Inert & Debt Ridden: Time to Innovate?

Andrew Marshall & John Lewis on #innochatWith firm Medieval traditions and a largely unchanged Victorian delivery system, is it any wonder modern employers demand better of its “output”?

The complaints vary by country about university education, but money is always an issue. The added twist in America is the debt load taken on by students. That now stands at €1.2 trillion!

Given the challenges faced by all of the participants, is it this a field in need of radical innovation?

The topic was taken on by this week’s #innochat, a weekly get-together by innovation practitioners, students and consultants on Twitter. The framing post for the talk is here.

Perspectives on the state of higher education

Chat moderator Andrew Marhsall (@DrewCM) said the chat focus was on provision of education rather than academic research.

“Overall I think innovation is not up to speed in higher education. They follow the trend slowly,” said Husamettin Erciyes (@husamerciyes), a Marketing Director in San Fransisco.

“[The] problem here is higher education is too broad a market to give a valid generalised response,” said Paul Ellis (@PaulEllisUK), a business and marketing strategist in the UK.

“Higher education is a broad topic, yes, but broadly needs innovation and new business models!” countered Renee Hopkins (@renee_hopkins), Community engagement manager at the Business Innovation Factory in Providence, RI.

“The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs,” said Cathryn Hrudicka (@CreativeSage), CEO of Cathryn Hrudicka & Associates in the San Fransisco Bay area.

She based her comment on the Michelle Weise article on the Harvard Business Review website.

“When I was at university (long ago) we had some innovative ‘sandwich’ courses including engineering with languages,” said John Lewis (@JohnWLewis), an innovation consultant in the UK.

“Universities in particular do try to be all things to all people. I don’t think they are clear on their value proposition,” said Hopkins.

“A major problem is that the more innovative small colleges are also the most expensive. Accessibility is the main issue,” Hrudicka said.

Summing up, Marshall said, “I’m reading a compelling case for innovation in practices of teaching rather than institution.”

Transcript of Innochat 2014.10.23

“Perspective of kids in college? The place to have fun and oh, gotta learn something,” said Lisa Radin (@milguy23), an analyst and creative strategist in Chicago.

Biggest educational challenges?

“Many different “markets” for higher education [and the] inability of colleges to identify value proposition,” Hopkins said.

“Keeping educators up to speed with the state of innovation and subject matter expertise in business,” Ellis said.

“Finances. To bring in new programs, advance old programs, and give students scholarships,” said Lisa Richards (@_lisarich), a blogger with MAPCONtech in Chicago.

Hrudicka agreed. “It usually boils down to finance, for the universities and the students/parents.”

“Innovation for most schools means ‘get iPads, get laptops’,” said Radin.

 What failures have you seen?

“Not sure of any examples, but the lack of national innovation changes should speak for itself,” said Richards.

“One big failure – assuming no one except PhDs knows anything, when many PhDs have only dated, narrow knowledge,” Hopkins said.

“Student and parent debt skyrocketing impacts our entire economic future. Quality of education suffers,” Hrudicka said.

Marshall cited Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), saying, “Big universities experimenting with MOOCs is an interesting failure. Completion is at issue.”

Hopkins, however, said: “I see MOOCs as less a true failure and more of experiment (although
universities may not see it that way).”

“Failures in college? TA’s that don’t speak English. Ever have one of those?” Radin wondered.

Examples of better value

“I mentioned earlier, sandwich courses mixing engineering with languages (which was pretty innovative [in the1970s!]),” Lewis said.

He added later, “Innovative HE: time for a shout-out for the One Planet MBA at the University of Exeter Business School.”

“Competency-based education, such as @SNHU’s College for America,” Hopkins said. “Ackowlednge not all learning comes from a classroom.”

“MIT made course material available online for free. Still need instructions to apply but at least it’s accessible,” said Matt Recio (@mattbrat1) in Atlanta, GA.

Hopkins agreed. “Loved MIT model – you can learn for free, but pay to actually earn credit. Sometimes you just want/need to learn!”

“My daughter organization studies major at U Mich. They did more case studies where had to go to the field. Real life,” said Radin.