The State of AI in Higher Education — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Both industry and higher ed experts see opportunities and risk, hype and reality with AI for teaching and learning.

Excerpts:

Kurt VanLehn, the chair for effective education in STEM in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University, knows how challenging it can be people to come up with examples of effective AI in education. Why? “Because learning is complicated.”

Nuno Fernandes, president and CEO of Ilumno, an ed tech company in Latin America, isn’t ready to count adaptive learning out yet, if only because adaptivity has worked in other industries, such as social platforms like Netflix and Amazon, to identify what could work best for the user, based on previous activities and preferred formats of curriculum.

As Ilumno’s Fernandes asserted, AI won’t “substitute for faculty in any of our lifetimes. What it will do is give us tools to work better and to complement what is being done by humans.”

From DSC:
The article is a very balanced one. On one hand, it urges caution and points out that learning is messy and complex. On the other hand, it points out some beneficial applications of AI that already exist in language learning and in matching alumni with students for mentorship-related reasons.

From my perspective, I think AI-based systems will be used to help us scan job descriptions to see what the marketplace needs and is calling for. Such a system would be a major step forward in at least pointing out the existing hiring trends, needed skillsets, job openings, and more — and to do so in REAL-TIME!

Colleges, universities, and alternatives to traditional higher education could use this information to be far more responsive to the needs of the workplace. Then, such systems could match what the workplace needs with courses, microlearning-based feeds, apprenticeships, and other sources of learning that would help people learn those in-demand skills.

That in and of itself is HUGE. Again, HUGE. Given the need for people to reinvent themselves — and to do so quickly and affordably — that is incredibly beneficial.

Also, I do think there will be cloud-based learner profiles…data that each of us control and say who has access to it. Credentials will be stored there, for example. AI-based systems can scan such profiles and our desired career goals and suggest possible matches.

We can change our career goals. We don’t have to be locked into a particular track or tracks. We can reinvent ourselves. In fact, many of us will have to.

 

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.

 

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.

 

[Re: online-based learning] The Ford Model T from 1910 didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! [Christian]

From DSC:
Per Wikipedia, this is a 1910 Model T that was photographed in Salt Lake City:

The Ford Model T didn't start out looking like a Maserati from 2021!

 

This is what online/virtual learning looks like further down the road. Our journey has just begun.

From DSC:
The Ford Model T didn’t start out looking like a Maserati Gran Turismo from 2021! Inventions take time to develop…to be improved…for new and further innovations and experiments to take place.

Thinking of this in terms of online-based learning, please don’t think we’ve reached the end of the road for online-based learning. 

The truth is, we’ve barely begun our journey.

 


Two last thoughts here


1 ) It took *teams* of people to get us to the point of producing a Maserati like this. It will take *teams* of people to produce the Maserati of online-based learning.

2) In terms of online-based learning, it’s hard to say how close to the Maserati that we have come because I/we don’t know how far things will go. But this I do know: We have come a looooonnnnnggggg ways from the late 1990s! If that’s what happened in the last 20 years — with many denying the value of online-based learning — what might the next 5, 10, or 20 years look like when further interest, needs, investments, etc. are added? Then add to all of that the momentum from emerging technologies like 5G, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, bots, algorithms, and more!


From DSC:
To drive the point home, here’s an addendum on late 9/29/20:

Mercedes-Benz Shares Video of Avatar Electric Car Prototype

 

From DSC:
For those folks looking for work, the article below relays some solid advice/tips to get you past the Applicant Tracking Systems out there. The last time I was searching for a position, I had no idea how prevalent these systems are out there. To quote from the article:

Because of the sheer volume, 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to manage each step of the hiring process. 

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while, this will blow you away. To get your resume in front of an actual human being is a major accomplishment.

5 secrets to get you past the résumé-reading robots — from fastcompany.com by
Before your résumé gets to a recruiter, it’s read by an AI-driven Applicant Tracking System. A human resources exec advises how you can beat the robot.

 


From DSC:
…and by the way, this is very much relevant for faculty members and staff members out there. Consider this quote from Debora Spar, senior associate dean of Harvard Business School Online:

Many colleges and universities will suffer extreme financial stress; some – up to 345 colleges, according to one recent estimate – could be forced to close. Faculty are likely to face layoffs unprecedented in the history of U.S. higher education.


 

The Fastest, Most Scalable Path to Work-Readiness for College Students — from evolllution.com by Brandon Busteed

Excerpts:

A credegree is a portmanteau of the words credential and degree. Its purpose is simple and clear: to enable students to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a highly valued industry-recognized credential.

To be both broadly educated and specifically skilled is a graduate’s ideal outcome.

 

From A New Way Forward:

Grab the remote! A series from Big Picture Learning!

Grab the remote! A series from Big Picture Learning!

Also see the following “Must Reads” from A New Way Forward:


From DSC:
Along these lines…in regards to digital equity, I’m reminded of this recent graphic:

Let's use television for folks who don't have access to the Internet -- Daniel Christian

 

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.

 

The new workplace -- August 2020

 

“……hotels and restaurants, in the absence of their traditional clientele, are repurposing their spaces as rentable offices.”

Emily Safian-Demers (source)

 

Moody’s: Coronavirus is accelerating shift to online education — from educationdive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Dive Brief:

  • The pandemic will hasten a transformation of higher education business models, according to a new Moody’s Investors Service report.
  • The crisis will accelerate many colleges’ plans to grow their online footprints, though not all schools have the resources to invest in digital infrastructure, the report notes. They will also likely expand non-degree and certificate programs.
  • Analysts predict that once the pandemic subsides, some colleges will struggle if they haven’t established a strong online presence.

“Some universities previously resistant to change will have to take more expansive steps to adapt to this transformation,” Pranav Sharma, assistant vice president at Moody’s, said in a statement. “Not all universities, however, have the resources or culture to move quickly and the coronavirus will expedite existential threats for some.”

Also see:

Active Learning while Physically Distant — from blogs.acu.edu

Excerpt:

  • Use a Google Form as an entrance or exit ticket. Upon entering class, a quick google form can engage students with a couple of quick questions. A google form as an exit ticket can provide good insight into student learning that day.
 

Alternative Credentials, Scaled Degrees, and the New Higher Ed Matthew Effect — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
The potential impact of elite-branded affordable online certificates and degrees on regionally-branded tuition-dependent colleges and universities.

Excerpt:

I pulled those quotes from the 8/10/20 IHE article At Home, Workers Seek Alternative Credentials. Given the crazy times, I’m not sure if that article is getting the attention across higher ed that it deserves. Everyone is entirely focused on the near-term challenges of academic continuity during the pandemic. And that is the right place to be focusing. You can’t plan for the long-term when the short-term is so unstable.

But today, I’m going to ask you to do just that. If you can, step back from thinking about COVID-19 and what is happening to your school in the fall, and give some thought to the medium-to-long-term impact of the rise of alternative credentials and scaled degrees to your institution.

First, let me ask you a question. How does your school balance its books? Where does the money come from?

 

#lifelonglearning #stayingrelevant #reinvent #learning #surviving

 

Speaking of career-related items…also see the powerful commentary out at:

From DSC:
That article reminded me that there are a variety of people working on the “front lines” of this pandemic. 

 

At home, workers seek alternative credentials — from insidehighered.com by Lindsay McKenzie
Interest in alternative online credentials spiked after people started working remotely this spring. Will the surge continue long-term?

Excerpt:

Several leading massive open online course providers, coding bootcamps and business schools offering non-degree credentials reported manyfold increases in web traffic, inquiries and enrollments.

 

From DSC:
Perhaps faculty members and their students in Computer Science Departments across the nation could unleash some excellent products/projects/ideas to make this happen! Talk about Project Based Learning (PBL)! Students and faculty members could have immediate positive impacts on the nation for their work.

 

Will the COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally remake the legal industry? — from abajournal.com by Lyle Moran

Excerpt:

They both note that while the Great Recession was a substantial shock to the economic system, COVID-19 has resulted in the sudden upheaval of society at large. This includes changing how members of the public can access the court system or connect with a lawyer.

“It is really fundamentally disrupting overnight every single component of the legal system, and that is very different than 2008-2009,” says Leonard, who is also Penn Law’s chief innovation officer. “I think it creates enormous opportunities for changing many of the ways we work as lawyers, the ways we provide legal services to our clients and also the ways the justice system as a whole works.”

In the short term, Leonard says the pandemic has resulted in massive “forced experimentation.”

People being sworn in on a laptop

In June, Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice McCormack swore in a cohort of law students via a Zoom conference. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Supreme Court; Shutterstock.

Also see:

 

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