education's digital future


Some owners of private colleges turn a tidy profit by going nonprofit

After a recent government crackdown on the multibillion-dollar career-training industry, stricter limits on student aid and devastating publicity about students hobbled by debt and useless credentials, some for-profit schools simply shut down.

But a few others have moved to drop out of the for-profit business altogether, in favor of a more traditional approach to running a higher education institution.

And the nonprofit sector, it turns out, can still be quite profitable.

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Professors question traditional four-year residential college model

Oe of the greatest presumptions in U.S. higher education is that a traditional undergraduate degree, earned in four years while living on or near campus, is a good way to prepare young people to get a job and become well-rounded thinkers, at least according to Mitchell Stevens.

Stevens, a Stanford University education professor, argues that large, prestigious universities like his are too slow to adjust to changing times.

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Disrupting the college experience: Q&A with Stanford professors Mitchell Stevens and Michael Kirst

In "Remaking College: The Changing Ecology of Higher Education," (link is external) co-editors Mitchell Stevens, associate professor at Stanford Graduate School of Education, and Michael Kirst, Stanford professor emeritus, argue that Americans need to rethink their understanding of learning after high school. The dream of the four-year residential campus is not a realizable one for many, they say, and "it may not even be a good idea."

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What is College For?

My college years were spent on a hill in a small town. I was in the company of 3,000 other people – students, faculty, staff – and we were set apart. The only thing on the agenda was to continue being Gustavus Adolphus College, whatever that meant. I didn’t know who first set that agenda, and I don’t recall a lot of active reflection on what it meant. What did it mean to be a residential, liberal arts college in the Swedish Lutheran tradition? We discussed that a little bit, but mostly we just did it.

California State U. will experiment with offering credit for MOOCs

State universities in California, looking for creative ways to reduce education costs at a time of budget stress, are turning to MOOCs to offer low-cost options for students.

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10 College Courses That Didn’t Exist 20 Years Ago

Turns out, all those hours you spent in high school playing Halo 3 just might pay off — now that you can major in Video Games. Twenty years ago, no one would have dreamed of a career in the gaming arts, not to mention a B.A. in data journalism or a credited course in holograms. But as we continue to surf this massive digital wave, these types of concentrations aren’t entirely out of the question. In fact, they’re thriving in universities around the world.

Steven Brint on College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be

IT IS ODD to think that we live in a time when the college model may be in the process of breaking apart. So much suggests that college has never been more successful. Record numbers of students graduate every year. Every graduating class is more diverse than the one that preceded it. Foreign students flock to American quads. Harvard economists tell us that the college degree has never been worth more, relative to the high school degree, than it is today. Bill Gates and President Obama call for a doubling of the proportion of young adults with college degrees over the next decade. We seem to be heading for the day when we won’t have enough commencement speakers to go around.

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