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)

 

 

Huge study finds professors’ attitudes affect students’ grades — and it’s doubly true for minority students. — from arstechnica.com by Scott Johnson

Excerpt:

Instead, the researchers think the data suggests that—in any number of small ways—instructors who think their students’ intelligence is fixed don’t keep their students as motivated, and perhaps don’t focus as much on teaching techniques that can encourage growth. And while this affects all students, it seems to have an extra impact on underrepresented minority students.

The good news, the researchers say, is that instructors can be persuaded to adopt more of a growth mindset in their teaching through a little education of their own. That small attitude adjustment could make them a more effective teacher, to the significant benefit of a large number of students.

 

Along these lines, also see:

 


 

 

 

Higher Education’s 2019 Trend Watch & Top 10 Strategic Technologies — from EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR)

Most Influential Trends

  • Growing complexity of security threats
  • Student success focus/imperatives
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Increasing complexity of technology, architecture, and data
  • Contributions of IT to institutional operational excellence
  • Each of these trends is influential at 63% or more of colleges and universities. And, they are enduring—these are the same trends that exerted the most influence on IT strategy in 2018.

 

 

4 key tech strategies for the survival of the small liberal arts college — from campustechnology.com by Kellie B. Campbell
In a recent study on the use of technology to reduce academic costs in liberal arts colleges, four distinct themes emerged: the strategic role of IT; the importance of data; the potential of alternative education delivery modes; and opportunities for institutional partnerships. Here’s how IT leaders at these small colleges understand the future of their institutions.

Excerpt:

In this study, the flexibility of the semi-constructed interview format resulted in a fascinating level of honesty and bluntness from participants. In particular, participants’ language changed when they were asked to take off their professional hat and consider a new point of view — it was a chance to be vulnerable and honest. What was probably most interesting was that almost everyone signaled that the status quo is not sustainable. Something in the higher education model has to change for institutions to stay open, yet many lack a strategy for effecting change. Even if they do have a strategy in place on the business side, many are hesitant to dive into analysis and change on the academic side of the institution.

Institutions simply cannot continue to nibble at the edges of change. Significant change is needed in order to sustain the financial model of higher education. The ideas for doing so are out there, though the work must be guided by the institutional mission and consider new models for delivering education. CIOs and their departments can play an important role in that work — providing infrastructure, data, access, services and ideas — but institutional leadership at large needs to understand IT’s strategic role and position the organization to make that impact.

When participants were able to think about the “what if” question — what if the institution were forced to drastically cut academic costs — several had detailed, “out there” ideas that might not be traditionally welcomed into higher education cultures. Yet a number of participants were not being asked by their institutions to think about such ideas. The question is, if everyone agrees that the status quo is not sustainable, why aren’t they thinking about it?

 

 

A prediction for blockchain transformation in higher education  — from blockchain.capitalmarketsciooutlook.com by Michael Mathews

Excerpt:

Ironically, blockchain entered the scene in a very neutral way, while Bitcoin created all the noise, simply because it used an aspect of blockchain. Bitcoin, cyber coins, and/or token concepts will come and go, just as the various forms of web browsers did. However, just as the Internet lives on, so will blockchain. In fact, blockchain may very well become the best of the Internet and IoT merged with the trust factor of the ISBN/MARC code concept. As history unveils itself blockchain will stand the test of time and become a form of a future generation of the Internet (i.e. Internet 4.0) without the need for cyber security.

With a positive prediction on blockchain for future coupled with lessons learned from the Internet, blockchain will become the single largest influencer on education. I have only gone on record of predicting two shifts in technology over a 5-10 year period of time, and both have come to pass now. This is my third prediction, with the greatest potential for transformation.

 

 

What I did not know until last year was a neutral technology called blockchain would show up in the history of the world; and at the same time Amazon would start designing blockchain templates to reduce all the processes to allow educational decisions to become as easy as ordering and receiving Amazon products.

 

 

Columbus 2020: How this city in Ohio is shaping the future of jobs and preparing the next generation — from thefutureorganization.com by Jacob Morgan

Excerpt:

When asked who is responsible for retraining and upskilling the workers who are displaced to to job automation, Kenny said it should be a combined effort between the community, the major employers, and educational institutions. These major players need to have open and honest discussions to figure out how jobs are changing and what needs to be done to better equip people for the future of work.

Even though there is a large responsibility on the community, employers, and schools, that does not leave the individual employee off the hook. “The need, the velocity of which continued education is going to be required for you to be a competitive employee in the future is going to require a lot of responsibility. So you’re going to be responsible for raising your hand and saying, “I want that training. I’m willing to make a little bit of a time sacrifice to learn that skill to evolve as technologies evolve and continue my career. People that are willing to do that are going to have tremendous opportunity, maybe even greater opportunity than we’ve ever seen before. But those that are unwilling to do that or perhaps don’t have the insight and aren’t given the roadmap around that are going to have a difficult time.”

 

 

The Future Today Institute’s 12th Annual Emerging Tech Trends Report — from futuretodayinstitute.com

Excerpts:

At the Future Today Institute, we identify emerging tech trends and map the future for our clients. This is FTI’s 12th annual Tech Trends Report, and in it we identify 315 tantalizing advancements in emerging technologies — artificial intelligence, biotech, autonomous robots, green energy and space travel — that will begin to enter the mainstream and fundamentally disrupt business, geopolitics and everyday life around the world. As of the publication date, the annual FTI Tech Trend Report report has garnered more than 7.5 cumulative views.

Key findings for 2019 (emphasis DSC)

  • Privacy is dead. (DC: NOT GOOD!!! If this is true, can the situation be reversed?)
  • Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is the new SEO.
  • The Big Nine.
  • Personal data records are coming. (DC: Including cloud-based learner profiles I hope.)
  • China continues to ascend, and not just in artificial intelligence.
  • Lawmakers around the world are not prepared to deal with new challenges that arise from emerging science and technology.
  • Consolidation continues as a key theme for 2019.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Why AI is a threat to democracy — and what we can do to stop it — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao and Amy Webb

Excerpt:

Universities must create space in their programs for hybrid degrees. They should incentivize CS students to study comparative literature, world religions, microeconomics, cultural anthropology and similar courses in other departments. They should champion dual degree programs in computer science and international relations, theology, political science, philosophy, public health, education and the like. Ethics should not be taught as a stand-alone class, something to simply check off a list. Schools must incentivize even tenured professors to weave complicated discussions of bias, risk, philosophy, religion, gender, and ethics in their courses.

One of my biggest recommendations is the formation of GAIA, what I call the Global Alliance on Intelligence Augmentation. At the moment people around the world have very different attitudes and approaches when it comes to data collection and sharing, what can and should be automated, and what a future with more generally intelligent systems might look like. So I think we should create some kind of central organization that can develop global norms and standards, some kind of guardrails to imbue not just American or Chinese ideals inside AI systems, but worldviews that are much more representative of everybody.

Most of all, we have to be willing to think about this much longer-term, not just five years from now. We need to stop saying, “Well, we can’t predict the future, so let’s not worry about it right now.” It’s true, we can’t predict the future. But we can certainly do a better job of planning for it.

 

 

 

7 Things You Should Know About Accessibility Policy — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Websites from the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) of the California State University, Penn State, the University of Virginia, and the Web Accessibility Initiative feature rich content related to IT accessibility policies. A California State University memorandum outlines specific responsibilities and reporting guidelines in support of CSU’s Policy on Disability Support and Accommodations. Cornell University developed a multiyear “Disability Access Management Strategic Plan.” Specific examples of accessibility policies focused on electronic communication and information technology can be found at Penn State, Purdue University, Yale University, and the University of Wisconsin– Madison. Having entered into a voluntary agreement with the National Federation of the Blind to improve accessibility, Wichita State University offers substantial accessibility-related resources for its community, including specific standards for ensuring accessibility in face-to face instruction.

 

 

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