Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Excellent discussion about Why hasn't thetech industry disrupted the textbook industry yet?
Here are a few of the answers:
* But a big reason for the slowness is that textbook buying decision-making is done by government bodies -- state education agencies and departments that make these decisions. (a case of government slowing down innovation)
* Moving books to digital was not the real value prop - the value proposition was having a lighter, handheld library on the go! Until that was possible, nobody wanted to read digital books.
* In a Los Angeles pilot program: “at three campuses more than 300 students deleted security filters, allowing them to freely browse the Internet and prompting officials to suspend the use of IPads at these high schools. There was a recall, and supposedly 1/3 of the IPads haven't yet been returned; rumors are that between 5-10% have been dropped and broken, and another 5-10% are irretrievably lost.”
Most of these challenges would be easily overcome in a private business.
Monday, November 11, 2013
What is the value of an MBA? This is a similar question to the value of a bachelor’s degree (especially in Sociology or Fine Arts). In general “value” might be considered as the ratio of benefits to cost.
My experience working for and managing hiring for big companies tells me that a year or two after graduation, managers and employers could care less what degree you have. Instead they care about: 1) how intelligent you are 2) how hard you work and 3) your abundant common sense.
MBAs may get higher starting salaries but after a couple of years, dynamic companies care about what you are bringing to the party today rather than your “credentials”.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The good news is that UC Davis chemistry professor Delmar Larsen has worked hard to establish free open-access e-textbooks for hisclasses. Maybe a few members of the US college system are starting to focus on bringing down the cost of college.
The bad news is that America’s subsidized colleges have delayed the open-access movement by years because of a lack of push back by students. Too many college students lack any immediate price signal where they perceive they are spending today’s money on a college education. The price of textbooks gets mentally lumped in with the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars of college student debt that will have to be paid back sometime in the distant future.
As a result: “New college textbook prices soared 82 percent from 2002 to 2012, at the same time that tuition and fees rose 89 percent, according to a U.S. Government Accounting Office report released in June.”
We need more radical thinking and action like that of Professor Larsen!
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Jonathan Zimmerman from NYU tells it like it is relative to college drinking and weak academic challenges at many US colleges.
College should be interesting, broadening but most importantly - hard work. Many colleges have failed this last criteria substituting gorgeous campuses, climbing walls and resort-like dorms for more hours at the chemistry lab.
We don’t require today’s college students to read enough, write enough and study enough. What do you expect for your $250,000 education?
Zimmerman has a few sobering statistics:
1 * “In 1961, the average full-time college student spent 25 hours a week studying; by 2003, it was down to 13 hours a week.”
2 * “In a typical semester, half of our college students don’t take a single class that demands 20 or more pages of writing. A third don’t take a class requiring 40 or more pages of reading.”
Sunday, September 22, 2013
"Despite so many fat years, universities have done little until recently to improve the courses they offer. University spending is driven by the need to compete in university league tables that tend to rank almost everything about a university except the (hard-to-measure) quality of the graduates it produces."
"In 1962 one cent of every dollar spent in America went on higher education; today this figure has tripled. Yet despite spending a greater proportion of its GDP on universities than any other country, America has only the 15th-largest proportion of young people with a university education."
"Almost a third of students these days do not take any courses that involve more than 40 pages of reading over an entire term. Moreover, students are spending measurably less time studying and more on recreation."
"A remarkable 43% of all grades at four-year universities are As, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Grade point averages rose from about 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006."
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
“While you won’t get the full Wharton on-campus experience—or an internship, career services, or alumni network, for that matter—the new courses in financial accounting, marketing, and corporate finance duplicate much of what you would learn during your first year at the elite business school, says Don Huesman, managing director of the innovation group at Wharton.”
“Huesman says the MOOCs are not watered-down versions of Wharton’s on-campus classes. In fact, some professors at the school are using the MOOC content in their own classes, asking students to watch the lessons beforehand so that class time can be used for discussion—a practice known as “flipping” a class.”
Times are a changing and for the better.