From edsurge.com today:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MEDIA: This spring, a college theater course about women’s voting rights aimed to produce a new play about the suffrage struggle. When the pandemic scuttled those plans, professors devised a new way to share suffragist stories by creating an interactive, online performance set in a virtual Victorian mansion. And their students were not the only ones exploring women’s voting rights as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

…which linked to:

The Pandemic Made Their Women’s Suffrage Play Impossible. But the Show Went on— Virtually — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

Then the pandemic hit. Students left Radford and Virginia Tech. Live theater was canceled.

But the class wasn’t.

“Neither of us ever said, ‘Forget it,’” Hood says. “Our students, they all wanted to know, ‘What are we doing?’ We came to them with this insane idea.”

They would create an interactive, online production staged in a virtual Victorian mansion.

“Stage performance is different than film or audio. If you just have audio, you only have your voice. Clarity, landing sentences, really paying attention to the structure of a sentence, becomes important,” Nelson says. “Students got a broader sense of the skills and approaches to different mediums—a crash course.”

 

From DSC:
Talk about opportunities for interdisciplinary learning/projects!!!  Playwrights, directors, actors/actresses, set designers, graphic designers, fine artists, web designers and developers, interactivity/interface designers, audio designers, video editors, 3D animators, and more!!!

 

The performance website, “Women and the Vote,” premiered on May 18, 2020

 

Learning ecosystems across the country — especially those involving K-12 — are morphing once again.

Have you heard about the explosive interest and potential growth involving “learning pods” — also called “pandemic pods”!?! It’s amazing to see how quickly things are changing in this fluid situation. This is another great example of how the macro-learning ecosystem for K-12 is changing — as well as the changes happening at more of a micro-level. (To see how true this is, put a Google Alert or two out there for “learning pods,” “pod learning,” and/or “pandemic pods.”)

For some information about these changes, see some of the example articles below:


From DSC:

Though very interesting to see what occurs here, I, too, am concerned about the inequalities and the potential for expanding the learning gaps across the country (between the folks who have the resources and those folks who do not). For example, consider that the cost ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 dollars per studentper month — in the San Francisco Bay Area. (See COVID-19 learning pods: Here’s how they work and what Bay Area schools say about them by Luz Pena.) Or see

On the other side of things…maybe this will be a new area of opportunity for the student teachers and education programs out there.
 

“Many—perhaps millions—will need quick, job-focused upskilling and reskilling.”

— from The Indispensable Institution | Reimagining Community College
by Opportunity America

 

From DSC:
This is exactly the need that I’ve been getting at here. Many people don’t have the time — and now, the $$ — to take 4 years to get a college degree. Even 2 years is too long for many people these days. They need to be able to quickly reinvent themselves. As such, we need to tap into — and contribute to — streams of content. All. The. Time.

And do so, efficiently, safely, securely — and inexpensively!

Learning from the living class room

 

Higher ed needs to build more mature Digital Learning Ecosystems

Higher Ed Needs a Long-Term Plan for Virtual Learning — from Harvard Business Review by James DeVaney, Gideon Shimshon, Matthew Rascoff, and Jeff Maggioncalda

Excerpts:

The staggering impact of Covid-19 on education systems around the world is unlike anything we have seen in the post-war era. More than 1.6 billion students have been affected, representing over 91% of all students in the world. Unsurprisingly, demand for online learning has skyrocketed. In the last 30 days, there were 10.3 million enrollments in courses on Coursera, up 644% from the same period last year.

As the emergency subsides but normal fails to return, higher ed institutions need to do more. There’s a good likelihood that virtual learning — in some capacity — will need to be a part of education for the foreseeable future. Higher ed institutions need a response framework that looks beyond the immediate actions. They have to prepare for an intermediate period of transition and begin future-proofing their institutions for the long term.

 

 
 

From DSC:
On the positive side…

What I appreciate about ‘s article is that it’s asking us to think about future scenarios in regards to higher education. Then, it’s proposing some potential action steps to take now to address those potential scenarios if they come to fruition. It isn’t looking at the hood when we’re traveling 180 mph. Rather, it’s looking out into the horizon to see what’s coming down the pike. 

6 Steps to Prepare for an Online Fall Semester — from chronicle.com b

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Plan for a multiyear impact. If colleges are forced to maintain online-only instruction in the fall and to defer reopening their campuses to in-person instruction to January 2021, the impact will be felt for years. College leaders should start thinking now about how to manage and potentially adjust spring-2021 (and beyond) course offerings, course sequencing, and degree requirements to avoid saddling students with graduation delays and the accompanying direct and indirect financial costs. In addition, colleges should anticipate a smaller-than-normal entering first-year class in fall 2020 (and thus a larger-than-normal enrollment a year later) and devise strategies to help mitigate the resulting stresses on admission rates and classroom and dorm capacity for first-year students entering in fall 2021 and beyond.

If instruction remains online-only in the fall, colleges won’t be able to afford that sort of inefficiency. College departments should start now to identify opportunities for collaborations that would draw on the collective wisdom and labor of faculty members from multiple institutions who are teaching similar courses. This would lessen the burden of migrating teaching materials and techniques to an online format.

From DSC:
I’ve often wondered about the place of consortiums within higher ed…i.e., pooling resources. Will the impacts of the Coronavirus change this area of higher ed? Not sure. Perhaps.

On the negative side…

I take issue with some of John’s perspectives, which are so common amongst the writers and academics out there. For example:

Conversely, an entire generation of current college students is now learning that it can be pretty boring to be one of several hundred people simultaneously watching a Zoom lecture.

You know what? I did that very same thingover and over again — at Northwestern University (NU), but in a face-to-face format. And quite frankly, it’s a better view on videoconferencing. It’s far more close up, more intimate online. I agree it’s a different experience. But our auditoriums were large and having 100-200+ students in a classroom was common. There was no interaction amongst the students. There were no breakout groups. The faculty members didn’t know most of our names and I highly doubt that the well-paid researchers at Northwestern — who were never taught how to teach in the first place nor did they or NU regard the practice of teaching and learning highly anyway — gave a rat’s ass about body language. Reading the confusion in the auditorium? Really? I highly doubt it. And those TA’s that we paid good money for? Most likely, they were never taught how to teach either. The well-paid researchers often offloaded much of the teaching responsibilities onto the teacher assistants’ backs. 

Bottom line:
Face-to-face learning is getting waaaay more credit than it sometimes deserves — though sometimes it IS warranted. And online-based learning — especially when it’s done right — isn’t getting nearly enough credit. 


Addendum: Another example of practicing futures thinking in higher ed:

 

DC: In the future…will there be a “JustWatch” or a “Suppose” for learning-related content?

DC: In the future...will there be a JustWatch or a Suppose for learning-related content?

 

From DSC:
In Part I, I looked at the new, exponential pace of change that colleges, community colleges and universities now need to deal with – observing the enormous changes that are starting to occur throughout numerous societies around the globe. If we were to plot out the rate of change, we would see that we are no longer on a slow, steady, incremental type of linear pathway; but, instead, we would observe that we are now on an exponential trajectory (as the below graphic from sparks & honey very nicely illustrates).

 

 

How should colleges and universities deal with this new, exponential pace of change?

1) I suggest that you ensure that someone in your institution is lifting their gaze and peering out into the horizons, to see what’s coming down the pike. That person – or more ideally, persons – should also be looking around them, noticing what’s going on within the current landscapes of higher education. Regardless of how your institution tackles this task, given that we are currently moving at an incredibly fast pace, this trend analysis is very important. The results from this analysis should immediately be integrated into your strategic plan. Don’t wait 3-5 years to integrate these new findings into your plan. The new, exponential pace of change is going to reward those organizations who are nimble and responsive.

2) I recommend that you look at what programs you are offering and consider if you should be developing additional programs such as those that deal with:

  • Artificial Intelligence (Natural Language Processing, deep learning, machine learning, bots)
  • New forms of Human Computer Interaction such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality
  • User Experience Design, User Interface Design, and/or Interaction Design
  • Big data, data science, working with data
  • The Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications, sensors, beacons, etc.
  • Blockchain-based technologies/systems
  • The digital transformation of business
  • Freelancing / owning your own business / entrepreneurship (see this article for the massive changes happening now!)
  • …and more

3) If you are not already doing so, I recommend that you immediately move to offer a robust lineup of online-based programs. Why do I say this? Because:

  • Without them, your institution may pay a heavy price due to its diminishing credibility. Your enrollments could decline if learners (and their families) don’t think they will get solid jobs coming out of your institution. If the public perceives you as a dinosaur/out of touch with what the workplace requires, your enrollment/admissions groups may find meeting their quotas will get a lot harder as the years go on. You need to be sending some cars down the online/digital/virtual learning tracks. (Don’t get me wrong. We still need the liberal arts. However, even those institutions who offer liberal arts lineups will still need to have a healthy offering of online-based programs.)
  • Online-based learning methods can expand the reach of your faculty members while offering chances for individuals throughout the globe to learn from you, and you from them
  • Online-based learning programs can increase your enrollments, create new revenue streams, and develop/reach new markets
  • Online-based learning programs have been proven to offer the same learning gains – and sometimes better learning results than – what’s being achieved in face-to-face based classrooms
  • The majority of pedagogically-related innovations are occurring within the online/digital/virtual realm, and you will want to have built the prior experience, expertise, and foundations in order to leverage and benefit from them
  • Faculty take their learning/experiences from offering online-based courses back into their face-to-face courses
  • Due to the increasing price of obtaining a degree, students often need to work to help get them (at least part of the way) through school; thus, flexibility is becoming increasingly important and necessary for students
  • An increasing number of individuals within the K-12 world as well as the corporate world are learning via online-based means. This is true within higher education as well, as, according to a recent report from Digital Learning Compass states that “the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million, about 30% of all enrollments.”
  • Families are looking very closely at their return on investments being made within the world of higher education. They want to see that their learners are being prepared for the ever-changing future that they will encounter. If people in the workforce often learn online, then current students should be getting practice in that area of their learning ecosystems as well.
  • As the (mostly) online-based Amazon.com is thriving and retail institutions such as Sears continue to close, people are in the process of forming more generalized expectations that could easily cross over into the realm of higher education. By the way, here’s how our local Sears building is looking these days…or what’s left of it.

 

 

 

4) I recommend that you move towards offering more opportunities for lifelong learning, as learners need to constantly add to their skillsets and knowledge base in order to remain marketable in today’s workforce. This is where adults greatly appreciate – and need – the greater flexibility offered by online-based means of learning. I’m not just talking about graduate programs or continuing studies types of programs here. Rather, I’m hoping that we can move towards providing streams of up-to-date content that learners can subscribe to at any time (and can drop their subscription to at any time). As a relevant side note here, keep your eyes on blockchain-based technologies here.

5) Consider the role of consortia and pooling resources. How might that fit into your strategic plan?

6) Consider why bootcamps continue to come onto the landscape.  What are traditional institutions of higher education missing here?

7) And lastly, if one doesn’t already exist, form a small, nimble, innovative group within your organization — what I call a TrimTab Group — to help identify what will and won’t work for your institution.

 

 

 

 

 

Reading for delegates to the World Conference on Online Learning (taking place from 10/16/17 through 10/19/17 in Toronto, Canada)

Readings include:

 

 

 

Also see:

  • Emerging Tech Boosts Online Education Growth Over Next 4 Years — from edtechmagazine.com by Meghan Bogardus Cortez
    A study finds that mobile devices, virtual reality and blending learning programs will spark innovation.
    Excerpt:
    With millions of students enrolling in at least one online course, it should be no surprise that a recent Technavio study found that the online education market is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent until 2021. As enrollment and investment in online education increases, the report claims that the industry owes a lot of this growth to mobile devices and increased desire for blended learning opportunities.

 

 

 

The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
The blockchain provides a rich, secure, and transparent platform on which to create a global network for higher learning. This Internet of value can help to reinvent higher education in a way the Internet of information alone could not.

Excerpt:

What will be the most important technology to change higher education? In our view, it’s not big data, the social web, MOOCs, virtual reality, or even artificial intelligence. We see these as components of something new, all enabled and transformed by an emerging technology called the blockchain.

OK, it’s not the most sonorous word ever, sounding more like a college football strategy than a transformative technology. Yet, sonorous or not, the blockchain represents nothing less than the second generation of the Internet, and it holds the potential to disrupt money, business, government, and yes, higher education.

The opportunities for innovators in higher education fall into four categories:

  • Identity and Student Records: How we identify students; protect their privacy; measure, record, and credential their accomplishments; and keep these records secure
  • New Pedagogy: How we customize teaching to each student and create new models of learning
  • Costs (Student Debt): How we value and fund education and reward students for the quality of their work
  • The Meta-University: How we design entirely new models of higher education so that former MIT President Chuck Vest’s dream can become a reality1

The blockchain may help us change the relationships among colleges and universities and, in turn, their relationship to society.

Let us explain.

 

What if there was an Internet of value — a global, distributed, highly secure platform, ledger, or database where we could store and exchange things of value and where we could trust each other without powerful intermediaries? That is the blockchain.

 

 

From DSC:
The quote…

In 2006, MIT President Emeritus Vest offered a tantalizing vision of what he called the meta-university. In the open-access movement, he saw “a transcendent, accessible, empowering, dynamic, communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced.”

…made me wonder if this is where a vision that I’m tracking called Learning from the Living [Class] Room is heading. Also, along these lines, futurist Thomas Frey believes

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider. (source)

Blockchain could be a key piece of this vision.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Florida Universities take system approach in addressing growth of online — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

The Board of Governors for the State University System of Florida is putting final touches on a strategic plan for online education. The idea is to create a framework around which all 10 institutions in the system with online programs can pool their “collective talents and resources toward a common purpose” — helping Florida citizens earn credentials that will “improve their lives, lead to new discoveries and advanced Florida’s economy.” The plan was first begun a year ago when the board created a task force to examine how the state could better meet workforce needs through online education and increase effectiveness while reducing costs.

The goal of the “2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education” is intended to guide development and implementation of system policies and legislative budget requests related to online education with a focus on three primary elements: quality, access and affordability.

 

Also see:

  • U Florida turns distance learning into searchable video on demand — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
    Excerpt:
    The University of Florida is rolling out technology from Sonic Foundry to record, store and manage distance learning courses, collaborative meetings and special events that occur via videoconference. The cloud-based Mediasite Join product can record any videoconference and make the content searchable, with no additional appliances or equipment required. Users invite Mediasite Join as a participant to a videoconference, and the technology then transcodes, indexes and publishes recorded calls to Mediasite alongside the institution’s other video assets.
 

From DSC:
Learning is messy.  Teaching & learning is messy. 

In my experience, teaching is both an art and a science.  Ask anyone who has tried it and they will tell you that it’s not easy.  In fact, it takes years to hone one’s craft…and there are no silver bullets. Get a large group of Learning Theorists together in the same room and you won’t get 100% agreement on the best practices for how human beings actually learn.

Besides that, I see some issues with how we are going about trying to educate today’s learners…and as the complexity of our offerings is increasing, these issues are becoming more apparent, important, visible, and costly:

  • Professors, Teachers, & Trainers know some pieces of the puzzle.
  • Cognitive Scientists, Cognitive Psychologists, and Neuroscientists know some other pieces of the puzzle.
  • Learning Theorists and Instructional Designers know some other pieces of the puzzle.
  • Learning Space Designers know some other pieces of the puzzle.
  • And yet other specialties know about some other pieces of the puzzle.

But, in practice, how often are these specialties siloed? How much information is shared between these silos?  Are there people interpreting and distilling the neuroscience and cognitive science into actionable learning activities? Are there collaborative efforts going on here or are the Teachers, Professors, and Trainers pretty much on their own here (again, practically speaking)?

So…how do we bring all of these various pieces together? My conclusion:

We need a team-based approach in order to bring all of the necessary pieces together. We’ll never get there by continuing to work in our silos…working alone.

But there are other reasons why the use of teams is becoming a requirement these days: Accessibility; moving towards providing more blended/hybrid learning — including flipping the classroom; and moving towards providing more online-based learning.

Accessibility
We’re moving into a world whereby lawsuits re: accessibility are becoming more common:

Ed Tech World on Notice: Miami U disability discrimination lawsuit could have major effect — from mfeldstein.com by Phil Hill
Excerpt:
This week the US Department of Justice, citing Title II of ADA, decided to intervene in a private lawsuit filed against Miami University of Ohio regarding disability discrimination based on ed tech usage. Call this a major escalation and just ask the for-profit industry how big an effect DOJ intervention can be. From the complaint:

Miami University uses technologies in its curricular and co-curricular programs, services, and activities that are inaccessible to qualified individuals with disabilities, including current and former students who have vision, hearing, or learning disabilities. Miami University has failed to make these technologies accessible to such individuals and has otherwise failed to ensure that individuals with disabilities can interact with Miami University’s websites and access course assignments, textbooks, and other curricular and co-curricular materials on an equal basis with non-disabled students. These failures have deprived current and former students and others with disabilities a full and equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from all of Miami University’s educational opportunities.

Knowing about accessibility (especially online and via the web) and being able to provide accessible learning materials is a position in itself. Most faculty members and most Instructional Designers are not specialists in this area. Which again brings up the need for a team-based approach.

Also, when we create hybrid/blended learning-based situations and online-based courses, we’re moving some of the materials and learning experiences online. Once you move something online, you’ve entered a whole new world…requiring new skillsets and sensitivities.

The article below caused me to reflect on this topic. It also made me reflect yet again on how tricky it is to move the needle on how we teach people…and how we set up our learning activities and environments in the most optimal/effective ways. Often we teach in the ways that we were taught. But the problem is, the ways in which learning experiences can be offered these days are moving far beyond the ways us older people were taught.

 


Why we need Learning Engineers — from chronicle.com by Bror Saxberg

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Recently I wandered around the South by Southwest ed-tech conference, listening to excited chatter about how digital technology would revolutionize learning. I think valuable change is coming, but I was struck by the lack of discussion about what I see as a key problem: Almost no one who is involved in creating learning materials or large-scale educational experiences relies on the evidence from learning science.

We are missing a job category: Where are our talented, creative, user-­centric “learning engineers” — professionals who understand the research about learning, test it, and apply it to help more students learn more effectively?

So where are the learning engineers? The sad truth is, we don’t have an equivalent corps of professionals who are applying learning science at our colleges, schools, and other institutions of learning. There are plenty of hard-working, well-meaning professionals out there, but most of them are essentially using their intuition and personal experience with learning rather than applying existing science and generating data to help more students and professors succeed.

 


Also see:

  • Why you now need a team to create and deliver learning — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush and Daniel Christian
    Excerpt:
    Higher education institutions that intentionally move towards using a team-based approach to creating and delivering the majority of their education content and learning experiences will stand out and be successful over the long run.”

 


Addendum on 5/14/15:

Thinking different(ly) about university presses — from insidehighered.com by Carl Straumsheim

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Lynn University, to further its tablet-centric curriculum, is establishing its own university press to support textbooks created exclusively for Apple products.

Lynn University Digital Press, which operates out of the institution’s library, in some ways formalizes the authoring process between faculty members, instructional designers, librarians and the general counsel that’s been taking place at the private university in Florida for years. With the university press in place, the effort to create electronic textbooks now has an academic editor, style guides and faculty training programs in place to improve the publishing workflow.


 

EdX and Qualcomm to build the next generation mobile learning experience — from marketwatch.com
Collaboration will help edX increase access to education for millions around the world

Excerpt:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and SAN DIEGO, May 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — EdX, a nonprofit learning destination, and Qualcomm Education, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, +1.37% the leading global provider of wireless technology, today announced a collaboration to further develop edX’s MOOC (massive open online course) mobile capabilities and enhance its open source platform to benefit connected learners around the world. As part of the collaboration, Qualcomm Education will contribute engineering resources and will license elements of its SDK code, which edX will distribute to the Open edX community.

This collaboration brings together two industry leaders who share a common vision that mobile technologies are a critical enabler for open access to education for everyone. Together they will harness the power of more than 7 billion mobile connections globally, with more than 1 million being added daily, to meet the growing demand for mobile learning.

 

World’s first open online MBA to be launched by MOOC platform Coursera — from by Seb Murray
The world’s first open digital MBA degree will be launched in a tie-up between Mooc maker Coursera and US b-school the University of Illinois.

Excerpt:

The world’s first open online MBA will launch in 2015 after a landmark decision from a top business school which is expected to pave the way for further digitization of the business degree and disrupt an already shaken education market.

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign College of Business has received the seal of approval from its senate to launch the “iMBA”, in collaboration with Coursera, the $300 million-plus Silicon Valley start-up that produces MOOCs and has amassed nearly 13 million users.

 

Also see:

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign plans to start a low-cost online M.B.A. program in partnership with Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based MOOC provider, hoping to meet its land-grant mission of improving access and also to create a new stream of revenue at a time of shrinking state support for higher education.

Students enrolling in the new online master’s program, dubbed the iMBA, could complete the entire degree for about $20,000 — far less than the approximately $50,000 for the on-campus version or the $100,000 for the university’s executive M.B.A.

iMBA-May2015
 

Embracing failure to spur success: A new collaborative innovation model — from educause.com by Kim Wilcox and Edward Ray

Excerpt:

The implied message is clear: We’d prefer not to talk about what isn’t working at the postsecondary level.

We’re in a competitive sector, and there is misplaced pressure on all higher education institutions to achieve top placement in U.S. News & World Report and other annual rankings, regardless of whether or not those rankings make any sense. We all feel significant pressure to make sure that our constituents—from board members to faculty to parents to legislators—are happy with the direction of the institution. And we also know that those constituents can be impatient in waiting for substantive change to produce positive results. Honest discourse on new initiatives that seem unproductive or in need of modification is likely to lead to unpleasant conversations that few of us would relish.

This is not the way to foster innovation and improvement in higher education. The best innovators in the world typically follow the mantra that failure is acceptable, helpful, and sometimes even necessary to ultimately achieving an objective. Many of the products we rely on today, from Post-it Notes to pacemakers, resulted from mistakes or failures in the search for other innovations. And just about any founder of a successful Silicon Valley start-up has a track record of ventures that failed.

Successful innovation requires experimentation and learning from failure.

At the University of California, Riverside, and Oregon State University, we are engaged in one effort to achieve these goals: the University Innovation Alliance. The UIA is a consortium of eleven major public research universities that are working together to identify new solutions to challenges found throughout the higher education community, and then to share information about failures and successful solutions among institutions.

 

From DSC:
Some images that are along these lines:

 

RealEstate-HigherEd-DanielSChristian11-1-13

 

 

TheTrimtabInHigherEducation-DanielChristian

 

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