Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Articles for May 26, 2015


A New College for Old Credits (insidehighered.com)
College Unbound, a degree-completion program turned private non-profit college in Rhode Island, will be allowed to award undergraduate degrees to students who fall into the "some college, no degree" category. The article reports that the program uses personalized curriculum, a form of competency-based education, and even a student's current job to form classes and earn credits. So, it appears, this single program includes just about everything that scares the current system of higher education. 

The Tennessee Promise program offers community college tuition-free to eligible students, and around 13 campuses have made some changes to help ensure its ultimate goal: degrees. Among changes in individual colleges are statewide efforts to "overhaul remedial education and a robust redesign of the traditional orientation process." I'm still torn about the co-requisite model that the "overhaul" switches to, especially in light of the ultimate purpose of this program. The article quotes Ronald Davis, VP of academic affairs and student services at Nashville State: "Education's not just about taking classes. It's about learning the dynamics of the college." All of these changes reflect that notion--except the co-req model. 

The discussion around "free" community college scares me a little bit. The law of supply and demand that makes an applicant with a B.A. more valuable seems like it would work against the same applicant.  The argument for it also seems to come from people and groups whose common method of solving problems is to throw money at them. There are a couple of great paragraphs here, but we would do much better to stop making this a case of money. Although it's a reality, as soon as education is about a test score or a dollar or an enrollment number, the motivation changes. 

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