Technology could help shape the higher education landscape of tomorrow

Legislators in Washington, D.C., and across the country have been debating the present state of higher education in the U.S. According to an opinion piece published in The Washington Post by Clayton Christensen, a professor of business administration at Harvard University, technology could help answer some of the problems faced by both universities and students.

Christensen wrote that although many of the challenges faced by universities are financial, the growth of online education could stimulate creative solutions and enable students to earn their qualifications on their terms. Continued investment in online learning initiatives could not only benefit students, but also allow schools to reconsider the way they deliver degree programs.

"Online learning allows for profitable growth. The financial surplus generated is just one benefit," Christensen wrote. "The other is the growth of the student body, which decreases the need to cut under-enrolled programs and allows others to expand. Growth, with its prospect of new opportunities, fosters openness to innovation and change."

Online learning is growing in popularity with both students and academic leaders every year. According to the 2011 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, more than 65 percent of university officials said the learning outcomes of online education programs equaled or surpassed those of classroom-based instruction.

If you're thinking about filling out a college application, you may want to consider registering for some online or hybrid classes.

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