The 4 main drivers behind higher-ed disruption

Higher-ed leaders must embrace change if they wish to remain relevant.

At EDUCAUSE 2018 last fall, James Phelps, director of enterprise architecture and strategy at the University of Washington and winner of the 2018 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award, discussed the four main drivers behind higher-ed disruption:

  1. shifting skills
  2. the digital transformation
  3. employment and income challenges
  4. the higher-ed financial crisis

As Phelps said, these drivers have brought higher education to a critical space in between disruption and transformation. They create a landscape that can give higher-ed leaders a better idea of how higher ed is changing and what institutions might look like post-disruption.…Read More

College transformed: 5 institutions leading the charge in innovation

Higher education leaders today confront a bevy of criticisms ranging from worsening affordability and persistent socioeconomic disparities to a lack of relevance in the ever-changing economy. Institutions are beset by internal challenges and external pressures. Business models are cracking under enormous pressure as state appropriations decline and net tuition growth wanes. Business as usual simply can’t continue.

The nature of competition in higher education is changing—presenting both challenges and opportunities. For decades—centuries, even—higher education has been on a continuous trajectory of developing more complex and comprehensive institutions to build and disseminate knowledge and educate students. But technology is enabling a new, disruptive path: simpler, more affordable, more accessible educational experiences, built in alignment to the needs of the workforce. Leaders can look to examples of institutions that are successfully innovating in the new environment, some along this new disruptive path, and others by incorporating disruptive technologies to move forward along the traditional trajectory:

Arizona State University: Its open-access Global Freshman Academy creates a new pathway into the institution, and an innovative business model allows students to pay when they successfully complete courses.…Read More

The biggest barrier to deconstructing education is not money

The problem with most educational responses to the pressures of the Digital Age is that they have been of the first-order variety. Janet Murray described this as “new technologies are extending our powers faster than we can assimilate the change.”

She goes on to say, in Hamlet on the Holodeck: “Even when we are engaged in enterprises that cry out for the help of a computer, many of us still see the machine as a threat rather than an ally. We cling to books as if we believed that coherent human thought is only possible in bound, numbered pages.

I think we all know at some level that she is right. I hear my colleagues saying “We need to change” all the time.” However, what we define as “change” often revolves around adding new technologies to existing sets of stories.…Read More

#7: How my university is disrupting higher education

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on March 29th of this year, was our #7 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2018 countdown!]

If higher education is a ship, it has struck an iceberg. It’s taking on water rapidly, and while the situation is urgent, many people on board simply refuse to acknowledge what’s happening.

The lifeboats in this metaphor? Disruption.…Read More

Beyond disruption: The future of higher education

Universities are in the middle of a transformation that is challenging the status quo and is forcing higher-ed leaders to embrace change if they wish to remain relevant.

Four broad drivers are behind this disruption, said James Phelps, director of enterprise architecture and strategy at the University of Washington and winner of the 2018 EDUCAUSE Community Leadership Award, during EDUCAUSE 2018.

Shifting skills, the digital transformation, employment and income challenges, and the higher-ed financial crisis have brought higher education to a critical space in between disruption and transformation, Phelps said.…Read More

Future-proof your college before it’s too late

In any ecosystem, if one waits long enough, eventually a cataclysmic disruption occurs. Examples range from ice ages to digital cameras and mobile phones. When an environment becomes out of balance or a system is too reliant on archaic technology, something never-before-seen will come and change the game.

The final years at Blockbuster Video, Kodak Corporation, and Toys “R” Us, all share the consistent systemic failure to respond to disruptive threats: a willful ignorance to reexamine and adjust their product, services, and business model. Higher education is behaving much the same way. Until institutions acknowledge both the impending disruptive threat and the risk of not appropriately responding, higher ed remains a vulnerable enterprise.

Since the proliferation of the internet and digitization of information, we have witnessed several warning signs. Online course delivery, e-textbooks, the rise and fall of large for-profit institutions, MOOCS, certificates, and micro-credentialing have each commanded attention in the past two decades. While some of these innovations have persisted and some failed, each represents a foreshock prior to a large seismic event that we have not yet experienced.…Read More