Apple launches major new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative projects to challenge systemic racism, advance racial equity nationwide — from apple.com
Commitments build on Apple’s $100 million pledge and include a first-of-its-kind education hub for HBCUs and an Apple Developer Academy in Detroit

Apple launches major new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative projects to challenge systemic racism, advance racial equity nationwide

Also see:

Apple reveals how it will spend the $100 million it pledged in June toward racial equity — from fortune.com by Michal Lev-Ram

Excerpt:

On Wednesday morning [1/13/21], the iPhone maker said it would invest in a series of programs: a learning hub for historically Black colleges and universities (both online and brick-and-mortar, in Atlanta), an Apple Developer Academy to teach coding skills in Detroit, and a $10 million check toward venture capital funding for entrepreneurs of color.

 

3 Main Changes to Help Fill College Classrooms — from fierceeducation.com by Alison Diana

Excerpt:

Reducing Tuition:
Southern New Hampshire University last month announced it will cut the cost of its Fall 2021 campus-based programs to $15,000 or $10,000 per year and use “an increased focus on experiential and project-based learning; a new and more transparent financial aid process, shifting from merit-based to need-based financial aid awards to level the playing field for all students.”

This marks more than a 50% reduction of its fees, according to SNHU. The university also plans to increase its on-site campus enrollment to 4,500 students from 3,000, although it did not say how or if it expects to adapt faculty or administrative staffing.

SNHU is not alone in addressing tuition to encourage people to attend their schools.

 

As an alternative to a full master’s degree, edX and Coursera offer MicroMasters and MasterTrack certificate programs at a fraction of the cost of grad school — from businessinsider.com by Mara Leighton; with thanks to Ray Schroeder for sharing this resource

Excerpt:

  • edX and Coursera both offer cheap or free online graduate courses, many from top universities like MIT, Duke, and the University of Michigan.
  • edX MicroMasters and Coursera MasterTracks are bite-sized portions of master’s degree programs.
  • They can be used to build stand-alone skills to advance your career or as a stepping stone to a full master’s program.
  • We compared MicroMasters and MasterTracks for you here. Overall, the deciding factor will be the program itself. But generally, edX’s offerings are cheaper, have more options, and are more lenient than Coursera’s.
 

The Annual Report: Ringing in the Changes — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Doug Foster

Excerpt:

Mary Grush: The annual report for the Division of Information Technology for FY 19-20 allows you to reflect on the division’s work for the year. How does this document help the institution’s resolve?

Doug Foster: The annual report is actually part of a larger alignment strategy. We have strategic priorities at the university level; and we have strategic priorities for the IT division. In IT, we put together an annual plan every year, which is what we execute our work against, and, finally, we put out an annual report.

An example report:

Here is an example annual report from the University of South Carolina's IT Division

 

From DSC:
Reading through the article below, I can’t help but wonder…how might the eviction crisis impact higher education?


 

Losing a Home Because of the Pandemic Is Hard Enough. How Long Should It Haunt You? — from nytimes.com by Barbara Kiviat (professor of sociology) and Sara Sternberg Greene (law professor)
Americans who default on their rent may find it hard to escape lasting effects on their financial future.

Excerpts:

Millions of Americans have fallen behind on rent during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting the passage of eviction moratoriums and rental assistance plans. But as policymakers have struggled to meet the needs of tenants and landlords, they’ve largely overlooked a crucial fact: The looming eviction crisis isn’t just about falling behind on rent and losing one’s home to eviction. It’s also about the records of those events, captured in court documents and credit reports, that will haunt millions of Americans for years to come.

Just as criminal records carry collateral consequences — preventing people from getting jobs, renting apartments and so on — blemishes on a person’s financial history can have far-ranging effects. Records of evictions can prevent Americans from renting new places to live, and debts and lawsuits related to unpaid rent can follow people as they apply for jobs, take out insurance policies, apply for mortgages and more. The process starts when landlords report late payments directly, file for eviction, sue in small claims court and hire debt collectors to pursue back rent. Those paper trails of unpaid rent and eviction get sucked into the digital warehouses of credit bureaus and data brokers.

 

 

 

College & Career Guide for Students with Disabilities — from study.com

College students with disabilities have rights that allow for specific accommodations to help them succeed in school. Learn about legal protections, scholarships, technologies, and other assistance available to students with disabilities.

 

U.S. Businesses Potentially Spent Billions on Legal Fees for Inaccessible Websites in 2020 — from boia.org

Excerpt:

In a bombshell report published by Accessibility.com, the organization estimated that 265,000 website accessibility demand letters were sent to businesses last year. Astounding on its own, if the figure is correct or close to correct, U.S. companies could have spent billions of dollars in legal costs as a direct result of inaccessible websites in 2020 alone. Businesses looking for a wake-up call to make website accessibility a priority in 2021 and beyond might have just found it.

The above article linked to:

2020 Website Accessibility Lawsuit Recap -- from Accessibility.com

Also see:

 

 

Teaching: Giving Students Better Information Before They Sign Up for Class — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpt:

A New Tool for Course Transparency
The days when students flipped through course catalogues to determine what they wanted to study are long over. So why do so many colleges continue to provide students only brief course descriptions on which to base their enrollment decisions? Couldn’t those descriptions be much more expansive online, including course-material costs, a syllabus, and even a professor’s statement of their teaching philosophy?

Why?
Particularly now, students require information about classes as they plan their upcoming semester to find the best fit for their learning. Course descriptions rarely provide all the information students seek around class structure, attendance, cost, and more. Completing this not only serves as a communication mechanism for prospective students, it may reduce the number of emails and drop/adds to your course. (source)

 

From DSC:
For me the Socratic method is still a question mark, in terms of effectiveness. (I suppose it depends on who is yielding the tool and how it’s being utilized/implemented.)

But you have one student — often standing up and/or in the spotlight — who is being drilled on something. That student could be calm and collected, and their cognitive processing could actually get a boost from the adrenaline.

But there are other students who dread being called upon in such a public — sometimes competitive — setting. Their cognitive processing could shut down or become greatly diminished.

Also, the professor is working with one student at a time — hopefully the other students are trying to address each subsequent question, but some students may tune out once they know it’s not their turn in the spotlight.

So I was wondering…could the Socratic method be used with each student at the same time? Could a polling-like tool be used in real-time to guide the discussion?

For example, a professor could start out with a pre-created poll and ask the question of all students. Then they could glance through the responses and even scan for some keywords (using their voice to drive the system and/or using a Ctrl+F / Command+F type of thing).

Then in real-time / on-the-fly, could the professor use their voice to create another poll/question — again for each student to answer — based on one of the responses? Again, each student must answer the follow up question(s).

Are there any vendors out there working on something like this? Or have you tested the effectiveness of something like this?

Vendors: Can you help us create a voice-driven interface to offer the Socratic method to everyone to see if and how it would work? (Like a Mentimeter type of product on steroids…er, rather, using an AI-driven backend.)

Teachers, trainers, pastors, presenters could also benefit from something like this — as it could engage numerous people at once.

#Participation #Engagement #Assessment #Reasoning #CriticalThinking #CommunicationSkills #ThinkingOnOnesFeet #OnlineLearning #Face-to-Face #BlendedLearning #HybridLearning

Could such a method be used in language-related classes as well? In online-based tutoring?

 

Big Changes in the Federal Student-Aid System Are Coming. Here’s Why They Matter. — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

Excerpt:

After all, a recent NCAN analysis led the organization to conclude that fewer than half of community colleges and only a quarter of public four-year institutions are affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient.

That’s why the group plans to push for a doubling of the maximum award in the months ahead. “Fafsa simplification and getting more students to apply for aid is a first step,” Warick said, “but we know there are not enough affordable options out there for families considering higher ed. We need a broad investment in the Pell Grant program.”

Also see:

Their Stories Helped Lift a 26-Year Ban on Pell Grants for Prisoners — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan
A college education transformed former inmates’ lives. But some critics fear low-quality programs will rush in.

Excerpts:

“Every time we sat before elected officials, sharing expertise and stories about the transformative power of education, we lived a paradox,” Nixon wrote in a statement after the ban was lifted. “The power of our testimony came with the stigma of incarceration. Yet, chins held high, we claimed that we are worthy of educational opportunity. And many educators stood with us — keeping hope alive by providing college behind bars when Pell was not an option.”

Expanding such opportunities has enjoyed growing bipartisan support as a way to reduce recidivism, save taxpayers money, and mitigate the discriminatory effects of mass incarceration and unequal schooling. But some fear that inmates might end up exhausting Pell eligibility on poor-quality programs that are rolled out too quickly, without the wraparound supports and face-to-face contact they say incarcerated students especially need.

 

 

From DSC:
After seeing the following two items, I wondered…should more professors, teachers, and staff members be on Substack?

DC: Should more professors, teachers, staff members, & trainers be on Substack?


Heather Cox Richardson Offers a Break From the Media Maelstrom. It’s Working. — from nytimes.com by Ben Smith
She is the breakout star of the newsletter platform Substack, doing the opposite of most media as she calmly situates the news of the day in the long sweep of American history.

Excerpt:

Last Wednesday, I broke the news to Heather Cox Richardson that she was the most successful individual author of a paid publication on the breakout newsletter platform Substack.

Early that morning, she had posted that day’s installment of “Letters From an American” to Facebook, quickly garnering more than 50,000 reactions and then, at 2:14 a.m., she emailed it to about 350,000 people.

The news of her ranking seemed to startle Dr. Richardson, who in her day job is a professor of 19th century American history at Boston College. The Substack leader board, a subject of fascination among media insiders, is a long way from her life on a Maine peninsula — particularly as the pandemic has ended her commute — that seems drawn from the era she studies.

Is Substack the Media Future We Want? — from newyorker.com by Anna Wiener
The newsletter service is a software company that, by mimicking some of the functions of newsrooms, has made itself difficult to categorize.

Excerpt:

…Substack, a service that enables writers to draft, edit, and send e-mail newsletters to subscribers. Writers can choose whether subscriptions are free or paid; the minimum charge for paid subscriptions is five dollars a month or thirty dollars a year, and Substack takes ten percent of all revenue.

 

Could AI-based techs be used to develop a “table of contents” for the key points within lectures, lessons, training sessions, sermons, & podcasts? [Christian]

From DSC:
As we move into 2021, the blistering pace of emerging technologies will likely continue. Technologies such as:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — including technologies related to voice recognition
  • Blockchain
  • Augment Reality (AR)/Mixed Reality (MR)/Virtual Reality (VR) and/or other forms of Extended Reality (XR)
  • Robotics
  • Machine-to-Machine Communications (M2M) / The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Drones
  • …and other things will likely make their way into how we do many things (for better or for worse).

Along the positive lines of this topic, I’ve been reflecting upon how we might be able to use AI in our learning experiences.

For example, when teaching in face-to-face-based classrooms — and when a lecture recording app like Panopto is being used — could teachers/professors/trainers audibly “insert” main points along the way? Similar to something like we do with Siri, Alexa, and other personal assistants (“Heh Siri, _____ or “Alexa, _____).

Like an audible version of HTML -- using the spoken word to insert the main points of a presentation or lecture

(Image purchased from iStockphoto)

.

Pretend a lecture, lesson, or a training session is moving right along. Then the professor, teacher, or trainer says:

  • “Heh Smart Classroom, Begin Main Point.”
  • Then speaks one of the main points.
  • Then says, “Heh Smart Classroom, End Main Point.”

Like a verbal version of an HTML tag.

After the recording is done, the AI could locate and call out those “main points” — and create a table of contents for that lecture, lesson, training session, or presentation.

(Alternatively, one could insert a chime/bell/some other sound that the AI scans through later to build the table of contents.)

In the digital realm — say when recording something via Zoom, Cisco Webex, Teams, or another application — the same thing could apply. 

Wouldn’t this be great for quickly scanning podcasts for the main points? Or for quickly scanning presentations and webinars for the main points?

Anyway, interesting times lie ahead!

 

 

EdSurge Reflects On a Year of Pandemic-Era Education Journalism — from edsurge.com by Jeffrey Young, Rebecca Koenig and Tony Wan

Excerpts:

[Wan] It has never been a better time to be in education. It has also never been a worse time to be in education.

Which is it for you?

The answer depends on where you are in this ecosystem.

[Koenig] If I didn’t know before, I do now: Education is not merely the transmission of knowledge. It is experiences shared and relationships nurtured among people who have not only brains, but also bodies and spirits. Lungs vulnerable to viruses and eyes to screen fatigue. Hearts susceptible to fear and grief and doubt and loneliness.

[Young] There will probably be lessons from all the forced experimentation. But during 2020, there was little time for reflection, only a push to turn in something that looked as much like a college experience as possible.

 

#survivingcovid19 #reinvent #highereducation #futureofhighereducation #60yearcurriculum #costofhighereducation #alternatives #innovation #learningfromthelivingclassroom and many more

 

Online Education Isn’t the Sideshow. It’s the Main Event. — from edsurge.com by Chip Paucek

Excerpt:

Over the course of 2020, there has been plenty of discussion about what will and won’t return to “normal” once we’ve fought COVID-19 into submission. I can’t predict the future, but my bet is that many of the innovations and changes we’ve witnessed this year will stick around. And I know two things for certain: first, many students will go back to in-person learning, but the demand for high-quality online education and shorter, non-degree learning pathways—like boot camps and short courses—will continue to grow as people upskill, reskill and look for greater flexibility in education. And second: demand for online undergraduate and graduate degrees will grow too.

James DeVaney, associate vice provost at the University of Michigan put it best in his recent tweet, saying that we “need to move from ‘what’s your rev share’ to ‘what value do you create?’ And tailored to higher ed, ‘what is your contribution to learning?’ I care about reach, research, $ development, reputation, and revenue—but all in the context of learning. That’s the transparency we need.”

 
© 2020 | Daniel Christian