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eCornell Offers a MOOC That Steers Students to a For-Credit Follow-Up

eCornell, a venture of Cornell University that has been offering tuition-based online courses since 2002, will launch its first official MOOC today. The one-month marketing course “will include videos of experts in the industry, discussion boards, and 24-hour access to an ‘academic support team’—eCornell staff members who will answer questions and review discussions on the site.” While this course is technically free, graduates of the first month of classes will be encouraged to stay in the course for three additional months at a cost of $3,300 to receive certification for completion from Cornell. Mangan, Katherine. “eCornell Offers a MOOC..." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 Jan. 2013. Read article »

Students Rush to Web Classes, but Profits May Be Much Later

It has taken Coursera less time than Facebook or Twitter to reach a million users, but early attempts at monetizing Coursera MOOCs have moved sluggishly. Experiments with two of Coursera’s partners – Antioch University and the University of Washington – in charging students students fees for credit or certification have yielded modest profits. Edward Rock, UPenn’s senior adviser on open course initiatives, suggests that this might not be cause to worry: “Part of what Coursera’s gotten right is that it makes more sense to build your user base first and then figure out later how to monetize it, than to worry too much at the beginning about how to monetize it.” Lewin, Tamar. “Students Rush to Web Classes, but Profits May Be Much Later.” The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2013. Read article »

The Fiscal Cliff Deal and Fund-Raising

A proposed cap on the amount of tax a donor can deduct for charitable giving was left out of the last-minute compromise to avert the fiscal cliff Congress, but one provision of the agreement does still threaten to reduce tax deductions for charitable giving, including to colleges. “The package Congress voted on last Tuesday reinstates the Pease Amendment, which reduces the value of tax deductions for wealthy households. The value of deductions is reduced by 3 percent of a taxpayer's income over a certain threshold -- $300,000 for taxpayers married and filing jointly, $150,000 for married taxpayers filing separately and $250,000 for unmarried individuals.” “The Fiscal Cliff Deal and Fund-Raising.” Inside Higher Ed, 4 Jan. 2013. Read article »

Fiscal Cliff Deal Spares Higher Education Research Funding, Tuition Tax Credit

“The final agreement to avoid certain tax increases and spending cuts passed both houses of Congress late Tuesday, staving off several measures that would have raised the tax bill for college students and potentially deprived universities of critical research funding.” “Without the bill's passage, an 8.2 percent across-the-board cut to domestic discretionary programs and a 7.6 percent cut for mandatory spending programs would have immediately affected several funding streams critical to universities, including sources of scholarship programs and research grants.” Kingkade, Tyler. “Fiscal Cliff Deal Spares Higher Education Research Funding...” Huff Post College, 2 Jan. 2013. Read article »

Mission, MOOCs, & Money

“Since their explosive “arrival” in fall 2011, MOOCs have been the subject of more than 100 articles and blog posts at the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.” This article provides a brief history of online and distance learning efforts, suggesting that “MOOCs really are just one point—if an admittedly large and very visible one—on the continuum of online education.” The article also recommends every institution ask three questions about their involvement with MOOCs: 1) “Why are we online?” 2) “How do we assess quality?” and 3) What will it take in terms of capital, expertise, and culture change in order to meet online learning objectives? Green, Kenneth C. “Mission, MOOCs, & Money.” Trusteeship Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2013, Vol. 21, No. 1, 9-15. Read article »

More private colleges holding line on tuition

An “unprecedented” number of private colleges pledged not to raise tuition from the 2011-2012 to 2012-2013 academic years. “At least 24 private schools froze tuition this year and eight cut it last year, according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.” The strategy reflects a growing movement by colleges to target those familiies who qualify for little or no financial aid but who worry about how to pay for college in uncertain economic times. “For many families, aware that sticker prices for private schools can be at least three times higher than for public ones, these concerns are intensifying as application deadlines approach early next month.” Anderson, Nick. “More private colleges holding line on tuition.” The Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2012. Read article »

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We want to scour the world to try to find those things that strike us as truly forward-looking. President Jim Yong Kim