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Burck Smith, CEO and founder of StraighterLine, presents "Revenge of Econ 101" as part of the Practitioners’ Leading Edge Lecture Series. Held in conjunction with the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL), the lecture series highlights innovative thinkers in higher education who focus on real-life experiences about new ideas that inspire teachers to experiment with innovations.
“Disruption” is the theme of the moment in higher education policy. In 2008, StraighterLine was the first provider of ultra-affordable online courses outside of the traditional accreditation structure. This talk will outline why online learning is extremely profitable for most colleges and that “disruption” is a way to start driving these profits from colleges to students in the form of lower prices. Smith will also discuss why the existing organizational model of “college” and higher education regulatory and financing structures are ill-suited to the delivery of online courses. While this threat to college business models is real and dramatic, the market environment in which the threat is occurring is heavily regulated, heavily subsidized, and extremely political. Such forces will slow the adoption of new models.
Burck Smith is the CEO and founder of StraighterLine. In 2009, ten years before launching StraighterLine, he co-founded SMARTHINKING, the largest online tutoring provider for schools and colleges. Smith has written chapters for two books on education policy for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and is working on a third. He is a member of the American Enterprise Institute's Higher Education Working Group. Prior to starting SMARTHINKING, Smith worked as an independent consultant who contracted with for-profit and non-profit educational organizations, including clients such as the Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Computer Curriculum Corporation, the CEO Forum on Education and Technology, the Milken Exchange on Education and Technology, Teaching Matters Inc., Converge Magazine, and others.
As a writer about education and technology issues, Smith has been published in Wired Magazine, Wired News, Converge Magazine, University Business, and the National School Boards Association. In the early 1990s, he wrote articles on a variety of subjects, including creating community telecommunication networks, electronic access to political information, telecommunications deregulation, and the ability of utilities to serve as telecommunications service providers. Smith holds a Master's Degree in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Williams College.
StraighterLine is a leader in making a quality college education more affordable. StraighterLine’s programs are a great way to tackle the escalating cost of four-year college tuition and avoid a mountain of student debt.
StraighterLine offers two innovative programs. The “Freshman Year for $1,299” program is designed to help college students and their families address rampant rising tuition costs of college education. Students can take up to 10 StraighterLine courses for a single fee of $1,299 and realize savings of more than 90% versus the first-year tuition at many colleges. Students can also enroll in a subscription package of online college courses for $99 a month that allows students who can move the material even faster an opportunity for even greater savings. Both programs includes up to 10 hours of one-on-one instructional support.
Students who successfully complete StraighterLine online college courses receive credit when they enroll with any school in our rapidly expanding network of regionally accredited partner colleges and universities. In addition, the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has also evaluated and recommended college credit for StraighterLine courses. ACE CREDIT helps students gain access to academic credit at colleges and universities for formal courses and examinations taken in settings outside traditional higher education. StraighterLine also offers a tuition assistance program as a benefit for companies to provide to employees interested in earning their college degree.