From DSC:
By not listening/taking action nearly enough through the last several decades, the backlash continues to build against colleges and universities — institutions of traditional higher education who didn’t take the rise in tuition seriously. Students graduated and left campus, and the invisible gorillas of debt being placed on students’ backs weren’t acknowledged — nor were they fought against — nearly enough. Instead, the gorillas just kept getting bigger and bigger. 

Year after year, I tried to fight this trend and raise awareness of it…only to see the majority of institutions of traditional higher education do absolutely nothing. Then, as the backlash started to build, the boards and the administrations across the country began priding themselves on how their percentage increases were amongst the smallest in the area/state/nation. They should have found ways to decrease their tuition, but they didn’t. Instead, they resorted to playing games with discounts while their “retail values” kept going up and up.

The time’s coming when they will pay the piper for having done this. Just like what happened to the oil companies and to the car/truck manufactures who made megabucks (for the time being) when their vehicles kept getting bigger and bigger and when the price of oil was high. What happened? The end result was that they shot themselves in the foot. These days, Tesla — with their electric cars — is now the most valuable car company in America.

Within the realm of education…when effective, cheaper alternatives come along that still get people hired, you better look out traditional institutions of higher education. You didn’t listen. It happened on your watch. And speaking of watches, the next major one could be you watching more of your institutions close while watching your students walk out the door to pursue other, far less expensive alternatives.


Follow up comments:
I realize this is a broad swath and isn’t true for several institutions who have been fighting the fight. For example, my current employer — the WMU-Cooley Law School is reducing their tuition by 21% this fall and other institutions have reduced their tuition as well or found ways to honor “Promise” types of programs. Other institutions have done the market research and are offering more relevant, up-to-date curricula. (Don’t worry those of you who work within the liberal arts, I still support and believe in you. But we didn’t do a good enough balancing act between offering liberal arts programs and developing the needed skillsets to help students pay off those ever-growing gorillas of debt.)

The fact was that too often, those invisible gorillas of debt went unnoticed by many within higher education. And it wasn’t just the boards, administrators, presidents, and provosts out there. In fact, the full-time, tenured faculty members taught what they wanted to teach and were furious at those who dared assert that higher education was a business. (Watch a college football game on the major networks last fall? Have you seen the size of research institutions’ intellectual property-based revenues? We could go on and on.) 

Anyway, what tenured faculty members offered didn’t align with what the market needed and was calling for. They offered what was in their best interests, not the students’ best interests.

 

Artificial Intelligence is transforming the legal industry — from law.comby Christian A. Farmakis
Artificial intelligence (AI) is adding efficiencies and transforming businesses everywhere, and legal practices are no exception.

Excerpts:

How is AI technology disrupting the legal industry?
AI legal technology won’t replace lawyers, but these tools will drastically change the way lawyers provide services for their clients. While estimates vary, 23%t to 35% of a lawyer’s job could be automated. As a result, lawyers will need to be more strategic and supervisorial, able to act as project managers and supervise the information being fed into systems, and knowledgeable about the assumptions underlying the machine learning algorithms.

What will be the next wave of AI legal technology?
The next generation, which is starting to hit the market now, will be document automation and legal research and writing tools, as well as predictive technology tools. For example, a contract can be put through an algorithm in order to identify how risky it is. It could be used to determine how likely it is to go into litigation or if it complies with the company’s internal contract procedures and policies.

Another use is analytic tools that can measure efficiency and pricing of the legal services. E-billing and practice management tools could measure whether a service contract should cost $2,500, not the $7,500 that’s being charged. In other instances, AI could help firms do estimates for alternative fee arrangements.

 
 

DC: Precursor to a next gen learning platform…? Another piece is falling into place.

 

‘Fundamental shift’ is transforming the delivery of legal services, new report concludes — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

“Revolutionary changes are afoot” in the market for legal services, according to a new report.

Clients are actively managing their relationships with outside counsel, nonlaw competitors are gaining ground, and law firms are responding to market changes in innovative ways, the report says.

The 2020 Report on the State of the Legal Market was released Monday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. It is available for download here.

However, taking that view is seeing only one side of the story. Over this same period, there has been mounting evidence that the underlying model itself is changing, that clients, non-law firm competitors, and even many law firms are now operating with very different assumptions about the role law firm services should play in the legal ecosystem and how such services should be delivered. In the past year or so, this evidence has grown to the point that it seems apparent that a fundamental shift is now well underway.

Also see:

Lori Lorenzo, research and insights leader of chief legal officer program, Deloitte: “Catching-up and keeping-up with tech advancements for the legal function will remain a top goal for chief legal officers in 2020. Of course, addressing legal team tech skills gaps may drive inclusion of professionals with diverse skillsets, like data scientists, automation experts and the like, into the legal function.”

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

AI innovators should be listening to kids — from wired.com by Urs Gasser, executive director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the principal investigator of the Center’s Youth and Media project, and a professor at Harvard Law School.
Input from the next generation is crucial when it comes to navigating the challenges of new technologies.

Excerpts:

With another monumental societal transformation on the horizon—the rise of artificial intelligence—we have an opportunity to engage the power and imagination of youth to shape the world they will inherit. Many of us were caught off guard by the unintended consequences of the first wave of digital technologies, from mass surveillance to election hacking. But the disruptive power of the internet to date only sets the stage for the even more radical changes AI will produce in the coming decades.

Instead of waiting for the youth to respond to the next crisis, we should proactively engage them as partners in shaping our AI-entangled future.

Young people have a right to participate as we make critical choices that will determine what kind of technological world we leave for them and future generations. They also have unique perspectives to contribute as the first generation to grow up surrounded by AI shaping their education, health, social lives, leisure, and career prospects.

Youth have the most at stake, and they also have valuable perspectives and experiences to contribute. If we want to take control of our digital future and respond effectively to the disruptions new technology inevitably brings, we must listen to their voices.

 

6 reasons why higher education needs to be disrupted — from hbr.org by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Becky Frankiewicz

In our view, until the entire higher educational system prioritizes the classroom over the research lab, it will be a challenge for this dynamic to change.

Excerpts:

  1. Employers need skills, not just knowledge or titles:
  2. Students want jobs, not knowledge or titles:
  3. Students are paying more and more to get less and less:
  4. Students have unrealistic expectations (understandably) about college:
  5. Many elite universities prioritize research, often at the expense of teaching:
  6. Instead of boosting meritocracy, universities reinforce inequality:

The fundamental question we see is this: If a university claims to be a top educational institution, shouldn’t it admit the people with the lowest test scores, and turn them into the leader of tomorrow (as opposed to admitting the people with the highest income and test scores, who would probably rule the world tomorrow regardless of those three or four years in college)?

From DSC:
My hat’s off to those who teach in those institutions who “open wide” the gates of entry!!! They are the professors who have to work their tails off to help their students. 

And shame on the elite institutions who continue to value research/grant $$ waaaaaay over teaching — all while charging more and more for less and less…and while many graduates students end up teaching a lot of the undergraduate students. Those graduate students most likely haven’t been taught how to teach either!

And what higher ed pays adjunct faculty members is a complete disgrace — while many coaches make millions of $’s. Full-time faculty members — and administrators/provosts/other members of leadership — who were suddenly put into the adjunct faculty member’s role/wages would be outraged and demand immediate change.

 


A Financial Crisis — Student Loan Debt — from freedomdebtrelief.com by Micahel Micheletti; with thanks to Aimée Bennett (APR, Principal, Fagan Business Communications, Inc.) for this resource

Key findings

1)  Impact of student loan debt on stress, day-to-day life (college attendees/grads)

  • 67% of respondents said the cost of their college education has caused them to feel overwhelmed.
  • 47% said their college education cost has contributed to mental or emotional health issues (e.g., anxiety, depression).
  • 38% said the cost has caused them to lose sleep at night.
  • 49% said the cost of their college education has impacted their choice of where to live.
  • 42% said it impacted their choice of careers or jobs.

2)  Impact of student loan debt on finances (college attendees/grads)

  • 59% respondents said they can’t save any money because of the cost of their college education.
  • 45% said they can’t go on vacation because of college costs.
  • 32% said they are carrying credit card debt because of college costs.
  • 48% said they have been unable to pay off (or down), or have delayed paying off (or down), other types of debt because of the cost of college.
  • 47% have been unable to, or have delayed contributing to, saving for emergencies.
  • 43% believe their college education cost has impacted their retirement age.

3) Willing to make sacrifices to eliminate student loan debt (college attendees/grads)

  • 52% of respondents said they would take a job with a salary less than what they expected if the company paid off their student debt.
  • 27% said they would be willing to commit a maximum of five years to a company if they paid off their student loans; 28% said they would be willing to commit more than five years.

4) Impact of child’s student loan debt on parents

  • 20% of parents said their child’s college education cost has contributed to mental or emotional health issues (e.g., anxiety, depression) of their own.
  • 20% of parents said their child’s college education cost has caused them to lose sleep at night.
  • 40% of parents believe their child’s college education cost has impacted their retirement age; 41% said the cost has impacted their overall retirement plan.
  • 42% said they had given up saving for retirement; 42% gave up going on vacation.

 

Additional survey findings

1) Student loan debt reforms

  • 54% of students said they feel that student loan debt should be forgiven by the federal government.
  • 63% of students, and 52% of parents, said they would support expanding student loan forgiveness for those in public service (e.g., teachers, government employees, first responders, military service).
  • 54% of students, and 42% of parents, said they would support free or subsidized tuition for low-income households.
  • 53% of students, and 50% of parents, said they would support tax breaks for companies that offer student-loan repayment programs.

2) Expected length of time to pay off student loan debt

3) Lack of knowledge of loan terms, types – among both college attendees/grads and parents

 

After 40 Years of Constant Change, What’s Next for the Legal Industry?  — from law.com by Dan Packel
Few could have anticipated the dramatic shift in scope and scale the industry has undergone since The American Lawyer’s founding 40 years ago. We asked some of the law’s brightest thinkers what we can expect over the next 10.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Technology and Upheaval
While it’s easy to conclude that the technological revolution that’s already been unleashed will continue to drive transformation over the next 10 years, it’s harder to pinpoint how.

Expect more and more tasks to become subject to automation—not just contracts and e-discovery but also areas like trademarks and due diligence for mergers, for starters.

Technology and artificial intelligence on their own are noteworthy, but what’s more compelling is the impact they will have on how firms are structured.

“Everything that can be taken out of the hands of subject-matter experts and handed over to the process experts and technologists will be,” says Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Chairman and CEO Mitch Zuklie. “There will be far fewer associates sitting in rooms with documents and more strategic partnerships among law firms and legal tech providers.”

This transition could help chip away at the supremacy of the billable hour.

Not only will technology move up the value chain for litigation, it will also emerge as a greater player on the deal side. Jae Um, director of pricing strategy at Baker McKenzie, expects to see a much greater focus on compliance and regulatory technology in the next five years.

As AI solutions, which depend upon machine learning, are slowly deployed in the marketplace, their efficacy will inevitably grow.

 

How about a little wild speculation to wrap this up?  With more nonlawyer specialists finding professional homes in law firms, it’s a short leap to hybrids between law firms and professional services operations. Imagine consultants and accountants working together with lawyers and technologists to solve clients’ increasingly complex problems. And what about a high-profile merger between a Big Four firm and a global law firm? I wouldn’t rule it out.

 

 

DSC: Holy smokes!!! How might this be applied to education/learning/training in the 21st century!?!

DC: Holy smokes!!! How might this be applied to education/learning/training in the 21st century!?!

 

“What if neither distance nor language mattered? What if technology could help you be anywhere you need to be and speak any language? Using AI technology and holographic experiences this is possible, and it is revolutionary.”

 

 

Also see:

Microsoft has a wild hologram that translates HoloLens keynotes into Japanese — from theverge.com by
Azure and HoloLens combine for a hint at the future

Excerpt:

Microsoft has created a hologram that will transform someone into a digital speaker of another language. The software giant unveiled the technology during a keynote at the Microsoft Inspire partner conference [on 7/17/19] in Las Vegas. Microsoft recently scanned Julia White, a company executive for Azure, at a Mixed Reality capture studio to transform her into an exact hologram replica.

The digital version appeared onstage to translate the keynote into Japanese. Microsoft has used its Azure AI technologies and neural text-to-speech to make this possible. It works by taking recordings of White’s voice, in order to create a personalized voice signature, to make it sound like she’s speaking Japanese.

 

 

 
 

Reflections on “Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale” [Christian]

Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale — from philonedtech.com by Clay Shirky
[This was a guest post by Clay Shirky that grew out of a conversation that Clay and Phil had about IPEDS enrollment data. Most of the graphs are provided by Phil.]

Excerpts:

Were half a dozen institutions to dominate the online learning landscape with no end to their expansion, or shift what Americans seek in a college degree, that would indeed be one of the greatest transformations in the history of American higher education. The available data, however, casts doubt on that idea.

Though much of the conversation around mega-universities is speculative, we already know what a mega-university actually looks like, one much larger than any university today. It looks like the University of Phoenix, or rather it looked like Phoenix at the beginning of this decade, when it had 470,000 students, the majority of whom took some or all of their classes online. Phoenix back then was six times the size of the next-largest school, Kaplan, with 78,000 students, and nearly five times the size of any university operating today.

From that high-water mark, Phoenix has lost an average of 40,000 students every year of this decade.

 

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate both Clay’s and Phil’s thought leadership and their respective contributions to education and learning through the years. I value their perspectives and their work.  Clay and Phil offer up a great article here — one worth your time to read.  

The article made me reflect on what I’ve been building upon and tracking for the last decade — a next generation ***PLATFORM*** that I believe will represent a powerful piece of a global learning ecosystem. I call this vision, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.” Though the artificial intelligence-backed platform that I’m envisioning doesn’t yet fully exist — this new era and type of learning-based platform ARE coming. The emerging signs, technologies, trends — and “fingerprints”of it, if you will — are beginning to develop all over the place.

Such a platform will:

  • Be aimed at the lifelong learner.
  • Offer up major opportunities to stay relevant and up-to-date with one’s skills.
  • Offer access to the program offerings from many organizations — including the mega-universities, but also, from many other organizations that are not nearly as large as the mega-universities.
  • Be reliant upon human teachers, professors, trainers, subject matter experts, but will be backed up by powerful AI-based technologies/tools. For example, AI-based tools will pulse-check the open job descriptions and the needs of business and present the top ___ areas to go into (how long those areas/jobs last is anyone’s guess, given the exponential pace of technological change).

Below are some quotes that I want to comment on:

Not nothing, but not the kind of environment that will produce an educational Amazon either, especially since the top 30 actually shrank by 0.2% a year.

 

Instead of an “Amazon vs. the rest” dynamic, online education is turning into something much more widely adopted, where the biggest schools are simply the upper end of a continuum, not so different from their competitors, and not worth treating as members of a separate category.

 

Since the founding of William and Mary, the country’s second college, higher education in the U.S. hasn’t been a winner-take-all market, and it isn’t one today. We are not entering a world where the largest university operates at outsized scale, we’re leaving that world; 

 

From DSC:
I don’t see us leaving that world at all…but that’s not my main reflection here. Instead, I’m not focusing on how large the mega-universities will become. When I speak of a forthcoming Walmart of Education or Amazon of Education, what I have in mind is a platform…not one particular organization.

Consider that the vast majority of Amazon’s revenues come from products that other organizations produce. They are a platform, if you will. And in the world of platforms (i.e., software), it IS a winner take all market. 

Bill Gates reflects on this as well in this recent article from The Verge:

“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets.

So it’s all about a forthcoming platform — or platforms. (It could be more than one platform. Consider Apple. Consider Microsoft. Consider Google. Consider Facebook.)

But then the question becomes…would a large amount of universities (and other types of organizations) be willing to offer up their courses on a platform? Well, consider what’s ALREADY happening with FutureLearn:

Finally…one more excerpt from Clay’s article:

Eventually the new ideas lose their power to shock, and end up being widely copied. Institutional transformation starts as heresy and ends as a section in the faculty handbook. 

From DSC:
This is a great point. Reminds me of this tweet from Fred Steube (and I added a piece about Western Telegraph):

 

Some things to reflect upon…for sure.

 

Salesforce launches blockchain channel — from techradar.com Anthony Spadafora
Salesforce brings low-code blockchain to CRM

Excerpt:

At its fourth annual TrailheaDX developer conference, Salesforce announced its new low-code platform called Salesforce Blockchain that enables organizations to share verified, distributed data sets across a trusted network of partners and third parties.

By bringing blockchain to its CRM platform, the company is enabling organizations to create blockchain networks, workflows and apps that have the potential to deliver entirely new customer experiences.

 

Also see:

The D/SRUPTION Blockchain 50 — from disruptionhub.com

Excerpt:

What are the most impactful applications of blockchain in business?

Blockchain is changing how we keep records, manage relationships, and do business. Decentralised, automated systems powered by the blockchain increase the security of operations, as well as breaking down barriers to business by creating trust between diverse parties.

As the concept of blockchain becomes ever more familiar to business leaders, its real world applications are growing in number and impact.

In this exclusive report, D/SRUPTION analyses 50 game changing uses of blockchain technology in business. The range of industries featured include:

Shipping
Charity
Ecommerce
Real Estate
Finance
Government
Energy
Healthcare

Blockchain in Education

 

 

Has Technology Made State Regional Universities Obsolete? — from campustechnology.com by Richard Rose
While SRUs do some things well, the current model is not sustainable, with students taking on enormous debt and receiving relatively little income benefit in return. Here’s how technology can help change the equation.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

What if the State Board of Higher Education assembled a team to create one exceptionally fine Official Texas Version of the sophomore Western Civilization course? The team would include brilliant subject-matter experts, the best graphic artists, senior instructional designers, professional film editors and sharp-eyed text editors, who could produce a 48-clock-hour video course of previously unimaginable quality.

When technology is fully embraced because the need for a better and cheaper product finally trumps the political protection of the status quo, the state regional university will be replaced as part of new state university systems in which local institutions will play a very different role. These new local institutions could be called Learning Satellite Centers (LSCs).

Much content will take the form of high-budget, high-quality multimedia productions with delivery available to all popular devices, from desktop computers to cell phones. Access to learning materials, from course movies and podcasts to reading materials, will be through an expanded electronic distribution system that will eliminate the need for paper-based academic libraries.

The goal of the University Center plus Learning Satellite Center model is to transfer agency back into the hands of the students, where it belongs. No longer will a self-appointed privileged group of professional academics with their arcane degrees and funny ceremonial robes be dictating to the rest of society what we all need to learn and how we need to learn it. Technology will be the great leveler and the marketplace will help individual students decide what choices are best.

Of course, a brief sketch like this one will raise many questions that cannot be explored in a single article, but the conversation must begin. The current State Regional University is not sustainable and can only be propped up by politics and sentiment for so long. Too many students are piling up huge debt to earn dubious degrees that don’t lead to marketable skills or significant economic benefits. Technology has made more effective models of higher education attainable and at a lower price. We need to fearlessly explore such models before our charming old regional campuses drift into irrelevance.

 

From DSC:
While the article has a bit of a bite to it (which I suppose readers of this blog would say they might see in my writings/comments as well from time to time), THIS is the kind of innovative, creative thinking that will get us somewhere. I really appreciate Richard’s article and the deep thought he was put into this topic.

In fact, as readers of this blog will know, I have long been a supporter of a TEAM-BASED approach. And listed below are some graphics that prove it — as well as this article I wrote for evolllution.com (where the “lll” stands for lifelong learning) back from 2016.

This page* lists those graphics plus the list of team members that I thought of in December 2008:

  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Instructional Designers
  • Project Managers
  • Recruiters
  • Legal Counsel
  • Researchers / Mind Experts
  • Digital Audio Specialists
  • Digital Video Specialists
  • Streaming Media Experts
  • Mobile Learning Consultants
  • Writers and Editors 
  • Programmers and Database Specialists 
  • Web Design and Production Specialists
  • Interactivity Designers
  • Multimedia Specialists including Multi-Touch Experts/Programmers
  • 3D / 2D Graphic Designers and/or Animators
  • MindMappers / Visual Learning Experts
  • Personalized Learning Consultants
  • Security Experts
  • The students themselves
  • Other

*BTW, I renamed this idea from the Forthcoming Walmart of Education
to the Forthcoming Amazon.com of Higher Education

 

.

While I’m at it…below are a couple of ideas that I documented back in 2009 that Richard might like…

 

.

As of today…I would simplify that last graphic to
include a subscription model to streams of content.

 

Ok…one more graphic from 5/21/09 that describes what I thought would happen if institutions of traditional higher education maintained the status quo through the years. I feel pretty good about how these predictions turned out, but I wish that we would have made even more progress along these lines than we have (since the time I created this graphic).

 

 

 

 

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