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

 

Virtual reality homebuying is on the horizon — from latimes.com by Phillip Molnar

Excerpt:

Would you buy a home without ever stepping foot in it?

Thanks to virtual reality, prospective homebuyers can check out for-sale properties by viewing them through a headset — exploring faraway kitchens and bathrooms without ever leaving the couch.

“VR is the next natural evolution in terms of marketing real estate,” said David Scott Van Woert, account director at Transparent House, which has developed a virtual reality mobile app for home builders. “A lot of these companies are very tech-forward and always looking for, not only an edge over competition, but to stay current.”

 

 

From DSC:
For those of us working on creating and renovating learning spaces, consider producing VR-based pieces for your donors to check out. It could really help paint the picture — the vision — of what your selected space will look like once it’s done. Very compelling visuals — and a very compelling experience.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

FACT SHEET: ED Launches Initiative for Low-Income Students to Access New Generation Of Higher Education Providers — from ed.gov

Excerpt:

[On 8/16/16], the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is inviting eight selected partnerships between institutions of higher education and non-traditional providers to participate in the EQUIP (Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships) experiment.

These partnerships will allow students—particularly low-income students—to access federal student aid for the first time to enroll in programs offered by non-traditional training providers, in partnership with colleges and universities, including coding bootcamps, online courses, and employer organizations. The goals of the experiment are to: (1) test new ways of allowing Americans from all backgrounds to access innovative learning and training opportunities that lead to good jobs, but that fall outside the current financial aid system; and (2) strengthen approaches for outcomes-based quality assurance processes that focus on student learning and other outcomes. The experiment aims to promote and measure college access, affordability, and student outcomes.

 

 

Obama Administration to Fund Nontraditional Training for Students — from wsj.com
Education Department will give up to $17 million in loans and grants for training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON—The Obama administration will inject millions of dollars into a group of nontraditional education providers to address a vexing problem: Many Americans are leaving college with debt but without skills the economy needs.

The administration is turning to the private sector for help. In a novel experiment, the Education Department announced Tuesday up to $17 million in loans and grants for students to undergo training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges. Most are for-profit companies. They include coding academies such as New York startup Flatiron School and Portland, Ore.-based Epicodus, as well as websites such as Study.com and StraighterLine that provide online courses at reduced costs.

The one that stands out from the group is corporate giant General Electric Co., which won’t receive funds directly but will provide training at one of its jet-engine plants under the program.

The program, called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships, or Equip, is designed to enable low-income Americans to learn skills in areas where colleges often fall short, such as learning how to write computer code, or using new software to operate high-tech manufacturing equipment to make jet engines.

 

 

 

Can’t Afford Coding Camp? The Feds May Have a Loan for You — from wired.com by Issie Lapowsky

Excerpt:

A new Department of Education program focused on skills training aims to address that second part. Announced last year, the so-called Educational Quality through Innovation Partnerships program will offer federal student aid to students enrolled at non-traditional institutions like coding bootcamps and skills-training programs.

[On 8/16/16], the Department of Education revealed the eight organizations and educational institutions with programs that will be covered as part of the EQUIP pilot program. For now, the programs are located on both coasts and in Texas. They include bootcamps like The Flatiron School, as well as newly launched training programs from companies like General Electric. The Department of Education chose the programs from dozens of applications, and each organization will partner with an established, accredited college or university. Meanwhile, third-party quality assurance partners have signed up to monitor students’ results.

 

 

 

Per Mark Cappel, Senior Editor at MoneyGeek.com (emphasis DSC):

MoneyGeek.com has spent the last few months expanding our site to produce comprehensive financial planning resources for people with disabilities for all stages of life. Our guides are helpful for families and students with disabilities searching for financial aid and scholarship options, parents and persons with disabilities planning financially for home modifications, and more.

See:

 

students-disabilities-feb2016

 

Some items from Bryan Alexander:

 

 

Excerpt:

Today’s students expect their entire experience with an institution to mirror what they see from major online retailers and service providers; personalized, supportive and flexible. However, institutions are having to deliver on these heightened expectations with smaller budgets and less capacity to increase prices than ever before.

Scaling is absolutely critical for higher education institutions in today’s marketplace. Through scaling, institutions can “do more with less”—they can meet the sky-high expectations of today’s discerning students while keeping their costs and prices low.

This Feature highlights some of the approaches today’s institutions are taking to achieving scale.

 

 

A new vision for paying for higher education — from usnews.com by Lauren Camera
How do you build the federal student loan system from the ground up?

Excerpt:

As it stands now, the current system for financing higher education is particularly unfair for poor students, many of whom are forced to borrow more money than their wealthier peers, graduate at a much lower rate and go into default at a much higher rate.

To be sure, the average six-year graduation rate for students seeking a bachelor’s degree is 59.4 percent, but a recent survey of more than 1,000 public and private four-year colleges found that only 51 percent of Pell recipients graduate. And at community colleges, only 23 percent of first-time, full-time students ever receive a degree.

 

 

Is it time for colleges to withdraw from their outdated schedules? — from pri.org by Caroline Lester

Excerpt:

We asked a few college grads what they’d like to change about the current system. Their answers spanned from increasing accessibility, to eliminating lectures, to creating greater support services for students at risk of dropping out.

That last point is key: the vast majority of students who start college don’t graduate.

Community college, state schools, and private universities — six-year completion rates are falling. To Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, this means something is wrong.

Crow believes that the best way to address America’s higher education woes is to lower the cost of a college education while personalizing teaching. He proposes three big changes…

 

 

Credentialing, free tuition top this week’s news — from ecampusnews.com by Laura Devaney

 

 

 

Some items from Jeff Selingo:

JeffSelingo-Feb2016

 

 

A brief excerpt from newsletter from one of Michigan’s Senators, Debbie Stabenow:

62 percent of students in Michigan graduate #InTheRed with student loan debt. A student who graduated from a 4-year Michigan college or university in 2014 owes on average almost $30,000 in loans, making Michigan 9th in the country on average student loan debt.  Student loan debt in the United States is over $1.3 trillion and is the 2nd highest form of consumer debt.

 

 

…and back from March 2015:

 

RethinkingHE-March2015

 

 

 

University of Phoenix owner, Apollo Education Group, will be taken private — from nytimes.com by Patricia Cohen and Chad Bray

Excerpt:

The troubled for-profit education company that owns the giant University of Phoenix agreed on Monday to be bought for $1.1 billion by a group of investors that includes a private equity firm with close ties to the Obama administration.

The university and its owner, the Apollo Education Group, have been subject to a series of state and federal investigations into allegations of shady recruiting, deceptive advertising and questionable financial aid practices.

In recent years, many for-profit educational institutions that have received billions of dollars in federal aid, including the University of Phoenix, have been pummeled by criticisms that they preyed upon veterans and low-income students, saddling them with outsize student loan debt and subpar instruction.

 

Also see:

  • New education department office to crack down on colleges — from wsj.com by Josh Mitchell
    Student Aid Enforcement Unit will focus on schools accused of misconduct
    Excerpt:
    The Obama administration plans to boost the federal government’s power to investigate and punish colleges accused of deceptive marketing tactics and other misconduct, part of a campaign to address years of student complaints about for-profit institutions.

 

Also see:

Student Aid Enforcement Unit Formed to protect students, borrowers, taxpayers — from ed.gov on 2/8/16

Excerpt:

As part of the Obama Administration’s aggressive action to protect students and taxpayers, the U.S. Department of Education is creating a Student Aid Enforcement Unit to respond more quickly and efficiently to allegations of illegal actions by higher education institutions.

“When Americans invest their time, money and effort to gain new skills, they have a right to expect they’ll actually get an education that leads to a better life for them and their families,” said Acting Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “When that doesn’t happen we all pay the price. So let me be clear: schools looking to cheat students and taxpayers will be held accountable.”

 

 

From DSC:
For profits have brought some solid things to the education table…but they’ve also brought some bad practices to the table as well. To some degree, the above items relate to the efforts and influence of the federal government to affect institutions involved in higher education.

Taking this thought into a different direction then…one should think carefully, therefore, when the federal government opens up new efforts to support innovation within higher education — something I support, by the way, as it could facilitate the creation of alternative pathways for learners and it finally enforces some true competition — and therefore a greater emphasis on innovation — within the higher ed landscape. (Yes I realize that there’s some level of competition within institutions of traditional higher education…but historical and current accreditation practices have pretty much kept things looking quite similar across the landscape.)

Institutions of traditional higher education may now be forced to rethink their game plans and strategies as they move forward — something I hope that will positively impact our future students.  Such forces and events should make institutions of traditional higher education more innovative, open to change (where it’s needed), relevant, and responsive to changes in the environment.

 

 

Equipped for EQUIP? Here’s a primer — from edsurge.com by Bart Epstein and Ben Wallerstein (on 11/9/15)

Excerpt:

On October 15th, the Department of Education launched a new Experimental Site called Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP), which creates a pathway to federal aid for unaccredited education providers–including the fast-growing bootcamp sector. Here’s what you need to know.

The US Department of Education’s Experimental Sites Initiative (ESI) is a policymaker’s dream. The authority granted though the ESI allows the Secretary of Education to waive certain rules governing federal financial aid to experiment with new models and test their impact. The goal: improve access for low-income students, and increase the return on our $130 billion annual investment in student aid.

As a policy “lab,” Experimental Sites have allowed the Department of Education to provide Title IV access for self-paced and competency-based programs, decouple aid from the credit hour, and fund students who demonstrate prior learning through assessments.

 

From DSC:
As higher ed (as an industry) doesn’t seem to be able to decrease the costs of obtaining a degree, alternatives continue to crop up.

If…

  • The prices don’t start coming down from institutions of traditional higher education
  • Alternatives continue to crop up and gather steam
  • The U.S. Federal Government gets behind such alternatives

…then higher ed (again, as an industry) can only blame itself for not responding more significantly than we did.

We need to respond. We need to address this growing wave of unrest regarding higher ed. We need more innovation. We need lower prices. Towards that end, that’s why I’ve been saying that we need more TrimTab Groups to find ways to maintain quality, but reduce the price.

 

TheTrimtabInHigherEducation-DanielChristian

 

 

Amazon launches new program to fund university research — from seattletimes.com by Jay Greene; via the College Planning & Management Weekly Update

Excerpt:

Amazon.com is getting into the university grant-making business, launching a new program Thursday to fund research into big, world-changing ideas at universities.

The program, Amazon Catalyst, will debut at the University of Washington.

Amazon hopes to fund research into ideas in complex and vexing areas such as climate change and immigration. And the company is keen to put money toward “early-stage ideas” that might not otherwise get grant money.

In announcing the program, Amazon isn’t putting a limit on the amount it will dole out. But Adam Siegel, Amazon Catalyst’s managing director, said the “ballpark” range would run from “tens of thousands of dollars” to $100,000 per grant. He said Amazon hasn’t set a limit on the number of projects it will fund or the duration of Catalyst.

 

The Top 10 Higher Ed IT Issues of 2016 — from centerdigitaled.com by Tanya Roscorla

Excerpt:

2015 2016
1. Evolving staffing models 1. Information security
2. Optimizing technology in teaching and learning 2. Optimizing educational technology
3. Funding IT strategically 3. Student success technologies
4. Improving student outcomes 4. IT workforce
5. Demonstrating IT’s value 5. Institutional data management
6. Increasing capacity for change 6. IT funding models
7. Providing user support 7. Business intelligence and analytics
8. Developing security policies for the institution 8. Enterprise application integrations
9. Developing enterprise IT architecture 9. IT organizational development
10. Balancing information security and openness 10. E-learning and online education

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems