Higher Education in the Digital Age Review (part 1)

Why does college cost so much? Can technology, particularly online education, do anything about college costs? William G.  Bowen’s newest book, Higher Education in the Digital Age, directly addresses both of those questions. Bowen’s basic thesis about college cost is one he has been articulating and refining for quite some time. Known as the “cost disease”, it’s based on the relationship of labor in higher education with productivity. The issue with college costs isn’t that they’ve just been increasing at rates higher than inflation; the issue is that they’ve been rising without concurrent gains in productivity. This, Bowen argues, is due to the fact that the essential tasks within higher […]

Thoughts on The Startup of You

Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha’s book The Startup of You isn’t a book about teaching and learning. It’s not even a book about higher education. I do think it’s a valuable read for anyone in higher ed, however, as the career advice it gives could easily be translated into curriculum and organization suggestions for colleges. The premise of the book is that today’s economic climate is very competitive. Gone are the days of the “company escalator”, when one joined an organization right out of college and stayed for 30 years. Now, with the mobility required due to global economic forces and the increasing number of work that is done by […]

Thoughts on the Innovative University (Part Two)

(You can read Part One here) The central disruption universities must deal with is online education, particularly the sort of online education that targets previous non or limited consumers of traditional higher education. I am certainly not familiar enough with the literature on disruptive innovation to argue against their characterization of the problem, but I am familiar enough with online education to argue with their characterization of the solution. One of the suggested innovations universities must undertake is to offer more online programs. This increases the number of tuition-paying students, increasing the university’s revenue. Yet they treat such an increase as if their are little to no associated costs. Even if […]

Thoughts on The Innovative University (Part One)

I’ve just finished The Innovative University by Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring. The lengthy book is provocative on a number of fronts, but is ultimately flawed due to a lack of attention to context. The book itself is part history, part call to action. It rests on the central thesis that the contemporary American university is largely modeled after Harvard. Harvard, in Christensen and Eyring’s estimation, is a truly comprehensive university. It serves graduate and undergraduate students, pays considerable attention to student life outside of the classroom, seeks to employ the best faculty in the world, and emphasizes world-class research. The history of American higher education is largely […]

About the CETL

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Texas Wesleyan University (CETL) promotes a student-centered university by providing resources and professional growth opportunities to faculty on enhancing instructional practice, integrating technology, and promoting essential student skills.

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