The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
The blockchain provides a rich, secure, and transparent platform on which to create a global network for higher learning. This Internet of value can help to reinvent higher education in a way the Internet of information alone could not.

Excerpt:

What will be the most important technology to change higher education? In our view, it’s not big data, the social web, MOOCs, virtual reality, or even artificial intelligence. We see these as components of something new, all enabled and transformed by an emerging technology called the blockchain.

OK, it’s not the most sonorous word ever, sounding more like a college football strategy than a transformative technology. Yet, sonorous or not, the blockchain represents nothing less than the second generation of the Internet, and it holds the potential to disrupt money, business, government, and yes, higher education.

The opportunities for innovators in higher education fall into four categories:

  • Identity and Student Records: How we identify students; protect their privacy; measure, record, and credential their accomplishments; and keep these records secure
  • New Pedagogy: How we customize teaching to each student and create new models of learning
  • Costs (Student Debt): How we value and fund education and reward students for the quality of their work
  • The Meta-University: How we design entirely new models of higher education so that former MIT President Chuck Vest’s dream can become a reality1

The blockchain may help us change the relationships among colleges and universities and, in turn, their relationship to society.

Let us explain.

 

What if there was an Internet of value — a global, distributed, highly secure platform, ledger, or database where we could store and exchange things of value and where we could trust each other without powerful intermediaries? That is the blockchain.

 

 

From DSC:
The quote…

In 2006, MIT President Emeritus Vest offered a tantalizing vision of what he called the meta-university. In the open-access movement, he saw “a transcendent, accessible, empowering, dynamic, communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced.”

…made me wonder if this is where a vision that I’m tracking called Learning from the Living [Class] Room is heading. Also, along these lines, futurist Thomas Frey believes

“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)

Blockchain could be a key piece of this vision.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

From J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s Weekly Roundup 

 

 

From DSC:
For me, using robots for baristas could take away from the charm/overall experience of going into a cafe.  Plus, if Starbucks were to go down this path, many jobs would be lost for our students working their way through college.

 

 

 

 

You can be sitting ‘courtside’ at NBA games with virtual reality — from mercurynews.com by Bill Oram

Excerpt:

“The result is a really strong sense of presence,” said David Cole, who helped found NextVR as a 3D company in 2009. “A vivid sense.”

 

 

“In some ways, we could still be at a point in time where a lot of people don’t yet know that they want this in VR,” said David Cramer, NextVR’s chief operating officer. “The thing that we’ve seen is that when people do see it, it just blows away their expectations.”

 

 

From DSC:
Hmm…the above piece from The Mercury News on #VR speaks of presence.  A vivid sense of presence.

If they can do this with an NBA game, why cant’ we do this with remote learners & bring them into face-to-face classrooms? How might VR be used in online learning and distance education? Could be an interesting new revenue stream for colleges and universities…and help serve more people who want to learn but might not be able to move to certain locations and/or not be able to attend face-to-face classrooms. Applications could exist within the corporate training/L&D world as well.

 

Also related/see:

 

 

From DSC:
The following questions came to my mind today:

  • What are the future ramifications — for higher education — of an exponential population growth curve, especially in regards to providing access?
  • Are our current ways of providing an education going to hold up?
  • What about if the cost of obtaining a degree maintains its current trajectory?
  • What changes do we need to start planning for and/or begin making now?

 

 

 

 

 

Links to sources:

 

 

The 2017 Top 10 IT Issues — a new report from Educause
It’s all about student success.

Excerpt:

Colleges and universities are concentrating on student success to address concerns about the costs, value, and outcomes of higher education. Student success initiatives are making use of every available resource and opportunity and involving every relevant stakeholder. Institutional technology is all three: resource, opportunity, and stakeholder.

The 2017 issues list identifies the four focus areas for higher education information technology:

  • Develop the IT foundations
  • Develop the data foundations
  • Ensure effective leadership
  • Enable successful students

These issues and focus areas are not just about today. Higher education information technology is very clearly building foundations for student success to last into the future.

 

 

 


 

Also see:

Educause Announces Top IT Issues, Trends and Tech Report for 2017 — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Expanding on the preview of its annual ranking of IT issues for higher education released last fall, Educause today announced its full report on the key issues, trends and technologies poised to impact higher ed in 2017. The prevailing themes across the board, according to the higher education technology association with a membership of 2,100 colleges, universities and other education organizations: information security, student success and data-informed decision-making.

The top 10 IT issues for 2017, reiterated in today’s report:

  1. Information security;
  2. Student success and completion;
  3. Data-informed decision-making;
  4. Strategic leadership;
  5. Sustainable funding;
  6. Data management and governance;
  7. Higher education affordability;
  8. Sustainable staffing;
  9. Next-generation enterprise IT; and
  10. Digital transformation of learning.

 

 

 

From DSC:
When I turned on the TV the other day, our local news station was playing a piece re: the closing of several stores in Michigan, some within our area. Some of the national retail stores/chains mentioned were:

  • Macy’s
    • Macy’s closing 100 stores, including 4 in Michigan
      Excerpt:
      Four Macy’s stores in Michigan are permanently closing in a series of company cuts expected to cost 6,200 jobs. Macy’s announced 68 of the 100 stores it plans to shutter Wednesday, according to CNBC. On the list is the Macy’s at Lakeview Square Mall in Battle Creek. CNBC reports the store opened in 1983 and employs 51 associates. Also on the chopping block is the Macy’s in Lansing, Westland and the Eastland Center in Harper Woods. All four Michigan stores are slated to close by the end of 2017.
    • Sears and Kmart closing 150 stores — from money.cnn.com by Paul La Monica
      Sears is shutting down 150 more stores, yet another sign of how tough it is for former kings of the retail industry to compete in a world now dominated by Amazon.
      .
  • Sears
    • Internet is the new anchor: Woodland Mall Sears closing
      Big box and anchor stores a vanishing species in West Michigan
      Excerpt:
      Despite the best economy in a decade and a nearly 4 percent increase in consumer spending this holiday, the kind of retailers that used to be the draws for shopping malls and plazas are feeling the continuing impact of the internet. The most notable recent victim of the trend is the Sears that has served as an anchor store at Woodland Mall for decades. “We hear rumors every week about what’s going on, but we don’t want to hear that — we’re working there, we don’t want to hear that kind of thing. We didn’t think that was going to happen to us. We were doing pretty good,” said 52-year-old Marty Kruizenga, who worked at the Sears Automotive at Woodland Mall. He was told Wednesday morning his store was closing.
      .
  • The Limited
    • The Limited just shut all of its stores — from money.cnn.com by Jackie Wattles
      Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
      American malls just got emptier.
      The Limited, a once-popular women’s clothing brand that offers casual attire and workwear, no longer has any storefronts. On Saturday [1/7/17], a message on the store’s website read, “We’re sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors. But this isn’t goodbye.” The website will still be up and running and will continue to ship nationwide, the company said.

      The Limited is among a long list of brick-and-mortar retailers that once thrived in malls and strip shopping centers — but are now suffering at the hands of digital commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) and fast fashion stores such as H&M and Forever 21.
      .
  • And another chain that I don’t recall…

Here’s a snapshot I took of the television screen at the end of their piece:

 

The warnings were there but people didn’t want to address them:

 

Amazon is taking an increasing share of the US apparel market, according to Morgan Stanley. 

 

 

Also regarding Amazon, see this interesting prediction from Jack Uldrich:

 

 

Below is a quote from a Forbes.com article entitled “Here’s What’s Wrong With Department Stores

Are Department Stores Dead?  Not yet. But they could kill themselves, under the weight of “we’ve always done it this way”. Tweaks in omni-channel strategy aren’t going to be enough to address the fundamental issues at department stores. Not with the way these trends are heading.

 

 

Along the lines of the above items, many of us can remember the Blockbuster stores closing in our areas not that long ago — having been blown out of the water by Netflix.

 

 

Although there are several lines of thought that could be pursued here (one of which might be to discuss the loss of jobs, especially to our students, as many of them work within retail)… some of the key questions that come to my mind are:

  • Could this closing of many brick and mortar-based facilities happen within higher education?
    .
  • With the advent of artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, will the innovations that take place on the Internet blow away what’s happening in the face-to-face (F2F) classrooms? As Thomas Frey asserts, by 2030, will the largest company on the internet be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet?
    (NOTE: “Frey doesn’t go so far as to argue education bots will replace traditional schooling outright. He sees them more as a supplement, perhaps as a kind of tutor.”)

    .
  • Or, because people enjoy learning together in a F2F environment, will F2F classrooms augment what they are doing with what’s available online/digitally?
    .
  • Will the discussion not revolve around online vs F2F, but rather will the topic at hand be more focused on how innovative/responsive one’s institution is?

 


Also relevant/see:

Attention University Presidents: A Press Release From the Near Future — from futurist Jack Uldrich
(Emphasis added below by DSC)

(Editor’s Note: Change is difficult. This is especially true in organizations that have heretofore been immune to the broader forces of disruption–such as institutions of higher learning. To shake presidents, administrators, and faculty out of their stupor I have drafted the following fictional press release. I encourage all university and college presidents and their boards to read it and then discuss how they can–and must–adapt in order to remain competitive in the future.)

PRESS RELEASE (Fictional Scenario: For Internal Discussion Only)

(Note: All links in the press release highlight real advances in the field of higher education).

State College to Close at End of 2021-2022 Academic Year
Washington, DC – December 16, 2021 — State College, one of the country’s leading public universities, has decided to cease academic operations at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

rest of fictional press release here –>

 


 

Last comment from DSC:
I don’t post this to be a fear monger. Rather,  I post it to have those of us working with higher education take some time to reflect on this situation — because we need to be far more responsive to change than we are being. Given the increasingly rapid pace of change occurring in our world today, people will have to continue to reinvent themselves. But the difference in the near future will be in the number of times people have to reinvent themselves and how quickly they need to do it. They won’t be able to take 2-4 years off to do it.

Let’s not get blown out of the water by some alternative. Let’s respond while we still have the chance. Let’s be in touch with the changing landscapes and needs out there.

 


 

Addendums:

Colleges need to adapt to meet the changing demographics and needs of students, rather than expect them to conform to a tradition-loving system.

“Unless we become more nimble in our approach and more scalable in our solutions, we will miss out on an opportunity to embrace and serve the majority of students who will need higher education and postsecondary learning,” says the report. Later it underscores that “higher education has never mattered so much to those who seek it. It drives social mobility, energizes our economy, and underpins our democracy.”

 

 

WHEN education fails to keep pace with technology, the result is inequality. Without the skills to stay useful as innovations arrive, workers suffer—and if enough of them fall behind, society starts to fall apart. That fundamental insight seized reformers in the Industrial Revolution, heralding state-funded universal schooling. Later, automation in factories and offices called forth a surge in college graduates. The combination of education and innovation, spread over decades, led to a remarkable flowering of prosperity.

Today robotics and artificial intelligence call for another education revolution. This time, however, working lives are so lengthy and so fast-changing that simply cramming more schooling in at the start is not enough. People must also be able to acquire new skills throughout their careers.

 

 

 
Amazon is going to kill more American jobs than China did — from marketwatch.com
Millions of retail jobs are threatened as Amazon’s share of online purchases keeps climbing

 

 

 

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with AI, NLP, and blockchain-based technologies! [Christian]

From DSC:

Don’t discount the game-changing power of the morphing “TV” when coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and blockchain-based technologies!

When I saw the article below, I couldn’t help but wonder what (we currently know of as) “TVs” will morph into and what functionalities they will be able to provide to us in the not-too-distant future…?

For example, the article mentions that Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will be offering TVs that can not only access Alexa — a personal assistant from Amazon which uses artificial intelligence — but will also be able to provide access to over 7,000 apps and games via the Amazon Fire TV Store.

Some of the questions that come to my mind:

  • Why can’t there be more educationally-related games and apps available on this type of platform?
  • Why can’t the results of the assessments taken on these apps get fed into cloud-based learner profiles that capture one’s lifelong learning? (#blockchain)
  • When will potential employers start asking for access to such web-based learner profiles?
  • Will tvOS and similar operating systems expand to provide blockchain-based technologies as well as the types of functionality we get from our current set of CMSs/LMSs?
  • Will this type of setup become a major outlet for competency-based education as well as for corporate training-related programs?
  • Will augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) capabilities come with our near future “TVs”?
  • Will virtual tutoring be one of the available apps/channels?
  • Will the microphone and the wide angle, HD camera on the “TV” be able to be disconnected from the Internet for security reasons? (i.e., to be sure no hacker is eavesdropping in on their private lives)

 

Forget a streaming stick: These 4K TVs come with Amazon Fire TV inside — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

Excerpt:

The TVs will not only have access to Alexa via a microphone-equipped remote but, more importantly, will have access to the over 7,000 apps and games available on the Amazon Fire TV Store – a huge boon considering that most of these Smart TVs usually include, at max, a few dozen apps.

 

 

 

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 


Addendums


 

“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.

.

  • Once thought to be a fad, MOOCs showed staying power in 2016 — from educationdive.com
    Dive Brief:

    • EdSurge profiles the growth of massive online open courses in 2016, which attracted more than 58 million students in over 700 colleges and universities last year.
    • The top three MOOC providers — Coursera, Udacity and EdX — collectively grossed more than $100 million last year, as much of the content provided on these platforms shifted from free to paywall guarded materials.
    • Many MOOCs have moved to offering credentialing programs or nanodegree offerings to increase their value in industrial marketplaces.
 

Some reflections/resources on today’s announcements from Apple

tv-app-apple-10-27-16

 

tv-app2-apple-10-27-16

From DSC:
How long before recommendation engines like this can be filtered/focused down to just display apps, channels, etc. that are educational and/or training related (i.e., a recommendation engine to suggest personalized/customized playlists for learning)?

That is, in the future, will we have personalized/customized playlists for learning on our Apple TVs — as well as on our mobile devices — with the assessment results of our taking the module(s) or course(s) being sent in to:

  • A credentials database on LinkedIn (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • A credentials database at the college(s) or university(ies) that we’re signed up with for lifelong learning (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • To update our cloud-based learning profiles — which can then feed a variety of HR-related systems used to find talent? (via blockchain)

Will participants in MOOCs, virtual K-12 schools, homeschoolers, and more take advantage of learning from home?

Will solid ROI’s from having thousands of participants paying a smaller amount (to take your course virtually) enable higher production values?

Will bots and/or human tutors be instantly accessible from our couches?

Will we be able to meet virtually via our TVs and share our computing devices?

 

bigscreen_rocket_league

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

 


Other items on today’s announcements:


 

 

macbookpro-10-27-16

 

 

All the big announcements from Apple’s Mac event — from amp.imore.com by Joseph Keller

  • MacBook Pro
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Apple TV > new “TV” app
  • Touch Bar

 

Apple is finally unifying the TV streaming experience with new app — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

 

 

How to migrate your old Mac’s data to your new Mac — from amp.imore.com by Lory Gil

 

 

MacBook Pro FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new laptops — from amp.imore.com by Serenity Caldwell

 

 

Accessibility FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new accessibility portal — from imore.com by Daniel Bader

 

 

Apple’s New MacBook Pro Has a ‘Touch Bar’ on the Keyboard — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

Apple’s New TV App Won’t Have Netflix or Amazon Video — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

 

 

Apple 5th Gen TV To Come With Major Software Updates; Release Date Likely In 2017 — from mobilenapps.com

 

 

 

 

A new “MicroMasters” online learning program offered by major universities — from hechingerreport.org by Nichole Dobo
From Hong Kong to Holland, 14 institutions join MOOC partnership

Excerpt:

A new kind of credential has entered the crowded market for online learning.

EdX, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that provides online courses, announced last week the creation of 19 “MicroMasters” courses, a new type of online educational program. These courses are tailored master’s degree-level classes that can help students hone skills that will be immediately useful in the workplace.

“I think the MicroMasters is a big next step in the evolution of education,” Anant Agarwal, the CEO of edX and an MIT professor, said in an interview last week.

These courses – offered through 14 universities including Columbia, Arizona State University and the University of Michigan, as well as some in Australia, Europe and India – are open to anyone who wants to take them. No transcripts or prerequisites required. Students don’t even need a GED to enroll.

Anyone can learn in the MicroMasters program for free, although those who wish to receive a certificate of completion must pay a $1,000 fee. That money gives the student more than a piece of paper; it also pays for extra services, such as more attention from the instructor.

 

 

edx-micromasters-sept2016

 

Also somewhat related/see (emphasis DSC):

  • An Online Education Breakthrough? A Master’s Degree for a Mere $7,000 — from nytimes.com by Kevin Carey
    Excerpt:
    Georgia Tech rolled out its online master’s in computer science in 2014. It already had a highly selective residential master’s program that cost about the same as those of competitor colleges. Some may see online learning as experimental or inferior, something associated with downmarket for-profit colleges. But the nation’s best universities have fully embraced it. Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, U.S.C. and others have also developed online master’s degrees, for which they charge the same tuition as their residential programs.Georgia Tech decided to do something different. It charges online students the smallest amount necessary to cover its costs. That turned out to be $510 for a three-credit class. U.S.C. charges online students $5,535 for a three-credit class. (Both programs also charge small per-semester fees.)

    With one of the top 10 computer science departments in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, Georgia Tech had a reputation to uphold. So it made the online program as much like the residential program as possible.

 

 

 

Two things happened today that got me to reflect on the word resilience:

  1. An all-campus conference with faculty and staff, whereby one of the breakout sessions was about supporting emotional resilience in our students. It was led by the head of the campus’ counseling center. She gave some data on the increased use of the counseling center over the last 4 years. Evidently, this isn’t just happening at our campus, but all over the country.
    .
  2. Then I ran into the article below; some excerpts are listed below as well.

When I’m teaching a First Year Seminar course this fall, one of the topics deals with resilience. When I’m addressing it, I want to focus on the parts highlighted in green below, and stay clear of the caution noted in red below.

An additional thought on this is that today’s students are dealing with the high prices of obtaining a college degree. This means that many of them have to work to get through school. Otherwise, many of these students will come out of school with enormous debts — debts that don’t go away until they are paid up. I’m not saying that by them working the students can pay all of their expenses — that’s becoming highly unlikely these days. But it can reduce the amounts of their debts.  These debts affects when students get married, when they can buy a home, when and how much they can save for retirement, and more. So the stresses are very realand different from many of us from a different generation. We can’t just say they need to be more resilient as an entire generation.

No, the job for us working within higher ed needs to be to bring the price of obtaining a degree down. Not just “no more increases.”  No. Bring the costs down! 

We can’t expect to have an arms race in the facilities that we offer as well as in our sports programs (and though I was an athlete in college I still say this) and expect costs to go down. Technology looks to me to be our best chance of bringing costs down, while maintaining quality. I don’t have the time to expand on that perspective now, but the greater use of online learning as well as the increased use of emerging technologies that can deliver more personalized learning should help.

 

 

Struggling students are not ‘lacking resilience’ – they need more support — from theguardian.com by Gabbi Binnie

Some excerpts:

Students often see the word as a synonym for strength, and therefore feel that lacking resilience is a sign of weakness. A professor could be saying “be more resilient” and mean that a student shouldn’t take critical comments on their work personally. But what a student hears is something like, you aren’t strong enough, or you need to man-up, or you lack backbone.

Times have changed
Problems are often discussed with an “it was different back in my day” attitude. So if students are accessing university counselling services more, it’s because the entire student population is losing its resilience. If disability services are overstretched, the same reason is given. And when tutors are asked to provide pastoral support – historically always a part of the personal tutor role – they feel it’s because these “modern students” need extra help.

Students might be asking for help earlier and for problems that they once might have kept to themselves. But to dismiss an entire generation isn’t fair.

Students are coping with all sorts of factors that make their lives a challenge: the worry about tuition fee debt, an intensely competitive graduate jobs market and the pressure of social media. By recognising this, university staff can start to support their students to become more resilient.

Resilience is a great concept. Learning not to be discouraged by past failings and recognising shortcomings is an extremely useful skill. Students need to be equipped to spring back from tough situations, or times when they didn’t achieve perfection – this is vitally important in universities.

As support staff we need to enable students to learn the skills of resilience. We need to standardise what we mean by it. And we should never use the term when discussing mental health.

 

 

 
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