The State of AI in Higher Education — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Both industry and higher ed experts see opportunities and risk, hype and reality with AI for teaching and learning.

Excerpts:

Kurt VanLehn, the chair for effective education in STEM in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, knows how challenging it can be people to come up with examples of effective AI in education. Why? “Because learning is complicated.”

Nuno Fernandes, president and CEO of Ilumno, an ed tech company in Latin America, isn’t ready to count adaptive learning out yet, if only because adaptivity has worked in other industries, such as social platforms like Netflix and Amazon, to identify what could work best for the user, based on previous activities and preferred formats of curriculum.

As Ilumno’s Fernandes asserted, AI won’t “substitute for faculty in any of our lifetimes. What it will do is give us tools to work better and to complement what is being done by humans.”

From DSC:
The article is a very balanced one. On one hand, it urges caution and points out that learning is messy and complex. On the other hand, it points out some beneficial applications of AI that already exist in language learning and in matching alumni with students for mentorship-related reasons.

From my perspective, I think AI-based systems will be used to help us scan job descriptions to see what the marketplace needs and is calling for. Such a system would be a major step forward in at least pointing out the existing hiring trends, needed skillsets, job openings, and more — and to do so in REAL-TIME!

Colleges, universities, and alternatives to traditional higher education could use this information to be far more responsive to the needs of the workplace. Then, such systems could match what the workplace needs with courses, microlearning-based feeds, apprenticeships, and other sources of learning that would help people learn those in-demand skills.

That in and of itself is HUGE. Again, HUGE. Given the need for people to reinvent themselves — and to do so quickly and affordably — that is incredibly beneficial.

Also, I do think there will be cloud-based learner profiles…data that each of us control and say who has access to it. Credentials will be stored there, for example. AI-based systems can scan such profiles and our desired career goals and suggest possible matches.

We can change our career goals. We don’t have to be locked into a particular track or tracks. We can reinvent ourselves. In fact, many of us will have to.

 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 
 

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment — as of October 15, 2020 and as referenced late last week by The Chronicle of Higher Education

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment

From DSC:
The window of opportunity for traditional institutions of higher education to reinvent themselves, become cheaper, and offer more value is beginning to close. The window is still there…but it’s beginning to close.

 

The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. — from hbr-org.cdn.ampproject.org by Sean Gallagher and Jason Palmer; with thanks to Mike Mathews for his posting on LinkedIn re: this item

Excerpt:

A number of elite institutions — such as Princeton University, Williams College, Spelman College, and American University — have substantially discounted tuition for their fully online experience in an historically unprecedented fashion, highlighting pricing pressures and opening up Pandora’s box. This comes after a decade of growth in postsecondary alternatives, including “massively open online courses” (MOOCs), industry-driven certification programs, and coding bootcamps.

This moment is likely to be remembered as a critical turning point between the “time before,” when analog on-campus degree-focused learning was the default, to the “time after,” when digital, online, career-focused learning became the fulcrum of competition between institutions.

 

Some resources mentioned by Goldie Blumenstyk out at “The Edge” — in her posting entitled “How to Keep Old Debts From Deterring Returning Students

  • Institute for College Access & Success (Ticas) has just released its annual report on what college graduates owe in student debt
    Excerpt:
    Student Debt and the Class of 2019 is TICAS’ fifteenth annual report on the student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year colleges, documenting changes and variation in student debt across states and colleges. Unless otherwise noted, the figures in this report are only for public and private nonprofit colleges because virtually no for-profit colleges report what their graduates owe.Nationally, more than six in ten (62%) college seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2019 had student loan debt, down from the Class of 2018 (65%). Borrowers from the Class of 2019 owed an average of $28,950, a 0.9 percent decline from the average of $29,200 in 2018, continuing a trend of relatively flat student debt levels in recent years.

The Institute for College Access & Success (Ticas) has just released its annual report on what college graduates owe in student debt. 

 

Solving Stranded Credits: Assessing the Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding on Students, States, and Institutions — from sr.ithaka.org by Julia Karon, James Dean Ward, Catharine Bond Hill, & Martin Kurzweil

Excerpt:

Attention to the burden of U.S. educational debt, now at $1.7 trillion, has grown in recent years.[1] For too many former postsecondary students—especially Black students—debt they took on to improve their lives and career prospects has instead become a financial hindrance, delaying or undermining their efforts to buy homes, build savings, or provide for their families.[2] The debt burden is especially severe for those who never completed their postsecondary program and therefore did not receive the credentials that might have boosted their careers and incomes enough to justify taking on the debt.

Also see:

  • The pandemic has pushed hundreds of thousands of workers out of higher education — from chronicle.com by Dan Bauman
    Excerpt:
    The work-force that serves much of higher education in America has shrunk by at least 7 percent since Covid-19 arrived on American shores — a staggering, unprecedented contraction, according to federal data. And like the national economic downturn that is running parallel to this unprecedented viral outbreak, much also remains uncertain about what a “recovery” will actually look like for higher education.
 
 

DC: You want to talk about learning ecosystems?!!? Check out the scopes included in this landscape from HolonIQ!

You want to talk about learning ecosystems?!!? Check this landscape out from HolonIQ!

Also see:

Education in 2030 -- a $10T market -- from HolonIQ.com

From DSC:
If this isn’t mind-blowing, I don’t know what is! Some serious morphing lies ahead of us!

 

From DSC:
For those folks looking for work, the article below relays some solid advice/tips to get you past the Applicant Tracking Systems out there. The last time I was searching for a position, I had no idea how prevalent these systems are out there. To quote from the article:

Because of the sheer volume, 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to manage each step of the hiring process. 

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while, this will blow you away. To get your resume in front of an actual human being is a major accomplishment.

5 secrets to get you past the résumé-reading robots — from fastcompany.com by
Before your résumé gets to a recruiter, it’s read by an AI-driven Applicant Tracking System. A human resources exec advises how you can beat the robot.

 


From DSC:
…and by the way, this is very much relevant for faculty members and staff members out there. Consider this quote from Debora Spar, senior associate dean of Harvard Business School Online:

Many colleges and universities will suffer extreme financial stress; some – up to 345 colleges, according to one recent estimate – could be forced to close. Faculty are likely to face layoffs unprecedented in the history of U.S. higher education.


 

 

From DSC:
The perfect storm continues to build against traditional institutions of higher education. The backlash continues to build strength. And there WILL BE change — there’s no choice now. Alternatives to these traditional institutions of higher education continue to appear on the scene.

Over the last several decades, traditional institutions of higher education had the chance to step in and do something. They didn’t take nearly enough action. As in other industries, these days of the Coronavirus just hasten the changes that were already afoot. 

Also see:

  • Alternative Credentials on the Rise — from insidehighered.com by Paul Fain, with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
    Interest is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Will they become viable alternative pathways to well-paying jobs?
 

Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development [Donald Clark]

So what is the book about? — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark; which discusses his book entitled, Artificial Intelligence for Learning: How to use AI to Support Employee Development

Excerpt:

AI changes everything. It changes how we work, shop, travel, entertain ourselves, socialize, deal with finance and healthcare. When online, AI mediates almost everything – Google, Google Scholar, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Amazon, Netflix. It would be bizarre to imagine that AI will have no role to play in learning – it already has.

Both informally and formally, AI is now embedded in many of the tools real learners use for online learning – we search for knowledge using AI (Google, Google Scholar), we search for practical knowledge using AI (YouTube), Duolingo for languages, and CPD is becoming common on social media, almost all mediated by AI. It is everywhere, just largely invisible. This book is partly about the role of AI in informal learning but it is largely about its existing and potential role in formal learning – in schools, Universities and the workplace. AI changes the world, so it changes why we learn, what we learn and how we learn.

Also see:

  • Abandon lectures: increase attendance, attitudes and attainment — from donaldclarkplanb.blogspot.com by Donald Clark
    Excerpt:
    The groups were taught a module in a physics course, in three one hour sessions in one week. In short; attendance increased, measured attitudes were better (students enjoyed the experience (90%) and thought that the whole course would be better if taught this way (77%)). More importantly students in the experimental group outperformed the control group, doing more than twice as well in assessment than the control group.
 

Moody’s: Coronavirus is accelerating shift to online education — from educationdive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Dive Brief:

  • The pandemic will hasten a transformation of higher education business models, according to a new Moody’s Investors Service report.
  • The crisis will accelerate many colleges’ plans to grow their online footprints, though not all schools have the resources to invest in digital infrastructure, the report notes. They will also likely expand non-degree and certificate programs.
  • Analysts predict that once the pandemic subsides, some colleges will struggle if they haven’t established a strong online presence.

“Some universities previously resistant to change will have to take more expansive steps to adapt to this transformation,” Pranav Sharma, assistant vice president at Moody’s, said in a statement. “Not all universities, however, have the resources or culture to move quickly and the coronavirus will expedite existential threats for some.”

Also see:

Active Learning while Physically Distant — from blogs.acu.edu

Excerpt:

  • Use a Google Form as an entrance or exit ticket. Upon entering class, a quick google form can engage students with a couple of quick questions. A google form as an exit ticket can provide good insight into student learning that day.
 

The Great Online Migration and Curricular Materials Product-Market Fit — from eliterate.us by Michael Feldstein

Excerpts:

Third, COVID-19 will accelerate the need of colleges and universities to find ways of continuing to serve their graduates for 20 or 40 years rather than for two or four. Quite simply, they will need revenue at a time when the pace and breadth of reskilling needs in the workplace is accelerating. These students will need online or blended educational experience, which will mean that more instructors will be called upon to teach using new modalities.

Major changes in the market
This shift online will drastically shift approaches to curricular materials at both the individual instructor and the institutional levels.

Meanwhile, institutions will face two pedagogy-related challenges. First, they will have to work very hard to retain students who are under increased financial stress and may struggle in an online environment more than they would in a residential program. Since the colleges will also be under financial stress, they will need to retain every student possible. They will no longer have the luxury of simply letting faculty teach however they like and accepting that some of them are not good at helping their students to succeed.

 

 

The Fed’s Evolution Is Coming to a Computer Screen Near You — from nytimes.com by Jeanna Smialek
The 2020 version of the Federal Reserve’s loftiest annual meeting will be webcast this week, allowing the public to tune in for the first time. It could be the stage for an important policy shift.

Jerome Powell at the Fed

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

On Thursday, Chair Jerome H. Powell will have a chance to update America on the central bank’s soon-to-conclude framework review, in which it has revisited its policy tools for good and bad times, in a speech at the Kansas City Fed’s annual conference. The storied gathering of elite economists has been held behind closed doors in Jackson Hole, Wyo., since 1982. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be held remotely and streamed on the Kansas City Fed’s YouTube page this year, allowing the public to tune in for the first time ever.

 

 

From DSC:
May this be the start of something new!!! How cool/rewarding would it have been for our economics-related courses to be able to tap into this from a remote distance…then discuss (and track) things afterward!


Addendum:

 

Alternative Credentials, Scaled Degrees, and the New Higher Ed Matthew Effect — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
The potential impact of elite-branded affordable online certificates and degrees on regionally-branded tuition-dependent colleges and universities.

Excerpt:

I pulled those quotes from the 8/10/20 IHE article At Home, Workers Seek Alternative Credentials. Given the crazy times, I’m not sure if that article is getting the attention across higher ed that it deserves. Everyone is entirely focused on the near-term challenges of academic continuity during the pandemic. And that is the right place to be focusing. You can’t plan for the long-term when the short-term is so unstable.

But today, I’m going to ask you to do just that. If you can, step back from thinking about COVID-19 and what is happening to your school in the fall, and give some thought to the medium-to-long-term impact of the rise of alternative credentials and scaled degrees to your institution.

First, let me ask you a question. How does your school balance its books? Where does the money come from?

 

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