90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Big Changes In Higher Ed

Universities are scrambling to get out front of the Internet and revolutionary change in higher education.

A Stanford University student walks though the halls of the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California. (AP)

A Stanford University student walks though the halls of the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California. (AP)

The old saw goes that things that can’t last don’t last.  Traditional American colleges and universities may be in that category right now.  They cost too much.  Young Americans are graduating with punishing debt.  And the Internet is offering a big alternative.

The superhot phrase of the academic season is MOOC:  Massive Open Online Course.  Top schools are racing to offer them.  Sign up, dive in, learn – from anywhere.  Goodbye campus and quad.  Maybe.  How will this really work?

This hour, On Point:  a college system at the breaking point meets the Internet revolution.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jeff Selingo, editor-at-large at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

John Mitchell, Stanford University’s vice provost.

Mark Taylor, chair of the religion department at Columbia University. You can read his provocative op-ed on the future of higher ed here.

From Tom’s Reading List

Newsweek “Mythomania about college has turned getting a degree into an American neurosis. It’s sending parents to the poorhouse and saddling students with a backpack full of debt that doesn’t even guarantee a good job in the end. With college debt making national headlines, Megan McArdle asks, is college a bum deal?”

New York Times “Widespread hiring freezes and layoffs have brought these problems into sharp relief now. But our graduate system has been in crisis for decades, and the seeds of this crisis go as far back as the formation of modern universities. Kant, in his 1798 work “The Conflict of the Faculties,” wrote that universities should “handle the entire content of learning by mass production, so to speak, by a division of labor, so that for every branch of the sciences there would be a public teacher or professor appointed as its trustee.””

Campus Technology “If you were to gather together a thousand academics, researchers, university IT and instructional technology leaders, institutional librarians, technology and media company executives, authors, journalists, futurists, association presidents, and other interested people and ask them to consider the possible impact of the Internet on higher education, the outlook you’d get would closely resemble the rich patchwork of perspective offered in a recent report from Elon University’s School of Communications, as part of its “Imagining the Internet” project. Most of them would say there’s a lot of change coming.”

TechCrunch “In the past 20 years, Stanford has only established two Vice Provost offices, for undergraduate and graduate education, both of which “fundamentally reshaped education at Stanford.” University   spokeswoman Lisa Lapin tells me the Vice Provost for Online Learning intends to do the same.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 16, 2014
A still from Amanda Brown's documentary film, "Black Heirlooms." (Courtesy the FIlmmaker)

The documentary “Black Heirlooms,” tells the story of how inheritances, even humble ones, can tear families apart. We talk to the director.

 
Dec 16, 2014
Supermodel Beverly Johnson. (Courtesy Beverly Johnson)

Supermodel Beverly Johnson is the latest woman to accuse Bill Cosby. She joins us.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment