Jim Wilson/The New York Times
When President Obama visited campuses recently to push to make college more affordable, he called on educators to think creatively. And he gave a shout-out to new competency-based programs at public universities, private institutions and profit-making colleges alike. The programs dispense with the credit hour and classrooom time with a professor in favor of self-paced online learning and assessments that measure what people can actually do.
Anya Kamenetz writes about these pioneering programs in Education Life, The Times’s quarterly magazine about higher education. It’s part of a package of articles that highlight online experiments, includingUniversityNow, Minerva and University of the People – intended to make college more affordable as well as more convenient by tapping into web-based technology.
Those happen to be the two essentials of disruptive innovation, according to Clayton M. Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who coined the term. He and Michael B. Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, explain how online education is beginning to transform higher education, and who is going to be left behind.