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Expert Panel Explores “Higher Education In A Digital Age” At 1871

Virtual schools, massive online open courses (MOOCs), online learning networks and tutoring are all reshaping what it means to be a student. Exploring this major transformation, thought leaders gathered at 1871, an innovative co-working center for digital start-ups, to discuss “Higher Education in a Digital Age.”

Sally Blount, dean of Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, moderated the panel, which included DeVry president and chief executive officer Daniel Hamburger; Deborah Quazzo, education entrepreneur and founder of GSV Advisors; and Ben Jones, associate professor of management and strategy at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“Adaptive learning, big-data analysis, mobile applications, gaming, online simulation and online identity verification are some of DeVry’s current educational technology pilots,” Hamburger said. “Higher education is in the middle of a major transformation with growth in career-oriented programs and in blended learning, which offers the best of both onsite and online learning. It’s fitting we engage entrepreneurs at a place like 1871 in the discussion about education innovation.”

More than 100 attended the “Higher Education in a Digital Age” expert panel event Monday, March 18, including entrepreneurs from early stage digital start-ups, investors and local education influencers.

“The demand for education is only going to go up – in the U.S. and around the world,” Jones said. “There is a huge opportunity online for continuous improvement. Once you prove a delivery system is effective, people will want it.”

The role of MOOCs, today’s challenges and opportunities in education, Chicago’s role in education innovation and untapped partnerships were discussed by the panel. Then panelists turned the table on the entrepreneurial audience and asked them to join in the conversation.

“We have to figure out how to develop competency based learning and degrees,” Quazzo said. “We have to create segmented delivery systems if we want to have our populations deliver against the job demand.”

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