Monday, April 6, 2015

A Flexible Future for Higher Education - Carl Straumsheim, Tomorrow's Professor

Some of the country's most rigorous research universities have a new obsession: flexibility. As the institutions contemplate a more modular future, experiments with blended learning may provide an early glimpse at their plans. Through strategic visions and partnerships, institutions such as Duke and Harvard Universities and the Georgia and Massachusetts Institutes of Technology are laying the groundwork for curriculums that will be delivered through a combination of face-to-face instruction, blended courses and distance education. A common goal is to offer students "flexibility" -- a word several administrators used to summarize their institutions' aspirations. Regardless of the definition, flexibility has much in common with MIT's plans to "modularize" education. MIT's plans are part of "everybody's thought processes," said Nelson C. Baker, dean of professional education at Georgia Tech, who joked that MIT may have peeked at his institution's own strategic plan.

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