Walmart just started delivering stuff with drones — from futurism.com by Victor Tangermann

Excerpt:

Walmart just kicked off its own drone delivery pilot, a collaboration with drone delivery company Flytrex. The pilot launched today in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is limited to select grocery and household essential items from the retailer’s local stores.

 

Let's keep the drone armies out of the skies please.

From DSC:
It starts off with an army of drones from Walmart joined by another army of drones from Amazon.

Drones from Amazon Prime. Let's keep them out of the skies please.

 

Then company XYZ chimes in. Then company ABC chimes in. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Then the armies of drones change to more powerful, louder, more “capable” delivery vehicles that can handle bigger, heavier deliveries.

And suddenly, the skies are full of noise-making, sun-blocking pieces of human-made machinery that, for the most part, are convenient but not necessary. 

We need to think — and act — very carefully these days.

  • What kind of future do we want to hand down to our children and to our grandchildren?
  • What will the skies look and sound like in 2030 if such armies of drones and other types of airborne delivery vehicles are released?
  • Are we willing to say that our kids won’t mind paying the price?

Is this the future we want to create? Not me. I, for one, appreciate a quiet walk. I appreciate being able to look up at the skies, especially when they are clear. 

We have a responsibility to keep things this way.

To the relevant engineers and C-Suites out there:

  • Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.
  • Please take more responsibility for what’s being developed/brought to market.

Let’s shut this down — now — before the momentum gets started. Let’s follow Portland’s example by shutting down facial recognition/AI:

  • Portland adopts landmark facial recognition ordinances — from thehill.com by Chris Mills Rodrigo
    Excerpt:
    “What makes Portland’s legislation stand out from other cities is that we’re prohibiting facial recognition technology use by private entities in public accommodations,” Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) said during Wednesday’s deliberations. “This is the first of its kind of legislation in the nation,” he added.
  • Why Amazon tried to thwart Portland’s historic facial recognition ban — from salon.com by Matt Rozsa
    Amazon reportedly lobbied in secret to weaken Portland’s ban on private use of facial recognition technology

 

 

 

From DSC:
The perfect storm continues to build against traditional institutions of higher education. The backlash continues to build strength. And there WILL BE change — there’s no choice now. Alternatives to these traditional institutions of higher education continue to appear on the scene.

Over the last several decades, traditional institutions of higher education had the chance to step in and do something. They didn’t take nearly enough action. As in other industries, these days of the Coronavirus just hasten the changes that were already afoot. 

Also see:

  • Alternative Credentials on the Rise — from insidehighered.com by Paul Fain, with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
    Interest is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Will they become viable alternative pathways to well-paying jobs?
 

The Great Online Migration and Curricular Materials Product-Market Fit — from eliterate.us by Michael Feldstein

Excerpts:

Third, COVID-19 will accelerate the need of colleges and universities to find ways of continuing to serve their graduates for 20 or 40 years rather than for two or four. Quite simply, they will need revenue at a time when the pace and breadth of reskilling needs in the workplace is accelerating. These students will need online or blended educational experience, which will mean that more instructors will be called upon to teach using new modalities.

Major changes in the market
This shift online will drastically shift approaches to curricular materials at both the individual instructor and the institutional levels.

Meanwhile, institutions will face two pedagogy-related challenges. First, they will have to work very hard to retain students who are under increased financial stress and may struggle in an online environment more than they would in a residential program. Since the colleges will also be under financial stress, they will need to retain every student possible. They will no longer have the luxury of simply letting faculty teach however they like and accepting that some of them are not good at helping their students to succeed.

 

 

First They Came for Adjuncts, Now They’ll Come for Tenure: And who will be left to stop them? — from chronicle.com by Ed Burmila

Excerpts:

If, by their own accord or by caving to outside political pressures, university administrators take the current crisis as an opportunity to eliminate tenure once and for all, who’s going to stop them?

Put another way: Are there enough academic workers with a stake in the tenure system left to defend it?

As go the adjuncts and the nonacademic staff today, so go the tenured faculty tomorrow.

It is in the interest of tenured faculty to fight for their non-tenure-track colleagues. But the key question, as The Chronicle’s Emma Pettit asks, is: Will it be too little too late? When contingent labor protested for years about poor working conditions, it did not find many allies willing to fight alongside it. Now the roles are reversed: Tenured faculty will soon need the rest of the profession to help fight attempts to erode tenure.

Addendum on 8/20/20:

Higher ed group offers ideas for supporting contingent faculty — from educationdive.com by Hallie Busta

Dive Brief:

  • Support for non-tenure-track faculty members continues to be a concern amid pandemic-related cutbacks and pushback over how some campuses plan to reopen.
  • A faculty industry group this week put out a list of principles and recommendations for institutions to protect those instructors, calling for them to get paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, and extended access to rehire or promotion opportunities.
  • The ideas come as calls for greater shared governance grow across the sector in light of the ongoing health crisis.
 

From DSC: I’d like to thank Ryan Craig for mentioning several interesting articles and thoughts in a recent Gap Letter. At least 2-3 of the articles he mentioned got me to thinking…


With a degree no longer enough, job candidates are told to prove their skills in tests — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Instead of relying on credentials, more employers want applicants to show their stuff

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Among the many frustrations ahead for millions of Americans thrown out of work by the pandemic is one that may surprise them: To get a new job, it’s increasingly likely they will have to take a test.

As the number of candidates balloons while health risks make it hard for hiring managers to meet with them in person, a trend toward “pre-hiring assessments” — already under way before Covid-19 — is getting a huge new push.

Skeptical that university degrees are the best measure of whether candidates have the skills they need, employers were already looking for ways that applicants could prove it — including in fields where that was not previously required.

“It’s like try before you buy,” said Price.

It's very possible that students will have to take assessments to get that job -- assessments that are based on a completely different set of Learning Objectives (LO's).

PDF version here.

Also see:

From DSC:
There is a huge misalignment between the Learning Objectives (LO’s) that the corporate world supports — and ultimately hires by — as compared to the LO’s that faculty, provosts, & presidents support.

This happened to me a while back when I was looking for a new job. I traveled to another city — upon the company’s request (though they never lifted a finger to help me with the travel-related expenses). Plus, I dedicated the time and got my hopes up, yet again, in getting the job. But the test they gave me (before I even saw a human being) blew me away! It was meant for PhD-level candidates in Computer Science, Programming, or Statistics. It was ridiculously hard.

The article above got me to thinking….

Higher education increasingly puts a guerrilla of debt on many students’ backs, which adds to the dispiriting struggle to overcome these kinds of tests. Also, the onslaught of the Applicant Tracking Systems that students have to conquer (in order to obtain that sought after interview) further adds to this dispiriting struggle.

How can we achieve better alignment here? Students are getting left holding the bag…a situation that will likely not last much longer. If higher ed doesn’t address this situation, we shouldn’t be surprised to see a mass exodus when effective alternatives pick up steam even further. Last call to address this now before the exodus occurs.

Along these lines see:

Better Connecting College and Career — from insidehighered.com by Steven Mintz
How to improve career readiness.

Excerpt:

How can colleges best prepare students for careers in a volatile, uncertain environment? This is the question recently asked by Marie Cini, the former provost at University of Maryland University College and former president of CAEL.

Career service offices, she observes, are first and foremost job search centers: reviewing résumés, publicizing job openings and arranging interviews. What they are not about, for the most part, is career preparation, a longer and more intense process involving self-analysis, skills building and genuine insights into the job market.

 

Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? [Smith]

Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? — from theatlantic.com by Michael Smith; with thanks to Homa Tavangar & Will Richardson for this resource
Like the entertainment industry, colleges will need to embrace digital services in order to survive.

Excerpts:

We all know how that worked out: From 1999 to 2009, the music industry lost 50 percent of its sales. From 2014 to 2019, roughly 16 million American households canceled their cable subscriptions.

Similar dynamics are at play in higher education today. Universities have long been remarkably stable institutions—so stable that in 2001, by one account, they comprised an astonishing 70 of the 85 institutions in the West that have endured in recognizable form since the 1520s.

That stability has again bred overconfidence, overpricing, and an overreliance on business models tailored to a physical world. Like those entertainment executives, many of us in higher education dismiss the threats that digital technologies pose to the way we work.

Information technology transforms industries by making scarce resources plentiful, forcing customers to rethink the value of established products.

Paul Krugman, Economist, teaching on Masterclass.com

 

Learning from the Living Class Room

From DSC:
I can’t help but hear Clayton Christenson’s voice in the following quote:

An analogous situation prevails in higher education, where access to classroom seats, faculty experts, and university diplomas have been scarce for half a millennium. When massively open online courses first appeared, making free classes available to anyone with internet access, universities reflexively dismissed the threat. At the time, MOOCs were amateuristic, low-quality, and far removed from our degree-granting programs. But over the past 10 years, the technology has improved greatly.

 

Colleges face rising revolt by professors — from nytimes.com by Anemona Hartocollis
Most universities plan to bring students back to campus. But many of their teachers are concerned about joining them.

Excerpt:

College students across the country have been warned that campus life will look drastically different in the fall, with temperature checks at academic buildings, masks in half-empty lecture halls and maybe no football games.

What they might not expect: a lack of professors in the classroom.

Thousands of instructors at American colleges and universities have told administrators in recent days that they are unwilling to resume in-person classes because of the pandemic.

More than three-quarters of colleges and universities have decided students can return to campus this fall. But they face a growing faculty revolt.

In an indication of how fluid the situation is, the University of Southern California said late Wednesday that “an alarming spike in coronavirus cases” had prompted it to reverse an earlier decision to encourage attending classes in person.

 

Mounting faculty concerns about the fall semester — from insidehighered.com by Colleen Flaherty
Professors across institutions are increasingly waving red flags about the private and public health implications of default face-to-face instruction come fall, along with a lack of shared decision making in staffing and teaching decisions.

Excerpt:

Many professors are worried about the private and public health implications of having students return to campus and expectations about who will teach them face-to-face. If there is any consensus, it is that instructors should not be forced to teach in person, and that teaching remotely shouldn’t require any special medical exemption.

From DSC:
Solid article…though I wish there were more quotes from staff members. Staff who have to report to campuses this fall should also have a voice — as they are also concerned about their health. After all, staff members are equally susceptible to getting the Coronavirus. 

 

4 in 10 U.S. teens say they haven’t done online learning since schools closed — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

 

From DSC:
If you are able to — whether as a business or as an individual — please consider finding ways to help level the playing field in our nation by providing computers and broadband connectivity. Our society doesn’t need yet another gap, especially when you have this type of thing going on.

Online-based learning — along with blended learning — is likely a solid component of our learning ecosystems from here on out — but it’s not a level playing field out there right now.

 

 

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education — from bigthink.com by Dr. Michael Crow, President of ASU

Excerpt:

Third, it is abundantly apparent that universities must leverage technology to increase educational quality and access. The rapid shift to delivering an education that complies with social distancing guidelines speaks volumes about the adaptability of higher education institutions, but this transition has also posed unique difficulties for colleges and universities that had been slow to adopt digital education. The last decade has shown that online education, implemented effectively, can meet or even surpass the quality of in-person instruction.

Digital instruction, broadly defined, leverages online capabilities and integrates adaptive learning methodologies, predictive analytics, and innovations in instructional design to enable increased student engagement, personalized learning experiences, and improved learning outcomes. The ability of these technologies to transcend geographic barriers and to shrink the marginal cost of educating additional students makes them essential for delivering education at scale.

Far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student’s family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted. And without new designs, we can expect post-secondary success for these same students to be as elusive in the new normal, as it was in the old normal.

This is not just because some universities fail to sufficiently recognize and engage the promise of diversity, this is because few universities have been designed from the outset to effectively serve the unique needs of lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color.

 

Colleges cut academic programs in the face of budget shortfalls due to Covid-19 — from cnbc.com by Jessica Dickler

Key points:

  • As colleges face extreme budget shortfalls, some institutions are cutting academic programs that were once central to a liberal arts education.
  • The University of Alaska system announced it will cut 39 academic departments in all, including sociology, creative writing, chemistry and environmental science.

 

Even before the global pandemic caused craters in the economy, some institutions were facing financial hardship after years of declines in state funding for higher education. A number of private schools had already made wrenching budget cuts, from curriculum changes to complete overhauls of their liberal arts programs.

 

From DSC:
A screenshot from the video (below) shows a new type of liberal arts program at Hiram College.

It could very well be that online-based learning turns out to save the liberal arts!!!!! How ironic is that!?!!

That is, many college presidents, provost, and faculty members — especially from smaller liberal arts types of schools — have disdained online-based learning for decades now. It was always viewed as “less than” in their minds…they didn’t want to go that route, as doing so would dilute their precious (and often overpriced) brands. (To be clear, this is not my view…but it was, and still is in many cases, their view.)

Anyway, it looks like more of these same folks will be losing their jobs in the next few years (if they haven’t already). At that point, we may see some of these same folks encounter a sudden paradigm shift. (A shift many of their colleagues have already gone through in prior years.) These same folks may come to appreciate that people will be willing to pay them for their knowledge — but only willing to do so at a much more affordable price…which will likely mean online.

Fewer people — especially when 47 million people in the U.S. alone have filed for unemployment over the last 14 weeks — can afford the cost of getting a degree. They are looking for inexpensive, convenient, efficient, effective means of reinventing themselves.

 

Huh…another potential irony here…it appears that colleges and universities are coming to know what many of us have known and experienced for years…and that is, the struggle to:

  • Reinvent oneself
  • Stay relevant
  • Survive
 

From DSC:
I saw the piece below from Graham Brown-Martin’s solid, thought-provoking posting entitled, “University as a Service (UaaS)” out at medium.com. My question is: What happens if Professor Scott Galloway is right?!”

Excerpt:

Prof Scott Galloway predicts lucrative future partnerships between the FAANG mega-corporations and major higher education brands emerging as a result of current disruptions. Galloway wonders what a partnership between MIT and Apple would look like?

 

The education conveyor belt of the last century that went school to university to work and a job for life just doesn’t work in an era of rapid transformation. Suppose we truly embrace the notion of continuous or lifelong learning and apply that to the university model. It wouldn’t just stop in your twenties would it?

University as a Service (UaaS), where higher education course and degree modules are unbundled and accessed via a monthly subscription, could be a landing spot for the future of higher education and lifelong learners. 

 


Below are some other items
regarding the future of higher education.


Also relevant/see:

https://info.destinysolutions.com/lp-updating-the-higher-education-playbook-to-stay-relevant-in-2020

Also relevant/see:

 

Also relevant/see:

 

Also relevant/see:

  • Fast Forward: Looking to the Future Workforce and Online Learning — from evolllution.com by Joann Kozyrev (VP Design and Development, Western Governors University) and Amrit Ahluwalia
    Excerpt:
    With employers and students looking to close the gap in workforce skills, it’s critical for them to know what skills are in need the most. Postsecondary institutions need to be the resource to provide learners with the education the workforce needs and to make both parties understand the value of the students’ education. With the remote and online shift, it’s a new territory for institutions handle. In this interview, Joann Kozyrev discusses the impact remote learning has on an online institution, concerns about the future of online learning and how to get people back into the workforce fast and efficiently. 

 

 

RESEARCH REPORT: Shaping the Future of Post-Secondary Education — from cherrytree.com; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
A Time of Transformation in Post-Secondary Education and the American Workforce.

Excerpts:
The objective of this paper is to:

  1. Analyze the current “forever changed” moment for both the post-secondary sector and American workforce; and
  2. Provide insights and ideas for post-secondary education leaders, employers, policymakers and investors based on my analysis.


First and foremost, only growth mindsets will work in this environment.

Online programs will continue to grow.

Higher education institutions must permanently reduce their fixed costs.

Accreditors are going to have to become more tolerant of new models. Accreditors were created to provide self-regulation and a system of peer-review that leads to continuous improvement. Along the way, they were asked to become arbiters of quality in higher education as a condition for federal financial aid eligibility. The structural incentives for accreditors create conditions for them to avoid risk and be conservative. This will not serve society well in the months and years ahead. They will have to embrace innovation or alternatives to traditional accreditation needed.

Faster, less expensive programs with easily understood learning outcomes which are directly tied to employment will be in increasing demand.


From DSC:
Some graphics come to mind — yet again.

Learning from the living class room

 

But this time, those folks who haven’t been listening or who thought *they* were in control all along, are finally being forced to wake up and look around at the world and the new landscapes. They are finally coming to the realization that they are not in control.

Innovation. Speed. Responsiveness. Quick decision making. These things are tough for many institutions of traditional higher education; there will have to be massive cultural changes. Bringing down the cost of obtaining a degree has to occur...or the backlash against higher ed will continue to build momentum. Consider just a couple of recent lawsuits.

Several new lawsuits filed recently against institutions of higher education

 

Higher ed needs to build more mature Digital Learning Ecosystems

Higher Ed Needs a Long-Term Plan for Virtual Learning — from Harvard Business Review by James DeVaney, Gideon Shimshon, Matthew Rascoff, and Jeff Maggioncalda

Excerpts:

The staggering impact of Covid-19 on education systems around the world is unlike anything we have seen in the post-war era. More than 1.6 billion students have been affected, representing over 91% of all students in the world. Unsurprisingly, demand for online learning has skyrocketed. In the last 30 days, there were 10.3 million enrollments in courses on Coursera, up 644% from the same period last year.

As the emergency subsides but normal fails to return, higher ed institutions need to do more. There’s a good likelihood that virtual learning — in some capacity — will need to be a part of education for the foreseeable future. Higher ed institutions need a response framework that looks beyond the immediate actions. They have to prepare for an intermediate period of transition and begin future-proofing their institutions for the long term.

 

 

Fall Scenario #13: A HyFlex Model — from insidehighered.com by Edward Maloney and Joshua Kim

Excerpt:

In a HyFlex course, courses are delivered both in person and online at the same time by the same faculty member. Students can then choose for each and every class meeting whether to show up for class in person or to join it online. The underlying design ethos behind the HyFlex Model is flexibility and student choice.

To do it well, then, a lot of things need to line up, including the technology, the course design, the focus on pedagogy and the engagement of the students. Many schools that wish to scale the HyFlex Model across the curriculum for the fall semester will likely need to make a significant investment in classroom technology.

Also see the other scenarios from Kim and Maloney at:

15 fall scenarios for higher education this fall (i.e., the fall of 2020)

 

Problems planning for a Post-Pandemic Campus this fall — from bryanalexander.org by Bryan Alexander
How will campuses try to return to face-to-face education?  What does it mean now to plan for a Post-Pandemic Campus this fall?

Excerpt:

In April I published three scenarios for colleges and universities may approach the fall 2020 semester in the wake of COVID-19, based on different ways the pandemic might play out.  I followed that up with real world examples of each scenario, as different institutions subsequently issued announcements about their plans.  To recap, they are:

  1. COVID Fall: today’s “remote instruction” continues and develops for the rest of calendar 2020.
  2. Toggle Term: campuses are ready and able to switch between online and in-person instruction as circumstances change.
  3. Post-Pandemic Campus: colleges and universities return in the fall to the traditional face-to-face mode after COVID-19’s danger has ebbed to a certain level.

 

6 ways college might look different in the fall — from npr.com by Elissa Nadworny

Excerpt:

What will happen on college campuses in the fall? It’s a big question for families, students and the schools themselves.

A lot of what happens depends on factors outside the control of individual schools: Will there be more testing? Contact tracing? Enough physical space for distancing? Will the coronavirus have a second wave? Will any given state allow campuses to reopen?

For all of these questions, it’s really too early to know the answers. But one thing is clear: Life, and learning for the nation’s 20 million students in higher education, will be different.

“I don’t think there’s any scenario under which it’s business as usual on American college campuses in the fall,” says Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist and physician at Yale University.

 

If law schools can’t offer in-person classes this fall, what will they do instead? — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

 

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