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Fascination and Questions About Pearson College
December 6, 2012 - 9:00pm

Did you read about Pearson College in the NYTimes?

An (almost, working on it) accredited institution of higher learning situated within the corporate campus, and designed and delivered within the corporate structure, seems like a huge deal to me.   

There seems to be many things to like about Pearson College from a student perspective. A guaranteed six-week internship with a corporate partner. A flexible 2, 3, or 4 year graduation path. And a lower cost, less than two-thirds of the tuition of costs of the comparable institutions, all sound like ingredients for an intriguing academic option.

The reason that I'm so fascinated by the Pearson College experiment is in thinking about what Pearson will gain from this initiative. Pearson, like other educational publishers, is in the midst of remaking itself from a textbook company to a provider of digital products and services.  It seems that the best method for Pearson to really understand the needs of the the higher ed market will be to rely as much as possible on Pearson products and services at Pearson College.   What better opportunities to experiment and learn than in your own college setting, one where you can control and observe all the variables.

This is why I am somewhat mystified that Pearson College appears to be based on a residential model. The "accommodations" section of the website lists residential options in London or Manchester.  Rent for an "en-suite student accommodation" at Opal 4 Tufnell Park (you gotta love how the Brits name their buildings) works out to about $317 a week.   

Why isn't Pearson College a true blended program? Why not rely on LearningStudio or OpenClass to provide the classroom experience. Wouldn't Pearson want to build the world's greatest online classes for Pearson College, and then open them up for the world to see? Shouldn't all the course content be drawn from the Blue Sky platform? Will the challenges creating and managing course media (finally) cause Pearson to purchase a media platform creation, capture, and management company?  (TechSmith, Echo360, Kaltura, or Ensemble to name a few).   

The NYTimes article never mentions Pearson's purchase of EmbanetCompass. Wouldn't it be a natural for this division to bring its full range of services, from program development to recruitment to learning design to faculty training to student support to retention to analytics, to putting together and running Pearson College?

Why was Pearson College not talked about at EDUCAUSE? I spoke to a whole bunch of Pearson folks and never heard a peep.

So yes, I remain confused about the model, and the relationship of Pearson College to the rest of the company. I wonder why the NYTimes did not ask any of these questions. I'm curious as to why Pearson College has not gotten more press coverage.   

Will Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Apple follow the model of Pearson College?  I think that they should!

What do you want to know about Pearson College?

From what you do know, what do you think?


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