What If Students Didn’t Have to Leave Community Colleges to Earn Bachelor’s Degrees?
— from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

“The question I got most was, ‘When will Indian River offer baccalaureate-level programs?’” Massey says.

It’s a query fielded by community college leaders across the country. And over the past three decades, they’ve answered the call for increased access to bachelor’s-degree pathways by creating them on their own campuses. In fact, some community colleges in Florida have been offering bachelor’s programs for 20 years, and now nearly two dozen states permit so-called two-year colleges to offer four-year degrees.

And the pace of adoption is speeding up, with half a dozen states signing on since 2018, according to the Community College Baccalaureate Association.

 

Flipped Learning Can Be a Key to Transforming Teaching and Learning Post-Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

What is flipped learning? A common and oversimplified answer is that it is an approach that asks students to watch lecture videos at home before class so that class time can be used for more interactive activities.

But the best way to describe it is to contrast it with traditional teaching frameworks. In the traditional framework, students get first contact with new concepts in class (the “group space” as I call it in my book on flipped learning) and then higher-level interactions are all on the student side through homework and so on (in the “individual space”). Flipped learning puts first contact with new ideas before group space activities, then uses the group space for active learning on mid- and upper-level tasks.

It’s worthwhile to compare flipped and traditional frameworks by contrasting the assumptions that each framework makes…

We can no longer assume that a pure lecture pedagogy is an acceptable teaching model or that banning technology is an acceptable practice.

 

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part 1 — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux
*This is a five-part series. Each Monday, we will be publishing the next consecutive part of the article series.  

Excerpt:

I searched for ways to structure online discussions, and my findings are described in this series of five articles. This first article explores ways to structure a discussion to encourage learners to apply the concepts they have learned. Articles two and three describe discussion structures that help learners explore concepts in greater depth. Article four looks at ways to use discussions for reflection, evaluation, and critique of concepts. The final article investigates ways to foster a greater sense of community by using multimedia and proposes resources for developing new discussion structures.

Below are five ideas where learners search for, recognize, and share concrete examples of a concept, or where they create examples to illustrate a concept. I am sure there are more ways to do it, and I welcome your additions in the comments below.

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part Two — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Excerpt:

In this and the next article, I will describe ideas for structuring an online discussion when the goal is for learners to further explore a concept studied in class. I subdivided the ideas into two categories: Some are useful when the goal is for learners to engage in divergent thinking, in other words, when they are generating ideas and expanding the range of solutions or brainstorming (this article).

21 Ways to Structure an Online Discussion, Part Three — from facultyfocus.com by Annie Prud’homme-Généreux

Excerpt:

In this third article, we will explore structures to help learners explore concepts when the goal is convergent thinking, so each learner gains a deeper, richer understanding of a concept and aligns with a common understanding.

In this article, the ideas for structuring an online discussion when the goal is for learners to explore a concept through convergent thinking are:

 

Harvard and its peers should be embarrassed about how few students they educate — from washingtonpost.com by Jeff Selingo
Their minuscule admissions rates are a sign of failure, not success.

Excerpt:

Harvard’s announcement this past week that its acceptance rate fell to an all-time low of just 3.4 percent will be viewed by some alumni as a triumph — a sign of their alma mater’s popularity and prestige among high school grads. And some alumni of elite institutions like Yale (4.6 percent), Brown (5.4 percent) and Princeton (4 percent) may feel the same glow of pride. In actuality, these numbers are signs of institutional failure.

That some 55,000 applicants were denied the chance to attend Harvard — which, with its $42 billion endowment, is fully capable of serving more than 1,640 students in an incoming class — is no cause for celebration. Instead, the ever-declining proportion of applicants accepted at such top-ranked universities should spur them to consider making their freshman classes substantially larger. Such a move would be especially appropriate — and, perhaps, more imaginable — after a pandemic year when universities across the country have had to reconceive education in a multitude of ways.

From DSC:
I couldn’t agree more. These types of schools should pursue a much more noble goal and seek to educate the masses. Make far larger contributions in order to make the world a better place to live in. Open up the doors. Stop recreating the caste system we have in the U.S. 

Also see:

The Endless Sensation of Application Inflation — from chronicle.com by Eric Hoover

Excerpt:

The numbers get bigger each year. Now they’ve reached a mesospheric level of madness.

Yes, we’re talking about application totals at highly selective colleges, a fixation for a jittery subset of the planet. In the 2020-21 admissions cycle, many of the final tallies broke records — and, surely, record numbers of hearts. The more applicants that apply to a hyper-competitive college, the more rejections it must deliver.

But what do such metrics really tell us? What, if anything, does the annual OMG-ing over these statistics add to up to? Let’s pause here and remember that application inflation isn’t new: Acceptance rates at many institutions have been plummeting for years. Also, a 35-percent increase like the one Tufts University just saw didn’t mean there was a 35-percent increase in highly qualified applicants with a prayer of getting in, or a 35-percent increase in applicants who meet each of the institution’s many needs.

 

 

Supporting Students Where They Are: Bentley’s CIS Sandbox — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush and Mark Frydenberg

Excerpt:

Frydenberg: …So, we started offering tutoring services in four ways: drop-in hours online; drop-in hours in person (following safety guidelines); online review sessions with a tutor assigned to each class; and tutoring on demand by appointment, which I like to call “Uber” tutoring.

Grush: Tutoring that follows an “Uber” model?

Frydenberg: Sure. When you reserve an Uber, you ask for a driver to pick you up at a specific place at a designated time. The same model applies here: Students complete an online form to request a tutor on a given topic and indicate when they want to meet with a tutor. Through a software application, the request is automatically routed to all tutors capable of tutoring in that subject. The first tutor who claims the request may contact the student to set up an appointment on Zoom. This creates an incentive for tutors to accept appointments, and offers flexibility as to when they choose to work. They don’t have to set aside a block of hours to be available and wait for someone to show up to meet with them. This model of reserving a tutor is available for students in 17 sections of upper level and graduate courses.

 

Rebooting the final exam — from roberttalbert.medium.com by Robert Talbert

Excerpts: 

It’s probably better not to give final exams at all, but if you must, then here are some alternative approaches that do more to help students.

Here are some ideas for what your students might do on a final exam like this.

  • Create a mind map of the course or a portion of it.  
  • Write a new catalog description for the course.  
  • Write a letter to an incoming high school student who will be taking the course next semester.  
  • Write a short essay about: What are the main ideas of this subject, and how do they all connect together?  
  • Write about their metacognition.  
  • Leave one piece of advice to the next round of students taking this course. 
 

5 Ways to Marry Higher Ed to Work — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpts:

  1. Treat employers as customers.
  2. Move beyond the idea of the bachelor degree as the end-all.
  3. Link coursework with competences.
  4. Develop a “shared vocabulary of skills” that can be used by employers and peer institutions.
  5. Design for equity and inclusion.

From DSC:
It’s great to see more articles like this that promote further collaboration — and less siloing — between the worlds of higher education and the workplace.

My guess is that those traditional institutions of higher education who change/adapt quickly enough have a much greater chance at surviving (and even thriving). Those that don’t will have a very rough road ahead. They will be shadows of  what they once were — if they are even able to keep their doors open.

Disruption is likely ahead — especially if more doors to credentialing continue to open up and employers hire based on those skills/credentials. One can feel the changing momentums at play. The tide has been turning for the last several years now (history may show the seeds of change were planted in times that occurred much longer ago).

 

Pro:

AI-powered chatbots automate IT help at Dartmouth — from edscoop.com by Ryan Johnston

Excerpt:

To prevent a backlog of IT requests and consultations during the coronavirus pandemic, Dartmouth College has started relying on AI-powered chatbots to act as an online service desk for students and faculty alike, the school said Wednesday.

Since last fall, the Hanover, New Hampshire, university’s roughly 6,600 students and 900 faculty have been able to consult with “Dart” — the virtual assistant’s name — to ask IT or service-related questions related to the school’s technology. More than 70% of the time, their question is resolved by the chatbot, said Muddu Sudhakar, the co-founder and CEO of Aisera, the company behind the software.

Con:

The Foundations of AI Are Riddled With Errors — from wired.com by Will Knight
The labels attached to images used to train machine-vision systems are often wrong. That could mean bad decisions by self-driving cars and medical algorithms.

Excerpt:

“What this work is telling the world is that you need to clean the errors out,”says Curtis Northcutt, a PhD student at MIT who led the new work.“Otherwise the models that you think are the best for your real-world business problem could actually be wrong.”

 

 

Nearly Half of Faculty Say Pandemic Changes to Teaching Are Here to Stay — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Among the findings:

  • Fifty-one percent of faculty said they feel more positive about online learning today than pre-pandemic. Faculty were most satisfied with how efficiently they were able to communicate with students — but across the board, a majority of faculty were also satisfied with how efficiently the technology worked, how well students learned and how well students engaged in class.
  • Fifty-seven percent of faculty said they feel more positive about digital learning materials than pre-pandemic.
  • Seventy-one percent of faculty reported they make considerable use of digital materials today, compared to 25 percent pre-pandemic. And 81 percent said they expect digital material use to remain the same or increase post-pandemic.
  • Fifty-eight percent reported considerable use of online homework and courseware systems, more than doubling the pre-pandemic share of 22 percent. Seventy-four percent expected the use of those systems to remain the same or increase post-pandemic.
  • Only 8 percent of faculty said they would revert to their pre-pandemic teaching practices after the pandemic is over.

Also see:

Two-thirds of people in the education sector expect to see a continuation of remote work post-pandemic. Sixty-five percent of respondents in education agreed that due to the success of remote collaboration, facilitated by videoconferencing, their organizations are considering a flexible remote working model.

 

DC: Yet another reason for Universal Design for Learning’s multiple means of presentation/media:

Encourage faculty to presume students are under-connected. Asynchronous, low-bandwidth approaches help give students more flexibility in accessing course content in the face of connectivity challenges.

— as excerpted from campustechnology.com’s article entitled, “4 Ways Institutions Can Meet Students’ Connectivity and Technology Needs

 

 

In 2019, 2 in 5 instructors had not consulted with an Instructional Designer in the last year -- from Educause

Also see:

EDUCAUSE QuickPoll Results: Assessment and Learning Design — by Mark McCormack

Excerpt:

Respondents expressed confidence that recent increases in faculty engagement with instructional design and technology will continue in future academic years, as will institutions’ adoption of hybrid/online education. Respondents are less confident that larger changes in institutional policy and practice will persist, and they do not anticipate that institutions will be investing in key instructional needs in the future. Increases in cross-department collaboration hold great promise for leaders seeking to engage faculty and make wider and more lasting strategic changes. Long-term success for new approaches to teaching and learning may rely at least in part on clear and consistent policies and practices across the institution, as well as a shift in institutional narrative from “short-term crisis mitigation” to “innovation for the future.”

 

Over 27,000 students share how colleges and universities could improve digital learning — from jisc.ac.uk

Excerpt:

A Jisc survey of 27,069 higher and further education students reveals that most are pleased with their digital learning, but areas such as wellbeing, mental health and staff digital skills need more attention.

Between October and December 2020, 21,697 higher education (HE) students and 5,372 in further education (FE) took part in Jisc’s digital experience insights student survey. The surveys seek to support the sector in adapting and responding to the changing situation as a result of COVID–19 policies.

 

Adjunct college faculty taking the biggest hit from pandemic job losses — from highereddive.com by Hallie Busta

Dive Brief:

  • Higher education institutions employed 5% fewer adjunct faculty during the current academic year compared to the year before, according to the latest annual data from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
  • All faculty groups experienced job losses during the year, though adjuncts were hit the hardest. The cuts didn’t affect the share of women and people from racial and ethnic minority groups among tenure-track faculty.
  • Salaries for full-time faculty posted the lowest median annual increase since 2010, at less than 1%, as colleges grappled with budget cuts and revenue loss.

From DSC:
And a potentially-relevant item for the future if these trends continue:

How To Pre-Sell Your Online Course And Make Money Before You Launch It — from elearningindustry.com Kathy Alameda
In this article, I’m going to explain why pre-selling your online course is important as an online course creator.

 

Improved Student Engagement in Higher Education’s Next Normal — from er.educause.edu by Ed Glantz, Chris Gamrat, Lisa Lenze and Jeffrey Bardzell
Five pandemic-introduced innovative teaching adaptations can improve student engagement in the next normal for higher education.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The five teaching enhancements/adaptations discussed above—collaborative technologies for sense-making, student experts in learning and technology, back channels, digital breakout rooms, and supplemental recording—are well positioned to expand the definition of “student engagement” beyond traditional roll call and attendance tracking. Opportunities to include students at a distance have permitted inclusion of students who are reticent to speak publicly, students whose first language is not English, students with disabilities, and students less engaged through “traditional” channels. With these new conceptions of engagement in mind, we are prepared to be more inclusive of all students in the next normal of higher education.

 

More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is A Parallel Higher Education System Emerging? — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher and Holly Zanville

Excerpt:

As the acceptance of new types of credentials grows, a number of employers have become learning providers in their own right, in a way that could shake up the broader higher education landscape.

A growing number of companies have moved beyond training their own employees or providing tuition assistance programs to send staff members to higher education. Many of these employers are also developing their own curricula and rapidly expanding their publicly-facing credential offerings.

But the current boom in employer-issued credentials is different—and potentially transformational. Unlike the traditional IT certifications of decades past, these new credentials are less focused on proprietary technologies related to a given tech vendor, and are instead more focused on broadly applicable tech skill sets such as IT support, cloud computing and digital marketing.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian