Ever since universities have opened up to the middle class, they have debated what the curricula should emphasize. Should it be foundational skills with an abstract value or career readiness courses with a quantifiable ROI? Most faculty are committed to the former (and don’t do a very good job of making their case.) Many students, parents and taxpayers are understandably eager for at least some attention on the latter.

The emerging edtech marketplace exposes that tension and the compromises that result like never before. If a student’s primary interest in post-secondary ed is workplace skills, they have more viable alternatives to university programs every day. I wouldn’t want to be a university administrator whose business model depends on keeping enrollment up. This must be a scary time.

But from a purely mission-focused perspective, I prefer an optimistic scan of the environment that says higher ed has an opportunity to grow even stronger roots.

Keep reading