One of the issues SNC’s President, Tom Kunkel, has raised is what will happen to current institutions of higher education if we do not embrace the possibilities of new technologies in the way we deliver education? Tom came from journalism and the news paper business which has been negatively impacted by a lack of foresight in regard to how technology would transform their industry (see November 17, 2009- Too ‘Old School’ for Our Own Good? By Thomas Kunkel chronicle.com/article/Too-Old-School-for-Our-Own/49186/).
I was struck this week by two popular media stories that seem to support Tom’s assertions. First, a piece in Time (Survey: College Is Unaffordable, and a Poor Value. But It’s Still a Good Investment? moneyland.time.com/2011/05/17/survey-college-is-unaffordable-and-a-poor-value-but-its-still-a-good-investment/) citing a recent Pew Social and Demographic Trends survey (Is College Worth it? College Presidents, Public Access, Value, Quality, and Mission of Higher Education pewsocialtrends.org/2011/05/15/is-college-worth-it/) that questions the value and role of a traditional college education.
The second was a piece on CNN regarding the Kahn Academy, which Bill Gates has praised and Google has awarded millions of dollars, that delivers some of the same content you would find on college campuses for free via videos on the web. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGxgAHer3Ow and www.khanacademy.org/)
As we navigate the challenges of facilitating change in higher education we should be aware that the perception of the public about college may be shifting and other options may seem more viable. To reiterate Tom Kunkel’s points:
“We must do a far more imaginative job of integrating the current student generation’s two educational worlds—the digital and the traditional—and utilizing the respective strengths of each….In a world with so many higher-ed options, colleges had better have a persuasive answer when a prospective student asks, “Why come here?””