The incredible shrinking future of college — from vox.com by Kevin Carey

Excerpt:

The future looks very different in some parts of the country than in others, and will also vary among national four-year universities, regional universities like Ship, and community colleges. Grawe projects that, despite the overall demographic decline, demand for national four-year universities on the West Coast will increase by more than 7.5 percent between now and the mid-2030s. But in states like New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Louisiana, it will decline by 15 percent or more.

Higher ed’s eight-decade run of unbroken good fortune may be about to end.

Demand for regional four-year universities, per Grawe, will drop by at least 7.5 percent across New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Southern states other than Florida and Texas, with smaller declines in the Great Plains. Community colleges will be hit hard in most places other than Florida, which has a robust two-year system with a large Latino population.

The next generation of higher education leaders will take scarcity as a given and “return on investment” as both sales pitch and state of mind.

The decline of American higher education — from youtube.com by Bryan Alexander and Kevin Carey

 

Most Colleges Omit or Understate Net Costs in Financial-Aid Offers, Federal Watchdog Finds — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

Excerpt:

Nine out of 10 colleges either exclude or understate the net cost of attendance in their financial-aid offers to students, according to estimates published in a new report by the Government Accountability Office. The watchdog agency recommended that Congress consider legislation that would require institutions to provide “clear and standard information.”

The lack of clarity makes it hard for students to decide where to enroll and how much to borrow.

The report, published on Monday, paints a troubling picture of an industry that makes it difficult for consumers to understand the bottom line by presenting insufficient if not downright misleading information. Federal law does not require colleges to present financial-aid offers in a clear, consistent way to all students.

Higher ed faces ‘deteriorating’ outlook in 2023, Fitch says — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

Dive Brief (excerpt):

  • U.S. higher education faces a stable but deteriorating credit outlook in 2023, Fitch Ratings said Thursday, taking a more pessimistic view of the sector’s future than it had at the same time last year.
  • Operating performance at colleges and universities will be pressured by enrollment, labor and wage challenges, according to the bond ratings agency. Colleges have been able to raise tuition slightly because of inflation, but additional revenue they generate generally isn’t expected to be enough to offset rising costs.

Merger Watch: Don’t wait too long to find a merger partner. Closure does not benefit anybody. — from highereddive.com by Ricardo Azziz
Leaders fail students, employees and communities when they embrace a strategy of hope in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Excerpt:

While not all institutions can (or should be) saved, most institutional closures reflect the failure of past governing boards to face the fiscal reality of their institution — and to plan accordingly and in a timely manner. Leaders should always consider and, if necessary, pursue potential partnerships, mergers, or consolidations before a school has exhausted its financial and political capital. The inability or unwillingness of many leaders to take such action is reflected in the fact that the number of institutional closures in higher education far outweighs the number of successful mergers.

In fact, the risk of closure can be predicted. In a prior analysis several coauthors and I reported on a number of risk factors predictive of closure, noting that most schools at risk for closure are small and financially fragile, with declining enrollment and limited resources to mount significant online programs. While there are many clear signs that a school is at risk for closure, the major challenge to mounting a response seems to be the unwillingness of institutional leaders to understand, face and act on these signs.

What can colleges learn from degrees awarded in the fast-shrinking journalism field? — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke
Bachelor’s degrees offer solid payoffs, while grad programs post mixed returns, researchers find. But many students don’t go on to work in the field.

Excerpt:

Journalism jobs are hard to find. But it’s nice work when you can get it.

That’s the takeaway from a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce on the payoff of journalism programs. An analysis of federal education and labor data reveals that journalism and communication bachelor’s degrees offer moderate payoff to their graduates, but only 15% of majors end up working in the field early in their careers. Newsroom employment has declined 26% since 2008, and researchers predict it will fall 3% over the next nine years.

 

Higher Ed Is a Land of Dead-End Jobs — from chronicle.com by Kevin R. McClure
Colleges have done a spectacularly bad job of managing talent.

Excerpt:

It’s hard to conclude anything other than that higher education has done a spectacularly bad job of managing talent. Campuses have evolved over centuries and dedicated resources to perfect the art and science of human development, while largely outsourcing or ignoring the professional growth and learning of their employees. Rather than draw upon their own experts to develop and retain workers, institutions let employees burn out, and then replace them.

When I floated the idea of dead-end jobs in higher education on Twitter, I was floored by the volume and breadth of responses.

From DSC:
Having worked half of my career in the corporate world and the other half within higher education, I would agree with the main points of this article. There are very few job pathways within the world of higher education.

Looking at the one pathway that I’ve seen…it surprises me to think that faculty members who have taught in the classroom and/or served as department chairs or deans for X years are then put into the Provost position and expected to know how to do that job. There is little — if any — training on project management, how to think more strategically and with greater vision, change management, managing budgets, and managing/motivating people.

 

A Guide to Solar Jobs for the Previously Incarcerated — from ecowatch.com by Kristina Zagame; with thanks to Elisa Andrew for this resource

Elisa writes:

As you know, employment and education are two of the biggest barriers to successful re-entry for formerly incarcerated people. At the same time, clean energy employers consistently cite a lack of skilled, qualified workers as their primary barrier to market expansion. There’s a huge opportunity for solar to pave a pathway to stable employment for those looking to re-enter the workforce.

That’s why our EcoWatch team created a comprehensive guide on how those who were previously incarcerated can get training in the industry through existing solar programs and apprenticeships:

A Guide to Solar Jobs for the Previously Incarcerated
https://www.ecowatch.com/solar-jobs-for-formerly-incarcerated.html

Excerpt:

Formerly incarcerated people continue to face huge obstacles in finding stable employment. According to a recent report, roughly 60% of people released from federal prison are jobless. Research also suggests that those who did find jobs were given no job security or upward mobility.

Mass incarceration is a crisis in this country much like climate change. While many seem aware of it, not enough action has been taken to rectify the situation. Meanwhile, controversy, stigma and misinformation surrounding the issues spread as fast as West Coast wildfires.

But what if climate action could become the key to helping those formerly incarcerated re-enter the workforce?

 

The Job: Online Certifications #85? DEC 1, 2022 — from getrevue.co by Paul Fain
Growing interest in online training for medical certifications and a private university that’s offering credit for MedCerts and other microcredentials.

Excerpt:

‘Train and Hire’ in Healthcare
The nation’s healthcare system continues to strain amid a severe staffing crisis. And the mounting desperation is prodding some employers to get more creative about how they hire, train, and retain healthcare workers.

MedCerts has seen growing demand for its online certification training, with strong interest in the 28-week medical assistant and 12-week phlebotomy technician programs.

The company has enrolled 55K students and roughly doubled its offerings during the last two years. Its fastest-growing segment is the train-and-hire model, where employers cover the full tuition and training costs for students.

“We are now helping several hundred people every month move from education to high-demand careers, and our pace and scale are still growing,” says Rafael Castaneda, MedCerts’ vice president of workforce development.

Stride Inc., a large online K-12 education provider, acquired MedCerts in 2020 for roughly $80M. The company’s 50+ self-paced career training programs in healthcare, IT, and professional development typically cost $4K in tuition and other fees. Most can be completed in six months, and the company offers on-demand support to all students for a year regardless of their program’s length.

 

How High School Should Change for an Era of AI and Robots — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

In other words, we have for the last century and a half in the knowledge economy been educating our students to become repositories of information—whether they’re lawyers or doctors [or engineers] and so forth. And then somebody pays them a great deal of money to extract some of that knowledge from their heads. What’s happening now is that’s being reposited in algorithms increasingly, and that’s only going to be more the case going forward, so that the most intelligent, capable medical diagnostician, I predict, will be a computer somewhere in the next 20 years.

What is the role of the doctor then? The doctor’s role is to be a knowledgeable interpreter of that algorithmic diagnosis—to check it, to make sure that there wasn’t a snafu, and to make sure that there is no social bias in the outcome. And also to help interpret that into a regimen for treatment and healing on the part of the patient in a human-connected, empathic way.

And [at Iowa Big], one of the very first questions that one of her teachers asked her was, ‘What makes you mad?’

The systems that we have for public education are becoming more rigidified, not more experimental and resilient. And they’re becoming increasingly non-functional. And I believe they’re going to face some sort of systemic collapse.

And here are several other items from the education space:

All Teacher Shortages Are Local, New Research Finds — from the74million.org by Kevin Mahnken
In a study released [on 12/1/22], researchers show that teacher vacancy levels vary drastically between schools in the same communities

Excerpt:

K-12 teacher shortages — one of the most disputed questions in education policy today — are an undeniable reality in some communities, a newly released study indicates. But they are also a hyper-local phenomenon, the authors write, with fully staffed schools existing in close proximity to those that struggle to hire and retain teachers.

The paper, circulated Thursday through Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, uses a combination of survey responses and statewide administrative records from Tennessee to create a framework for identifying how and where teacher shortages emerge.

Why Are Americans Fleeing Public Schools? — from washingtonpost.com by John D. Harden and Steven Johnson
Seven parents on choosing private education for their kids

Excerpt:

The pandemic transformed the landscape of K-12 education. Some parents withdrew their kids from public school and placed them into private or home schools. Their reasons varied: Many preferred private schools that offered in-person instruction; others distrusted public schools’ pandemic precautions.

It’s not clear whether those trends will stick, and the factors are complex. So far, data show that since 2019, private enrollment is up, public enrollment is down and home schooling has become more popular. Families flocked to private and home schools at the greatest rate in a decade, according to American Community Survey estimates from the U.S. Census. The government projects that K-12 public school enrollment — already facing demographic pressures — will drop further to about 46 million students by fall 2030, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, reversing decades of growth.

 

 

Mississippi microschools are expanding education options for families — from spn.org by Kerry McDonald

Excerpt:

When Stephanie Harper decided to open Harper Learning Academy in Byram, Mississippi in August, her goal was to create a small, personalized educational setting in which her daughter would thrive. Conventional classroom environments weren’t a good match for Harper’s child. They also weren’t working well for the daughter of Harper’s colleague, Tekeeta Funchess. Harper and Funchess had been longtime teachers in the Jackson Public Schools before they left their jobs to provide educational consulting services to public school districts through the firm Harper founded in 2016.

As they worked together, they realized their daughters were experiencing similar challenges in standard school settings. “We’re mothers with children who learn differently who are trying to improve the system but realized that the system wasn’t working for our children,” said Harper, who is a certified teacher with a Ph.D. in education. They also suspected it wasn’t working for many other children as well.

 

Resources for Computer Science Education Week (December 5-11, 2022) — with thanks to Mark Adams for these resources

Per Mark, here are a few resources that are intended to show students how computers can become part of their outside interests as well as in their future careers.

Educating Engineers

Maryville University

Fullstack Academy

Also see:

Computer Science Education Week is December 5-11, 2022

 

Empty Classrooms, Abandoned Kids: Inside America’s Great Teacher Resignation— from nytimes.com; video by Agnes Walton and Nic Pollock

Excerpt:

A survey of National Education Association members at the beginning of the year revealed an unsettling truth: More than half of the respondents said they were looking for a way out. That’s an astounding number of unhappy teachers. If they all quit, it would leave millions of students in the lurch.

But were these just empty threats? At the start of this school year, we spoke to over 50 educators in almost 20 states to find out. The picture they painted was far bleaker than we could have imagined: Empty classrooms, kids in crisis, and teachers who can’t survive another day on the job — that’s the reality of American education today.

And from the UK, see the following:
The word OUCH! comes to my mind here — for this item from the UK and from the above item from the US. The politicians are going to need to back off and let the teachers do their jobs. Or we may not have many people who want to go into teaching anymore. The current situation is not only bad for the teachers, it’s bad for the youth/students.

 

How the University of California Strike Could Reshape Higher Education — from news.yahoo.com by Katie Reilly

Excerpts:

“To have this many workers on strike is really something new in higher education,” says Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of labor studies at Rutgers, who is also president of the union for graduate workers and faculty at her university. “The willingness of these workers to bring their campuses to a standstill is demonstrating that the current model of higher education can’t continue, and that the current system really rests on extremely underpaid labor.”

The striking workers argue that their current pay makes it challenging to afford housing near their universities, in a state with one of the highest costs of living in the country. Jaime, the Ph.D. candidate, says he makes $27,000 per year as a teaching fellow and pays $1,200 in monthly rent for an apartment he shares with two roommates. (Median rent in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is about $3,000, according to Realtor.com.) “We are the ones who do the majority of teaching and research,” he says. “But nevertheless, the university doesn’t pay us enough to live where we work.”

Also relevant/see:

Hundreds of UC Faculty Members Stop Teaching as Strike Continues — from chronicle.com by  Grace Mayer

Excerpt:

The strike is shining a spotlight on a longstanding problem within higher education: Today, tenured, full-time faculty members make up a smaller percentage of university employees than they did 50 years ago, in part due to the financial pressures facing universities amid funding cuts. The proportion of other university employees, who receive less job security and lower pay, “has grown tremendously,” says Tim Cain, an associate professor at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, who studies campus activism and unionization.

“There’s such stratification between the tenured full professor and a graduate student employee or a postdoc or a tutor,” says Cain. “They’re doing a great deal of the work, and the work that they’re doing in the classroom is often very similar to the work of others who are getting paid substantially more.”


Speaking of schools in California, also see:


 

A bot that watched 70,000 hours of Minecraft could unlock AI’s next big thing — from technologyreview.com by Will Douglas Heaven
Online videos are a vast and untapped source of training data—and OpenAI says it has a new way to use it.

Excerpt:

OpenAI has built the best Minecraft-playing bot yet by making it watch 70,000 hours of video of people playing the popular computer game. It showcases a powerful new technique that could be used to train machines to carry out a wide range of tasks by binging on sites like YouTube, a vast and untapped source of training data.

The Minecraft AI learned to perform complicated sequences of keyboard and mouse clicks to complete tasks in the game, such as chopping down trees and crafting tools. It’s the first bot that can craft so-called diamond tools, a task that typically takes good human players 20 minutes of high-speed clicking—or around 24,000 actions.

The result is a breakthrough for a technique known as imitation learning, in which neural networks are trained to perform tasks by watching humans do them.

The team’s approach, called Video Pre-Training (VPT), gets around the bottleneck in imitation learning by training another neural network to label videos automatically.

Speak lands investment from OpenAI to expand its language learning platform — from techcrunch.com by Kyle Wiggers

Excerpts:

“Most language learning software can help with the beginning part of learning basic vocabulary and grammar, but gaining any degree of fluency requires speaking out loud in an interactive environment,” Zwick told TechCrunch in an email interview. “To date, the only way people can get that sort of practice is through human tutors, which can also be expensive, difficult and intimidating.”

Speak’s solution is a collection of interactive speaking experiences that allow learners to practice conversing in English. Through the platform, users can hold open-ended conversations with an “AI tutor” on a range of topics while receiving feedback on their pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

It’s one of the top education apps in Korea on the iOS App Store, with over 15 million lessons started annually, 100,000 active subscribers and “double-digit million” annual recurring revenue.

 

 

Is AI Generated Art Really Coming for Your Job? — from edugeekjournal.com by Matt Crosslin

Excerpt:

So, is this a cool development that will become a fun tool for many of us to play around with in the future? Sure. Will people use this in their work? Possibly. Will it disrupt artists across the board? Unlikely. There might be a few places where really generic artwork is the norm and the people that were paid very little to crank them out will be paid very little to input prompts. Look, PhotoShop and asset libraries made creating company logos very, very easy a long time ago. But people still don’t want to take the 30 minutes it takes to put one together, because thinking through all the options is not their thing. You still have to think through those options to enter an AI prompt. And people just want to leave that part to the artists. The same thing was true about the printing press. Hundreds of years of innovation has taught us that the hard part of the creation of art is the human coming up with the ideas, not the tools that create the art.

A quick comment from DSC:
Possibly, at least in some cases. But I’ve seen enough home-grown, poorly-designed graphics and logos to make me wonder if that will be the case.

 

How to Teach With Deep Fake Technology — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Despite the scary headlines, deep fake technology can be a powerful teaching tool

Excerpt:

The very concept of teaching with deep fake technology may be unsettling to some. After all, deep fake technology, which utilizes AI and machine learning and can alter videos and animate photographs in a manner that appears realistic, has frequently been covered in a negative light. The technology can be used to violate privacy and create fake videos of real people.

However, while these potential abuses of the technology are real and concerning that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to the technology’s potential when using it responsibly, says Jaime Donally, a well-known immersive learning expert.

From DSC:
I’m still not sure about this one…but I’ll try to be open to the possibilities here.

 

Educators Are Taking Action in AI Education to Make Future-Ready Communities — from edsurge.com by Annie Ning

Excerpt:

AI Explorations and Their Practical Use in School Environments is an ISTE initiative funded by General Motors. The program provides professional learning opportunities for educators, with the goal of preparing all students for careers with AI.

Recently, we spoke with three more participants of the AI Explorations program to learn about its ongoing impact in K-12 classrooms. Here, they share how the program is helping their districts implement AI curriculum with an eye toward equity in the classroom.

 

Stealth Legal AI Startup Harvey Raises $5M in Round Led By OpenAI — from lawnext.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A hitherto stealth legal AI startup emerged from the shadows today with news via TechCrunch that it has raised $5 million in funding led by the startup fund of OpenAI, the company that developed advanced neural network AI systems such as GPT-3 and DALL-E 2.

The startup, called Harvey, will build on the GPT-3 technology to enable lawyers to create legal documents or perform legal research by providing simple instructions using natural language.

The company was founded by Winston Weinberg, formerly an associate at law firm O’Melveny & Myers, and Gabriel Pereyra, formerly a research scientist at DeepMind and most recently a machine learning engineer at Meta AI.

 

Principals Give Thanks—and Shoutouts—to School Support Staff — from edweek.org by Denisa R. Superville

Excerpt:

Schools run, in part, on the elbow grease of custodians, the gentle nudge of a crossing guard, and the encouraging smile of a paraprofessional and teacher’s assistant silently indicating to a student that, “Yes, you’ve got this.”

 

Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions — from cew.georgetown.edu

Summary:

Did you know that in the first year after graduation you can make more money with an associate’s degree in nursing from Santa Rosa Junior College in California than with a graduate degree from some programs at Harvard University? Data from the College Scorecard reveal many more surprising details of post-college outcomes for students and families about that all-important first year after graduation. Buyer Beware: First-Year Earnings and Debt for 37,000 College Majors at 4,400 Institutions finds that first-year earnings for the same degree in the same major can vary by $80,000 at different colleges and universities. It also reveals that workers with less education can often make more than workers with more education, and that higher levels of education do not always result in higher student loan payments.

Speaking of Georgetown, also see:

In the U.S. alone, more than 39 million students leave college without a degree. Black, Latino, and Native American students are overrepresented in this population.

SCS’s program is designed to help students of all backgrounds complete their degrees and unlock their earning potential. The degree’s most recent on-campus cohort is composed of 62% students of color and 40% military-connected learners. SCS is introducing this fully online degree to scale this program to learners worldwide.

 

Homeschooling High School With Interest-Led Learning — from raisinglifelonglearners.com by Colleen Kessler

Excerpt:

Think of an interest-led homeschool as one that functions more as a college than a high school. Just as a college student declares a major and the bulk of their study is in that topic area with supplemental general education, your interest-led high school can function the same way.

Also relevant/see:

This approach allows you to help them develop their interests, communicate that you see their interests as valuable, and it gives your child the chance to follow their own paths of interest. It’s an outstanding way to facilitate a self-motivated, self-directed learner and thinker. 

 

Can a Group of MIT Professors Turn a White Paper Into a New Kind of College? — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey R. Young

Excerpt:

A group of professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology dropped a provocative white paper in September that proposed a new kind of college that would address some of the growing public skepticism of higher education. This week, they took the next step toward bringing their vision from idea to reality.

That next step was holding a virtual forum that brought together a who’s who of college innovation leaders, including presidents of experimental colleges, professors known for novel teaching practices and critical observers of the higher education space.

The MIT professors who authored the white paper tried to make clear that even though they’re from an elite university, they do not have all the answers. Their white paper takes pains to describe itself as a draft framework and to invite input from players across the education ecosystem so they can revise and improve the plan.

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

IDEAS FOR DESIGNING An Affordable New Educational Institution

The goal of this document is simply to propose some principles and ideas that we hope will lay the groundwork for the future, for an education that will be both more affordable and more effective.

Promotions and titles will be much more closely tied to educational performance—quality, commitment, outcomes, and innovation—than to research outcomes. 

 

The Status of the Teaching Profession Is at a 50-Year Low. What Can We Do About It? — from edweek.org by Caitlynn Peetz

Excerpt:

The status of the teaching profession is at its lowest in five decades, new research suggests, which its authors say is “cause for national concern.”

In a new paper published Tuesday, researchers at Brown University and the University at Albany compiled and analyzed decades’ worth of national data from more than a dozen sources about factors like teachers’ morale, the perceived prestige of the profession, and interest in entering the field, to create an annual profile of the profession between 1970 and 2022.

What they found is sobering. It suggests that the pandemic has only added fuel to a job that’s steadily declined in prestige and attractiveness for more than a decade.

“When you look at the data that we have, it’s hard to see us in a spot anywhere else other than a really critical tipping point in public education,” said Matthew Kraft, an associate professor of education and economics at Brown and co-author of the report.

Reversing “the trend of top-down control over teachers” and creating meaningful career pathways, including professional development and peer observation opportunities, could help restore morale, Kraft and Lyon wrote in their paper, though they did not recommend specific approaches.

 

Accelerated Learning — Schools’ Answer for ‘Learning Loss’ — Hits Some Speed Bumps — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

The main finding? Accelerated learning simply requires more. More staff, more resources, more energy, more buy-in from teachers.

As district leaders talked about their day-to-day realities, they shared how those things were all tough to come by when everyone in the system was already stretched thin.

Not necessarily related to the above item, but I wanted to pass this one along to you as well:

QAA Report on Badging and Micro-Credentialing: How Education and Employment Can Benefit from Using Skills Profiles  — from gettingsmart.com by Rupert Ward

Key Points

  • Skills profiles make it easier for educators and employers to understand how skills gained in learning can be transferred to those required in earning.
  • This QAA Collaborative Enhancement Project Report demonstrates both how badges and microcredentials can be incorporated into a range of higher education courses and, through doing this, how we can ultimately personalise learning and earning.
 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian