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)




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.



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Part 1 of Gospel for Teens -- CBS 60 Minutes

Part I

Part II


Also see:

as well as:


MaMa Foundation for Teens



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Educause: The Changing Landscape of Higher Education— by David Staley and Dennis Trinkle
The authors identify ten fissures in the landscape that are creating areas of potentially tectonic change.

What goes up...must come down -- by Daniel S. Christian

A perfect storm has been building within higher education. Numerous, powerful forces have been converging that either already are or soon will be impacting the way higher education is offered and experienced. This paper focuses on one of those forces – the increasing price tag of obtaining a degree within higher education.  It will seek to show that what goes up…must come down.  Some less expensive alternatives are already here today; but the most significant changes and market “corrections” appear to be right around the corner. That is, higher education is a bubble about to burst.

Cutting the Pay TV Cord, Chapter 5: Unlimited Internet TVfrom Phil Leigh


In short, often there is no reason why modern flat panel TV screens cannot function as giant monitors for up-do-date computers.

Thus a growing number of us are attaching computers to our TVs.  The trend is especially prevalent for WiFi enabled computers because they can connect over a home network and thence to the Internet. In such configurations computers – commonly dedicated laptops – function as Internet gateways for televisions. They transform TVs into dual function devices normally controlled from a comfortable viewing distance with ordinary TV remote units.

Also see:

© 2024 | Daniel Christian