From elite to mass to universal higher education: from distance to open education
In 1970, Martin Trow, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, identified a transition “underway in every advanced society – from elite to mass higher education and subsequently to universal access.” This paper adapts this framework of the historical and structural development of higher education as a phased process in which absolute and relative growth of university enrollment transforms the institutions of higher education and alters its functions. The transition to universal access may support economic development, social mobility and greater income equality, in turn buttressing even the institution of democracy. Arriving at those optimal social outcomes isn’t automatic, however, because of a variety of remaining issues: how universality of higher education translates to economic growth and social equality. The problem of the “next 1%,” shorthand for the continued entrance of new social layers into higher education, presents novel challenges that “access” alone may not solve.
Open course ware, MOOCs; open educational resources; higher education; social mobility; access.