March Madness is Upon Us
Yes, its that time of year again with billions of dollars of lost productivity as office employees fill out their basketball brackets, drain bandwidth while streaming online video at their desks and slip off to afternoon “meetings” down at the nearest pub. We at Educelerate (@educelerate) are not entirely immune to such tomfoolery, but given our overarching focus on all things education innovation, we wanted to try and elevate this national obsession around a more educational “bracketology.”
To that end, we created the inaugural #HigherEdMadness Tourney – pitting some of the nation’s most innovative institutions of higher education against each other for bragging rights on Twitter and maybe even a few points on the next US News & World Report “Most Innovative Schools” edition. Indeed the Jefferson Accelerator at the University of Virginia has already called this “an interesting bracket!!!”
We are keeping this rather rudimentary as we have employed no Twitter polls, no Survey Monkey, and no ESPN brackets – just share your votes on Twitter under the hashtag “HigherEdMadness“. And please note our initial round of 32 schools was selected and scored – to create conversation – by Christopher Nyren, so feel free to tweet any suggested corrections, criticisms, or complaints @cnyren.
A few notes and questions:
- Without a doubt, the toughest conference is the East. We had to exclude my alma mater Penn (home to the upcoming Penn GSE -Milken Competition), Cornell (home to eCornell and Cornell Tech in NYC), 2U, American Honors (Quad Learning) and Drexel University (Drexel Online). And yes, Harvard is lucky to be a 7 seed.
- Should we just switch Maryland area institutions and organizations to the West region?
- Sometimes it was hard to decide which institution or logo to use. For example, should we show University of Maryland to comprise the pioneering online institution UMUC as well as its University of Maryland Baltimore County? With Carnegie Mellon, we certainly mean to include its Open Learning Initiative.
- Can someone help us think of more deserving candidates for the Midwest than Hamburger University? I am loathe to include the University of Chicago given their luddite administration’s rejection of online learning, but you cannot forget their origins with John D. Rockefeller as a far more democratic open enrollment institution and their founding role with the original MOOC UNext 20 years ago.