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From a renowned education writer comes a paradigm shifting examination of the rapidly changing world of college that every parent student educator and investor needs to understandOver the span of just nine months in 2011 and 2012 the world’s most famous universities and high powered technology entrepreneurs began a race to revolutionize higher education College courses that had been kept for centuries from all but an elite few were released to millions of students throughout the world—for freeExploding college prices and a flagging global economy combined with the derring do of a few intrepid innovators have created a dynamic climate for a total rethinking of an industry that has remained virtually unchanged for a hundred years In  The End of College Kevin Carey an education researcher and writer draws on years of in depth reporting and cutting edge research to paint a vivid and surprising portrait of the future of education Carey explains how two trends—the skyrocketing cost of college and the revolution in information technology—are converging in ways that will radically alter the college experience upend the traditional meritocracy and emancipate hundreds of millions of people around the world Insightful innovative and accessible  The End of College is a must read and an important contribution to the developing conversation about education in this country

10 thoughts on “The End of College

  1. says:

    Kevin Carey is an education writer for the New York Times who produces policy oriented columns on higher education This book appears to be a cumulative effort at tying together his columns His focus in this book is on the university of everywhere is this trademarked? and he is highly critical of traditional university education His principal bogeyman is the hybrid university by which he appears to refer to the vision of the modern university espoused by Cardinal Newman that splits up universities into teaching research and service functions The hybrid university focuses on research even while it take tuition dollars from students and parents in the expectation of receiving instruction and guidance that research faculty are unprepared and unwilling to provide This basic critical perspective is accompanied by a host of issues raised by other academic observers for the last two decades the academically adrift study as an example All this is happening as the pace of societal and technological change has placed an ever growing premium on obtaining a college degree employing some of the GoldinKatz argumentsWhat is society to do? How can parents ensure their kids' education in the midst of such change? How could we ever remedy such a sorry system? Never fear the Internet is here powered by leading computer scientists at MIT and Stanford and funded by the Venture Capitalists This Internet is coming to education and because of that everything will be different and the old educational institution of the university will be forced to change and adapt and this will all make wonderful economic senseI was greatly disappointed by this book While I have at times disagreed with some of Mr Carey's columns I had thought that I might be missing his larger narrative As it turns out I wasn't missing it There isn't one This book is about how the Internet revolution assisted ably by big data will disrupt education and change everything I don't really mind a short trade book engineered to push some product In some areas of business and technical writing that is nearly all that is available However The End of College so reads as a constructed effort to link faddish and stereotypical types of argument that I was at a loss to find any new ideas in the book at all It is as if it was written by an AI programOk so I disagree with Mr Carey Is that it? I don't think so There are numerous problems here that are beyond argument points For example university and college are terms that apply to a huge range of institutions ranging from the Ivies to some junior colleges When it suits Mr Carey all of these institutions are limped together and tarred with the same brush of international test comparisons while at other times the elite schools are singled out while little attention is given to the large state schools and very little attention goes to proprietary colleges even though the proprietaries are fraught with problems pushing basic legality in some cases Is it really reasonable to lump all of these together? It strikes me as sloppy to waffle on your terms to suit the argument you are making at the timeMr Carey's chapter on GW University which was recently reprinted in the NY Times magazine is also annoying Now I will admit to not liking the pricing policies that the elite non ivies have adopted in the last few decades Depending on the institution activities such as at GWU are cringeworthy or worse Having said that the tone of the chapter virtually presumes that the students and parents of GWU students are stupid or inattentive at best I have found that people think very hard about what they are spending when they drop a uarter million dollars on their child's education Mr Carey's background even though he had an academic for a Dad is far from sufficient to grant him the high ground relative to informed customersMr Carey's chapter on Massive Open Online Courses MOOCS is bordering on being advertising copy for some vendor It would be nice if he reported on of the research regarding MOOCs which has prompted reduced expectations for these activities For example MOOCs appear to be very good at providing easier learning for individuals who already know how to learn college graduates for example Whatever they will become eventually it is unlikely that MOOCs will massify elite university education Mr Carey talks a lot about data but only when it is convenient and without presenting much analysis The book often drops a lot of academic terms around often in ways that make matters rather than less complex For example while there is an economic logic associated with universities throwing around terms like scale economies first mover advantages and network economies is not helpful unless one clarifies how these sometimes related terms differ from each other in the context of universities The book moves to sociological arguments when inertia and imitation rather than efficiency are focal points leaving the reader to figure out for themselves how the forces of sociological order coexist with the disruptive forces of Internet entrepreneurship and venture funding When the book considers technological disruption as a motive force for sectoral change the Christensen arguments come across as simplistic at best and possibly erroneous Not all technologies are disruptive and not all industries and sectors need to cannabalize themselves to survive None of this is new and I was looking to Mr Carey for some effort at putting these different strands of issues together That did not occur in the book He cites all the gurus but I was interested in understanding what Mr Carey was arguing I can read Christensen''s arguments on my ownMr Carey also makes much of how traditional universities have not done a good job on their undergraduate teaching mission a complaint with which I agree Having said that I was startled to see how little was said about teaching and how to promote high uality teaching in the university There have always been superstar teachers and there is work in cognitive science and psychology that has implications for teaching Even so there is little in the book about how to make undergraduate teaching better at the undergraduate level For someone who spends much time in the book talking about Herbert Simon there is also little about how to get large universities to change The end of the book reads almost as if educational experiments will just accumulate and eventually change the world It is hard to see how that can occur without the institution of the university changing tooThe book was OK and made me think about the issues I was unconvinced by the arguments however and found key parts of the argument to be sloppy

  2. says:

    I went to a state college in the early 1990's that had a four year cost of 12000 The cost of that same college today is over 40000 That's bullshit my friends I paid for much of my own college by working a part time job That isn't feasible today and now I'm wondering how I will manage to send two kids to college? We aren't looking at Ivy League schools or elite private colleges We are looking at public colleges right down the roadThe author does a good job of discussing the history of college the good intentions and the money making decisions that have taken over A spa like experience appears to be important than preparing for a future career Mr Carey points out that very few people can afford expensive educations which widens the ineuality in the job market He cites an example of China and India starting a surge to educate their millions and bring them out of poverty our competition Our country has lost its focus with education however the new idea of the online University of Everywhere is exciting and just beginning The author took a course through wwwedXcom I looked it up there are many courses that are very easy to start but are extremely challenging Hooray for this new path Education is for every person

  3. says:

    I won a free copy of this as part of a Goodreads First reads giveaway I am offering my honest reviewI teetered on the brink of giving Carey’s book three stars because I felt uncomfortable saying “I really liked it” However when I looked at everything that the book offers in a systematic way I realized that my discomfort did not come from the book but was a result of the topic itself As someone who enjoyed college felt as though I learned a lot from it and managed to escape without a massive load of debt an attack on college felt like an attack on my very self I think that this very realization is what makes The End of College a necessary book; our colleges won’t change for the better because we’re too invested in keeping them the sameCarey outlines the history and development of the modern American university as an ill functioning hybrid of the liberal arts college the research institute and the trade school This hybridization has made the American university an institution that costs too much teaches too little and is ready to be replaced – or at least radically changedCarey does a good job of explaining why colleges are the way that they are and why they are resistant to change He also offers some examples of technologies that could probably or possibly replace or enhance the modern educational format While he occasionally indulges in some “science and technology will fix everything” thinking he does not overstate his claims or make a case he can’t supportThe reason the book did not merit a five star rating has mostly to do with the organization and writing style He loosely frames the book around an online class he takes with MIT It is an interesting case study but it doesn’t seem to line up with every topic he wants to address Carey has a similar way of introducing a player on the stage of educational technology and giving a detailed back story of their entire life and education before explaining their contributions or ideas I believe the book could have been shorter and clearer had the information not relevant to his claims been reduced I felt like a couple areas would have benefitted from explanation or support namely the idea of “badges” replacing the transcript or diploma as evidence of knowledge I also would have liked for Carey to consider or acknowledge what possible goods would be lost from a transition to a larger global university of everywhere loss of local culture loss of community greater political or economic interference with freedom of thought Rarely has technology been a total panaceaThis book is a must read for those closely involved with American colleges and an interesting read for those on the fringes too

  4. says:

    I'm recommending this to everyone I've been teaching at a very large public university for 17 years and this book exposed me to a lot of challenging and very feasible ideas about higher education and the current US systemIn chapter 2 Carey explains the origins of the university and in particular the American university I knew Bologna had the first university around 1088 and that Harvard was America's first university founded for religious motives What I did not know or appreciate was how three very different concepts drove universities until the crazy? Americans rolled them all into one These are 1 skills training for careers centered on the Land Grant ideals and education for agriculture and industry; 2 performing original research an idea that came from Germany and put scholars and their research at the center of the institution without any real concern for undergraduates; 3 the liberal arts the study of which would broaden the students' world view and make them humanThere's also a fine explanation of the system of degrees By making a bachelor's degree a reuirement for graduate education the demand for undergraduate education was driven up It's a fine business model Then by reuiring scholars to have an earned PhD before they can teach at a university the university system increased demand for another product that only it can provideAnother clever invention electives By changing what was once a fixed system of courses where all students took the same subjects universities opened the doors to a wide variety of scholars who can teach courses in anything they fancyLast but far from least chapter 2 baldly states this fact the uality of teaching in universities has never been a priority This fact is reiterated often in chapter 3Chapter 3 covers the expansion of the American university system after World War II including the growth of community colleges and how tuitions have gone up and up In 1960 less than 10 percent of the population had a bachelor's degree Today than 33 percent do The wage gap college degree vs not has also increased from 40% in 1977 to 80% in 2005 difference in hourly earnings All the while tuition has been jacked higher and higher resulting in student debtChapter 4 Over the past 60 years or so we've learned a lot about how the brain works During that same time technology has developed in ways that enable us to combine the two use technology to cater to exactly how we learn which isn't the same for everyone of coursePrevious technologies for extending education eg courses by mail could reach people but the big difference in using computer systems for education is that they can be programmed to analyze how each person learns and then adapt to that person's needs For example the system can give you extra problems to solve for a type of problem you're failing with or even give you remedial work There's a lot of neat stuff in chapter 5Much of chapter 6 is about how Silicon Valley came to be and I already knew most of that story But finally the author starts talking about the startup companies that are disrupting or promise to disrupt traditional university system of education and there's some great food for thought here pages 132 142 Chapter 7 The concept of platforms such as Netflix Craigslist They enable you to get things done Who will buildcontrol the platform that gets online education done well? Stanford's Sebastian Thrun and CS221 the first course he put online with Peter Norvig Salman Khan and his Khan Academy Stanford's refusal to let Thrun offer course credit drove him to leave and create Udacity a new online learning venture The founding of Coursera backed by deep venture capital pockets All in the 2011 2012 time frame This is stuff I was paying very close attention to as it was unfolding and even so this chapter was very interesting to meMOOCs start getting a lot of publicity around this time However most people who started MOOCs did not finish Idea The importance of flexibility sharing and collaboration married to sophisticated AI built around the latest theories of cognition and learning p 156 Interesting fact one third of all the course credits earned by people with bachelor's degrees in America come in just 30 courses p 157In chapter 8 Carey compares MIT and Harvard pointing out that Harvard's caché rests on wealth status and celebrity while MIT's foundation is understanding reality and making things work a celebration of hacks Thus MIT created MITx providing free online courses late in 2011 By mid 2012 Harvard threw its lot in with MIT and they created EdX headed by Anant Agarwal with the goal of eventually creating 5000 courses Unlike Coursera which seems to be focused on profits EdX appears to be genuinely focused on the uality of its courses Robert Lue who teaches at Harvard talked with the author about continual assessment of the pace and progress of student learning as the key to online courses actually enabling students to learn Unlike Clay Christensen of disruption fame Lue sees higher education as an organism rather than a system An organism must evolve or face extinction Yes Chapter 9 The importance of a college degree in today's society and in career success What a degree actually means is that you stuck it out for four years No one can tell what you learned or how well from your degree Yet lacking that credential your chances of socio economic advancement are much impaired Where that credential comes from can be important than anything you did to earn it This is not necessarily the best system for identifying talented smart people who can help make the world a better place So the idea of how a credential can be verified emerges Carey refers to your political identity citizenship and financial identity credit rating net worth and observes that without an official college degree we have no markers for educational identityChapter 10 My favorite chapter Not sure it would resonate without reading all that went before but the idea of reliable certifications that can't be counterfeited is the missing link — for so many reasons Carey has shown clearly how a four year college diploma serves as a reuirement for so much in life and yet has no real meaning in terms of skills or expertise in a field or discipline Building on the previous chapter here we see how our educational identity could be made as verifiable as our financial or political identity already are — and in less vague and broad terms than has a four year degree in X The open badge idea related to open source software also solves the problem of an arbitrary length of time eg four years or 125 credit hours to get a bachelor's degree Badges can increase motivation to learn some badges can be earned for effort for streaks for improvement They could also serve as a far better indicator of talent for college admissions decisions than the current tests and scores If a high school kid in Mongolia completed an MIT online computer science course MIT might give her a scholarship to come to Cambridge Educational identities will become deep discoverable mobile and secure p 219In chapter 11 Carey discusses how having tons of data about a single course taught a single way to thousands or hundreds of thousands of students makes possible a deep analysis of what works and what doesn't He doesn't say AB testing but he essentially says educational methods and everything about the course could be AB tested tweaked and improved in ways that simply aren't possible with the usual college way of assigning courses to numerous instructors with often smallish numbers of students and the luxury of academic freedom to teach any way they like By using data and analysis on very large courses the effectiveness of those courses could be improved immensely He's talking especially about foundation courses like Physics 101 that are taught again and again all around the world with a wide range of failure and successHe also notes that as poverty declines around the world it has declined and is declining the demand for higher education grows and grows We aren't just talking about North America One thing he doesn't mention is languages He could have gone into some discussion about English as the language of instruction but he didn't The idea of spending 10 million to develop a very effective intro course in biology isn't crazy if you know that a million people will be able to take that course and be reliably certified as having completed the workIn the final chapter Carey addresses the concerns that parents of very young children might have after reading this book He talks about not getting ripped off by a school that puts emphasis on facilities and sports programs than on ensuring that its undergrads actually learn things Good luck with that It's not so much a summary of the book as it is an invitation to apply the ideas laid out in all the preceding chapters Then it veers away from parents and addresses the rest of us touching on lifelong learning and noting that a true liberal arts education reuires way than four short years

  5. says:

    Rollicking account and prediction of the brick and mortar colleges which the author feels will yield to online individualized learning basically a whole democratization Attention is given to MOOCs their benefits and drawbacks and the ability of these websites ie Coursera Kahn to connect learners from all over the globe The ramifications are exciting People can engage closely with a professor via website instead of space out in a lecture hall Since I am not an educator I would not know how to challenge the author However I do see viability in the old fashioned buildings which offer physical structure and socialization Online learning reuires a lot of internal focus and discipline The attrition rates are uite high Most likely these online courses will serve better as either complementary curriculum or academic enrichment My guess? The future lies in hybridization combining regular classrooms with online lectures or tutorialsIn spite of its upbeat message I couldn't help wondering about the future of college period its necessity for most people as far as finding employment The author doesn't really discuss community colleges or trade schools Ironically those kind of physical places will never go out of style

  6. says:

    Much as The End of College is the thoroughly researched and passionately written labor of love of first time book author and distinguished NYT columnist Kevin Carey its scope is narrower than you'd think if you were to browse through it for a minute or two at the bookstoreIt does not take aim at the higher education system in Europe for example where a college degree is not a prereuisite for the vocational training that leads into the much prized legal and medical professions where vocational training for less demanding jobs starts in high school and where the funding for research as part of all educational funding is chiefly provided by governmentThis is rather an attack at the 20th century phenomenon that is the US Bachelor's degree and includes a very thorough history of how it came to be how the US universities were built around it and made it their cash cow why it no longer serves anybody very well except for tenured researchers and college administrators and why now is the time that it will all unravel The author builds his expose of what the future holds based on1 An account of his experience of the future as previewed by a biology course he attended via MITx2 An invitation to ride with him on a whirlwind tour of tens of new tech enterprises that aim to disrupt the educational systemThe origins of college as we know it today are established via a visit to Bologna where the first university was founded in pre Gutenberg 1088 hello lectures and lecture notes followed by a visit to Harvard Yard where we are treated to a rather gratuitous if you ask me caricature of the privilege a bachelor's degree is meant to bestow on its owner and then a uick ride down Mass Ave to a tour of the much rational MIT campus where buildings have numbers rather than names and students are given the tools to learn the way the author sees it From there he takes us to the founding myth of college as we know it today In the mid 19th century Charles Eliot a prominent academic realised that the educational system had a threefold purpose First to teach to the American masses the necessary knowledge provide the necessary tools and practical education to cope with the industrial revolution along the lines described by the Morrill Grant act whose explicit aim was to provide mechanical arts and practical education for the industrial classes Second to conduct research of the type that would expand human knowledge much as was practiced at the research universities that were springing across Germany at the time Third to teach the Liberal Arts with the ultimate goal of raising the intellectual tone of the society cultivating the public mind purifying the national taste facilitating the exercise of political power and refining the intercourse of private lifeEliot was offered to run Harvard based on the premise that he could build an institution that would accomplish all three at the same time And this is in author Kevin Carey's opinion the foundation of today's American educational impasse The way Eliot skirted around this compromise was by establishing completely autonomous departments One for Math one for English one for Philosophy one for Natural Sciences etc These departments sought to hire the best possible researchers with the implicit and eventually explicit promise that they would be well paid to do research rather than teach And that's where an escalation started that could only ever spiral one wayThe best researchers don't just conduct research their usefulness to the college is that they advertise the excellence of the school much as the average student might never come in contact with the average Nobel prize winner And if he ever does it will most likely be in some abstruse elective the top researcher will deign to teach Which brings us to the electives system According to the author and my personal experience as I did my undergrad in the US and hold two graduate degrees from the UK the electives system is there chiefly to serve the purposes of the autonomous departments that strive to maximize their size as they compete with i the euivalent departments of other research universities for academic status and ii other departments within their university for power though obviously the admissions department also likes to brag about the multitude of courses on offer when in reality the students in their vast majority only ever register for a hyper limited number of mega classes and would benefit most if those classes were taught well And funnily enough the mega classes are taught from massive hyper expensive textbooks authored by a professor from the university's faculty Moreover students often simply do not pick the classes they need to pick I graduated with an Applied Math degree magna cum laude from Harvard and could not tell you what the definition of a group isSo colleges teach poorly are run in the interest of research departments and compete on measures that don't matter much to students like the number of stars in the faculty and the number of electives that nobody will take And that's only the start Along the same lines colleges compete in sports which started as part of the general spirit of the all roundedness that comes from having a liberal arts education but have within less than a century evolved to the point where the Supreme Court is having to adjudicate on the pay of the professional athletes that are now harboured by the alleged learning institutions they play forAnd the students who are urged to choose among colleges on the basis of the star professors and star athletes might want to visit the school where they will of course judge the college on the size of the library and the number of books it houses the size of the athletic facilities and the luxury of the dormitoriesSo before you know it it costs a bomb to attend college because somebody has to pay for all this And what do you get for your money? You learn how to drink mainly Not really worth it Except somewhere along the way college became the necessary passport not only to law school and med school and the school of design to say nothing of divinity school the original purpose of Bologna Oxford Cambridge and Harvard but it also became the passport to the upper class to the job on Wall Street and the good lifeWhat is to be done?The author is very optimistic on this front The way he thinks about it college as we know it is lucky to be alive It only really survived till 2015 because of three major historical accidents first the GI bill sent millions of servicemen into education from 1948 into the early fifties The idea was chiefly to keep them out of unemployment to avoid the experience of malaise that followed demobilisation after WWI but the only institutions that were set up to collect the government's largesse were the colleges and they truly thrived Next came the massive post Sputnik spending via the ONR etc that rained billions and billions on American universities' research departments to invest in the new technologies that would help fight the Cold War and which you can find today on your iPhone Finally the decimation that visited the employment status of the blue collar worker between 1970 and 2000 drilled it into the head of the American that while a college degree is not a panacea not having one is an unmitigated disasterBut that was then and this is now and a college degree today comes hand in hand with a hundred thousand dollar loan that could signal indentured employment with whoever deigns to offer you your first job a delay in climbing the housing ladder and starting a family and potentially total ruin at the hands of the college loan loansharks if you get ill or unluckyThe beauty of it however is that not only does there seem to be a cheaper alternative it's also a better alternative Using modern technology you can Learn like Alexander who was tutored by Aristotle himself The author registered with MITx and learned the secrets of biology form Professor Lander the very same man who untangled the human genome If the lecture was going too fast he could pause and go back a luxury he did not have when he went as part of his investigation and sat in the audience one day He was given problem sets to ponder and he had them graded He was given learning resources that were unimaginable a few years ago he watched populations of flies grow on a computer model that would take years to evolve in real life he toyed with molecules to see how their properties would change and he conferred with classmates from across the world FOR FREE For less than a thousand dollars MIT will sell you the same seven classes that constitute its core programming course It has to be the future no?There's lots to be done still of course Point is people are working hard at doing it Motivated by the enormous potential profits a full industry has materialized that has the potential to democratize education and achieve the trichotomy that Charles Eliot refused to countenance Some are putting together the campuses where you can meet for much cheaper spare us the million volume book library the like minded students you seek Others are putting together the electronic accreditation services that you will carry around in your electronic wallet rather than having to write to your college to get your transcript Others again are designing the classes The author really takes you door to door to all the entrepreneurs who are effecting this change This is in my view the most fun part of the bookMost importantly the top schools have thrown in the towel and are joining the fray Perhaps because it has another 16 schools to draw income from perhaps because it's sitting on a multi billion dollar endowment and perhaps because it's seen the future and it recognizes it for what it is Harvard is now on the side of the innovators and it's not alone Carnegie Mellon has been there from very early it never really succumbed to the temptation of being all things to all people according to the author MIT Stanford everybody is in on the revolutionRevolutions have many false starts of course but I really hope Kevin Carey and the host of innovatorsdisrupters he presents us in this book is not jumping over the parapet too early This is a citadel that deserves to be stormed

  7. says:

    The book did a good job of going over the history of how universities became hybrid Teaching Researching institutions; these institutions are not thriving in teaching students as they are in a rat race of trying to attract high paying students by competing in the US News and World Report rankingsMy take aways are that online education is getting better but at this time isn't in good enough shape to provide the credentials people need to succeedAlso the badges and certificates one might compile to impress future employers that they learned something online; these new credentials will have to include a portfolio of work much like that of source projects on github or a peer reviewed journal articleMaybe in the future one could forego an official time credit based diploma which no one actually reads any for a badge from works derived online apprenticeship based open and public contributions

  8. says:

    A great books to understand the foundation of the place called university Never realized how flawed it was until you're in the workforce

  9. says:

    The central thesis of this book is that traditional college education will at some point in the not too distant future be replaced by internet education with online certification badges This book runs over 250 pages but this central thesis could probably be argued just as well in a 20 page essay Carey tries to write an engaging book with biographical details of various characters and historical depth in explaining his topic in the popular style of say Simon Winchester or Mark Kurlansky but that aspect is in this case not very engaging Little of the educational history or the interwoven details of the online course that the author took or stories about his father the computer science professor is really all that pertinent to the central story he is trying to tell They are eddies and not especially interesting ones It would be better as a pamphlet essay Will his prediction be validated? Perhaps but I don't find his arguments compelling I don't come away from this book convinced that his prognostication will bear out When you boil all his arguments down the basic drivers of this educational change that he offers are 1 the technology has become available relatively recently and is getting even better; 2 traditional college costs an arm and a leg while online education can be very affordable; 3 modern college education is of very unreliable and difficult to measure uality there is a shout out pretty early on to Richard Arum's Academically Adrift and Carey makes a pretty good case in his own right that the US college education model a hybrid of professional training program liberal arts college and research university does not work well while online education can be measured in uantified terms; 4 college basically offers one broad credential the diploma whereas online education can be divided into many precise credentials via electronic badges in the style of many computer games; 5 by being incremental it can be worked into a regular and continuing life schedule rather than involve a traditional four year block of dedicated time as is typical with most colleges and 6 this combination of factors is going to make online education competitively attractive both to studentsworkers and potential employers such that once it hits some kind of critical mass our society will transition fairly uickly from traditional college to online education These are not trivial factors Certainly it COULD happen But will it? Are there perhaps other factors that Carey has given little consideration that might push things in a different direction? One thing Carey does talk about a little is how for at least some college students what they are buying is not really an education but rather a credential that is something like club membership but he doesn't give much consideration for what this might mean for his thesis To the extent that it may be middle or upper class club membership rather than education that employers and students are seeking wouldn't they be inclined to stick with colleges rather than online education and badges precisely because the latter would undercut the club aspect and emphasis the educational? Will this form of education work generally? Nearly all of Carey's examples involve jobs in the physical sciences andor technology fields These emphasizing incremental easy t0 specify skills with non sentient objects may be the ones where the educational badges model works best but can you build a computer certification for artistic ability or social or managerial skills? Can you build this kind of education for fields in which right answers are uncommon? If a cheaper better education is available it is relatively easy to imagine why students might prefer it IF employers would accept it in lieu of the expensive option and it is easy to see why employers hiring for jobs that reuired the online certified skills would like to use that credential but since employers do not generally pay the costs of college at least not directly what is the motive for employers to cease to value college diplomas? Instead of replacing one with the other what is to stop them from desiring BOTH? Perhaps they will create a compound credential system where they expect both a college degree AND online education badgesAs Carey himself shows classic economic theory does not explain the college market which sometimes operates opposite the way one might expect That presently being the case why should we assumed that classic economic motives eg reducing educational costs as Carey does will necessarily cause a transition from traditional colleges to online education?

  10. says:

    Carey writes about the evolution of education from the medieval origins in Bologna through the modern era The bulk of the work argues at the inefficiency of higher education ca 2016 I agree with his criticisms but I disagree with his projections Carey's credentials as a writer for the NY Times on higher education gives him solid credentials and a strong soap box to make his pitch but I do not think his pitch is selling muchIf you read the book or are thinking about reading it you probably already have the idea that traditional American higher education costs way than it delivers Carey appeals to conventional wisdom when he says that universities continually raise costs and lower standards both for admitting students and awarding degrees The increased tuition instead goes to fund lazy rivers and fancy gymnasiums Into this gloomy picture he showcases George Washington University that went from being a commuter school in Washington to become the most expensive university to attend within two decades under the only villain in the book the former president of the institution who proudly told Carey that all he did to justify the huge tuition hikes was to change the brand of the university from commuter to luxury in the same way Gucci justifies thousand dollar purses I never attended GW; but I suspect there is to it than creating a luxury brand Besides Carey displays considerable bias throughout the book hostility to traditional education and open arms to for profit companies I may be harsh on Carey; but the model he rolls out to readers says that the brilliance of rock star faculty combined with Silicon Valley technology and venture capitalists will totally uproot traditional higher education I am always nervous when venture capitalists enter the field As Carey said they expect a 20% return on investment They only way to do that according to Carey is to sell the company or make an IPO Either way means huge financial investment and huge financial risk Only at the end of the book does Carey admit that creating these new programs runs a price tag of 100000s He expects that sheer numbers will make them profitable The idea of interactive learning is great I remember a GRE exam that adjusted uestions to how many I answered correctly Carey expects similar technology to replace the general education reuired courses After all teenagers work well on Grand Theft Auto V why would they not take BIOL 101 just as seriously? Reluctantly I agree with Carey that those same teenagers are just as short changed in the huge lecture halls However I did notice that Carey includes conspicuously little research into MOOCs or other assessments of for profit education Studies have shown that as many as 90% of people enrolled in MOOCs do not finish them Undergrads have not fared much better in MOOcs if at all than in the large lecture halls Carey does argue against such doubters; but he does not offer any citations or references Finally I had a problem with the organization of the book I expected better from a NY Times columnist This book was repetitive and disorganized I thought his first conclusion chapter was a good introduction I thought his last conclusion introduced a whole new dimension to the subject the attitudes of American teenagers I assumed that in the rock star ivy league courses he is taking online Carey would know not to introduce new material in his conclusion Ultimately I thought there was too much fluff in the book In fact now that I think about it the fluff buries his central argument that Wall Street IPOs will take over higher education Maybe that is not the central argument Good hearted benefactors the villainous brick n' mortar universities will spend small fortunes making education freely available to everyone That does not sound as logical either Tech savvy geniuses will make education free for everyone because they do not expect much profit? Hmmm Maybe there is not a central argument here except that traditional universities are badOverall Carey introduces some of the current companies involved in MOOCs He has not shown how they diverge too greatly from the Great Courses that folks could obtain from libraries across the country rock star faculty presenting information since the 1970s But he does show that American cannot sustain the grotesue tuition hikes that are increasingly common He is calling for change In this sense he is not adding too much to the literature His columns are clear concise and informative This book is not