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Higher Education in the Digital Age (The William G. Bowen Memorial Series in Higher Education)

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Higher Education in the Digital Age

The William G. Bowen Memorial Series in Higher Education

By William G. Bowen

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Format: Hardcover, 200 pages
Other Information: 4 line illus.
Published In: United States, 01 May 2013
Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, one of the foremost experts on the intersection of education and economics, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, including the acclaimed bestseller The Shape of the River, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject. Surveying the dizzying array of new technology-based teaching and learning initiatives, including the highly publicized emergence of "massive open online courses" (MOOCs), Bowen argues that such technologies could transform traditional higher education--allowing it at last to curb rising costs by increasing productivity, while preserving quality and protecting core values. But the challenges, which are organizational and philosophical as much as technological, are daunting. They include providing hard evidence of whether online education is cost-effective in various settings, rethinking the governance and decision-making structures of higher education, and developing customizable technological platforms. Yet, Bowen remains optimistic that the potential payoff is great. Based on the 2012 Tanner Lectures on Human Values, delivered at Stanford University, the book includes responses from Stanford president John Hennessy, Harvard University psychologist Howard Gardner, Columbia University literature professor Andrew Delbanco, and Coursera cofounder Daphne Koller.

Table of Contents

PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix CONTRIBUTORS xvii Part 1. Costs and Productivity in Higher Education 1 Cost Trends, the "Cost Disease," and Productivity in Higher Education 2 Factors Other Than the Cost Disease Pushing Up Educational Costs 9 Affordability 18 Is There a Serious Problem--Even a Crisis? 24 Notes 27 Part 2. Prospects for an Online Fix 43 Background 44 The Lack of Hard Evidence 46 The Need for Customizable, Sustainable Platforms (or Tool Kits) 55 The Need for New Mindsets--and Fresh Thinking about Decision-Making 62 What Must We Retain? 67 Appendix: The Online Learning Landscape 72 Notes 77 Discussion by Howard Gardner 97 Discussion by John Hennessy 109 William G. Bowen's Responses to Discussion Session Comments by Howard Gardner and John Hennessy 123 Discussion by Andrew Delbanco 129 Discussion by Daphne Koller 145 William G. Bowen's Responses to Discussion Session Comments by Andrew Delbanco and Daphne Koller 157 INDEX 163

About the Author

William G. Bowen is president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University and founding chairman of ITHAKA. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including the acclaimed best seller "The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions", "Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America's Public Universities", and "Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President" (all Princeton).


"Higher Education in the Digital Age, frames the current and coming debates instead of answering questions about the future of online learning... Bowen worries online learning will leave students behind or that the solutions dreamed up at elite institutions will not work in a country with a higher education system that bears no great resemblance to the classes in Cambridge... Bowen also predicts coming debates about faculty governance and intellectual property as faculty members team up to teach courses or use an online course from another institution to aid them in their own classrooms."--Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed "A slim and highly readable volumne... The collection of voices provides a thoughtful and provocative discussion of the emergence of online education."--Richard D. Kahlenberg "Higher Education in the Digital Age is an elegant exposition of old-fashioned, gentlemanly and humane views and values, couched in concerns about the value of new educational technologies and their pedagogical and economic potential. It is worth reading for its beautiful prose and for its clear commitment to the continuing importance of teaching and pedagogy in higher education."--Miriam E. David, Times Higher Education "[Bowen] describes approaches to online learning, distinguishes the difference between useful and unnecessary educational practices, and encourages an evidence-based introduction to technology. Critical of unfounded attacks on digital learning, Bowen urges practitioners and critics to preserve the broad goals of education: developing values and upholding personal responsibility. This thoughtful analysis is complemented and expanded upon by responses from authoritative educators; extensive notes provide further exploration and valuable references... Highly recommended to educators and all who care about preserving the best characteristics of our higher education system."--Elizabeth Hayford, Library Journal starred review "Bowen's thought provoking book should be required reading for anyone having a stake in our educational future."--Rich Lewine, NACADA Journal "Higher Education in the Digital Age is peppered with research findings and data and is a timely examination of a problem and its possible solution from a highly regarded educator and economist who has served on the front lines."--Ray Bert, Civil Engineering "This is a blessedly measured book... After sifting the 'literally thousands' of studies on online learning, including his own, here's Bowen's takeaway: true across socio-economic lines. MOOCs don't transform education. But they don't harm it either."--Katharine Whittemore, Boston Globe

EAN: 9780691159300
ISBN: 0691159300
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 centimetres (0.36 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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