On a recent sunny after­noon at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun min­gles with incoming freshmen. As a member of the Amer­ican Council on Edu­ca­tion, Aoun is urging higher-​​education insti­tu­tions to embrace dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies such as MOOCs to expand their reach. He says North­eastern is already taking the lead.

We are in Char­lotte, we are in Seattle,” he said. “We are with some cor­po­rate part­ners in China and India and the Phillip­ines. Even in Vietnam, we are there. So the tech­nology doesn’t drive you. You have to decide how you are going to master tech­nology in order to fur­ther the mis­sion of the school. Tech­nology can be used to enhance the reach of the pro­fessor and the inter­ac­tion between the pro­fessor and the student.”

As he walks Northeastern’s brick-​​covered path­ways, Aoun pauses to reflect on the idea of a col­lege campus defined by its bound­aries in the 21st century.

That’s obso­lete,” he said. “The notion of ivory towers is obso­lete. And from this per­spec­tive there’s an oppor­tu­nity to embrace fac­ulty world­wide, to embrace stu­dents world­wide and to embrace expe­ri­ences worldwide.”

Expe­ri­ences that offer a cer­tain promise to find new and effec­tive paths for higher education.

Read the article at WGBH →