Does online education put traditional universities at a ‘grave risk’?

Sixty-six percent of respondents to a recent survey said online college classes were “the same or superior” to face-to-face classes.

A university’s stockpile of faculty members with Ph.D.s soon could be irrelevant if online learning continues its rapid growth and provides flexibility for students of every age, said Clayton Christensen, an authority on how innovative technologies affect businesses and economies.

Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Prescription, delivered the keynote address to an audience of higher-education officials March 7 at the American Council on Education’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Christensen outlined the ways upstart, innovative businesses have toppled the giants of industry—such as Toyota’s rise coinciding with American automakers’ downfall—and how that model might translate to colleges and universities.…Read More

Opinion: Virtual schools are a critical piece of education’s future

Classroom and lecture hall disruption can be important for students on every level of education.
Classroom and lecture hall disruption can be important for students on every level of education, writes Michael Simonson.

Technological innovations might be categorized along a continuum from sustaining to disruptive. In education, a sustaining technology might be a SMART Board, which in most applications is a way to present information dynamically and efficiently—a sustaining upgrade to the chalkboard and overhead projector—while a disruptive technology would be a virtual school.

As a matter of fact, most attempts to integrate instructional technology into the traditional classroom are examples of sustaining technologies: data projectors, DVD players, eBooks—all which improve the performance of established products.

Most integrated technologies sustain, and do not disrupt.…Read More