Most Millennials Are Finding It Hard to Transition Into Adulthood: Report — from by Safia Samee Ali


“It became too difficult financially to be in school and not working,” says Kaylor, who dropped out of Lincoln Christian University, in Illinois, after one semester because of a money crunch. “And without schooling, you can’t get a job that you can survive on, so I had to move back home,” he said.

From DSC:
Let’s pause right there. If higher ed is the gatekeeper into better salaries/wage rates — i.e., the ability to make a living — then it must be affordable. Higher education has a big piece of this current situation. This is why a backlash against traditional institutions of higher education continues to build. When a lower cost “ of Higher Education” comes along, many will take that route. Just sayin’.

“In 1975, only 25 percent of men aged 25 to 34 had incomes of less than $30,000 per year. By 2016, that share rose to 41 percent of young men,” according to the report.

In 2015, one-third or about 24 million young adults, ranging from 18 to 34, lived with their parents, according to the report.


“These individuals are the first to go through new demands in a drastically different job force than from one generation prior,” he said. So it’s no surprise the transition has been bumpy for many.





What one college discovered when it stopped accepting SAT/ACT scores — from by Valerie Strauss


We completely dropped standardized tests from our application as part of our new mission-driven admissions strategy, distinct from the “test-optional” policy that hundreds of colleges now follow. If we reduce education to the outcomes of a test, the only incentive for schools and students to innovate is in the form of improving test-taking and scores. Teaching to a test becomes stifling for teachers and students, far from the inspiring, adaptive education which most benefits students. Our greatly accelerating world needs graduates who are trained to address tough situations with innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and a capacity for mobilizing collaboration and cooperation.

We weighed other factors in our decision:

  • Standardized test scores do not predict a student’s success at our college.
  • SATs/ACTs are strongly biased against low-income students and students of color, at a time when diversity is critical to our mission.
  • We surveyed our students and learned not one of them had considered rankings when choosing to apply to colleges; instead they most cared about a college’s mission.
  • Some good students are bad test takers, particularly under stress, such as when a test may grant or deny college entry. Multiple-choice tests don’t reveal much about a student.
  • We’ve developed much better, fairer ways to assess students who will thrive at our college.

Our shift to a mission-driven approach to admissions is right for Hampshire College and the right thing to do. We fail students if we reduce them to a standardized test number tied more to their financial status than achievement. We fail students by perpetuating the myth that high standardized test scores signal “better” students. We are in the top one percent of colleges nationwide in the percentage of our undergraduate alumni who go on to earn advanced degrees – this on the strength of an education where we assess their capabilities narratively, and where we never, not once, subject them to a numerical or letter grade on a test or course.


From DSC:
As our population gets older, providing the types of devices (as listed below) to employees would create WIN-WIN situations for all involved — employees, employers, and the aging parents or loved ones. Doing so could:

  • Reduce time away from work — i.e., less travel, less overnights, etc.
  • Reduce stress and ease the employees’ minds — i.e., have the peace of mind that one’s parent(s) is (are) doing ok
  • Allow some mobility around the apartment, home, or nursing home to see that everything is ok
  • Allow for some limited conversations with employees and their parents if the parents needed something





Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Press Briefing on Household Debt, with Focus on Student Debt — with thanks to Mr. Bryan Alexander for his post on this







Student Debt Overview
  • Student debt was $1.3 trillion at the end of 2016, an increase of about 170% from 2006.
  • Aggregate student debt is increasing because:
    • More students are taking out loans
    • Loans are for larger amounts
    • Repayment rates have slowed down
  • About 5% of the borrowers have more than $100,000 debt in 2016, but they account for about 30% of the total debt.
  • Recent graduates with student loans leave school with about $34,000, up nearly 70% from 10 years ago.



  • While the total level of household debt has nearly returned to the 2008 peak, debt types and borrower profiles have changed.
    • Debt growth is now driven by non-housing sectors, and debt is held by older, more creditworthy borrowers.
  • Student debt has expanded significantly because of higher levels of borrowing and slower rates of repayment.
  • Student debt defaults peaked with the 2011 cohort and have improved somewhat since. However, payment progress has declined.
  • College attendance is associated with significantly higher homeownership rates regardless of debt status. Yet, student debt appears to dampen homeownership rates among those with the same level of education.
  • College attendance appears to mitigate the impact of economic background on homeownership rates.





Also see:





Per Charlotte Wilson, Marketing, Open Education Database:

The American Association for University Women recently reported that 53% of women have high student loan debt just one year after graduation, compared to 39% of men. Many women also face the added difficulties of trying to go to college for the first time later in life, returning to school after long gaps of time, and attaining a degree while being a single parent.

To help make college more accessible for them, the college planning experts at developed two holistic financial aid guides specifically for women. The guides break down available grants, scholarships, and fellowships, along with useful tips and tricks. See:





The 4 Common Characteristics of Personalized Learning — from by Leila Meyer
iNACOL offers ideas for implementing personalized learning in K-12 schools with the support of families and the community.


According to the report, there are many different approaches to personalized learning, but most of them share these common characteristics:

  • Student ownership of their learning process;
  • Focus on the learning process rather than “big end-of-year tests”;
  • Competency or mastery-based student progression; and
  • Anytime, anywhere learning.


See also:



From DSC:
In the spirit of pulse-checking the landscapes…those of us working in higher education, take heed.  These are your future students.  What expectations from students might you encounter in the (not-too-distant) future?  What are the ramifications for which pedagogies you decide to use?

Further out, for those of you working in the corporate learning & development world or in corporate training/universities, your time may be further out here…but you need to take heed as well.  These are your future employees.  They will come into your organizations with their expectations for how they prefer to learn and grow. Will you meet them where they are at?

We operate in a continuum…we’d be wise to pulse-check what’s happening in the earlier phases of this continuum.



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 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.




Love this VR of a classroom lesson – 7 uses that really takes you there — from by Donald Clark


I received a fascinating link via Twitter from Chris Edwards, a Deputy Head in Surrey, who was interested in views on his experiment with a 360 camera and VR. In the 360 degree video, Mike Kent, a Geography teacher, delivers a great lesson and you can look round the entire room as students and teacher move around, get things done, interact with the teacher and go through a Q&A session. It is fascinating. They’re using this approach for lesson observations allowing the teacher, or their colleagues, to watch it back in full Virtual Reality. This gives the teacher a view of themselves, from the student’s point of view, as well as observe ‘everything’ that happens in the classroom. It made me think of different possibilities…..


Good lessons by great teachers must surely be worth viewing by novice teachers. The rich set of processes, actions, behaviours, body language and interactions that go into a great lesson are complex, wonderfully captured in this example and could be done on any subject. A bank of such lessons would be far more useful than dry lesson plans.


From DSC:
Donald covers a range of ideas including using these 360 degree cameras and VR in regards to addressing:

  1. Exemplar lessons
  2. Teacher training in school
  3. Behaviour training
  4. Students
  5. Parents
  6. Class layout
  7. Research


Also see:
(You can turn around/view the entire room and somewhat move about the space by zooming in and out):



Also see:





Some relatively recent additions to the education landscape include:





























Also see:





Taking competency-based credentials seriously in the workforce — from by John K. Waters
Companies like AT&T and Google are expanding their partnerships with online education providers, creating new educational pathways to real jobs.


But in the Age of the Internet, for-profit online education providers such as Udacity and Coursera have tweaked that model by collaborating with companies to develop programs tailored to their specific needs.

Together the two companies created the Front-End Web Developer Nanodegree program, Udacity’s first branded microcredential. (“Nanodegree” is trademarked.)

“We worked with Udacity to develop curriculum based on tangible hiring and training needs,” said John Palmer, senior vice president and chief learning officer at AT&T, in an e-mail. “Our teams collaborated on determining what skills we needed now to address the needs of our business, but also what skills would be needed five to 10 years from now — not just at AT&T, but at other tech companies.”







Also related:

  • Students and higher ed leaders put their faith in online classes [#Infographic] — from by Meg Conlan
    As a growing number of students enroll in nontraditional college classes, the value of online education becomes more clear.
    As cost-effective alternatives to traditional college classes, online learning programs continue to gain steam in higher ed.
    According to statistics gathered for an Online Learning Consortium infographic, 5.8 million students are now enrolled in online courses, and the majority put tremendous stock in the quality of their education: 90 percent of students say their online learning experiences are the same or better than in-classroom options.College and university leadership agrees: The infographic states that 71 percent of academic leaders say learning outcomes for online courses are the same or better than that of face-to-face classes.






Related postings:

Acquisitions, mergers and reinvention (not closures) will characterize higher ed’s future — from; an interview with Kenneth Hartman | Past President of Drexel University Online, Drexel University


We’re going to see a lot of different alternative options popping up at alternative prices with alternative delivery mechanisms offering alternative credentials in the future. I don’t think a lot of institutions will be shutting down. There will be some that close, but it’s more likely that their assets will be acquired by other, stronger institutions.

These types of programs are popping up all over the country and I think the market forces tell a story. Colleges that are able to be adaptable and flexible will be the leaders in this new higher education marketplace. Adaptability, vision and flexibility are going to be critical for schools that are not heavily-endowed. If they do not have the will to do that then I think unfortunately Christensen’s prediction will probably come true. However, I’m optimistic that when the pain gets high enough, trustees of these institutions will demand that their senior leadership provide them with the way to prevent closure.


What a Microsoft-owned LinkedIn means for education — from by Dian Schaffhauser


Ironically, he suggested, higher ed is also the most vulnerable target of LinkedIn as it continues to work on development of a competency marketplace that could one day replace four-year degrees as the baseline requirement for employment.

The vision of this competency marketplace is that employers can identify candidates who are close matches for positions based on the competencies their jobs require. Likewise, job candidates can get information from LinkedIn about what competencies a given position requires and pursue that through some form of training, whether through a class at a local college, a bootcamp, online learning or some other form of instruction.

“The signal for universities that the world is about to change is when employers begin to drop degree requirements from job descriptions,” said Craig. And by the way, he added, that’s already happening at recognizable companies such as Google, Penguin Random House, EY and PwC, which have either eliminated that requirement from entry-level job descriptions or begun masking a candidate’s degree status from hiring managers because they “think the degrees are actually false or poor or misleading signals of ultimate job performance.”

Not only does LinkedIn have by far the largest collection of candidate profiles, but it has become the leading platform for distributing microcredentials, said Craig.


“You can identify education and training opportunities to remediate gaps between where you are and what the job description says you need to have to qualify. So all the pieces are there,” he said. “Currently, it’s still early, but you can see where this is going. We think that is the story of the next decade in higher education.”



12 promising non-traditional college pathways to attainment — from


We hear a lot about reinventing college and how we might better design the journey from school to work. Some students want faster or more experiential pathways to prosperity, re-entry points after stop-outs or opportunities for lifelong learning. “Non-traditional pathways” is a phrase you’ll hear a lot if you hang around policy and design folks who are thinking about broadening “attainment of degrees” to include meaningful credentials that lead to career readiness. This broader college success definition is not a cop out—it’s a recognition that technology, access to micro-credentials, and access to modular learning generally are blurring the lines between vocational training, liberal arts exploration, and 21st century skill building because, increasingly, students are in a position to order all these off the menu.

Lumina Foundation strategists Holly Zanville and Amber Garrison Duncan are in the thick of these designs, and the Lab caught up with them recently to help us build a list of the most promising ways that institutions, students, and third parties are piecing together non-traditional paths to meaningful credentials. Here’s a take on our “Top 12,” but we welcome your tweaks, additions, and favorite examples.


Top-ranked coding bootcamp, Fullstack Academy, launches first alumni startup investment fund — from
Will provide seed funding for its graduates to launch their own startups


NEW YORK, June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Fullstack Academy, the Y Combinator-backed top coding bootcamp in the U.S.,  today announced  Fullstack Fund, a new initiative to invest in promising startups created by its graduates.  “Students who complete our software engineering program go on to work for great companies like Google and Amazon, but some have opted for the entrepreneurial startup environment,” said David Yang, CEO and co-founder of Fullstack Academy. “So we asked ourselves — how can we better support alumni with a strong entrepreneurial slant? The Fullstack Fund  will empower some of the amazing teams and products that are coming out of our school.”





Addendum on 6/27/16:



Addendum on 6/30/16:








And a somewhat related posting:

More than 90% of institutions offer alternative credentials — from by Sri Ravipati
The same study to report this statistic also found that millennial students prefer badging and certificates to traditional degrees.


Millennial students seem to prefer badging and certificate programs to traditional bachelor’s degrees, according to a new study from University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), Pennsylvania State University and Pearson that explored the role that alternative credentials play in higher education.

Demographic Shifts in Educational Demand and the Rise of Alternative Credentials” includes responses from 190 institutions, including community colleges (11 percent), baccalaureate colleges (12 percent), master’s colleges or universities (27 percent) and doctorate-granting universities (50 percent). Of the 190 institutions surveyed, 61 percent were public entities. Across the board, research revealed that programs offering alternative credentialing have become widespread in higher education, with 94 percent of the institutions reporting they offer alternative credentials. Alternative credentials can take the form of digital badges, certificates and micro-credentials.





Addendum on 7/11/16:

A model for higher education where all learning counts — from by Amy Scott


Imagine it’s 2026, and you’re one of a billion people using a new digital platform called the Ledger.

So begins a new video from the Institute for the Future and ACT Foundation, envisioning a future system that would reward any kind of learning – from taking a course, to reading a book, to completing a project at work.

“Your Ledger account tracks everything you’ve ever learned in units called Edublocks,” the video’s narrator explains. “Each Edublock represents one hour of learning in a particular subject. Anyone can grant Edublocks to anyone else.”

The Ledger would use the same technology that powers bitcoin, the virtual currency, to create a verifiable record of every learning transaction, said Jane McGonigal, director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future, a think tank in Palo Alto, California.


Apps to explore over summer break — from by Zac Leonard





With thanks to Campus Technology, who mentioned this list in their June 2016 edition




20+ tools to create your own infographics — from


While not everyone can make infographics from scratch, there are tools available on the Web that will help you create your very own infographics. In this article, we’re listing more than 20 such options to help you get your messages across to your readers, visually.



Apple working on Echo-like device: report — from by Marco della Cava


SAN FRANCISCO — Apple is planning to make Siri smarter by linking it to the vast menu of iOS apps and eventually will deploy the digital assistant on a standalone device similar to Amazon’s best-selling Echo, according to a published report.

The news, reported Tuesday by tech media site The Information, answers an oft-asked question about why the iPhone-maker seems to be sitting on the sidelines as a growing number of companies, from Google to Siri-offshoot Viv, make big announcements about the coming age of voice-activated machine learning.


“People-to-people conversations, people-to-digital assistants, people-to-bots and even digital assistants-to-bots,” Nadella said. “That’s the world you’re going to get to see in the years to come.”



2 great tools for creating beautiful newsletters — from


Newsletters are great communicative tools which you can use with your students for a variety of educational purposes.  There are now several web tools which makes the process of newsletter making  a simple matter of choosing a template, filling in content, adjusting elements and sharing the finished product. Below are two very good examples of web tools we recommend for teachers keen on designing educational newsletters for their classes.




Amazon Alexa now has over 1,000 Skills, up from 135 in January — from by Sarah Perez




Microsoft launches a project management app called Planner — from by Nick Statt
To compete with Trello and Asana


Microsoft wants to help businesses and small teams collaborate and track work with a new app called Planner. Released [on 6/6/16] for free as part of the Office 365 suite, Planner is a project management service similar to products like Asana and Trello. Microsoft isn’t doing anything particularly groundbreaking here. It uses the established concept of a digital whiteboard plastered with note cards, which you can use to track projects, communicate progress, and attach files. It also integrates with other Microsoft products like OneNote and Outlook.



This app builder is letting students turn their ideas into apps for free — from by Fitz Tepper




Best apps for parent engagement — from by Theresa Stager


Parent engagement is one of the most important pieces to an administrator’s job, and there are so many ways to do it. In many conversations I have with other school administrators, one of the most common questions that arise is, “What do you use that works?” There are multiple apps and services that allow for communication between school and parent. At St. Mary Catholic School in Rockwood, Michigan, we utilize the apps listed below and our parents are so thankful to have the insight into our building and our classrooms.



Somewhat related:

It’s a new world: the digital and tangible are merging, and educators need to help students navigate the changing terrain. The solution? Let them be Makers. I’ve been involved in digital learning and education technology for more than 30 years, and the burgeoning attempt to merge the digital and physical worlds has been one of the most interesting aspects of the evolution of EdTech to date. Managing that change in a Making context that encompasses digital tools, hands-on construction, creation and interaction allows students to learn and create new knowledge experientially. It gives them the ability to conceptualize new ideas and invent solutions for unexpected problems. It’s no longer enough—if it ever was—for teachers to lecture to a row of desks; today’s teacher must be more of a coach. The task now is to help students understand what they need to know, strategize about what they need to do next and engage in critical problem-solving—all while helping them understand how information in the arts, sciences and mathematics fit together.




© 2016 Learning Ecosystems