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Former university president Richard A. Skinner is a senior consultant with Harris Search Associates.

Much of what we read today about higher education tends to dwell on constraints and reductions, but at least one sector of academe is actually growing.

New medical schools are in various states of planning, development and accreditation, while existing schools are expanding class sizes, portending perhaps the greatest increase in this sector since World War II.

Arizona State’s Global Freshman Academy begins with three online courses this coming semester.

Online learning, specifically MOOCs, has inspired many doomsday forecasts regarding the fate of traditional higher education—which, of course, has yet to collapse.

But the predicted death of MOOCs—due to erratic completion rates, lack of formal student support and concerns about the financial returns for institutions—hasn’t come true either.

 to progress toward degrees outside the typical semester track—will grow in 2015

What college students are learning—and how—has become a mainstream talking point across the political spectrum. Much of this talk concerns dollars and cents—namely, cost and payoff. As a result, 2015 may be a year in which many institutions do a gut-check of their own value propositions, as pressure to increase affordability—and return on investment—pervades all of higher education.

While educators continue debating the use of mobile devices in the classroom, the tide seems to be shifting in favor of a new mobile paradigm as a way to ease students’ transition into the workplace.

MOOC SuperText could improve the student experience and reduce costs, a research team says.

“SuperText”—the interactive video and assessments within MOOCs—may be a threat or an opportunity to full-time business schools and MBA programs.

It depends on which path officials take in deploying the technology, says the “Will Video Kill the Classroom Star?” report from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Though more than 8 million people have taken a MOOC in the past three years, the number of students to take advantage of MOOC-for-credit programs is even smaller.

Despite growing interest in the higher ed community about the potential of credit being offered for MOOCs, the number of institutions that have rolled out such programs is small.

And though more than 8 million people have taken a MOOC in the past three years, the number of students to take advantage of MOOC-for-credit programs is even smaller.

As more colleges and universities offer credit for MOOCs, one problem that has cropped up is how to authenticate the results of student assessments conducted online.

A handful of companies have developed a solution: online proctoring. Using a webcam to monitor the students as they take tests, online proctors can peer into students’ living rooms, kitchens or back patios, watching their computer screens and observing their eye movements to ensure they are not looking at notes in a closed-book exam.

In an online seminar on the Greek rhetorician Isocrates offered at the University of Pittsburgh, 176 students listened to a live stream of a discussion among graduate students taking the on-campus version of the class and then asked questions or made comments via Twitter.

The eight graduate students in the brick-and-mortar class took turns recording lectures once a week for the online students during the course this past fall. And both the online and doctoral students could interact with one another on the discussion board on Blackboard’s CourseSites platform.

When Tina Seelig, executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, taught “A Crash Course on Creativity” last spring, the 38 students in her graduate class worked on the same projects as the 25,000 people around the world who took the MOOC version of the course.

The MOOC not only offered an alternative to Stanford students who were unable to take this oversubscribed class, but also included perspective from people across the globe.

See which colleges and universities are paving the way in analyzing business models for MOOCs

An increasing number of colleges and universities are offering MOOCs, but few have crunched the numbers to determine whether these online courses can succeed as a business proposition. Where return-on-investment conversations are happening, they generally aren’t leading to comprehensive analysis.

Some institutions, however, are paving the way in their attempts to analyze the potential of MOOCs as a business model.