I'm reading the article, "Moody's: Coronavirus Drives New Business Models, Disruption for Higher Ed" by Rick Seltzer and what I find is that our environment forces us to adapt and change in ways that we have a hard time grasping until we have few options left. Online education has been growing for some time and there is not a strong case for including more of its strengths into higher education models. The pandemic highlights a few things that we should consider.....
Online Capacity Building: Its hard for universities to build up their online offerings because of culture and expertise. Slowly, online education has become a viable option for professor employment and work arrangements. If we transition thoughtfully, we can integrate traditional teaching modes of thinking with more nimble online development. There is a balance to be played here in tradition and adaptation. Sometimes we may want to consider constructing that capacity in homegrown initiatives or buying that capacity somewhere else such as outsourcing.
Traditional Campus Capacity: Traditional campuses are wonderful places to learn, develop and grow. They create a physical space for students to have a place where learning is at the center of their world. Memories are created from campuses and people are forever tied to their school identities. Some schools are unlikely to see the same foot traffic as they once did and cost structures might change to reflect a dip in face-to-face students (i.e. live stream classes) What to do with those buildings and the extra capacity is going to be a big question for leadership if we can't bring campus attendance up.
The author brings up a good point about outsourcing versus creating internal capacity. Having a user friendly interface and high customer service is going to be an important aspect of successful online education. A positive experience improves retention. Online education has really changed over the years and can offer course materials and interactive learning in one place and setting. Virtual learning is based on the powerful information transference of the Internet and we will still need professors to interpret that information and provide their expertise.
Outsourcing has advantages in terms of specialized knowledge gained through working with different industries and application of features to industries and institutions that may not have working knowledge of such online platforms. In this case, online education knowledge is a must for any successful in-house program and if a university doesn't have it then they just don't have it and must find a different place to obtain capacity.
Outsourcing the essential core functions makes sense when you need to build your internal capacity and seek to focus on other business management aspects. There may come a point where you do not need the help of a service provider but that is also dependent on how the service provider adapts to their environment as well. If they use their starting knowledge to truly capitalize on innovative so that there are market advantages to staying with the firm then they can maintain real value. Fall behind on creating "scalable" new technologies and your future prospects turn dim.
Its a pretty good read. Here is the citation for it.
Seltzer, R. (August 27th, 2020). Moody's: Coronavirus Drives New Business Models, Disruption for Higher Ed . Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/08/27/moodys-coronavirus-drives-new-business-models-disruption-higher-ed