In 15 Years From Now Half of US Universities May Be in Bankruptcy. My Surprise Discussion with @ClayChristensen

Posted on Mar 3, 2013 | 42 comments


“In 15 Years From Now Half of US Universities May Be in Bankruptcy.” Such was the quote of Clayton Christensen followed by, “… in the end I’m excited to see that happen. So pray for Harvard Business School if you wouldn’t mind.”

Suster Christensen

Who else does Clayton pray for? Apple. Yup! Watch the 30-minute interview to hear why but summary notes below.

Let me start by saying that Clayton is one of the most influential people on my thoughts about markets that led to both the concept behind my first startup and my main theses in investing. I have written about Deflationary Economics (one of my most read posts ever) & The Innovator’s Dilemma before. In a discussion I had with Fred Wilson at the Invesco LP meeting Fred said the same about the influence of Clayton.

So it was a real pleasure to be asked by Derek Anderson of Startup Grind to be able to interview Clayton for an audience of thousands (many in person, others by live broadcast).  Startup Grind was a truly awesome conference and Derek the consumate host. I hope to be asked back for next year’s event.

Clayton Christensen certainly didn’t disappoint. It was one of funnest discussions I’ve held with a senior leader and he was surprisingly open and frank. If you have some time I highly recommend watching it.

So what did he actually say?

Disruption of Education

He talked about how for centuries education had “no technological core” (meaning it was bound by physical locations) and thus disruption was very difficult. Obviously that barrier has been brought down with low-cost ability to capture, stream and distribute content over the Internet.

Today’s higher education is responding by making more courses online and available to people outside of physical boundaries.

But while universities are developing online content they are not fundamentally disrupting learning because the method of delivery is not a new business model. “Online education is truly going to kill us.” He talked about the need to have content delivered closer to those in the work force who could immediately apply what they’re taught and then immediately be back in the classroom to discuss the implementation.

We spoke about how there needs to be a change in how employers view educators. This is why I am such a big fan of General Assembly both because they’re teaching more tangible skills but also because they’re working directly with employers to fund classes as well as to onboard the more successful GA students directly. In my discussions with GA I know we share a vision for where practical education in the US needs to go.

Back to Mr. Christensen, “We subsidize their education in fields for which there are no jobs” he said in referring to the fact that many courses at universities are still taught with skills that aren’t relevant to the 21st century needs of the US workforce.

It’s not that I don’t believe in liberal arts, humanities and the like. I do. In many ways I think general purpose writing & thinking skills are as valuable as math skills. I believe, though, that they need to be taught more in the context of helping people develop meaningful careers that position them to succeed financially in the changing world in which we live.

We talked about how business school historically hasn’t positioned entrepreneurs well for success. I wrote about that before in a post about “whether MBAs are necessary for entrepreneurs.

But I pointed out a professor at HBS (Tom Eisenmann) who teaches a course where blogs are a part of the classroom reading material. His class reading lists could be a primer for any entrepreneur, not just MBAs.

And I have been impressed with Steven Kaplan and others at University of Chicago (my alma mater), who have been encouraging entrepreneurship through the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship, through angel investing, seed conferences and changes in teaching.

Internationalization of Technology

Screen Shot 2013-03-03 at 6.54.37 AMWe spoke about what succeeds early in technology market evolutions. Clayton spoke about how in early phases Proprietary architecture often wins.  As markets grow, the more open and modular systems win. Proprietary systems are pushed to the ceiling (in terms of having more complexity / features) and the open systems capture volume. That’s why he “prays for Apple” because in envisions a world in which Android captures much more market share even if the open system it provides may not be as quality or feature-rich as Apple’s.

We also spoke about technology systems in the perspective of global competition. He believes that one of the financial metrics taught at business schools and reinforced by Wall Street has accelerated offshoring of industries. He spoke about ROCE (return on capital employed). The numerator (return) encourages more sales, which is fine. But “on capital employed” encourages companies to push more off balance sheet and thus into offshore & outsourced situations.

I reinforced this view by referring to a very interesting article I had read by Andy Grove (co-founder & former CEO of Intel) on car batteries, china manufacturing and the problem of US outsourcing.

Freemium

We had a brief chat on his views of “Freemium.” He spoke about the early days of Napster & Kazaa where free music as open system thus hard to use. Apple came along with proprietary infrastructure, which made it easy. So they could monetize and people would pay.

Venture Capital

We spoke about the disruption of VC through crowd funding. I don’t believe it. Neither does Clayton. Unsophisticated money pours into a system as it did in the 90′s through AIM, Neur Markt, Nouveau Marche, etc and burned many investors. We talked about Liquidation Preference, Voting Rights, and all of the other valuable terms crowd-funding investors don’t understand. I think I’ll save a deep dive on this topic for another post.

By he did bring up a very interesting other area of which I had never heard. He talked about a unique model where you don’t have to become liquid in venture capital and can target singles & doubles. VC can’t don’t invest in these kinds of companies because they can’t get out (no liquidity event). New company in Boston with a model called “royalty capital.” Money is not debt or equity but a “license to use their capital.” No royalty paid until there is revenue. Then there is a royalty rate. The faster the ramp, the more the royalty comes down. As royalty hits 3x value then we say it’s paid in full. No minority shareholder. Pay it off with pre-tax money. Liquidity is a process not an event. Some money out of every investment. Not 1′s and 0′s.

How You Measure Your Life

And finally, a very interesting discussion emerged at 25:30. Mr. Christensen has published a new book, “How Will You Measure Your Life.

I told Clayton how influenced I was at a young age by “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” because it dealt with life skills.

In Clayton’s new books he takes on similar themes with the three major ideas being:

How to be sure ….

1. Have a Happy with Career
2. Your Family is a Source of Joy, Not Pain
3. Stay Out of Jail

He said shocking number ended up divorce and family situation was a source of real pain with kids being raised by other people in new families.

I thought he was joking about the last one – he wasn’t. Two of Clayton Christensen’s classmates spent time in jail – one was Jeffrey Skilling who was implicated in the scandal of Enron.

It will be the next book I read and a bit thank you to Derek Anderson for sending me a copy!

By the way, if you want to watch Clayton Christensen’s other video from Startup Gring where he speaks about Innovator’s Dilemma it is here. He was interesting, as usual.

  • http://www.hypedsound.com/ jonathanjaeger

    There’s no question that online education is changing and will change the current education model: go to high school, go to college, maybe go to grad school. Perhaps it’ll be a hybrid model between the current brick building education system, online education system, and European-style apprenticeship system.

    But if you look at the way most people study, there still needs to be more accountability in online learning. Students have to be accountable for their achievements and work ethic and future employers and higher schools of learning need to be able to trust the online method when they look at students’ results. We’re not there yet and we need better systems of accountability to solve the problems for students and people who are going to employ or accept these students in the next part of their education and career.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    for sure. on all accounts. thanks for adding.

  • Sabina

    Can’t agree more with the analysis on future of education and especially having gone through MBA . Udemy and GA. One area that this article doesn’t address however is a transition that kids need between living at home with their parents and starting to work. Many would argue that 4 year learning of independence and dealing with realtors that exist outside of home are worth more than courses that online and GA offer. I would say however that I can’t quite justify the current price of this 4 year transition. But would be very curious to hear your thought Mark

  • http://about.me/lord_nolan Nolan Clemmons

    I believe I read an article on this guy in the Silicon Valley Business Journal or something. He said the Nissan Leaf will overcome the Tesla because it’s more accessible to middle class consumers (like my family).

    For education, I bet that whoever provides the best customer service will win. Notice that I used the term “customer”, not “student”. I believe that whenever someone pays money for a service, the appropriate label is “customer” or “client”, not “student”, or “patient”. I had better facilities and equipment (computers, labs, whiteboards) in K-12 than in college (chalkboards, shitty internet). Which one was free?

    EDIT: I think crowd-funding is good though. It adds democracy to a system that currently resembles an oligarchy.

  • http://about.me/lord_nolan Nolan Clemmons

    I agree with the aspect that “college” is usually the longest any of them have been away from home.

  • Brenton Thornicroft

    Yes! I’ve been saying for years that it’s simply criminal to have students graduate with mortgage sized debt levels when we have the ability to provide a free Ivy League quality education to anyone with an internet connection. I’ve learned more practical/applicable skills from watching iTunesU lectures (the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leader Series being my favorite) on my iPhone than I did from the institution where I earned my degree. The ability to pause and rewind a lecture is vastly underrated, since it enables you to learn something at your own pace and learn it to the point of true understanding vs. just memorizing the content.

    Nothing has been more detrimental to my entrepreneurial pursuit than having to pay over $400/month to Sallie Mae and her friends for an education I quite frankly don’t even see myself using…

  • http://www.dailygrommet.com Jules Pieri

    Hi Mark, so glad you posted this. I am meeting in a one-on-one with Clay on Tuesday and you saved me the prep I had scheduled. Particularly happy you got to the crowdfunding topic as that is a focus for me. I have to admit I did not fully understand the modularity argument until I read your synopsis. AND, as an HBS grad who bristled at times at the focus on ROCE and as a Detroiter, I particularly appreciated that section of the interview the most. THIS needs to be said, over and over. It’s been decades of brainwashing….and limited horizon thinking that has sapped so much of the creativity and sheer joy out of business. We can operate to multiple objectives, we can claim our role as leaders who define the world. We so shallowly gave our trust and influence away by focusing on only one thing.

    Thanks for sharing the heartache of startups too. True true true. Even when you have the highs, there is no denying the lows.

  • http://www.crunchbase.com/company/vumedi Roman Giverts

    Most discussions of education focus on under grad or graduate school education.
    One of the things that’s ignored is that most technical fields require post graduate education for one’s entire career. In many fields, 10-20 years after you graduate everything you learned is completely obsolete.

    My company is involved in surgeon education, where there is a prevalent concept of “lifelong learning.” It takes a surgeon 4 years undergrad, 4 years medical school, plus 5-7 years of residency and fellowship JUST to start. 10 years later at least 25-50% of the techniques they learned have been completely supplanted by new technology and research. So every year physicians are required by the state to do a certain amount “continuing medical education,” but most enterprising physicians will do even more just to be advanced.

    If you think about this in other fields, from computer science to architecture to law and dozens of others, the same phenomenon is true. Is a 1993 CS degree from Berkeley worth anything today? A programmer with that degree who hasn’t completely re-tooled may have trouble finding a job today. Most good programmers are educating themselves constantly.

    You have to wonder, is it really worth spending 4 continuous years learning things that will be obsolete 10 years later? I think a new model of education will evolve where people start working full time right after high school, but supplement work with life long education done primarily over the web, with in-person education reserved only for interactive formats not fully possible online. The concepts of “undergrad education” and “graduate school” are too expensive,
    too unproductive, and too inefficient to last. What today is called “post graduate education” or “lifelong learning,” will just be regular education.

  • Mark Lee, Orlando, FL

    Professor Christensen et al wrote “Disrupting Class’” that examines US K12 education. As a parent who’s planning a Central Florida charter school, I will be applying his disruptive innovation ideas.

    The charter school will use blended learning to provide customized just-in-time learning for students. Amazingly, the FL legislature has pending legislation that will allow K12 and tertiary credit for MOOCs. We will invite our students to learn via the best MOOCs, and earn K12 credit too!

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think independence is important as is a time to expand the mind before deciding who you want to be. Future education must address that. But 4 years and $50-100k of debt isn’t the answer.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    agree with you 100% on customer vs. student or patient. I really like that. Never thought of it

    Crowd funding I disagree 100%. I know why you feel how you do but please tune into my next post for why this is a much bigger problem than you think.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    interesting. thanks.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    thanks, jules. and lucky you on 1-1 time! Say hello for me.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    Wow. What a great response. I hadn’t quite thought about it this way and you’ve won me over. Thank you.

    “is it really worth spending 4 continuous years learning things that will be obsolete 10 years later?” priceless.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    thanks, mark. that’s a great story. glad to hear some places are at the forefront of innovating in school models. My boys are at a charter school. It’s great quality. But certainly not innovating in methodology.

  • Mark Lee, Orlando, FL

    Thanks for the positive thoughts!

    School districts tend to view charter schools with suspicion. I am trying to reach out to the FL Orange County Public School (OCPS) district to be partners in exploring and implementing technology-enabled educational innovations. I have a draft Slideshare presentation here:

    http://www.slideshare.net/begreatacademy/partnering-with-ocps

    Feedback welcome!

  • citizen477

    Education is more than JUST absorbing knowledge from a professor. It’s so much more. However, I do get the gist of what you’re saying because, I must admit that I learned a lot more from my study groups and group projects with my classmates than I did in the actual classroom. This is true for, at least, a third of my course work in undergrad and graduate school. THEN, it hit me… That’s the whole point. In my opinion, professors don’t necessarily “teach”, they facilitate learning. That’s the difference between adult education and childhood education. Children need teachers AND facilitators, but most adults need good facilitators, unless of course one is talking about remedial or developmental adult ed., which is another discussion all together.

  • citizen477

    Oh, you’re on-point about that! In my experience, a lot of people who pursue degrees online, for example, do it out of convenience, and not necessarily because it is a *quality* program, or because they are willing to really glean knowledge from the program. I think our culture and how we view higher education have to change.

  • Brenton Thornicroft

    Thanks for your insight. I agree that education is much more than just absorbing material. I’m a huge advocate for practicality (learning applicable skills for the workplace) as well as on-demand learning. On-demand learning is something I’ve noticed being adopted more so by my entrepreneurial type friends, where instead of spending 4 years learning the ins and outs of a subject (or several subjects), you learn just enough to solve the current problem you’re working on. Anyone who has seriously pursued a startup knows how valuable time is and the favorable approach is to learn more each time you hit an obstacle that requires you to do so. You are also learning by doing with this approach, since you learn the material, apply it, make mistakes, learn more and so on.

    Khan Academy and similar programs are effective because they work through similar means, where you’re actively engaged in solving problems while you’re learning, so you’re not just sitting back and absorbing content. Also, when coupling KA with the traditional classroom, teachers are able to gather analytics on their students and apply extra attention to those that the data show to be struggling.

    You’re right in saying that teachers facilitate learning and the best teachers inspire their students to want to learn more, but the point of my comment was to make it clear that regardless of what a teacher’s role is, there is no reason to have students graduate with vastly inadequate real-world skills and debt they will be paying off for the rest of their lives. We are simply not yet taking advantage of the mass distribution capabilities of the web to the extent they should be. We live in a day and age where a child in a 3rd world country has equal access to a top level education. We just have to grant that access.

    I just can’t wait until the day a Cloudera (or equivalent) certification/degree is as credible as an Ivy League University degree to all employers. Then we can all welcome education to the 21st century and say hello to a much more prosperous economy.

  • Brenton Thornicroft

    I’m not one to ask for permission, so I’ll go ahead and proactively ask for forgiveness for stealing this awesome quote. Thank you for your wonderful insights, Roman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnwesquan Felix Hofmann

    I’m really interested to read more about your thoughts on crowd funding/investing. Do you know the name of the company that is developing the “royalty capital” model? I think this could probably solve one big problem with venture capital.

  • http://dhirajkacker.wordpress.com Dhiraj Kacker

    Sorry, I have to disagree. As they say “it is the process not the destination”. The process of learning new things, the process of learning your own strengths and weaknesses, the process of developing a wide-eyed fascination for the unknown. These are all important parts of the education. I have a PhD in EE and during my graduate program took some PhD level classes in the Math department. I loved them but have never used them (and to this day sometimes peek through those books though I have no practical application for them!) – it was kind of like being a basketball player but learning to run a marathon as well. It was a critical part of the intellectual training – sometimes this training also gives you mental models and frameworks which might be applicable in daily life. We often learn through analogies and metaphors. Yes, prcatical skills are critical, but let’s not change education to where everything is “vocational training”.

  • http://dhirajkacker.wordpress.com Dhiraj Kacker

    My favorite Christensen article is “Skate to where the money will be” – http://hbr.org/2001/11/skate-to-where-the-money-will-be/ar/2 – I end up reading it 2-3 times every year! Do check it out.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I think you actually are both right and not at opposite ends of the spectrum. I agree it is the process not (only) the destination (“The Alchamist”) which is part of Roman’s message of life-long-learning. I also agree that learning outside of your discipline is important to broaden the mind and develop cross-disciplinary skills. I do think the system in the US (especially in medicine) favors too much time at formal universities.

  • http://bothsidesofthetable.com msuster

    I didn’t ask name. If you research and find please post here.

  • brentgrinna

    I’m guess the Boston example is angel investor John Landry (ex Lotus CTO). Andy Sack (TechStars Seattle MD) has also been pushing this “revenue financing” concept with Lighter Capital.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fdemmler Frank Demmler

    Using a “royalty” as a form of investment has been around for a long time. In the 1980s Arthur Lipper of Venture Magazine coined the phrase, Revenue Participation Certificate (http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/fd0n/39%20Deal%20Structure%20RPC.htm), as a name for that deal structure. I have used this type of security for decades when midwifing deals between individual investors and companies in which the individual is looking for a cash-on-cash return and the company founder doesn’t want to give up equity. Conceptually, it is very easy to understand, although its actual structure can be challenging. Tax treatment is an issue (return of capital vs. return on investment), for example.

    I used the term individual investor to distinguish that from an angel investor, at least conceptually. The individual investor seeks cash-on-cash investments whereas an angel seeks capital gains.There are several other common forms of cash-on-cash deal structures, some utilizing puts & calls (http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/fd0n/14%20Deal%20Structures%20(B).htm), for example.

  • http://i2x.co/ Johannes Suriya Bhakdi

    Disruption in VC is coming. Its not crowdfunding (less sophisticated than traditional VC), but scientific VC frameworks (more sophisticated than traditional VC). Mark, we had this discussion last year and you thought it’s a very bad idea – let’s see if I can convince you in 2013 ;)

  • kristiandegroot

    It will be very interesting to read your opinion on crowd funding. I’ve been looking for your opinion on this topic for quite awhile now. I am wondering how you’ll define crowd funding in your next post cause there are many different flavours… (Big differences between platforms worldwide!)

  • http://www.athinkingsam.com/ Sam Slover

    Interesting article Mark. I’m in a class at NYU ITP called “Hacking Higher Ed” (yes, this class exists in a Master’s program at NYU :)..). We’ve been exploring these issues all semester. Here are some themes that keep coming up:

    1. The future of credentials will be based on the work you’ve produced, rather than the degree you’ve gotten (for example, having an amazing portfolio, blog, code repository on github, etc., is starting to mean more than a degree from traditional institutions). The people that are already realizing and acting on this trend are at a huge advantage. It’s basically become the “de facto” credential for us in the tech and design community. And it will increasingly be so for everyone else too.

    2. Right now, we’re at a weird in-between where more and more people know traditional higher education is broken, but there is not yet a standardized system or “life plan” to take its place. Thus, you have business school students spending $200k on a degree while simultaneously realizing it’s probably a negative investment. That’s pretty shitty. We need a societal push to make alternative “life plans” more acceptable. People are naturally risk averse and avoid paths that are less worn. How can we raise the status of new “life plans” that better fit with today’s world?

    3. There’s tremendous new opportunities to educate yourself outside of school based on your own unique interests. And many people are doing this with MOOCs, General Assembly, Hacker School, etc. But the problem we’re seeing time and time again is this is largely only working for people that are already doing pretty well and have already been inculcated with support systems and resources that make them naturally inclined toward self-motivated learning. General Assembly, for example, is fantastic, but they are so successful largely because they do a great job of selecting who is in their classes – and this tends to be highly motivated people who have already learned the art of self-motivated learning (so, in essence, the class is bound to be successful based on who is in it). How can this scale to people who may not have had the support network and societal context of self-motivated learning?

    Anyways, lots of interesting developments in edu right now, and the next 10 years are bound to see a true societal tipping point.

  • Sahalu Saidu

    “Is it really worth spending 4 continuous years learning things that will be obsolete 10 years later?” Well, depends on the field. In CS may be not, but there are so many fields where I would want someone learning something for a minimum amount of time, even longer than 4 years. Some fields, let’s say structural engineering, chemistry, physics and others, even 4 years may not be sufficient to get really grounded. Occupations like CS are continuously evolving, they are more skill based than knowledge based occupations, so I can see questioning the wisdom of 4 years in that case. Good observation, but it is domain related, skill-based and knowledge-based domains require different time scales to really get grounded.

  • http://www.crunchbase.com/company/vumedi Roman Giverts

    Brenton, thanks I didn’t realize I was being so profound!! Feel free to use it.

  • http://www.crunchbase.com/company/vumedi Roman Giverts

    Sahalu,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree with you that education must be domain specific and some fields require more time than others, and some fields evolve slower than others.

    For skill based fields, I believe lifelong, online learning models will be most prevalent.

    However, knowledge based fields will likewise be disrupted by the internet. Reading, watching, listening, problem solving, and discussing are all even easier to do remotely for knowledge based domains than for skill based domains.

    If online lifelong learning doesnt apply, then there will be a different model still leveraging the internet. The point is: the lecture based, on campus, continuous multi-year educational format will not sustain. Different fields will have different models of education, but the internet, with it’s cost and time savings and interactive capabilities, will be at the center of all of them.

  • LagoonPower

    Roman,

    I agree regardless of the domain, Internet will be disruptive, more of a spectrum than an event certainly – especially in areas like medicine and natural sciences. But obviously duration is very different from medium, it could still take years, even when learning is Internet based. On first reading, I read more to what you were actually saying in your post, I assumed you were implying that Internet based education, means shorter learning duration than in-class learning. My conclusion, not yours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=747654108 Daniel Aguiar

    Quick Question:

    If i write to a VC (Obviously in the position of an entrepreneur seeking investment), how should i start with?

    Hello MARK?, Mr SUSTER?, Hi MARK?, Dear Mr SUSTER?, Dear MARK?.

    Personally i would go for “Hi Mark”, (Trying for rapport) but …

    …Since first impressions are so important, and i really need this vc to read my killer pitch filled of traction, so he moves on in to my awesome deck, so i can get the appointment… and get the funds i need to conquer the world!!… i place this question and hope for a good answer, before i decide to send Mr suster my deck with a:

    Hi Dude!

    PS: I already know this is not the best way to approach a vc, (i learned that on this blog among a lot of other things)… but i`m from Colombia (LATAM), & we don`t have many vc`s here, so its been hard finding middle men (Although i`m working on it)…

  • PeterisP

    If a college program “spends 4 continuous years learning things that will be obsolete 10 years later”, then it’s teaching the wrong things.

    What has changed in CS since 1993? You’re using a different programming language; you have simpler tools to build good UI; you’re using slightly different databases, and on the “development speed”/”execution speed” tradeoff you’re more often choosing development speed. In essence, that’s it – all the core CS/software engineering skills, problemsolving, analysis, algorithms, debugging, project management, data structures, server planning, etc are essentially the same. If you compare the 1993 Berkeley course list with their 2013 courses, you’ll see a lot of complete overlap and a lot of courses where they were “Tech Foo” to do X in a modern way in 1993 and “Tech Bar” to do the same X in a modern way in 2013 – but only the tools changed, and the actual tools are the trivial, unimportant, quick-to-learn part compared to the core concepts.

    You need to teach some “flavor of the day” tools so that the graduates are immediately useful; and they’ll have to re-learn these tools every few years for the rest of their lives – but 80+% of the CS curriculum should be about things that will be useful after 20 years, or it’s just a set of trade-school courses for a single toolkit that can/should be done in 6 intensive months instead of 4 years.

  • ravi

    type ‘StartUp Gring’

  • Shawn T

    Great stuff as usual. The “royalty capital” idea is interesting. I haven’t seen much discussion of it, but this post from 2010 outlines it: http://venturebeat.com/2010/04/08/seeking-capital-a-new-option-rears-its-head/

  • Pramod Dikshith

    Even though I agree about the disruption in education, I am not sure how efficient it wud b to have education online. Lets not forget, one of the main things that we go 2 universities is to learn the social skills and build our network. It’s just not for learning finance, marketing etc. Don’t you guys think that this social effect will be nullified?

  • Lam

    As an international undergrad student in California, I feel that if the costs of education were much more affordable, then there would be less complaints about its current curriculum. It is all about the association of monetary value in exchange of time spent on so-called redundant courses that California enforces. Take for example that I am required to take PE classes at State U for about $500 and this simply makes me ask why and how can I be exempted. I commute by my bike everyday, why do I have to pay for the PE class?

    But it really is great to be at this particular time in education reform that as an undergrad, we are seeing more open and massive free educational platforms such as Coursera, edX, Khan, and other offerings online. However, it also saddens me that I am perhaps on the last wave of those paying ridiculous amounts of money for many life skill classes that can simply be learnt by living a full life. The university does not encourage us to become diverse, at least at this Bay Area state university. I was once criticized by my advisor for taking a “useless” class that wouldn’t count towards my degree, it was a supply chains management course.

    Education needs to change and I believe that it is being disrupted now and I hope we all strive to be diverse, dynamic and be useful in multidisciplinary ways.

  • Lam

    I agree with your statements. Perhaps we can look at the situation this way: education versus learning. It has become very much so that undergrad education is being served like fast food platters and many MBA programs being treated like the brass car grills. It is without a doubt that everyone enjoys learning in the field they enjoy because active learners will connect dots and make it part of their life.

    I enjoy learning so much, I would spend days and nights just watching videos on Khan and TED, randomly pick up an interesting book on data and start understanding its impact on us. But as an avid jazz listener, I failed my jazz class at school. I was so frustrated by the pace and methods of the class that I just gave up, I quit going. The fault cannot be entirely on me, I suppose?

  • http://www.kizi800.com/ kizi

    wow, a hot discussion. Reading these comments below are more interesting than this article.LOL. Btw, in this period, all people and country have problems