Retooling Education

A collection of stories about several alternatives to higher education that are drawing increased attention.
Retooling Education
A TRADITIONAL COLLEGE DEGREE TAKES YEARS to complete, costs tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees, and often includes courses that deliver information that students could readily find elsewhere. This model has gone relatively unquestioned for decades, but today many are asking the question: Must the future of higher education be the same as its past? A handful of educational entrepreneurs are saying, “Absolutely not.” In that spirit, they are reimagining the conventional college experience. They’re not just using technology to unbundle learning from the restrictions of time and place; they’re also questioning the need for traditional campuses, instead using the world as a classroom.

In the stories below, we take a look at several alternatives to higher education that are drawing increased attention. In “Global and Campus-Free,” Ben Nelson of the Minerva Schools explains how students around the world can study and work together even without a physical campus. In “Changemaker U,” the Amani Institute’s Roshan Paul describes how his school teaches students to become social innovators almost entirely through practical experience. And in “MOOCs 2.0,” Anant Agarwal of edX traces the history and impact of massive open online courses. Following these three interviews, Laurie Pickard of No-Pay MBA details how she created and customized her own educational journey in “The MOOC-Based MBA.”

These entrepreneurs and educators all agree: Business school could be less expensive, less time-consuming, more customized, and more relevant. They share their vision of what they think higher education should look like, along with ideas for improving it across the board.

Global and Campus-Free

How a “no-campus” model that prioritizes fieldwork and experiential learning over coursework could turn higher education inside-out.

Changemaker U

Should social impact be the basis of higher education? Why the world needs more social innovators—and why traditional higher ed must do more to produce them.

MOOCs 2.0

How far have MOOCs come in the past four years? What’s next? How can traditional universities compete—or collaborate?

The MOOC-Based MBA

Laurie Pickard wanted the skills an MBA would give her, but didn’t want to drop out of the workforce to earn one—or absorb the $100,000 cost. So, she turned to MOOCs to assemble the courses she needed. What can business school deans learn from her story?