Its called the educational buffet

But I'd call it an educational smorgasbord.  Oh, wait. Aren't those the same things? Hmmmm.  When I think buffet I think huge portions of unlimited food and when I think smorgasbord I think wide variety of choices.  I bet there's a liguistic monograph in there somewhere.  

Connotations aside, I have to wonder what the role of continuing education will be when most of the students are nontraditional and patching together programs of study from all sorts of various providers? From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

When the filmmakers behind the animated summer blockbuster Monsters University needed inspiration for their fictional campus, they visited three of the nation's best-known colleges: Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California at Berkeley. 
Such name-brand campuses, having provided the backdrop for Hollywood productions, help shape our collective vision of college as a place where you go once in your life (often at age 18) and move through in a linear fashion over four years. 
But that straight pathway isn't the one taken by about half of the students enrolled in college today, an enrollment pattern that Clifford Adelman, a noted higher-education researcher, says dates back to at least the 1970s. Even so, we still call students "nontraditional" if they attend college later in life or part-time, or if they attend multiple institutions. 
Today's students are swirling through higher education more than ever before. They attend multiple institutions—sometimes at the same time—extend the time to graduation by taking off time between semesters, mix learning experiences like co-op programs or internships with traditional courses, and sign up for classes from alternative providers such as Coursera or edX, which offer free massive open online courses (MOOCs), or StraighterLine, which offers cheap introductory courses online. 
“I know that I’ve learned a lot in the last two and a half years,” says Ms. Yancey-Siegel, whether through work or online courses. “I do worry that my dream job will require a degree.”
Emily Stover DeRocco describes the plethora of choices for students these days as an "educational buffet," with the potential to reshape how we think of postsecondary education. "There are a huge number of options now for learning," says the assistant secretary of labor for employment and training in the George W. Bush administration, "and the nature of the workplace and occupations is changing so dramatically that thinking of college as one place, one time, is quickly becoming outdated."


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