Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education
"Never before has a college degree been more important, making the need to address the failure of many higher ed institutions to deliver on that promise that much more critical. Kamenetz captures a higher ed system on the brink of dramatic transformation, and paints two provocative futures: revolution from within the system and disruption from the outside. This is valuable reading for higher education leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in understanding how innovation and market forces can begin to drive real and necessary change."
—Josh Jarrett, Senior Program Officer for Postsecondary Success, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The price of college tuition has increased more than any other major good or service for the last twenty years. Nine out of ten American high school seniors aspire to go to college, yet the United States has fallen from world leader to only the tenth most educated nation. Almost half of college students don’t graduate; those who do have unprecedented levels of federal and private student loan debt, which constitutes a credit bubble similar to the mortgage crisis.
The system particularly fails the first-generation, the low-income, and students of color who predominate in coming generations. What we need to know is changing more quickly than ever, and a rising tide of information threatens to swamp knowledge and wisdom. America cannot regain its economic and cultural leadership with an increasingly ignorant population. Our choice is clear: Radically change the way higher education is delivered, or resign ourselves to never having enough of it.
The roots of the words “university” and “college” both mean community. In the age of constant connectedness and social media, it’s time for the monolithic, millennium-old, ivy-covered walls to undergo a phase change into something much lighter, more permeable, and fluid.
The future lies in personal learning networks and paths, learning that blends experiential and digital approaches, and free and open-source educational models. Increasingly, you will decide what, when, where, and with whom you want to learn, and you will learn by doing. The university is the cathedral of modernity and rationality, and with our whole civilization in crisis, we are poised on the brink of a new Reformation.