From DSC:
An AI-backed platform will constantly search all job postings and present the most desired skills in the marketplace and then how to get those skills. The providers will be individuals, organizations, training providers, traditional institutions of higher education, vendors and more.

Depending upon what happens with blockchain — and if a much more energy-efficient/environmentally-friendly solution can be implemented — blockchain may be a part of that equation.

 

Meet the metaverse: Creating real value in a virtual world — from mckinsey.com with Eric Hazan and Lareina Yee

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Welcome to the metaverse. Now, where exactly are we? Imagine for a moment the next iteration of the internet, seamlessly combining our physical and digital lives. It’s many things: a gaming platform, a virtual retail spot, a training tool, an advertising channel, a digital classroom, a gateway to entirely new virtual experiences. While the metaverse continues to be defined, its potential to unleash the next wave of digital disruption is clear. In the first five months of 2022, more than $120 billion have been invested in building out metaverse technology and infrastructure. That’s more than double the $57 billion invested in all of 2021.

How would you define the metaverse?
Lareina: What’s exciting is that the metaverse, like the internet, is the next platform on which we can work, live, connect, and collaborate. It’s going to be an immersive virtual environment that connects different worlds and communities. There are going to be creators and alternative currencies that you can buy and sell things with. It will have a lot of the components of Web3 and gaming and AR, but it will be much larger.

Also relevant/see:


Also relevant/see:


 
 

Second Chance Pell helps deliver degrees to over 9,000 incarcerated students — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpts:

“Some programs may start as a real passion of an individual faculty member,” she said. “But in order for them to be sustainable, programs need cross-college support. Students need things like academic advising and access to library services. We’re seeing more and more of that, which is terrific.”

The existence and funding of such programs benefits people both in and out of the prison system. Inmates who participate in correctional education programs are 28% less likely to return to prison after their release than those who don’t, according to a 2018 meta-analysis of research. And research suggests that offering postsecondary programs could reduce levels of violence in prison.

 

Demarginalizing Design: 3 powerful ways to get started — from ditchthattextbook.com by Dee Lanier

Excerpt:

Get proximate to the pain

  • Gather the people that are most affected by the problem.
  • Listen for pain. Emotions such as outrage and frustration are insights into the source of the problem.
  • Design with them, not for them. Your job is to facilitate the discussion that allows them to come up with their own solutions that affect their community.

From DSC:
You will notice some more postings regarding “Design Thinking” on this Learning Ecosystems blog from time to time. I’m continuing to do this because as we move more toward a reality of lifelong learning, we should probably rethink the entire cradle-to-grave design of our learning ecosystems.

 

From DSC:
Inflation way up. Real wages way down. Not a good mix for higher education. And faculty members aren’t the only ones impacted here. These developments may cause the rise of additional alternatives to institutions of traditional higher education out there. 


One of the resources mentioned in Isha Trivedi’s article out at The Chronicle of Higher Education that’s entitled “Faculty-Pay Survey Records the Largest One-Year Drop Ever” was this one:

The Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession, 2021-22 — from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)

Key Findings (emphasis DSC):
Provisional results were released in early April 2022, including summary tables and institution-level datasets. Key findings include:

  • From 2020–21 to 2021–22, average salaries for full-time faculty members increased 2.0 percent, consistent with the flat wage growth observed since the Great Recession of the late 2000s.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty fell below Great Recession levels in 2021, with average salary falling to 2.3 percent below the 2008 average salary, after adjusting for inflation.
  • Real wages for full-time faculty members decreased 5.0 percent after adjusting for inflation, the largest one-year decrease on record since the AAUP began tracking this measure in 1972.
  • In 2021–22, 97.2 percent of full-time faculty members were covered by retirement plans, a 2.8 percentage point increase from 2020–21.
  • Institutions reported full-time faculty salaries for women that are 81.9 percent of those for men in 2021–22, on average. The gender pay gap is greatest at the full professor rank.
  • From 2019–20 to 2021–22, the number of full-time women faculty members increased 1.6 percent, compared with a 2.5 percent decrease for men.
  • In 2020–21, average pay for adjunct faculty members to teach a course section ranged from $2,979 in public associate’s institutions without ranks to $5,557 in public doctoral institutions.
  • In fall 2020, about three in five (61.5 percent) faculty members were on contingent appointments.

Also relevant, see:

 

Higher ed investments in student systems doubled last year, report finds — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Dive Brief:

  • Higher education investments in student technology systems doubled in 2021 compared to the year before, marking the largest annual increase over the past decade, according to a new report from the Tambellini Group, a technology research and advisory firm.
  • However, many college leaders are hesitant to invest in modern cloud student systems because most of these products still lack the functionalities institutions seek. The Tambellini Group based its findings on technology spending by more than 3,600 U.S. institutions.
  • Vendors are adding new tools and enhancements to their student technology systems to respond to increased pressures on colleges to improve their enrollment, retention and other student success metrics. That includes by providing engagement analytics and automated alerts.

Also from highereddive.com:

 
 

How to Learn about Learning Science — from christytuckerlearning.com by Christy Tucker
How do you learn about learning science? Recommendations for people to follow, books to read, and other resources.

Excerpt:

I have written before about how research informs my work. As instructional designers, LXDs, and other L&D professionals, I think it’s important for us to learn how to design more effective learning experiences. Our work should be informed by research and evidence. But, how do you learn about learning science, especially if you don’t have a graduate degree in instructional design? These are my recommendations for people to follow, books to read, and other resources.

 

 

Shifting Skills, Moving Targets, and Remaking the Workforce — from bcg.com by Matt Sigelman, Bledi Taska, Layla O’Kane, Julia Nitschke, Rainer Strack, Jens Baier, Frank Breitling, and Ádám Kotsis; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
Our analysis of more than 15 million job postings reveals the future of work.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Jobs do come and go, but even more significantly, jobs change. Day by day, skill by skill, the basic building blocks of a job are repositioned, until the role looks much different than it did just five years ago. Yet the job title—and the worker in the job—may remain the same.

But even company leaders may not realize how profoundly and rapidly the jobs throughout their business and industry are evolving. A comprehensive look at job listings from 2016 through 2021 reveals significant changes in requested skills, with new skills appearing, some existing skills disappearing, and other existing skills shifting in importance.

The challenge for employers and employees alike is to keep up—or, better yet, to get ahead of the trends.

Four Big Trends
We see four big trends in skill change:

    • Digital skills, like technical fluency and abilities including data analysis, digital marketing, and networking, aren’t limited to jobs in IT.
    • Soft skills, like verbal communication, listening, and relationship building, are needed in digital occupations.
    • Visual communication has become increasingly important even outside of traditional data occupations. Experience with tools such as Tableau, MS Power BI, and Adobe Analytics is in high demand.
    • Social media skills, such as experience with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Adobe Photoshop, are in demand in the current media climate.

Also from Ryan Craig, see:

How to Really Fix Higher Ed — from theatlantic.com by Ben Sasse
Rather than wiping the slate clean on student debt, Washington should take a hard look at reforming a broken system.

Excerpts:

Most young Americans never earn a college degree, and far too many of those who do are poorly served by sclerotic institutions that offer regularly overpriced degrees producing too little life transformation, too little knowledge transmission, and too little pragmatic, real-world value.

Far too often, higher education equates value with exclusivity, and not with outcomes. The paradigmatic schools that dominate higher-ed discussions in the pages of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post measure themselves by how many high-school seniors they reject, rather than by how many they successfully launch, by how much they bolster the moral and intellectual development of the underprivileged, or even by a crude utilitarian calculus such as the average earnings of their recent graduates.

Each of these changes will depend on breaking up the accreditation cartels. College presidents tell me that the accrediting system, which theoretically aims to ensure quality and to prevent scammers from tapping into federal education dollars, actually stifles programmatic innovation inside extant colleges and universities aiming to serve struggling and underprepared students in new ways. 


One last item here:

Learning Should Be Like Cooking — from linkedin.com by Cali Koerner Morrison

Excerpt:

We need systems of record that are learner-owned, verifiable and travel across all types of learning recognition. 1EdTech is making great strides in this direction with the comprehensive learner record and the T3 Innovation Network with the LEROpen Skills Network and Credential Engine are making great strides to level the playing field on defining all elements of skills-based learning and credentialing. We need pathways that help guide learner-earners through their career progression so they are in a constant swirl of learning and earning, leveling up with each new achievement – from a microcredenial to a master’s degree.

 

What I Learned When Visiting a Colleague’s Hybrid Class — from edsurge.com by Bonni Stachowiak (Columnist)

Excerpt:

Though I usually use this space to offer answers to teaching advice questions from professors, I wanted to try something different. So for my next few installments, I’m writing letters to people who have exemplified what it means to be an effective teacher. This column, the first in the series, is to my friend and colleague, Elizabeth Powell. Her discipline is psychology and she invited me to come observe one of her final classes at our university.

 

GreenLight Means Go: Where Learner and Employment Records Are Headed — from gettingsmart.com by Getting Smart Staff

Excerpt:

New solutions present a unique solution to these challenges by providing a user-controlled technology to store, share, search, and match acquired competency with opportunity. One of the key players in this space is GreenLight Credentials, a frictionless, user-controlled talent search and credential-communicator that addresses these issues. On the outbound side, institutions and their learners can store any type of verified record including transcripts, credentials, badges, or other documentation of learning. These learning experiences are then translated into data – competencies, skills, interests, and accomplishments that are then matched with scholarship, university and employment opportunities. Universities and employers can join the network to discover and connect with prospective students or employees.

The vast majority of students who graduate from high school in the United States typically have their learning diluted to a single one-page transcript that lists courses and grades – and often a GPA.

What young people need now are repetitions in design thinking – to repeatedly find, frame, address complex problems and deliver value to a community.

— Getting Smart Staff

Also relevant/see from Getting Smart:

Innovating Together: the Geopolitical and Educational Path Forward — by Tom Vander Ark

Key Points

  • The new mission of school is cultivating curiosity, purpose and problem solving by inviting learners into real world challenges in diverse teams using smart tools.
  • The path forward is innovating together.

The VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) is now hyper-connected (VUCAH).

Also relevant/see:

 
 

From DSC:
The following items made me reflect upon the place of COVID-19 in causing the current ills within higher education — but also thinking about the ills that were present long before Covid hit us.

Key point:
We should be careful not to conveniently use COVID-19 as the scapegoat for all that’s wrong within higher education.


On the faculty/staff side of the house


The Season of Our Professorial Discontent — from chronicle.com by Paul Musgrave
The pandemic irrevocably changed the student-teacher relationship — and not for the better.

Excerpts:

As pandemic slides into endemic, it’s worth asking: Did the pandemic break something fundamental about academe? Was the spring of 2022 the end of pandemic disruptions, or the start of a new normal?

This time, as I delivered the lines to an audience of 30 in a course with 200 students enrolled, I was wondering whether I wanted to give a lecture ever again.

From DSC:
Regarding the first quote…several things were broken within academe long before COID-19. Re: the second quote, what should that tell us if only 30 students showed up in a class with 200 students in it?

Faculty autonomy and faculty satisfaction are being whittled away.

From DSC:
From what I can tell, that’s been happening for years within the K-12 learning ecosystem. It seems like this trend is now occurring within the higher ed learning ecosystem. (I could go off on a tangent about why we didn’t help our fellow educators within K-12 — whose “product” directly impacts those working within higher ed — but I better not. This posting is already packed with reflections.)

Below are some relevant quotes from Kevin McClure’s 5/27/22 article out at The Chronicle of Higher Education (emphasis DSC). I agree with much of what Kevin is saying here.

Don’t Blame the Pandemic for Worker Discontent
It hasn’t just been a tough two years. It’s been a tough two decades.

Excerpt:

The pandemic alone didn’t cause the low morale and turnover you might be seeing among your faculty and staff members just as the lack of personal protective equipment didn’t solely give rise to the Amazon Labor Union. Yes, today’s workers are re-evaluating their workplaces, seeking reassignment within their institutions, and in some cases resigning from jobs altogether. But they are doing so for many of the same reasons they did 20 years ago — poor working conditions.

So burnout isn’t just about people struggling to cope with stress; it’s about people struggling in workplaces where stress never subsides.

In my own interviews on morale, higher-education workers have talked about leaders who aren’t listening, low compensation, and understaffing.

We see our workplaces differently, and our tolerance of poor working conditions has evaporated.

 


On the student side of the house


“It hasn’t just been a tough two years. It’s been a tough two decades.” The same — and likely more — could be said for the student side of the house, especially in regards to the price of education and how relevant/up-to-date the content has been. As the prices of obtaining a degree have skyrocketed over the last several decades, students and parents now HAVE to ask, “What’s the Return On Investment (ROI) here? Am I gaining the skills in college that will get me hired after college?”

Again, the point I’m trying to make here is that we should be careful not to conveniently use COVID-19 as the scapegoat for all that’s wrong within higher education.

Along these lines, the following two quotes seem relevant to me from Beth McMurtrie’s (6/2/22) Teaching e-newsletter (also from The Chronicle):

I asked Walton to tell me more about the setup at his university. He said classes were fully in person but instructors were encouraged to record lectures and be highly flexible with due dates. The result: Most days he had less than 50-percent attendance, and he received a lot of last-minute emails from students who said they woke up that morning with a headache or otherwise not feeling well. A few filed documented absence requests, but not many, suggesting that these were not serious illnesses, like Covid.

I’ve never had more incompletes for courses than in the last two years, so signaling to students that their distribution courses are flexible and accommodating has only let them de-emphasize them even more.

There’s likely a variety of causes/possibilities here — and I’m sure that Covid-related reasons are among them. But it makes me really wonder if students don’t think that the content is all that valuable or relevant to begin with these days. Is college even worth it anymore? Why am I here in the first place? Where is the motivation coming from? Is it extrinsic or intrinsic motivation?

Perhaps it’s time to change the curriculum/content as well as the price.


Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo (from 2009).

A graphic I created back in 2009, with Yohan Na’s assistance.


 

How an Escape Room Is Building Students’ Digital Skills at Northampton Community College — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt of description of podcast:

We spoke with Beth Ritter-Guth, associate dean of online learning and educational technology at the college, to find out how the Learning Lab is engaging students, building digital literacy and providing valuable training in the job skills of the future.

Also see:

Breakout EDU gamifies learning to create an engaging and empowering experience for students of all grade levels.

Five Concepts You Can Teach Through Geocaching — from freetech4teachers.com by Richard Byrne

Excerpt:

Geocaching is one of the things that I spend a good bit of time talking about in both my workshop and in my webinar about blending technology into outdoor learning. Geocaching is a great activity to do to get kids outside for hands-on learning experiences. Here are five things that you can teach through geocaching activities.

From DSC:
This next one may be useful for educators and/or parents, but it’s useful for pretty much all of us

Tip of the week: A great group packing tool — from Jared newman

Excerpt:

As an alternative to clunky spreadsheets or endless email chains, WhoBrings is a brilliantly simple way to figure out who’s bringing what.

Just type the name of your packing list into this free website, add some items, then share the link with the rest of the group. Anyone who has the link can then claim responsibility for an item or add new items to the list. You can also specify a number of units for any item—12 beach towels, for instance, or three packs of beer—and people can choose how many they’ll bring.


Also see:

Learning, doing, and teaching biology through multimedia — from MIT Open Learning
Producing multimedia for online courses involves lifelong learning


 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian