After the financial collapse in 2008, tuition for colleges and universities has been steadily increasing, and these higher tuition rates are being passed along to the students and their families. What significant change occurred to force students to shoulder these new tuition rates? Unfortunately, nothing has changed. Universities still rely upon an antiquated business model which deferred tuition costs from students through federal grants, generous alumni support, and various endowment funds. This old model, however, is no longer sustainable according to Harvard business professor Clayton M. Christensen and non-profit think tank Innosight Institute executive director Michael B. Horn. In their article published in The Harvard Magazine, both Christensen and Horn believe online education offers a “disruptive innovation” for the higher education community and a better business model for sustaining higher education.
According to the article, online education offers students a more cost effective model and focuses on student learning. Essentially, online education puts the focus back upon student-centered learning and the quality of instruction. In contrast, the traditional university model rewards faculty for outstanding research efforts not necessarily for best instructional pedagogy. This is where online education can help reinvent and affect positive change for higher education. Online education gives universities and colleges another tool for instructing students that has the potential to keep tuition costs lower. The one caveat is online education is still evolving which may mean it will take time before its cost effectiveness to reach its full potential.
You can read more at The Harvard Magazine.