I’m on a roll here, I realize, with this online education thing – but the stories are coming thick and fast, and I think it’s worthwhile going down this road a bit.
The forced resignation (in real life, firing) of University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan involved a lot more than online education, of course. Some of the intrigue is covered in the linked article, and interested readers can go online and Google the matter – in particular, the avalanche of criticism directed at university rector Helen Dragas. It’s a mix of politics and personalities and open or hidden agendas, and I claim no knowledge of (or interest in) all the in’s and out’s.
No, what’s attracted me to the story is the degree to which the highest authorities of this venerable and highly respected institution were actively engaged in the topic of how/when/why to expand online services, and the degree to which they were influenced by the fact that other blue chip institutions are enthusiastically embracing this new trend. It could be reaching a critical mass right under the noses of the mainstream media – and certainly, of the politicians and policy wonks. Since I’ve already noted – on this blog and in my book, Beyond Age Rage – that boomers and seniors have a strong interest in higher education (both as payers/guarantors of tuition fees of the millennials, and as potential students themselves), it makes sense for us to track the progress of online education very closely. It seems to open up huge potential that is tailored to our needs – lower cost, large and steadily growing range of topics/courses, flexibility, ability to customize the experience.
It seems to me that it will be important for us to know what’s going on, know the range of possibilities, and know how to transform that information into solutions for our own lives. You can expect to see the topic get a lot more attention at this blog — and I hope you’ll find the information useful.