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College 2.0: Transforming Higher Education through Greater Innovation and Smarter Regulation

College 2.0: Transforming Higher Education through Greater Innovation and Smarter Regulation. Institute for a Competitive Workforce, Washington, 2011. Pages: 28.

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce – an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce – recently released a report calling attention to the slow pace of change on the part of US higher education institutions when it comes to adapting and transforming the delivery of education using new digital technology (e.g. online learning). Further, the report highlights ten “Spotlight Innovations” that serve as examples of innovative technological approaches within the US higher education system. In particular, the report notes several upcoming yet controversial federal Department of Education rulings that stand to inhibit the funding – and purportedly the teaching – mechanisms used primarily in for-profit distance learning higher education institutions. These federal government rulings include

  • the gainful employment rule, whereby federal student financial aid will be granted on the basis of whether a particular degree-offering programme provides training that leads to gainful employment by, for example, looking at graduates’ debt-to-income ratios;
  • the obligation of institutions offering distance learning courses to students who do not reside in the state in which the institution is registered to be authorised to offer educational institutional services in each state where students reside; and
  • the new federal definition of “credit hour”, whereby institutions are more firmly required to base teaching and learning equivalencies on time input.

The second half of the report issues a critique of the forthcoming rulings. In addition, it offers five policy recommendations to further promote innovation in higher education provision.     

Institute for a Competitive Workforce