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Friday, May 01, 2015

This Way To The All-Star Degree? by Dayna Catropa and Margaret Andrews

"We originally thought that business schools might be the first to feel the heat of the changing market for higher education.  Turns out that may not be true – it might be the undergraduate market, quickly followed by the rest of higher education." according to Dayna Catropa and Margaret Andrews.

Arizona State University (ASU) and edX, the partnership between MIT and Harvard, recently announced an initiative that will allow people to do their entire first year of an undergraduate program online.  According to the announcement of an “alternative entry into higher education” on ASU’s website:
“The Global Freshman Academy will give learners anywhere in the world the opportunity to earn freshman-level university credit after successfully completing a series of digital immersion courses hosted on edX, designed and taught by leading scholars from ASU.
By allowing students to learn, explore and complete courses before applying or paying for credit, the Global Freshman Academy reimagines the freshman year and reduces academic and monetary stress while opening a new path to a college degree for many students.”
We’ve long been wondering when someone would devise the All-Star degree, whereby one institution (be it a school or another organization) would award/accept credit from a variety of education providers, be it MOOCs or other types of online, on-campus, or other forms of higher education, and bundle them together to award a degree.  We recently mused about this in the MBA market and something like this was predicted back in a 1981 article on how we might disaggregate the higher education market.  As mentioned in yesterday’s IHE article on the ASU/edX agreement, “The contract also creates an opportunity for ASU to award more credit than initially reported. The university will consider -- “subject to appropriate review and approval” -- awarding credit for MOOCs offered by other institutions, the contract states.”  This could be the All-Star degree we’ve been predicting. 

With the new ASU/edX agreement, we are getting much closer to a fundamental change in how higher education is created, consumed and degrees are awarded.  True, accreditors still need to weigh in on the new initiative, but still.

Source: Inside Higher Ed (blog)

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