New benchmarking tool for higher ed seeks to address workplace soft skills gap — from chieflearningofficer.com by Elizabeth Loutfi
Quality Assurance Commons’ new Employability Self-Assessment will support higher education programs as they develop proficiency in teaching eight 21st century soft skills critical to today’s employers.

Excerpt:

A new assessment tool created for higher education institutions to track and measure the career success of their graduates was launched this week by nonprofit organization Quality Assurance Commons. The tool, which is called the Employability Self-Assessment, helps institutions identify the key skills employers want in candidates in the current and post-pandemic workplace.

The ESA has already been piloted at 20 colleges and universities and is being implemented at eight higher education institutions in the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System, according to a company press release.

According to the report, the top three missing soft skills reported by employers were problem solving, critical thinking, innovation and creativity; ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity; and communication.

From DSC:
Hmmm…do our current ways of doing things get students to that point? Are the ways in which we structure our educational systems facilitating the development of those skills? Apparently not. What needs to change? For me, it’s offering “More choice. More control.” to the students. And watch the energy, curiosity, and enjoyment of learning greatly increase.

 

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment — as of October 15, 2020 and as referenced late last week by The Chronicle of Higher Education

National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s Monthly Update on Higher Education Enrollment

From DSC:
The window of opportunity for traditional institutions of higher education to reinvent themselves, become cheaper, and offer more value is beginning to close. The window is still there…but it’s beginning to close.

 

5 things that show students aren’t the only ones learning during the pandemic — from mlive.com by Melissa Frick

Excerpts:

“Never in my 33 years of teaching did I ever think it would be like this,” the Muskegon High School teacher said of virtual learning, which the district is using this semester to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s a huge learning curve.”

With Michigan K-12 schools back in session for the fall – some virtually, some in-person, and some a mix of both – students aren’t the only ones doing the learning this year. Amid this unprecedented school year, teachers are learning some new things along the way, too.


3. Virtual learning has exposed the depth of Michigan’s digital divide
Systemic gaps in technology access among school districts around the state left thousands of students at a disadvantage this year, despite efforts by educators to fulfill short-term connectivity needs during virtual learning.

From DSC:
These are just a couple of reasons that I say that Rome wasn’t built overnight. But it’s great to see that tools are being added to teaching toolboxes and learners’ toolboxes as well:

“It’s easy for them to get onto Zoom now, they can go onto Google Classroom and go into the lesson right along with us,” she said. “I’m surprised at how smooth it’s running now.”

 

10 Ways You Can Use Podcasts in Your Course to Engage Students — from barbihoneycutt.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpts:

Have you used podcasts in your courses yet? If not, you might want to consider it! Podcasts can be an excellent tool to add to your lesson to enhance a message, present more in-depth perspectives, and offer a different medium for students to engage with the course content.

10 Ways You Can Use Podcasts in a Course or Lesson:

1) Compare and contrast two podcast episodes where the same topic is discussed by different guests.
2) Use an episode as a supplement or additional resource for a reading assignment.

 
 

Fostering Student Creativity with Green-Screen Videos — from teachingprofessor.com by Jason Webb and Jeff Mangram

Excerpt:

Educators have come to realize that videos are highly effective and engaging ways to create online course content. One of the most engaging forms uses a green-screen backdrop to project images or videos behind or next to the speaker. Barbara Oakley used this technique in her famous course Learning How to Learn, where she brought in images to illustrate and amplify her message during course videos. Take a look at this example and consider the fact that Oakley shot the videos in her basement using only a couple hundred dollars’ worth of supplies. Today most colleges already have green-screen studios set up for marketing or other uses.

 
 
 

The pandemic pushed universities online. The change was long overdue. — from hbr-org.cdn.ampproject.org by Sean Gallagher and Jason Palmer; with thanks to Mike Mathews for his posting on LinkedIn re: this item

Excerpt:

A number of elite institutions — such as Princeton University, Williams College, Spelman College, and American University — have substantially discounted tuition for their fully online experience in an historically unprecedented fashion, highlighting pricing pressures and opening up Pandora’s box. This comes after a decade of growth in postsecondary alternatives, including “massively open online courses” (MOOCs), industry-driven certification programs, and coding bootcamps.

This moment is likely to be remembered as a critical turning point between the “time before,” when analog on-campus degree-focused learning was the default, to the “time after,” when digital, online, career-focused learning became the fulcrum of competition between institutions.

 

Some resources mentioned by Goldie Blumenstyk out at “The Edge” — in her posting entitled “How to Keep Old Debts From Deterring Returning Students

  • Institute for College Access & Success (Ticas) has just released its annual report on what college graduates owe in student debt
    Excerpt:
    Student Debt and the Class of 2019 is TICAS’ fifteenth annual report on the student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year colleges, documenting changes and variation in student debt across states and colleges. Unless otherwise noted, the figures in this report are only for public and private nonprofit colleges because virtually no for-profit colleges report what their graduates owe.Nationally, more than six in ten (62%) college seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2019 had student loan debt, down from the Class of 2018 (65%). Borrowers from the Class of 2019 owed an average of $28,950, a 0.9 percent decline from the average of $29,200 in 2018, continuing a trend of relatively flat student debt levels in recent years.

The Institute for College Access & Success (Ticas) has just released its annual report on what college graduates owe in student debt. 

 

Solving Stranded Credits: Assessing the Scope and Effects of Transcript Withholding on Students, States, and Institutions — from sr.ithaka.org by Julia Karon, James Dean Ward, Catharine Bond Hill, & Martin Kurzweil

Excerpt:

Attention to the burden of U.S. educational debt, now at $1.7 trillion, has grown in recent years.[1] For too many former postsecondary students—especially Black students—debt they took on to improve their lives and career prospects has instead become a financial hindrance, delaying or undermining their efforts to buy homes, build savings, or provide for their families.[2] The debt burden is especially severe for those who never completed their postsecondary program and therefore did not receive the credentials that might have boosted their careers and incomes enough to justify taking on the debt.

Also see:

  • The pandemic has pushed hundreds of thousands of workers out of higher education — from chronicle.com by Dan Bauman
    Excerpt:
    The work-force that serves much of higher education in America has shrunk by at least 7 percent since Covid-19 arrived on American shores — a staggering, unprecedented contraction, according to federal data. And like the national economic downturn that is running parallel to this unprecedented viral outbreak, much also remains uncertain about what a “recovery” will actually look like for higher education.
 
 

3 winners for the GSV Cup: Abwaab, Prepmedians, and Ringbeller! Congratulations!! These three exceptional companies won out of over 550 applications.

First Place Winner – Watch the pitch below from Abwaab

Second Place Winner – Watch the pitch below from Prepmedians

Third Place Winner – Watch the pitch below from Ringbeller

 

 

From DSC:
Along these lines…

Sometimes, I think we need to be very careful with Artificial Intelligence (#AI) — which elements of it and which applications of it that we use in our society and which we don’t move forward with. But in the case of cloud-based learning profiles (some might say competency profiles), AI makes sense. Algorithms could make sense. Data mining could make sense.

A cloud-based learning profile might not make sense always to us — as it could be very large indeed. But AI-based algorithms could assist with finding appropriate matches between jobs, competencies, passions, skills, and candidates.

Such services will likely be part of a next-gen learning platform.

 

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