The Import-Export Paradigm for High-Quality College Courses

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1 Public Policy Editor: Stephen Ruth The Import-Export Paradigm for High-Quality College Coure An Anwer to Tuition Through-the- Roof Cot Spiral? Stephen Ruth George Maon Univerity Three new free Stanford online coure drew 300,000 applicant in the fall emeter of Might very high-quality coure with the bet treaming lecture, tudent aid, exam, quizze, mentoring, and o on facilitate an importexport approach to e-learning? A few year ago in thi journal, I dicued ome of the ICT-related change occurring in higher education and decribed everal problem that could be inhibiting e-learning proliferation. 1 Such obtacle included high adminitrative and teaching cot, low level of upport for intructional redeign from tenured and other full-time teaching faculty, and a centurie-old model of the univerity a a place. Here, I examine a ignificant and increaingly troubling problem the univerity tructure inability to achieve unit cot reduction through e-learning intervention. Skyrocketing Cot The latet Babon College report (formerly the Sloan-C Report ) update finding about univerity adminitrator view on e-learning. 2 Thi annual urvey of provot and adminitrator found that two-third of thoe polled regard e-learning a trategic and integral to their future progre. Almot one third of all college tudent ue e-learning coure, a 10 percent rie over the previou year, while overall enrollment increaed by only 0.6 percent. Finally, 63 percent of adminitrator and provot believe that e-learning outcome are equal or uperior to traditional claroom intruction. Depite ignificant increae in e-learning deployment, however, tuition cot have continued to rie jut a they have over the pat three decade at roughly twice the annual inflation rate or more (ee org/download/college_pricing_2011.pdf). The average loan burden for graduating tudent i now cloe to US$25,000, and aggregate tudent loan debt ha paed $1 trillion, more than all credit-card debt in the US combined. 3 In pite of roughly $230 billion in annual upplement to higher education $80 billion from tate and local government, $100 billion from federal ource, including tax break, loan, and Pell grant, and $50 billion in R&D funding the kyrocketing tuition trend in t going away. 4 Vance Fried of Oklahoma State Univerity recently completed an analyi of college expene that included ICT poible role in reducing them. Like many other who have analyzed thi problem, Fried concluded that univeritie could ignificantly reduce teaching and adminitrative cot imply by having intructor teach more tudent that i, ignificantly increaing the tudent-to-teacher ratio. Given that many univeritie already offer cla ize of 500 or even 1,000 for elected coure, 5 a ripe 82 Publihed by the IEEE Computer Society /12/$ IEEE IEEE INTERNET COMPUTING IC Pubp.indd 82

2 The Import-Export Paradigm for High-Quality College Coure e-learning target i the large lecture cla. Say Fried, Radical aving through online delivery can be achieved in coure taught in a lecture/exam format, the bread and butter of lower diviion intruction at public reearch univeritie. Some univeritie are beginning to purue thi approach. It pread the cot of creating the online lecture over thouand of tudent, with variable cot per tudent limited to faculty (often graduate aitant) time pent in reponding to quetion and grading. 6 But thi i a relatively eay olution for a pecific type of cla. What about the million of other clae taught each year, motly in the traditional, face-to-face mode? Several ignificant e-learning innovation could dratically extend a profeor reach beyond traditional claroom confine and dramatically reduce unit cot. Stanford Univerity i puruing one of the mot intereting approache. The Stanford Cae During the 2011 fall emeter, Stanford offered three computer cience coure in e-learning mode for non-matriculated tudent a well a normal Stanford enrollee. They were free for non-credit tudent. Thee weren t imply online, treamed lecture, with note and a yllabu, uch a thoe available from the Maachuett Intitute of Technology (MIT), Yale, and many other intitution. Rather, the Stanford coure offered everything homework, graded quizze and exercie, interaction with the profeor (occaionally, through a coure mentor), midterm and final exam, and coure grade. Incredibly, 300,000 tudent initially regitered for the coure. 7 For one coure, Artificial Intelligence, by the time of the midterm exam, 175 Stanford tudent were participating, a were 54 from the Univerity of Freiburg group (dicued next) and approximately 23,000 non-stanford tudent, ome of whom achieved exam core imilar to the Stanford group. 8 In the pring emeter of 2012, Stanford will offer ix coure in thi ame format. To make the cae even more intereting, the Univerity of Freiburg in Germany offered to proctor exam and give Freiburg tudent credit for paing Stanford Artificial Intelligence coure (ee ~burgard/ai_exam/). Only regitered Stanford tudent received Stanford academic credit for the fall emeter clae, but the Freiburg innovation could permanently change thi retriction. A mentioned, Stanford in t the only intitution offering downloadable, free, high-quality coure. MIT ha more than 2,000 coure available in it Open Coureware program Yale and Carnegie Mellon Univerity alo have ignificant offering in thi format and recently announced that it would offer ome for credit toward a certificate, though not an actual degree. 9 Until the Stanford breakthrough, thee coure didn t offer full ervice to non-matriculated tudent, but now that the new approach ha been ucceful, a potentially large import-export market from non-originating intitution eem poible. Stanford approach offer everal inight about ICT role in reducing higher education cot. Firt, a truly excellent coure with world-cla intructor and the highet technological production value can attract maive number of intereted tudent. Another highly ucceful and free e-learning approach, the Khan Academy, ha benefitted from thee ame characteritic (ee Second, intitution could work out the credit-granting proce via pertudent payment to the originating (exporting) intitution in thi cae, Stanford. Third, other univeritie importing thee coure wouldn t need a many high-level, tenured faculty to mentor or ait tudent in the learning proce. Rather, they could employ graduate aitant or other intructor, and each intructor could probably A truly excellent coure with world-cla intructor and the highet technological production value can attract maive number of tudent. manage everal hundred tudent per emeter. Fourth, thi importexport model, trongly rooted in lecture-capture technology, could poibly lead to decreae in faculty lot at importing intitution, epecially permanent, tenured faculty. Univeritie would need to preerve poition for reearch profeor who bring in grant funding a well a thoe whoe clae mut be taught traditionally, but the opportunity for ignificant faculty reduction omeday could be a game-changer. Wetern Governor Univerity Perhap the mot intereting development during the pat decade in retructuring for e-learning i the nonprofit Wetern Governor MARCH/APRIL IC Pubp.indd 83

3 Public Policy Univerity (WGU). Thi conortium offer accredited college degree through e-learning; tudent concentrate on attaining the appropriate competencie in a particular field, uch a education, buine, or human reource management. Clae are in normal e-learning format, but tudent are alo expected to pa national or regional competency tet. Mot of WGU tudent body initially came from wetern US tate, and attendance ha rien from 500 in 2003 to more than 25,000 now. 10 Other tate have alo igned on to the WGU model, mot notably Indiana and Texa. The WGU-Indiana program, tarted in 2010, ha already graduated it firt cla, and ha everal thouand tudent. 11 The Texa verion i jut beginning, but it plan to follow a imilar approach, offering dozen of program and low tuition. 12 WGU ha everal characteritic that eem to guarantee it future ucce. It offer dozen of fully accredited degree program and a clear path for completion. It cot i coniderably lower than a typical public univerity. Student can take a many coure a deired for roughly $3,000 per ix-month period, o for around $20,000, they can tart from cratch and finih a full degree program in le than four year (including ummer). Mot WGU matriculant are older tudent who already have ome college credit, o WGU let them fill in miing coure to complete their degree. Another ignificant characteritic i that WGU directly compete with for-profit, motly online, program uch a Phoenix, Strayer, and Kaplan, offering lower cot, good flexibility, and none of the taint recently aociated with for-profit due to recruiting, loan repayment problem, low graduation rate, and other iue. The $10,000 College Degree Another intereting trend related to the proliferation of competencybaed college program uch a WGU i the idea of a $10,000 college degree. In 2011, Governor Rick Perry challenged Texa to come up with a plan that would accomplih thi objective, and the concept ha received a urpriing amount of favorable comment. 13 The New York Time preented a dozen expert opinion on For tudent who don t mind doing more knowledge acquiition in cyberpace, e-learning i a ueful and convenient alternative. the idea, and while ome were upportive, all argued that the univerity ytem a currently configured would have to change coniderably, in Texa and everywhere ele, if thi were ever to ucceed. If thi ound unattainable, the Chronicle of Higher Education once quoted Bill Gate a aying that even $10,000 i too much for a college degree if ICT i employed effectively: After all, what are we trying to do? We re trying to take education that today the tuition i, ay, $50,000 a year, o over four year a $200,000 education that i increaingly hard to get becaue there le money for it becaue it not there, and we re trying to provide it to every kid who want it, Mr. Gate aid. And only technology can bring that down, not jut to $20,000 but to $2,000. So ye, place-baed activity in that college thing will be five time le important than it i today. 14 Interaction with Student So, what happen to the relationhip between faculty member and tudent in online coure? Nearly a third of today college tudent are already taking at leat one coure in that mode, o the lack of frequent face-to-face contact with intructor appear to be acceptable, at leat for ome coure. And being online doen t necearily mean being alone. Mot online coure intructor mentor their tudent online, and ome ue Skype and other face-to-face modalitie for meeting. Even the Stanford AI coure, with ten of thouand of tudent, allowed for occaional Q&A through coure monitor via . Neverthele, mot college clae till take place face-to-face, which will likely be the cae for a long time. But for tudent who don t mind doing more knowledge acquiition in cyberpace, e-learning i a ueful and convenient alternative. Additional Opportunitie to Leverage ICT In what other way can ICT and e-learning contribute to lowering tuition cot? Probably the mot ignificant opportunity i capitalizing on radical coure redeign, epecially for ubject that ue mot of the current higher-education reource. A mall percentage of coure account for about a third of all undergraduate teaching hour. 15 A fully proven and validated approach already exit for redeigning uch coure, one that hown reult in hundred of implementation over the pat decade. The US National Center for Academic Tranformation (NCAT) work with college and univeritie to tranform high-volume coure that are taught via traditional lecture. Each approach i different, 84 IEEE INTERNET COMPUTING IC Pubp.indd 84

4 The Import-Export Paradigm for High-Quality College Coure but ignificant e-learning intervention i uually involved, along with redeigning the actual teaching material. 16 The reult have been ignificant and enduring. The latet report on NCAT how that many intervention reulted in both higher tudent achievement and lower unit cot, ometime amounting to 30 percent or greater improvement. For example, two redeigned Englih Compoition coure at Ohio State and Brigham Young univeritie howed an average aving of $60 per tudent for 6,000 tudent (ee html). Still, over 10 year, only a few hundred coure have adopted NCAT redeign, many with coniderable ucce. The obviou quetion i, Why in t thi proven approach weeping acro the US? The anwer i complicated, but i undoubtedly related partly to permanent faculty reluctance to become involved in ditance learning. One tudy found that faculty are till keptical of mot e-learning tool and technique, including collaboration oftware (only 31 percent upport), virtual learning (35 percent), treaming lecture (20 percent), and e-reader (6 percent). 17 The 2011 Babon Report found that le than one third of chief academic officer believe that their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education. Thi percent ha changed little over the lat eight year 2 Clearly, faculty reitance i a ignificant obtacle that univeritie mut overcome before the online education approach can truly take off. Other challenge mut alo be conidered. The quality of e-learning offering varie coniderably from intitution to intitution. Alo, there i reaon to doubt that imply witching from face-to-face teaching to the online verion of the ame coure will automatically reduce cot. The oppoite effect can occur if organizational adjutment don t alo occur. The 10 percent increae lat year in e-learning enrollment, while far greater than the overall increae of 0.6 percent, wa lower than in previou year, poibly ignifying diminihing e-learning upport. And for-profit univeritie, motly e-learning-oriented, have alo been experiencing drop-off in enrollment, poibly due to ome negative publicity that urrounded that ector over the pat year. What might higher education look like a few decade from now? Will we till ee increaing number of building project for new academic facilitie? Will the traditional face-to-face approach in the college claroom yield to growing ue of virtual communication through teleconferencing and other intervention? The more preing quetion i, will tuition continue to rie at over twice the rate of inflation every year? If tuition doen t come under control, it eem likely that the Stanford example will become very ignificant. If the finet content, lecture, coureware, grading, and o on are available online already, for how long can college continue to run a if thi capability doen t exit? Saving are poible in four area: faculty, adminitration, new building, and organization. If the import-export approach happen, net importing intitution might need fewer tenured faculty lot. Adminitrator cot have grown at an even greater rate than thoe for faculty, 18 o the reduction in faculty expene could be matched in lowered adminitrative cot. A for academic building, mot have had the ame function for centurie claroom, pace for tudent and teacher, meeting and eating facilitie, and o on. If the number of tudent taking coure in cyberpace i increaing at 10 time the rate of traditional tudent, hould we really have pent $12.4 billion on univerity contruction in 2011 (an increae of more than 11 percent over the previou year)? 19 Finally, univerity organization and management might need an overhaul. At ome point in the next few year if unpaid tuition loan have increaed by another $100 billion, the average tudent loan burden at graduation rie to $35,000, and current infuion from tate and federal government drop from the current level of more than $200 billion the centurie-old view of the univerity a a motly phyical place might finally change. When thi happen, we ll likely ee fewer profeor, faceto-face clae, college, librarie, building, facultie, and department many of thee will be virtual, a ome already are. The good new i that cot to tudent will be ignificantly lower a thee change gradually move through academic intitution. We might omeday regard Stanford e-learning ucce a the gamechanging event that ignificantly altered higher education and made it affordable again. Reference 1. S. Ruth, I E-Learning Really Working? The Trillion Dollar Quetion, IEEE Internet Computing, vol. 14, no. 2, 2010, pp E. Allen and J. Seaman, Going the Ditance Online Education in the United State, Babon Survey Reearch Group, 2011; goingtheditance.pdf. 3. T. Mak, Unpaid Student Loan Top $1 Trillion, Politico, 19 Oct. 2011; www. politico.com/new/torie/1011/ html. 4. A. Hauptman, The Federal Role in Controlling College Price and Spending, Inide Higher Ed, 5 Dec. 2011; www. inidehighered.com/view/2011/12/05/ eay-federal-role-controlling-collegeprice-and-pending. 5. S. Jachik, Teaching Large, Inide Higher Ed, 7 Dec. 2011; MARCH/APRIL IC Pubp.indd 85

5 Public Policy com/new/2011/12/07/educator-hearadvice-how-teach-large-coure. 6. V. Fried, Opportunitie for Efficiency and Innovation: A Primer on How to Cut College Cot, working paper , Am. Enterprie Int., 2011; default/file/opportunitie-for-efficiencyand-innovation-fried-final.pdf. 7. D. Koller, Death Knell for the Lecture: Technology a a Paport to Peronalized Education, New York Time, 5 Dec. 2011; daphne-koller-technology-a-a-paportto-pe r ona l i zed- educat ion.ht m l?_ r= 1&pagewanted=all. 8. S. Kolowich, Open CoureWare 2.0, Inide Higher Ed, 13 Dec. 2011; www. inidehighered.com/new/2011/12/13/ tanford-open-coure-raie-quetion-abouttrue-value-elite-education#ixzz1gbxoy3gb. 9. With an Extra Letter, MIT Will Offer Certificate for Courework in Popular Online Offering, Wahington Pot, 18 Dec. 2011; 10. J. Gravoi, The College For-Prof it Should Fear, Wahington Monthly, Sept./ Oct. 2011; m a g a z i n e / e p t e m b e r o c t o b e r _ 2 011/ feat u r e/t he _col lege _ for prof it _ hould php?page=4#. 11. D. Leder man, A Mar r iage Made in Indiana, Inide Higher Ed, 14 July 2010; w w w.inidehighered.com/new/2010/ 07/14/wgu. 12. Room for Debate The $10,000 College Education, New York Time, 5 Sept R. Haurwitz, Agency Embrace Perry $10,000 Degree Plan, Autin Am. Stateman, 27 Apr. 2011; new/loca l/agenc y-embrace-per r y degree-plan html. 14. J. Young, Bill Gate Predict Technology Will Make Place-Baed College Le Important in 5 Year, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9 Aug. 2010; chronicle.com/blog/wiredcampu/billgate-predict-technology-will-makeplace-baed-college-le-impor tantin-5-year/ B. Miller, The Coure of Innovation: Uing Technology to Tranform Higher Education, the Education Sector, May 2010; f i l e / p u b l i c a t i o n / N C A T- R e p o r t _ RELEASE.pdf. 16. Context of Potecondary Education, The Condition of Education 2004, Nat l Center for Education Statitic, 2004, ection 5, p. 82; _5.pdf t Century Campu Report, CDW-G, 19 July 2010; webobjec t /med ia/pd f/newroom/ CDWG-21t-Cent ur y-campu-repor t0710.pdf. 18. J. Greene, B. Kiida, and J. Mill, Adminitrative Bloat at American Univeritie: The Real Reaon for High Cot in Higher Education, policy report no. 239, Goldwater Int., 17 Aug. 2010; ht t p://goldwater int it ute.org/a r t icle/ ad m i n i t r at ive -bloat-a me r ica nu n iver it ie-rea l-reaon-h igh-cothigher-education. 19. The 2011 College Contruction Report, Col lege Pla n n i ng a nd Ma nagement, 2 011; w w w. p e t e r l i. c o m /c p m / p d f / CollegeContructionReport2011.pdf. Stephen Ruth i a profeor of public policy at George Maon Univerity. He manage a grant-upported IT reearch center, the International Center for Applied Studie in Information Technology (ICASIT), which tudie contemporary technology deployment iue, and, mot recently, telework, e-learning, and green IT comparion between the public and private ector. Contact him at gmu.edu. u. yo o t ew n y log o n ech t ng bri u Let com put ing Sub now.com cribe 86 IC Pubp.indd 86 to ou put r da ily n er.o ewf rg/ eed new IEEE INTERNET COMPUTING

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