Purdue University Deal To Acquire Kaplan University: Interview with Trace Urdan

The surprise news today is that Purdue University has agree to acquire the academic operations of Kaplan University. As stated in the 8-K filing by Kaplan University’s owner Graham Holdings:

On April 27, 2017, Kaplan Higher Education LLC and Iowa College Acquisition, LLC (collectively, “Kaplan”), subsidiaries of Graham Holdings Company, entered into a Contribution and Transfer Agreement (“Transfer Agreement”) to contribute the institutional assets and operations of Kaplan University (“KU”) to a new, nonprofit, public-benefit corporation (“New University”) affiliated with Purdue University (“Purdue”) in exchange for a Transition and Operations Support Agreement (“TOSA”), pursuant to which, among other provisions, Kaplan will provide key non-academic operations support to New University for an initial term of 30 years with a buy-out option after six years.

Additional coverage of the deal at The Chronicle, Inside Higher Ed, The Wall Street Journal.

This is an unprecedented move, and to get some insight, I interviewed Trace Urdan, who has long covered higher education as an investment analyst and is one of the most knowledgeable observers of the for-profit sector. The following description is based mostly on this interview, paraphrasing Trace’s explanations and adding quotes in places. Continue reading

Posted in Big Picture, Business & Economics, OPMs & Program Support | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Recommended Reading: Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or Washing Machine?

Don’t be put off by a title that reads like click bait; this piece in EdSurge by Julia Freeland Fisher is the real deal. The column looks at the adoption rates of…well…fridges and washing machines.

Refrigerators were adopted much more quickly than washing machines.

Credit: Julia Freeland Fisher

The reason, she argues, is

Most households had electrical outlets that refrigerators could plug into directly, thus leaving iceboxes in the dust. But few homes had the pipes and drain lines required to install a washing machine.

In other words, homes at the time were never designed with washing machines in mind. As a result, to take advantage of the new technology households didn’t just have to shell out money; they had to hire a plumber to configure the pipes that would pump water into and drain water out of the new contraptions.

The analogy is that some ed tech innovations fit more readily into the ways that colleges and individual educators do things than others. This is a fundamental limiting factor on adoption, regardless of theoretical value or “efficacy”.

I have argued that the problem is even worse than that. We can’t really know the impact of the ed tech product or service outside the context of the the institution, many of which are not as easily checked as “Is there hot water line to the basement where I can plug in my washing machine?”

Anyway, Freeland Fisher’s piece is well written and drives the point home with clarity. Go read it.

Posted in Big Picture, Bits & Bytes, Recommended Reading | 1 Comment

Webinar Tomorrow: Shifts in Video and LMS Adoption: Impact on Student Outcomes

Phil and I will be doing a webinar along with Echo 360’s Fred Singer for Inside Higher Ed tomorrow. We’ll be talking about how to think about adopting these platforms in ways that create opportunities to encourage conversation within the campus community about pedagogy and improving student outcomes.

The webinar is tomorrow—Wednesday, April 26th—at 2 PM EST. You can sign up here.

Posted in Bits & Bytes, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

University of California’s Payroll Project Reboot Now At $504 Million

In July 2014 I wrote about the University of California’s project to update its payroll & HR systems to Peoplesoft systems and how the project had ballooned out of scope. The goal of the $156 million project was to save a reported $100 million per year eventually and to replace a 30-year-old Payroll Personnel System (PPS) that runs separately for each of the 11 UC locations with Oracle’s PeopleSoft payroll and HR systems. All systems were planned to be live by the end of 2014.

At the time, I quoted Christopher Newfield at Remaking the University with this summary:

The project timeline has grown from 48 to 72 months, and its costs are said to be $220 million (it had spent $131 million by May 2014) . Worse, the repayment schedule has mushroomed from seven to twenty years.

Well, those were the good old days it appears. The project has now grown to more than half a billion dollars (estimates) according to the Sacramento Bee. The project is now four years behind schedule. Continue reading

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Recommended Reading … or Not: Updates on UC Berkeley and NBER stories

Here are two updates on stories we’ve covered recently at e-Literate. One is an actual update and that is a lack of update.

UC Berkeley and Accessibility

In our post clarifying the context of the school’s decision to remove lecture capture video from public site (not deleting the video, just putting behind domain wall), one issue I raised was that there is no agreement yet between Berkeley and the Department of Justice / Department of Education team pushing the case. Continue reading

Posted in Academics & Academia, Business & Economics, Curricular-Materials, Ed Tech, Policy, Recommended Reading, Strategy & Change Management | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment