From DSC:
For those who work within higher education, my guess is that this phenomenon/message comes as no surprise. But for those outside of higher ed, can you blame young people — and their families — for giving up on a path because it appears too expensive? 


Perceptions of Affordability — from insidehighered.com by Elizabeth Redden
High school juniors who believe they can’t afford higher education are about 20 percentage points less likely to attend college within the first three years after high school than peers who don’t think affordability is a barrier.

 

Inside Higher Ed Acquired by Times Higher Education — from insidehighered.com by Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman
Our editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman explain how this combination of publishing companies will improve global coverage of postsecondary education and better serve the higher ed community.

Excerpt:

As journalists, we often say that we want to report the news, not be the news. We are making an exception [on 1/10/22] to announce that Inside Higher Ed has been acquired by Times Higher Education (THE), the world’s leading provider of higher education news, data and insights.

 

Fall’s Final Enrollment Count Is In. Colleges Lost More Than 475,000 Students. — from chronicle.com by Audrey Williams June

Excerpt:

New data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center provides a somber final tally of total college enrollment in the fall of 2021: It dropped 2.7 percent from a year earlier, a decline of 476,100 students.

Undergraduate enrollment, which was down at every type of institution, slipped by 3.1 percent — or 465,318 students — from the fall of 2020. The total decline among undergraduates since the fall of 2019 — just before the pandemic hit — was more than a million students, the center said.

Addendum on 1/19/22:

 

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022 [Schaffhauser]

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022

14 Predictions for Higher Education in 2022 — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Ask people working in higher education what they expect will happen in the new year, and the outlook is filled with visions that build on what we’ve been experiencing on college and university campuses for the last two years: a major focus on learning formats; continued exploitation of new technology; and the use of new digital models that move users “beyond Zoom.” Here we present the collective predictions of 14 IT leaders, instructional folks and a student about what they anticipate seeing in 2022. As one put it, “Let’s go, 2022! We have work to do!”

From DSC:
I’d like to thank Dian Schaffhauser, Rhea Kelly, and Mary Grush for letting me contribute some thoughts to the various conversations that Campus Technology Magazine hosts and/or initiates. I inserted some reflections into the above article and I hope that you’ll take a moment to read my and others’ thoughts out there.

 

Repurposed real estate emerges as unconventional source of savings, revenue for colleges and universities — from highereddive.com

Excerpt:

As market conditions evolve, higher ed leaders are striving to build a profitable future amidst chronic funding obstacles. Between roadblocks like disruptive online competition, evolving demographics, crippling student debt and dwindling enrollment, traditional operating models cannot produce enough gains to satisfy market demands, argues KPMG.

It’s one reason why many institutions are exploring inventive ways to free up and generate funds without hampering student and staff experiences. As higher ed leaders look to diversify funding sources, repurposed real estate is emerging as a significant bottom-line booster.

 

Web 3.0 vs Metaverse: What’s the difference? — from homo-digitalis.net by Fabian Schmidt

Excerpt:

So what is Web 3.0?

On Twitter, a user asked if someone could explain the term in baby talk. I thought one answer was good:

    • Web 1.0 = Read
    • Web 2.0 = Read/Write
    • Web 3.0 = Read/Write/Own

This is a sufficient simplification to gain an initial understanding. Yet a bit more information is still important.

Let’s get one thing straight right away. As with all things in the making, there is not yet a clear-cut definition of Web 3.0. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the classic web, thinks of the semantic web as the next big step.

Since 2020/2021, there is another idea of Web3, and it is inspired by a new form of technology: Blockchains. At its core is a new wave of decentralization.

Besides decentralization, other key topics related to Web 3.0 include Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO), Non-fungible-tokens (NFT), and Decentralized Finance (DeFi).

The metaverse is a digital world that is meant to feel as real as possible and can represent all concerns of human existence. From leisure to work.

Fabian Schmidt, Homo Digitalis, 2021


Bill Gates: Most Work Meetings Will Happen In The Metaverse In 3 Years — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt:

“Within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids—which I call the Hollywood Squares model, although I know that probably dates me—to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars,” said Gates in the post. “Both Facebook and Microsoft recently unveiled their visions for this, which gave most people their first view of what it will look like”.


Adidas to enter the metaverse with first NFT products — from dezeen.com by Rima Sabina Aouf

Excerpt:

Adidas has announced its next collection will be a mix of digital and physical items, and will be sold as NFTs produced with collaborators such as Bored Ape Yacht Club.

Titled Into the Metaverse, the collection will comprise virtual wearables that buyers can use in online platforms, but also the physical clothing to match.

It is Adidas’ first collection of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – essentially, digital collectibles with proven authenticity. NFTs act as a blockchain-based certificate of ownership, allowing pieces to be authenticated, bought and collected.


How Coinbase thinks about the Metaverse — from blog.coinbase.com by Brian Armstrong & Alex Reeve

Excerpt:

Primitive Metaverse platforms are selling virtual land for millions of dollars. Billions more are being invested in Metaverse startups. And Mark Zuckerberg recently renamed his entire company to reflect a focus on building the Metaverse.

Recently, our team put together an internal presentation about the Metaverse, who’s working on it, and how crypto will help make it real. I thought the presentation was well done, so I’m sharing most of the slides here.

Like Matt[hew Ball], we define the Metaverse as:

The future of the internet: A massively-scaled, persistent, interactive, and interoperable real-time platform comprised of interconnected virtual worlds where people can socialize, work, transact, play, and create.

The Metaverse is the distant evolution of Web3. In its most complete form, it will be a series of decentralized, interconnected virtual worlds with a fully functioning economy where people can do just about anything they can do in the physical world.

Who is building the Metaverse today?

 

3 major trends affecting ed tech companies — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
We reviewed what executives said during their latest earnings calls to better understand patterns in the growing sector.

Excerpts:

Earlier on the call, he said Coursera’s entry-level certificates — which are developed by the likes of Facebook, Google, IBM, Intuit and Salesforce — attracted more than 2 million student enrollments since 2018.

“New entrants to the sector, such as corporations and online education companies, will offer genuine competition to traditional colleges, especially as pricing becomes more of a focus,” analysts wrote in the report. 

Several ed tech companies are seeing returns from efforts to work with companies to train their employees.

Officials at Udemy, a major MOOC platform that went public in October, said during a call with analysts in early December that their work with companies now accounts for 39% of their revenue – up from 23% a year ago.

 

A handful of colleges are finally providing training in a way consumers want it: fast — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
‘Rapid reskilling’ seeks to speed up the frustratingly slow pace of switching careers

Excerpts:

Such so-called rapid reskilling remains surprisingly rare in public and nonprofit higher education, which generally has been slow to respond to the need for accelerated training among the nation’s many career-switchers.

While conventional education institutions have long offered what they call short-term training, what they often mean by that is “shorter than it takes to get a degree.” Such programs still typically follow academic semesters that start only in the fall or spring and meet for a few hours a week, stretching on for months or years.

“We have really picked up the pace,” said Urban. “That’s something that is very, very attractive to career-switchers. People want it faster and they want it cheaper and they want it more conveniently. And that’s not a mode of operation in which traditional colleges and universities have thrived.”

 

 

Uncertainty lurks as college leaders eye end of federal relief funding — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

Excerpt:

  • Presidents described their colleges as resilient or “struggling, but persevering” after the pandemic’s first year. They needed to frequently adapt or alter plans in the face of lost revenue, new demands for online operations, changing student needs and frequently revised government requirements. “I got tired of hearing the word pivot, but we had to do a lot of pivoting,” the president of a regional public four-year college said.
 

450+ University Partnerships in the first three quarters of 2021 — from holoniq.com
Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Provosts and Deans around the world are increasingly opting for partnerships to accelerate progress towards their institutional objectives.

Excerpts:

International Education is ramping back up, potentially bigger than ever. Bootcamps are booming and the OPM model is evolving further and expanding globally. Behind this growth are University administrators with less funding, more competition and a ‘mid’ COVID student cohort who demand world class flexible learning with competitive job prospects. Partnerships are increasingly part of the strategic solution.

 

At the current rate of partnership growth, 2021 will see approximately 600 University Partnerships established, around 200 more partnerships than was established in 2020 and double pre-pandemic levels of 300+ in 2019.

 

Also see:

 

 

One Year Later . . . and Counting: Reflections on Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning — from er.educause.edu by Stephanie Moore, Torrey Trust, Barb Lockee, Aaron Bond and Charles Hodges

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Colleges with significant previous investments in online education, and ones that have worked to embed that experience into the campus’s mainstream, have seen the biggest jumps in enrollment.” In asking the question “When should a college invest heavily in online education?,” Hill concluded: “It seems increasingly clear that the answer is: at least a decade ago.” A view from “one year later” must include consideration of what college and university leaders chose to do years ago, when the decisions that created this reinforcing feedback loop were made.

Then there are the colleges and universities that resisted online learning for years or invested only in very isolated instances. These institutions were less prepared and suffered steeper enrollment and budget declines than their counterparts.

Aesop’s fable “The Oak and the Reeds” offers us ancient wisdom. In the story, the Oak mocks the Reeds that bend in the breezes. But when hit by a hurricane, the Reeds flex with the wind and survive while the Oak is beaten and broken. Some colleges and universities were more like the Oak, stubbornly resisting and finding that they could not resist the hurricane that was the pandemic. Other institutions proved more like the Reeds and were more agile in the winds, allowing flexibility and survival during a time of crisis.

 

 

Why Aren’t Professors Taught to Teach? — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Professors are experts in their subject matters but many have limited training in actually teaching their students.

Excerpt:

“A lot of faculty are just modeling their instruction after the instruction they’ve received as an undergraduate or graduate student,” says Tanya Joosten, senior scientist and director of digital learning at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the lead of the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements.

As a perpetually short-on-time adjunct professor, I understand those who worry about mandatory training and required course reviews, but Pelletier stresses that she’s advocating for a more organic shift and that a top-down approach isn’t best. “That’s not as collaborative and generative as really just embracing that we have these two different kinds of experts, one type of expert is an expert in their subject, and the other expert is an expert in teaching and learning,” she says. More attention is needed to meld these two kinds of expertise. 

From DSC:
It’s not just that colleges and universities are big business — if you have any remaining doubts about that perspective, take a moment to look at this new, interactive database to see what I mean. But it’s also that this type of business often rewards research, not teaching. And yet the students over the last several decades have continued to pay ever-increasing prices for skilled researchers, instead of increasingly skilled teachers. 

Healthcare and higher education face similar challenges and transformations -- costs continue to soar

Image from Inside Higher Ed

 

Would people put up with this with other types of purchases? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want to…would you?  Would we like to pay for something that we aren’t getting — like paying for all the extra options on a new car, but not getting them?

What goes around, comes around.
But by allowing this to have occurred, a backlash against the value of higher education has been building for years now. In many learners’ minds, they are questioning whether it’s worth taking on (potentially) decades’ worth of debt. At a minimum, the higher the price of obtaining degrees and/or other credentials becomes, the less Return on Investment (ROI) is realized by the learners (i.e., the purchasers of these goods and services). So while getting a degree is often still worth it, the ROI is going down.
And this doesn’t address how relevant/up-to-date the educations are that these learners are receiving, which the employers out there will take issue with.

From an Instructional Designer’s perspective, it isn’t just time that’s the issue here. There continues to exist a tiered hierarchy within higher education. Faculty see themselves as more knowledgeable because they are teaching and because they are the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). But they are not expert teachers. Many full-time faculty members don’t listen to people who are knowledgeable in the learning science world, and they often don’t value that expertise. (This can be true of administrators as well.) But when a fellow faculty member (i.e., their “true peer” from their perspective) suggests the same idea that Instructional Designers have been recommending for years, they suddenly open their eyes and ears to see and hear this seemingly new, wonderful approach.

Some possible scenarios
Thus, a wave has been building against traditional institutions of higher education — readers of this blog will have picked up on this years ago. Once alternatives significantly hit the radar — ones that get the learners solid, good-paying jobs — there could be a mass exodus out of what we think of as traditional higher education. At least that’s one potential scenario.

For example, if a next-generation learning platform comes along that offers teams and individuals the ability to deliver lifelong learning at 50% or more off the price of an average degree, then be on the lookout for massive change. If professors and/or teams of specialists — those who are skilled in instructional design and teaching —  can go directly to their learners — it could be an interesting world indeed. (Outschool is like this, by the way.) In that scenario, below are two potential methods of providing what accreditation agencies used to provide:

  • Obtaining the skills and competencies being requested from the workplace to “pass the tests” (whatever those assessments turn out to be)
  • Voting a course up or down (i.e., providing crowd-sourced rating systems)

Other possible scenarios
Another scenario is that traditional institutions of higher education really kick their innovation efforts into high gear. They reward teaching. They develop less expensive methods of obtaining degrees. They truly begin delivering more cost-effective means of obtaining lifelong learning and development “channels” for educating people.

And there are other possible scenarios, some of which I could think of and many I would likely miss. But to even ask the solid and highly-relevant question as plainly stated in the article above — Why Aren’t Professors Taught to Teach? — that is something that must be dealt with. Those organizations that use a team-based approach are likely to be able to better answer and address that question.

 

2022 Top 10 IT Issues -- from Educause

2022 Top 10 IT Issues

 

From DSC:
Time will tell which institutions have the prerequisite culture of innovation that will help reinvent themselves, stay relevant, and survive. 

And for people (who have worked in higher education for years) who don’t like to see learners as customers…well…when those learners are often paying $100,000-$250,000 or more for a four-year degree, those folks don’t have much say or credibility any longer. The price increases that they never stepped in to stop from occurring have forever changed the learning ecosystems within higher education. The idea of supporting  the perspective that says:

Well, we’re proud (and content) that our institution will have the lowest price increase in X (where X is a city, state,  or geographic region)
or
We’re proud that our institution will have the lowest price increase within our group of similar/comparative institutions.

…well, that type of perspective hasn’t cut it for years now. But the danger of that status quo perspective is only becoming apparent to many now that one’s very survival is at stake.


Addendum/also see:


 

 

UMass Goes Big Online, Launching ‘UMass Global’ — from wgbh.org by Kirk Carapezza; with thanks to Michael Horn for this resource

Excerpt:

The University of Massachusetts system is launching “UMass Global” — a new online college focused solely on adult learners — whose long-term, strategic goals President Marty Meehan listed two years ago in his annual address.

“Addressing the workforce skills gap. Meeting employer demand. Improving economic mobility for Massachusetts residents. And ensuring that the University of Massachusetts continues to thrive for generations to come,” Meehan said.

 

Can colleges compete with companies like Coursera? — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Arthur Levine discusses how trends like personalized education are unfolding, what’s driving them, and what can go right or wrong for colleges.

Excerpt:

They say colleges will see their control over the market slip while consumers increase their power. New content producers like companies and museums are entering the postsecondary market. Students will often prioritize personalized education and low prices. Measuring learning by time in seats will transition to outcome-based education. Degrees won’t necessarily be the dominant form of credential anymore as students turn to “just-in-time education” that quickly teaches them the skills for microcredentials they need for the labor market.

For higher education to be successful, you have to have its feet in two worlds. One world is the library, and that’s human heritage. And the other is the street. That’s the real world, what’s happening now. It’s jobs, it’s the workplace.

What happens when we change quickly is we continue as institutions to keep our hold on the library, but we lose traction in the street.

Institutions have to reestablish their traction. They have to prepare students for careers. They have to prepare students for the world…

From DSC:
I also like the part where is says, “So you’ve got to ask yourself, what are they offering that would draw people there? One thing they are offering is 24/7. Another thing that they’re offering is unbundled. Another thing they’re offering is low cost, and that’s very appealing.”

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian