Across the country, universities are feeling a pinch. The cost of operating a university is rising, and increases in tuition can’t keep up. Across the country, students are also feeling a pinch. Tuition is rising, and the long-promised value of a higher degree is becoming more dubious for some as student debt, unemployment and under-employment rates soar.To combat these issues, universities and third party companies have placed higher education under the microscope—questioning, analyzing, and experimenting with new models.
While the reform in vogue changes year-to-year, the largest changes of the past decade have centered around online learning. From 2U enabling universities to put their own degree programs online, to the MOOCs offering university courses to the world for free, to the emergence of the Minerva Project, the most prominent trends have been spurred by the digital age. These initiatives largely take the same structural approach to teaching but have moved the medium of instructional delivery online. Many see online learning as a potential catalyst for the unbundling of universities as students choose to pick-and-choose which elements of a higher education experience they need.