Bill Gates on the Future Wall-Free College in Your Pocket
_no books or 8am class,
Bill Gates has some thoughts about education.
Specifically, how its future might look.
He recently visited Arizona, where Rio Salado College and University of Phoenix are broadening access to education.
Low costs (compare Rio Salado’s $84/credit-hour vs the 2011 average $250/credit-hour for in-state, public tuition);
flexibility (many classes start new sections every week);
online and mobile integration (U of Phoenix offers an app for studying and course management from anywhere, anytime).
These innovative offerings help solve practical problems for modern education. Given the 40% college dropout rate, ever-rising costs of tuition, associated increases in post-college debt, the need to stay competitive, and the desire to explore new areas of knowledge, anything that lowers friction is certainly welcome. Given that these two institutions alone serve over 350k students, you also can’t argue with demand that’s clearly there.
Emerging online teaching platforms (like MOOCs) count millions of members, however course completion rates rarely break 10%. Many are completely free and open, while premium services (that may offer certificates of completion) still allow free class-auditing. Some platforms (like Udacity) are mostly geared toward teaching in-demand tech skills, while others are more broad, engaging the entirety of academia. Clearly such frameworks can be successful, we just don’t know best practices yet.