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From College Degrees to College Education: A Paradigm Shift in the Higher Education Ecosystem

IRVINE, Calif., July 12, 2016 -- Fardad Fateri and Cameron Fateri predict there will be many more disruptions within all verticals in this century. The authors ask, "Who would have thought the largest bookseller wouldn't be a real bookstore, or one of the largest hotel services wouldn't operate any hotels, or the largest taxi service in the world wouldn't have a fleet of taxis, or the largest university wouldn't have any physical classrooms?"

Fardad Fateri, President, CEO & Board Director at International Education Corporation inquires, "The question central to a dialogue about higher education is how colleges are transforming themselves to create learning communities to effectively prepare future innovators, leaders, and workers?" Moreover, students learn differently today than they did years ago; what have colleges done to accommodate new learning styles? Regrettably, many employers don't trust college degrees anymore as qualifying instruments demonstrating required competencies. Instead, employers rely on other assessment methodologies to gauge employability. Fardad Fateri submits, "The traditional college construct is no longer relevant in assessing workplace preparedness." He asserts, "A system that requires students to take courses, get grades, and receive degrees without requiring terminal programmatic competency, proficiency, and mastery has become an expensive exercise in futility." Consequently, we are experiencing the dilution of the American undergraduate baccalaureate degree.

Cameron Fateri argues, "the gaming industry started with PONG in the 1970's but the industry has transformed and soon virtual reality as well as augmented reality will dominate gaming, but curricula and content delivery have remained mostly the same during this period." He adds, "We went from analog to digital with insignificant overall change to college degrees."

The most valuable organizations in the world didn't exist a few decades ago. Furthermore, the most effective disruptors like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison never earned college degrees. These individuals may be exceptions but they are thought leaders who have been strong critics of colleges. They call for dramatic reform to promote analytical, creative, and problem solving skills so innovation doesn't become unique to a few but to all who want to succeed in this millennium. All reasonable educators accept globalization and digitization are inevitable; therefore, it is imperative to deliver timely education that ensures mastery of deliberate competencies instead of measuring success through grades within an independent mosaic curriculum structure. Conferring degrees without delivering measureable, substantive, inter-connected, and inter-related learning objectives don't demonstrate subject matter proficiency. Curricula must change continuously so they are timely instead of content that are decades old. Furthermore, material should be delivered by subject matter experts and not necessarily by professors who are labelled as qualified by having terminal degrees within tenure-based university systems. We need to create communities that encourage content acquisition by peers and teachers with the requisite bandwidth to facilitate learning. Our college framework should promote learning within multiple platforms and dimensions that would future-proof America's workers, innovators, and leaders. There is pressure on colleges to transform and adapt to new societal and workplace requirements but there is little evidence of meaningful change. Cameron Fateri suggests, "Although colleges have remained stagnant, various action leaders have designed and developed learning communities to meet the demands of the 21st century." He adds, "Khan Academy, Moodle, and Udemy are leading the way in promoting competency-based education."

Historically, American higher education hasn't shown to be creative, nimble or agile in providing relevant and timely content. More likely, innovators who already have a deep interest, ambition, intellectual bandwidth, imagination, and core expertise in education like Google, Amazon, Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft will create a new education ecosystem to address the learning needs of our fast-evolving society.

About the Authors:

Fardad Fateri is President, Chief Executive Officer and Board Director at International Education Corporation, a higher education system headquartered in California. Dr. Fateri publishes and presents extensively on various societal trends. He completed his education at University of California, Alliant International University, and Harvard University.‎

Cameron Tyler Fateri is a college student and researcher with interests in history, healthcare, medicine, and psychology.


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