Is Thomas Frey right? “…by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet.”

From a fairly recent e-newsletter from edsurge.com — though I don’t recall the exact date (emphasis DSC):

New England is home to some of the most famous universities in the world. But the region has also become ground zero for the demographic shifts that promise to disrupt higher education.

This week saw two developments that fit the narrative. On Monday, Southern Vermont College announced that it would shut its doors, becoming the latest small rural private college to do so. Later that same day, the University of Massachusetts said it would start a new online college aimed at a national audience, noting that it expects campus enrollments to erode as the number of traditional college-age students declines in the coming years.

“Make no mistake—this is an existential threat to entire sectors of higher education,” said UMass president Marty Meehan in announcing the online effort.

The approach seems to parallel the U.S. retail sector, where, as a New York Times piece outlines this week, stores like Target and WalMart have thrived by building online strategies aimed at competing with Amazon, while stores like Gap and Payless, which did little to move online, are closing stores. Of course, college is not like any other product or service, and plenty of campuses are touting the richness of the experience that students get by actually coming to a campus. And it’s not clear how many colleges can grow online to a scale that makes their investments pay off.

 

“It’s predicted that over the next several years, four to five major national players with strong regional footholds will be established. We intend to be one of them.”

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan

 

 

From DSC:
That last quote from UMass President Marty Meehan made me reflect upon the idea of having one or more enormous entities that will provide “higher education” in the future. I wonder if things will turn out to be that we’ll have more lifelong learning providers and platforms in the future — with the idea of a 60-year curriculum being an interesting idea that may come into fruition.

Long have I predicted that such an enormous entity would come to pass. Back in 2008, I named it the Forthcoming Walmart of Education. But then as the years went by, I got bumbed out on some things that Walmart was doing, and re-branded it the Forthcoming Amazon.com of Higher Education. We’ll see how long that updated title lasts — but you get the point. In fact, the point aligns very nicely with what futurist Thomas Frey has been predicting for years as well:

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider. (source)

I realize that education doesn’t always scale well…but I’m thinking that how people learn in the future may be different than how we did things in the past…communities of practice comes to mind…as does new forms of credentialing…as does cloud-based learner profiles…as does the need for highly efficient, cost-effective, and constant opportunities/means to reinvent oneself.

Also see:

 

 

Addendum:

74% of consumers go to Amazon when they’re ready to buy something. That should be keeping retailers up at night. — from cnbc.com

Key points (emphasis DSC)

  • Amazon remains a looming threat for some of the biggest retailers in the country — like Walmart, Target and Macy’s.
  • When consumers are ready to buy a specific product, nearly three-quarters of them, or 74 percent, are going straight to Amazon to do it, according to a new study by Feedvisor.
  • By the end of this year, Amazon is expected to account for 52.4 percent of the e-commerce market in the U.S., up from 48 percent in 2018.

 

“In New England, there will be between 32,000 and 54,000 fewer college-aged students just seven years from now,” Meehan said. “That means colleges and universities will have too much capacity and not enough demand at a time when the economic model in higher education is already straining under its own weight.” (Marty Meehan at WBUR)

 

 

Instructure: Plans to expand beyond Canvas LMS into machine learning and AI — from mfeldstein.com by Phill Hill

Excerpts:

On the same day as Instructure’s earnings call and release of FY2018 financial results, the company announced the acquisition of Portfolium for $43 million, a small startup focusing on “ePortfolio network, student-centered assessment, job matching capabilities, and academic and co-curricular pathways”.

Instructure now views itself as a company with a suite of products, and they are much more open to using corporate M&A to build this portfolio.

We already have analytical capabilities in our Canvas platform. I want to be really clear and delineate the difference between an analytics and reporting capability, and a machine learning and AI platform.

We have the most comprehensive database on the educational experience in the globe. So given that information that we have, no one else has those data assets at their fingertips to be able to develop those algorithms and predictive models.

What’s even more interesting and compelling is that we can take that information, correlate it across all sorts of universities, curricula, etc, and we can start making recommendations and suggestions to the student or instructor in how they can be more successful. Watch this video, read this passage, do problems 17-34 in this textbook, spend an extra two hours on this or that. When we drive student success, we impact things like retention, we impact the productivity of the teachers, and it’s a huge opportunity. That’s just one small example. Our DIG initiative, it is first and foremost a platform for ML and AI, and we will deliver and monetize it by offering different functional domains of predictive algorithms and insights. Maybe things like student success, retention, coaching and advising, career pathing, as well as a number of the other metrics that will help improve the value of an institution or connectivity across institutions.

 

 

 

 

For a next gen learning platform: A Netflix-like interface to check out potential functionalities / educationally-related “apps” [Christian]

From DSC:
In a next generation learning system, it would be sharp/beneficial to have a Netflix-like interface to check out potential functionalities that you could turn on and off (at will) — as one component of your learning ecosystem that could feature a setup located in your living room or office.

For example, put a Netflix-like interface to the apps out at eduappcenter.com (i.e., using a rolling interface at first, then going to a static page/listing of apps…again…similar to Netflix).

 

A Netflix-like interface to check out potential functionalities / educationally-related apps

 

 

 

State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: 2018 Year-End Edition — from mfeldstein.com by Phill Hill

Excerpts:

  • The market continues to consolidate around the Big Four – Blackboard, Canvas, D2L Brightspace, and Moodle.
  • The Homegrown option for LMS usage is going away, at least in a statistical sense. Only a handful of schools even consider this option.

 

State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada -- 2018 Year-End Edition

 

 

State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada -- 2018 Year-End Edition

 

 

Amazon has 10,000 employees dedicated to Alexa — here are some of the areas they’re working on — from businessinsider.com by Avery Hartmans

Summary (emphasis DSC):

  • Amazon’s vice president of Alexa, Steve Rabuchin, has confirmed that yes, there really are 10,000 Amazon employees working on Alexa and the Echo.
  • Those employees are focused on things like machine learning and making Alexa more knowledgeable.
  • Some employees are working on giving Alexa a personality, too.

 

 

From DSC:
How might this trend impact learning spaces? For example, I am interested in using voice to intuitively “drive” smart classroom control systems:

  • “Alexa, turn on the projector”
  • “Alexa, dim the lights by 50%”
  • “Alexa, open Canvas and launch my Constitutional Law I class”

 

 

 

From DSC:
Below is a graphic from an article by Jane Hart that’s entitled, “A seamless working and learning environment“- to me, it’s another good example/graphic of a learning ecosystem. This one happens to belong to an organization, but each of us has our own learning ecosystem as well.

 

Another good example/graphic of a learning ecosystem

 

 

Assessment for Learning: It Just Makes Sense — from facultyfocus.com by Cathy Box

Excerpt:

Assessment for Learning (AfL), sometimes referred to as “formative assessment” has become part of the educational landscape in the U.S. and is heralded to significantly raise student achievement, yet we are often uncertain what it is and what it looks like in practice in higher education. To clarify, AfL includes the formal and informal processes that faculty and students use during instruction to gather evidence for the purpose of improving learning. The aim of AfL is to improve students’ mastery of the content and to equip and empower them as self-regulated, life-long learners.

There are many strategies that serve the purposes of AfL, commonly centered around three questions: 1) Where am I going? 2) Where am I now? and 3) How can I close the gap? (Chappuis, 2015; Sadler, 1989; Wiliam, 2011). This process represents a natural progression from the beginning of a lesson to closing the learning gaps at the end and provides a recursive loop when necessary. The following narrative describes two AfL strategies that I have found work extremely well in my courses, resulting in higher quality work, leaving me time to provide feedback on the more challenging aspects of the assignment. These strategies fall under the question “Where am I going?” and are true to the tenets of AfL, having a significant impact on learning and putting students squarely in the driver’s seat.

 

“Indeed as one of the most prolific writers on the topic, Alfie Kohn suggested, ‘assessment should be an unobtrusive servant of teaching and learning.’ (source)

 

 

EdTechs and Instructional Designers—What’s the Difference? — from er.educause.edu by Pat Reid

Excerpt:

Both edtechs and instructional designers (IDs) work with computer systems and programs, yet their actual duties differ from traditional IT tasks. The resulting confusion over what edtechs and IDs do—and how the two roles differ—is rampant, not least in the sector that needs them most: higher education.

 

Virtual classes shouldn’t be cringeworthy. Here are 5 tips for teaching live online — from edsurge.com by Bonni Stachowiak (Columnist)

Excerpt:

Dear Bonni: I’m wanting to learn about best practices for virtual courses that are “live” (e.g., using a platform like Zoom). It differs both from face-to-face classroom learning and traditional (asynchronous) online courses. I’d love to know about resources addressing this learning format. —Keith Johnson. director of theological development at Cru. My team facilitates and teaches graduate-level theological courses for a non-profit.

Teaching a class by live video conference is quite different than being in person with a room full of students. But there are some approaches we can draw from traditional classrooms that work quite well in a live, online environment.

Here are some recommendations for virtual teaching…

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
This is where the quizzing features/tools within a Learning Management System such as Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard Learn, etc. are so valuable. They provide students with opportunities for low-stakes (or no-stakes) practice in retrieving information and to see if they are understanding things or not. Doing such formative assessments along the way can point out areas where they need further practice, as well as areas where the students are understanding things well (and only need an occasional question or two on that item in order to reduce the effects of the forgetting curve).

 

 

 

 
 

Fall 2017 Top 30 Largest Online Enrollments in US – With LMS Usage and Trends Since 2012 — from mfeldstein.com by Phil Hill

Excerpt:

Finally, it’s worth looking at the top 30 trend over time. Obviously the University of Phoenix is no longer the 800 pound gorilla in distance education, with two not-for-profits – Western Governors University and Southern New Hampshire University – poised to overtake Phoenix in the next year or two. This view also shows the tendency for most institutions to top out at approximately 60,000 students, but this may be changing with the three counter-examples above as well as Grand Canyon University.

 

 

Moodle and Blackboard cut ties — from mfeldstein.com by Michael Feldstein

Excerpt:

Moodle just announced that Blackboard “will transition out of Moodle’s Certified Moodle Partner program in the coming months.”

This is consequential for both Moodle and Blackboard. On the Moodle side, we have written about Moodle’s financial dependence on Blackboard as a partner and how that creates some risk for the community. Since those posts, Moodle has received $6 million in outside investment. According to Moodle Pty’s press release, that investment, combined with a decline in Blackboard’s financial contributions to Moodle made it feasible for Moodle to break off from the partnership.

Note that all the information we have right now is Moodle’s press release; we will circle back to this story once we’ve had a chance to talk to folks from both Moodle and Blackboard and have caught up enough on our blogging schedule that we can give this story the attention that it deserves.

 

 

 

Canvas catches, & maybe passes, Blackboard — from by Lindsay McKenzie
Blackboard dominated the U.S. learning management system market for 20 years, but new data show its cloud-based competitor edging past it.

Excerpt:

Canvas has unseated Blackboard Learn as the leading LMS at U.S. colleges and universities, according to new data from MindWires Consulting.

In a blog post on [7/8/18], Michael Feldstein, partner at MindWires Consulting and co-publisher of the e-Literate blog, wrote that Canvas now has 1,218 installations at U.S. institutions, compared with Blackboard’s 1,216. Although the two-figure difference may seem insignificant — and Blackboard and some of its allies say the data don’t accurately reflect the two companies’ relative reach — most analysts agree that Canvas’s ascent, largely at Blackboard’s expense, is noteworthy.

“This is a stunning development for a company that seemed to have established an unbreakable market dominance a decade ago,” wrote Feldstein.

At its peak in 2006, Blackboard controlled approximately 70 percent of the U.S. and Canadian market, with its nearest competitors “far, far behind,” said Feldstein. But slowly Canvas, and others such as Moodle and D2L’s Brightspace, have closed the gap.

 

 

The market share for Learning Management Systems

 

 

 



Also, you might want to know about the upcoming FREE opportunity to learn more about Instructure (the maker of Canvas), where Canvas is heading, and some other keynotes re: K-12 and higher education.

Next week, Instructure is hosting a conference that’s focusing on Canvas, and it’s called InstructureCarn. You can register — for free — to watch the live stream of all 5 keynotes at InstructureCarn, and Instructure will send you an email reminder to tune into the following keynote speakers and sessions:

  • Tuesday, July 24 @ 5pm MST Josh Coates, CEO, Instructure
  • Wednesday, July 25 @ 9am MST Adora Svitak, Author, Speaker, Advocate
  • Wednesday, July 25 @ 1:30pm MST Jared Stein, VP of Higher Ed Strategy, Instructure
  • Thursday, July 26 @ 9am MST Michael Bonner, 2nd Grade Teacher, Visionary Leader
  • Thursday, JULY 26 @ 1:30PM MST Mitch Benson, SVP of Product, Instructure

Click here to attend virtually!
The times listed above are in Mountain Standard Time (MST)– so you may need to convert those times to your time zone.

 



 

 

How blockbuster MOOCs could shape the future of teaching — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

There isn’t a New York Times bestseller list for online courses, but perhaps there should be. After all, so-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were meant to open education to as many learners as possible, and in many ways they are more like books (digital ones, packed with videos and interactive quizzes) than courses.

The colleges and companies offering MOOCs can be pretty guarded these days about releasing specific numbers on how many people enroll or pay for a “verified certificate” or microcredential showing they took the course. But both Coursera and EdX, two of the largest providers, do release lists of their most popular courses. And those lists offer a telling snapshot of how MOOCs are evolving and what their impact is on the instructors and institutions offering them.

Here are the top 10 most popular courses for each provider:

 

Coursera Top 10 Most Popular Courses (over past 12 months)

 

edX Top 10 Most Popular Courses (all time)

 

 

So what are these blockbuster MOOCs, then? Experiential textbooks? Gateways to more rigorous college courses? A new kind of entertainment program?

Maybe the answer is: all of the above.

 

 

 

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