Note: The 2013 update for this note is in process.
It’s generally expected that economic downturns drive unemployed workers to enroll in degree and certificate programs that will, hopefully, enable them to acquire new skills which they will use to obtain new jobs; and that employees who still have jobs will enroll in degree and certificate programs in order to acquire new skills that will enable them to keep the jobs they already have.
The biggest news in distance learning in recent years, both in immediate, eye-popping headlines and in potential long-term impact, was the series of announcements by the nation’s leading universities of their intention to offer free MOOCs – massive open online courses. (Note: Pronounced "mooks" ... For discussions of the original, more extensive concept of a MOOC, click here for Wikipedia and click here for a video.)
Like other members of the HBCU community, I have been concerned for many years about the long-term survival of HBCUs. My obsession with this question has been expressed in four notes on this blog titled, "Why Are HBCUs Still Needed?" (Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV) and related notes ("From HBCUs to BCUs", "HBCUs as a National Laboratory", etc). But in recent months my thinking has returned to its engineering roots. Being needed is not sufficient to ensure the survival of any institutions under any circumstances. So my question has become, "What should HBCUs do to survive the impending flood of IT innovations in higher education that will overwhelm so many non-HBCUs?"