AI+ alumni + real-world practitioners + accreditation agencies = outcomes for next year -- by Daniel S. Christian

 

AI+ alumni + real-world practitioners + accreditation agencies = outcomes for next year -- by Daniel S. Christian

 

Learning from the living class room

 

From DSC:
My answer to the question “Is Accreditation a Barrier to Innovation?” would be “Yes, it is.” But admittedly, maybe that’s because I work for a law school these days…and in the legal education realm (as controlled by the American Bar Association), there is YET to be a fully 100% online-based Juris Doctor (JD) degree that I’m aware of. There are some schools that have applied for “variances,” but we’re talking 20+ years after institutions of higher education introduced online-based learning! Those programs who have applied for variances are under an incredible amount of scrutiny by the American Bar Association, that’s for sure. So the legal realm is NOT doing well with innovation.

But in regards to other areas of higher ed and its accrediting bodies…I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me that the run-up in the price of higher education over the last several decades had nothing to do with HE’s accrediting bodies and either their support of — or their lack of support of — those organizations who were trying to introduce something new.

But along these lines, I’d like to hear from folks like:

  • Burck Smith from Straighterline on his perspectives and his company’s experiences with the various accrediting bodies that Straighterline has had to deal with. His insights here would carry a significant impact/weight for me.
  • Or perhaps someone like James DeVaney from University of Michingan’s Center for Academic Innovation or Joshua Kim who writes about higher education and edtech/online learning
  • Or folks like Mary Grush or Rhea Kelly at CampusTechnology.com
  • Surveying organizations who could speak for a massive group of students/learners/employees
  • …and/or other folks who are either trying to innovate within the existing systems, have heard from both sides of the table here, and/or have tried and failed to innovate within the existing structures

We’ll see if institutions of traditional higher education can reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant and survive (especially colleges and universities…not so much the community colleges). The accreditation bodies will have a large part in whether this happens…or not.

Along these lines…let’s see what happens to the growth of alternatives to those types of institutions as well.

 

OPINION: Meet certificates and “microcredentials” — they could be the future of higher education — from hechingerreport.org by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt
In years to come, they will become prevalent — and possibly preferred — to college degrees

Excerpt:

What is new is that we are calling them badges and microcredentials and using them primarily to certify specific skills, such as cross-cultural competency, welding and conversational Spanish.

So what are they? Microcredentials are certifications of mastery; badges verify the attainment of specific competencies.

No matter what we are calling them, they may be here to stay.

We now live in a time that is more open to rethinking college and university credentials. We are witnessing experimentation with competency-based education, through which students earn credits by demonstrating skills instead of spending time in courses. We are also seeing discussion of free or reduced tuition, along with subscription pricing that lets students take as many courses as they like for one low cost.

Also see:

Can an AI tutor teach your child to read? — from hechingerreport.org by Jackie Mader
Some AI reading programs are boosting early literacy skills

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence has been used for years in education to monitor teaching quality, teach classes, grade assignments and tailor instruction to student ability levels. Now, a small but growing number of programs are attempting to use AI to target reading achievement in the early years — a longstanding struggle for America’s schools.

 

Recording of “The Future of Education Collaborative for Higher Education” on 8/12/21 — this event was sponsored by Instructure and AWS

From DSC:
One of the most interesting items for me in this was to hear how one university is allowing students to drive the Request For Proposal (RFP) process – giving students much more VOICE. Staff and faculty are consultants but students have the final say! Wow! 

Also, I agree with the idea that the market will drive changes within higher education. But for that to occur more significantly:

  • Employers need to hire more people from a variety of backgrounds and that come into their interviews with a greater variety of credentials.
  • The accrediting agencies involved with higher ed are going to need to become more innovative and flexible.
  • And the elephant in the room for me is that faculty members are going to have to come to the realization that those organizations/courses of the future that will thrive and have the most impact will be much more team-based and will be based upon what the market needs (i.e., better alignment is needed between the corporate/business world and the world of higher education). For far too long, the faculty member has been the sole person at the table….the person holding the steering wheel…the person in control of everything that gets presented and how it gets presented….the person who decides what they want to teach (vs. what the market actually needs) and how they want to teach it.

Finally, I bet AWS and Zoom could have said a LOT more than they actually said.

#learningfromthelivingclassroom

 

The Short-term Credentials Landscape — from newamerica.org by Monique O. Ositelu, PhD, Clare McCann, and Amy Laitinen
What We See and What Remains Unseen

Abstract

Given the rapid growth in short-term programs, and policymakers’ fast-growing interest to invest federal higher education dollars into very-short-term credentials, we explore what the research does—and does not— show us about such credentials’ utility in the labor market. With concerns about equity, our review of the literature guides us towards caution, as a strong push for short-term certificates may run the risk of reifying socioeconomic stratification.

From DSC:
I wonder…will accreditation move towards the use of crowd-sourced methods? Similar to rating one’s driver or one’s experience with a product, will microcredentials get into more reviews and recommendations from the users of various learning/training-related sites and services?

Will users of a service comment on whether the credential helped them (with a salary increase, with practical knowledge, with an expanded scope of projects at work, etc.)?

 

Microcredential programs on the rise in Canada — from by Sharon Aschaiek; with thanks to Amrit Ahluwalia for this resource out on LinkedIn
Low rates of awareness about microcredentials by prospective students and employers remains a challenge.

Excerpt:

A new report on current views about microcredentials in Canada reveals a majority of higher education institutions are keen to create these concise, competency-focused upskilling programs, and many say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more relevant.

Released by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) earlier this month, “Making Sense of Microcredentials” reveals what this emerging training trend means from the perspectives of three key stakeholder groups: universities and colleges, prospective students and employers. The 32-page descriptive research report is based on the results of a literature review, 44 interviews (17 with postsecondary schools), and 2,362 surveys, which included 161 representatives from 105 postsecondary institutions, including 41 universities.

Along these lines, see:

Mapping Out a ‘Credential As You Go’ Movement For Higher Education — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new initiative called “Credential As You Go” aims to shift this status quo by making it easier for students and workers to earn recognition for their learning—in increments smaller than the colossal college degree.

Its goals include creating a national credentialing system designed around what the journey through higher education and job training actually looks like for many people: intermittent, nonlinear and unpredictable.

Also along the lines of keeping things brief, see:

 

Counting U.S. Postsecondary and Secondary Credentials — from Credential Engine; with thanks to Will Richardson  for this resource
February 2021

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Learners, educators and policymakers understand that high school completion and education beyond high school are critical to thrive in the workforce. However, until recently an inventory of the number or type of secondary and postsecondary credential opportunities in the United States did not exist. This is the third annual report from Credential Engine that attempts to count all these credentials. The report identifies 967,734 unique credentials in the U.S. in 16 detailed credential categories across four types
of credential providers:

  • Postsecondary educational institutions—359,713 degrees and certificates
  • Massive open online course (MOOC) providers—9,390 course completion certificates, micro-credentials, and online degrees from foreign universities
  • Non-academic providers—549,712 badges, course completion certificates, licenses, certifications, and apprenticeships
  • Secondary schools—48,919 diplomas from public and private secondary schools

Also see:

NLET Releases “Newest Economy” Paper

In The Newest Economy: Welcome to the Credential Currency Revolution, Gordon Freedman, NLET’s president, examines the discontinuity between high schools, community colleges, career and technical education, and workforce development programs and their alignment and linkages to high demand jobs and careers. The paper suggests moving beyond the current array of offerings and labor market tools to a marketplace solution using modern technology and data analytics to link credentials (badges, certifications, degrees) to hiring outcomes.

The paper is a collaboration among NLET, Credential Engine, Southern Regional Economic Board (SREB) and GoEducate, Inc. who together are building a Credential Alliance to further the work described in the report.

Press Release
Executive Summary
Download the Report

 

Marni Baker Stein on What’s Next For Higher Education — — from gettingsmart.com by Getting Smart Staff

Excerpt:

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, we’re talking with Marni Baker Stein, Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Western Governors University (WGU).

For example, with regards to skills: WGU put together a skills architecture team alongside national competency networks. They then used EMSI, a common way to describe skills, to tag them to a competency and execute dynamic audits of performance.

“Learners desperately need education to organize itself around what they need it to become.”

 

Digital Credentials: A Better Way to Capture and Communicate Learning — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark, Rebecca Midles and Rashawn Caruthers

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

There is an invention opportunity to better credential units of learning, to open up individual learning pathways, to better communicate capabilities, and to reduce friction in talent transactions.

The pandemic is accelerating this shift to verified credentials. Enrollment in short-term credential classes increased by 70% over last year while freshman college enrollment dropped by 16%.

There are six opportunities to better capture and communicate learning.

 

The Opportunity for Personalized and Local Guidance — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark, Rebecca Midles and Rashawn Caruthers

Excerpt:

There is a big opportunity to create tools that complement advisor efforts to help learners better understand themselves, spot and try out possible futures, make informed decisions about what’s next, and persist through challenges.

 


Which links to this article:

Another regional accreditor drops geographic limits — from educationdive.com by Hallie Busta

Dive Brief:

  • The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) announced Monday that it will accept applications for accreditation from institutions located outside its historical territory, which is primarily the mid-Atlantic states.
  • It will also begin taking applications from international institutions seeking accreditation.
  • MSCHE is the second of the country’s seven historically regional accreditors to make such a move, the result of new federal regulations removing their geographic boundaries.

We will consider the ways that the Commission engages in its work and whether an alternative structure may be necessary to support the changing nature of accreditation, and its more modern demands. Believe it or not, our requirements and standards are also scheduled for evaluation.  We will need to begin to have conversations about the ways we can improve the language of our requirements and standards or our accreditation processes.  — source

 

‘No college degree required’: Google expands certificate program for in-demand job skills — from fastcompany.com by Lydia Dishman

Excerpt:

Google just announced that it is expanding its skills certification program to help more people land high-paying tech jobs without a college degree.

The Grow with Google Career Certificates will be available soon for in-demand jobs including Data Analyst, Project Manager, and UX designer. These jobs pay between $60,000 and $90,000, on average.

From DSC:
Does this get at what Professor Scott Galloway was talking about yesterday at the Remote Conference? That is, that Big Tech is coming for healthcare and education. Could be. 

Also see:

  • Google to launch 3 more tech certificates on Coursera — from educationdive.com by Natalie Schwartz
    Excerpt:
    The certificates — which will be in data analytics, project management and user experience design — will cost $49 a month and take three to six months to complete. Google will fund 100,000 need-based scholarships for those who take them.
 

To survive the pandemic, American colleges need a revolution — from linkedin.com by Jeff Selingo

Excerpts:

Moreover, the American higher education system is built largely for full-time students pursuing degrees that might take two or four years to finish. Unemployed workers want a new job in the next few weeks or months, not two years from now when they complete a degree. The newly unemployed also are accustomed to the cadence of regular work and can’t easily pivot to class schedules at colleges constructed for the convenience of faculty members, not students.

Higher education needs to reinvent itself for continual learning if it is going to remain relevant and expand opportunity for tens of millions of adults who find themselves unemployed in a fast-changing economy.  

 

 

Team-based content creation/delivery | We need this & other paradigm shifts to help people survive & thrive [Christian]

From DSC:
If the first wave of the Coronavirus continues — and is joined by a second wave later this year or early next year — I think a more permanent, game-changing situation is inevitable. As such, now’s the time to change the paradigms that we’ve been operating under.

It’s time to move to *a team-based approach.* To build up the set of skills an organization needs to pivot and adapt — regardless of what comes their way.

Let’s stop asking one faculty member to do it all! Consider this:

  • Would you fly in a plane that was engineered/designed/built by one person?
  • Would you drive a car that was engineered/designed/built by one person?
  • Would you go into brain surgery with only one other person in the operating room?
  • Are you, like me, amazed at the long list of people (and their specialties) who contributed to a major motion picture?!? The credits go on for several minutes — even when moving at a fast pace! Would you watch a major motion picture that was written, acted, produced, directed by — and had all of the music, special effects, and audio-related work done by — only one person? 

With the move to online learning, one person can’t do it all anymore — at least not at the level that the newer generations are coming to expect. They have grown accustomed to amazing, team-based/built content and products.

Plus, newer generations are going to know and experience much more telehealth-related services…then much more telelegal-related services. They will come to experience/expect high-quality learning-related products and services that way as well. Going forward, there are too many skillsets required by the creation and production of high-quality, online-based learning — not to mention the continued hard work of staying up-to-date on the main subject matter expertise at hand.

So if the kind of perspective continues as found in this piece — SURVEY: Students say they shouldn’t have to pay full price for online classes — then colleges and universities would do well to invest money in new Research & Development efforts, in team-based content creation, and in reimagining what online-learning could act/be like. Same for the vendors out there. And faculty members would be wise to invest the time and energy it takes to be able to teach online as well as in a face-to-face setting. Not only are they more marketable once they’ve done this, but they are then also more prepared to find their place within an uncertain future.

All of this will likely be an expensive process. Also, greater collaboration will be needed within a department (as we can’t be building a course per professor) as well as between organizations.  Perhaps the use of consortiums will increase…I’m not sure.

Perhaps a new platform will develop — similar to what’s contained in this vision. Such a platform will feature content that was designed and built by a team. Such a learning-related platform will offer streams of highly-relevant content — while providing continuous, affordable, up-to-date, convenient, and very well done means of staying marketable/employed. 

We will likely be seeing this vision come to reality in the future.

For another paradigm shift, accreditation bodies/practices are going to have to also change, adapt, pivot, and help innovative ideas come to fruition. But that’s another posting for another day.

 

RESEARCH REPORT: Shaping the Future of Post-Secondary Education — from cherrytree.com; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
A Time of Transformation in Post-Secondary Education and the American Workforce.

Excerpts:
The objective of this paper is to:

  1. Analyze the current “forever changed” moment for both the post-secondary sector and American workforce; and
  2. Provide insights and ideas for post-secondary education leaders, employers, policymakers and investors based on my analysis.


First and foremost, only growth mindsets will work in this environment.

Online programs will continue to grow.

Higher education institutions must permanently reduce their fixed costs.

Accreditors are going to have to become more tolerant of new models. Accreditors were created to provide self-regulation and a system of peer-review that leads to continuous improvement. Along the way, they were asked to become arbiters of quality in higher education as a condition for federal financial aid eligibility. The structural incentives for accreditors create conditions for them to avoid risk and be conservative. This will not serve society well in the months and years ahead. They will have to embrace innovation or alternatives to traditional accreditation needed.

Faster, less expensive programs with easily understood learning outcomes which are directly tied to employment will be in increasing demand.


From DSC:
Some graphics come to mind — yet again.

Learning from the living class room

 

But this time, those folks who haven’t been listening or who thought *they* were in control all along, are finally being forced to wake up and look around at the world and the new landscapes. They are finally coming to the realization that they are not in control.

Innovation. Speed. Responsiveness. Quick decision making. These things are tough for many institutions of traditional higher education; there will have to be massive cultural changes. Bringing down the cost of obtaining a degree has to occur...or the backlash against higher ed will continue to build momentum. Consider just a couple of recent lawsuits.

Several new lawsuits filed recently against institutions of higher education

 

From DSC:
On the positive side…

What I appreciate about ‘s article is that it’s asking us to think about future scenarios in regards to higher education. Then, it’s proposing some potential action steps to take now to address those potential scenarios if they come to fruition. It isn’t looking at the hood when we’re traveling 180 mph. Rather, it’s looking out into the horizon to see what’s coming down the pike. 

6 Steps to Prepare for an Online Fall Semester — from chronicle.com b

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Plan for a multiyear impact. If colleges are forced to maintain online-only instruction in the fall and to defer reopening their campuses to in-person instruction to January 2021, the impact will be felt for years. College leaders should start thinking now about how to manage and potentially adjust spring-2021 (and beyond) course offerings, course sequencing, and degree requirements to avoid saddling students with graduation delays and the accompanying direct and indirect financial costs. In addition, colleges should anticipate a smaller-than-normal entering first-year class in fall 2020 (and thus a larger-than-normal enrollment a year later) and devise strategies to help mitigate the resulting stresses on admission rates and classroom and dorm capacity for first-year students entering in fall 2021 and beyond.

If instruction remains online-only in the fall, colleges won’t be able to afford that sort of inefficiency. College departments should start now to identify opportunities for collaborations that would draw on the collective wisdom and labor of faculty members from multiple institutions who are teaching similar courses. This would lessen the burden of migrating teaching materials and techniques to an online format.

From DSC:
I’ve often wondered about the place of consortiums within higher ed…i.e., pooling resources. Will the impacts of the Coronavirus change this area of higher ed? Not sure. Perhaps.

On the negative side…

I take issue with some of John’s perspectives, which are so common amongst the writers and academics out there. For example:

Conversely, an entire generation of current college students is now learning that it can be pretty boring to be one of several hundred people simultaneously watching a Zoom lecture.

You know what? I did that very same thingover and over again — at Northwestern University (NU), but in a face-to-face format. And quite frankly, it’s a better view on videoconferencing. It’s far more close up, more intimate online. I agree it’s a different experience. But our auditoriums were large and having 100-200+ students in a classroom was common. There was no interaction amongst the students. There were no breakout groups. The faculty members didn’t know most of our names and I highly doubt that the well-paid researchers at Northwestern — who were never taught how to teach in the first place nor did they or NU regard the practice of teaching and learning highly anyway — gave a rat’s ass about body language. Reading the confusion in the auditorium? Really? I highly doubt it. And those TA’s that we paid good money for? Most likely, they were never taught how to teach either. The well-paid researchers often offloaded much of the teaching responsibilities onto the teacher assistants’ backs. 

Bottom line:
Face-to-face learning is getting waaaay more credit than it sometimes deserves — though sometimes it IS warranted. And online-based learning — especially when it’s done right — isn’t getting nearly enough credit. 


Addendum: Another example of practicing futures thinking in higher ed:

 

MIT Starts University Group to Build New Digital Credential System — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

When a college goes out of business, all of its alumni can suddenly find themselves in an unexpected dilemma: How can graduates prove they actually earned their degrees when no one is left at the institution to send academic transcripts to prospective employers or graduate schools?

That scenario is one reason that a group of nine universities, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, today announced a collaboration to build a system that would let institutions issue digital diplomas and credentials in a way that can be verified without needing to check with a human registrar. The idea is to encourage widespread use of digital credentials across all kinds of academic institutions, and even at more informal places of learning, so that students end up taking ownership of how to communicate their learning to employers.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian