Monday, March 08, 2010

Links for 3/8/10

Peter P. Smith interviewed by IHE
We had to work very hard to keep first-generation Latino students in school because cultural norms called for them to live at home and work rather than attending college.

The metaphor that I would use to describe this challenge is swimming under water. The longer you are under water, the more it hurts. And, if your goal is to swim to the other end of the pool, but you have never known anyone who did it, it is easier to simply climb out of the water and walk away…

In the book, I devoted a chapter to the “End of Scarcity” and its impact on higher education. It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this trend. Colleges are built and organized around scarcity – the expertise of faculty is in short supply, classrooms and labs are limited because they are expensive, and the authority to offer a course of study is limited. Additionally, reputation is built around who you exclude as much as it is who you include and who succeeds. In fact, the whole concept of meritocracy is built on the notion of scarcity because there is not enough room “at the top” for everyone.

Put this set of assumptions, and the practices that are in place because of them, up against the current reality. Excellent content is increasingly commodified and available…
Shailaja Neelakantan
In the last decade or so, a rising stream of wealthy industrialists like Mr. Pawar and Mr. Thadani have started up a few of the of the 1,500 universities that education experts estimate India will need to fuel its economic growth.

The names of these educational entrepreneurs read like a Forbes magazine list of the world's richest people (see box).

With deep pockets and solid reputations, these business executives promise to revamp the reputation of private higher education in India by offering better pay to faculty members, setting high academic standards, and tailoring programs to industry needs.

They also hope to offer an alternative to what they see as a misguided public higher-education system, in which students are encouraged to think narrowly and learn passively…
Bill Sams
The main problem with the education system is that there are too many students and too few customers. A student is a person to whom something is done (the student is taught); a customer is a person for whom something is done (a customer is provided a learning experience)…

For as long as students continue to be the majority population in the educational system, the situation will continue to worsen. It will not be until students are transformed into customers that new forces, ideas, and methods will be developed that will improve the effectiveness of individual learning while lowering the cost. At that point the focus will shift from the zero-sum student perspective (how do I get more money for my education?) to the productivity-based customer perspective (how do I get more education for my money?).
Barbara Kiviat
one thing I do know about is the price-setting power of the enlightened consumer. I know about the effects of price transparency, and I know about what happens when you give Americans the tools to hunt for deals and value. Think about Wal-Mart. Think about going on Expedia to comparison shop airline tickets. Think about the first question you ask when you are considering buying a particular house.

Now think about health care [AG: Or colleges].

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