Nirvana or Apocalypse Now: Distance Learning, For-Profit Education And the Concord Law School Story Washington University Law School October 6, 2006 Dean Barry Currier Concord Law School. Nirvana Emancipation from ignorance and achieving enlightenment? or…
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Distance Learning, For-Profit Education
And the Concord Law School Story
Washington University Law School
October 6, 2006
Dean Barry Currier
Concord Law School
Emancipation from ignorance and achieving enlightenment?
Kurt Cobain’s band and music that the older generation just did not get?
The imminent destruction of the world?
A cutting-edge movie that helped fire the career of a great American filmmaker?
Concord Law School is … For-profit
In addition to Kaplan, some major players:
Kaplan Mission Statement:
At Kaplan, our mission is to help individuals achieve their educational and career goals. We build futures one success story at a time.
KHE: >60,000 total students, >75 campuses in >25 states) and online
KU: >20,000, HLC-accredited online university, certificate programs to Masters degrees
“Kaplan became our most profitable business for the first time. Writing that sentence still feels somewhat amazing: ten years ago… Kaplan … was so small we recorded its results in the ‘other’ segment. Last year, Kaplan’s revenues were 40% of The Post Company’s. The education company employs 8,980 people, 55% of the company’s total full-time employees.”
Chairman Donald Graham’s Letter to Shareholders, The Washington Post Company 2005 Annual Report
Concord Law School is … Higher Ed WorldOnline
Not the perfect solution for all education
Not the end of life as we know it
Synchronous Higher Ed World
No F 2 F
100% F 2 F
= A Course
Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005 (The Sloan Consortium)
Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004 (The Sloan Consortium)
Statement of Commitment by the Regional Accrediting Commissions for the
Evaluation of Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs
Technologically mediated instruction offered at a distance has rapidly become an important component of higher education…. The approach of the regional commissions to these emergent forms of learning is expressed in a set of commitments aimed at ensuring high quality in distance education….
* * *
The regional accrediting commissions are aware of the need for a collaborative approach which extends beyond their community, that others, particularly the states and federal government, have substantial voice in addressing quality assurance issues related to distance education programming…. [T]he eight commissions are pledged to continue to work individually and collectively with those agencies to achieve our commonly held goals of assuring the quality of academic offerings regardless of the medium of their delivery….
* * *
As the higher education community increasingly expands educational opportunities through electronically offered programming, the regional commissions are committed to supporting good practice in distance education among affiliated colleges and universities. Doing so is in keeping with their mission to encourage institutional improvement toward a goal of excellence….
Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs
… The[se] Best Practices … are not new evaluative criteria. Rather they explicate how the well-established essentials of institutional quality found in regional accreditation standards are applicable to the emergent forms of learning; much of the detail of their content would find application in any learning environment. …
These Best Practices are divided into five separate components:
1. Institutional Context and Commitment. Electronically offered programs both support and extend the roles of educational institutions. Increasingly they are integral to academic organization, with growing implications for institutional infrastructure.
2. Curriculum and Instruction. Methods change, but standards of quality endure. The important issues are not technical but curriculum-driven and pedagogical….
3. Faculty Support. As indicated above, faculty roles are becoming increasingly diverse and reorganized. For example, the same person may not perform both the tasks of course development and direct instruction to students….
4. Student Support. Colleges and universities have learned that the twenty-first century student is different, both demographically and geographically, from students of previous generations. These differences affect everything from admissions policy to library services. Reaching these students, and serving them appropriately, are major challenges….
5. Evaluation and Assessment. Both the assessment of student achievement and evaluation of the overall program take on added importance as new techniques evolve. For example, in asynchronous programs the element of seat time is essentially removed from the equation. For these reasons, the institution conducts sustained, evidence-based and participatory inquiry as to whether distance learning programs are achieving objectives. The results of such inquiry are used to guide curriculum design and delivery, pedagogy, and educational processes, and may affect future policy and budgets and perhaps have implications for the institution’s roles and mission.
ABA Standard 306 provides:
Excerpts from Online Tutorials to Replace Law Lectures
Financial Times (June 12, 2006)
Concord tuition and fees:
1st time Repeater Overall
Concord 43 20 35
Overall* 54 33 39
ABA-approved 57 43 46
All non-ABA schools* 26 10 13
CA Bar accredited 29 12 15
Correspondence* 26 9 15
CA Unapproved Residential 6 5 5
* Concord takers/passers excluded
For this exam:
2005 Law School Survey of Student Engagement*
Concord All LSSSE
Asked questions/contributed in class 3.04/3.13 2.61/2.83
Discussed ideas from class with
Professor outside of class 1.74/1.89 1.97/1.89
Came to class unprepared (4=never; 1=often) 3.43/3.30 3.29/2.88
Provided academic support 3.42/3.62 2.78/2.59
Quality of relationships – students (7-1 range) 5.01/5.43 5.52/5.45
Quality of relationships – faculty (7-1 range) 5.93/6.46 5.26/5.11
Developing legal research skills 2.88/3.72 3.26/3.04
Thinking analytically and critically 3.53/3.66 3.38/3.30
Working effectively with others 2.32/2.42 2.39/2.34
Learning effectively on your own 3.62/3.79 3.17/3.10
Solving complex, real-world problems 2.79/3.06 2.53/2.52
Encouraged ethical practice of law 3.21/3.68 3.03/3.05
Entire educational experience 3.50/3.88 3.19/3.08
* Scored from 4 (high) – 1 (low), unless noted
Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School
Proposition: great companies (and institutions) can fail even if (and maybe precisely because) they do everything right
… work with law schools, the profession, the accrediting/bar admissions community, publishers, tech community, and others to:
Concord website, usually and soon again: Solution Nor the End of Life as We Know It
For the moment: