Learning about learning

A syllabus for understanding the past, present and future of higher ed

Will Houghteling
3 min readNov 9, 2014

Eighteen months ago I quit a dream job at Google to join Minerva, an ambitious organization rethinking higher education from scratch (learn more). Leaving a large technology company with education elements to join a small education company with technology elements I needed to deepen my understanding of trends in higher education to make up for any experience or formal education gaps.

Over the past year+, I’ve closely followed industry research and experts to both inspire new ideas and motivate me towards our vision. Two great people joined my team a couple months ago and they both asked which sources/articles were the most influential in developing my viewpoints on the future of higher ed. I created a list for them, which I have shared below. In short, if I were asked to teach a class on the past, present and future of higher education, this would be the syllabus of assigned reading.

I’m always looking for more great reads, so let me know what you think should be added / deleted / replaced, and hope you enjoy!

The college experience

Rising cost of college


MOOC madness

General interest (including many of the canonical books)



Will Houghteling

Bridging school and work @ Strive, x-Minerva, Google/YouTube, Harvard