Interactive Infographic: Trends in Higher Education [Good; U of Phoenix]


An educational system built for another time, another student demographic — by Lloyd Armstrong, University Professor and Provost Emeritus at the University of Southern California




…This is probably because much of our education system originally was designed around the traditional student and his or her needs, and the leading institutions in the system still serve primarily the traditional student. As a consequence, potential changes in educational approach or organization are most often judged according to whether or not they will benefit those traditional students who enjoy the benefits of residential life and a manageable financial burden. But, as this report describes, times have changed, the composition of the student body has changed, and because many of our institutions have not changed accordingly, the results are not pretty.

In particular, the report focuses on the plight of part time students, and shows that graduation rates for part time students at all levels – certificates, associates, and bachelors – are only about 40% as high as for full time students (if one looks at a time period twice the nominal period required for graduation). Graduation rates for both full time and part time students who are African-American, Hispanic, older, or low income are considerably lower than for the general student body, and the part-time “penalty” is somewhat higher than for the general population.

All in all, a very important report, with sensible and meaningful recommendations. I can’t give it an A, however, because I think its basic conclusion in not bold enough – and maybe not even correct. The recommendation is basically to fiddle the system to enable part time students to behave more like full time students, assuming that if they can behave more like full time students they will graduate like full time students. That is not a bad idea, of course, but why not start from the premise that the system itself needs to be redesigned so that it focuses on the needs of the part time students? Maybe the problem is not simply the full time/part time divide, but that the system responds or does not respond to the many and highly varied needs of part time (and by extension, non-traditional) students.


 From DSC:
Nice report — well done.  My only wish here would be that the costs of obtaining an education were discussed more — as one of the causes of this issue but also a potential/significant piece of the solution.  I think cost is one of the key factors as to why more students are becoming part-time students — and thus are more likely susceptible to “life getting in the way.”

There was some mention of this in the solution proposed — which was good to see:

4. Restructure programs to fit busy lives. It’s time to face facts: College students today are going to have to work while trying to graduate. What else can they do when college is so expensive? (emphasis DSC)




50 expert networking tips you should start using in school — from with thanks to Tim Handorf for the resource

From DSC:
One brief comment I want to add here is that I used to think networking was manipulative and bogus. But over time, I began to see that that was not the case (or at least it doesn’t have to be that way).  Networking can be a great way to meet people, learn from others and find out more about what they do, identify talent in a variety of fields in case you are looking to hire someone, find out if you might be passionate about some discipline, get your foot in the door at a company/firm/etc.  Also, networking comes to mind when I think of the lyrics to Bill Withers song:

Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Indiana University tries to drive down textbook costs with eBooks — from by Dennis Carter
Online textbooks initiative comes as student activists clamor for more affordable options nationwide


Resources for finding out how long it takes to develop eLearning — from by Karl Kapp

From DSC:
One resource mentioned was from the Chapman Alliance, from September 2010, of which these figures are from:



Also see:

  • The NMC Announces New Horizon Report Series of Regional Analyses
    Under the umbrella of the NMC Horizon Report, The NMC has launched the Technology Outlook, a new series of regional analyses aimed specifically at understanding both local and global differences in technology uptake, as well as the current and future state of education in different parts of the world. These publications are a product of collaborations between the NMC and innovative organizations across the world that seek to leverage the well-known medium of the NMC Horizon Report to bring important research, trends, and challenges in their regions to light. The Technology Outlook series furthers the NMC’s goal of driving innovation in every part of the world.
Tagged with:  

From DSC:
I was originally going to write this blog posting back in late July, when I read the first paragraphs of a solid article by Laura Pappano at the New York Times entitled, “The Master’s as the New Bachelor’s.”  At that time, I couldn’t help but think…“Houston we have a problem.”

(Disclosure: I completed my Master’s of Science in
Instructional Design for Online Learning in June 2011 from Capella University.)


William Klein’s story may sound familiar to his fellow graduates. After earning his bachelor’s in history from the College at Brockport, he found himself living in his parents’ Buffalo home, working the same $7.25-an-hour waiter job he had in high school.

It wasn’t that there weren’t other jobs out there. It’s that they all seemed to want more education. Even tutoring at a for-profit learning center or leading tours at a historic site required a master’s. “It’s pretty apparent that with the degree I have right now, there are not too many jobs I would want to commit to,” Mr. Klein says.

Then, fast forward to today when I was further reminded to contact Houston Command Control Center (metaphorically speaking) when I read Jennifer Lee’s article in today’s New York Times entitled, “Generation Limbo: Waiting It Out“.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

“We did everything we were supposed to,” said Stephanie Morales, 23, who graduated from Dartmouth College in 2009 with hopes of working in the arts. Instead she ended up waiting tables at a Chart House restaurant in Weehawken, N.J., earning $2.17 an hour plus tips, to pay off her student loans. “What was the point of working so hard for 22 years if there was nothing out there?” said Ms. Morales, who is now a paralegal and plans on attending law school.

Some of Ms. Morales’s classmates have found themselves on welfare. “You don’t expect someone who just spent four years in Ivy League schools to be on food stamps,” said Ms. Morales, who estimates that a half-dozen of her friends are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A few are even helping younger graduates figure out how to apply. “We are passing on these traditions on how to work in the adult world as working poor,” Ms. Morales said.

The journey on the life path, for many, is essentially stalled.


The reasons that I say that we have a problem here in the world of higher education are probably already clear, but to further elaborate on them (with the lenses of my past experience):

  1. Why should I pay ~$55,000 a year$54,763 for just the 2011-2012 academic year — to go to Northwestern University, only to find out that my $220,000+ investment doesn’t land me an excellent, top-rate job? Are we saying that a degree from NU’s College of Arts & Sciences (CAS as it was known in my day) is not enough of an investment to get a good job? Are we now saying that I need another degree before I can start paying off my ever-mounting debt? (i.e. that gorilla on my back that continues to gain weight and has implications for the types of jobs that I now have to go for, whether I like them or whether I am gifted for them or not)
  2. How convenient for corporate HR and hiring managers to be able to ask for the moon yet again — while often not lifting a finger to help these students/potential employees pay for that education! My experience was that corporations always wanted to have their new employees hit the ground running.  But with a crowd of people applying for each open position these days, I would be very interested to see the data on:
    • What % of today’s corporations are actively helping folks obtain the advanced degrees that they are requesting?
    • What % of the time these corporations do this?
    • What % of their employees do such corporations provide this type of assistance for?
    • What % of the degree — or up to what $$ amount — do they pay for?

      Perhaps it is all to easy and convenient — and good for shareholders — during tough economic times to place all of the burden on the backs of the students/future employees; perhaps there are few incentives for companies to change the way the game is played.

  3. Speaking of incentives…how convenient for higher education to go along with this trend as well.  After all, who wouldn’t want to support an environment that contributes to continued enrollments?


So…that’s why I say, “Houston, we have a problem.”

  • This type of phenomenon and economic environment seems to be stoking the growing dissatisfaction against the costs involved with obtaining a degree within higher education and the perceived/real return on such an investment.
  • Though “times might have been good” these last few decades, such times may be coming to an end; change is in the air..
  • How should we respond within higher education? Within the corporate world? How can we help more students/prospective employees obtain their college degrees?


Stanford University is offering Computer Science courses online, free to anyone — from by Max Eddy


Introduction to databases -- free online course from Stanford for fall 2011

A bold experiment in distributed education, “Introduction to Databases” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete this class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Jennifer Widom, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Introduction to Databases course. A topics list and many of the materials are available here. More information about the Stanford course can be perused here. Details on the public offering will be available by late September. Sign up below to receive additional information about participating in the online version when it becomes available.

Also see the video at:
Introduction to Databases class by Stanford University


Machine learning course -- free, online course from Stanford this fall

A bold experiment in distributed education, “Machine Learning” will be offered free and online to students worldwide during the fall of 2011. Students will have access to lecture videos, lecture notes, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete the class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment. Taught by Professor Andrew Ng, the curriculum draws from Stanford’s popular Machine Learning course. A syllabus and more information is available here. Sign up below to receive additional information about participating in the online version when it becomes available.

Also see the video at:
Machine Learning: About the class


From DSC:
Again, my question is…if these trends continue, what opportunities are presenting themselves? What threats are presenting themselves?  What is our response?  How will colleges/universities differentiate themselves in this developing landscape? If items like the below continue to grow…how do we respond? -- professors


Addendum later on 8/29/11:


The Digital Revolution and Higher Education — from the Pew Research Center by Kim Parker, Amanda Lenhart, and Kathleen Moore
College Presidents, Public Differ on Value of Online Learning


This report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in spring 2011. One is a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities.

Here is a summary of key findings…


From DSC:
First, [perhaps it’s in the appendices, but] how many of the people out in the public who were surveyed have actually taken an online class? If so, how many classes (each) have they taken and when did they take them? From whom did they take them? My guess is that most of them have never taken a class online.

Secondly, I wonder how many people thought that the telephone was a useful instrument/communication device shortly after it was introduced? Perhaps not too many…but did you use one today? Yesterday? I bet you did. I did…several times; and I bet that the same will be true of online learning (as online learning didn’t really begin to be used until the late 90’s).

The question is not whether online learning will blow away the face-to-face classroom, it’s when this will occur…? There will be many reasons for this, but the key one will be that you are putting up a team of specialists instead of using just one person. If they are reeeeaaaalllyy good (and a rare talent), that person can do the trick for now; but their success/job will continue to be increasingly difficult to perform, as they continue to pick up new hats each year, as the students’ attention spans and expectations continue to change, as lower cost models continue to emerge, etc, etc…

As Christensen, Horn, and Johnson assert, the innovation is taking place in the online learning world, and it will eventually surpass what’s possible (if it hasn’t already) in the face-to-face classrooms.



From DSC:
Consumers’ expectations from entertainment may likely spill over into education

  • Why the future of TV is all about personalization — from 
    Fueled by the explosive development of smartphones and tablets, video clip viewing routines have [been] forever modified. It’s no surprise that buyers, who have been speedy to embrace video clip providers like HBO GO, Netflix and Hulu, are now expecting a a lot more personalized, interactive and seamless viewing experience across their traditional TV, laptops, gaming consoles, and connected TVs, as well as on smartphones and tablets (emphasis DSC). Here, we’ll discuss the present state of personalised cell video and what customers can anticipate in the future.

From DSC:
In the near future, if I can see what I want on whatever device I want — and it’s personalized/customized for me — won’t that affect my expectations for other types of content that I want to review — such as educational content? 

Yes…I think it will. Whatever discipline I want, on whatever device I want, whenever I want it — available 24x7x365 with online tutoring available (which may or may not be from the same organization that posted the original content).



Online expectations — from by Wylie Wong; with a special thanks going out to Mr. Michael Haan, Calvin College, for this resource
Colleges bolster network bandwidth, invest in video conferencing equipment and increase their online course offerings to meet the growing demand for distance learning.


“Students today are fully wired,” says Tim Conroy, the college’s dean of information technology. “They can get anything they want online, and they expect to have the option to either come to class or get their education online.”

Distance learning has seen huge growth over the past decade as broadband adoption has increased and technology has improved. Distance learning courses are offered through the Internet, television, video conferencing and even CD-ROMs and DVDs. But online is the most popular avenue for distance learning.


© 2022 | Daniel Christian