The future of higher ed

In recent years, The David & Lyn Silfen Forum has tackled issues of far-reaching significance—from public debate in the United States to the 2012 elections. On Friday, April 5, from noon to 1:30 p.m., this year’s forum will address one more: “Open Learning and the Future of Higher Education.” As the global demand for a highly educated work force continues to grow, many students are finding it increasingly difficult to afford the cost of obtaining a college degree. Meanwhile, universities, including Penn, are beginning to explore the potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs). But is it possible for colleges and universities to effectively pursue online learning while maintaining their core academic missions?

Penn President Amy Gutmann will lead a panel of experts to tackle these complicated questions, including Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign affairs columnist for The New York Times; Martha J. Kanter, under secretary for the U. S. Department of Education under President Barack Obama; William E. Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland; and Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera and professor in the computer science department at Stanford.
Tickets and full bios of this year’s panelists are available at the Silfen Forum website.