Weekend Briefing No. 25

Welcome to the weekend! Typically, the Weekend Briefing is a selection of articles around innovation broadly. But this week, I’m doing a special briefing on one topic specifically – education. The industrial age education is finally starting to step into the information age.


But before we get educated about education, I thought I’d give you a little musical treat. Here’s my August 2014 playlist on rdio and spotify. It’s mostly indie; a little pop. Enjoy the tunes!




A new college ranking calculates ROI. Wait… Babson beats Harvard? Money Magazine just launched its own college rankings to look at the best bang for your buck based on 17 factors in three categories: educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings provided byPayScale.com. This is a practical tool to allow students and parents to calculate the cost and likely earning potential of a degree from US colleges. See where your alma mater ranked on the list.


But is college as expensive as we think it is? According to the federal government’s official statistics college tuition and fees have risen an astounding 107% since 1992. But is this oft cited statistic accurate? Probably not. This stat is using the sticker price for college, which doesn’t account for financial aid. Apparently, colleges operate more like Joseph A. Banks where their suits are always on sale. If you take this into account, prices have certainly risen but by a much more modest 40%. Check out this animation from the New York Times Upshot.


Education for the digital economy. Are traditional colleges preparing our students for life in the digital economy? Maybe not. Last year I wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal on how to redesign the college experience into a two-part program. The first is learning digital fluency, and the second is a hands-on apprenticeship. Will this and other innovative new online approaches to education disrupt the Ivy League?


MOOC hegemony? When massive open online courses (MOOCs) like Khan Academy, EdX and Corsera first took the education world by storm in 2012 the hype about how they would disrupt education forever was huge. However, their was an inevitable backlash. One of the major critiques is that MOOCs are just another tool for western intellectual and cultural hegemony. As the field matures, international MOOCs are starting to pop up dozens of countries from Rwanda to Saudia Arabia. Learn more in this Fast Company article.


The ivy leagues won’t be disrupted any time soon. A recent report from Moody’s on the how the online education boom will affect the business of education states that the biggest loser will be institutions with a high acceptance rate granting “commodity degrees”, not the elite institutions. The cachet of attending a highly selective university, limited reliance of these universities on student charges, and wealth compared to operating expenses help insulate them from the competitive threats of technological advancements. Read the full story onQuartz.




Net neutrality explained. Let’s be honest… this can be a confusing topic. But this is probably the federal legislation that has the biggest affect on your daily life. Think about how much time you spend on the interwebs. This video from Vi Hart is a clear explanation of net neutrality that even I can understand.  Major League Baseball is also chiming in to make a compelling argument for net neutrality in its compelling comments to the FCC. On the flip side of the coin, Comcast outlines its perspective here. If you have another article or video about net neutrality just hit reply and send it to me. A big thanks to good friend Malik Ashiru for sending this video my way.


You are super smart, so I’m interested in your thoughts. If you have friends that would like the WEEKEND BRIEFING, please forward it along. They can sign up for free here. Follow me on twitter for updates throughout the week.

Have a restful & thoughtful weekend.