The Future of Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed the directors of Georgia Tech‘s Center for 21st Century Universities. The interview touches upon several key points regarding the challenges and opportunities around the role of technology in higher education. These include the notions of open courses (see the launch of an online interactive learning platform by MIT and free online courses by Stanford), blogs as a medium for content delivery, universities as credentialing institutions and the resultant challenges faced by middle rung schools.

What you’re seeing, for example, is technology enabling a single master teacher to reach students on an individualized basis on a scale that is unprecedented.

I think what you see happening now with the massive open courses is going to fundamentally change the business models. It’s going to put the notion of value front and center. Why would I want a credential from this university? Why would I want to pay tuition to this university?

Georgia Tech's Tech Tower

Georgia Tech's Tech Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The blog is essentially an expression of a master teacher’s understanding of a field to people that want to learn about it. We think that there are some very simple layers that can be built under the existing blogging format that can essentially turn it into a massive open online seminar. It’s also a way of conducting scientific research. When you think about what happens in this blog, it celebrates the process of scientific discovery.

Read more at Could Many Universities Follow Borders Bookstores Into Oblivion? – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

MIT launches App Inventor Beta

Google‘s App Inventor has been reborn. The MIT Center for Mobile Learning has announced the opening of the Beta version of App Inventor to the public.

App Inventor provides a graphical interface for programming, thereby allowing users to create Android apps without the need for fancy programming skills. While Google discontinued its support for App Inventor on December 31, 2011, it tied up MIT to opensource the project.

Català: Interfície App Inventor

Image via Wikipedia

MIT’s involvement in the project has made it more class-room and educator friendly. MIT also plans to add several learning resources to its APP Inventor website.

App Inventor will now be suitable for any use, including running classes.

A list of education resources for App Inventor can be found here.

We will also be developing more resources and support for using App Inventor as a learning tool. We look forward to working with you over the coming months to build the community of App Inventor educators.

Read more at Announcing: MIT App Inventor Open Beta Preview | App Inventor Edu.

Free online learning from MIT

MIT has announced the launch of MITx, an online interactive learning platform. The prototype will go live in Spring 2012. Coupled with free online courses and course ware, this portends the future of higher education and poses several interesting challenges and opportunities for educators and students.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Image by skinnylawyer via Flickr

 

Offering interactive MIT courses online to learners around the world builds upon MIT’s OpenCourseWare, a free online publication of nearly all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate course materials. Now in its 10th year, OpenCourseWare includes nearly 2,100 MIT courses and has been used by more than 100 million people.

MIT plans to offer certificates under the name of a not-for-profit body to online learners.

As online learning and assessment evolve and improve, online learners who demonstrate mastery of subjects could earn a certificate of completion, but any such credential would not be issued under the name MIT. Rather, MIT plans to create a not-for-profit body within the Institute that will offer certification for online learners of MIT coursework. That body will carry a distinct name to avoid confusion.

Read more at MIT launches online learning initiative – MIT News Office and What is MITx? – MIT News Office.

Free Stanford course on Technology Entrepreneurship

Stanford University’s Professor Chuck Eesley is offering a FREE online course on Technology Entrepreneurship. Beginning in January 2012, the class will involve 2 hours of lecture videos per week, broken into small chunks. The course will require no textbooks and also offer non-real time teacher / student interaction for online students. More than 33,000 students have signed up for this course so far!

How do you create a successful start-up? What is entrepreneurial leadership in a large firm? What are the differences between an idea and true opportunity? How does an entrepreneur form a team and gather the resources necessary to create a great enterprise? This class mixes in-depth case studies and research on the entrepreneurial process.

Sign up and read more at Technology Entrepreneurship.

YouTube for Schools

YouTube has announced the launch of YouTube for Schools, a customizable user experience that enables educators to restrict student access to the 400,000+ educational videos available on YouTube.

… a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile.

Related articles

Challenges for middle ranked business schools

The Economist says that middle level business schools in developed economies are finding the going tough as prospective students question their value proposition (starting salary divided by fees). The fees at these schools are increasing due to increases in wages and infrastructure investments. To offset decreasing domestic enrollment, these school have to undertake high costs of recruiting students from emerging economies – which further inflates their cost structures. To continue to attract emerging economy students in the future, these schools will have to consider changes to their curriculum to reflect different realities in different parts of the world.

The Birmingham Business School

Image via Wikipedia

Asian business schools still have a long way to grow. The Economist currently ranks just eight of them among the world’s top 100. Of these, only one, the China Europe International Business School, can be found on mainland China; it has campuses in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. India, too, has only one: the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

In time, though, Asian and other emerging-economy business schools will be able to attack the incumbents on a second front: their curriculums.

Read more at Business education: Trouble in the middle | The Economist.

India’s $45 tablet to reduce the digital divide?

Aakash (Sky), a low-cost 7 inch Android tablet with internet access, is being touted as a means to bridge the digital divide by India’s Education Ministry. The Indian government will purchase bulk quantities of the tablet for $45 each and give it free to school students for use as a learning device. This follows on the heels of the successful pilot test of the I-Slate, another low-cost education oriented tablet.

Aakash, developed by a UK-based firm, will be assembled in India and will retail at $60 as the UbiSlate. With just a 3 hour battery life and low, this no-thrills tablet has a clear purpose – to bring millions online, in a fast and affordable manner.

The tablet runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and comes with a 7-inch resistive touch screen with 800×480 resolution and weighs 350 gram. The tablet has a 256 MB of RAM, a 32 GB expandable memory slot and two USB ports.

via World’s cheapest tablet launched – The Times of India.

 

First Pictures:  The Aakash, India's $50 Tablet : NDTVGadget.com

Image via NDTV

$50 tablet an effective educational tool

An initial year-long study by Rice University (from the US ) and Nanyang Technological University (from Singapore) in India has shown that the I-Slate is an effective educational tool. Currently costing $50, the creators of the single-purpose tablet aim to bring costs down to $30 and make the tablet solar-powered.  This would allow its use by primary school children in places with no electricity, helping increase literacy rates and social upliftment.

Business Education – Different Strokes for Different Folks?

The Economist tells the story of Russia’s leading international business school, which prepares its students to ‘get things done’ in ‘difficult economies’, like the BRICs.

When compared with most schools that are introducing compulsory courses on Ethics, this seems to be more Durmstrang than Hogwarts.

However, ground realities in ‘difficult economies’ are quite different from their more developed counterparts – institutionalized corruption, infrastructure constraints, slothful bureaucracy and the constant need to do more with less (money, time, people). Thus the troubling shade of grey.

Read more at Which MBA? | School of the dark arts.