For a long, successful career, LinkedIn says nothing beats a liberal arts major — from qz.com by Dan Kopf and Amy Wang

Excerpt:

“There is a real concern that these labor-market-oriented degrees that focus on specific technical skills are not as durable,” says Guy Berger, a LinkedIn economist and one of the researchers who worked on the report. Berger believes that “cross-functional skills” like management and analytical know-how are more adaptable across a range of work environments. As technology changes the nature of work across nearly every industry, it’s important to have a wide range of such talents, rather than a narrow subset applied only to a particular sector that may not look the same in the near future (or, indeed, exist at all).

 

 

University of Phoenix Phasing Out Campuses; Current Students Not Affected, School Says — from phoenixnewtimes.com by

Excerpt:

The University of Phoenix plans to scale back more brick-and-mortar campuses across the country, according to university employees and internal communications obtained by Phoenix New Times.

The best-known for-profit university will phase out on-campus enrollment and teaching at around 20 locations, according to employees and internal discussions. The locations in question include full-fledged campuses in Detroit, Tucson, El Paso, and Albuquerque, along with smaller learning centers in San Bernardino and Woodlands, Texas.

The university employee speculated that the move is likely related to a decline in student enrollment. The University of Phoenix has shed students since 2010, when it enrolled around half a million nationwide. In 2016, the university reported that its enrollment was around 139,000.

 

 

From DSC:
The vast majority of the lessons being offered within K-12 and the lectures (if we’re going to continue to offer them) within higher education should be recorded.

Why do I say this?

Well…first of all…let me speak as a parent of 3 kids, one of whom requires a team of specialists to help her learn. When she misses school because she’s out sick, it’s a major effort to get her caught up. As a parent, it would be soooooo great to log into a system and obtain an updated digital playlist of the lessons that she’s missed. She and I could click on the links to the recordings in order to see how the teacher wants our daughter to learn concepts A, B, and C. We could pause, rewind, fast forward, and replay the recording over and over again until our daughter gets it (and I as a parent get it too!).

I realize that I’m not saying anything especially new here, but we need to do a far better job of providing our overworked teachers with more time, funding, and/or other types of resources — such as instructional designers, videographers and/or One-Button Studios, other multimedia specialists, etc. — to develop these recordings. Perhaps each teacher — or team — could be paid to record and contribute their lessons to a pool of content that could be used over and over again. Also, the use of RSS feeds and content aggregators such as Feedly could come in handy here as well. Parents/learners could subscribe to streams of content.

Such a system would be a huge help to the teachers as well. They could refer students to these digital playlists as appropriate — having updated the missing students’ playlists based on what the teacher has covered that day (and who was out sick, at another school-sponsored event, etc.). They wouldn’t have to re-explain something as many times if they had recordings to reference.

—–

Also, within the realm of higher education, having recordings/transcripts of lectures and presentations would be especially helpful to learners who take more time to process what’s being said. And while that might include ESL learners here in the U.S., such recordings could benefit the majority of learners. From my days in college, I can remember trying to write down much of what the professor was saying, but not having a chance to really process much of the information until later, when I looked over my notes. Finally, learners who wanted to review some concepts before a mid-term or final would greatly appreciate these recordings.

Again, I realize this isn’t anything new. But it makes me scratch my head and wonder why we haven’t made more progress in this area, especially at the K-12 level…? It’s 2017. We can do better.

 



Some relevant tools here include:



 

 

 

From DSC:
The article below caused me to reflect on the idea of using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) as a way for students to get through college these days. Although I appreciate that others are trying to help students get through college — an admirable goal for sure and one that I wholeheartedly share — I don’t like the means/method being proposed here. Why? Because I’m concerned that ISAs don’t offer any incentives for colleges and universities to lower their prices in the first place. The burden of debt is just spread out into the future. In fact, one could easily imagine the costs of obtaining a degree to continue to increase, because the immediate impact of the debt isn’t felt right now…it’s spread out over one’s future. The problem becomes invisible again, making it once again easy for those working within higher education to ignore.

So I hope this method doesn’t take off (as I understand it); instead, I hope that we can figure out better ways to reduce the price of obtaining a degree. Technology should be of use here.

 

Students Get Tuition Aid for a Piece of Their Future — from wsj.com by Jillian Berman
Income share agreements seem poised to take off, as costs and debt loads rise

Excerpt:

To help pay for ever-growing college costs, more students may soon be trying a new approach: selling rights to their future earnings.

Long discussed in college policy and financing circles, income share agreements, or ISAs, are poised to become more mainstream. A handful of backers currently exist that in effect have invested in college students’ futures by advancing them thousands of dollars in tuition money to bridge gaps in financing when student loans don’t quite meet all of their expenses.

Under the terms of a typical ISA, students agree to pay a percentage of their future earnings for a predetermined period in exchange for help up front with their tuition. Now, more students may have the opportunity to enter such deals, as lawmakers in Congress are working on possible ground rules for the agreements.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 

Report: Student loan debt reaches $1.4 trillion — from campustechnology.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

Student loan debt in the United States has grown 149 percent over the last decade to reach $1.4 trillion, according to a new report from Experian. Over the same period, the average student loan debt per person went up 62 percent.

Held by 13.4 percent of Americans, student loan debt is the fastest growing debt segment and the largest non-household debt. But, counter-intuitively, fewer people make late payments on this type of debt than on other loans. In fact, the percentage of late payments on student debt has decreased 10.1 percent since 2009.

Other key findings of the report include…

 



From DSC:
The thing that makes this soooo difficult is that faculty members, staff, and members of administrations often don’t see this crushing development. It’s invisible to many of them! The growing, heavy gorillas on the backs of our graduates aren’t seen on campus. Students graduate and move on. But the realities and implications of those debts can be felt for decades!

Several major events in our graduates lives are likely to be increasingly postponed, such as:

  • Starting a family
  • Purchasing a new home
  • Investing in — or saving for — their retirement

The current models and methods of higher education must change! Prices MUST come down. If the traditional institutions of higher education don’t change, don’t be surprised when the alternatives keep picking up steam and eventually — and majorly — disrupt higher education.

This is a social justice issue for me.



 

 

 

 

Percentage of borrowers owing $20,000 or more doubled since 2002 — from insidehighered.com by Rick Seltzer

Excerpt:

The percentage of student loan borrowers leaving college owing $20,000 or more doubled over about a decade, according to a report released [on 8/16/17] by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Over 40 percent of student loan borrowers owe $20,000 or more when they leave college. That’s up from 20 percent in 2002.

 

 

 

 

‘Good Jobs’ Still Exist; Most Require Post-High School Education — from campustechnology.comby Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Good jobs — those that pay at least $35,000 a year — don’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree. These good jobs have a median salary of $55,000. And 30 million of them exist in this country, compared to 36 million “good jobs” for workers with four-year college degrees. The share of good jobs held by those without a BA has shrunken from 60 percent in 1991 to 45 percent today. Those are the singular findings of a research project undertaken by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and supported by JPMorgan Chase & Co to understand the impact of economic change wrought by the Great Recession.

 

 

The share of good jobs held by those without a BA has shrunken from 60 percent in 1991 to 45 percent today.

 

 

People without a bachelor’s degree make up two-thirds (64 percent) of all workers. According to the authors of “Good Jobs that Pay without a BA,” many of those workers believe they can no longer find good jobs.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

“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 “Amazon.com 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

Excerpt:

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.

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian