Monday, July 19, 2010

Embanet University, Class of '12.

I liked this piece on outsourcing distance education, by Marc Perry at the Chronicle of Higher Education. (I always learn something when I read Marc’s pieces; I think he is really good and has a totally fascinating beat.) It seems to me that anybody who covers a college should find out whether it outsources its online classes, to whom, and what—if any—conflicts or unintended consequences those relationships create. Would employers care, down the road, if a Northeastern University diploma reflected an education built more by a company like Embanet than by Northeastern itself? Would the parents shelling out $45,000 a year care, even if the employers don’t? Would the students care? I don’t know—maybe nobody cares but the professors whose roles are being supplanted.

I come back to this question again and again: Must for-profit efficiencies and delivery of an excellent education be mutually exclusive? My gut has its own answer, but my brain needs to know far more about the who, what, when, where and why.


  1. The solution to the profit-versus-quality problem is more competition. In a competitive, market environment, being more profitable long-term can only be achieved by providing a better product at a better price. What could be better for education? Lets stop our pearl clutching about profits and break down barriers to entry for new, innovative education models.

  2. Here's an awesome article about online education for middle and high school kids: