Thursday, July 03, 2014

The cover theme of The Economist this week is "creative destruction in education."

There are four articles on digital education in the June 28, 2014 issue:

  • Creative destruction: A cost crisis, changing labour markets and new technology will turn an old institution on its head.
  • The digital degree: The staid higher-education business is about to experience a welcome earthquake.
  • A winning recipe: Two big Brazilian education firms, now in the process of merging, show how universities can do both quantity and quality.
  • Wealth by degrees: The returns to investing in a university education vary enormously.
The articles survey trends and developments and speculate on the future of both elite and mass-eucation universities.

For example, at MIT over half the 4,500 students take a MOOC as part of their course and half of their edX (MOOC) students come from developing countries. Anant Agarwal, who runs edX, proposes an alternative to the standard American four-year degree course. Students could spend an introductory year learning via a MOOC, followed by two years attending university and a final year starting part-time work while finishing their studies online.

In Brazil, private universities, are enjoying success with innovative blends of online, televised and in-person classes at widespread locations. At first they had the same sorts of problems as US trade schools face today, but they are now succeeding at offering effective, low-cost education.

Change is inevitable.

MOOC students are international, with
varying levels of education.

Brazil has innovative mass-education.

Public support is falling and tuition rising.

The US educated a relatively high
percent of the population in the past,
but South Korea is the leader today.

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