June 05, 2016

This blog post was originally shared on http://educationcommissionblog.gatech.edu/. 

In 2010, we set out to begin “designing the future” with our 25-year strategic plan.  In the years that have passed since, our dedication to improving the world around us is as strong as ever.

June 01, 2016

Research in educational technology is nothing new. Though I’m new to the C21U team at Georgia Tech, I’ve been doing this kind of research for the better part of 20 years – and I still consider myself somewhat of a newcomer. But I think it’s safe to say that the field has exploded over the past 10 – 15 years, and for two reasons: first, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 introduced to the U.S.

April 09, 2015

Beginning today, Georgia Tech leadership will participate in the 2015 Summit of the Americas, a forum for leaders in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. This year's University President's Forum portion of the summit will focus discussion on the theme of "Prosperity and education: the challenge of cooperation in the Americas."

March 24, 2015


Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable

By Richard DeMillo

(Foreword by Ambassador Andrew J. Young)

MIT Press, 2015

A report from the front lines of higher education and technology that chronicles efforts to transform teaching, learning, and opportunity.

November 12, 2014

Future of the Campus in a Digital World

In the evolutionary process of digital transformation now underway, the metaphorical walls and gates that have defined higher education are falling down.  The literal walls and gates, the physical campus will need to be rethought  to avoid a similar fate. They may be beautiful, historic and evocative, but these attributes will not be sufficient.  Those places that do not add educational value, even though beautiful will become the American equivalent of the grand country estates of England, museums of a faded golden age.

October 16, 2014

Banning laptops in classrooms is a mistake, despite the intuitively compelling and research-supported reasons for doing so. These reasons highlight the ways that laptop misuse hurts learning, suggesting that instructors must ban laptops if they care about student learning. Banning laptops treats the symptom (the misuse of laptops) and not the problem (ineffective learning techniques). If we care about students learning professional and social skills as well as academic ones, we must allow students to use their laptops in the classroom and train them how to do so effectively.


October 13, 2014

Academic Freedom is a Two Way Street

student demonstrations dc1960

October 03, 2014

It is just a matter of time until your campus will be closed. Usually it will be temporary. Sometimes it will be permanent.

Whether by snow and ice, wind, fire, flood, civil disorder or bankruptcy, you may be certain that your campus will be closed. It is just a matter of when and how long the closure will last. Even a brief closing provides a glimpse of higher education without the comfortable assumption of shared space and time – the familiar functionality of a campus.

September 24, 2014

The Big Data Privacy Problem for Open College Courses

cheap data collection


September 05, 2014

It dawned on me during the recent saloon brawl at the University of Texas over exactly when and on whose terms President William Powers would leave office that the nation’s top research universities could succumb to the rule of self-interested and unaccountable mobs.

April 14, 2014

The physical implications of the digital transformation of higher education are becoming visible.

Classrooms and libraries are being retooled in response to changes in basic assumptions that have guided campus development for more than a century.

Student housing and campuses are evolving in response to social media and the changing use patterns of members of the campus community.  From classrooms to libraries to residence halls, digital transformation is changing the physical presence and requirements of each institution.

September 09, 2013

The empty lecture hall is just one sign of redesign in higher education. Substituting digital formats for large live lectures is the simplest and earliest stage of higher education redesign. This process of substituting synthetic for real will take several years and there will be many failed experiments. Whether in the mega courses offered by Coursera and their ilk, or the burgeoning number of asynchronous on-line offerings of traditional institutions, the availability of higher education is rapidly expanding beyond the traditional constraints of geography and time.

August 08, 2013

Two recent events have brought the paradox of the 21st century campus into sharp focus for me.  First, I taught one of my courses remotely via Google Hangout.  Second, a seminar class allowed students to have an in-class conversation with a veteran Minnesota campus planner and later to engage in a discussion of Mission and P

February 11, 2013

The “Year of the MOOC” is really over. Now that 2012 is behind us, many seem to be hoping that the hype about MOOCs has faded. The reality of coping with producing new kinds of courseware has set in across many campuses. Coursera — already the grand elder — is holding a partners conference this spring that will attract hundreds. The major MOOC providers already have stakeholders. It is a sign that things are calming down.

Other signs are more tangible. I have heard from presidents who are returning to their comfort zones:

January 30, 2013

Backer Jacob envy