Will higher education be outsourced?
Intense debate has been centered recently on how to remedy problems of accessibility and cost in higher-education. Frequently, in California at least, legislative action has been the most effective course of action in combating these problems. In order to increase access to higher education for more students and lessen the financial burden therein, lawmakers have resorted to one of the newest and most watched items in the education toolkit: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It seems that more policy-makers are viewing the model offered by companies such as Coursera as key in combating serious problems of budgetary soundness and resource allocation. In a similar vein as the recent decision to offer highly-impacted introductory-level courses via MOOCs for credit at San Jose State University, president pro-tempore of the California state senate Darrell Steinberg is introducing legislation to create a statewide system by which students can accomplish this.
The proposal would utilize companies like Straighterline, Coursera and Udacity to provide basic level coursework at the same unit cost of the institution that the student has matriculated at. In the case of a community college student this equates to approximately $140 per three-credit course, according to a recent article.
While the move aims to have a direct positive impact in lessening resource expenditures by institutions, many educators express worry at the idea of bringing in for-profit, private companies to replace public higher-education, no matter what the scope. A common misgiving is based on the control of curriculum, with certain individuals expressing concern that this move would open the door for campuses to be mandated to accept American Council on Education (ACE) credit, where at the moment this is at the discretion of educators.