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College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education Hardcover – March 10, 2015
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“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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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. He cites AEI evidence of nonproductive research that turned out to count letters to the editor as the same as peer-reviewed articles (in this case, I think he got the story right, but was sloppy with evidence).
Craig is an edtech investor with thinly disclosed and seemingly uncontemplated interests and biases. He can discuss for profit education and rail against regulations he deems inconvenient without pausing to acknowledge his personal financial interest in these questions, much less what behavior caused some of his beloved for profit schools to trigger federal oversight. His belief in education platforms and competency based learning is touching -- I urge his investors to read it.
Craig has a jumble of ideas and a weird story for each one. Many of these stories feature him at their center. Tragically, he wrote them all down and did not bother to edit. The result is not horrible, just disappointing. It is an important topic -- and this might have been a valuable book.