Author Archives: Bryan Alexander

Americans on the future of science and technology: meh

A new Pew/Smithsonian report offers a sobering picture of how Americans see the future of science and technology.  At first glance the report sounds like typical futurism, revealing people imagining and weighing alternative possibilities. But on closer examination we find … Continue reading

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“Let the death spiral whirl”: Slate celebrates the destruction of small colleges

Slate offers an intriguing article on the impending demise of small, private colleges, and why we should all celebrate this.  It is an instructive piece because it presents an example of aggressive education reform’s thinking.  It’s a lesson on how … Continue reading

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Concluding the Second Machine Age

With this post I come to the end of a public reading of Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s The Second Machine Age (previous posts). Reflecting on this final chapter, I was more interested in SMA-themed stories from the past week than on the … Continue reading

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Peak higher education hits Bloomberg

Bloomberg News caught on to the peak higher education idea this week.  They offer a different term, “the college contraction“, and add some excited language: Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral The article does a fine job of summarizing trends. … Continue reading

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Backing away from one queen sacrifice

In this season of colleges and universities performing queen sacrifices, one institution has backed away from its attempt. The University of Southern Maine announced it would cut faculty, staff, and programs last month.  Student and faculty protests ensued (see Doug Henwood’s … Continue reading

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Signs of peak higher education: the return of vo tech

How does America’s education system change, if we just passed peak higher ed?  One response might be a return to vocational technology curricula. Consider: if the college world is starting to shrink, how will people learn skills for careers? The … Continue reading

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How to survive our robot overlords

This week our reading of Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s The Second Machine Age advances to policy recommendations.  (If you haven’t followed along, here are all of the posts) Chapter 13: Policy Recommendations Here the authors focus on the short term, and their primary … Continue reading

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Have we reached peak higher education?

Inside Higher Ed published my essay entitled Has Higher Ed Peaked?  In it I raise the idea of applying peak models to the entire sector of American higher education.  It’s a think piece, a provocation. Yes, it sprang from last year’s … Continue reading

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Technology versus workers, or technology for workers?

When will technology throw people out of work, and when can people use technology to improve their careers?  These are questions for this week’s reading from Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s The Second Machine Age (previous posts here). As before, there are … Continue reading

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Academia between two storms: talking NERCOMP into the future

Yesterday I had the good fortune to address the NERCOMP 2014 conference in Providence, Rhode Island.  The conference was a sweet one, with its highest attendance ever, a fine buzz of conversation, and a general confidence in springtime’s imminent arrival. … Continue reading

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