Mar 2017

Universities Gone Innovating

Simmons College in Boston made headlines this week with the news that two online graduate degree programs it launched less than five years ago are on track to generate more tuition revenue than its 30 other graduate programs combined and nearly as much as its undergraduate offerings.

The programs, in nursing and social work, are powered by 2U and provide another showcase of just how much traditional universities have been leveraging online learning to innovate in novel ways to serve more students (even as the partnership with 2U means Simmons is likely not keeping the majority of the revenue).

As the associate dean for online education, Dana Grossman Leeman, at the historic women’s college is quoted in the Inside Higher Ed piece about online learning: “I’m tired of folks saying this is way of the future. It’s not. It’s now.”

In concert with that observation, just last week the Clayton Christensen Institute released new research by Alana Dunagan titled “College Transformed: Five institutions leading the charge in innovation.” The paper not only happens to profile Simmons College, but also four other traditional colleges and universities leading novel innovations—Arizona State University and its Global Freshman Academy, Northeastern University and its Level Bootcamp, the University of Wisconsin and its UW Flex program, and Southern New Hampshire University and its College for America.


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