Higher ed is due for creative destruction

Higher education is due for some creative destruction. Professors will resist, but online education will transform postsecondary ed, leaving only the most elite colleges and universities relatively untouched.

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  1. Mark Roulo says:

    From the article: “Employers will not care about which university issued a job applicants’ degree, unless it’s one of the 50 most elite colleges. Instead, they’ll examine the coursework.


    “examining the coursework” for a bunch of applicants is very time consuming. Which is why companies do not do it today. The company for which I work uses degree, institution and GPA as a very rough screen, then looks at the candidates who survive the screen in more detail. I don’t see this changing in the future. Because a detailed look at 100s of candidates is too time consuming. This is, in fact, one reason that GPA are used to screen applicants rather than UC Santa Cruz’s old “no grades, long essays from the teachers” approach. With 100 candidates, I need some way to roughly rank or bin them. GPA is a (crude) way to do this.


    And … using the US News rankings, the bottom end of the “top 50” include places like University of Texas (Austin), UIUC, and University of Washington. Not making the cut are places like Pepperdine, Colorado School of Mines, and UCSC. I have a hard time believing that a degree from UCSC will mean no more than a degree from, say, Cal State Bakersfield. Maybe in a *LONG* time, but not in the near future.


    So … no, I don’t think we are going to get there for a while. The hiring managers are not going to cooperate and lots of students are still going to college to get a job rather than for personal fulfillment.

    • I suggest that it’s not that hard to imagine an app that can take an online credential, and put it into some sort of GPA comparison. The algorithm couldn’t be that challenging, and it’s a lot easier to judge a MOOC’s certificate than compare Podunk U to Yale.

  2. As I’ve pointed out before, the impact of easily-accessible and very affordable college level classes can’t help but have an impact on K-12.

    At the very least it’ll be tough for charters to turn up their noses at MOOC-based classes offered by the likes of Georgia Tech and many, once the light goes on, will make an effort to hook up kids with such offerings. After all, charters are in the education business and the better service they can offer their customers the eagerly will prospective customers seek them out.

    It’ll be interesting to see what schools look like in the distant future. “Distant future”, in this context, referring to “internet years” which I figure is about three of the regular sort.