Technology’s Continuing Struggle to Disrupt Higher Ed – Forbes
By Wired Academic on September 26, 2011
Domestic, For-Profit, Required, Technology
We’ll say it again: Brand and reputation matters. This is an issue that requires a smart response from online schools. School rankings, as imperfect as they are provide one answer to establish brands. We took a lot of flak from Capella ambassadors and students when we blasted the Capella decision to not be part of U.S. News’ ranking of online schools. The Capella ambassadors brought up a lot of good reasons why the rankings fall short, but the brand problem still remains and he industry needs a solution. Abstaining is not a solution.
We like the idea of measuring online school outcomes, send us ideas about how you think this can happen.
To underline this point, here’s a thoughtful piece over at Forbes about the increasing role of technology in education, particularly for online education. Matthew Denhart reports that a recent Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) conference laments that reputation and brand continues to be the biggest hurdle. Denhart:
Because the online learning community cannot hope to compete successfully on reputation with the established brick and mortar intuitions, it has instead focused its attention on student populations that have historically been underserved (namely, working adults). This is an understandable strategy, and provides value to a new segment of Americans, but it has limited the online sector’s potential.
The next step for educational innovators is to face the traditional sector head-on. The only way to compete successfully will be for them to measure and report the actual learning gains of their students. Ironically, it seems that innovators may end up driving the changes in information and incentives, rather than following them.
Once new institutions figure out how to measure and articulate the true value proposition of student learning to the public, they will be able to compete directly with the traditional Ivory Towers. When that happens, they will be true disruptors, and students will benefit.
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