The scary amount that college will cost in the future — from cnbc.com by Annie Nova

Excerpt:

Think college is expensive now? Then new parents will probably want to take a seat for this news.

In 2036, just 18 years from now, four years at a private university will be around $303,000, up from $167,000 today.

To get a degree at a public university you’ll need about $184,000, compared with $101,000 now.

These forecasts were provided by Wealthfront, an automated investment platform that offers college saving options. It uses Department of Education data on the current cost of schools along with expected annual inflation to come up with its projections.

 

Excerpted graphic:

 

From DSC:
We had better be at the end of the line of thinking that says these tuition hikes can continue. It’s not ok. More and more people will be shut out by this kind of societal gatekeeper. The ever-increasing cost of obtaining a degree has become a matter of social justice for me. Other solutions are needed. The 800 pound gorilla of debt that’s already being loaded onto more and more of our graduates will impact them for years…even for decades in many of our graduates’ cases.

It’s my hope that a variety of technologies will make learning more affordable, yet still provide a high quality of education. In fact, I’m hopeful that the personalization/customization of learning will take some major steps forward in the very near future. We will still need and want solid teachers, professors, and trainers, but I’m hopeful that those folks will be aided by the heavy lifting that will be done by some powerful tools/technologies that will be aimed at helping people learn and grow…providing lifelong learners with more choice, more control.

I love the physical campus as much as anyone, and I hope that all students can have that experience if they want it. But I’ve seen and worked with the high costs of building and maintaining physical spaces — maintaining our learning spaces, dorms, libraries, gyms, etc. is very expensive.

I see streams of content becoming more prevalent in the future — especially for lifelong learners who need to reinvent themselves in order to stay marketable. We will be able to subscribe and unsubscribe to curated streams of content that we want to learn more about. For example, today, that could involve RSS feeds and Feedly (to aggregate those feeds). I see us using micro-learning to help us encode information and then practice recalling it (i.e., spaced practice), to help us stop or lessen the forgetting curves we all experience, to help us sort information into things we know and things that we need more assistance on (while providing links to resources that will help us obtain better mastery of the subject(s)).

 

 

From DSC regarding Virtual Reality-based apps:
If one can remotely select/change their seat at a game or change seats/views at a concert…how soon before we can do this with learning-related spaces/scenes/lectures/seminars/Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs)/stage productions (drama) and more?

Talk about getting someone’s attention and engaging them!

 

 

Excerpt:

(MAY 2, 2018) MelodyVR, the world’s first dedicated virtual reality music platform that enables fans to experience music performances in a revolutionary new way, is now available.

The revolutionary MelodyVR app offers music fans an incredible selection of immersive performances from today’s biggest artists. Fans are transported all over the world to sold-out stadium shows, far-flung festivals and exclusive VIP sessions, and experience the music they love.

What MelodyVR delivers is a unique and world-class set of original experiences, created with multiple vantage points, to give fans complete control over what they see and where they stand at a performance. By selecting different Jump Spots, MelodyVR users can choose to be in the front row, deep in the crowd, or up-close-and-personal with the band on stage.

 

See their How it Works page.

 

 

With standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Go now available at an extremely accessible price point ($199), the already vibrant VR market is set to grow exponentially over the coming years. Current market forecasts suggest over 350 million users by 2021 and last year saw $3 billion invested in virtual and alternative reality.

 

 

 

 

 

OVER ONE-THIRD OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS ARE FACING FOOD AND HOUSING INSECURITY, SAYS A NEW REPORT — with thanks to Angela Baggetta for this resource

PHILADELPHIA, PA (April 3, 2018)—A new report led by Temple University Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab and her team at the Wisconsin HOPE Lab finds that over one-third of university students have faced food and housing insecurity in the past year. Nine percent of university students also have been homeless.

“Still Hungry and Homeless in College” is the third report issued by the Wisconsin HOPE Lab assessing food and housing insecurity among college students across states. This year’s study surveyed 43,000 students at 66 community colleges and universities in 20 states and the District of Columbia (list of participating institutions follows). Previously the reports focused only on community colleges; this year the report also includes data from more than 20,000 students at 35 universities (30 public and 5 private) in 14 states and the District of Columbia.

“While the report does not include estimates that are ‘nationally representative,’ it is currently the best source of information on the prevalence of basic needs insecurities at colleges across the country,” said Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab, who conducted the research with her Temple colleagues Joel Schneider and Clare Cady, and her Wisconsin colleagues Jed Richardson and Anthony Hernandez. “Other studies have focused on single systems of higher education within states, or draw on household surveys (where college students are often missed) to look only at food insecurity. But food and housing insecurity and homelessness are overlapping issues that are best understood together. Until we do so, we can’t formulate lasting and effective solutions to promote degree completion.”

The report finds that overall:

  • 36% of university students were food-insecure in the last 30 days, as were 42% of community college students.
  • 36% of university students were housing-insecure in the past year, as were 46% of community college students.
  • 9% of university students were homeless in the past year, as were 12% of community college students.
  • Less than half of all students surveyed reported being completely secure, meaning they did not experience any food or housing insecurity, or homelessness, in the past year.

The report also finds a disparity in risk endured by certain types of students. For example:

  • More than 60% of former foster youth were both food and housing insecure, and 24% had experienced homelessness in the last year.
  • Students identifying as non-binary and those who are homosexual or bisexual were greatly overrepresented among students enduring basic needs insecurities.
  • African-American and Native American students were much more likely than non-Hispanic white or Asian students to experience food or housing insecurity.
  • The Pell Grant does not provide sufficient protection: Compared to non-Pell recipients, Pell recipients are 14-20 percentage points more likely to experience food and housing insecurity, and 4-6 percentage points more likely to experience homelessness.

While university students are more likely than community college students to have access to on-campus housing and meal plans, even these supports do not shield students from these challenges. For example, the report finds that 26% of university students with a meal plan and 26% of university students living on campus experienced food insecurity within the last 30 days. And 7% of university students who dealt with homelessness said that they struggled because residence halls were closed during breaks.

Students who experience basic needs insecurities are clearly committed to school and are trying to work to make ends meet. But their academics still suffer. The study found that:

  • At both community colleges and universities, rates of food and housing insecurity were higher among students who worked longer hours. For example, 34-38% of students working 6-20 hours per week were food insecure, compared to 48-51% of students working 40 hours or more per week. Moreover, community college students who were unemployed but seeking work exhibited rates of food and housing insecurity comparable to those of students working 40 hours or more per week.
  • The amount of time committed to college—both time spent in class and time spent studying—is very similar for students whose basic needs are secured and those who are enduring food and/or housing insecurity.
  • But that time commitment does not translate into similar levels of success. Among students who reported receiving D’s and F’s in college, more than half were food insecure, with more than 40% at the very lowest level of food security. Rates of housing insecurity among these students were even higher: over the last year, more than 55% were housing insecure, and more than one-fifth were homeless.

Despite the evidence that food and housing insecurity and homelessness are real challenges to students today, there are precious few support systems in place at community colleges, universities, or in the broader community. Only 26% of food insecure students at 2-year colleges and 12% at 4-year colleges received SNAP. And of the students who experienced homelessness in the past year, only 8% of 2-year students and 5% of 4-year students received housing assistance.

The full report can be found here:
http://wihopelab.com/publications/Wisconsin-HOPE-Lab-Still-Hungry-and-Homeless.pdf

And the companion FAQ can be found here:
http://wihopelab.com/publications/Wisconsin-HOPE-Lab-Still-Hungry-and-Homeless-FAQ.pdf

 

Also see:

Hunger And Homelessness Are Widespread Among College Students, Study Finds — from NPR.org

Excerpt:

As college students grapple with the rising costs of classes and books, mortgaging their futures with student loans in exchange for a diploma they’re gambling will someday pay off, it turns out many of them are in great financial peril in the present, too.

More than a third of college students don’t always have enough to eat and they lack stable housing, according to a survey published Tuesday by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.

Overall the study concluded 36 percent of college students say they are food insecure. Another 36 percent say they are housing insecure, while 9 percent report being homeless. The results are largely the same as last year’s survey, which included fewer students.

 

 


Addendum on 4/18/18 — from Angela Baggetta:



COLLEGE STUDENTS BATTLING HOMELESSNESS, HUNGER, AND OTHER FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHALLENGES INVITED TO 
SHARE THEIR STORIES IN NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION

 #RealCollege: Voices for Change Kicks off April 18

PHILADELPHIA (April 18, 2018)—College students across the country who have encountered hunger, homelessness, and other financial and social roadblocks as they pursue their studies are invited to share their stories in a national awareness and education campaign kicking off on Wednesday.

#RealCollege: Voices for Change was created by Temple University’s Sara Goldrick-Rab and her team at the forthcoming HOPE Center for College, Community, and Justice.  The HOPE Center, which launches in September, will be an evolution of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, also founded by Dr. Goldrick-Rab. She is the nation’s leading expert on the many financial burdens facing college students today, and best known for her research finding widespread food and housing insecurity among college students.

“Many people harbor stereotypes and misunderstandings of today’s college students. They think they don’t work, abuse financial aid, or are otherwise lazy and academically adrift. Data contradict those assumptions,” said Dr. Goldrick-Rab. “Our goal is to provide students who often feel invisible with a platform to have their voices elevated and heard, so that they can help correct the story. There are so many aspects of being a college student that are just not known by administrators, professors, parents, and other policymakers.”

Students will become teachers by providing submissions that can educate people about the challenges of attending college today. Some of the students who submit their stories will be asked to attend and speak at the #RealCollege conference at Temple University this September. Others will be invited to testify about their experiences before lawmakers and policymakers at the local or national level.

“As a longtime practitioner, I can tell you that students’ voices matter in how we do our work—and they should matter even more than they do now,” said Clare Cady, Director of Research Application and Dissemination at the HOPE Center.

Students can submit their audio stories on the #RealCollege website under the “Voices for Change” tab: https://realcollege.org/voices-for-change/submissions/. A full list of eligibility requirements can also be found on the site. Stories will be accepted from April 18 through August 17, 2018. To be eligible to submit their stories, students should have been enrolled at least half time in an institution of higher learning during spring, summer, or fall of 2018. That said, it is acceptable for the student to have left school for any reason. In fact, that may be an important part of their story.

Students also may record their audio stories in person at two events this spring. The first takes place April 18 on the campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, and the second takes place May 10 on the campus of Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

Mary Enoch Elizabeth Baxter is a Community College of Philadelphia student, and soon-to-be graduate, who is working with the HOPE Center team. “I’m a returning citizen and was homeless during college.  But you won’t find stories like mine on TV.  We need to change that,” she said.

Sponsors of #RealCollege: Voices for Change include Boston Foundation, New Profit, and PayPal.

 


 

 

 

Blockchain: Is it Good for Education? — from virtuallyinspired.org

Excerpt:

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a public ledger type database made up of records called blocks that are linked together like a chain.  It is a shared unchallengeable ledger for recording the history of transactions. Here, the ledger records the history of academic accomplishments. An education ledger (blockchain) could store academic information such as degrees, diplomas, tests etc. It could be kind of digital transcript.

A Few Potential Applications of Blockchain

  • Learning Credentials Repository – A blockchain database of credentials and achievements can be a secure online repository. Digitized records/blocks replace paper copies for sharing proof of learning and can be easily accessible and tracked. Blockchain can make it easy to access all of your academic accomplishments in a digitized and ultra-secure way. Each record is a block. Your records would be chained together and new credentials will be added as you go throughout your lifetime of learning.
  • Lifelong Learning Building Blocks – Informal learning activities could be captured, validated and stored in addition to formal learning accomplishments. This can be as simple as noting a watched video or completed online lesson. We’re already seeing some universities using blockchain with badges, credits, and qualifications.
  • Authenticating Credentials – Institutions, recruiting firms or employers can easily access and verify credentials. No more gathering of papers or trying to digitize to share. Blocks are digital “learning” records and come in multilingual format eliminating the painstaking task of translation.

What’s more, with diploma mills and fake credentials causing havoc for institutions and employers, blockchain solves the issue by providing protection from fraud. It has two-step authentication and spreads blocks across numerous computer nodes. It would take hitting over 51% of computers to falsify a block.

Sony and IBM have partnered and filed patents to develop a blockchain educational platform that can house student data, their performance reports and other information related to their academic records. Some universities have created their own platforms.

 

 

Also see:

Blockchain in Education — from by Alexander Grech and Anthony F. Camilleri

Context
Blockchain technology is forecast to disrupt any field of activity that is founded on timestamped record-keeping of titles of ownership. Within education, activities likely to be disrupted by blockchain technology include the award of qualifications, licensing and accreditation, management of student records, intellectual property management and payments.

Key Advantages of Blockchain Technology
From a social perspective, blockchain technology offers significant possibilities beyond those currently available. In particular, moving records to the blockchain can allow for:

  • Self-sovereignty, i.e. for users to identify themselves while at the same time maintaining control over the storage and management of their personal data;
  • Trust, i.e. for a technical infrastructure that gives people enough confidence in its operations to carry through with transactions such as payments or the issue of certificates;
  • Transparency & Provenance, i.e. for users to conduct transactions in knowledge that each party has the capacity to enter into that transaction;
  • Immutability, i.e. for records to be written and stored permanently, without thepossibility of modification;
  • Disintermediation, i.e. the removal of the need for a central controlling authority to manage transactions or keep records;
  • Collaboration, i.e. the ability of parties to transact directly with each other without the need for mediating third parties.

 

 

Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain

 

 

 

 

 

Mapping the Trends on Our Doorstep: The Pace of Change Has Changed — from an article that I did out at — and with — evoLLLution.com [where LLL stands for lifelong learning]; my thanks to Mr. Amrit Ahluwalia, Managing Editor out at evolllution.com and to his staff as well!
The higher education industry has changed significantly over the past decade, and given the pace and significance of change hitting other industries as a result of technological advances, it’s fair to say the postsecondary space is ripe for further transformation.

 

From DSC:
From the perspective of those of us working within higher education, we see massive changes occurring in the corporate world, and we see innovations and changes also occurring in the world of K-12. Higher education should also be adapting, changing, questioning, and reflecting upon how we can best prepare our students for a rapidly changing workplace.

Below is another interesting item that I believe gives credence to the idea that we are now on an exponential pace of change. Companies are coming and going on the S&P Index…at an ever faster pace.

The 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1964 narrowed to 24 years by 2016 and is forecast to shrink to just 12 years by 2027 (Chart 1).

 

Here is the video:

This is the transcript with the original graphs in it.

This is a nice PDF file from evoLLLution.com with the transcript, with some different graphics and some other

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Here’s a quote that has been excerpted from the announcement below…and it’s the type of service that will be offered in our future learning ecosystems — our next generation learning platforms:

 

Career Insight™ enables prospective students to identify programs of study which can help them land the careers they want: Career Insight™ describes labor market opportunities associated with programs of study to prospective students. The recommendation engine also matches prospective students to programs based on specific career interests.

 

But in addition to our future learning platforms pointing new/prospective students to physical campuses, the recommendation engines will also provide immediate access to digital playlists for the prospective students/learners to pursue from their living rooms (or as they are out and about…i.e., mobile access).

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

Artificial intelligence working with enormous databases to build/update recommendation engines…yup, I could see that. Lifelong learning. Helping people know what to reinvent themselves to.

 

 


 

Career Insight™ Lets Prospective Students Connect Academic Program Choices to Career Goals — from burning-glass.com; also from Hadley Dreibelbis from Finn Partners
New Burning Glass Technologies Product Brings Job Data into Enrollment Decisions

BOSTON—Burning Glass Technologies announces the launch of Career Insight™, the first tool to show prospective students exactly how course enrollment will advance their careers.

Embedded in institutional sites and powered by Burning Glass’ unparalleled job market data, Career Insight’s personalized recommendation engine matches prospective students with programs based on their interests and goals. Career Insight will enable students to make smarter decisions, as well as improve conversion and retention rates for postsecondary institutions.

“A recent Gallup survey found that 58% of students say career outcomes are the most important reason to continue their education,” Burning Glass CEO Matthew Sigelman said. “That’s particularly true for the working learners who are now the norm on college campuses. Career Insight™ is a major step in making sure that colleges and universities can speak their language from the very first.”

Beginning an educational program with a firm, realistic career goal can help students persist in their studies. Currently only 29% of students in two-year colleges and 59% of those in four-year institutions complete their degrees within six years.

Career Insight™ enables prospective students to identify programs of study which can help them land the careers they want:

  • Career Insight™ describes labor market opportunities associated with programs of study to prospective students. The recommendation engine also matches prospective students to programs based on specific career interests.
  • The application provides insights to enrollment, advising, and marketing teams into what motivates prospective students, analysis that will guide the institution in improving program offerings and boosting conversion.
  • Enrollment advisors can also walk students through different career and program scenarios in real time.

Career Insight™ is driven by the Burning Glass database of a billion job postings and career histories, collected from more than 40,000 online sources daily. The database, powered by a proprietary analytic taxonomy, provides insight into what employers need much faster and in more detail than any other sources.

Career Insight™ is powered by the same rich dataset Burning Glass delivers to hundreds of leading corporate and education customers – from Microsoft and Accenture to Harvard University and Coursera.

More information is available at http://burning-glass.com/career-insight.

 


 

 

The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner! Make plans to attend this conference -- you won't regret it!

The 4th Next Generation Learning Spaces event is right around the corner!

Take a look at the latest agenda.

Here is just a fraction of what you can expect:

  • Explore what’s next in learning spaces + design thinking that breaks the barriers of tradition and inspire innovation
  • Retool your learning environments with virtual & augmented reality
  • Connect your learning space design with strategic planning initiatives
  • Discover next generation learning solutions during our networking breaks
  • Overcome institutional and financial roadblocks to building active learning spaces
  • Redesign spaces with limited budgets

 


From DSC:
I am honored to be serving on the Advisory Council for this conference with a great group of people. Missing — at least from my perspective — from the image below is Kristen Tadrous, Senior Program Director with the Corporate Learning Network. Kristen has done a great job these last few years planning and running this conference.

 

The Advisory Board for the 2018 Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference

NOTE:
The above graphic reflects a change for me. I am still an Adjunct Faculty Member
at Calvin College, but I am no longer a Senior Instructional Designer there.

 

This national conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA on February 26-28, 2018. It is designed to help institutions of higher education develop highly-innovative cultures — something that’s needed in many institutions of traditional higher education right now.

I have attended the first 3 conferences and I moderated a panel at last year’s conference out in San Diego. I just want to say that this is a great conference and I encourage you to bring a group of people to it from your organization! I say a group of people because a group of 5 of us (from a variety of departments) went one year and the result of attending the NGLS Conference was a brand new Sandbox Classroom — an active-learning based, highly-collaborative learning space where faculty members can experiment with new pedagogies as well as with new technologies. The conference helped us discuss things as a diverse group, think out loud, come up with some innovative ideas, and then build the momentum to move forward with some of those key ideas.

If you haven’t already attended this conference, I highly recommend that you check it out.

 


 

 

 

Top 10 IT Issues, 2018: The Remaking of Higher Education – from er.educause.edu by Susan Grajek and the 2017–2018 Educause IT Issues Panel

2018 Top 10 IT Issues

  1. Information Security: Developing a risk-based security strategy that keeps pace with security threats and challenges
  2. Student Success: Managing the system implementations and integrations that support multiple student success initiatives
  3. Institution-wide IT Strategy: Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as an integral strategic partner of institutional leadership in achieving institutional missions
  4. Data-enabled Institutional Culture: Using BI and analytics to inform the broad conversation and answer big questions
  5. Student-centered Institution: Understanding and advancing technology’s role in defining the student experience on campus (from applicants to alumni)
  6. Higher Education Affordability: Balancing and rightsizing IT priorities and budget to support IT-enabled institutional efficiencies and innovations in the context of institutional funding realities
  7. IT Staffing and Organizational Models: Ensuring adequate staffing capacity and staff retention in the face of retirements, new sourcing models, growing external competition, rising salaries, and the demands of technology initiatives on both IT and non-IT staff
  8. (tie) Data Management and Governance: Implementing effective institutional data governance practices
  9. (tie) Digital Integrations: Ensuring system interoperability, scalability, and extensibility, as well as data integrity, standards, and governance, across multiple applications and platforms
  10. Change Leadership: Helping institutional constituents (including the IT staff) adapt to the increasing pace of technology change

 

 

Also see:

2018 Top 10 IT Issues — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

The Remaking of Higher Education
Higher education’s biggest concerns are converging with technology’s greatest capabilities. Evidence is mounting that digital technology is a major differentiator and a key to productivity and success within higher education. The 2018 Top 10 Issues reveal the broader strategic impact of technology on the entire institution.

IT organizations will be focusing on four areas this year:

  • Institutional adaptiveness
  • IT adaptiveness
  • Improved student outcomes
  • Improved decision-making

IT organizations won’t focus on these areas alone. Leaders from across campus are invested collaborators with IT. When information technology brings strategic value, the solutions and the technologies that power them are less important than the people, processes, and culture—which make all the difference in the 2018 Top 10 IT Issues.

 

 

Also see:

Strategic IT and the 2018 Top 10 IT Issues — from er.educause.edu by John O’Brien
While those of us in campus IT organizations have long considered the topic of technology as a strategic asset, this year—the 20th anniversary of EDUCAUSE—may well mark a far broader realization of information technology as a strategic asset for higher education.

Excerpt:

Still, the landscape and strategic placement of technology has changed. IT advances are constant, not occasional, and technology on campus is ubiquitous and enterprise-critical. Meanwhile, presidents, provosts, and boards — under considerable pressure to improve student success — appreciate that technology offers some of the brightest hopes for moving this hard-to-move needle. For this reason, among others, student success became the foundational focus of the 2017 Top 10 IT Issues. And the 2016 Top 10 IT Issues stressed the degree to which information technology is an institutional differentiator when it comes to not only student success but also affordability, teaching, and research excellence.

It’s one thing, of course, to ask ourselves about the strategic nature of information technology and quite another to find evidence that those outside the IT organization are experiencing this strategic sea change. Yet in recent months we’ve seen exactly that. One example is the American College President Study 2017, from the American Council on Education (ACE). Written by and for college and university presidents, the report advises presidents to attend fully to technology, especially “using analytics functions to make better decisions and leveraging technology to scale out quality, cost-effective best practices.”

 

 

From DSC:
I appreciate the following statement — and have often reflected upon its truth:

While those of us in campus IT organizations have long considered the topic of technology as a strategic asset, this year—the 20th anniversary of EDUCAUSE—may well mark a far broader realization of information technology as a strategic asset for higher education.

 

On a separate note…while obtaining and reviewing data / analytics certainly helps, often that isn’t enough.

Steve Jobs didn’t acquire data or do focus groups before introducing the Macintosh, nor before introducing the iPod, nor before introducing the iPad, nor before introducing the iPhone. But these devices literally changed the world.

Solid vision and innovation are what really count — they bring about the real game-changers.

 

 

 

From DSC:
DC: Will Amazon get into delivering education/degrees? Is is working on a next generation learning platform that could highly disrupt the world of higher education? Hmmm…time will tell.

But Amazon has a way of getting into entirely new industries. From its roots as an online bookseller, it has branched off into numerous other arenas. It has the infrastructure, talent, and the deep pockets to bring about the next generation learning platform that I’ve been tracking for years. It is only one of a handful of companies that could pull this type of endeavor off.

And now, we see articles like these:


Amazon Snags a Higher Ed Superstar — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman
Candace Thille, a pioneer in the science of learning, takes a leave from Stanford to help the ambitious retailer better train its workers, with implications that could extend far beyond the company.

Excerpt:

A major force in the higher education technology and learning space has quietly begun working with a major corporate force in — well, in almost everything else.

Candace Thille, a pioneer in learning science and open educational delivery, has taken a leave of absence from Stanford University for a position at Amazon, the massive (and getting bigger by the day) retailer.

Thille’s title, as confirmed by an Amazon spokeswoman: director of learning science and engineering. In that capacity, the spokeswoman said, Thille will work “with our Global Learning Development Team to scale and innovate workplace learning at Amazon.”

No further details were forthcoming, and Thille herself said she was “taking time away” from Stanford to work on a project she was “not really at liberty to discuss.”

 

Amazon is quietly becoming its own university — from qz.com by Amy Wang

Excerpt:

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon empire—which recently dabbled in home security, opened artificial intelligence-powered grocery stores, and started planning a second headquarters (and manufactured a vicious national competition out of it)—has not been idle in 2018.

The e-commerce/retail/food/books/cloud-computing/etc company made another move this week that, while nowhere near as flashy as the above efforts, tells of curious things to come. Amazon has hired Candace Thille, a leader in learning science, cognitive science, and open education at Stanford University, to be “director of learning science and engineering.” A spokesperson told Inside Higher Ed that Thille will work “with our Global Learning Development Team to scale and innovate workplace learning at Amazon”; Thille herself said she is “not really at liberty to discuss” her new project.

What could Amazon want with a higher education expert? The company already has footholds in the learning market, running several educational resource platforms. But Thille is famous specifically for her data-driven work, conducted at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University, on nontraditional ways of learning, teaching, and training—all of which are perfect, perhaps even necessary, for the education of employees.

 


From DSC:
It could just be that Amazon is simply building its own corporate university and will stay focused on developing its own employees and its own corporate learning platform/offerings — and/or perhaps license their new platform to other corporations.

But from my perspective, Amazon continues to work on pieces of a powerful puzzle, one that could eventually involve providing learning experiences to lifelong learners:

  • Personal assistants
  • Voice recognition / Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • The development of “skills” at an incredible pace
  • Personalized recommendation engines
  • Cloud computing and more

If Alexa were to get integrated into a AI-based platform for personalized learning — one that features up-to-date recommendation engines that can identify and personalize/point out the relevant critical needs in the workplace for learners — better look out higher ed! Better look out if such a platform could interactively deliver (and assess) the bulk of the content that essentially does the heavy initial lifting of someone learning about a particular topic.

Amazon will be able to deliver a cloud-based platform, with cloud-based learner profiles and blockchain-based technologies, at a greatly reduced cost. Think about it. No physical footprints to build and maintain, no lawns to mow, no heating bills to pay, no coaches making $X million a year, etc.  AI-driven recommendations for digital playlists. Links to the most in demand jobs — accompanied by job descriptions, required skills & qualifications, and courses/modules to take in order to master those jobs.

Such a solution would still need professors, instructional designers, multimedia specialists, copyright experts, etc., but they’ll be able to deliver up-to-date content at greatly reduced costs. That’s my bet. And that’s why I now call this potential development The New Amazon.com of Higher Education.

[Microsoft — with their purchase of Linked In (who had previously
purchased Lynda.com) — is
another such potential contender.]

 

 

 

Why Don’t Educators in Higher Ed Take Education Classes? — from insidehighered.com by Jillian Joyce
If we’re in higher education to educate, Jillian Joyce asks, what keeps college teachers from learning more about teaching?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If we’re in higher education to educate, what keeps college teachers from learning more about teaching? You’re busy. You’ve been doing this a long time. It’s really up to the students to learn the material. You’re already an excellent lecturer. Anyone can teach; it’s not that complicated. While those phrases begin to scratch the surface, I propose we take a step back to examine the internal narratives and pervading ideologies that surround our ideas about teaching at the university.

Three Myths
In her 2003 text Practice Makes Practice, Deborah P. Britzman, a professor at York University in Toronto, describes three myths that summon teachers to the field of education: 1) everything depends upon the teacher, 2) the teacher is the expert and 3) teachers are self-made. While Britzman’s audience is largely teachers at the primary and secondary levels, these myths abound in higher education, as well.

Similarly, professors at a university are typically required to wear two hats: one hat as a researcher and another as a teacher. But only the researcher hat is fashionable. It brings in money for the university, it looks good on a curriculum vitae and it promotes the climb up the academic latter.

In contrast, the teacher hat is slumpy. It’s necessary but not pretty. It’s the kind of hat you wear grocery shopping hoping no one will recognize you. The fancy hat promotes the educator as the expert, while the slumpy hat is seen as “just” teaching. This distinction fosters the idea that teaching is easy and requires little effort. The uncomfortable adage “those who can’t do, teach” suggests that research is “doing,” while teaching is a second-rate activity.

 


From DSC:
Teaching effectively is a very complex, deep, and difficult task to do well. Those who say it’s easy have likely never tried doing it themselves. Also, in higher education, doing research is one thing, but teaching well is a whole different set of (often undervalued) skills.

My alma mater (Northwestern University) prides itself on faculty who are doing leading edge research. According to this page, there was $676.5 million in annual sponsored research back in 2016-2017. (Brief insert from DSC: For those who say higher ed isn’t a business, how would you respond to this kind of thing? Or this?*) I remember taking courses from researchers like these and many of them shouldn’t have been teaching at all — they weren’t nearly worth the cost of tuition. I also remember taking courses from graduate students who likely hadn’t had any coursework on how to teach either.

The tragedy here is that it’s the students who are paying increasingly huge tuition bills to attend Northwestern and other such universities and colleges. This is not right. Let’s lift up the craft of teaching and let those who do research, research. Researchers can relay the highlights of their research to those who have taken the time to work on their teaching-related skills. 

My vote? If you don’t care about your teaching, you shouldn’t be teaching at all.

As a relevant side question here: What would you say to your doctor if they didn’t keep learning and growing in their skillset?!? How would you feel about that?

If you are teaching, you should have taken some coursework in how to teach — and how people learn — and you should be required to attend several professional development related events: Every. Single. Year.

 


 

DSC: Higher education not a business you say? Are you sure about that!?
The University of Alabama is paying its football coach, Nick Saban, more than $11 million this season, which puts him ahead of every coach in the professional National Football League. Clemson University coach Dabo Sweeney will earn $8.5 million, and the University of Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh $7 million, not including money from endorsements.

 


 

 

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