May 2019

To Scale Online and Save Small Schools, Higher Ed Takes a Page From K-12

By Michael B. Horn (Columnist) and Scott Lomas

May 7, 2019

As online learning has grown in both higher education and K-12 schools, it has traditionally taken different pathways. But hundreds of small colleges and one company have an incentive to try and change that.

Thanks to a new and growing effort by the College Consortium, a company that supports online course sharing between institutions, higher education is taking a page from K-12 education to help schools expand their course options for students. The company is allowing colleges to control already-shaky budgets in two ways: by holding the line on costs as participating schools can rely on faculty from other colleges and don’t have to hire additional ones, and by supporting the top line through revenue sharing among schools.

In K-12 education, despite the presence of fully virtual schools, most students experience online learning as a component of their brick-and-mortar schooling. For years, high schools have used online learning, for example, to plug holes in their course offerings where they didn’t have a subject-matter teacher to offer a class.


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