DIY UWhile at EDUCAUSE 2011 this year I attended a session by Anya Kamenetz called DIY U: Edupunks and the Transformation of Higher Education. It was a very interesting session that presented a couple depressing bits of information:
- Average student debt is $27,803
- 37% of 18-20 year olds are unemployed
I also learned about Baumol's Disease. It describes how some positions have seen a rise in wage without a rise in productivity. The classic example is how it still takes four people to play a Beethoven string quartet. The same number that was required in the 19th century, yet their overall wages have not remained constrained. Anya used this example to explain the rapid rise in tuition for higher education.
The session however did not just cover issues with higher education. Anya did discuss ways for students and higher education employees to help minimize the issues. Some of the suggestions covered were:
- Open Content - reducing the overall cost of higher education
- Open Accreditation - accrediting real world experience
- Professional Networks - leveraging networks for job advancement
Higher education institutions are stepping up to some of these challenges. Many institutions are using and/or creating open content for students to utilize in courses. Institutions like Western Governor's University are assessing student's real world experience and awarding credits for it. We still have a ways to go, but we will get there.