Is this the Future of Higher Ed? There is still a lot of resistance to online education at colleges and universities, but the modern demand for education in a non central setting is gaining more and more traction. Those colleges that do not embrace this trend will lose market share, and possibly have to shut their doors. Snip:
David Lando plans to start working toward a diploma from the University of Wisconsin this fall, but he doesn’t intend to set foot on campus or even take a single online course offered by the school’s well-regarded faculty.
David Lando plans to join a Wisconsin program that could award him a bachelor’s degree after he takes online tests to establish his knowledge.
Instead, he will sit through hours of testing at his home computer in Milwaukee under a new program that promises to award a bachelor’s degree based on knowledge—not just class time or credits.
“I have all kinds of credits all over God’s green earth, but I’m using this to finish it all off,” said the 41-year-old computer consultant, who has an associate degree in information technology but never finished his bachelor’s in psychology.
Colleges and universities are rushing to offer free online classes known as “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs. But so far, no one has figured out a way to stitch these classes together into a bachelor’s degree.
Now, educators in Wisconsin are offering a possible solution by decoupling the learning part of education from student assessment and degree-granting.
Wisconsin officials tout the UW Flexible Option as the first to offer multiple, competency-based bachelor’s degrees from a public university system. Officials encourage students to complete their education independently through online courses, which have grown in popularity through efforts by companies such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.