By Cynthia Belliveau, Ph.D.
Dean of UVM Continuing and Distance Education
I listened to an interesting piece about higher education on NPR’s Fresh Air this week about a new book by Kevin Carey titled, The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere.
The challenges of higher education come down to affordability and access, and Carey points out that these problems might be overcome in the future with online higher education.
Carey envisions a future in which “the idea of ‘admission’ to college will become an anachronism, because the University of Everywhere will be open to everyone” and “educational resources that have been scarce and expensive for centuries will be abundant and free.”
He also talks about the advantage of online education programs such as edX, which gave him the opportunity take a class at MIT.
Carney puts it this way: “We are now headed into a time of abundance when it comes to educational resources. All the books in the world are now available on your iPad or your phone or your computer, or will be soon. The same is true for all of the lectures of all of the smartest people in the world, and the course notes and the problem sets. … Once they’re built, the cost of providing them to the 10,000th student or the millionth student is almost nothing. One aspect of the University of Everywhere is it isn’t going to cost nearly as much as $60,000 a year, which is what a private college would charge you today.”
Carey is correct about the unsustainable cost of higher education – both financial and societal. However, I think we’re already making significant strides here at UVM.
At UVM Continuing and Distance Education, our mission is to provide flexible, relevant educational options at all stages of life because we believe the opportunity to learn should never stop. That includes finding ways to increase access to education and a commitment to provide hundreds of affordable online choices to students in Vermont and around the world.
Cynthia Belliveau is the Dean of UVM Continuing and Distance Education.