Monday, January 28, 2013

More Cheers for MOOCs

In "Revolution Hits the Universities" (The New York Times, January 26, 2013), Thomas Friedman joins the rising tide of voices cheering on MOOCs as the best hope for a better future in higher education.  As he concludes his piece:
I can see a day soon where you’ll create your own college degree by taking the best online courses from the best professors from around the world — some computing from Stanford, some entrepreneurship from Wharton, some ethics from Brandeis, some literature from Edinburgh — paying only the nominal fee for the certificates of completion. It will change teaching, learning and the pathway to employment.
A lot has to happen before that comes to pass, but it certainly fits with the positive view espoused by Amanda Ripley in her TIME Magazine piece, "College Is Dead.  Long Live College!" that we will discuss on Tuesday.

Oversupply of College Grads?

There has been an ongoing debate among economists that the rise in college graduates (and continued government policies pushing for more college grads in coming years) has cheapened a four-year degree by the simple economics of supply and demand.  In "The College Grad / Employment Mismatch" (Inside Higher Ed., January 28th, 2013), Doug Lederman sums up the debate and offers some interesting facts for both sides: for while the number of jobs requiring a college degree have not increased, the pay rate for many jobs that do not necessarily require a B.A. is higher for college grads.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Fiscal Risks of College Sports

Though Rutgers has done brilliantly well this year in making their move to the Big Ten conference, which should eventually bring their sports programs to a self-supporting level after decades in the red, it is good to be reminded that for most schools the investment in college sports is unlikely to pay off.  In fact, it is likely to be a costly mistake.  That is the message of Bill Pennington's "Big Dream, Rude Awakening" (NY Times, December 29, 2012) which uses the struggles of UMass to create a big time football program as a jumping off point for discussing the risks associated with investing in college sports.  Worthwhile reading.