The Changing Education Industry
And a Place for Alternative Education Models
“Today’s higher education marketplace looks remarkably different than it did even 10 years ago. While online and distance programming has long been available, the growth of unaccredited education providers and their popularity among prospective students is changing the shape of the postsecondary ecosystem in the United States…Online enrollment in accredited colleges is flat nationwide but enrollment in unaccredited online programs is exploding. It probably won’t be too long before the unaccredited pathways overtake the accredited pathways when it comes to the volume of online learning” [From: http://evolllution.com/managing-institution/higher_ed_business/unaccredited-providers-are-changing-the-shape-of-the-higher-education-industry/
Over the last 10 years, Higher Education has attempted to embrace the internet and to offer internet based distance education for students unable to attend a campus, or for working adults that wanted additional education but in a more convenient fashion. Nearly every educational institution has experimented with the internet, and in some cases, such as University of Florida (USA), online education has outgrown campus-based education. Of course, the University of Phoenix (USA) online programs are well known.
In concert with these changes, came the “for-profit” universities. Investors and investment funds bought up existing fledging institutions (or created their own) and rapidly expanded their services, particularly with respect to online programs, targeting working adults and those recently leaving US military service. Examples of for-profit universities are Capella University, University of Phoenix, Argosy University, Ashworth University, DeVry University, and Kaplan College, to name just a few. And rather than offer a reduced cost of education based on savings due to internet technology, it turned out that these for-profit businesses have been charging almost the same tuition for online education as a student would pay for on campus learning.
The lack of reduction of tuition costs reflective of increased technology has also been seen for all the existing well known non-profit universities. Students have yet to enjoy the cost savings technology can offer. Even for online programs, the existing pattern has been to charge tuition not based on cost of delivery to the student, but rather based on what is the maximum government loan the student can obtain!!
Reform minded educators have essentially abandoned trying to reform from within and are beginning to create a parallel education system outside of the traditional formats. Different models are being tried, but the goal and end result will be new accepted ways to become educated… faster, cheaper, and better. These new models are generally referred to as “alternative education” or “non-traditional education”. Daniel S. Christian, a modern educator, has presented the most exhaustive collection of new initiatives in education, which he calls the “Walmart of Education”, published on the web at: http://www.calvin.edu/~dsc8/walmartofeducation.htm . In his paper titled: “What goes up…Must come down” published at his website: http://danielschristian.com/learning-ecosystems/?s=what+goes+up he summarizes the current status of these new initiatives as follows:
“Change is coming. The perfect storm has been brewing within higher education, and it does not appear that current models are sustainable. Further impetus toward change is a related and compounding issue for today’s graduates–the unemployment rate….the point here is that no one wants to fork over what amounts to a second mortgage/the price of a new home, only to discover that they –or their son or daughter- cannot get a job. This is not the return on investment that colleges have been touting for years.”
Blue Marble University is most likely considered to be an alternative education provider, also known as a non-traditional university, in that all learning occurs in a self-learning environment at the convenience of the student, and education content is delivered entirely online. Such new ideas for education innovation is generally stifled in America, as reported in our “Blue Marble University Review of Post-Secondary Education”: https://bluemarbleuniversity.com/about/blue-marble-review-of-postsecondary-education-in-america-as-related-to-the-founding-of-blue-marble-university/
One might say that the “change” predicted by Daniel Christian in 2010 (see above) has already arrived. Now, at the highest levels of the United States government, there is increasing recognition of the value of alternative education models, based clearly on what the public is now demanding. In recent news article June 29, 2016, Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton stated: “We need more job creators, and we need more young people starting businesses,” Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, said during a visit to the Denver-based boot camp Galvanize. “What we’ve been doing is insufficient for doing what we want for young Americans or even midcareer Americans.” Her plan proposes $10 billion in federal funding for students to enroll in online courses and other programs run by alternative education providers, as well as providing unspecified rewards for colleges that accept those programs as credit toward graduation.
[ref: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/06/29/clinton-proposes-financial-aid-alternative-providers-student-loan-relief . And more than that, a new accreditation system
for new online colleges and start-ups has been proposed: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/09/ideas-take-shape-new-accreditors-aimed-emerging-online-providers
So, accreditation and recognition of online programs like Blue Marble University are likely to arrive eventually for institutions in the US. A seat at the accreditation table eventually?? No thanks. We already have our own seat, and we can offer our programs from overseas now, where we can innovate and experiment with new ways of delivering career based education to working adults and career minded students.