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Monday, February 11, 2013

Using Regulation to Stop Innovation in Higher Ed

Accreditation is a gate that either lets in the new idea or is slammed in the innovator’s face. And accreditation is primarily in the hands of existing suppliers of education together with change-resistant and heavily lobbied government. The good news is that innovators are finding ways to outflank this formidable obstacle. One way is to partner directly with an accredited institution. Another is for a new venture to develop its own credentialed courses which can meet the market test of acceptance where it really matters – employers. That second route is being explored by such upstarts as Coursera, edX and Udacity.

However a more serious threat ultimately may be less obvious than accreditation. It’s the danger of increasing federal and state red tape. This can suffocate a new business or entire industry. No doubt with the encouragement of established institutions, for instance, online ventures are encountering a rising tide of new regulations. 

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