|Author & daughter, June 2011.|
I wish I was an independently wealthy parent, who was able to put enough aside for college, as my daughter was growing up. Yet, as most parents, I struggled to keep a roof-over-her-head and food-on-the-table all-the-while paying payment for those ever-so-needed braces and drivers education lessons.
In 1972, Sen. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) stated that "the strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people," and it was also recorded that she stated "any student with the talent, desire, and drive should be able to pursue higher education (Equal Justice Works, 2012)." The question remains - can a student continue afford to pursue higher education?
Nevertheless, there are organizations taking a completely different approach to solve the soaring costs of a higher education. They are not looking to the government for a handout or a solution. They are working to create one for future generations. They are private foundations that are making, funding and encouraging innovative solutions to the 'government' created debacle. One of those organizations is The Gates Foundation, who just recently awarded $9 million dollars to the online exploration and creation for future degrees (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2012).
In addition, there is already a university, University of the People,> where a degree can be obtained for free or almost free. This type of education has been dubbed 'crowd-sourcing' an education, like information is done on Wikipedia or ratings are done on Amazon (Jelski, 2012). There is a list of over a dozen places to educate yourself online for free at Marc and Angel Hack Life, but the complete list of these 'crowd-sourcing' resources existes at Open Courseware (OCW) Consortium (Hack, 2010; Hammond, 2012). While there is some debate on the future of postsecondary education costs, I have a tendency to watch were monies are being invested for the future of education. Furthermore, I do know that many do not want to think about the possibility of a 'free' education. They are, to be cliche, like the ostridge sticking it's head in the sand, if they don't see it coming they don't have to worry about it.
Even though I know a 'free' education is going to be in the future for postsecondary academia competing with the traditional education path, I still have a few concerns.
- How are employers going to accept a 'free' degree on a resumé?
- Will the 'crowd-sourcing' degree be monitored?
- Will employers accept a 'crowd-sourcing' degree testing system like Smarterer (Landry, 2012)?
- Will a 'free' degree be tested completely on critical thinking skills like Udacity (Landry, 2012)?
- Will a 'crowd-sourcing' degree be sought after more than a traditional degree path or vice-versa?
- Do students want to acquire an education taught completely by volunteers?
- How will the instructors of the 'free' universities afford to make a living?
- Because teaching online can be time consuming will these instructors need to work 24/7?
Education, in general, is in an enormous state of flux. Many people are wrestling with the same questions above. I just know that as a teacher, in the last five years, I have invested in myself over $75,000 to keep up with the changes in technology, Web 2.0, learning management systems, methodologies, etc. With this huge investment and a total of five degrees later, I still feel I do not know all there is to know, because education and technology are changing daily. Consequently, I hope my daughter is able to get her bachelor degree without as large of an investment. After her degree is completed, I hope she will be able to 'update' herself online and it will be accepted without an additional large investment on her part. But if congress, doesn't keep the current interest rates low, she may have a hard time just finishing the first degree on time without an abundance of debt. It is a good thing that education is in the state of flux. It needs to change.
References for this Blog Post:
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2012, June 19). Gates foundation announces $9 million in grants to support breakthrough learning models in Postsecondary education. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/Pages/breakthrough-learning-models-120619.aspx
Equal Justice Works (2012, June 27). U.S. News and World Reports: Education - Student loan ranger: Two longstanding programs that still help college students. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/2012/06/27/2-longstanding-programs-that-still-help-college-students
Hack, Marc (2010, November 15). Twelve dozen places to self-educate yourself online. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.marcandangel.com/2010/11/15/12-dozen-places-to-self-educate-yourself-online/
Hammond, Larissa (2012, April 12). The future is (almost) now: free college. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.thatradicallibrarian.com/2012/04/future-is-almost-now-free-college.html
Hopkins, Katy (2012, June 16). U.S. News and World Reports: Education - Student loan changes: What you need to know now. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2012/05/16/student-loan-changes-what-you-need-to-know-now
Jelski, Daniel (2012, January 19). Forbes: A free college education for all. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2012/01/19/a-free-college-education-for-all/
Johnson, Steven R. (2012, June 28). Clock continues to tick on student loan interest rate extension. Progress Illinois. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://progressillinois.com/posts/content/2012/06/28/clock-continues-tick-student-loan-interest-rate-extension
Landry, Lauren (2012, June 26). BostInno: Will employers ever take online learning seriously. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://bostinno.com/2012/06/26/will-employers-ever-take-online-learning-seriously/
Puckett, Elizabeth L. (2012, April 23). College classes: Are free online classes the future of higher education. Retrieved June 28, 2012 from http://www.collegeclasses.com/are-free-online-classes-the-future-of-higher-education/