years ago, MOOCs have now learned hard-earned lessons for what works and what doesn’t with online education. Lohr states that one provider of these online courses, Coursera, have added 10 million new users from mid-March to mid-May, seven times the pace of new sign-ups in the previous year.

Will Higher Ed’s ‘Culture’ Help Colleges Navigate Their Future? Or Make It Tougher?

The Chronicle of Higher Education, MAY 26 2020

Goldie Blumenstyk weighs up whether higher education’s ‘culture’ will help or hinder a college’s ability to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. She points to the deep dedication of faculty members to the needs of students as an unquantifiable bonus. However, she similarly points to colleges’ tendency to compete with one another in a way that drives up costs and their reverence of process over action.

Want more? Check out our previous digest on higher ed highlights, here.