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.”

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Delta Model Lawyer: Lawyer Competencies for the Computational Age — from law.mit.edu by Caitlin “Cat” Moon
Technology changes the ways that people interact with one another. As a result, the roles and competencies required for many professions are evolving. Law is no exception. Cat Moon offers the Delta Model as a tool for legal professionals to understand how adapt to these changes.

Excerpt:

The [law] schools must begin training the profession to cope with and understand computers. […] Minimizing the pain and problems which may be caused by computer-created unknowns is a responsibility of the profession.

 

The future of law and computational technologies: Two sides of the same coin — from law.mit.edu by Daniel Linna
Law and computation are often thought of as being two distinct fields. Increasingly, that is not the case. Dan Linna explores the ways a computational approach could help address some of the biggest challenges facing the legal industry.

Excerpt:

The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (“AI”) introduces opportunities to improve legal processes and facilitate social progress. At the same time, AI presents an original set of inherent risks and potential harms. From a Law and Computational Technologies perspective, these circumstances can be broadly separated into two categories. First, we can consider the ethics, regulations, and laws that apply to technology. Second, we can consider the use of technology to improve the delivery of legal services, justice systems, and the law itself. Each category presents an unprecedented opportunity to use significant technological advancements to preserve and expand the rule of law.

For basic legal needs, access to legal services might come in the form of smartphones or other devices that are capable of providing users with an inventory of their legal rights and obligations, as well as providing insights and solutions to common legal problems. Better yet, AI and pattern matching technologies can help catalyze the development of proactive approaches to identify potential legal problems and prevent them from arising, or at least mitigate their risk.

We risk squandering abundant opportunities to improve society with computational technologies if we fail to proactively create frameworks to embed ethics, regulation, and law into our processes by design and default.

To move forward, technologists and lawyers must radically expand current notions of interdisciplinary collaboration. Lawyers must learn about technology, and technologists must learn about the law.

 

 

Preparing faculty for high-quality online programs — from campustechnology.com by Anne Frankel, Laurie Friedman, Jamie Mansell, Jennifer Ibrahim
Temple University’s College of Public Health is a diverse school experiencing significant growth online. Here’s how the institution is supporting the development and maintenance of high-quality online faculty.

Excerpt:

We recognized that faculty may be at different levels of preparedness and self-efficacy to start teaching in an online space — and we realized the challenges of organizing faculty in a single location at a given time. Therefore, we chose to deliver the training in a fully asynchronous environment, allowing faculty the time and space needed to digest the materials and practice with the content to build their confidence. Faculty are enrolled in the training during the semester prior to their assigned online class, and are asked to complete the training at least four weeks before the start of their online course to provide sufficient time for feedback to the faculty with lead time for changes to the course before launching, if needed.

We wanted the training to take the faculty member through the design of an entire online course, from syllabus creation, to choices in delivery style, to assessment techniques and more. Each of the nine modules included both pedagogical and technological pieces, encompassing everything from creating alignment (Module 3), to setting up your Canvas site (Module 4), to designing and delivering synchronous sessions (Module 8).

Within each module, there is an organized infrastructure to ensure a consistent experience for the faculty. The structure starts with a clear set of learning objectives, designed both to model best practices and to ensure alignment with activities and assessments. Following the objectives, there are diverse resources, including videos, instructional guides with screenshots, web links, journal articles and examples from our online classes. After the content, each module contains “assignments” for the faculty to complete. These assignments allow the faculty to demonstrate that they can incorporate both technological and pedagogical best practices within their own online course.

 

From DSC:
The two postings below show the need for more collaboration and the use of teams:


 

The future of law and computational technologies: Two sides of the same coin — from legaltechlever.com by Daniel Linna Jr.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

An increasing number of lawyers today work with allied professionals to improve processes, better manage projects, embrace data-driven methods, and leverage technology to improve legal services and systems. Legal-services and lawyer regulations are evolving. And basic technologies and AI are slowly making their way into the legal industry, from legal aid organizations and courts to large law firms, corporate legal departments, and governments.

If we are to realize the potential to improve society with computational technologies, law, regulation, and ethical principles must be front and center at every stage, from problem definition, design, data collection, and data cleaning to training, deployment, and monitoring and maintenance of products and systems. To achieve this, technologists and lawyers must collaborate and share a common vocabulary. Lawyers must learn about technology, and technologists must learn about law. Multidisciplinary teams with a shared commitment to law, regulation, and ethics can proactively address today’s AI challenges, and advance our collaborative problem-solving capabilities to address tomorrow’s increasingly complex problems. Lawyers and technologists must work together to create a better future for everyone.

 

From DSC:
As with higher education in general, we need more team-based efforts in the legal realm as well as more TrimTab Groups.

 

 

Excerpts:

Why does this distinction matter? Because law—like so many industries—is undergoing a tectonic shift. It is morphing from a lawyer dominated, practice-centric, labor-intensive guild to a tech-enabled, process and data-driven, multi-disciplinary global industry. The career paths, skills, and expectations of lawyers are changing. So too are how, when, and on what financial terms they are engaged; with whom and from what delivery models they work; their performance metrics, and the resources—human and machine—they collaborate with.  Legal practice is shrinking and the business of delivering legal services is expanding rapidly.

Law is no longer the exclusive province of lawyers. Legal knowledge is not the sole element of legal delivery—business and technological competencies are equally important. It’s a new ballgame—one that most lawyers are unprepared for.

How did we get here and are legal careers  for most a dead end? Spoiler alert: there’s tremendous opportunity in the legal industry. The caveat: all lawyers must have basic business and technological competency whether they pursue practice careers or leverage their legal knowledge as a skill in legal delivery and/or allied professional careers.

Upskilling the legal profession is already a key issue, a requisite for career success. Lawyers must learn new skills like project management, data analytics, deployment of technology, and process design to leverage their legal knowledge. Simply knowing the law will not cut it anymore.

 

From DSC:
I really appreciate the work of the above two men whose articles I’m highlighting here. I continue to learn a lot from them and am grateful for their work.

That said, just like it’s a lot to expect a faculty member (in higher ed) who teaches online to not only be a subject matter expert, but also to be skilled in teaching, web design, graphic design, navigation design, information design, audio design, video editing, etc…it’s a lot to expect for a lawyer to be a skilled lawyer, business person, and technician. I realize that Mark was only saying a basic level of competency…but even that can be difficult to achieve at times. Why? Because people have different skillsets, passions, and interests. One might be a good lawyer, but not a solid technician…or vice versa. One might be a solid professor, but isn’t very good with graphic design. 

 

Podcast: Susan Patrick on Transforming Education Systems for Equitable High-Quality Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark & Susan Patrick

Excerpts:

5 Global Trends

  1. Ensuring education systems are fit for purpose.
  2. Modernizing educator workforce and professional learning.
  3. Innovating education for equity, prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  4. Aligning pathways from early childhood, K-12, college and workforce.
  5. Redesigning schools based on the learning sciences.
    In Fit for Purpose, Patrick and colleagues said, “A school redesign informed by learning sciences puts student success at its center. It incorporates youth development theory, culturally responsive teaching, and evidence-based approaches.” She added, “We must ensure we are designing for equity using research on how students learn best, youth development theory and evidence-based approaches.”


From DSC:

Below are the comments that I relayed back to Tom and Susan on Twitter:

“We need to keep asking– how do we design a system fit for the world we live in?” I thought that this was a great point from Susan. I would just add that not only do we need to look around at the current landscapes, but also what’s coming down the pike (i.e. the world that we will be living in). With the new pace of exponential change, our graduates will need to be able to pivot/adapt frequently and quickly.

Also, watching my wife’s experiences over the last few years, only one of the three school systems offered solid training and development. The other two school systems needed to pay much more attention to their onboarding and training programs. They needed to be far more supportive — working to establish a more team-oriented teaching and learning environment. While the corporate world can learn from the K-12 world often times, this is where the K-12 world could learn a lot to learn from the corporate world.

 

A reckoning for 2U, and OPMs? — from insidehighered.com by Lindsay McKenzie
After online program management company 2U talked openly about its challenges, the company’s stock plummeted. Analysts say the company, and others like it, are down but not out.

Excerpt:

An hour before Chip Paucek, CEO and co-founder of 2U, held an investor call late Tuesday afternoon [on 7/30/19] , the online program management company’s stock was valued at $36.50. Over the next 24 hours, as investors responded to the news he delivered, its stock plunged to $12.80 — a decrease of almost 65 percent.

In that investor call, Paucek delivered a set of messages that wouldn’t have surprised many who watch the online education space closely. Online program management is a difficult business to be in. Online education is increasingly competitive, student acquisition and marketing costs are going up, and the regulatory landscape is becoming more complex.

Offering hybrid or fee-for-service options is something many OPM companies already do, but 2U has long been resistant to this change. It’s a significant shift in strategy, said Daniel Pianko, co-founder and managing director of University Ventures.

 

There has been long-running disagreement about whether fee for service or revenue sharing is the better option for institutions, said Pianko. “What’s really interesting is that 2U went from being the strongest proponent of the revenue share forever camp to effectively embracing the future of fee for service,” he said. “With the 2U move, we would expect a rapid move toward fee for service across the board.”

 

Also see:

 

 “How can technology be used at scale to address the massive re-skilling that’s going to be needed in the workforce going forward?”

— Kelly Fuller, a director at BMO Capital Markets who covers the ed tech sector

 

A Snapshot of Instructional Design: Talking Points for a Field in Transition — from er.educause.edu by Whitney Kilgore, Patrice Torcivia and Laura Gogia

Excerpt:

The resurgence of learning engineering as a concept and professional role in higher education has exacerbated tensions within the field of instructional design related to job titles, responsibilities, and position within academic institutions.

 

“World-class instructional designers can help one institution differentiate itself from others in the online learning market. I think that realization is driving the conversation on instructional design in many institutions.”

“Today, we need instructional designers who are equally fluent in learning design, faculty professional development, research methods, and technology,” Bowen elaborated. “They must be able to partner with faculty to create, experiment, and publish innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Unfortunately, this looks a lot different than what we have in many instructional design units right now.”

Kyle Bowen, director of innovation at Penn State

 

China has started a grand experiment in AI education. It could reshape how the world learns. — from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao
In recent years, the country has rushed to pursue “intelligent education.” Now its billion-dollar ed-tech companies are planning to export their vision overseas.

Excerpt:

Zhou Yi was terrible at math. He risked never getting into college. Then a company called Squirrel AI came to his middle school in Hangzhou, China, promising personalized tutoring. He had tried tutoring services before, but this one was different: instead of a human teacher, an AI algorithm would curate his lessons. The 13-year-old decided to give it a try. By the end of the semester, his test scores had risen from 50% to 62.5%. Two years later, he scored an 85% on his final middle school exam.

“I used to think math was terrifying,” he says. “But through tutoring, I realized it really isn’t that hard. It helped me take the first step down a different path.”

 

The strategy has fueled mind-boggling growth. In the five years since it was founded, the company has opened 2,000 learning centers in 200 cities and registered over a million students—equal to New York City’s entire public school system. It plans to expand to 2,000 more centers domestically within a year. To date, the company has also raised over $180 million in funding. At the end of last year, it gained unicorn status, surpassing $1 billion in valuation.

 

Reflections on “Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale” [Christian]

Clay Shirky on Mega-Universities and Scale — from philonedtech.com by Clay Shirky
[This was a guest post by Clay Shirky that grew out of a conversation that Clay and Phil had about IPEDS enrollment data. Most of the graphs are provided by Phil.]

Excerpts:

Were half a dozen institutions to dominate the online learning landscape with no end to their expansion, or shift what Americans seek in a college degree, that would indeed be one of the greatest transformations in the history of American higher education. The available data, however, casts doubt on that idea.

Though much of the conversation around mega-universities is speculative, we already know what a mega-university actually looks like, one much larger than any university today. It looks like the University of Phoenix, or rather it looked like Phoenix at the beginning of this decade, when it had 470,000 students, the majority of whom took some or all of their classes online. Phoenix back then was six times the size of the next-largest school, Kaplan, with 78,000 students, and nearly five times the size of any university operating today.

From that high-water mark, Phoenix has lost an average of 40,000 students every year of this decade.

 

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate both Clay’s and Phil’s thought leadership and their respective contributions to education and learning through the years. I value their perspectives and their work.  Clay and Phil offer up a great article here — one worth your time to read.  

The article made me reflect on what I’ve been building upon and tracking for the last decade — a next generation ***PLATFORM*** that I believe will represent a powerful piece of a global learning ecosystem. I call this vision, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.” Though the artificial intelligence-backed platform that I’m envisioning doesn’t yet fully exist — this new era and type of learning-based platform ARE coming. The emerging signs, technologies, trends — and “fingerprints”of it, if you will — are beginning to develop all over the place.

Such a platform will:

  • Be aimed at the lifelong learner.
  • Offer up major opportunities to stay relevant and up-to-date with one’s skills.
  • Offer access to the program offerings from many organizations — including the mega-universities, but also, from many other organizations that are not nearly as large as the mega-universities.
  • Be reliant upon human teachers, professors, trainers, subject matter experts, but will be backed up by powerful AI-based technologies/tools. For example, AI-based tools will pulse-check the open job descriptions and the needs of business and present the top ___ areas to go into (how long those areas/jobs last is anyone’s guess, given the exponential pace of technological change).

Below are some quotes that I want to comment on:

Not nothing, but not the kind of environment that will produce an educational Amazon either, especially since the top 30 actually shrank by 0.2% a year.

 

Instead of an “Amazon vs. the rest” dynamic, online education is turning into something much more widely adopted, where the biggest schools are simply the upper end of a continuum, not so different from their competitors, and not worth treating as members of a separate category.

 

Since the founding of William and Mary, the country’s second college, higher education in the U.S. hasn’t been a winner-take-all market, and it isn’t one today. We are not entering a world where the largest university operates at outsized scale, we’re leaving that world; 

 

From DSC:
I don’t see us leaving that world at all…but that’s not my main reflection here. Instead, I’m not focusing on how large the mega-universities will become. When I speak of a forthcoming Walmart of Education or Amazon of Education, what I have in mind is a platform…not one particular organization.

Consider that the vast majority of Amazon’s revenues come from products that other organizations produce. They are a platform, if you will. And in the world of platforms (i.e., software), it IS a winner take all market. 

Bill Gates reflects on this as well in this recent article from The Verge:

“In the software world, particularly for platforms, these are winner-take-all markets.

So it’s all about a forthcoming platform — or platforms. (It could be more than one platform. Consider Apple. Consider Microsoft. Consider Google. Consider Facebook.)

But then the question becomes…would a large amount of universities (and other types of organizations) be willing to offer up their courses on a platform? Well, consider what’s ALREADY happening with FutureLearn:

Finally…one more excerpt from Clay’s article:

Eventually the new ideas lose their power to shock, and end up being widely copied. Institutional transformation starts as heresy and ends as a section in the faculty handbook. 

From DSC:
This is a great point. Reminds me of this tweet from Fred Steube (and I added a piece about Western Telegraph):

 

Some things to reflect upon…for sure.

 

The World’s First Full in VR Semester Course Taught by Survios CTO — from medium.com by Rahel Demant

Excerpt:

VR First is excited to announce its strategic partnership with Axon Park?—?the world’s first educational campus in VR. To kick things off, they are running a full semester course taught in VR. Launching this fall, the course will teach expert-level Unreal Engine VR development, taught remotely by Survios CTO and Co-Founder Alex Silkin with support from the Unreal Engine team.

To enable Axon Park’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through immersive education, VR First has signed a strategic partnership with Axon Park, an organization which maintains the largest network of VR lab enabled universities and science parks internationally. Together, Axon Park and VR First are announcing a needs-based scholarship program that will provide students with low cost or free access to VR hardware and resources through their partner network of 850 universities. With their expertise in VR/AR workforce education and regional tech cluster facilities, VR First is the international distribution partner for Axon Park training solutions to universities, businesses and governments.

 

 

Also see:

Axon Park -- in fall 2019, delivering the world’s first full in VR semester course

 

 

Stanford team aims at Alexa and Siri with a privacy-minded alternative — from nytimes.com by John Markoff

Excerpt:

Now computer scientists at Stanford University are warning about the consequences of a race to control what they believe will be the next key consumer technology market — virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

The group at Stanford, led by Monica Lam, a computer systems designer, last month received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant is for an internet service they hope will serve as a Switzerland of sorts for systems that use human language to control computers, smartphones and internet devices in homes and offices.

The researchers’ biggest concern is that virtual assistants, as they are designed today, could have a far greater impact on consumer information than today’s websites and apps. Putting that information in the hands of one big company or a tiny clique, they say, could erase what is left of online privacy.

 

Amazon sends Alexa developers on quest for ‘holy grail of voice science’ — from venturebeat.com by Khari Johnson

Excerpt:

At Amazon’s re:Mars conference last week, the company rolled out Alexa Conversations in preview. Conversations is a module within the Alexa Skills Kit that stitches together Alexa voice apps into experiences that help you accomplish complex tasks.

Alexa Conversations may be Amazon’s most intriguing and substantial pitch to voice developers in years. Conversations will make creating skills possible with fewer lines of code. It will also do away with the need to understand the many different ways a person can ask to complete an action, as a recurrent neural network will automatically generate dialogue flow.

For users, Alexa Conversations will make it easier to complete tasks that require the incorporation of multiple skills and will cut down on the number of interactions needed to do things like reserve a movie ticket or order food.

 

 

To attract talent, corporations turn to MOOCs — from edsurge.com by by Wade Tyler Millward

Excerpt:

When executives at tech giants Salesforce and Microsoft decided in fall 2017 to turn to an online education platform to help train potential users of products for their vendors, they turned to Pierre Dubuc and his team in fall 2017.

Two years later, Dubuc’s company, OpenClassrooms, has closed deals with both of them. Salesforce has worked with OpenClassrooms to create and offer a developer-training course to help people learn how to use the Salesforce platform. In a similar vein, Microsoft will use the OpenClassrooms platform for a six-month course in artificial intelligence. If students complete the AI program, they are guaranteed a job within six months or get their money back. They also earn masters-level diploma accredited in Europe.

 

 

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