ITHAKA Publications

"Academic Online: Musings (Some Unconventional)"

William G. Bowen

October 14, 2013


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Higher Education in the Digital Age

William G. Bowen

April 2013


Two of the most visible and important trends in higher education today are its exploding costs and the rapid expansion of online learning. Could the growth in online courses slow the rising cost of college and help solve the crisis of affordability? In this short and incisive book, William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and board member, explains why, despite his earlier skepticism, he now believes technology has the potential to help rein in costs without negatively affecting student learning. As a former president of Princeton University, an economist, and author of many books on education, including the acclaimed bestseller The Shape of the River, Bowen speaks with unique expertise on the subject. View full press release from Princeton University Press.

Notable Endorsement: William G. Bowen receives National Humanities Medal.


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"Coursera Partners Conference Keynote Address"

William G. Bowen

April 2013


In his April 5th address at the Coursera Partners Conference at the University of Pennsylvania, William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and board member, describes how sophisticated online systems, such as those of Coursera and other MOOC providers, have the potential to serve both independent learners throughout the world and students affiliated with a variety of institutions. He identifies certain changes—both technical and organizational—that need to be made in order for this potential to be realized, and he emphasizes the value of evidence about learning outcomes and costs related to these forms of learning. Finally, returning to a theme he has researched extensively throughout his career, Bowen highlights the need to consider carefully the equity implications of MOOCs, and the importance of their being used to increase access rather than lead to more stratification.


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"The 'Cost Disease' in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer?"

William G. Bowen

October 2012


"The 'Cost Disease' in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer?" examines key aspects of economics in higher education—such as cost trends, affordability issues, and productivity—and the potential impact online learning could have on them.  Written by William G. Bowen, founding chairman of ITHAKA and board member, this two-part lecture was first presented through the Tanner Lecture Series in October 2012. Taking a system-wide perspective, Bowen provides context for the rising costs in higher education, particularly at public institutions, and discusses how those costs might be addressed through the use of new technologies.


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