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Editor’s note: everything is inferior, only reading is high.Going to college is considered to be one of the few ways to change the solidification of class, whether it is in China or the United States.But in the United States, with the soaring tuition fees of colleges and universities, especially private universities, universities have become another symbol of the privilege of the rich in the 21st century.However, this new coronavirus pandemic may overturn the business model of American universities and further open arms to online education.”New York Times” Hans Taparia analyzed this, the original title is: The Future of College Is Online, and It’s Cheaper
Going to university used to be a reliable way for upward mobility
But now, it has become another symbol of the privilege of the rich in the 21st century
So far, most universities have only reduced online education to a hobby.With the pandemic of viruses, it has become a backup plan.
“Parallel” online degrees allow universities to expand their coverage and reduce the cost of (tuition fees) by tens of thousands of dollars, thereby creating economies of scale.
To this end, major adjustments to university resources and activities are required.
This viral pandemic provides an opportunity for universities to reimagine education, which may make universities a real way to move upward again.
Forty years ago, in the United States, going to university was a reliable way for upward mobility.But now, it has become another symbol of the privilege of the rich in the 21st century.During this period, tuition fees have skyrocketed by 260%, twice the rate of inflation.In 2019, the average cost of studying at a four-year private university exceeded US $ 200,000.Even for a four-year public university, the money is more than $ 100,000.In order to maintain these high tuition fees, the top 80 universities in the United States now enroll more than 1% of students from the top 1% of income than 40% of students from the bottom.At the same time, American universities also opened the door to wealthy international students because those people were willing to pay full tuition for American brands.
Covid-19 is about to disrupt this business model.Mass unemployment is imminent, and it is likely that many people will not be able to afford university education.Because the United States has now become the epicenter of this new coronavirus pandemic, and because of the increasingly chaotic response to it, many students hope to delay admission.Foreign students are hesitating to register or not, and visa and job prospects have become more unpredictable.In the past three years, the “Trump Effect” has begun to cause the drop in the enrollment rate of foreign students.
Even the most powerful schools are preparing for the worst.Harvard, which has the largest endowment fund in the United States, recently announced that it will take radical measures to deal with this consequence, including cutting wages at the leadership level, freezing employees, and cutting disposable expenditures.Most other universities are also forced to make similar decisions. They worry that if online teaching continues this fall, students will demand at least some tuition fee waivers.
So far, most universities have only reduced online education to a hobby.With the pandemic of viruses, it has become a backup plan.However, if the university strategically embraces this moment, online education can exponentially increase visits, and can significantly reduce costs, while also increasing the university ’s income-in a way that is more immune to recession, notInfluenced by the policy, not affected by the virus pandemic to increase income.
It should be noted that the rush to go online in March in a few days did not actually work well.The faculty and staff were forced to adjust the course plan overnight.The loose privacy agreement is used by “Zoom-bomber” (referring to people who inadvertently invade the Zoom video conversation and cause interference).In order to continue learning synchronously, students who fled to homes separated by several time zones were forced to prolong the jet lag.Not surprisingly, the experience for both students and staff needs to be improved.According to a survey, more than 75% of students do not feel a high-quality learning experience after class.
However, this survey did not take into account the large number of active efforts to open up new situations, because only a crisis can become a driving force for innovation.
A professor at the Tiske School of Art at New York University now teaches drama courses in this way. He lets students use Oculus Quest headsets to perform “acts” together in virtual reality.A music professor at Stanford University used software to train his students. This software allows musicians in different places to perform together using Internet streaming media.Professors are pioneering new methods, and educational technology companies are developing platforms at an unprecedented pace, allowing us to spy on the potential of online education that has not yet been developed.Of course, there is another fact that we should not forget, that is, just a few years ago, the transition to online learning at the current scale is unimaginable.
Before the virus pandemic, most universities were half-hearted about online education, and at least did not embrace it strategically.For many years, universities have allowed professors to provide courses online, which can be accessed by integrators such as edX or Coursera.But few universities are willing to offer their hottest and most prestigious degrees.Taking Stanford’s MBA online, MIT’s biology degree or Brown University’s computer degree is still impossible.
On the one hand, universities do not want to be seen as restricting other people ’s access to education, so they are only involved in this field.However, if you are completely open to online education, it may cause many faculty and staff to become redundant, reduce the exclusiveness (gold content) of those degrees, and threaten the existence of the physical campus, because they have given this entity hundreds of yearsThe campus allocates a lot of resources.
Many educators have doubts about online learning for good reasons.They questioned how to coordinate courses based on discussions that needed a more private environment.They want to know that the work of the laboratory should be managed again.Of course, the student experience will not be so comprehensive, and no one should question this.But for those students who see the value, universities do not need to give up face-to-face teaching.
They just need to build a “parallel” online degree for all their core degree courses.In this way, the university can expand its coverage and reduce the cost of (tuition fees) by tens of thousands of dollars, thereby creating economies of scale.
There are not many examples of this in well-known universities, but they are very inspiring and show that this path works.The top engineering school Georgia Institute of Technology launched an online master’s degree in computer science in 2014.The cost of this degree is only $ 7,000 (one-sixth of the cost of the corresponding face-to-face course), and now the school has nearly 10,000 students enrolled, making it the largest computer science course in the United States.It is worth noting that online degrees do not eat away from the income source of face-to-face degrees.On the contrary, it opens its highly prestigious degree courses to a different group of people, most of whom are middle-aged job seekers seeking vocational skills.
Similarly, in 2015, the University of Illinois launched an online MBA program at a price of $ 22,000, which is only a fraction of the cost of most business schools.In order to provide a forum for networking and experiential learning (which is essential for the business school experience), this university has established a slightly immersive system through which students can establish connections and work in the same areaThe company carries out on-site projects.
To this end, major adjustments to university resources and activities are required.The classroom needs to be equipped with new technologies so that students can be taught simultaneously on campus and around the world.Professors will need to receive training to learn how to effectively carry out mixed classroom teaching.At the same time, it is necessary to provide good services to the universities, so that they can form the ability to produce content.Nowadays, almost all theoretical content, whether it is in the fields of chemistry, computer science or finance, can be pre-made and effectively delivered asynchronously.In this way, the university can hire the most highly praised professors to become the stars of these course works, thereby substantially improving the teaching level.
There are already powerful examples in this regard.For example, most biology professors will find it difficult to achieve the quality, production level, and inspiration of the online biology introductory course offered by Eric Lander at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This semesterMore than 134,000 students are currently enrolled in this free course.
Once the university has established its own content library, it can choose from several years of continuous delivery of asynchronous courses, and it can target both face-to-face courses and online courses.Students may not care about this.But this can provide opportunities for professors to carry out more on-site interactions.Three hours of lectures that are not good for anyone will be a thing of the past.Instead, a typical day may be broken down into an hour of meetings, focusing on solving problems, asking and answering, or discussing.
Many universities seem to be bold in reopening face-to-face teaching this fall.But the current business model will make them financially collapsed or face financial collapse.However, a hasty decision driven by financial needs can be fatal and will not help them get through the difficulties.The virus pandemic provided an opportunity for universities to use the tools and technologies currently available to reimagine education around convenience and affordability.This may make universities a real way of upward mobility again.
Translator: boxi.

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