A couple years ago, Rutgers historian David Greenberg noticed a defect endemic to books about social, political and economic problems: The last chapter always sucks, The Washington Post reports.

“Practically every example of that genre, no matter how shrewd or rich its survey of the question at hand, finishes with an obligatory prescription that is utopian, banal, unhelpful or out of tune with the rest of the book,” Greenberg noted.

And it’s not just books. I’ll be the first to admit that the possible fixes with which I finished off my series on the alarming rise in college tuition were pretty vague and utopian. But helpfully, the good folks at Third Way have noticed that the conversation about how to reign in tuition has gotten a little too small-minded.

… To that end, Third Way is publishing a new report by Anya Kamenetz, one of the most interesting writers on higher ed innovation in the game, that lays out a detailed plan for pushing the total cost of a public bachelor’s degree down to $10,000. Not $10,000 a year, mind you: $10,000 total.

So she proposes ending that practice by flattening the responsibilities of colleges, both instructional and administrative, into three new professional roles. Academic advisers/coaches would be professionals, hopefully with subject knowledge relevant to the student’s interests, who would be responsible for regularly checking in with students, focusing on those who are falling behind academically.

They would be evaluated based on how persistent and successful the students they mentor are, much like K-12 teachers are currently evaluated. Meanwhile, instructors/instructional technologists would effectively work like K-12 teachers and, unlike traditional faculty, have specialized training in pedagogy and effective teaching practices.

… Both professions would work closely with professors/instructional designers, who would design the curricula the instructional technologists teach and oversee MOOCs (massive open online courses) that hundreds of thousands of students could enroll in.

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eCampus News staff and wire reports


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