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Continued: How will U of M change with the times? A chat with Pres. Eric Kaler

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER
  • Last update: November 9, 2013 - 6:33 PM

[Teaching methods are] going to change. Bottom line is, I think bricks-and-mortar institutions are here to stay. But I think what happens in them is going to be quite a bit different.


Q. What’s the current verdict on MOOCs — massive open online courses?

A. We’re taking part in the MOOC activity. I think our largest was 14,000 students in a food and sustainability course.

The facts are … they may initially enroll tens of thousands of students; a very small fraction finish. As long as that’s free and it doesn’t cost you anything, that’s probably fine. But I can’t imagine people paying a lot of money for something they don’t finish.

As a university, I think we’re poised just right to be developing these, seeing how they impact our students, seeing how in fact they impact the brand of the university.


Q. The U froze undergraduate tuition this year, in return for an increase in state funding. What happens next year?

A. It’s a two-year freeze.


Q. And after that?

A. I think a freeze can continue if the state of Minnesota is willing to continue to fund the university appropriately. We did that this year. I’d be happy to be in a situation to continue that. [But] 2015 is too far away for me to predict.


Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

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