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Higher Education: New Models, New Rules

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EDUCAUSE Review Volume 48, Number 5, ISSN 1527-6619


The Internet enables new models. In the commercial world, for example, we have eBay,, and Netflix. These new models operate with a different set of rules than do traditional models. New models are emerging in higher education as well--for example, competency-based programs. In addition, courses that are being provided from outside the college or university are receiving credit, either through transfer or for the learning achieved. These courses may be Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) or may be offerings from a for-profit company such as StraighterLine. The path from course to credit represents a non-traditional model. What are the new rules that will accompany these new models in higher education? The three three essays herein explore the changes that might be ahead--exploring state higher education policy, accreditation for non-institutional education, and the disaggregation of the current higher education model. In "Creating an Environment for Learning Technologies: Toward a Generative Model of State Policy and Institutional Practice," Louis Soares (Vice President for Policy Research and Strategy at the American Council on Education) outlines a "generative model of state policy and institutional practice." He suggests that learning technology should be driven by learning outcomes and that learning technologies are a key mechanism for achieving transparency in the learning process. In "A Quality Platform for Non-Institutional Higher Education," Judith S. Eaton (President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation) describes how course quality might be ensured through a new mechanism. She recognizes that progress cannot be denied for too long and that stalling progress does not serve the needs of learners. Finally, in "The 'Perfect Market' Challenge to the Subsidy Structure of Higher Education," Burck Smith (CEO of StraighterLine) illustrates how online courses could be predicated on a different set of financial rules. He asserts that the new model--and the new rules--might be better for many learners.


Soares, L., Eaton, J.S. & Smith, B. (2013). Higher Education: New Models, New Rules. EDUCAUSE Review, 48(5), 68-70. Retrieved July 15, 2020 from .

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