Online degrees made USC the world’s biggest social work school. Then things went terribly wrong.

University of Southern California (USC) was interested in growing its online enrollment in its school of social work. It created a new online master’s degree to meet this new goal. Quickly, it grew enrollment to more than 3.500 students in 2016, becoming the largest school of social work in the world. They did this with the help of 2U, a digital learning start up. There are many providers of a variety of services to nonprofit institutions that wish to grow online enrollment. Many of these companies provide course development and delivery, marketing and sales, and much more for a large percentage of tuition revenue. Many times these institutions sacrifice quality for potential revenue. But really, what is the ROI from all of these efforts? Even if there is a real, positive ROI, is it worth the myriad of unintended consequences that are generated from these efforts? Read the article at the LA Times.

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