Wall Street Journal article entitled, Is this the end of college as we know it?

Americans aren’t turning their backs on education; they are reconsidering how to obtain it.

Is This the End of College as We Know It? — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin
For millions of Americans, getting a four-year degree no longer makes sense. Here’s what could replace it.

Excerpt:

For traditional college students, the American postsecondary education system frequently means frontloading a lifetime’s worth of formal education and going into debt to do it. That is no longer working for millions of people, and the failure is clearing the way for alternatives: Faster, cheaper, specialized credentials closely aligned with the labor market and updated incrementally over a longer period, education experts say. These new credentials aren’t limited to traditional colleges and universities. Private industry has already begun to play a larger role in shaping what is taught and who is paying for it.

For more than a century, a four-year college degree was a blue-chip credential and a steppingstone to the American dream. For many millennials and now Gen Z, it has become an albatross around their necks.

What has embittered so many millennials is that they played by the rules and still got stuck. Ben Puckett, a 30-year-old pastor in Michigan, earned a B.S. in physical therapy before a Master’s degree in divinity. He is $95,000 in debt. 

“I went to college because I was told by parents, friends, teachers and counselors that it was the only way to ensure a good future,” Mr. Puckett says. “At 18 years old, how was I supposed to defy what my school, parents, society, friends were saying about going to college?”

 

“Stuck in it until I die”: Parents get buried by college debt too — from hechingerreport.org by Meredith Kolodner
ParentPlus loans have spiked, leading to financial disaster for many low- and middle-income families

Excerpt:

The couple’s original $40,000 loan to cover the cost of their son and daughter attending public universities in Indiana, where the family lived at the time, has snowballed in those 18 years, with interest rates as high as 8.5 percent. Their bill now stands at more than $100,000.

The Rifes would have lost their house if they had been forced to make the original monthly payment, so they negotiated with the federal government to get it down to $733. Still, it’s more than their mortgage, and it doesn’t cover the interest, so the amount owed has continued to grow.

From DSC:
I have fought for over a decade to bring the costs (involved with obtaining a degree) down. Through the years, I have tried to reach anyone who works within higher ed to listen…to change…to find ways to bring the price of obtaining a degree waaaaaay down. 

Before 2010, I had written about a future where the cost of obtaining a degree would be 50% less. And that has already happened with a handful of instances. But the future will likely look much different than the past.

Fast forward…and the perfect storm against higher ed continues to build. The backlash continues to build.

There will be change. Count on it. 100% bound to happen. In fact, it has to happen, or this nation is in big trouble otherwise. 


(11/24/20) An addendum from the Wall Street Journal:

 
 

Musical Mentors collaborative mobilizes and expands in response to pandemic — with thanks to Bristol Jones for this resource/information
Organization connects musicians in need of work with students lacking access to music instruction
(Emphasis below from DSC)

New York, NY — November 12, 2020 — Musical Mentors Collaborative (“MMC”), which provides free private music instruction and instruments to students who would not otherwise have access, announced today its Winter Gala to benefit the 1:1 Music Fund which will enable the organization to provide 10,000 more lessons in the years to come.

MMC was founded in 2009 as a partnership between Columbia University students and PS 145, a neighboring elementary school in Morningside Heights, and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in New York State in 2011. Since 2009, MMC’s university chapters have provided over 7,500 lessons to more than 450 students in the United States.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 caused dramatic and painful changes in the musical community. Many performing arts institutions were forced to close indefinitely, and many talented musicians found themselves out of work.

In response, MMC launched a teaching fellowship in early April to pay professional musicians to teach one-on-one virtual lessons to students without access to private instruction. Teachers include members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as collaborators of Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill, and others. The organization has since onboarded over 35 teaching artists and nearly 200 students. Since the onset of the pandemic, MMC has paid more than $150,000 to its Teaching Fellows and shipped over $30,000 worth of instruments to students, collectively in support of over 1,300 virtual lessons.

“We are inspired by the response from the musical community, and immensely grateful for the support musicians have shown MMC students. These students represent our musical future and would otherwise lack access to the instruction and mentorship they deserve,” said Zack Susel, Co-Founder and Executive Director of MMC. “We are excited to announce our Winter Gala in support of our 1:1 Music Fund, through which we aim to provide 10,000 more private lessons in the coming years.”

In support of its growth and response to the pandemic, MMC has recruited 12 Grandmentors to lead pedagogical development, including GRAMMY® award winning pianist Emmanuel Ax, and Tony® award winning composer Jeanine Tesori, social work experts, and faculty from The Juilliard School and Curtis Institute of Music.

About Musical Mentors Collaborative
Musical Mentors Collaborative connects musicians with underserved students around the country. Since launching in 2009, MMC has taught over 8,800 free private lessons across instruments and genres, furthering their goal to support young musicians through one-on-one instruction. MMC operates chapters at universities across the United States, and mobilizes professional musicians through their selective Teaching Fellowship.

For more information, visit www.musicalmentors.org. | Instagram | Twitter

Musical Mentors Collaborative connects musicians with underserved students around the country.

Also see:

 

From DSC:
Many people talk about engagement when they discuss learning, and with good reason. It seems to me that what they are really getting at is the topic of getting and maintaining someone’s *attention.* Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning. I wonder if some of the next generation learning platforms that employ some level of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled features, will look to a learner’s preferences (as stored in their cloud-based learner’s profile) in order to help gain/maintain such attention.

And this also helps explain why allowing more learner agency — i.e., more choice, more control — in pursuing their own interests and passions really helps: A motivated learner is paying closer attention to what’s going on.

 

Attention is the gatekeeper to further learning.

 

 

From DSC:
And along these lines, that’s one of the key reasons I’d like to see more involvement from the Theatre Departments, Computer Science Departments, and from those involved with creative writing across the land — in terms of helping develop content for remote and online-based education. Actors, actresses, set designers, costumer designers, audio/video editors, programmers/software developers, and more who could collaborate on these kinds of ideas.

Last comment on this. I don’t mean that we should present our classes like many advertisements do (i.e., running a thousand images by me within 30 seconds). But changing things up periodically — both visually and audibly —  can help regain/reset your students’ attentions.

 

Top IT Issues, 2021: Emerging from the Pandemic — from educause.edu

Excerpt:

The EDUCAUSE Top IT Issues list has been refactored for 2021 to help higher education shape the role technology will play in the recovery from the pandemic. What different directions might institutional leaders take in their recovery strategy? How can technology help our ecosystem emerge stronger and fitter for the future?

The 2021 EDUCAUSE IT Issues project explores these questions using a very different approach from previous years. Anticipating potential ways institutions might emerge from the pandemic, this year we offer three Top IT Issues lists and examine the top 5 issues within three scenarios that may guide institutional leaders’ use of technology: restore, evolve, and transform.

Educause's Top IT Issues for 2021

Also see:

 

Many students complain that online-based learning doesn’t engage them. Well, check this idea out! [Christian]


From DSC…by the way, another title for this blog could have been:

WIN-WIN situations all around! The Theatre Departments out there could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging, digitally-based learning experiences! 


The future of drama and the theatre — as well as opera, symphonies, and more — will likely include a significant virtual/digital component to them. While it’s too early to say that theatre needs to completely reinvent itself and move “the stage” completely online, below is an idea that creates a variety of WIN-WIN situations for actors, actresses, stage designers, digital audio/video editors, fine artists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, journalists, web designers, and many others as well — including the relevant faculty members!

A new world of creative, engaging, active learning could open up if those involved with the Theatre Department could work collaboratively with students/faculty members from other disciplines. And in the end, the learning experiences and content developed would be highly engaging — and perhaps even profitable for the institutions themselves!

A WIN-WIN situation all around! The Theatre Department could collaborate with other depts/disciplines to develop highly engaging learning experiences!

[DC: I only slightly edited the above image from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Though the integration of acting with online-based learning materials is not a new idea, this post encourages a far more significant interdisciplinary collaboration between the Theatre Department and other departments/disciplines.

Consider a “Dealing with Bias in Journalism” type of topic, per a class in the Digital Media and Journalism Major.

  • Students from the Theatre Department work collaboratively with the students from the most appropriate class(es?) from the Communications Department to write the script, as per the faculty members’ 30,000-foot instructions (not 1000-foot level/detailed instructions)
  • Writing the script would entail skills involved with research, collaboration, persuasion, creativity, communication, writing, and more
  • The Theatre students would ultimately act out the script — backed up by those learning about sound design, stage design, lighting design, costume design, etc.
  • Example scene: A woman is sitting around the kitchen table, eating breakfast and reading a posting — aloud — from a website that includes some serious bias in it that offends the reader. She threatens to cancel her subscription, contact the editor, and more. She calls out to her partner why she’s so mad about the article. 
  • Perhaps there could be two or more before/after scenes, given some changes in the way the article was written.
  • Once the scenes were shot, the digital video editors, programmers, web designers, and more could take that material and work with the faculty members to integrate those materials into an engaging, interactive, branching type of learning experience. 
  • From there, the finished product would be deployed by the relevant faculty members.

Scenes from WMU's Theatre Department

[DC: Above images from the Theatre Department at WMU]

 

Colleges and universities could share content with each other and/or charge others for their products/content/learning experiences. In the future, I could easily see a marketplace for buying and selling such engaging content. This could create a needed new source of revenue — especially given that those large auditoriums and theaters are likely not bringing in as much revenue as they typically do. 

Colleges and universities could also try to reach out to local acting groups to get them involved and continue to create feeders into the world of work.

Other tags/categories could include:

  • MOOCs
  • Learning from the Living[Class]Room
  • Multimedia / digital literacy — tools from Adobe, Apple, and others.
  • Passions, participation, engagement, attention.
  • XR: Creating immersive, Virtual Reality (VR)-based experiences
  • Learning Experience Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Interface Design
  • …and more

Also see:

What improv taught me about failure: As a teacher and academic — from scholarlyteacher.com by Katharine Hubbard

what improv taught me about failure -as a teacher and academic

In improv, the only way to “fail” is to overthink and not have fun, which reframed what failure was on a grand scale and made me start looking at academia through the same lens. What I learned about failure through improv comes back to those same two core concepts: have fun and stop overthinking.

Students are more engaged when the professor is having fun with the materials (Keller, Hoy, Goetz, & Frenzel, 2016), and teaching is more enjoyable when we are having fun ourselves.

 

Canvas Certified Educator program for higher education

Per “Instructure Launches Canvas Certified Educator Program” out at The Journal by Dian Schaffhauser:

Each course is expected to take about four weeks to finish. They include:

  • Core 1: Foundational frameworks, which explores the impact of technology on student learning and the classroom and how Canvas can be used to help educators boost student achievement, motivation and engagement;
  • Core 2: Engagement strategies, to examine how Canvas can help enrich teaching practices and maximize student achievement;
  • Core 3: Personalized learning, to dive into personalized learning and learn how to create opportunities for student voice and choice within the learning environment;
  • Core 4: Transformational practices, to help participants learn how to evaluate open standard digital learning tools that can enhance learning through Canvas; and
  • Electives, described as a series of optional courses that can be selected by educators based on interests and needs.
 

Financial aid officials share how they’re advising college students now — from educationdive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
We asked administrators how they are guiding students and families through a process made more complex by COVID-19.

Excerpt:

This uncertainty among students and families has compounded an already complex process. Education Dive contacted several financial aid experts and asked them one question: What changes in the financial aid process should colleges account for during the pandemic, and how should they communicate those changes to students, families and the public?

 

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.

 
 

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.

 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 

Watch out for these 3 mistakes you’re making during distance teaching — from edsurge.com by Paul Emerich France

Excerpt:

Distance teaching also shone a light on problematic practices that were never effective in person, either. And trying to re-create them in a virtual environment didn’t make them any better. As many schools resume remote instruction this fall, watch out for these three mistakes you may be making. More importantly, give yourself the liberty to try out some of the alternative approaches that can help make distance teaching more sustainable and effective.

 

 

From Beth McMurtrie in this week’s “Teaching” over at The Chronicle:

  • Examples of innovative assessment strategies
  • An instructor’s request to help students engage with digital textbooks
  • Some resources for effective online, equitable, & antiracist teaching

Teaching -- over at The Chronicle

From DSC:
I especially appreciated the item re: the creation/use of multimedia-based content in place of a more traditional assessment. This type of assignment/assessment allows more choice and it opens up opportunities for more creativity and expression.

 

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