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College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education Hardcover – March 10, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The rising cost of college tuition, increasing popularity of online courses, and disappointingly low graduation rates from some colleges are among the converging trends challenging the status quo for college education in the U.S...Craig...offers a more encouraging outlook, even in the face of upheaval.” ―Booklist

“Savvy, sharp, and ultimately optimistic, Craig's book offers an ambitious blueprint that administrators would be wise to heed.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“…A lively analysis of the strengths and serious challenges facing higher education… Craig presents exciting ideas about how new pedagogy and individually paced adaptive learning will satisfy students” ―Library Journal

College Disrupted provides a novel set of suggestions, a blueprint almost, on how college education for the 99%, the non-elites, can and must be transformed to provide a better education at a fraction of the cost. This book will surprise and inform. Its proposals are workable, leveraging technology in meaningful ways for the student, for the college and for employers. This book is an original and will challenge many of our beliefs. I highly recommend it.” ―John Seely Brown, advisor to the provost at the University of Southern California and co-author of A New Culture of Learning – Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change

“With great clarity and a deft touch, College Disrupted tells the story of how college has become out of reach and out of touch with the needs of students. More important, it points the way to a reconfigured system of higher education which is both affordable and valuable as preparation for career and life.” ―Mitch Kapor, co-chair of Kapor Center for Social Impact and founder of Lotus Development Corporation

“In College Disrupted, Ryan Craig offers the best and most clear-sighted analysis of the dramatic changes underway in higher education, a persuasive argument for how we might re-invent our industry, and does so with a balance of serious mindedness and entertaining readability rare in books of this kind. While many will find his roadmap forward daunting, my colleagues should all read this book and think hard about its implications for their institutions. This is the must-read book for 2015.” ―Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University

“There's a revolution underway in what we now know as "higher education," and it's dramatically changing what people learn, where they learn it, and how they will use it in work and in life. The revolution is being televised, blogged, tweeted, and MOOC'ed in ways that we could never even have dreamed just a few years ago. In College Disrupted, Ryan Craig chronicles that revolution in a thoughtful and astonishingly clear way, bringing to focus a diverse set of ideas, strategies and concepts that are completely transforming college as we know it. Craig's insightful analysis comes together in a hopeful and practical set of ideas about how to fix what's broken and continue to ensure that Americans gain even greater value from college than ever before--for their benefit individually, and for the collective well-being of all Americans.” ―Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO, Lumina Foundation

“American educational progress will continue to lag as long as the education reform conversation remains polarized. For American higher education to continue to lead the world, we must find ways to get traction for the sorely needed innovations that will improve accessibility, affordability and student outcomes for all Americans. In College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education, Ryan Craig lays out a blueprint for action. His clarity of observation – which is simply stated – creates a compelling burning platform. You can't ignore his assessment; the case is too clear. The recognition of a need for change frequently spurs a bias for action. Efforts sputter when plans to galvanize that bias into measurable change are lacking. What distinguishes College Disrupted is Ryan's ability to skillfully lay out options and a way forward for higher education leaders and policy makers as they take the necessary actions to advance higher education in the United States.” ―Sara Martinez Tucker, chief executive officer of the National Math and Science Initiative

“Colleges impact everyone and every part of American society, but their future is likely to look quite different from their past. In College Disrupted, Ryan Craig illuminates that future and why it matters in an entertaining read.” ―Michael Horn, co-founder and executive director of Clayton Christensen Institute

About the Author

Ryan Craig is the Founding Managing Director of University Ventures, a private equity fund focused on establishing next-generation postsecondary education companies through partnerships with traditional colleges and universities. He was the Founding Director of Bridgepoint Education, has served as advisor to the Department of Education and as Vice President of Strategic Development for Fathom, the Columbia University online education venture that was the first online consortium of world-class educational and cultural institutions.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137279699
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137279699
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The author presents an entertaining and readable perspective on higher education and the impending changes the information age may bring. The beginning chapters address the crises the author sees in college education: affordability, governance, and lack of good data. There is not much dispute in the escalating costs associated with the increasingly bureaucratic higher education system. However, the chapter on data points out that the way in which we assess quality is not based in outcome data. So, choosing which college and what to take at what price is the most important life decision we make, yet the information to make an informed decision is lacking. He then reviews the massive open online courses, which have not provided the kind of promise initially dreamed by their proponents. Education means more than logging onto a web video, which should come as no surprise. Next, the traditional bundled college degree is compared to the cable industry: how much unnecessary effort and cost is put into a system in which sitting for a number of hours in class and doing twice that much busywork outside class! Instead, the author would like to move toward a system in which modern computer age technology can individualize education to achieve competence and the time spent would be a function of the individual's need not the traditional framework. Achieving this could bring America's already premier higher education system into an engine of innovation domestically and economically lucrative export industry. The author then presents chapters on the features of the system most ripe for change, and those in which change in likely to be delayed by various stakeholders. Here, the author reveals the shortcomings of employers, government, and academic leadership in responding to these changes.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
What if all the supposed benefits of higher education are the result of self-selection bias? If colleges and universities are to avoid being replaced by some creation of Silicon Valley, they're going to have to answer the question of what students are actually learning and demonstrate how their programs benefit students.

In the fall of 2013, a survey of over 400 small private and regional state institutions found that nearly half had fallen short of budget enrollment or net tuition revenue. From 2010 through 2012, freshmen enrollment at more than a quarter of U.S. private four-year colleges declined 10% or more. In October 2013, the percentage of 2013 high school graduates who enrolled in higher education was 65.9%, down from 70.1% four years prior.

Higher education tuition has increased at double the rate of inflation for over 30 years. The overall price of higher education increased 600% between 1980 and 2010 - more than any other major product or service. (To be fair, the average discount for freshmen at private colleges is now 42%. On the other hand, there's also the important matter of opportunity costs.) In 1975, the average state-supported institution could count on state funding for over 60% of their budgets. Since then, between 1980 and 2011, all states except Wyoming and North Dakota have cut support for higher education by 15 - 70%. While Americans say they value higher education, less than 40% think states should provide more support to colleges.

For the typical private sector online program, enrolling a new online student now requires spending $2,000 - $3,000 in advertising. As 50% of online students typically drop out within the first six months, that's $4,000 - $6,000 to acquire one revenue-generating student.
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Format: Hardcover
This book skips around from important points and facts about college trends to personal reminiscences which may be funny to recall at reunion, but get in the way of the arguments. The author includes many "emperor has no clothes" stories about the "non-profits" that serve to enrich everyone but the students. His forecast is that the top colleges will stay the way they are and everything else will be unbundled. He talks about revolutionary times, and there's a missing argument that even more important is to unbundle the top institutions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved it and blew through it in a half a day (though I plan to go back and revisit many passages). It's a fast, fun read and, at the same time, a substantial, thoughtful book. Craig's thinking is a wonderful blend of economics, learning theory, and uncommon common sense. A must read for anyone seriously interested in where higher education is going in the next 5-10 years as well as anyone who cares about social justice issues related to higher education.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ryan Craig challenges all of us to creatively think about what structures and combination of resources will allow higher ed to provide relevant societal value, leverage technology, and retain the core mission of higher education.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Disclosure: I am totally sympathetic to the premise of this book and quite disposed to its arguments. I expect to see colleges and universities "disrupted". I wanted a book to help me understand it just a little better.

This is a frustrating book -- and I have now read it twice. It contains some useful information, but often it is poorly presented or reasoned. Mainly, it needs a real editor.

-- Craig hopes to write about higher education, but always ends up writing about himself, about his glory days at Yale, and really specious stories about carnivals, Pope charts in his favorite restaurants, movies he likes, and other wild tangents. A bit of this can be entertaining -- he massively overdoes it. Again, needs and editor -- and a writer who will listen.

-- Starting with the title, he argues that education is going to be "disrupted", but proceeds to use the term with cringeworthy imprecision (far from the only person to make this mistake, but again, a solid editor would have helped.

-- The book would benefit from data, clearer reasoning, and discussion of alternative views. Bonus for appreciating unintended consequences, a touch of nuance, etc. Example: MIT's David Autor, one of the world's most highly regarded labor economists, asserts that NOT going to college costs the average American $500,000. His evidence for this is quite solid and reinforced by a college wage premium 98%. This may or may not refute Craig's thesis -- but ignoring it is not helpful.

-- Craig is really sloppy with facts. He asserts that some colleges produce negative ROI for students. Might be true, but his footnotes don't begin to support it.
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