OPINION: Americans need help paying for new, nondegree programs and college alternatives — from hechingerreport.org by Connor Diemand-Yauman and Rebecca Taber Staehelin
Updating the Pell Grant program would be an excellent way to support much-needed alternatives

Janelle’s story is all too familiar throughout the U.S. — stuck in a low-paying job, struggling to make ends meet after being failed by college. Roughly 40 million Americans have left college without completing a degree — historically seen as a golden ticket to the middle class.

Yet even with a degree, many fall short of economic prosperity.

 

Vocational education finally making big strides — from westhawaiitoday.com by the Las Vegas Review-Journal; via GSV

While the nation’s public schools in recent decades have emphasized college preparation, Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame has been preaching the gospel of vocational education. His efforts may be paying off.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that enrollment in vocational training programs has soared recently as many institutions of higher education struggle to attract high school graduates.

The number of students opting to attend “vocational-focused community colleges rose 16 percent last year,” while the number of students entering the construction trades jumped 23 percent.

 

Making your campus neurodivergent friendly — from timeshighereducation.com
How to create a university where neurodivergent staff and students feel welcome and thrive in the classroom, in the lab and throughout campus

Neurodivergent students and staff think about, interact with and see the world differently from their neurotypical peers and colleagues. Universities that adopt inclusive practices to welcome people with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other disabilities to campus also foster their distinct strengths and talents in the classroom, labs, boardrooms and social spaces. This collection of resources offers advice for teachers, researchers, PhD supervisors and administrators for supporting neurodiversity in higher education.


Some Colleges Will Soon Charge $100,000 a Year. How Did This Happen? — from nytimes.com by Ron Lieber; via Ryan Craig
Some Vanderbilt students will have $100,000 in total expenses for the 2024-25 school year. The school doesn’t really want to talk about it.

It was only a matter of time before a college would have the nerve to quote its cost of attendance at nearly $100,000 a year. This spring, we’re catching our first glimpse of it.

One letter to a newly admitted Vanderbilt University engineering student showed an all-in price — room, board, personal expenses, a high-octane laptop — of $98,426. A student making three trips home to Los Angeles or London from the Nashville campus during the year could hit six figures.

This eye-popping sum is an anomaly. Only a tiny fraction of college-going students will pay anything close to this anytime soon, and about 35 percent of Vanderbilt students — those who get neither need-based nor merit aid — pay the full list price.

But a few dozen other colleges and universities that reject the vast majority of applicants will probably arrive at this threshold within a few years. Their willingness to cross it raises two questions for anyone shopping for college: How did this happen, and can it possibly be worth it?


‘Running Out of Road’ for FAFSA Completion — from insidehighered.com by Liam Knox
The number of students who filled out the federal aid form is down nearly 30 percent. The ramifications for access and enrollment could be devastating.

And that’s probably an optimistic estimate, said Bill DeBaun, NCAN’s senior director of data and strategic initiatives; if the pace of completion doesn’t pick up, the decline could be closer to 700,000 students. That could translate to up to a 4 percent drop in college-goers come fall, DeBaun said, which would be the largest enrollment drop since the COVID-19 pandemic—and one that’s likely to be made up primarily of low-income and first-generation students.


Study: Nearly 40 Percent of Students Started, Never Finished College — from insidehighered.com by Kathryn Palmer
Federal researchers followed the post-secondary outcomes of 23,000 students for 12 years. 

Only 60 percent of students who enrolled in college earned a degree or credential within eight years of graduating high school.

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a new report the National Center for Education Statistics released Monday that analyzed the enrollment, completion and financial aid outcomes of students.

The researchers tracked the postsecondary educational outcomes of roughly 23,000 students beginning in 2009 when they were freshman in high school through 2021, when the cohort was eight years out from graduating high school.


Race to the Finish | The rise of faster bachelor’s degrees raises the question: What is college for? — from chronicle.com by Kelly Field; from Jeff Selingo

Taken together, the two recent decisions illustrate a blurring of the lines between the two- and four-year sectors that is taking place not just in Idaho, but nationwide, as colleges struggle to overcome enrollment declines and skepticism about the value of a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s pretty clear that higher education is in a funk,” said Robert M. Zemsky, a University of Pennsylvania professor, who has been advocating for three-year programs for more than 15 years. “There’s a sense that we have to do something to make the product better, more relevant, and less costly to students.”


Excerpt from Next — from/by Jeff Selingo

Bottom line: While critics of a shorter degree see it as a lesser replacement for the four-year baccalaureate degree, advocates see it as another option for students who might not be interested in college at a time when enrollment is falling.

  • “We need to use this opportunity to redesign and do things better,” Carrell said. “That means that we all need to stay curious. We need to be a learning enterprise…and learn from the evidence we produce.”

Job-Ready on Day One — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain

The U.S. faces a serious shortage of workers in the skilled trades—fields like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, solar, and construction. And those labor gaps are likely to widen as the federal government spends billions on infrastructure projects.

Employers in these industries are desperate for hires, says Doug Donovan, the founder and CEO of Interplay Learning. Yet the “challenge is not employer demand for workers,” he says, “but rather ensuring that learners learn about skilled trades careers and pursue them.”

The Austin-based Interplay offers online and VR training for workers in the skilled trades. The company was founded in 2016 with a focus on upskilling the hands-on worker. Even before the pandemic exacerbated labor shortages, Donovan says companies in these trades needed to hire workers who didn’t have all the skills required for jobs.

Interplay’s online courses and 3D, interactive simulations get close to what a learner is going to see on the job, says Donovan. “We aren’t trying to replace hands-on, instructor-led training,” he says. “We are trying to deliver tools that enhance that hands-on time or make it more efficient.”


 

 

It’s Time Higher Ed Become Financially Literate — from forbes.com by Brian Curcio

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Alarming Reality
Over the past 12 years, US student loan debt has quadrupled to a staggering $1.7 trillion. Nearly 44 million Americans carry an average debt of $37,718, and over 11 percent of aggregate student loan debt (pre-COVID) is more than 90 days delinquent.

This past year, the average public university student borrowed over $32,000 to receive a bachelor’s degree. However, only 11 percent of employers believe that a degree prepares students for the workforce. It’s a cruel irony: a $32,000 loan – not counting interest – for a degree that doesn’t prepare you for the career needed to repay the debt.


Another higher education-related item:

The IT Leadership Workforce in Higher Education, 2024 — from library.educause.edu by Mark McCormack

The IT Leader Workforce in Higher Education, 2024, aims to map the current contours of the IT leader workforce, understand its current challenges and opportunities, and reflect on what it all might mean for building a stronger workforce and—ultimately—a stronger higher education for the future.


 

 

A Community Micro-Credentials Effort Connects Students to Local Employers — from gettingsmart.com by David McCool

Key Points

  • Partnering credentialing opportunities alongside pre-existing regional initiatives is a great way to get buy-in and create momentum.

***

When Polk County schools began focusing on career and technical education in the spring of 2023, one of their goals was to help students succeed in the workplace by offering the opportunity to develop soft skills and earn micro-credentials to communicate with potential employers. The district collaborated with Education Design Lab, Muzzy Lane, Polk Vision, the Central Florida Development Council, and Southern New Hampshire University to make this dream a reality.

In its first few years, this collaboration has not only taught students valuable skills but has also provided employers with new recruitment opportunities and a linkage to a talent pipeline that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.

 

States bet big on career education, but struggle to show it works — from hechingerreport.org by Patrick Hall
Adult employment outcomes are disconnected from K-12 data sets

As college costs soar and demand for skilled labor rises, programs that prepare students for well-paid work are gaining popularity. About 85 percent of high school graduates in 2019 had taken at least one course in career and technical education, or CTE. In 2018, Congress increased annual funding for CTE, which now exceeds $1.4 billion. And in 2022, 36 states enacted policies promoting career training for high schoolers, college students, and adults, according to Advance CTE, a professional organization for state CTE leaders.

Yet many states struggle to answer a basic question: Is career education working?

 

Vocational training programs for special education students teach work, life skills — from edsource.org by Lasherica Thornton
Programs also foster acceptance in the community

Through hands-on experience at the hotel, students gain skills to work in the housekeeping and hospitality industry – whether at El Capitan or elsewhere – after they graduate. And they develop life skills for adulthood.

This is not the case with Merced County’s program which, instead, integrates students into the housekeeping career, making it one of a few in California and across the nation to do so. The program now serves as a model for other districts aspiring to integrate students with disabilities into careers and society.

Fong said the year-long program is critical for the students “to be in the actual field,” get on-the-job training and be able to model employees’ behavior, which in turn provides them with real world experience while allowing them to interact with others.


From DSC:
This hits home for my family and me. We are entering a phase of our youngest daughter’s life where we need to help her build life skills. This type of program is excellent — highly relevant to many families out there.


 

The future of learning — from moodle.com by Sonya Trivedi

Self-directed and continuous learning
The concept of self-directed and continuous learning is becoming increasingly popular, reshaping our approach to knowledge and skill acquisition in both formal education and workplace settings. This evolving landscape reflects a world where traditional career paths are being replaced by more dynamic and flexible models, compelling learners to adapt and grow continuously.

The Future of Learning Report 2022 highlights this shift, noting the diminishing concept of a ‘career for life.’ With regular job switching and the expansion of the gig economy, there is an increasing need for a workforce equipped with a broad range of skills and the ability to gain qualifications throughout their careers. This shift is underlined by learners increasingly seeking control over their educational journeys, understanding that the ongoing acquisition of knowledge and skills is essential for staying relevant in the rapidly changing world of work. Reflecting this trend, a significant portion of learners, 33%, are choosing online platforms for their flexibility and ability to cater to individual needs and schedules.

From DSC:
The next paragraph after the above excerpt says:

Much like how companies such as Uber and Airbnb have reshaped their respective industries without owning traditional assets, the future of education might see universities functioning as the ‘Netflix of learning.’ In this model, learners comfortably source their educational experiences from various platforms, assembling their qualifications to create a personalised and continuously evolving portfolio of skills??.

But I don’t think it will be universities that function as the “Netflix of learning” as I don’t think the cultures of most institutions of traditional higher education can deal with that kind of innovation. I hope I’m wrong.

I think it will be a new, global, lifelong learning platform that originates outside of higher education. It will be bigger than higher education, K12, corporate training, or vocational training — as such a 21st-century, AI-based platform will offer all of the above and more.

Learning from the living AI-based class room


Slow Shift to Skills — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain

Real progress in efforts to increase mobility for nondegree workers is unlikely during the next couple years, Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard University’s business school who co-leads its Managing the Future of Work initiative, recently told me.

Yet Fuller is bullish on skills-based hiring becoming a real thing in five to 10 years. That’s because he predicts that AI will create the data to solve the skills taxonomy problem Kolko describes. And if skills-based hiring allows for serious movement for workers without bachelor’s degrees, Fuller says the future will look like where Texas is headed.


Report: Microcredentials Not a Strategic Priority for Many Colleges — from insidehighered.com by Kathryn Palmer
A new report finds that while most colleges surveyed embrace alternative credentials, many have a decentralized approach for creating and managing them.

While the majority of colleges focused on online, professional and continuing education have embraced alternative credentials, a significant number of those institutions haven’t made them a strategic priority.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a new study released Monday by UPCEA, the organization previously known as the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. University Professional and Continuing Education Association.

“While a lot of institutions want this, they don’t necessarily all know how” to deliver alternative credentials, said Bruce Etter, UPCEA’s senior director of research and consulting. “Embracing it is great, but now it needs to be part of the strategic plan.”


The Higher Learning Commission’s Credential Lab — from hlcommission.org

HLC’s Credential Lab


10 higher ed trends to watch in 2024 — from insidetrack.org by

Trend 1.
Linking education to career paths

Trend 2.
Making sense of the AI explosion

Trend 3.
Prioritizing mental health on campus

…plus 7 other trends


North Carolina’s Community Colleges Make a Big Bid to Stay Relevant — from workshift.opencampusmedia.org by Margaret Moffett
The system is poised to ask state legislators to overhaul its funding formula to focus on how well colleges prepare students for high-demand, well-paying jobs.

The new formula would pay a premium to each college based on labor-market outcomes: the more students enrolled in courses in high-demand, high-paying workforce sectors, the more money the college receives.

Importantly, the proposed formula makes no distinction between curricular courses that count toward degree programs and noncredit continuing education classes, which historically offer fewer slots for students because of their lower FTE reimbursement rates.



Supporting Career and Technical Education — from bloomberg.org via Paul Fain

The American job market is changing. A high school diploma is no longer a ticket to a good job now, an increasing number of employers are offering “middle-skill jobs” that require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree. Industries like health care, IT, advanced manufacturing, and financial services continue to see sustained growth at all levels, and they need workers with the experience and the credentials to fill new positions. Bloomberg Philanthropies is investing in programs that help young people get the specialized training they need through internships, apprenticeships, academics, and work-based learning.

 

Where a developing, new kind of learning ecosystem is likely headed [Christian]

From DSC:
As I’ve long stated on the Learning from the Living [Class]Room vision, we are heading toward a new AI-empowered learning platform — where humans play a critically important role in making this new learning ecosystem work.

Along these lines, I ran into this site out on X/Twitter. We’ll see how this unfolds, but it will be an interesting space to watch.

Project Chiron's vision: Our vision for education Every child will soon have a super-intelligent AI teacher by their side. We want to make sure they instill a love of learning in children.


From DSC:
This future learning platform will also focus on developing skills and competencies. Along those lines, see:

Scale for Skills-First — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain
An ed-tech giant’s ambitious moves into digital credentialing and learner records.

A Digital Canvas for Skills
Instructure was a player in the skills and credentials space before its recent acquisition of Parchment, a digital transcript company. But that $800M move made many observers wonder if Instructure can develop digital records of skills that learners, colleges, and employers might actually use broadly.

Ultimately, he says, the CLR approach will allow students to bring these various learning types into a coherent format for employers.

Instructure seeks a leadership role in working with other organizations to establish common standards for credentials and learner records, to help create consistency. The company collaborates closely with 1EdTech. And last month it helped launch the 1EdTech TrustEd Microcredential Coalition, which aims to increase quality and trust in digital credentials.

Paul also links to 1EDTECH’s page regarding the Comprehensive Learning Record

 

Why Kindness at Work Pays Off — from hbr.org by Andrew Swinand; via Roberto Ferraro

Summary:
Whether you’re just entering the workforce, starting a new job, or transitioning into people management, kindness can be a valuable attribute that speaks volumes about your character, commitment, and long-term value. Here are a few simple routines you can integrate into your everyday work life that will spread kindness and help create a culture of kindness at your organization.

  • Practice radical self-care. The best way to be a valuable, thoughtful team member is to be disciplined about your own wellness — your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
  • Do your job. Start with the basics by showing up on time and doing your job to the best of your ability. This is where your self-care practice comes into play — you can’t do your best work without taking care of yourself first.
  • Reach out to others with intention. Make plans to meet virtually or, even better, in person with your colleagues. Ask about their pets, their recent move, or their family. Most importantly, practice active listening.
  • Recognize and acknowledge people. Authentic, thoughtful interactions show that you’re thinking about the other person and reflecting on their unique attributes and value, which can cement social connections.
  • Be conscientious with your feedback. Being kind means offering feedback for the betterment of the person receiving it and the overall success of your company.

“When anxiety is high and morale is low, kindness isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. With mass layoffs, economic uncertainty, and geopolitical tensions, kindness is needed now more than ever, especially at work.”

 

Advice From More than A Decade of Career Pathway Innovation — from gettingsmart.com by Hilary Sontag and Kerri McDermid

A student uses a drill press to work on an engineering project.

Excerpt:

With nearly 15 years of experience in building and leading career-connected learning initiatives, St. Vrain offers a roadmap for districts of all sizes who are beginning the journey to create their own pathways of opportunity for students.

Over the past decade, St. Vrain Valley Schools has launched more than two dozen career pathways and now has a goal to offer quality work-based learning experiences for every graduate. As staff have developed these opportunities, St. Vrain has seen significant increases in graduation rates – approximately 94 percent of St. Vrain students graduate high school in four years – and a significant decrease in dropout rates to less than one percent of students. Graduation rates among our Hispanic students have increased by 30 percentage points, almost completely eliminating graduation rate gaps between all students and students of color. St. Vrain’s post-pandemic achievement has also accelerated at a remarkable pace. Building career-connected programming, and offering it as early and broadly as possible, has demonstrated a compelling case for the effectiveness of career pathways in accelerating achievement and student success.


The value of hands-on learning in prison — from college-inside.beehiiv.com  by Charlotte West
Women in Washington reflect on their experience with a pre-apprenticeship that introduces them to the trades.

When I visited the prison in May, Brittany Wright had plans to go down to the Cement Masons & Plasterers Local Union 528 in Seattle when she got out a few days later. She’s now an apprentice working on a light rail expansion project for Sound Transit, making $31 an hour plus benefits. “I’m a little nervous, but more excited to get out there and actually start using the trades,” she told me at the time. “They seem like they’re willing to work with me. And that’s all that matters.”

 
 

Teaching: What’s the right measure of good teaching? — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

There are several elements to this challenge. The first is that many campuses depend largely, if not exclusively, on student course evaluations when it comes to measuring instructional quality. And often those evaluations are not particularly well designed or substantive.

But even when course evaluations are better designed, I’m not sure any teaching experts would argue that they should be the exclusive measure of whether a faculty member is an effective teacher. That brings us to the second element of the challenge: What else can a college do?

Several readers offered suggestions, such as to include classroom observations, peer evaluation, and teaching portfolios — in which, say, an instructor describes their teaching philosophy and classroom practices, along with evidence that they are working to strengthen their teaching.

Why Labor Shortages on Campus-Building Staffs Are Reaching ‘Crisis Situations’ — from an email newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education which eventually links to this article

Who will keep the buildings open?
It’s no secret colleges have struggled to fill staff positions like administrative assistants, information-technology specialists, and admissions officers in today’s tight labor market. But many institutions are grasping for ways to fill key facilities positions that literally keep the doors open, such as custodians, electricians, carpenters, and maintenance workers, our Scott Carlson writes.

Staffing shortages strain the employees and contractors already on the payroll. Facilities-staff members are aging and often juggling project backlogs.

Remember: Building services were the third-most-difficult area to hire in, according to a Chronicle survey conducted earlier this year, behind information technology and dining services. Six in 10 respondents said hiring building-services staff was a serious or moderate problem.

Higher ed may be a victim of its own success. The country has emphasized college after high school over the last four decades, while trades have struggled to attract workers.

An eye-opening stat: Even with a recently renewed emphasis on the trades, the U.S. has only about 600,000 people in apprenticeships, far below the 17 million students enrolled in college.


Which Colleges Pay Off for Low-Income Students? — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Colleges and universities that specialize in health and technology proved to serve low-income students who end up with the highest starting salaries six years after they enrolled. For this earnings data, College Scorecard does not take into account whether students graduated or not.

Hover your cursor over each bar to read details about each institution.



Brave New Classrooms — from Dr. Philippa Hardman
Why 2023-2024 will be remembered as the academic year that education embraced AI

After a rocky start, more and more evidence suggests that the academic year 2023-2024 will likely prove to be a defining year for higher education: the year higher education embraced AI.

Over the course of the next academic year, we will likely see three main changes in the world of education:

  1. More education institutions will embrace AI & develop policies & guidance on its appropriate use at the institution, department & classroom level.
  2. We will see a wave of assessment reform, with a new focus on the assessment of learners’ process and skills, including the effective use of AI.
  3. To enable this chance, we will see a rapid increase in the provision of AI training for leaders, educators and administrators.

While risks and barriers to entry remain real, supported by well-rounded strategic frameworks, the education system has the potential to leverage AI reinvent itself and improve its ability to deliver on the promise to deliver real-world-relevant education.


Two-thirds of colleges are adding online programs, survey finds — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
The annual CHLOE report tracks changing student demand for virtual education and how institutions are adapting their offerings in response.


 

Skilled Trades School — from uei.edu with thanks to Noah Adam for this resource

Excerpt:

UEI College provides students with a wide range of career training opportunities for those who enjoy hands-on work and are interested in building, fixing, or designing things. UEI College’s programs range from HVAC Training to Automotive Technician Training. Our skilled trades programs are designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your chosen trade. With experienced instructors, hands-on training, and suitable facilities, we are able to provide you with a comprehensive education that prepares you for a successful career in the skilled trades.

 

OPINION: Post pandemic, it’s time for a bold overhaul of U.S. public education, starting now — from hechingerreport.org by William Hite and Kirsten Baesler
Personalized learning can restore public faith and meet the diverse needs of our nation’s students

Excerpt:

Across all socioeconomic and racial groups, Americans want an education system that goes beyond college preparation and delivers practical skills for every learner, based on their own needs, goals and vision for the future.

We believe that this can be achieved by making the future of learning more personalized, focused on the needs of individual learners, with success measured by progress and proficiency instead of point-in-time test scores.

Change is hard, but we expect our students to take risks and fail every day. We should ask no less of ourselves.

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian