Author: Burck Smith

  • Free Community College? Good Intentions, Bad Policy

    Free Community College? Good Intentions, Bad Policy
    Burck Smith

    A middle class American seeking a degree to improve her job prospects is faced with: - College tuition having risen four times the rate of inflation over the past 30 years; - Median family asset value having dropped by 1/3 in the last ten years; - More job postings than ever now require a degree; and - Aggregate student debt has surged past $1.2 trillion (yes, trillion with a “t”) In short, a degree is more necessary, more expensive and students have less ability to pay. Clearly, this is a major national problem, and it’s why I started StraighterLine. So, kudos to the Obama administration for proposing free community college for full-time students maintaining a 2.5 GPA. Unfortunately, the proposed cure is worse than the disease. ...

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  • Making a Real Difference: Low Prices, Higher Completion Rates in Higher Ed

    Making a Real Difference: Low Prices, Higher Completion Rates in Higher Ed
    Burck Smith

    Today, Inside Higher Ed published a timely article highlighting the work we’ve done with Western Governors University (WGU), one of StraighterLine’s nearly 100 partner colleges. Pursuing a degree online requires commitment and discipline and is often times more demanding than a student expects. A big part of WGU’s mission is to help students, even before they enroll, prepare themselves for success in an online learning environment. Want to see how it works? Take two free lessons on us today! Since 2010, WGU has referred many prospective applicants to StraighterLine to expose them to a rigorous online experience at a low price and with limited financial risk that lets them better understand what to expect in a formal onli ...

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  • Disrupting The Credit Hour with Competency-Based Education

    Burck Smith

    This article originally appeared on the SkilledUp Thought Leadership blog. Even if you don’t follow higher education, you may have heard about competency-based education (CBE) — especially if you are an adult learner seeking a college degree. Programs using this model are often attractive because students can move at their own pace, and CBE can be more affordable than traditional programs. Another advantage is that the CBE model is disrupting outdated mechanisms for accreditation, forcing everyone in higher ed to think in terms of proficiency rather than seat time. And the innovations that result are helping to serve a student body that includes an increasing number of non-traditional learners. What is competency-based education (C ...

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  • Competency Based Education: A History of the New New Thing

    Burck Smith

    The new new thing in higher education is Competency Based Education (CBE for short, and has also been referred to as “personalized learning”). It is an educational approach that shifts the balance between time and learning. CBE moves away from time being the constant (i.e. every student stays in the class for a semester, regardless of how quickly they learn), to learning being the constant (i.e. students demonstrate learning at their own pace, regardless of how much time it takes). Want to see how it works? Take two free lessons on us today! The Rise of Competency Based Education: Earning Credit for What You Know CBE programs are self-paced and online, provide academic tutors and mentors, rely on students passing one or more te ...

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