Book Rec: “DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education” by Anya Kamenetz

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in higher education transformation.

In my own brief and humble words, the book boils down to the following:

– Global demand for higher education is on the rise and will likely continue to increase.

– Over the past few decades America has fallen behind in the higher education arms race, in terms of the percentage of our adult population holding postsecondary education credentials.

– Tuition is on the rise, threatening access. Perverse incentives exist for colleges and universities to raise tuition.

– The Internet and other promising technologies provide solutions.

– Increased demand, coupled with limited access is creating scarcity. Scarcity has invited new providers to the market.

-These new providers, which Kamenetz calls edupunks and edupreneurs, are harnessing the power of new technologies to create economies of scale in the education industry.

-There are four major trends that will disrupt the education enterprise as we know it today:

1) The 80/20 rule: Most growth in higher education over the next century will come from the 85% of student who  are ‘non-traditional’ in some way… They will increasingly attend 80% of institutions that are nonselective.

2) The Great Unbundling: As it has with other industries (such as music and news media), the logic of digital technology will compel institutions to specialize and colloborate, find economies of scale, and avoid duplications.

3) Techno-hybridization: The use of a blend of technology-assisted and traditional class instruction will increase. According to Department of Education research, such “blended learning” is more effective than using either approach alone.

4) Personal learning networks and paths: In the future, with the increasing availability of online courses and other resources, individuals will increasingly forge a personal learning path, combining classroom and online learning, work and other experiences.

Kamenetz does an excellent job of introducing you to the many “edupunks” and “edupreneurs”, personally, who are reshaping our industry from the outside in.

The book will most certainly make you think about “business as usual.”

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