Technology-Enabled Innovation for Academic Transformation in Higher Education

Technology-Enabled Innovation for Academic Transformation in Higher Education

Yufeng Qian (Louisiana State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7769-0.ch006
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This chapter examines the challenges facing U.S. higher education today and profiles universities that are spearheading academic transformation to address these challenges with emerging technology and media. Identifying five technology-powered innovation models (competency-based education, experiential education, student success-centered education, open education, and lifelong education), the author studies institutions that exemplify innovation, and shows how technology has enabled academic transformation that has changed the higher education landscape. These pioneering institutions provide successful models of academic transformation for the higher education industry.
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The American public’s confidence in higher education has been declining. The most recent 2018 Gallup Annual Confidence in Institutions report reveals that U.S. adults’ confidence level in higher education has dropped from 57% in 2015 to 48% in 2018, making it the largest drop over the past three years among the 16 core institutions in society (Jones, 2018). Exacerbating the public distrust of higher education, college students are questioning the value of their college education. Strada-Gallup College Student Survey (2017) showed that just 34% of students feel confident in the job market and 36% in the workplace, and only half (53%) believe their major will lead to a good job.

Among recent criticisms of higher education are rapidly rising tuition and mounting student debt. Beginning in the 1990s, the cost of a college degree has kept rising, steadily and rapidly, at nearly three times the inflation rate of other goods and services (Rossi, 2014). According to the College Board (2018), which has tracked college cost since 1971, the average cost of one year at a public four-year institution in 1987-88 was $3,190 (in 2017 dollars); after 20 years, it has tripled to $9,970 in 2017-18. Similarly, the average cost of one year at a non-profit private four-year institution is up sharply from $15,160 in 1987-88 to $34,740 in 2017-18. The rate of college cost rose faster than family incomes. In 1971, the average cost of one year college was 15.6% of the median household income, which did not necessarily lead to student loan debt for many families; in 2018, however, the cost takes up to 35.2% of a median household income (Comet, 2018). Consequently, more Americans are now burdened by student loan debt than ever - more than one in four American adults have active student loan. Following mortgage debt, college loan ranks the second highest consumer debt (Friedman, 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Competency-Based Education: An online degree model that is focused on discipline-specific competences, rather than credit hours and seat time over semesters. Students’ learning and degree attainment are confirmed through a series of assessments on the competences.

Lifelong Education: Working professionals’ continuing development and improvement of knowledge, skills, and competencies in a field after formal education.

Academic Transformation: Innovative academic models that are in close alignment with the demand of changing economy and society.

Student Success-Centered Education: A movement in higher education that aims to improve students’ retention and graduation rates.

Technology-Enabled Innovation: Innovation in higher education that is enabled by the Internet technology and emerging technological tools and media.

Experiential Education: An innovative online education model that values real-world learning. The model focuses on immediate applicability of knowledge in a real setting and a student’s learning is measured through a real-life project.

Open Education: Free and open learning that is often in the MOOC (massive open online course) format, provided by top postsecondary institutions and leaders of businesses and industries.

Higher Education’s Challenges: Persistent and emerging issues the U.S. higher education is facing: accessibility, affordability, accountability, equity, and relevance.

New Wave of Education: A movement in the U.S. higher education, started in the early 2000s, aims to make both formal and continuing education accessible, affordable, relevant, and meaningful to all Americans and people all over the worlds across their careers and personal lives.

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