PSE experiencing "system stasis," not "creative destruction"

March 12, 2015

An opinion piece published by Contact North argues that "there is little convincing evidence that a real transformation of programs, colleges, and universities is occurring because of technology." The essay responds primarily to the idea that PSE is becoming "unbundled," and the claim made by Clayton Christensen—who coined the phrase "disruptive innovation"—that "a creative destruction is happening in higher education with technology as the trigger and the driver." The essay argues that technology has not yet begun to fundamentally change timetables, program design, use of physical space, or hiring practices; moreover, it says that there has not yet been significant unbundling of programs or courses. The piece also argues that student assessment in 2015 looks much as it did in 1995, and that while mobility between colleges and universities has become commonplace, movement is "neither endemic nor substantive." It says that badges pose little threat to present assessment systems, and that students are not actively demanding technology-enhanced learning. The essay cites several reasons for "system stasis," including the nature of government funding and quality assurance, as well as the reality that faculty workloads inhibit faculty members' ability to experiment with truly innovative approaches. Contact North