PBS NewsHour Series on “Rethinking College”

Lil Taiz, President of the California Faculty Association, has shared the following information which should be of broad interest. The PBS NewsHour contacted the CFHE leadership about CFHE’s take on MOOCs and online higher education. The producers had seen CFHE’s video on the topic on the CFHE website and wanted to have “another perspective” about MOOCs in their weeklong series “Rethinking College.” Below is the information that we received today about the week-long program. Lil notes, however, that she has no idea what their conclusions will be.


“Rethinking College” the Focus of Week-Long Series on PBS NewsHour

Monday, August 25th, 2014 

Senior Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan leads an in-depth report on American higher education.

Tonight (Check local listings), PBS NewsHour begins a week-long look at “Rethinking College”— examining initiatives to make college more accessible and affordable.  Senior Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan investigates new approaches to higher education at a time when the Obama Administration, Congress, educators and college administrators are each proposing new ways to help college students navigate higher tuitions, student debt and an uncertain job market.

Sreenivasan’s on-air reporting will be complemented with a robust set of online features including additional reporting from the PBS NewsHour Education team, dispatches from the Hechinger Report [http://hechingerreport.org/] and Twitter chats throughout the week. Additionally, the complete series will be available as a mini-documentary online and on PBS apps in Apple TV, Roku and Xbox.

The NewsHour’s series on “Rethinking College” follows below, along with air-dates and links to segments (All air-dates are subject to change based on news developments – check local listings):

Monday, August 25, 2014: Competency-based Credits – What if you had the ability to earn a degree without ever taking a course? Hari Sreenivasan investigates how one experiment is playing out in New Hampshire [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/online-university-skips-class-accessible/]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014: Student Debt — As states cut funding for public institutions, students are taking on bigger debt to pay for their education. Now, some in Wisconsin are asking if students need to also take on politics – by bringing their financial worries to the ballot box. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/wisconsin-group-wants-turn-student-borrowers-activists/]

Wednesday, August 27, 2014: MOOCs (massively open online courses) and blended learning – PBS NewsHour looks at the future of online technology for colleges & universities. Can they replace, or even supplement, in-person learning? [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/can-online-courses-replace-campus-education/]

Thursday, August 28, 2014: City Colleges of Chicago–Hari Sreenivasan travels to Chicago to examine a controversial chancellor’s efforts to ensure that community college education is relevant to the job market or to a four-year institution. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/grad-rates-double-reinvention-chicago-city-colleges/]

Friday, August 29, 2014: Performance-based funding–Tennessee’s unique funding model asks the question–should public higher education institutions be graded for their performance in the same way students are? [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/colleges-emphasize-student-stickiness-boost-graduations/]

Mini-documentary–Watch the complete series as a mini-documentary, available online and through the PBS apps in Apple TV, Roku and Xbox. [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/videos/#112324

Online, at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/tag/rethinking-college/]


The NewsHour also plans the following features:


Stories from the NewsHour Education Team, examining:

The growing number of nontraditional students on college campuses (Monday, August 25)

The possibility that tuition spikes are leveling off (Wednesday, August 27)

The potential impact of the pending White House proposal for a federal college ranking system (Thursday, August 28)


Reports from the Hechinger Report (http://hechingerreport.org/), covering:

IvyTech Community Colleges’s attempts to emulate the German system of combining classroom education with industry training to better prepare students to enter the workforce. (Monday, August 25)

Indiana’s circulation of graduation rates at the state’s public universities in the hopes of motivating poor performing schools to do better. (Wednesday, August 27)

Rio Salado Community College’s implementation of a wide variety of innovations in response to funding pressures. (Thursday, August 28)

Georgia Tech’s new program offering an entire computer-science graduate degree program in a “MOOC” style format. (Friday, August 29)


Opportunities for the NewsHour’s audience to join the conversation via Twitter, from 1-2 p.m. EDT, August 26-28th. Follow along and join the discussion using the hashtag #NewsHourChats. E-mail Nora Daily (ndaly@newshour.org) for  more information :

Tuesday, August 26th: Is a college degree necessary?

Wednesday, August 27th: What gives a degree its value?

Thursday, August 28th: Should colleges be run more like businesses?


PBS NewsHour’s education coverage also includes its ongoing reporting with Special Correspondents John Merrow and John Tulenko and its coverage under the American Graduate initiative. Our site for students and teachers, PBS NewsHour Extra provides free, high-quality lesson plans, daily activities and other educational resources to incorporate current issues and events into the classroom.


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