MOOCs are a learning innovation with technology as it's backbone. Any technological innovation goes through a phase of irrational exuberance to mature reality (Remember, the dot-com bust and now dot-com revival). MOOCs are going through similar evolutionary pangs. Learning innovations face quite a complex set of barriers due to the sheer sociopolitical and traditional nature of the education ecosystem and hence the future of MOOCs even more uncertain. However, I am optimistic about the access, outreach and continuing education potential of MOOCs. Consider the recent data released by HarvardX and MITx which provides insights about its global reach:
- World map of certificate attainment: 17.5% certificate attainment rate of student from Spain for HarvardX
- World map of gender composition: 28% of registrants from Oman for MITx were female; higher than Germany (25%)
- World map of education composition: 85% of registrants of MITx from France held a Bachelor's degree or higher as compared to 56% for Poland
- World map of age composition: Median age of registrants for HarvardX from Egypt is 23 years as compared to 31 years for Italy
- World map of enrollment: 5,100+ students enrolled from Ghana for HarvardX
Above comparative chart shows "worldwide certificate attainment" of students registering for HarvardX and MITx. While there is critique of MOOCs as having low completion rate, the metric is "misleading" for MOOCs. They are open access models with no barriers to entry and hence cannot be measured by the same metric as a traditional university with admissions and upfront cost as the self selection mechanism. Despite the lack of irrelevancy of completion rate to MOOCs, the chart shows high interest for certificate completion coming from countries like Greece (1,500+ certificate earners) and Spain (1,600+ certificate earners). This indicates that there is interest from 'glocal' students and as the blend of technology and learning innovation matures, along with the acceptance in the marketplace by employers, there will be a higher traction for MOOCs in international markets.
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
The role of online learning and glocal students in shaping university internationalization strategies
Feb 23, 2014
International branch campuses receive lot of media attention. Some of the recent endeavors from big brands like NYU Shanghai and Yale-NUS College, gives a perception that many more are building international branch campuses, however, they form a very small proportion of various models of engagement for university internationalization.
Consider the case of the UK, which have been promoting transnational education as a part of the national strategy, has less than 3% of all its TNE activity in branch campuses. Only ~17,500 of ~600,000 students enrolled in an "overseas campus of a UK HEI." In addition, one out of five overseas students is studying for a UK degree through distance learning programs (Open University is the largest). This is also the learning model which is gaining a lot of buzz with technological innovation, MOOCS and competency-based learning.
In a recent presentation at the AIEA conference, the panel shared the opportunities and challenges presented by the use of technology in shaping and scaling global engagement strategies. I highlighted the example of University of Pennsylvania, which has already built integrated technology-enabled "open learning" as its global engagement strategy.
In October 2012, I argued that MOOCs are beginning to offer a new choice to students, and are not only changing the financial equation of foreign branch campuses but also the way education is delivered as a result of technological advances. While branch campuses are infrastructure-intensive efforts with high financial and reputational risk, online learning offers a low-cost, flexible alternative for ‘glocal’ students to potentially earn a foreign credential (glocal students aspire to earn an international education/experience without having to leave their home/region).
A recent article from the Economist supports the argument and states that "The rise of online instruction will upend the economics of higher education." It notes that the cost of university is driven by two big factors. First, the need for physical proximity (infrastructure) and so a university’s marginal cost of production is high and second, it is hard to raise productivity due to labor-intensity (teaching).
This is where online education changes the economic equation as the "most salient feature of the online course is its rock-bottom marginal cost: teaching additional students is virtually free." If you add to this low or no cost, a reputed a university brand and a star faculty, you have a strong value proposition for a segment of students, who will be willing to substitute a campus-based experience from a lesser known institution with online experience.
In sum, higher education institutions need to assess, prepare and adapt their global engagement strategies to the new opportunities presented by the two megatrends--rise of technology-based learning innovation and expanding segment of glocal students.
What is your strategy of engaging technology and glocal students in internationalization--ignore, collaborate or compete?
Models of Transnational Education for U.S. Institutions, World Education News & Reviews
Know your international student – Global or glocal? University World News
Dr. Rahul Choudaha (copyright)
Number of Chinese students applying to graduate schools in the US are likely to decrease for the fall'2014 admissions cycle. In contrast, number of Indian students in graduate programs are expected to increase, as I mentioned in a recent story from the Chronicle of Higher Ed that the recent "increase in GRE-taking in India could be the result of 'pent-up demand'."
A press release by GRE indicates that the volume of GRE test-takers from India increased by more than 70 percent to cross 90,000 (please note, this is test-taker volume by location of test-taker. Previous analysis shows test-taker volume by country of citizenship). However, the press release is silent on China numbers, which had been the growth story for last few years, indicating a decline in GRE test-takers in China, as decline in numbers is not a "story".
In addition, the press release states that GRE volumes in Asia were up more than 35%. This means there were other markets that did not match up with the same growth as India and pulled down the overall growth for Asia and that declining market is very likely to be China.
GMAC data also indicates decline in Chinese test-takers from 58,196 in 2011-12 to 53,005 in 2012–13, a decline of 9%. This decline is even a stronger indicator of prospective decline of enrollment of Chinese students, as larger proportion of Chinese students enroll in business programs and hence taking GMAT. In contrast, majority of Indian students go for engineering/computer science related programs and hence having stronger predictive power with GRE trends.
Contrasting trend of decline in interest for graduate programs among Chinese students and increase in interest from Indian students is also corroborated by CGS data on applications to US graduate schools. In 2013, number of applications from China declined by 5% as compared to increase by 20% from India.
To sum up, all data points from GRE, CGS and GMAC, indicate a declining interest for the US graduate programs from Chinese students. In contrast, India is set to grow. These trends will become more apparent with the upcoming CGS report on applications to US graduate schools in April 2014.
GRE data on China and India: trends and implications for international graduate admissions pipeline
India Fuels Surge In Foreign Students, Wall Street Journal
Indian Study Abroad Trends: Past, Present and Future, World Education News & Reviews
Indian Study Abroad Trends: Past, Present and Future, World Education News & Reviews
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
2014 is off to a busy start, especially with the spring conference season. I begin with a presentation on Internationalization of Higher Education on February 14th at SOCHE ED (Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education) in Dayton, OH.
On February 16th, I participate in a panel discussion at Harvard University on the topic of The Indian Higher Education System and its Challenges: Role of Online Learning and other Solutions.
Then, I will be chairing two sessions at AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators) Conference in Washington, DC:
Wednesday, February 19, 11:00 am- 12:15 pmScaling and Shaping Global Engagement Strategies in an Era of TechnologyCo-presenters:-Tim Gore is Director, Global Networks and Communities for the University of London International Programmes-Steve Ernst is Vice President for Innovation and Strategy at Excelsior College
Monday, February 17, 4:45 pm- 6:00 pmStrategic Choices for Developing and Sustaining Institutional PartnershipsCo-presenters:-Simon Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Melbourne-Stephen C. Dunnett, Vice Provost for International Education at the University at Buffalo
Finally, I will be presenting on the Landscape of Higher Education in Russia and Ukraine at the University Professional & Continuing Education Association International Briefing (UPCEA) in Washington, DC on February 20th.
In March, I will be in Seoul to chair the session on Global Engagement Strategies: What Works, What Doesn’t? at Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) conference with following co-presenters:
-Doris Sohmen-Pao, Executive Vice-President (Administration), Yale Singapore College
-Robert Coelen, Vice-President International at Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands
-Stephen C. Dunnett, Vice Provost for International Education at the University at Buffalo
Dr. Rahul Choudaha
International branch campuses are resource-intensive, complex endeavors, especially in the context of the emergence of technology-enabled learning models. They become even more complex when reputation is involved, forcing some universities to reassess their investments and global expansion goals. However, two recent ventures which have been successful in taking their grand ideas to implementation, despite obstacles, are--Yale NUS and NYU Shanghai (disclosure: I also teaching graduate seminar at NYU Steinhardt on International Perspectives in Education Reform). Here is the interview with Prof. Jeffrey Lehman on his leadership experiences with NYU Shanghai. - Rahul Choudaha
Jeffrey S. Lehman, the founding vice chancellor of NYU Shanghai, previously served as founding dean of the Peking University School of Transnational Law, president of Cornell University, dean of the University of Michigan Law School, a professor of law and public policy at the University of Michigan, a practicing lawyer, and law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and First Circuit Chief Judge Frank M. Coffin. He has received the Friendship Award from the People’s Republic of China, the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., an honorary doctorate from Peking University, and several honorary professorships.
Rahul: Please share the context and genesis of NYU Shanghai with our readers. As the Vice Chancellor of the University, what are your strategic priorities for next three years?
Prof. Lehman: NYU Shanghai reflects the fusion of two powerful desires. China’s leadership was eager to sponsor experiments in higher education that would better nurture qualities of critical skepticism and original analysis. And NYU was eager to complete its transformation into a networked university in which students from around the world share an educational experience that requires them to study in two or more of the world’s most important cities over the course of their undergraduate education. The next three years will continue to be building years for us. We have the opportunity (very unusual in contemporary higher education) to add scores of permanent faculty to our community. Since these appointments will shape both our teaching culture and the research contributions we make over the next several decades, we view each one as a precious investment.
Rahul: How would you describe your experiences, thus far, in launching an institution of excellence in China (challenges, surprise, opportunities etc.)? What are your couple of recommendations for higher education institutions interested in offering transnational education?
Prof. Lehman: I have been very fortunate to participate in two experiments where my Chinese partners really “got it.” Before agreeing to come to China, I was not certain how dedicated my Chinese colleagues would be to core values like meritocracy, academic freedom, research integrity, intellectual risk-taking, etc. In both cases, I was dealt colleagues straight from central casting. Any higher education institution that wants to expand its presence in transnational education should (a) articulate for the entire community why it wants to do so, (b) articulate what sacrifices (financial, intellectual bandwidth, opportunity costs, etc.) it is prepared to make in order to secure those benefits, (c) ascertain which external partners will be in a position to determine the venture’s success or failure, and (d) evaluate those partners with the same kind of rigor that is devoted to determining whether a colleague should be awarded tenure.
Rahul: If you have to distill your extensive university leadership career into top two lessons what would they be? In other words, what would be your leadership lessons for achieving success in global higher education?
Prof. Lehman: Quality research and teaching are life-consuming activities for serious faculty members, and so they depend upon the university’s academic leadership to keep them advised about which changes in the university’s environment will be creating the most significant challenges and opportunities in the years ahead. The academic leaders I admire the most have a knack for recognizing those changes and for articulating to their faculty colleagues possible ways to propel the university’s underlying values forward. We happen to be living in a time when the next generation of adults will need to have developed their abilities to work in multicultural partnerships to a much higher level of refinement than their forbears. For that reason, every university president I know is grappling with the question of how to make their university more transnational, without taking on unaffordable costs and without jeopardizing other commitments that help define their institutions.
Number of international graduate students coming to the US had been growing at a slower pace as compared to number of undergraduate students. Here is the data snapshot of leading markets by test-taker volume for GRE and GMAT. It is sorted by top markets for GRE test-takers.
The chart suggests that China is the most important international market for GMAC, while India is most important for GRE. At the same time, it shows opportunities of growth for GRE in China, especially for business programs. Iranians are mostly taking GRE for non-business programs and have shown significant increase in recent years. Taiwan is primarily a GMAT market, again indicating opportunities for GRE for business programs.
Here is a related post "What institutional drivers explain different enrollment trend of Indian and Chinese graduate students in the US?"
|Comparative Data on Enrollment of Chinese and Indian Students in US, UK and Australia|
Here are some of the trends:
- Number of Chinese students showed a consistent pattern of growth, while Indian students showed a consistent decline
- Number of Chinese students enrolling in the US increased at the fastest rate, while number of Indian students in Australia declined at the sharpest rate
- Indian student mobility is highly concentrated in the US followed by UK and Australia. Seventy-three percent of all Indian students headed to the US, UK or Australia were enrolled in the US.
- Chinese enrollment is more diversified with US as the preferred destination followed by Australia and the UK. Fifty-seven percent of all Chinese students headed to the US, UK or Australia were enrolled in the US
- What are the implications for international student recruitment strategies?
- What are the reasons for decline of Indian students going abroad to study in the US, Australia and UK?
- Three international student enrollment growth trends in the US higher education institutions
- International student mobility is driven by destination country income, not university rankings
- What institutional drivers explain different enrollment trend of Indian and Chinese graduate students in the US?
Dr. Rahul Choudaha