Daniel Christian: My slides for the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan’s Spring 2024 Retreat

From DSC:
Last Thursday, I presented at the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan’s Spring 2024 Retreat. I wanted to pass along my slides to you all, in case they are helpful to you.

Topics/agenda:

  • Topics & resources re: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    • Top multimodal players
    • Resources for learning about AI
    • Applications of AI
    • My predictions re: AI
  • The powerful impact of pursuing a vision
  • A potential, future next-gen learning platform
  • Share some lessons from my past with pertinent questions for you all now
  • The significant impact of an organization’s culture
  • Bonus material: Some people to follow re: learning science and edtech

 

Education Technology Organization of Michigan -- ETOM -- Spring 2024 Retreat on June 6-7

PowerPoint slides of Daniel Christian's presentation at ETOM

Slides of the presentation (.PPTX)
Slides of the presentation (.PDF)

 


Plus several more slides re: this vision.

 

Is College Worth It? — from pewresearch.org by Richard Fry, Dana Braga, and Kim Parker
As economic outcomes for young adults with and without degrees have improved, Americans hold mixed views on the value of college

 


From DSC:
I post items like this in the hopes that those working within the world of higher education will lower the price of obtaining a degree while moving much more aggressively to offer more affordable ways of learning throughout one’s life.


A relevant addendum on 6/6/24:


Universities Try 3-Year Degrees To Save Students Time, Money — from the74million.org by Elaine S. Povich
As states explore shorter degrees, some faculty say they undercut students’ education.

With college costs rising and some students and families questioning the return on investment of a four-year degree, a few pioneering state universities are exploring programs that would grant certain bachelor’s degrees in three years.

The programs, which also are being tried at some private schools, would require 90 credits instead of the traditional 120 for a bachelor’s degree, and wouldn’t require summer classes or studying over breaks. In some cases, the degrees would be designed to fit industry needs.

 

.

2024 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report® Teaching and Learning Edition

Trends
As a first activity, we asked the Horizon panelists to provide input on the macro trends they believe are going to shape the future of postsecondary teaching and learning and to provide observable evidence for those trends. To ensure an expansive view of the larger trends serving as context for institutions of higher education, panelists provided input across five trend categories: social, technological, economic, environmental, and political. Given the widespread impacts of emerging AI technologies on higher education, we are also including in this year’s report a list of “honorary trends” focused on AI. After several rounds of voting, the panelists selected the following trends as the most important:

 

Colleges are now closing at a pace of one a week. What happens to the students? — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Most never finish their degrees, and alumni wonder about the value of degrees they’ve earned

About one university or college per week so far this year, on average, has announced that it will close or merge. That’s up from a little more than two a month last year, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, or SHEEO.

Most students at colleges that close give up on their educations altogether. Fewer than half transfer to other institutions, a SHEEO study found. Of those, fewer than half stay long enough to get degrees. Many lose credits when they move from one school to another and have to spend longer in college, often taking out more loans to pay for it.

Colleges are almost certain to keep closing. As many as one in 10 four-year colleges and universities are in financial peril, the consulting firm EY Parthenon estimates.

Students who transferlose an average of 43 percentof the credits they’ve already earned and paid for, the Government Accountability Office found in the most recent comprehensive study of this problem.

Also relevant:

 

Making your campus neurodivergent friendly — from timeshighereducation.com
How to create a university where neurodivergent staff and students feel welcome and thrive in the classroom, in the lab and throughout campus

Neurodivergent students and staff think about, interact with and see the world differently from their neurotypical peers and colleagues. Universities that adopt inclusive practices to welcome people with ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia and other disabilities to campus also foster their distinct strengths and talents in the classroom, labs, boardrooms and social spaces. This collection of resources offers advice for teachers, researchers, PhD supervisors and administrators for supporting neurodiversity in higher education.


Some Colleges Will Soon Charge $100,000 a Year. How Did This Happen? — from nytimes.com by Ron Lieber; via Ryan Craig
Some Vanderbilt students will have $100,000 in total expenses for the 2024-25 school year. The school doesn’t really want to talk about it.

It was only a matter of time before a college would have the nerve to quote its cost of attendance at nearly $100,000 a year. This spring, we’re catching our first glimpse of it.

One letter to a newly admitted Vanderbilt University engineering student showed an all-in price — room, board, personal expenses, a high-octane laptop — of $98,426. A student making three trips home to Los Angeles or London from the Nashville campus during the year could hit six figures.

This eye-popping sum is an anomaly. Only a tiny fraction of college-going students will pay anything close to this anytime soon, and about 35 percent of Vanderbilt students — those who get neither need-based nor merit aid — pay the full list price.

But a few dozen other colleges and universities that reject the vast majority of applicants will probably arrive at this threshold within a few years. Their willingness to cross it raises two questions for anyone shopping for college: How did this happen, and can it possibly be worth it?


‘Running Out of Road’ for FAFSA Completion — from insidehighered.com by Liam Knox
The number of students who filled out the federal aid form is down nearly 30 percent. The ramifications for access and enrollment could be devastating.

And that’s probably an optimistic estimate, said Bill DeBaun, NCAN’s senior director of data and strategic initiatives; if the pace of completion doesn’t pick up, the decline could be closer to 700,000 students. That could translate to up to a 4 percent drop in college-goers come fall, DeBaun said, which would be the largest enrollment drop since the COVID-19 pandemic—and one that’s likely to be made up primarily of low-income and first-generation students.


Study: Nearly 40 Percent of Students Started, Never Finished College — from insidehighered.com by Kathryn Palmer
Federal researchers followed the post-secondary outcomes of 23,000 students for 12 years. 

Only 60 percent of students who enrolled in college earned a degree or credential within eight years of graduating high school.

That’s one of the biggest takeaways from a new report the National Center for Education Statistics released Monday that analyzed the enrollment, completion and financial aid outcomes of students.

The researchers tracked the postsecondary educational outcomes of roughly 23,000 students beginning in 2009 when they were freshman in high school through 2021, when the cohort was eight years out from graduating high school.


Race to the Finish | The rise of faster bachelor’s degrees raises the question: What is college for? — from chronicle.com by Kelly Field; from Jeff Selingo

Taken together, the two recent decisions illustrate a blurring of the lines between the two- and four-year sectors that is taking place not just in Idaho, but nationwide, as colleges struggle to overcome enrollment declines and skepticism about the value of a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s pretty clear that higher education is in a funk,” said Robert M. Zemsky, a University of Pennsylvania professor, who has been advocating for three-year programs for more than 15 years. “There’s a sense that we have to do something to make the product better, more relevant, and less costly to students.”


Excerpt from Next — from/by Jeff Selingo

Bottom line: While critics of a shorter degree see it as a lesser replacement for the four-year baccalaureate degree, advocates see it as another option for students who might not be interested in college at a time when enrollment is falling.

  • “We need to use this opportunity to redesign and do things better,” Carrell said. “That means that we all need to stay curious. We need to be a learning enterprise…and learn from the evidence we produce.”

Job-Ready on Day One — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain

The U.S. faces a serious shortage of workers in the skilled trades—fields like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, solar, and construction. And those labor gaps are likely to widen as the federal government spends billions on infrastructure projects.

Employers in these industries are desperate for hires, says Doug Donovan, the founder and CEO of Interplay Learning. Yet the “challenge is not employer demand for workers,” he says, “but rather ensuring that learners learn about skilled trades careers and pursue them.”

The Austin-based Interplay offers online and VR training for workers in the skilled trades. The company was founded in 2016 with a focus on upskilling the hands-on worker. Even before the pandemic exacerbated labor shortages, Donovan says companies in these trades needed to hire workers who didn’t have all the skills required for jobs.

Interplay’s online courses and 3D, interactive simulations get close to what a learner is going to see on the job, says Donovan. “We aren’t trying to replace hands-on, instructor-led training,” he says. “We are trying to deliver tools that enhance that hands-on time or make it more efficient.”


 

 

The New Academic Arms Race | Competition over amenities is over. The next battleground is technology. — from chronicle.com by Jeffrey J. Selingo

Now, after the pandemic, with the value of the bachelor’s degree foremost in the minds of students and families, a new academic arms race is emerging. This one is centered around academic innovation. The winners will be those institutions that in the decade ahead better apply technology in teaching and learning and develop different approaches to credentialing.

Sure, technology is often seen as plumbing on campuses — as long as it works, we don’t worry about it. And rarely do prospective students on a tour ever ask about academic innovations like extended reality or microcredentials. Campus tours prefer to show off the bells and whistles of residential life within dorms and dining halls.

That’s too bad.

The problem is not a lack of learners, but rather a lack of alignment in what colleges offer to a generation of learners surrounded by Amazon, Netflix, and Instagram, where they can stream entertainment and music anytime, anywhere.

From DSC:
When I worked for Calvin (then College, now University) from 2007-2017, that’s exactly how technologies and the entire IT Department were viewed — as infrastructure providers. We were not viewed as being able to enhance the core business/offerings of the institution. We weren’t relevant in that area. In fact, the IT Department was shoved down in the basement of the library. Our Teaching & Learning Digital Studio was sidelined in a part of the library where few students went to. The Digitial Studio’s marketing efforts didn’t help much, as faculty members didn’t offer assignments that called for multimedia-based deliverables. It was a very tough and steep hill to climb.

Also the Presidents and Provosts over the last couple of decades (not currently though) didn’t think much of online-based learning, and the top administrators dissed the Internet’s ability to provide 24/7 worldwide conversations and learning. They missed the biggest thing to come along in education in 500 years (since the invention of the printing press). Our Teaching & Learning Group provided leadership by starting a Calvin Online pilot. We had 13-14 courses built and inquiries from Christian-based high schools were coming in for dual enrollment scenarios, but when it came time for the College to make a decision, it never happened. The topic/vote never made it to the floor of the Faculty Senate. The faculty and administration missed an enormous opportunity.

When Calvin College became Calvin University in 2019, they were forced to offer online-based classes. Had they supported our T&L Group’s efforts back in the early to mid-2010’s, they would have dove-tailed very nicely into offering more courses to working adults. They would have built up the internal expertise to offer these courses/programs. But the culture of the college put a stop to online-based learning at that time. They now regret that decision I’m sure (as they’ve had to outsource many things and they now offer numerous online-based courses and even entire programs — at a high cost most likely).

My how times have changed.


For another item re: higher education at the 30,000-foot level, see:


Lifelong Learning Models for a Changing Higher Ed Marketplace — from changinghighered.com by Dr. Drumm McNaughton and Amrit Ahluwalia
Exploring the transformation of higher education into lifelong learning hubs for workforce development, with innovative models and continuing education’s role.

Higher education is undergoing transformational change to redefine its role as a facilitator of lifelong learning and workforce development. In this 200th episode of Changing Higher Ed, host Dr. Drumm McNaughton and guest Amrit Ahluwalia, incoming Executive Director for Continuing Studies at Western University, explore innovative models positioning universities as sustainable hubs for socioeconomic mobility.

The Consumer-Driven Educational Landscape
Over 60% of today’s jobs will be redefined by 2025, driving demand for continuous upskilling and reskilling to meet evolving workforce needs. However, higher education’s traditional model of imparting specific knowledge through multi-year degrees is hugely misaligned with this reality.

Soaring education costs have fueled a consumer mindset shift, with learners demanding a clear return on investment directly aligned with their career goals. The expectation is to see immediate skills application and professional impact from their educational investments, not just long-term outcomes years after completion.


 

It’s Time Higher Ed Become Financially Literate — from forbes.com by Brian Curcio

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Alarming Reality
Over the past 12 years, US student loan debt has quadrupled to a staggering $1.7 trillion. Nearly 44 million Americans carry an average debt of $37,718, and over 11 percent of aggregate student loan debt (pre-COVID) is more than 90 days delinquent.

This past year, the average public university student borrowed over $32,000 to receive a bachelor’s degree. However, only 11 percent of employers believe that a degree prepares students for the workforce. It’s a cruel irony: a $32,000 loan – not counting interest – for a degree that doesn’t prepare you for the career needed to repay the debt.


Another higher education-related item:

The IT Leadership Workforce in Higher Education, 2024 — from library.educause.edu by Mark McCormack

The IT Leader Workforce in Higher Education, 2024, aims to map the current contours of the IT leader workforce, understand its current challenges and opportunities, and reflect on what it all might mean for building a stronger workforce and—ultimately—a stronger higher education for the future.


 

 

Doubts About Value Are Deterring College Enrollment — from insidehighered.com by Jessica Blake
Survey data suggests that prospective learners are being dissuaded from college by skepticism about whether degrees are worth the time and money.

Enrollment has been declining in higher education for more than a decade, and the most common explanations in recent years have been lingering effects of the pandemic and a looming demographic cliff expected to shrink the number of traditional-age college students. But new research suggests that public doubts about the value of a college degree are a key contributor.

The study—conducted by Edge Research, a marketing research firm, and HCM Strategists, a public policy and advocacy consulting firm with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—uses focus groups and parallel national surveys of current high school students and of adults who decided to leave college or who didn’t go at all to link the value proposition of a college degree and Americans’ behaviors after high school.

“At the end of the day, higher education has a lot of work to do to convince these audiences of its value,” said Terrell Dunn, an HCM consultant.


‘A Condemnation’: Under Mental Health Strains, Students Weigh Quitting College — from edsurge.com by Daniel Mollenkamp

When college students think about quitting, it’s most likely because of mental health strain or stress.

That’s according to the recent data from the “State of Higher Education Study,” conducted by the analytics company Gallup and the private foundation Lumina.

 

Edtech Unicorns Are Evolving Rather Than Disrupting — from bloomberg.com by Alex Webb

Consider Coursera Inc., the most prominent survivor of that early edtech hype. It’s now a public company, with a hefty $2.3 billion valuation. Finally, 12 years after it was founded — by, incidentally, another Google veteran in Andrew Ng — it’s set to report its first profit this year, according to analyst estimates. And the enterprise business is considerably more profitable, enjoying a 68% gross margin in 2023, compared to the consumer business’s 53% margin.

Figuring out the right match between training and utility is how several business schools seem to have developed successful online courses — which they are charging top dollar for. They’re in close contact with the sort of large corporations who hire their graduates, giving them a more intimate understanding of what those businesses seek.

Harvard Business School is one example. It made $74 million from online courses in fiscal 2022, the most recent year for which data is available

 

This week in 5 numbers: Another faith-based college plans to close — from by Natalie Schwartz
We’re rounding up some of our top recent stories, from Notre Dame College’s planned closure to Valparaiso’s potential academic cuts.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 1,444
    The number of students who were enrolled at Notre Dame College in fall 2022, down 37% from 2014. The Roman Catholic college recently said it would close after the spring term, citing declining enrollment, along with rising costs and significant debt.
  • 28
    The number of academic programs that Valparaiso University may eliminate. Eric Johnson, the Indiana institution’s provost, said it offers too many majors, minors and graduate degrees in relation to its enrollment.

A couple of other items re: higher education that caught my eye were:

Universities Expect to Use More Tech in Future Classrooms—but Don’t Know How — from insidehighered.com by Lauren Coffey

University administrators see the need to implement education technology in their classrooms but are at a loss regarding how to do so, according to a new report.

The College Innovation Network released its first CIN Administrator EdTech survey today, which revealed that more than half (53 percent) of the 214 administrators surveyed do not feel extremely confident in choosing effective ed-tech products for their institutions.

“While administrators are excited about offering new ed-tech tools, they are lacking knowledge and data to help them make informed decisions that benefit students and faculty,” Omid Fotuhi, director of learning and innovation at WGU Labs, which funds the network, said in a statement.

From DSC:
I always appreciated our cross-disciplinary team at Calvin (then College). As we looked at enhancing our learning spaces, we had input from the Teaching & Learning Group, IT, A/V, the academic side of the house, and facilities. It was definitely a team-based approach. (As I think about it, it would have been helpful to have more channels for student feedback as well.)


Per Jeff Selingo:

Optionality. In my keynote, I pointed out that the academic calendar and credit hour in higher ed are like “shelf space” on the old television schedule that has been upended by streaming. In much the same way, we need similar optionality to meet the challenges of higher ed right now: in how students access learning (in-person, hybrid, online) to credentials (certificates, degrees) to how those experiences stack together for lifelong learning.

Culture in institutions. The common thread throughout the conference was how the culture of institutions (both universities and governments) need to change so our structures and practices can evolve. Too many people in higher ed right now are employing a scarcity mindset and seeing every change as a zero-sum game. If you’re not happy about the present, as many attendees suggested you’re not going to be excited about the future.

 

From DSC:
I have had two instances recently where the phone-based systems (i.e., the Voice Response Units) haven’t worked…at all. They either wouldn’t let me do something as simple as updating my credit card number on file or checking on the status of a prescription. Human beings had to get involved to help me get the issues resolved. (Sounds a bit like the recent issues with the FAFSA forms, as I think about it.)

This is old hat, I know. This is common knowledge. But with AI, I’m increasingly concerned that the temptations are there for the MBAs/executives out there to lay off employees and boost their short-term profits (so that Wall Street will reward them and so that they can get their year-end bonuses).

The reminder/lesson for businesses and organizations of all types (including colleges and universities):

  • Unless you want to piss off and lose your customers, always allow your customers to stop using a VRU and go directly to a person that they can talk to.
  • Then empower those employees on the front lines as much as possible so that they can get the issues resolved for your customers.
  • Don’t think you are putting your MBA to good use by laying off your employees after you implement some new VRU system or AI-backed system. Don’t be too quick to think that you’re going to save all kinds of money by going with AI. This might be the case down the line, but I wouldn’t be too quick to get there yet. And even when you do get there, please allow us to talk to human beings.
 

Affordability and Microcredentials — from the-job.beehiiv.com by Paul Fain
Cutting costs for short-term credentials with course sharing and, perhaps, federal money.

‘Bespoke, e-Commerce-Enabled Storefronts’
Demand for nondegree credentials has risen. But it can be expensive and tricky for colleges to create their own workforce-relevant courses and certifications. Homegrown microcredentials also may be more likely to fall flat with students and employers, particularly in competition with professional certificates from big brands like Salesforce or AWS.

Acadeum, an online course-sharing company, is betting that a networked marketplace will be a better option for its 460 college and university partners, which include a growing number of community colleges. Beginning last month, those colleges can tap into 380+ online certificates, certifications, and skills-training courses.

“Skills Marketplace lowers the barrier of entry for institutions to self-select only the certifications that align their program offerings to meet student and workforce demand,” says David Daniels, Acadeum’s president and CEO.

 

The Transformative Trends Reshaping Higher Education in 2024 — from evolllution.com by Janet Spriggs; via Amrit Ahluwalia on LinkedIn

  • Artificial Intelligence: Embrace It or Fall Behind
  • Reassessing Value: Tackling Confidence and ROI in Higher Education
  • Innovating for the Future: Adapting to Changing Needs
  • Fostering Strategic Partnerships: Collaboration for Progress
  • Leadership Matters: Driving Innovation and Inclusivity
 

How This College Dropout Raised $29 Million for His Online Education Platform and Landed the Biggest Investor of All — Shaq — from entrepreneur.com by Dan Bova; via GSV
Campus founder Tade Oyerinde and investor Shaquille O’Neal discuss the debt-free mission of the online community college.

Key Takeaways

  • Campus offers two-year associate degrees with tuition costs that allow many students to go for free.
  • The online community college has garnered $29 million in investment.
  • Shaq says the company met his criteria for investment: a passionate founder, a mission to change lives and a solid exit strategy.

Colleges Were Already Bracing for an ‘Enrollment Cliff.’ Now There Might Be a Second One. — from chronicle.com by Dan Bauman; via GSV

[In addition to the decline of high school graduates starting in 2025] In recent months, however, the Census has updated its forecasts — instead of rebounding at some point in the mid-2030s, the number of 18-year-olds is now projected to contract after cresting at around 4.2 million people in 2033, shrinking to around 3.8 million by 2039. After that, the Bureau doesn’t anticipate the population of 18-year-olds will exceed 4 million people in any year this century.


How this Vietnam vet started a college program at a desert prison — from opencampusmedia.org; an essay by James “Sneaky” White as told to Charlotte West.

James “Sneaky” White, 80, spent nearly four decades incarcerated in California. His nickname “Sneaky” comes from his days as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. While he was incarcerated, he helped create a college program that has since graduated more than 1,500 men. In this “as told to” story, he shares how he started a college program for veterans at a desert prison.


Virtual Forum – On Demand
Starting a Program for Incarcerated Students — from chronicle.com by Charles B. Adams, Ruth Delaney, and Laura Massa; via Goldie Blumenstyk

Does your institution have programming in place for incarcerated students? Thanks to new federal assistance, students in many prisons can now take college courses for credit. While colleges are interested in starting or expanding programs to serve those students, they often have no idea how to do so.


 

The Teaching and Learning Workforce in Higher Education, 2024 — from library.educause.edu by Nicole Muscanell


Opinion: Higher-Ed Trends to Watch in 2024 — from govtech.com by Jim A. Jorstad
If the recent past is any indication, higher education this year is likely to see financial stress, online learning, a crisis of faith in leadership, emerging tech such as AI and VR, cybersecurity threats, and a desperate need for skilled IT staff.

 “We’re in the early stages of creating a new paradigm for personalized assessment and learning; it’s critical for moving the field forward … It’s supporting teachers in the classroom to personalize their teaching by using AI to provide feedback for individual learners and pointing in the direction where students can go.”


PROOF POINTS: Most college kids are taking at least one class online, even long after campuses reopened — from hechingerreport.org by Jill Barshay
Shift to online classes and degrees is a response to declining enrollment

The pandemic not only disrupted education temporarily; it also triggered permanent changes. One that is quietly taking place at colleges and universities is a major, expedited shift to online learning. Even after campuses reopened and the health threat diminished, colleges and universities continued to offer more online courses and added more online degrees and programs. Some brick-and-mortar schools even switched to online only.


College Affordability Helped Drive Rise in State Support for Higher Ed — from chronicle.com by Sonel Cutler

State support for higher education saw a significant jump this year, rising more than 10 percent from 2023 — even though the share of that money provided by the federal government dropped 50 percent.

That’s according to the annual Grapevine report released Thursday by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, or SHEEO. The data reflect a continued upward trajectory for state investment in higher education, with a 36.5-percent increase in support nationally over the last five years, not adjusted for inflation.


 

 
© 2024 | Daniel Christian