5 lessons from the 2020 US Department of Education Blockchain Summit — from linkedin.com by Johanna Maaghul

Excerpts:

1. Interoperability is the Word of the Day
2. My Diploma is on the Blockchain! Now What?
3. Who Owns My Data? Well, it’s Not Just You
4. It’s only Legit if I am Legit
5. Consensus is Good, but Action is Better

 

From DSC:
As some of you may know, I’m now working for the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School. My faith gets involved here, but I believe that the LORD wanted me to get involved with:

  • Using technology to increase access to justice (#A2J)
  • Contributing to leveraging the science of learning for the long-term benefit of our students, faculty, and staff
  • Raising awareness regarding the potential pros and cons of today’s emerging technologies
  • Increase the understanding that the legal realm has a looooong way to go to try to get (even somewhat) caught up with the impacts that such emerging technologies can/might have on us.
  • Contributing and collaborating with others to help develop a positive future, not a negative one.

Along these lines…in regards to what’s been happening with law schools over the last few years, I wanted to share a couple of things:

1) An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Benjamin Barton:

The Law School Crash

 

2) A response from our President and Dean, James McGrath:Repositioning a Law School for the New Normal

 

From DSC:
I also wanted to personally say that I arrived at WMU-Cooley Law School in 2018, and have been learning a lot there (which I love about my job!).  Cooley employees are very warm, welcoming, experienced, knowledgeable, and professional. Everyone there is mission-driven. My boss, Chris Church, is multi-talented and excellent. Cooley has a great administrative/management team as well.

There have been many exciting, new things happening there. But that said, it will take time before we see the results of these changes. Perseverance and innovation will be key ingredients to crafting a modern legal education — especially in an industry that is just now beginning to offer online-based courses at the Juris Doctor (J.D.) level (i.e., 20 years behind when this began occurring within undergraduate higher education).

My point in posting this is to say that we should ALL care about what’s happening within the legal realm!  We are all impacted by it, whether we realize it or not. We are all in this together and no one is an island — not as individuals, and not as organizations.

We need:

  • Far more diversity within the legal field
  • More technical expertise within the legal realm — not only with lawyers, but with legislators, senators, representatives, judges, others
  • Greater use of teams of specialists within the legal field
  • To offer more courses regarding emerging technologies — and not only for the legal practices themselves but also for society at large.
  • To be far more vigilant in crafting a positive world to be handed down to our kids and grandkids — a dream, not a nightmare. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Still not convinced that you should care? Here are some things on the CURRENT landscapes:

  • You go to drop something off at your neighbor’s house. They have a camera that gets activated.  What facial recognition database are you now on? Did you give your consent to that? No, you didn’t.
  • Because you posted your photo on Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and/or on millions of other websites, your face could be in ClearView AI’s database. Did you give your consent to that occurring? No, you didn’t.
  • You’re at the airport and facial recognition is used instead of a passport. Whose database was that from and what gets shared? Did you give your consent to that occurring? Probably not, and it’s not easy to opt-out either.
  • Numerous types of drones, delivery bots, and more are already coming onto the scene. What will the sidewalks, streets, and skies look like — and sound like — in your neighborhood in the near future? Is that how you want it? Did you give your consent to that happening? No, you didn’t.
  • …and on and on it goes.

Addendum — speaking of islands!

Palantir CEO: Silicon Valley can’t be on ‘Palo Alto island’ — Big Tech must play by the rules — from cnbc.com by Jessica Bursztynsky

Excerpt:

Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp said Thursday the core problem in Silicon Valley is the attitude among tech executives that they want to be separate from United States regulation.

“You cannot create an island called Palo Alto Island,” said Karp, who suggested tech leaders would rather govern themselves. “What Silicon Valley really wants is the canton of Palo Alto. We have the United States of America, not the ‘United States of Canton,’ one of which is Palo Alto. That must change.”

“Consumer tech companies, not Apple, but the other ones, have basically decided we’re living on an island and the island is so far removed from what’s called the United States in every way, culturally, linguistically and in normative ways,” Karp added.

 

From DSC:
I’ll say it again, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

From the article below…we can see another unintended consequence is developing on society’s landscapes. I really wish the 20 and 30 somethings that are being hired by the big tech companies — especially at Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft — who are developing these things would ask themselves:

  • “Just because we can develop this system/software/application/etc., SHOULD we be developing it?”
  • What might the negative consequences be? 
  • Do the positive contributions outweigh the negative impacts…or not?

To colleges professors and teachers:
Please pass these thoughts onto your students now, so that this internal questioning/conversations begin to take place in K-16.


Report: Colleges Must Teach ‘Algorithm Literacy’ to Help Students Navigate Internet — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If the Ancient Mariner were sailing on the internet’s open seas, he might conclude there’s information everywhere, but nary a drop to drink.

That’s how many college students feel, anyway. A new report published this week about undergraduates’ impressions of internet algorithms reveals students are skeptical of and unnerved by tools that track their digital travels and serve them personalized content like advertisements and social media posts.

And some students feel like they’ve largely been left to navigate the internet’s murky waters alone, without adequate guidance from teachers and professors.

Researchers set out to learn “how aware students are about their information being manipulated, gathered and interacted with,” said Alison Head, founder and director of Project Information Literacy, in an interview with EdSurge. “Where does that awareness drop off?”

They found that many students not only have personal concerns about how algorithms compromise their own data privacy but also recognize the broader, possibly negative implications of tools that segment and customize search results and news feeds.

 

 

 

From DSC:
This report reminds me of a graphic that Yohan Na and I did 10+ years ago…and the student debt now sits at around $1.5 trillion.

 

 

From DSC:
If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex in your school, consider implementing the idea below.
I’d like to thank Mr. Steve Grant and Mr. Nelson Miller from the WMU-Cooley Law School for their work in implementing/recommending this approach.

If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex, you can use it to share content to displays, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. If the professor starts a Cisco Webex Meeting Center session using their own personal room, the students can then join that meeting via their devices. (To eliminate noise and confusion — as well as to reduce bandwidth — the students should mute their microphones and choose not to send the video from their webcams.)

If you were doing a think-pair-share, for example, and you really liked what a certain pair of students had going on, one of the students could share their work with the rest of the class. By doing so, whatever was going on on that student’s device could be displayed by any projectors in the room, as well as on any other devices that were connected to the Cisco Webex Meeting Room.

“So you could project any student’s work as students proceed with in-class exercises. Projecting student work adds another level of accountability, excitement, and concentration to in-class exercises.” 

*********

Also, using the Cisco Webex Meeting Center in your face-to-face classroom not only opens up that sort of collaboration channel, but, via the chat feature, it can also open up a running backchannel to draw out your more introverted students, or those students who have questions but don’t want to have the spotlight thrown on them. 

*********

 

Excerpt from Higher Education Predictions for 2020: Recession, Certificates, and Computer Science by Richard Garrett

Coding bootcamps, the educational innovation that arose over the past decade to tackle an acute supply-demand crunch in computer science, had a stellar year in 2019. Dismissed as a fad by some, in 2019, bootcamps graduated 23,000 people, up 49% in one year (37% on a same-school basis).


But short of an unprecedented surge in domestic master’s degrees awarded in 2019, that year will mark the turning point when bootcamps—dominated by U.S. students— unequivocally passed master’s degrees.

An intriguing question is: what impact does a university’s own bootcamp have on domestic enrollment in its computer science master’s program: complementary or competitive? That will have to wait for another Wake-Up Call.

 

DC: Precursor to a next gen learning platform…? Another piece is falling into place.

 

‘Fundamental shift’ is transforming the delivery of legal services, new report concludes — from abajournal.com by Debra Cassens Weiss

Excerpt:

“Revolutionary changes are afoot” in the market for legal services, according to a new report.

Clients are actively managing their relationships with outside counsel, nonlaw competitors are gaining ground, and law firms are responding to market changes in innovative ways, the report says.

The 2020 Report on the State of the Legal Market was released Monday by Georgetown Law’s Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute. It is available for download here.

However, taking that view is seeing only one side of the story. Over this same period, there has been mounting evidence that the underlying model itself is changing, that clients, non-law firm competitors, and even many law firms are now operating with very different assumptions about the role law firm services should play in the legal ecosystem and how such services should be delivered. In the past year or so, this evidence has grown to the point that it seems apparent that a fundamental shift is now well underway.

Also see:

Lori Lorenzo, research and insights leader of chief legal officer program, Deloitte: “Catching-up and keeping-up with tech advancements for the legal function will remain a top goal for chief legal officers in 2020. Of course, addressing legal team tech skills gaps may drive inclusion of professionals with diverse skillsets, like data scientists, automation experts and the like, into the legal function.”

 

The cost of college increased by more than 25% in the last 10 years—here’s why — from cnbc.com by Abigail Hess

Excerpt:

During the 1978 – 1979 school year, it cost the modern equivalent of $17,680 per year to attend a private college and $8,250 per year to attend a public college. By the 2008 – 2009 school year those costs had grown to $38,720 at private colleges and $16,460 at public colleges.

Today, those costs are closer to $48,510 and $21,370, respectively. That means costs increased by roughly 25.3% at private colleges and about 29.8% at public colleges.

Also see:

How affordable are public colleges in your state for low-income students?

Students from low-income backgrounds should be able to attend college without shouldering a debt burden or having to work so many hours that they jeopardize their chances of completing a degree. But that’s just not possible today.

Think students today can work their way through college? Think again.

For millions of college-going students, one of the most urgent concerns is the rising cost of college and how to pay for it — and not just for tuition but other necessities like textbooks, housing, food, and transportation. The idea that one can work one’s way through college with a minimum-wage job is, in most cases, a myth. In the vast majority of states, students at public four-year institutions would have to work an excessive number of hours per week to cover such costs. The same goes for students at many public community and technical colleges. In one of the costliest scenarios, students would have to work 45 hours a week to be exact, leaving nearly no time to focus on academics.

Overall, students from low-income backgrounds, despite access to financial aid, are being asked to pay well beyond their means for a college degree. In the following analysis, we look closely at just how much beyond their means.

Also see:

Also see:

 

AI arms race — insidehighered.com by Lilah Burke
More employers are using applicant tracking systems to hire employees. Some colleges are using new AI-based tools, like VMock, to help students keep up.

Excerpt:

When college students need help with their résumés, some now will be turning to algorithms rather than advisers.

In the last decade, a growing number of large companies have started hiring using applicant tracking systems, AI-based platforms that scan résumés for keywords and rank job candidates.

Similarly, video interviewing platforms that use algorithms to evaluate a candidate’s voice, gestures and emotions have become ubiquitous in some industries. HireVue, the most well-known of these platforms, has drawn accusations of being pseudoscientific and potentially exacerbating bias in hiring.

The frustration many job candidates voice when coming up against these platforms is that they have no way of knowing what they could have done better. The systems give no feedback to candidates.

So what if students, job seekers and career advisers could use the AI for themselves?

Boston University, in a document of VMock tips for students, also advised graphic design or other creative industry students to have two versions of their résumé, one with a conventional layout.

From DSC:
Per my nephew, who works in a recruiting type of position within HR for a Fortune 500 organization:

  • Without a doubt HR recruiting is using AI to help in the selection process.
  • Many companies use keyword scanners, but not everyone [and, in fact, his company did not].
  • HireVue is very important to use when it comes to understanding a person’s presentation skills since a lot of presenting is done via Skype/live video these days. So HireVue is not going away anytime soon. I think it’s a great system/product.
  • At the end of the day, a good recruiter will identify the best talent that has applied to a position. I think it’s important for students to really think about what position they’re applying for and be realistic with their applications. I think that’s where a lot of frustration happens with students that apply to positions and never get to the first round interview. They apply to 20-50 positions that don’t reflect their experience at all…so that’s where coaching and personal advisement is important
 

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Companies Say Blockchain Could Have Prevented College Admissions Scandal — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

One of the most eye-catching aspects of the recent Varsity Blues admissions scandal was that fake athletic profiles were created for students to help them get into highly-selective colleges through so-called “side doors.”

Now, several companies that sell student-record systems based on blockchain—the technology behind Bitcoin—are pitching their products as a way to prevent that kind of fraudulent record tampering in the future.

 

Stepping Back from the Cliff: Facing New Realities of Changing Student Demographics — from evoLLLution.com by Jim Shaeffer
Most universities that plan to stick to the status quo and serve exclusively traditional learners are facing a cliff. CE divisions can help their institutions avoid a potential drop, but only if they’re empowered.

Excerpt:

Demographics of students enrolling at colleges and universities are evolving. And students’ expectations are evolving as well. As the numbers of 18-22 year olds fresh out of high school drop, the recruitment of non-traditional students is becoming more important than ever. In this interview, James Shaeffer discusses the role continuing education (CE) departments can play as drivers of innovation and reflects on how CE leaders can help their main campus colleagues embrace transformational change.

Addendum on 1/4/20:

 

Get Smart About Going Online: Choosing the Right Model to Deliver Digital Programming — from evolllution.com by Charles Kilfoye
A veteran online educator looks at the benefits and pitfalls for each of the three main ways to launch an online program.

Excerpt:

Online learning is making headlines again with big players such as University of Massachusetts and California Community College Online launching high profile online initiatives recently. Some would argue that if you haven’t made it in online education already, you’ve missed your opportunity.

However, my sense is it’s never too late. You just have to be smart about it. It all boils down to asking yourself the basic problem-solving questions of Why, What and How to determine if online education is right for your institution. To illustrate my point, I will briefly discuss major considerations you should make when exploring an online strategy and I will examine the pros and cons of the three most common models of delivering online programs in higher education today.

Be aware that differentiated pricing may indicate to prospective students that one format is more valuable or better than another. My personal opinion is that a degree earned online should be considered the same degree as one earned on-ground. It is the same program, same faculty, same admissions requirements, same relevance and rigor, so why not the same cost?

 

From DSC:
Regarding the topic of pricing, it would be my hope that we could offer online-based programs at significantly discounted prices. This is why I think it will be the larger higher education providers that ultimately win out — or a brand new player in the field that uses a next gen learning platform along with a different business model (see below article) — as they can spread their development costs over a great number of students/courses/program offerings.

If the current players in higher ed don’t find a way to do this (and some players have already figured this out and are working on delivering it), powerful alternatives will develop — especially as the public’s perspective on the value of higher education continues to decline.

 

Learning from the living class room

I’d also like to hear Charles’ thoughts about pricing after reading Brandon’s article below:

If it’s more expensive, it must be better. That, of course, has been the prevailing wisdom among parents and students when it comes to college. But that wisdom has now been exposed as an utter myth according to a new study published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs. It turns out the cost of a college does not predict higher alumni ratings about the quality of their education. In fact, the opposite is true: total cost of attendance predicts lower ratings.

Quality matters. Price does not. Quality and price are not the same things. And this all has enormous implications for the industry and its consumers.

 

 

Active Learning on the Uptick?— from LinkedIn.com by Carrie O’Donnell

Excerpt:

The evidence is overwhelming that employing active learning strategies leads to deeper learning, increased retention and higher performance. In fact, the EDCAUSE Horizon Report: 2019 Higher Education Edition states 73 percent of universities surveyed indicate active learning classrooms are in the planning process or being implemented in 2020.

Active learning is an instructional approach that puts the student in the center of the learning. This teaching methodology actively engages the learner and is a contrast with the traditional lecture-based approaches where the instructor does most of the talking and students are passive. Some of the many strategies that instructors use to promote active learning include group discussions, peer instruction, problem-solving, case studies, role playing, journal writing and structured learning groups.

Several trends we’ve seen on campuses across the country bode well for active learning:

 

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