My comments on Online Education Will Be the Next ‘Bubble’ To Pop, Not Traditional University Learning — from Forbes.com by John Tamny

From a 50,000 foot level…
There is little question that higher education is a bubble. With the hollowing out of the middle class, and the vast majority of the nation’s wealth going to the top 1-5%, how does one think that the average person will be able to afford higher education in 5-10 years (given the current trajectories of decreasing incomes yet increasing costs of higher education)?  Many can’t afford it *now*, even when they want to send their kids to college.

Given the status quo and the current trajectories, things don’t look good at all.  I strongly disagree with that article/piece — and my guess would be that the author of the piece:

  • Is pulling down a decent size salary and he doesn’t have to live from paycheck to paycheck — i.e. he doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal is coming from
  • Is a proponent of the current status quo
  • Has likely never taught online (or hasn’t for very long)
  • Hasn’t caught the vision of what MOOCs could morph into if something like IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri, or Google Now gets baked into the recipe
  • Doesn’t understand that those who thrive in the online learning world have to be highly-disciplined — i.e. they are the type of person who fits the often asked for “self starter” and the type of employee corporations love because they don’t have to supervise them much

But when parents spend a fortune on their children’s schooling they’re not buying education; rather they’re buying the ‘right’ friends for them, the right contacts for the future, access to the right husbands and wives, not to mention buying their own (‘Our son goes to Williams College’) status.

This may be true. But even the 1% will change their perspectives if employers start picking their talent primarily from predominantly online-based programs.  If Christensen and Horn are correct (which I believe they are), the innovations in the online world will continue to outpace innovations in the face-to-face world. Given time, the online-based programs could be mind-blowing. (That said, I still think blended learning is the most effective choice, as it combines the best of both worlds).

But the bottom line here is that for most Americans, there had ***better be*** a higher education bubble!!!

A trillion dollar anvil dragging us down — from CNN.com by Van Jones

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

(CNN) — The student debt fight is back — with a vengeance.

Once again, current students are facing the possibility of interest rates on Stafford Federal student loans doubling.

A few weeks ago, Warren, D-Massachusetts, proposed groundbreaking legislation that would give students the same deal that big Wall Street banks get. This bill is good policy, and even better politics.

After all, why are we loaning money to mega-profitable international financial institutions at 0.75%, but demanding up to nine times more from our own young people?

Northern Arizona wins regional accreditor’s approval for personalized learning program– from nextgenlearning.org by Nancy Millichap

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

It’s all systems go, at last: Northern Arizona University, one of the ten institutions presently developing breakthrough degree programs with NGLC support, recently got the green light to start enrolling students in their Personalized Learning program. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC), NAU’s regional accreditor, approved their application to offer a competency-based degree program that moves away from the credit hour standard to use an approach referred to as “direct assessment” instead. In this approach, students receive credit related not to their presence in a real or virtual classroom for a specified period of time but instead to their successful completion of assessments that show they have mastered clearly defined competencies or are able to perform specific, predetermined tasks. HLC has created a pilot group of four institutions now approved to offer a competency-based degree program: NAU, the University of Wisconsin Colleges (a system of two-year campuses), the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and Capella University.

Below are some great resources re: creating your own e-books / streams of content — with thanks to Mr. Michael Haan, Technology Integration Specialist/Purchasing at Calvin College, for these resources
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From DSC:

You might also want to check out Lynda.com for the relevant training materials.
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Let’s create our own streams of content — always up-to-date — plus we could help our students save big $$!  And, as Michael pointed out, such tools could also be used internally for training-related and communications-related purposes.

Thanks Michael!!!

What's the best way to deal with ever-changing streams of content? When information has shrinking half-lives?

 

 

IBM Watson at your service: New Watson breakthrough transforms how brands engage today’s connected consumers — from IBM.com
Delivered from the cloud and into the hands of mobile consumers, Watson provides faster, personalized service for smarter commerce; top brands tap Watson’s ability to crunch big data and provide fast, personalized advice for empowered consumers

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WatsonGoesToWorkForYouMay2013

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Also see:

 

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CognitiveSystems-IBMResearch-May2013

 

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Watson-MOOCs-NewTypesCollaboration-DChristian-2-14-13

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IBM’s Watson tries to learn…everything — from spectrum.ieee.org by Steven Cherry
What happens when Watson learns a million databases? RPI students and faculty hope to find out.


TheNextGenerationUniversity-May2013

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Excerpt:

As the nation struggles to find new ways to increase college access and completion rates while lowering costs, a handful of “Next Generation Universities” are embracing key strategies that make them models for national reform. The report The Next Generation University comes at a time when too many public universities are failing to respond to the nation’s higher education crisis. Rather than expanding enrollment and focusing limited dollars on the neediest of students, many institutions are instead restricting enrollments and encouraging the use of student-aid dollars on merit awards. But, according to the report, some schools are breaking the mold by boldly restructuring operating costs and creating clear, accelerated pathways for students.

Download the full report here.

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In addition to the report, see:

 

Also see:

  • What happens when 2 colleges become one — from chronicle.com by Ricardo Azziz
    Excerpt:
    Earlier this year, Moody’s Investors Service released its annual assessment of higher education in the United States, a report that viewed the sector’s short-term outlook as largely negative amid growing economic pressures. The analysts, however, applauded the efforts of a few states that were trying to merge or consolidate campuses because such efforts “foster operating efficiencies and reduce costs amid declining state support.”

Online education for the pros: Udemy launches corporate training tools — from venturebeat.com by Christina Farr

Excerpt:

Online course providers typically target students, but Udemy is going after an underserved group: professionals.

 


Also, from Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie – April 18, 2013
#768 – Updates on Learning, Business & Technology
55,949 Readers – www.masie.com – twitter: emasie – The MASIE Center.
Host: TeleWork 2013 – A National Forum – www.telework2013.com

1. MOOC’s & Corporate Learning?
There is a great media interest in MOOC’s – the innovations for Massive Open Online Courses – where one instructor runs a course for thousands or tens of thousands of learners.  I have been a student in three MOOC’s and a teacher/facilitator in three.  Now, we are hearing from many learning colleagues about the applicability of the MOOC to workplace learning.

I would urge TRENDS readers to approach MOOC’s as important beta/lab experiments – where important and cool innovations are emerging in the construction, delivery and economics of educational “packages”.  My experience as a MOOC learner has been exciting and mixed.  While there were over 70,000 learners in one program – very few made it to the end of the program – and fewer were fully successful from a competency point of view.  It was exciting to see how learners could be co-designers of the program and many resources were developed and disseminated from the learners.  Finally, there were mixed models of how well the social/collaborative side of the MOOC’s worked.

As a teacher – I struggled with the format shifts reflected by MOOC’s. Were the assignments suggestions or could I predict a level of engagement of the learners.  Was the content that was posted by learners legal – some added video that wasn’t within their IP ownership.  And, the issue of fees were also interesting. A free MOOC will get high starts but perhaps high drop offs.  When fees were added, did that take away the “open” label.  It is also interesting to see colleges and universities that have never made a profit on classroom offerings think they will generate good margins by adding MOOC’s to their offerings.

It is early and really too early to predict how MOOC’s might evolve within the corporate world.  I have been advocating that we take each of the letters as distinct areas for innovation:

– M: Massive dissemination of content
– O: Open content and content reuse along with curation by learners.
– O: Online resources added to both 1 mode and mixed/blended mode delivery.
– C: Course? Perhaps the MOOC might become a MOOP (Program) or MOOA (Assets)

And, is there a Competency check assumed in a MOOC – as well as certification or even college credit?

MOOC’s are important innovations.  Now, we need to label them as Lab or Beta tests – and gather evidence as we experiment with the use of all or some of MOOC’s elements in corporate settings.  We will be experimenting with the MOOC as a corporate model in an upcoming Learning LAB of our Learning CONSORTIUM.  Interested in hearing from TRENDS readers exploring MOOC’s in our world.

 


The College of 2020
If #HigherEd stays way it is, w/ 19th century style lectures, w/in 10 years Google U. and Walt Disney U. to take it over – Wim Westera


 

Addendum on 4/19/13:

Bridging the Skills Gap — from trainingmag.com by Lorri Freifeld
Employers want certain skills. Employees don’t have them. Why? And what can organizations and Training, employees, and the educational system do to eliminate the disconnect?

Excerpt:

With the U.S. unemployment rate hovering around 8 percent and millions of people desperately looking for jobs, why are many employers claiming they can’t fill their vacant positions?

The answer: A skills gap that threatens the sustainability of businesses around the world. And while a big part of the skills gap is a shortage of people skilled in the STEM (science, technology, education, and math) industries, there also is a gap in soft skills such as communication and advanced leadership skills.

What is causing these skills gaps? What can—and should—employers and their Training departments, employees, and the education system be doing differently? This first article in a five-part series will address these questions. Subsequent articles will explore how corporate partnerships with colleges and universities can help bridge the divide (May/June), how to motivate employees to take advantage of skills gap training and eliminate any sense of promotion entitlement (July/August), how technology can help (September/October), and additional potential solutions and strategies for success (November/December).

 

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From DSC:
We had better start talking STEAM not STEM from here on out (i.e. add the ARTS!).  You can’t get creative thinkers without fostering some creativity.

 

NovoED-StanfordApril2013

 

About

NovoEd is the only online learning platform that provides a connected, effective and engaging learning environment for students using a combination of techniques in crowd sourcing, design and analysis of reputation systems, and algorithm design.

NovoEd’s philosophy is to advance the online learning experience by making online courses more experiential, interactive, and collaborative. On our platform, students not only have access to lectures by thought leaders and professors from top universities, but they are also able to form teams with people around the world and work on class projects.

NovoEd uses online learning to deliver learning opportunities at massive scale. We offer courses and programs by thought leaders in a wide range of fields and in partnership with universities. By fostering online collaboration, team work and project-based learning, we nurture problem solving, collaboration, and leadership while addressing specific topics and business opportunities.

New test for computers: Grading essays at college level — from nytimes.com by John Markoff
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Gretchen Ertl for The New York Times
EdX, a nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
will release automated software that uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers.

 

Excerpt:

EdX, the nonprofit enterprise founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to offer courses on the Internet, has just introduced such a system and will make its automated software available free on the Web to any institution that wants to use it. The software uses artificial intelligence to grade student essays and short written answers, freeing professors for other tasks.

Improving postsecondary education through the budget process: Challenges & opportunities — from The National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO)

Excerpt:

The report, Improving Postsecondary Education Through the Budget Process: Challenges & Opportunities, discusses:

  • the challenges associated with the current higher education funding landscape;
  • efforts at the state level to fund results/performance, restrict tuition increases, expand access, improve information and increase cost-efficiency; and
  • opportunities for state and higher education officials to work together to improve postsecondary education and reduce costs.

Downloads

 

Traditional institutions will close, number of colleges and universities will rise (audio and transcript) — from evoLLLution.com (where LLL stands for lifelong learning) by Richard DeMillo | Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities, Georgia Institute of Technology
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
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Well, for me, it always boils down to value. People misunderstand this as assigning value based on salaries or employability, but I mean value in the larger sense. You have to have a reason to ask students to pay more than the marginal costs of delivering education. And with all these revolutions in technology for course delivery, that marginal cost is going to zero very, very quickly [think journalism]. So, every institution that’s going to survive, I think, over the next 50 years, is going to have to make that case. Why is it that tuition at this institution is justified?

The interesting thing about this is it’s going to be accelerated because the old bureaucracies, the old institutional models… are crumbling. At least, their boundaries are crumbling. Let me tell you what I mean by that.

The accrediting agencies, which I think traditionally have had — at least for the last 120 years or so—an institutional focus, are now shifting their focus to students; to competencies, to demonstrations of what students know. And that really starts to cut against institutional entitlement.

I think the conclusion of all this is that, as it becomes harder and harder for… a “Me-Too Institution” to argue for a marginal increase in price, the amount of money that those institutions are going to have available to them to spend on anything but core mission for students is also going to go to zero. So, this is kind of a virtuous cycle; … institutions that are unable to make the value proposition will find themselves more and more strapped for discretionary funds in order to move themselves into a different space. And that’s an ending that’s not very good for most institutions.

From DSC:
How will our/your organization keep from becoming a commodity?  What are we/you all going to bring to the table that’s different, unique, and worth paying for?

 

WalmartOfEducation-Christian2008

 

 

Also see:

A solution to the college crisis — from internettime.com by Jay Cross

From DSC:
As I have it that we need to strengthen the relationships and collaborations between K-12, higher ed, and the corporate/business world, I appreciate Jay thinking about and writing about this important topic.  What we have throughout much of higher education is not sustainable and isn’t working for many people.  What can traditional higher ed learn from Jay’s thoughts? What can the corporate world learn from Jay’s thoughts?

 

How Washington could make college tuition free (without spending a penny more on education) — from theatlantic.com by Jordan Weissmann

From DSC:
This article reminds me of this graphic I created a few years ago…

 

ReallocatingFunds-DChristian-4-11-09

 

From DSC:
Back in April 2009, I added these comments to that graphic:

For students: Bring costs waaaayyyyy down and access waaayyy up!
Plus, no more defaulted loans, students could experience richer content, students wouldn’t have to wait as much on financial aid decisions. There would be fewer financial aid headaches; and the resources devoted to figuring out & processing financial aid could be reduced. The issue will be how an institution can differentiate itself in such a new world…but that issue will have to be dealt with in the future anyway.

“It is a ridiculous irony that FAFSA is too intimidating a process for many of the very people it is designed to assist. Margaret Spellings, secretary of education in the Bush administration, estimated that 8 million American families never applied for aid for which they were eligible because they were scared off by the FAFSA process.”

— from College loan ritual an absurd maze

Harvard’s plan to dominate higher education — from jumpthecurve.net by Jack Uldrich

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Critics of online education and MOOCs may delude themselves by thinking  an online course can never offer the same level of intimacy or interaction as a traditional college course but they are missing a key  component of the MOOC movement: analytics.

What Harvard and other MOOC providers understand is that every time a student interacts with the material on an online course, she provides the institution feedback that allows it to learn a little more about how that student learns. Armed with this information they can then offer future courses designed not only to meet that individual’s specific educational needs but which are delivered in a manner personally tailored to his or her unique learning style.

Imagine Harvard charges a $100 accrediting fee to every student who takes one of its free courses. If one million students—students who formerly populated state universities and colleges—opt instead to take just one accredited course a year from Harvard that amounts to $100 million a year.

 

From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I think MOOCs are in an iterative process of morphing into something else, something new.  MOOCs are half-baked at this point.  I say that because it’s like drinking from a firehose (at least as of early March 2013).  But what Jack Uldrich points out is what I was trying to get at in the graphic below.  That is, if technologies that can capture, filter, curate, provide relevant information based upon analytics, one doesn’t have to drink from a fire hose anymore…the drinking fountain now becomes a better metaphor.

 

Watson-MOOCs-NewTypesCollaboration-DChristian-2-14-13

 

 

On a potentially related note — and a veeeerrrryyyy interesting question asked at this article out at Chief Learning Officer:

 

Either one of these forces could create what I’ve been calling “The Forthcoming Walmart of Education(since 2008).  As Smart/Connected TVs proliferate, Apple’s developing infrastructure and ecosystem could easily fill the bill.

 

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