My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 

Learning ecosystems across the globe are going through massive changes! [Christian]

Learning ecosystems are going through massive changes!


From DSC:

Due to the impacts of the Coronavirus, learning ecosystems across the globe are going through massive changes!

Each of us has our own learning ecosystem, and the organizations that we work for have their own learning ecosystems as well. Numerous teachers, professors, and trainers around the world are now teaching online. Their toolboxes are expanding with the addition of several new tools and some new knowledge. I believe that will be one of the silver linings from the very tough situations/times that we find ourselves in.

Expanding our teaching toolboxes


At the WMU-Cooley Law School, our learning ecosystem is also fluid and continues to morph.
This blog posting speaks to those changes.

https://info.cooley.edu/blog/learning-ecosystem-simply-defined-sources-for-learning

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room: Due to the impacts from the Coronavirus, this is happening today across many countries. But this vision is just beginning to develop. We haven’t seen anything yet.

 

How online education went from teaching reform to economic necessity for colleges — from edsurge.com by Robert Ubell

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

When online was first introduced as a pedagogical advance, faculty members often rose up against it—or more often, just ignored it, the most devastating form of resistance. If it weren’t for economic necessity, online might not have grown to the force it has today—these days a third of the nation’s higher ed students take courses online.

Millions of working adults must turn to digital degrees to improve their employability in a post-industrial economy that demands higher-level skills than on the assembly line. Corporations are being pressed to find agile, high-tech workers for their digital processes and products. Powerful new digital-recruitment techniques now make massive global markets open to any college with deep enough pockets.

From DSC:
The market will decide how colleges and universities will change — and which ones will survive. Presidents, provosts, members of administration, board members, and faculty members do not control this anymore (if they ever did).

 

From DSC:
This type of thing will be constantly running on a next-generation learning platform — i.e., scanning open job descriptions and presenting the top/”hottest” occupations/skills/employers — but then offering the relevant courses, modules, webinars, local learning hubs, discussion forums, etc. that will teach you the necessary skills (similar to what justwatch.com or suppose.tv provides for the entertainment industry).

 

 

 

From DSC:
By not listening/taking action nearly enough through the last several decades, the backlash continues to build against colleges and universities — institutions of traditional higher education who didn’t take the rise in tuition seriously. Students graduated and left campus, and the invisible gorillas of debt being placed on students’ backs weren’t acknowledged — nor were they fought against — nearly enough. Instead, the gorillas just kept getting bigger and bigger. 

Year after year, I tried to fight this trend and raise awareness of it…only to see the majority of institutions of traditional higher education do absolutely nothing. Then, as the backlash started to build, the boards and the administrations across the country began priding themselves on how their percentage increases were amongst the smallest in the area/state/nation. They should have found ways to decrease their tuition, but they didn’t. Instead, they resorted to playing games with discounts while their “retail values” kept going up and up.

The time’s coming when they will pay the piper for having done this. Just like what happened to the oil companies and to the car/truck manufactures who made megabucks (for the time being) when their vehicles kept getting bigger and bigger and when the price of oil was high. What happened? The end result was that they shot themselves in the foot. These days, Tesla — with their electric cars — is now the most valuable car company in America.

Within the realm of education…when effective, cheaper alternatives come along that still get people hired, you better look out traditional institutions of higher education. You didn’t listen. It happened on your watch. And speaking of watches, the next major one could be you watching more of your institutions close while watching your students walk out the door to pursue other, far less expensive alternatives.


Follow up comments:
I realize this is a broad swath and isn’t true for several institutions who have been fighting the fight. For example, my current employer — the WMU-Cooley Law School is reducing their tuition by 21% this fall and other institutions have reduced their tuition as well or found ways to honor “Promise” types of programs. Other institutions have done the market research and are offering more relevant, up-to-date curricula. (Don’t worry those of you who work within the liberal arts, I still support and believe in you. But we didn’t do a good enough balancing act between offering liberal arts programs and developing the needed skillsets to help students pay off those ever-growing gorillas of debt.)

The fact was that too often, those invisible gorillas of debt went unnoticed by many within higher education. And it wasn’t just the boards, administrators, presidents, and provosts out there. In fact, the full-time, tenured faculty members taught what they wanted to teach and were furious at those who dared assert that higher education was a business. (Watch a college football game on the major networks last fall? Have you seen the size of research institutions’ intellectual property-based revenues? We could go on and on.) 

Anyway, what tenured faculty members offered didn’t align with what the market needed and was calling for. They offered what was in their best interests, not the students’ best interests.

 

Soros urges world leaders to back his $1-billion Global Education Network — from chronicle.com by Dan Parks

Excerpt:

George Soros urged world leaders on Thursday to back his Open Society University Network, a $1-billion effort to integrate teaching and research across higher-education institutions worldwide to solve big problems.

The Central European University, which Soros founded, and Bard College will team up with Arizona State University and other institutions around the globe, according to a news release.

From DSC:
This is not an endorsement of the GEN nor do I have any perspectives to relay one way or another re: George Soros. I just find the idea of a global learning network/platform very interesting…and likely a piece of our future learning ecosystems.

 

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

 

 

Learning from the living class room

 

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

 

Upwork debuts The Upwork 100, ranking the top 100 in-demand skills for independent professionals — from upwork.com

Excerpt:

The Upwork 100 ranks the top 100 skills and sheds light on skills that are both quickly growing and also experiencing a high level of demand, providing an indication of current trends in the independent labor market and tech industry. It also serves as a barometer of the skills businesses are seeking and that independent professionals are providing by balancing real-time insights with consistent patterns based on real work that’s been completed.

 

 

 

IN the future

 

‘Academic capitalism’ is reshaping faculty life. What does that mean? — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt:

Professors have long savored their position outside of commercial systems. But these days, there’s plenty of signs of capitalism within the academy—scholars seek support from funders in hopes that the findings will lead to commercial applications, departments market their courses to students as pathways to lucrative careers and universities replace tenure-track positions with adjunct jobs to cut costs.

Last week on the latest installment of EdSurge Live, our monthly online discussion forum, we dug into the topic, often referred to as “academic capitalism.”

 

Colleges see equity success with adaptive learning systems — from edtechmagazine.com by Shailaja Neelakantan
Powered by advanced algorithms, adaptive learning technologies boost completion rates and give students confidence.

“I used to teach one class of 100 students, but now I teach 100 classes of one student each,” said Doug Williams, the adaptive learning coordinator at Arizona State University, in the white paper, describing the effect of using such a technology-driven system to improve learning outcomes.

 

From DSC:
I post this item because I believe that this is the type of thing that will be a piece of our future learning ecosystems. Learning agents. Systems that accommodate each individual’s learning preferences. Real-time formative assessments…that impact what you see and experience next.  Intelligent systems. Intelligent tutoring.

People demonstrate mastery at different times — let that be part of our futures — versus this one-size fits all, hop-on-board-or-you-miss-the-train…a train that stops for no one.

 

 

DC: In the future…will there be a “JustWatch” or a “Suppose” for learning-related content?

DC: In the future...will there be a JustWatch or a Suppose for learning-related content?

 

 

From DSC:
Regular readers of this blog will know that for years, I’ve made it one of my goals to try and raise awareness of the need for institutions of higher education to lower their tuitions! For example, Yohan Na and I designed the graphic below way back in 2009.

 

Daniel S. Christian: My concerns with just maintaining the status quo

 

Through those years, I cringed when I kept hearing various Boards say, “We only increased our tuition by ___ % — the lowest percentage increase in our state.” The direction was completely wrong! It needed to go down, not up. If you work in higher ed, I encourage you to find a way for that to happen at your own institution.

So I’m very pleased to report that the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School — where I work — was able to reduce tuition by 21%!!! 

Don’t get me wrong, some tough decisions were made to pave the way for that to occur. But this will be the case no matter which institution of higher education that you look at. An institution will have to make some tough choices to reduce their tuition. But it HAS to occur. We can’t keep this upward trajectory going.

If we don’t change this trajectory, we will continue to put enormous gorillas (of debt) on our graduates’ backs! Such debt will take our graduates decades to pay off. 

We need to be aware of these invisible gorillas of debt. That is, our students move on…and we don’t see them. But their gorillas remain.

 



Addendum on 10/18/19:

Victoria Vuletich, the assistant dean at the Grand Rapids, Michigan campus of Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan’s Legal Talk Network to discuss what the law school experience is like for the current generation of students. 



 

5 Reasons Why BU’s $24K MBA Is A Big Deal — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
Why I’m intrigued.

Excerpt:

The newly announced $24K BU MBA, created in partnership with edX, is a big deal.

Here are 5 reasons why:
#1: The Evolving Connection Between Status and Price:

The Boston University Questrom School of Business is ranked in the top 50 global business schools by US News, in the top 70 by the Economist. Questrom is a brand name business school in a market where the value of the MBA is directly proportional to the status of the institution.

Today, status and price are tightly correlated in the postsecondary market. This is especially true in professional education. Student prices are not set at costs, but at perceived value.

BU should be given credit for challenging this status quo. I suspect that the Questrom $24K MBA will end up improving BU’s place in the global MBA rankings.

 

What is different now is that it will not only be enthusiasm for learning science that will drive schools (and MBA programs) to improve their programs. It will be the market. 

 

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