Sunday, January 5, 2014

5/1/2014: An interesting case study in one University transformation


An interesting article in the Slate about the use of new teaching platforms and strategies to increase student graduation rates for part-time students and boost financial position at one US university:
http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2014/01/southern_new_hampshire_university_how_paul_leblanc_s_tiny_school_has_become.html#!

It is worth (in light of acrimonious nature of debate about academic and teaching models in Ireland) to note that I do not suggest this is a template for transforming or reforming the entire Irish system of higher education.

When you cut through the opening lines, you get the core point of the change:

"“The business models implicit in higher-ed are broken,” he says. “Public institutions will not see increasing state funding and private colleges will not see ever-rising tuition.”

His solution was to tackle what colleges were doing poorly: graduating students. Half the students who enroll in post-secondary education never get a degree but still accumulate debt. The low completion rate can be blamed partly on the fact that college is still designed for 18-year-olds who are signing up for an immersive, four-year experience replete with football games and beer-drinking. But those traditional students make up only 20 percent of the post-secondary population. The vast majority are working adults, many with families, whose lives rarely align with an academic timetable.

“College is designed in every way for that 20 percent—cost, time, scheduling, everything,” says LeBlanc. He set out to create an institution for the other 80 percent, one that was flexible and offered a seamless online experience."
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