Technology has driven change in many ways. It can be seen within the dynamic of the household, the manner in which people participate in the community, and it also has had a very profound impact on the manner in which we educate and train the future leaders of our society. These changes, shifts in roles, manners of relation have greatly increased the responsibility of the university to provide a more “with-it” and “student-centered” approach to education and has greatly reinforced the drastic need for pedagogical change. “Colleges and universities are confronting new types of students—younger and more technology-driven, as well as older and more career-driven. They are confronting unprecedented competition, aggressive accountability demands and a view of operating in a global context” (Fullan & Scott, 2010, p. 1). Universities must find innovative ways to further meet the needs of the student while setting themselves apart from the old and the common.
Innovation comes from the ability to consciously consider multiple perspectives while looking for answers and solutions to relatively new and foreign ideas. “Without the ability to see value in what others say, and without the capacity to think about issues within a futures context, there will be few truly innovative approaches that emerge to ensure that people, organizations, and communities remain vital and sustainable” (Marx, 2006, p. 151).
Portland State University, took quite seriously the changes in technology and the need for shifts in pedagogical styles within their university. As a preemptive effort, Portland U began addressing technology needs from the beginning—understanding that the “student” has a much different role today, then he/she did twenty years ago.
According to Newbaker (2012) today’s college student is quite different than the student of twenty years ago. “54 percent of adult learners are age 25-29…34 percent of adult learners are 40 and over” (para. 3). These full-time students represent a majority that have time constraints such as families, careers, and other limiting factors that impede their ability to attend schools during regular hours. They want an education that is streamlined, efficient, accommodating to the time pressures and constraints that they must face on a daily basis.
Portland University’s accredited online program addresses the needs of the growing majority of student; a student that is unlike those of the past. According to Portland State University (2017), “The strength of our online degree programs is a big reason why U.S. News and World Report named us one of America’s top 10 most innovative universities” (para. 2). The success of Portland can be replicated through a strong accreditation process that strongly monitors its inputs. Professors with strong experience, refined and accredited programs, and flexibility have helped to maintain the rigor of its programs while addressing the individual needs of its students.
“Portland State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)” (Portland State University, 2017, para. 2). Manning (2014) suggests that accreditation has always served the innovation of the institution. I chose Portland State because it has become a strong hybrid between the sterile education that traditional universities provide and the loose and immeasurable education the MOOCs offer. If other schools want to see the successes of Portland U in their own universities, they need only do two things. 1. Follow an accreditation process that strictly enforces the processes, educational methods, and solvency of the university. 2. Plan for a program that specifically caters to the needs of its population.
Fullan, M., Scott, G. (11/2010). Turnaround Leadership for Higher Education, 1st Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781118570302/
Manning, S. (2014). Launching new institutions: Solving the chicken-or-egg problem in American higher education. Retrieved from http://www.aei.org/publication/launching-new-institutions-solving-chicken-egg-problem-american-higher-education.
Marx, G. (2006). Future Focused Leadership, 1st Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/MBS1526230/
Newbaker, P. (2012). More than one‐third of college students are over 25. Retrieved from http://www.studentclearinghouse.org/about/media_center/press_releases/files/release_2012-04-19.pdf
Portland State University. (2017). Portland State PSU Online | Welcome. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from https://www.pdx.edu/psu-online/