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Nicole Harkin

Nicole Harkin

Nicole Harkin is an award-winning author, photographer, and co-producer of "Ungoverned? The Online Learning Landscape" (projectungoverned.com). Her memoir, Titling (2017), was published by Black Rose Writing.

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Kim Ochs

Kim Ochs is an education expert and co-producer of "Ungoverned? The Online Learning Landscape". She has designed and implemented both online higher education degree programs and professional development programs. Kim has taught at universities in the US and UK, and consulted widely to NGOs, international organizations, and private companies.

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Education Shock

Online learning as a lifeline for higher education?

Education Shock questions if online learning is a lifeline for students and a higher education system in crisis, or if it could accelerate a downward spiral in educational quality.

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Business Online Education
Washington, District of Columbia
60,000 words
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2 publishers interested

Synopsis

Education Shock questions if online learning is a lifeline for students and a higher education system in crisis, or if it could accelerate a downward spiral in educational quality.

In less than a decade, online higher education has gone from being the laughing stock of learning to the interesting step-child of the traditional university, to a cornerstone in the learning landscape deemed critical for developing sustainable, accessible, and relevant education globally. According to the 2017 Distance Education Enrollment Report, nearly 30% of students enrolled in US degree-granting higher education institutions take at least one distance education course. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which first came onto the scene in 2011, are now said to have 81 million cumulative learners. The boom in online higher education parallels the development of innovative technologies and a need for more lifelong learning opportunities as changing industries call for new skills. In January 2018, the US state of California announced it would be investing $100 million to create an online community college to offer certificate and credentialed programs.

Education Shock provides guidance for students, faculty, and administrators in higher education on how to take advantage of new opportunities online learning affords. The book also issues a call to action for policy makers, private companies, and investors engaged in this booming industry to question assumptions and design new strategies, and provides suggestions on how to co-create sustainable solutions for the future.

Authors Kim Ochs and Nicole Harkin, who have worked in online education and conducted extensive research, aim to address a significant gap in the current literature on the higher education industry by exploring online higher education and its potential to change three key dichotomies: (1) industry vs. university, and why a college degree is not a guarantee for employment; (2) academy vs. assembly line, and the current paradox of online learning; and (3) student vs. consumer, and the changing profile and needs of today’s online students. Problematic paradigms in the governance and business of online education are also explored. Ochs and Harkin conclude their book by looking ahead towards new philosophies and proposing solutions to meet emerging educational needs.

Outline

  1. What does online learning look like?
  2. “Diploma disease” becomes an epidemic 
  3. Industry vs. university
  4. Teaching: the academy vs. the assembly line
  5. Learning: student vs. consumer
    1. Hands-on learning
    2. Job networks 
    3. Costs of traditional vs. online higher education
  6. The business of online higher education
  7. Governing online higher education
  8. A future of the same mistakes? 
  9. New philosophies
  10. New possibilities and solutions
    1. Learning
    2. Teaching
    3. Business
    4. Governance
  11. Moving forward and taking action

Audience

This book will appeal to four main audiences:

(1) Prospective and currently enrolled students in online higher education programs, who need to know about the opportunities and pitfalls of online degree programs. Commonly perceived as a cheaper alternative to traditional universities, enrolling in online education has become a strategy to avoid student debt. In the first quarter of 2017, the total value of student debt at four-year, public institutions was $1.34 trillion – equal to nearly seven percent of the total U.S. federal debt that year. There are, however, hidden costs of online degrees and important evaluation criteria students need to know about to succeed in achieving their goals.

(2) Faculty and administrators working in online higher education, who need to hear about issues related to workload, career opportunities, and the changing role of the online professor. While the majority of academic leaders understand online learning is critical to their institutions' long-term strategy, only 29.1% of chief academic officers surveyed in a study for the Online Learning Consortium said that their faculty accept "the value and legitimacy of online education." Yet, in the context of a general move towards more part-time or adjunct positions in traditional higher education, online higher education has become an alternative or complementary employment option.

(3) Investors and private companies, which need to understand the drivers behind this booming industry and the underlying metrics for evaluation, such as attrition and graduation rates. According to one research firm, the e-learning market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 7.2% over the next eight years, with the projected market reaching $325 billion by 2025. In 2010, only eight years ago, the market was valued at $32 billion. Laureate Education, which operates some of the leading online universities including Walden University, raised around $490 million in its IPO in February 2017.

(4) Policy makers and regulators, who need to understand trends, design online programs, and implement effective governance structures.

Author

Nicole Harkin, JD, is an award winning writer and natural-light photographer based in Washington, DC, spent years working on government oversight both within and outside of the US federal government for organizations ranging from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to the Project on Government Oversight (POGO). Nicole’s first book, Tilting, A Memoir, published by Black Rose Writing, explores the themes of sickness and resiliency and was a 2017 Gold Winner in the Wishing Shelf Books Awards. She is currently working on a novel, Death In Berlin.

Kim Ochs, PhD, has worked in the field of online education for the last decade, designing and implementing programs at institutions of higher education, private companies, and NGOs. She holds a doctorate in educational studies from the University of Oxford and has held academic positions in the US, UK, and Germany, including the University of Oxford and London School of Economics. She has consulted to organizations such as Ashoka, the United Nations (UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, and UN
Volunteers), Commonwealth Secretariat, Bosch-Siemens, and South African Qualifications Authority, among others. Kim's work in the field of education has been published widely, as articles and book chapters (published by Oxford University Press, Emerald Books, Commonwealth Secretariat). Her co-edited book on educational policy was published by Symposium Books.

Promotion

This book is related to the authors’ work on “Ungoverned? The Online Learning Landscape”– a podcast series and online symposium -  which examines the governance of online education broadly defined – spanning online K-12 education to professional development programs to higher education (projectungoverned.com). The purpose of this book, unlike the project, is to focus specifically on higher education, but our target audiences will be the same. 

We will establish awareness and relationships on these platforms to promote the book:

  • Podcast series and related online symposium  “Ungoverned? The Online Learning Landscape”, scheduled to go live on iTunes and related platforms in mid-October 2018. Distribution list currently 4000+
  • Professional website, which includes blog. Distribution list currently 4000+
  • Speaking engagement on the topic of governance of online education in Berlin scheduled for mid-November 2018. Anticipated live audience of 50+, Social media outreach to 5000+
  • Nicole Harkin recently released an award-winning book, Tilting, A Memoir, with 4.7 stars on Amazon. She maintains an email list of 250 followers. Sample video of Nicole promoting her memoir.
  • Nicole's additional promotion channels: photography website, former blog, contributor to DC Moms Blog, founder of DC Family Biking, (1500+ members), Girl Scout Gold Award Recipient.
  • Kim Ochs – Academia.edu and ResearchGate.net networks of 10,000+ (includes network to previous related publications)

Competition

Whackademia An Insider’s Account of the Troubled University

By Richard Hil

Published by University of New South Wales Press (August 1, 2012)

Richard Hil’s investigative book takes a look at higher education in Australia with a critical, insider’s viewpoint having spent 25 years working in both British and Australian universities. In this book, the author records complaints from academics, but also highlights the parlous state of higher education in Australia and rallies a call to take action. Education Shock has a similar aim, to draw attention to the state of higher education and spark a discussion to take action, but with a specific focus on online universities and colleges, and with a geographical slant towards  the United States.

Breakpoint The Changing Marketplace for Higher Education

By Jon McGee

Johns Hopkins University Press (October 22, 2015)

The author, a college practitioner, describes key forces and trends impacting higher education and argues that current societal changes will have significant impacts on how colleges understand their mission, markets and management. The book is aimed at higher education leaders and offers a number of strategies for them to take. Education Shock will touch upon some of the underlying trends mentioned in the book, but will address specifically online higher education.

American Higher Education in Crisis. What everyone needs to know.

By Goldie Blumenstyk

Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 15, 2014)

Author Goldie Blumenstyk, a senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education, examines the forces and trends behind the significant changes to higher education in the United States. She examines college affordability, faculty and administration, and new demands for accountability, as well as highlighting new advances in technology and their potential. This book provides a comprehensive overview and serves as an important primer for  higher education in America, whereas our book focuses on one dimension of higher education - online - and pays more attention to ways forward.

College Disrupted. The Great Unbundling of Higher Education.

By Ryan Craig

St. Martin's Press (March 10, 2015)

Author Ryan Craig, who is an education investor and founding director of Bridgepoint Education, looks at the future of online education and predicts major disruption in traditional higher education. He argues that while a university’s reputation typically relies on the 4 “Rs—rankings, research, real estate, and rah! (i.e. sports)”, they offer poor value at the expense of education. After examining crises in affordability and governance, Craig reviews “the great unbundling”, examining current practices and approaches to education and proposing futuristic alternatives that embrace technology. Online education is seen as one of America’s great next exports, and opportunities be afforded by MOOCs are highlighted. While Craig presents online education in the context of higher education more generally, Education Shock focuses on online higher education and takes a more critical viewpoint.

The New Education. How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World In Flux

By Cathy N. Davidson

Basic Books; 1 edition (September 5, 2017); Sold by Hachette Books

This book is aimed at the millennial college students and examines higher education in conjunction with the “quarter-life” crisis. Our book reflects the shifting demographics of online higher education towards older students, and the implications this has for students of all ages who embrace a lifelong learning approach, which might include retraining. We also the implications a broader and older demographic has for online higher education institutions.

The Future Of Higher Education: How Emerging Technologies Will Change Education Forever

By Lasse Rouhiainen

Published by Amazon Digital Services (October 16, 2016)

In this brief, self-published book, the author examines how several technologies will impact education, including artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, and e-learning. While the book includes information about online learning best practices, which will be mentioned in our book, there is no focus on online higher education.

Books complementary to Education Shock fall under these general categories: (1) Teaching, including pedagogical exercises and practices for online education; and (2) College guides to online colleges (e.g. Fiske Guide).

2 publishers interested
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Atmosphere Press is an independent full-service publisher for books in genres ranging from non-fiction to fiction to poetry to children's picturebooks, with a special emphasis on being an author-friendly approach to getting a book into the world. We're professional, honest, and kind. Learn more about what we do at Atmosphere’s website, atmospherepress.com.

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We have helped 250+ authors to get their books self-published, hit the #1 position in the Amazon bestseller charts and also establish their author website & brand to grow their business. And the best thing is, we do all this without taking away your rights and royalties. Our publishing packages start at $699! Let's schedule a call to discuss the ...

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  • Brent Lattin on Aug. 28, 2018, 4:31 p.m.

    Can't wait for the book!!!

  • Nicole Harkin on Sept. 2, 2018, 11:55 a.m.

    Look forward to reading, Nicole & Kim!

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