The "Do It Yourself" University (DIYU) movement, discussed here last month, has gained the support of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose MITx program began teaching students yesterday. Very likely this was the sort of thing that Kevin Carey had in mind, as he commented on in MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency (The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2012). From all accounts, and there are many, MITx is expected to be only the first of many schools to enter this new category of for-profit schools or extensions offering credentials (or "badges") to students, often in lieu of a traditional college degree. Will this level the playing field for student "consumers" of higher education? Or is it another method that the increasingly privatized higher education marketplace will use to capture student dollars? Only time will tell, but I rather agree with Carey that this is going to be an increasingly important part of the market and real competition to for-profit institutions like those profiled in College, Inc.
There are a number of articles online for those who want to learn more, including one in yesterday's New York Times:
- Beyond the College Degree: Online Education Badges by Tamar Lewin (NY Times)
- MIT’s Online Threat to the Higher Education Cartel by Bob Adelman (The New American)
- MITx Opens Enrollment for First Interactive Online Course; Pilot Certificates Will Be Free by Marc Perry (Chronicle)
- MIT’s New Free Courses May Threaten (and Improve) the Traditional Model, Program’s Leader Says by Jeffrey Young (Chronicle)
- 'Badges' Earned Online Pose Challenge to Traditional College Diplomas by Jeffrey Young (Chronicle)