Category Archive: Distance Learning Strategies

May 02

The How of Disruption in Higher Education

I have not written about innovation or disruption in higher education, on Creating the Future, for a while, although I do write about it on my branch campus blog.  This post will be published on both.  (The blog addresses are and I’m intrigued by the rapid progress of MOOCs (massive open online courses) …

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Apr 04

Building Branch Campus and Online Enrollment

I maintain two blogs.  The older, “Branch Campus Life,” focuses on topics related to branch campuses of colleges and universities; the newer, “Creating the Future,” explores a wider range of topics related to my interest in innovation, positive psychology, and encore careers.  Links to both blogs can be found on my web site, For …

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Aug 04

Responding to Disruptive Change

In my last five posts, I sketched a general view on the disruptive change that is happening in higher education.  This disruption, primarily attributable to the development of online and blended programs that initially were attractive to adult learners, will cause some institutions to struggle and fail, whereas new providers will emerge, perhaps as affiliated …

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Jul 28

The Coming Third Wave of Change in Higher Education

I don’t want the descriptions I’ve provided in my previous posts to sound like I think the sky is falling.  To be sure, I do believe that many traditional institutions are in serious trouble.  However, I am excited by the potential of new delivery modes and financial models to expand access and opportunity beyond anything …

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Jul 21

Thoughts on Financial Models for a Disruptive Environment in Higher Education

In my opinion, online programs should be far less expensive for students than face-to-face courses, and certain providers are well aware of the potential that lies in reducing tuition.  It appears to me that proprietary (for-profit) institutions tend to be expensive because of high marketing costs and the need to maintain the high profit margin …

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Jul 13

The Role of Nonconsumers in Disruptive Change

As I described in the previous post, disruptive change is occurring in higher education, in part because traditional residential programs have become so expensive, yet cannot provide the flexibility sought by many adult learners.  University branch campuses reduce some of those costs and provide more flexibility, but still are relatively expensive. Community colleges are thriving …

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Jul 07

Sustaining vs. Disruptive Improvements

My thinking about disruptive environments is strongly influenced by the work of Clayton Christensen.  The Innovators Dilemma (1997) is an outstanding presentation of the business implications of disruptive technology.  Recently, in Disrupting College (2011), Christensen, Horn, Caldera, and Soares (2011) focused specifically on how online learning is creating disruption in higher education. I can’t capture …

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Mar 23

Becoming an Innovator

Let’s suppose that demographics, technology, the interests of adult learners, and maybe some other emerging circumstances have created a disruptive environment in higher education.  The implication is that new financial models will emerge, new providers will become competitive, and we will have to discover new strategies for success.  Let’s also suppose that you believe, with …

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