When Justin Morrill helped craft the ground-breaking legislation that created the land-grant university system in 1860, he hoped that it would change the face of society. During the next 150 years, Morrill’s vision became the land-grant universities’ competitive advantage in the marketplace of knowledge: university-based knowledge could be extended to people beyond the university to help solve problems and improve lives. To stay competitive, the land grant universities addressed questions such as: Do we provide access to information that makes a difference? And are we maintaining our role as a respected source of relevant, objective, science-based information?
No doubt you’ve seen several stories lately in the news about what some people are calling MOOCs–Massive Online Open Classes–with 160,000 or so students in online open courseware classes being offered by Universities such as Stanford, Harvard, MIT, through some commercial spin-off companies. (See below.). The purpose and the business model of the massive courses continue to be unclear. However, the increased profile of these classes and the new enterprises involved in their development raises questions about what it means to Oregon State?
In the state of Oregon there are 750,000 people with some college experience (including community college) but no bachelor’s degree. According to the Lumina Foundation, in 2008, nearly 570,000 Oregon residents fit into this category of some college, no degree — representing more than 27 percent of the state’s adult population. (Adding the 186,000 associate’s degree holders gets us to 750,000 with some college and no bachelor’s degree.) (http://www.luminafoundation.org/state_work/oregon/)