OPINION: Meet certificates and “microcredentials” — they could be the future of higher education — from hechingerreport.org by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt
In years to come, they will become prevalent — and possibly preferred — to college degrees

Excerpt:

What is new is that we are calling them badges and microcredentials and using them primarily to certify specific skills, such as cross-cultural competency, welding and conversational Spanish.

So what are they? Microcredentials are certifications of mastery; badges verify the attainment of specific competencies.

No matter what we are calling them, they may be here to stay.

We now live in a time that is more open to rethinking college and university credentials. We are witnessing experimentation with competency-based education, through which students earn credits by demonstrating skills instead of spending time in courses. We are also seeing discussion of free or reduced tuition, along with subscription pricing that lets students take as many courses as they like for one low cost.

Also see:

Can an AI tutor teach your child to read? — from hechingerreport.org by Jackie Mader
Some AI reading programs are boosting early literacy skills

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence has been used for years in education to monitor teaching quality, teach classes, grade assignments and tailor instruction to student ability levels. Now, a small but growing number of programs are attempting to use AI to target reading achievement in the early years — a longstanding struggle for America’s schools.

 

The Future of Work series from PBS can be seen here online

DIGITAL SERIES – FUTURE OF WORK: THE NEXT GENERATION

Excerpt:

The working landscape in the United States has rapidly changed in the last 30 years. The one job-for-life model is vanishing and younger workers are trading in stability and security for flexibility and autonomy. GBH and PBS Digital Studios present the Future of Work digital series, a six-part docuseries chronicling six mid-career adults as they navigate the rapidly changing work landscape covering topics such as debt, the gig economy, remote working, career identity, and more.

 

This 12-year-old coder is set to earn over $400,000 after about 2 months selling NFTs — from cnbc.com by Taylor Locke

Excerpt:

But lately, non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and the smart contracts, or collections of code, that power them, have caught Ahmed’s attention.

“I first learned about NFTs earlier this year,” Ahmed, who is based in London, tells CNBC Make It. “I got fascinated with NFTs because you can easily transfer the ownership of an NFT by the blockchain.”

This 12-year-old coder is set to earn over $400,000 after about 2 months selling NFTs

From DSC:
Law professors who teach property and contracts might be interested in this as well.  🙂 

And speaking of emerging technologies and the law, also see:

 

What doors does this type of real-time translation feature open up for learning? [Christian]

From DSC:
For that matter, what does it open up for #JusticeTech? #Legaltech? #A2J? #Telehealth?

 

Learning from the living class room

 

 How to apply Midyear 2021 lawsuit data to make your digital content more inclusive. — from UsableNet

Redefining the Future of Law: Alternative Legal Service Models — from clio.com by Joshua Lenon; with slides of the recording here.

Advantages of Automated and Bundled Legal Services — from clio.com

The Law Firm of the Future — from joetechnologist.com by Joseph Raczynski

The impact of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs on the legal industry with Joseph Raczynski — from the ABA Center for Innovation

Reimagining Law: The Importance of Law Librarians in a Digital World — from legaltechmonitor.com

AI CLM Company LinkSquares Raises $40M, Says It Will Soon Release First-of-its-Kind Product — from legaltechmonitor.com by Bob Ambrogi

“Today, we’re witnessing the next major step up in power, thanks to artificial intelligence software,” Sunak wrote. “AI is creating legal solutions that can outpace and outperform traditional software in the same way steamships and diesel-powered vessels could outperform even the most impressive wind-powered tall ships.” And just as the step up to power changed what boats could do, “Linksquares is changing what a legal software solution can do and be.”

From DSC:
AI has plenty of pitfalls, no doubt. But a range of AI-based technologies continues to move forward and become further integrated into numerous industries and disciplines. The legal realm is not only using AI-based applications already, but it will also need to have the knowledge to be able to support clients who bring cases involving AI (and other emerging technologies) to them.

 

Companies are key to solving the digital skills gap — from zdnet.com by Vala Afshar
The digital skills gap is becoming a digital skills crisis. An innovation expert discusses the root cause of what is driving the digital skills shortage and how can companies contribute to closing the gap.

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Vala Afshar: When we talk about the digital skills gap, what do we really mean?

Simon Mulcahy: Fundamentally, it’s an issue of supply and demand: a mismatch between the need for a digitally savvy workforce and the availability of workers trained in those skills. Every organization — whether a bank, healthcare company or retailer — is becoming a digital organization. Core digital skills aren’t the purview of a single department but increasingly hard-wired into nearly every job on the planet.

On the flip side, there’s a massive shortage in the skills needed to operate and lead in a digital-first environment. More importantly, there’s no mechanism in place to fix it.

VA: What can be done to address this growing gap, and what role should companies play?

SM: We need to revamp the way we deliver education. Of course, we need to build a foundation early on, but there are much better ways to equip people than through exams that don’t evolve to match society’s needs or degrees that force young people into onerous debt.

Instead, we should think of ourselves as lifelong learners. In support of that, we need just-in-time training that’s integrated into our working experience and relevant to wherever we are on our career journey. We need education that’s widely available, simple to access and affordable. It has to be easy to upskill or gain the knowledge we need to divert onto a different path. We also need education to be a lot more personal, matching what an individual needs in the moment.

 

From DSC:
While checking out an edition of innovation & tech today, the following sites caught me eye.

LearnWorlds looks intriguing to me. It will be interesting to see how teachers, professors, trainers, instructional designers, artists, coaches, and more make their living in the future. I’m pulse-checking the area of learning platforms and posting items re: it so that we can stay informed on these trends.

Learn Worlds dot com -- create and sell online courses from your own website

Learn Worlds dot com -- create and sell online courses from your own website

Also from LearnWorlds:

 


Also see:

Thinkific’s powerful, all-in-one platform makes it easy to share your knowledge, grow your audience, and scale the business you already love.

thinkific.com -- an online learning platform

 

2U, Inc. and edX to Join Together in Industry-Redefining Combination — from transformingdigitaleducation.com

  • 2U to acquire substantially all edX assets, including edX brand, website, and marketplace
  • Together, 2U and edX will reach over 50 million learners, serve more than 230 partners, and offer over 3,500 digital programs on the world’s most comprehensive free-to-degree online education marketplace
  • Proceeds of the transaction will go to a nonprofit led by Harvard and MIT focused on transforming educational outcomes, tackling learning inequities

Other items related to this:

 

 

Coursera: The ‘Amazon’ Of Online Education May Grow By Magnitudes — from seekingalpha.com

Summary

  • Increasing student dissatisfaction and declining enrollment suggest that many people are rethinking traditional methods of higher education.
  • The historical value of universities is becoming defunct as the internet allows a more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible vector of transmitting knowledge.
  • Innovative platforms like Coursera offer students a huge “marketplace” of high-quality courses far less expensive than those in traditional universities.
  • Given Coursera’s minimal barriers to growth and its massive total addressable market, I would not be surprised to see its annual revenue rise by 10X or more within years.
  • COUR may be one of the few recent IPOs which is actually trading below its fundamental fair value – subject to the assumption that online education will eventually supersede traditional models.
 

For College Finances, There’s No ‘Return to Normal’ — from chronicle.com by Mark S. LeClair
The critical problems facing higher education won’t end with the pandemic.

Excerpt:

Higher ed is in trouble. It faces a demographic crunch in 2026, when smaller high-school graduating classes will mean greater competition for students. That will lead to tuition discounting and underenrolled classes for many colleges. And yet that demographic crisis is only one of many significant challenges the sector faces. As noted by Forbes in its annual review of college and university financials, approximately 20 percent of all institutions now warrant a “D” ranking (its lowest). Many are under serious financial strain and may not survive.

The Forbes financial analyses have been warning of a worsening situation for years. The added stresses from the Covid-19 pandemic will further aggravate the untenable circumstances facing hundreds of institutions. There is now a very short window within which we must carry out significant reforms.

 

It’s like Netflix for education: UND considers subscription tuition model — from grandforksherald.com by Sydney Mook; with thanks to Ray Schroeder for this resource out on LinkedIn
Think of it as Netflix or Hulu – popular television subscription services – but for a UND education. Students could pay a flat rate and take as many (or as few) online courses as preferred, so long as they aren’t considered a full-time, degree-seeking student.

Excerpts:

UND wants to add a flat-rate subscription option to its tuition model.

Think of it as Netflix or Hulu – popular television subscription services – but for a UND education. Students could pay a flat rate and take as many (or as few) online courses as preferred, so long as they aren’t considered a full-time, degree-seeking student.

“You enroll, you have a subscription and during that subscription, you can binge watch,” said Jeff Holm, vice provost for online education and strategic planning at UND.

UND says it wants to “provide competency-based, online education that provides ‘micro-pathways’ or smaller targeted units of learning to individuals as a way to enhance their skill set and knowledge for advancing in the labor market or reskilling for a new employment opportunity.”

 

Law Firm Deregulation Programs Pick Up Speed in Utah, Arizona  — from news.bloomberglaw.com by Sam Skolnik

Excerpt:

Efforts to allow non-lawyers to own law firms in Arizona and Utah are picking up steam, as participating companies say it’s inevitable that more states will be following similar paths.

Utah’s regulatory “sandbox” and Arizona’s “alternative business structures” program are being closely watched by the country’s largest law firms like Snell & Wilmer, which is actively weighing the possible benefits.

“Snell & Wilmer has considered and is considering opportunities that these changes may present to a traditional law firm,” said Mark Morris, a Salt Lake City-based partner with the firm, which also has offices in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The firm, he said, “is closely watching the successes and failures of others who are actively participating in these programs to help guide any future decisions.”

Utah's sandbox tests new legal service ownership models

 

A16z is betting $20 million on Maven, an ed tech and creator economy mashup — from protocol.com by Penelope Blackwell
Since launching in January 2021, instructors have sold over $1 million worth of courses on Maven.

Excerpt:

A little over a decade ago, Gagan Biyani founded Udemy, one of the main platforms that popularized massive open online courses. Now, he’s back with a new idea that jams together ed tech and the creator economy, and he thinks it can help more students stick out their online learning.

His new company, Maven, is focused on cohort-based learning. An expert tutor with a large online following leads an online course for a group of learners. The students join and move through content at the same pace, but much of the learning happens peer-to-peer as the students share their experiences over the web.

“There are thousands of experts, creators, and practitioners around the world who have valuable knowledge to share but aren’t traditional professors, and we think this is the best way for creators to monetize over the next decade,” said Biyani. “We’re creating the university of the future, built around these 21st-century professors.”

From DSC:
If adjunct faculty members want to go a different way in order to try their hand at making a lot more money, institutions of traditional higher education better look out! Especially if this new/alternative approach picks up steam! Such institutions have been paying extremely low rates for adjunct faculty members. And because these folks aren’t tenured faculty members, they rarely get much of a say in the strategies and directions that their institutions set and pursue.

With lifelong learning now a requirement, this type of alternative will be on an increasing number of peoples’ radars out there.

A picture of a radar

 

A second demographic cliff adds to urgency for change — from insidehighered.com by Ray Schroeder
The demographic cliff we have been anticipating since the drop in births with the 2008 recession now has a younger sibling — the COVID-19 cliff is coming with another deep drop in recent births.

Excerpts:

In sum, competition is rapidly growing; the pool of “traditional” students is evaporating; employers are dropping degree requirements; and, with student debt now surpassing $1.7 trillion, we all know that families are looking for more cost-effective paths to the knowledge and skills they seek. “The fundamental business model for delivering education is broken,” said Rick Beyer, a senior fellow and practice area lead for mergers and affiliations at the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “The consolidation era started a few years ago. It will continue. We will see more closures.”

What, then, are the bright spots for postsecondary learning?

Online learning tops the list despite some bad press for the hastily put-together remote learning of last year. Adult students, in particular, prefer the flexibility and mobility of online. Enrollment in online programs has continued to increase while overall higher ed enrollments have declined each of the past dozen years.

 

Counting U.S. Postsecondary and Secondary Credentials — from Credential Engine; with thanks to Will Richardson  for this resource
February 2021

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Learners, educators and policymakers understand that high school completion and education beyond high school are critical to thrive in the workforce. However, until recently an inventory of the number or type of secondary and postsecondary credential opportunities in the United States did not exist. This is the third annual report from Credential Engine that attempts to count all these credentials. The report identifies 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S. in 16 detailed credential categories across four types
of credential providers:

  • Postsecondary educational institutions—359,713 degrees and certificates
  • Massive open online course (MOOC) providers—9,390 course completion certificates, micro-credentials, and online degrees from foreign universities
  • Non-academic providers—549,712 badges, course completion certificates, licenses, certifications, and apprenticeships
  • Secondary schools—48,919 diplomas from public and private secondary schools

Also see:

NLET Releases “Newest Economy” Paper

In The Newest Economy: Welcome to the Credential Currency Revolution, Gordon Freedman, NLET’s president, examines the discontinuity between high schools, community colleges, career and technical education, and workforce development programs and their alignment and linkages to high demand jobs and careers. The paper suggests moving beyond the current array of offerings and labor market tools to a marketplace solution using modern technology and data analytics to link credentials (badges, certifications, degrees) to hiring outcomes.

The paper is a collaboration among NLET, Credential Engine, Southern Regional Economic Board (SREB) and GoEducate, Inc. who together are building a Credential Alliance to further the work described in the report.

Press Release
Executive Summary
Download the Report

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian