Edtech’s Betty Crocker Moment

Betty Crocker introduced its cake mixes in the 1950s. The mixes made the process of baking cakes less prone to failure. Faster too. For many, especially over-burdened women working at home, this was a huge leap forward. But the cake mixes didn’t sell especially well. So, using market research and input from psychologists, the decision was made to design the… Continue reading Edtech’s Betty Crocker Moment

MOOCs & Higher Education’s Two Solitudes

I grew up in Quebec – Canada’s predominantly French-language province. But my neighbourhood was inhabited almost entirely by English speaking families. And my clan – with it’s UK-origins – fit right in. The sharp divide between the French and English in Quebec has faded somewhat since I moved away. But at the time, the divide… Continue reading MOOCs & Higher Education’s Two Solitudes

Notes on “Beyond Retrofitting: Innovation in Higher Education”

The distinction between disruptive and sustaining innovations is almost always less clear than theory suggests. Sustaining and disruptive innovations don’t operate in separate realms, untouched by each other. They interact constantly and feed off of each other. Forensic analyses of any disruptive innovation will show that sustaining innovations made it possible. Yes, disruptive inovations are exciting and satisfy our desire for quick changes, but they are one part of a large set of innovations required to improve the value of higher education for our students, faculty and other stakeholders.


In a recent post, Dr. Lloyd Armstrong writes: “Unfortunately, most of the push-back about using MOOCs so far has been about preserving academic freedom in teaching, and not about benefits to students. Perhaps that will change with time.” I will avoid adding to the barrage of arguments about what MOOCs “mean to higher education” or how… Continue reading DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN: MOOCS, COMMERCE AND PROFESSIONAL AUTONOMY

Technology, Transparency and MOOCs

Summary MOOCs have introduced a greater level of transparency in online higher education. They offer students a chance to evaluate and compare institutions to a degree previously unheard of in higher ed. The focus of the evaluations is, primarily, instructional content and related activities. This focus may create new opportunities for less prestigious institutions to compete.… Continue reading Technology, Transparency and MOOCs

Week’s Most Interesting :: 12.27.2012

Hand-picked selections of articles, reports, blog posts and events from the last seven days (or so). :: Learning New Lessons I’ve been in the digital higher education arena long enough to still be shocked when major, mainstream news outlets pay attention to what we’re up to. It seems only yesterday that we were eating at… Continue reading Week’s Most Interesting :: 12.27.2012

Change in Higher Education: An Educator’s Perspective (Interview with Dr. Jesse Martin)

Dr. Jesse Martin is a thought-provoking educator. A Senior Lecturer at Bangor University in Wales, Dr. Martin focusses on the role of evidence-based in university education. Below, Jesse and I exchanged notes about the nature of change in higher education.  * * KCH: You wrote earlier this fall that many of the academics with whom you… Continue reading Change in Higher Education: An Educator’s Perspective (Interview with Dr. Jesse Martin)

Sources of Information on Higher Education

If you are interested in how higher education operates, or are doing research on issues pertaining to higher education, these organizations may be of value: Ithaka S+R The Center for College Affordability and Productivity Education Sector Contact North Survey Reports | The Sloan Consortium NMC Horizon Project | The New Media Consortium EDUCAUSE Library |… Continue reading Sources of Information on Higher Education

MOOCs: The Prestige Factor

Buried in the public responses to the news about MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses) and OER initiatives from Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Penn, Princeton and others is a deceptively important assumption. The assumption goes something like this: the open digital educational materials made available through these initiatives are of value because they are the product of these prestigious,… Continue reading MOOCs: The Prestige Factor