As someone who has worked in the field of online education in higher education and K-12 since 1998 — in an administrative capacity at Columbia University, as a policy adviser to the New York City Department of Education, and as a consultant to universities as well as faculty — I was surprised by the faculty committee’s comments that questioned the future of online education in higher education (On the Campus, Jan. 8).
Although MOOCs are a recent phenomenon and generally not representative of the state of the art in online education, online education in higher education has existed for close to 20 years in the United States. In fact, in a 2012 College Board survey of 2,800 higher-education institutions, nearly 70 percent of chief academic officers polled identified online education as an essential part of their long-term strategy. Peer institutions including Stanford, Harvard, Penn, and Columbia have offered credit-bearing programs online for many years, and the president of the United States is promoting 21st-century learning modalities, including online education, as critical to the education of our youth and future success of our country. What more evidence does the committee need?
If Princeton is to remain one of the leading academic institutions in the country and the world, it will have to look forward and beyond the gates, so as to clearly envision the future.