As school year approaches, parents and educators struggle with uncertainty — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

What’s at stake: An unknown number of lives, the futures of tens of millions of children, the livelihoods of their caregivers, the working conditions of millions of educators and people’s trust in a fundamental American institution.

 

A new guide helps faculty plan equitable online courses for fall — from diverseeducation.com by Sara Weissman; guide from Every Learner Everywhere, the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) & the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities (APLU). With thanks to Ray Schroeder for the resource.

Excerpt:

A new guide for faculty, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to help professors plan their online courses for fall as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The faculty playbook, called “Delivering High-Quality Instruction Online in Response to COVID-19,” came out of a collaboration between Every Learner Everywhere, a network of non-profits focused on student outcomes, and two of its member organizations, the Online Learning Consortium and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). Their aim is to offer equity-minded online education strategies, especially for faculty who made their first foray into online education this year.

[Dr. Karen Vignare] sees the guide as a “concise” way to bring best practices together and to offer tools for “optimized online instruction,” she said.

The playbook is designed so that “you can really just dive in and get what you need,” she said. “You don’t have to read the whole thing from start to finish.”

Faculty playbook for online instruction -- concise, and meant to deliver education equitably

Faculty Playbook's Table of Contents -- Summer 2020

 

Also see:

Time For Class: COVID-19 Edition

 

Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? [Smith]

Are universities going the way of CDs and cable TV? — from theatlantic.com by Michael Smith; with thanks to Homa Tavangar & Will Richardson for this resource
Like the entertainment industry, colleges will need to embrace digital services in order to survive.

Excerpts:

We all know how that worked out: From 1999 to 2009, the music industry lost 50 percent of its sales. From 2014 to 2019, roughly 16 million American households canceled their cable subscriptions.

Similar dynamics are at play in higher education today. Universities have long been remarkably stable institutions—so stable that in 2001, by one account, they comprised an astonishing 70 of the 85 institutions in the West that have endured in recognizable form since the 1520s.

That stability has again bred overconfidence, overpricing, and an overreliance on business models tailored to a physical world. Like those entertainment executives, many of us in higher education dismiss the threats that digital technologies pose to the way we work.

Information technology transforms industries by making scarce resources plentiful, forcing customers to rethink the value of established products.

Paul Krugman, Economist, teaching on Masterclass.com

 

Learning from the Living Class Room

From DSC:
I can’t help but hear Clayton Christenson’s voice in the following quote:

An analogous situation prevails in higher education, where access to classroom seats, faculty experts, and university diplomas have been scarce for half a millennium. When massively open online courses first appeared, making free classes available to anyone with internet access, universities reflexively dismissed the threat. At the time, MOOCs were amateuristic, low-quality, and far removed from our degree-granting programs. But over the past 10 years, the technology has improved greatly.

 

Little “e” education: Think small to meet today’s enormous challenges — from chieflearningofficer.com by Becky Takeda-Tinker
With unemployment soaring, many people will need to completely retool or earn new credentials to regain employment — and very short-term training has the ability to equip them with the skills, behaviors and knowledge needed. Postsecondary education has the know-how to step up to meet this immediate need and to help individuals understand how to translate new skills into longer-term prosperity.

Excerpt:

More than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis, while thousands of U.S. companies are still without the workers they need. Many unemployed Americans will need to completely retool or earn new credentials to regain employment — and very short-term training has the ability to equip them with the skills, behaviors and knowledge needed. Americans recognize this, with 59 percent of adults saying that if they were to pursue education in the next six months, they would focus on nondegree programs, including certificates, certifications or single courses to upskill or reskill.

This is what we mean by little “e” education.

Think quick: Short programs, single courses and interactive tools are key to creating solutions for our workforce needs. Education needs to be able to create with the speed of business — and to help both workers returning to education and new learners quickly increase their skills.

To help both individuals and companies navigate this critical juncture, institutions must be as nimble as industry is.

 

Team-based content creation/delivery | We need this & other paradigm shifts to help people survive & thrive [Christian]

From DSC:
If the first wave of the Coronavirus continues — and is joined by a second wave later this year or early next year — I think a more permanent, game-changing situation is inevitable. As such, now’s the time to change the paradigms that we’ve been operating under.

It’s time to move to *a team-based approach.* To build up the set of skills an organization needs to pivot and adapt — regardless of what comes their way.

Let’s stop asking one faculty member to do it all! Consider this:

  • Would you fly in a plane that was engineered/designed/built by one person?
  • Would you drive a car that was engineered/designed/built by one person?
  • Would you go into brain surgery with only one other person in the operating room?
  • Are you, like me, amazed at the long list of people (and their specialties) who contributed to a major motion picture?!? The credits go on for several minutes — even when moving at a fast pace! Would you watch a major motion picture that was written, acted, produced, directed by — and had all of the music, special effects, and audio-related work done by — only one person? 

With the move to online learning, one person can’t do it all anymore — at least not at the level that the newer generations are coming to expect. They have grown accustomed to amazing, team-based/built content and products.

Plus, newer generations are going to know and experience much more telehealth-related services…then much more telelegal-related services. They will come to experience/expect high-quality learning-related products and services that way as well. Going forward, there are too many skillsets required by the creation and production of high-quality, online-based learning — not to mention the continued hard work of staying up-to-date on the main subject matter expertise at hand.

So if the kind of perspective continues as found in this piece — SURVEY: Students say they shouldn’t have to pay full price for online classes — then colleges and universities would do well to invest money in new Research & Development efforts, in team-based content creation, and in reimagining what online-learning could act/be like. Same for the vendors out there. And faculty members would be wise to invest the time and energy it takes to be able to teach online as well as in a face-to-face setting. Not only are they more marketable once they’ve done this, but they are then also more prepared to find their place within an uncertain future.

All of this will likely be an expensive process. Also, greater collaboration will be needed within a department (as we can’t be building a course per professor) as well as between organizations.  Perhaps the use of consortiums will increase…I’m not sure.

Perhaps a new platform will develop — similar to what’s contained in this vision. Such a platform will feature content that was designed and built by a team. Such a learning-related platform will offer streams of highly-relevant content — while providing continuous, affordable, up-to-date, convenient, and very well done means of staying marketable/employed. 

We will likely be seeing this vision come to reality in the future.

For another paradigm shift, accreditation bodies/practices are going to have to also change, adapt, pivot, and help innovative ideas come to fruition. But that’s another posting for another day.

 

To provide the best learning environment while keeping everyone safe, WMU-Cooley Law School made the decision to continue teaching classes ONLINE for the Fall 2020 semester.

 

From DSC:
We at the WMU-Cooley Law School are working hard to enhance and expand our teaching toolboxes, so that we can pivot as necessary in the future. 

DanielChristian-EnhancingOurTeachingToolboxes.jpg

Whether we need to deliver our cognitive-science based, modern legal education via 100% online-based means, or whether it’s a blended/hybrid approach, or whether it’s 100% face-to-face again at some point in the future, we need to be ready for multiple methods and modes of teaching and learning. 

 

 

But I have to say, the work is hard. There are more and different kinds of people on the front lines of this Covid-19 situation than just the wonderful folks in healthcare. Many Instructional Designers (IDs), Information Technology (IT)-related staff, faculty members, and members of administration and are working overtime, all-the-time. It’s not easy. That said, I do believe that there will be some silver linings in this situation. Many faculty members are coming to appreciate the teaching and learning power of some of these tools — and will likely integrate several of these new tools/methods even if and when they return to our face-to-face-based classrooms.

 

4 in 10 U.S. teens say they haven’t done online learning since schools closed — from kqed.org by Anya Kamenetz

Excerpt:

With most schools closed nationwide because of the coronavirus pandemic, a national poll of young people ages 13 to 17 suggests distance learning has been far from a universal substitute.

 

From DSC:
If you are able to — whether as a business or as an individual — please consider finding ways to help level the playing field in our nation by providing computers and broadband connectivity. Our society doesn’t need yet another gap, especially when you have this type of thing going on.

Online-based learning — along with blended learning — is likely a solid component of our learning ecosystems from here on out — but it’s not a level playing field out there right now.

 

 

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap — from gettingsmart.com by Getting Smart Staff

Reopening schools: A Getting Smart webinar recap -- from gettingsmart.com

“We must ensure that people who are furthest from educational justice have their learning needs met. You will then meet the needs of all learners.” – Kelly Niccolls

 

“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

 

Colleges cut academic programs in the face of budget shortfalls due to Covid-19 — from cnbc.com by Jessica Dickler

Key points:

  • As colleges face extreme budget shortfalls, some institutions are cutting academic programs that were once central to a liberal arts education.
  • The University of Alaska system announced it will cut 39 academic departments in all, including sociology, creative writing, chemistry and environmental science.

 

Even before the global pandemic caused craters in the economy, some institutions were facing financial hardship after years of declines in state funding for higher education. A number of private schools had already made wrenching budget cuts, from curriculum changes to complete overhauls of their liberal arts programs.

 

From DSC:
A screenshot from the video (below) shows a new type of liberal arts program at Hiram College.

It could very well be that online-based learning turns out to save the liberal arts!!!!! How ironic is that!?!!

That is, many college presidents, provost, and faculty members — especially from smaller liberal arts types of schools — have disdained online-based learning for decades now. It was always viewed as “less than” in their minds…they didn’t want to go that route, as doing so would dilute their precious (and often overpriced) brands. (To be clear, this is not my view…but it was, and still is in many cases, their view.)

Anyway, it looks like more of these same folks will be losing their jobs in the next few years (if they haven’t already). At that point, we may see some of these same folks encounter a sudden paradigm shift. (A shift many of their colleagues have already gone through in prior years.) These same folks may come to appreciate that people will be willing to pay them for their knowledge — but only willing to do so at a much more affordable price…which will likely mean online.

Fewer people — especially when 47 million people in the U.S. alone have filed for unemployment over the last 14 weeks — can afford the cost of getting a degree. They are looking for inexpensive, convenient, efficient, effective means of reinventing themselves.

 

Huh…another potential irony here…it appears that colleges and universities are coming to know what many of us have known and experienced for years…and that is, the struggle to:

  • Reinvent oneself
  • Stay relevant
  • Survive
 

“How has your school delivered on the promise of equal access and educational excellence, particularly during these challenging times?”

YouTube Contest, “With Justice for All,” Seeks Submissions from Students About the Effect of Covid-19 and Recent Tragedies on Their Educational Experience

Prizes include 11 scholarships for students who best address the question, “How has your school delivered on the promise of equal access and educational excellence, particularly during these challenging times?”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Center for Education Reform (CER), in partnership with the Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools, the Children’s Scholarship Fund, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, today launched “With Justice for All,” a national YouTube contest for students.

Over the last few months, students and schools have faced significant challenges from distance learning and national tragedies. Times like these highlight how a great education is the most important asset a student has to effectively change the world.

So CER decided to ask students directly: Has your school delivered on the promise of equal access and educational excellence, particularly during these challenging times? Tell us how well your school did — or didn’t do — in providing you a great education.

“We want you to be able to take charge of your education,” said Jeanne Allen, CER’s founder and chief executive. “We want to assist you in writing the next chapter of your education story. Tell us your story, and we’ll tell everybody who needs to know, especially those in power.”

Videos must be shorter than three minutes, hashtagged with #MyEducationVideo, and submitted to MyEducationVideo.com by 11:59 PM EDT on July 4, 2020. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of celebrity judges. Awards include 10 $2,500 scholarships — and one $20,000 scholarship — to the high school or college of a student’s choice. Winners will be announced during a live-streamed ceremony (date and time T.B.D.), and their videos may be shown to delegates at both of the 2020 national conventions this summer.

“We’ve designed this contest for students ages 13 and older, because we know it can be hard to get your ideas about education heard when you’re a kid,” said Allen.

For more information, visit MyEducationVideo.com.

https://www.myeducationvideo.com/

 

Also see:

“If we are not centering equitable student success, we’re gonna be put back decades and decades. And we’re already trying to retrofit.”

 

Blockchain Can Disrupt Higher Education Today, Global Labor Market Tomorrow — from cointelegraph.com by Andrew Singer
Blockchain can play its part in the education sector — record-keeping in 2–3 years and then adoption by the labor market?

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In the post-pandemic world, individuals will need to seize ownership and control of their educational credentials — documents like degrees and transcripts — from schools, universities and governments. That notion received key support last week from the American Council on Education in a study funded by the United States Department of Education focusing on the use of blockchain in higher education.

“Blockchain, in particular, holds promise to create more efficient, durable connections between education and work,” wrote Ted Mitchell, the president of ACE, in the foreword to the study published on June 8, adding: “In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, learners will be more mobile, moving in and out of formal education as their job, health, and family situations change.”

A key theme of the report is personal data agency — i.e., how “distributed ledger technologies [DLT] can ‘democratize’ data and empower individuals with agency over their personal information.”

 

Blockchain has been described as a hammer in search of a nail. If so, academic credentialing appears to be as obvious a nail as one can find. The current international trade in fake academic degrees, after all, is “staggering,” as the BBC reported, and with a global labor market increasingly mobile, the world could badly use a decentralized, borderless, tamper-free ledger of verifiable credentials — both for education and the broader labor market.

 

 

 

30 Companies That Hire for Part-Time, Remote Work-From-Home Jobs — from flexjobs.com by Brie Weiler Reynolds; with thanks to Kathy Gardner for this resource

Excerpt:

People seek part-time work for all kinds of reasons. Some want the freedom and flexibility that part-time work allows. Other people need to balance outside responsibilities with work. And sometimes people want to work, but not all the time. Other people need to balance outside responsibilities with work. And sometimes people want to work, but not all the time.

During the pandemic, part-time work also provides a valuable lifeline for people who are furloughed or laid off from a job. A part-time job can help fill in employment gaps and provide much-needed income or even benefits during these uncertain times.

Recently, we analyzed part-time job postings from our database and identified the companies that posted the most part-time job openings with remote, work-from-home flexibility between March 1 and May 31, 2020.

 

Incremental Learning – the real continuous learning — from modernworkplacelearning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:
But continuous, incremental learning is different as we can see when we compare it below.

  1. It is an ongoing process of learning. It is not measured by the amount of time it takes. It has no start or end date because learning never ends. It happens little-by-little, day-by-day, and knowledge and experience builds up over time.
  2. It happens in all settings as people do their jobs, browse on the Web, carry out their daily lives, and interact with their friends, family, colleagues and other contacts.
  3. Although incremental learning can happen by chance (as a by product of doing something else) an individual also proactively seeks out relevant activities and experiences to help them learn. Although these may be complete in and of themselves, an individual has to actively make the connection with what he/she already knows in order to learn from it, it’s not just about doing lots of things!
  4. Success is measured in different ways, e.g. (in the short term) through improved job performance and (in the longer term) through career progression.
  5. The individual manages their own continuous learning. It’s a personal or professional decision and choice about what is to be learned and how it is best achieved. Generally, there is little or no support for this type of learning, the individual is entirely on their own.
 

Coursera Makes Certificate Programs Free to College Students During Pandemic — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt:

Online learning provider Coursera has opened up its certificate programs to current undergraduate, graduate or recently graduated college and university students. Students with a verified school e-mail address can sign up for free access to more than 3,800 courses, 150 guided projects, 400 specializations and 11 professional certificates on the platform. They must enroll before July 31, and have until Sept. 30, 2020 to complete the programs.

 

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