Rather than rushing to MOOCs, colleges and universities, and their boards, should engage in thoughtful discussions about the current or future role of online education in the context of their institutional missions.
During her inaugural tour of education conferences in winter 2005, Secretary Spellings, appropriating a quip from (the easily Googled) W. Edwards Deming, the widely recognized father of statistical quality control, told education audiences: "Back in Texas we like to say, 'In God we trust; all others bring data.' " Secretary Spellings's appropriation of Deming's bring data message was a charming and disarming way to describe a key aspect of the George W. Bush administration's priorities in education: evidence and assessment.
The “New Computing” reflects one dimension of higher education’s fascination with technology: the hope and expectation that new technologies would benefit education and the educational experience of students.
Many of of the 300,000 people in Southern California who lost their generally well-paying jobs in the aerospace and defense industries during the last recession had one, sometimes two college degrees, often in technical fields. So "going back to college" for yet another college degree was not necessarily a viable alternative.
Campus leaders need to look at general classes of computing applications, such as their use for academic research, their role in instruction, and their ability to enhance productivity for faculty, staff, and students, and to integrate computing into the curriculum in ways that recognize all three of these dimensions and their interdependence. Although other issues such as computer equity, standardization, and industry support of campus development activities need to be addressed, it would be unwise for colleges to wait around for "ultimate answers."