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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Campus Tech 2015: Move Over MOOCs

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Tara E. Buck, managing editor of EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education reports, "Southern New Hampshire University president argues true disruption comes in the form of online, competency-based providers who deftly meet modern students’ — and industry’s — needs."

“Ten to 15 years ago, the problem was access. Now the problem is, how do we get more people to complete?”,” says Southern New Hampshire University President Paul LeBlanc.

In May, Southern New Hampshire University conferred 318 nursing student degrees — a record for the nonprofit institution.
“The growth in nursing students can be attributed to a number of factors, including the increased demand driven by an aging population, as well as an older workforce with a significant number of Baby Boomers approaching retirement age,” a release from the university states. “In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 19.4 percent growth in nursing between now and 2022, with some 1.1 million jobs available nationwide by 2022.”

That reality also directly influences a few of the university’s priorities, President Paul LeBlanc told those gathered Tuesday at the opening plenary keynote for Campus Technology 2015 in Boston. The first priority is meeting the needs of today’s modern students, who increasingly juggle competing demands for their time, attention and finances. Another priority is meeting the evolving needs of industry — and that means graduating students who are fully prepared to take on the challenges of today’s modern work environments and meet employers’ demands. U.S. higher education, generally, has not evolved quickly enough to meet those goals, LeBlanc said...

Technology-Backed Education  
“One of the things I see in a lot of institutions when we talk about innovation is a shotgun approach: Everyone is talking about MOOCs, let’s do MOOCs,” LeBlanc said. “What problem did the University of Virginia Board of Trustees think they were solving by forcing [former university President Teresa A. Sullivan] to produce MOOCs?” 

When higher education sets out to leverage new technology and tools as a means of fixing or reinventing itself, LeBlanc asked, which specific higher education is being fixed?

“One of the issues I have with our policy discussions: We talk about higher education for 18-year-olds, of people coming out of high school. In reality, there are many higher educations, and they all have their own problems and policy issues to solve.”

Higher education also includes military academies, research institutions, traditional liberal arts colleges, what he termed “big-time sports higher ed” and, increasingly, nontraditional higher education for adult learners — the list goes on. The problem nontraditional higher education should aim to solve is how to meet adult and nontraditional learners’ needs and help them prove competencies to current and future employers, LeBlanc said.

Source: EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education