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Friday, March 09, 2012


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Jeff Brown

The value of the degree continues to decline right along with learning and any visible means of the majority of skills, knowledge, and attitudes employers are looking for. Most employers now are even looking beyond grads from the United States who lack even the non-technical skills needed: communication, critical thinking and complex reasoning.

We are at an impasse. If something is not working fix it. Yes, but as Einstein said, the same thinking that got you into that fix can't be used to get you out of it. And as we know, reform is not going to work for the cumbersome, slow, political laden process will not allow it in a timely manor if ever. Therefore, we must turn to the private sector, for competition promotes the efficient use of resources and provides a continuous stimulus for innovative improvements. As editor of Higher Education said, he is looking for solutions, but we don't need more colleges. What is being suggested here, in this article is the privatization of education or where the consumer takes active control to differentiate between good and poor service.

Rob Wallace

Great interview.

I forget when I first heard the word "disintermediation" but this is exactly what we're seeing across our society and our world. Intermediary institutions, whether they be retailers, universities, or even governments, are becoming irrelevant. There are big-picture, global implications of this, but I'll stay focused on education.

In yesterday's NYT opinions, author Charles Murray made the point we all know - that in today's world a physical Bachelor's Degree is meaningless except as a symbol of the student's social status. It's proof that they could afford a college's tuition, not proof that they can even write a coherent paragraph. As a social equalizer, online learning has great potential.

The argument against online or virtual learning has always been that there's inherent value in face-to-face interaction, socialization, and presence. But as technology evolves and - more importantly - our mindsets evolve to create equality of experience between the physical and virtual realms of interaction, that differentiator is bound to slide away (whether we old folks like it or not). "Presence" has an entirely different meaning to millennials.

The job market of the near future is going to value connectedness and creativity far more than it values credentials. Schools that don't adapt will be selling the equivalent of Brittanica volumes, when the world of information is in everyone's pockets 24/7.

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Sam founded Bonfante Group with partner Eric Herbst to assist socially-relevant institutions, organizations and companies build brand dominance. Please visit us at www.bonfantegroup.com for more information. Prior to founding Bonfante Group Sam served as the Associate Publisher of The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, where he led the University and Non-Profit Client Group. Before joining The Chronicle, he served in a similar capacity at Education Week, the leading policy and news source for primary and secondary education in the United States, where he worked closely with technology and information companies such as Microsoft, Intel, Pearson, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Thomson, Reuters, and Google in their advocacy and outreach programs to American education policy-makers on federal, state and local levels.

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