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#IOLchat Report: Higher Education and Election Day


Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, advisors, counselors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.

Higher education reform has received a lot of attention as political candidates presented their platforms and participated in debates across the country over the past several years. From financial aid and accessibility to employment and academic quality, there’s no denying the need for improved policies that affect students, faculty members, and institutions alike.

A newly re-elected President Obama said “The best is yet to come.” What does this mean for higher education? What are the priorities moving forward? Here’s what our chat participants had to say:

It’s About the Budget

  • “The squeeze on educational dollars is going to continue, unfortunately.”
  • Realities of the economy in general continue to impact decisions, just as they did before the election.
  • Everyone involved in higher education is affected in some way by monetary considerations: institutions making choices about academic programming and resources, students paying or planning to pay tuition, agencies providing financial assistance and support to students as well as for academic research, instructors faced with limitations in their classes and with challenges related to academic employment.

Thoughts for the Future

  • It will be “interesting to see what new ideas like MOOCs and online offerings can do, to help conserve resources and lower costs.”
  • There’s a misconception that online education is a “money maker” or “cost saver” when in fact some online courses are being cut or discontinued all together due to budget reasons. This impacts students in terms of availability and access, as well as the instructors of these courses who are in large part adjuncts.
  • We need to a) encourage initiatives that “… utilize new technologies and collaboration to offer lower level courses in a more cost effective manner,” b) find a way to “address the problems with online delivery, such as drop out rate, lack of community, etc,” and c) use finite resources more wisely.
  • Community colleges may be in a position to make a positive difference in many ways.
  • “What it takes to be successful in the United States has changed.” But identifying ways in which schools also need to change to meet the new needs of students will be challenging.
  • Accreditation continues to be important as a way to ensure quality, but increased regulation isn’t necessarily the answer. There’s a “fine line between government oversight and being overbearing.”

Tracking the Issues and Results

Decision 2012: Election Day from The Chronicle of Higher Education – What ballot initiatives were passed, rejected? This state-by-state report includes those that involved higher education policy and funding.

Additional Insights

Thanks to @jshamsy and @nikkiperala for participating in the live event!

For more from the most recent live session, review the chat feed below. Our past chats can be found on the archives page.

Follow us (@OC_org) and plan to attend our next chat. We meet on Wednesdays at 12pm ET and look forward to hearing your perspective.

This week’s read-aheads:

Ten Principles of Higher Education Reform – Report from The Heartland Institute

Higher Education Reform in Motion from HuffPost College

2012 Presidential Campaign and American Higher Education from American Association of State Colleges and Universities

The Future of Higher Education – Report from Pew Internet & American Life Project

This week’s chat feed:

Image credit: League of Women Voters of California, Flickr, CC:BY

November 8th, 2012 written by (learn more about our authors)

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