Unbundled: Reimagining higher education

Tim Goral's picture
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When massive open online courses (MOOCs) first launched early last year, we had no idea what to expect. And even today -- with dozens of global institutions and millions of learners participating -- we as an industry have so much more to learn as we puzzle out online education. One thing that both supporters and critics of online education agree on is that the MOOC movement has ignited a spirited conversation about the future of higher education.

I am often asked where I see the greatest opportunities for residential campuses to improve and evolve for the benefit of future generations of students. And while I do not have the answers, I know that today's students want a broad education, taking courses in languages, engineering, history, literature, math and science. They also want to fold in industry experience and international travel. As a result, many educators are now asking probing questions about traditional degree pathways. Should we require university students to obtain a degree in a specialized field? Should we expect students to know at the age of 18 what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Should universities limit their degree programs to four-year spans? Should the concept of a degree as the defining credential itself be revisited?

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