3rd open discussion with sMOOChers about our shared experience in the MOOC Current/Future State of Higher Education, and our recommendations, insights, concerns based on work with other MOOCs.
Previous attempts to factor technology into productivity measures for education dating back to the late ‘80’s did not anticipate or capture the accessibility and convenience the Internet-era has now established. What was then an additional and mostly selective and decentralized expense has now become a ubiquitous and more centrally managed part of organizational infrastructure.
One of the primary reasons why we need to improve productivity through reduced cost is to maintain affordability. Student debt is a huge problem especially when loan figures are combined with the reduction in relating educational preparation to career choices.
Another concern is diminished public support for higher education. There is a rising tide of anger and resentment. And, in the case of public institutions, political pressure to do more with less and in visible ways. We need to reduce cost and regain the public trust or we will see more movement to the for-profit sector.
Bowen suggests that the real challenges are organizational requiring a re-engineering of what we do. He suggests that academic freedom does not necessarily include control of methods of teaching.
He also believes we need new mindsets and models of decision making and a review of who decides what. He wonders whether a shared governance model is appropriate to the digital age and whether a centralized calibration of benefits/costs is necessary to look explicitly for ways to control costs.
Finally, he stressed the need for cooperation and collaboration between institutions across the educational spectrum. The “every tub on its own bottom” approach that reflects traditional America’s commitment to individual achievement is not going to get us where we need to be in our new, interconnected world.