UMass Goes Big Online, Launching ‘UMass Global’ — from wgbh.org by Kirk Carapezza; with thanks to Michael Horn for this resource

Excerpt:

The University of Massachusetts system is launching “UMass Global” — a new online college focused solely on adult learners — whose long-term, strategic goals President Marty Meehan listed two years ago in his annual address.

“Addressing the workforce skills gap. Meeting employer demand. Improving economic mobility for Massachusetts residents. And ensuring that the University of Massachusetts continues to thrive for generations to come,” Meehan said.

 

Can colleges compete with companies like Coursera? — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Arthur Levine discusses how trends like personalized education are unfolding, what’s driving them, and what can go right or wrong for colleges.

Excerpt:

They say colleges will see their control over the market slip while consumers increase their power. New content producers like companies and museums are entering the postsecondary market. Students will often prioritize personalized education and low prices. Measuring learning by time in seats will transition to outcome-based education. Degrees won’t necessarily be the dominant form of credential anymore as students turn to “just-in-time education” that quickly teaches them the skills for microcredentials they need for the labor market.

For higher education to be successful, you have to have its feet in two worlds. One world is the library, and that’s human heritage. And the other is the street. That’s the real world, what’s happening now. It’s jobs, it’s the workplace.

What happens when we change quickly is we continue as institutions to keep our hold on the library, but we lose traction in the street.

Institutions have to reestablish their traction. They have to prepare students for careers. They have to prepare students for the world…

From DSC:
I also like the part where is says, “So you’ve got to ask yourself, what are they offering that would draw people there? One thing they are offering is 24/7. Another thing that they’re offering is unbundled. Another thing they’re offering is low cost, and that’s very appealing.”

 

Surviving Among the Giants — from chronicle.com by Scott Carlson
As growth has become higher ed’s mantra, some colleges seek to stay small.

Excerpts:

The pressures on the higher-education business model are changing those attitudes. The Council of Independent Colleges’ fastest-growing initiative is the Online Course Sharing Consortium, which allows small colleges to offer certain courses to students at other institutions. Currently, there are 2,200 enrollments among almost 6,000 courses on the platform.

“The higher-ed business model is broken,” says Jeffrey R. Docking, who has been president of Adrian College for 16 years. “But where it’s most broken — and the first ones that are going to walk the plank — are the small private institutions. The numbers just don’t work.” Combining some backroom functions or arranging consortial purchases is just “dabbling around the edges” — and won’t get close to driving down the cost of tuition by 30 to 40 percent over the next several years, which is what Docking believes is necessary.

From DSC:
Docking’s last (highlighted) sentence above reminds me of what I predicted back in 2008 when I was working for Calvin College. The vision I relayed in 2008 continues to come to fruition — albeit I’ve since changed the name of the vision.

Back in 2008 I predicted that we would see the days of tuition being cut by 50% or more

From DSC (cont’d):
I was trying to bring down the cost of higher education — which we did with Calvin Online for 4-5 years…before the administration,  faculty members, and even the leadership within our IT and HR Departments let Calvin Online die on the vine. This was a costly mistake for Calvin, as they later became a university — thus requiring that they get into more online-based learning in order to address the adult learner. Had they supported getting the online-based learning plane off the runway, they could have dovetailed nicely into becoming a university. But instead, they dissed the biggest thing to happen within education in the last 500 years (since the invention of the printing press). 

Which brings me to one last excerpted quote here:

“For so many years,” Docking says, “all of these really smart people in Silicon Valley, at the University of Phoenix, at for-profits were saying, We’re going to do it better” — and they came around with their “solutions” in the form of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, and other scaling plans. Small colleges didn’t want to hear it, and, Docking says, maybe it was to their peril.

 

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.

 
 

5 Ways Higher Ed Will Be Upended — from chronicle.com by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt
Colleges will lose power, prices will go down, and credentials will multiply — among other jarring shifts.

Excerpt:

The dominance of degrees and “just in case” education will diminish; nondegree certifications and “just in time” education will increase in status and value.

In contrast, “just in time” education teaches students the skills and knowledge they need right now. They may need to learn a foreign language for an coming trip or business deal. They may need to learn an emerging technology. “Just in time” education comes in all shapes and sizes, but diverges from traditional academic time standards, uniform course lengths, and common credit measures. Only a small portion of such programs award degrees; most grant certificates, microcredentials, or badges.

From DSC:
Long-time readers of this blog and my old blog at Calvin (then College) will see no surprises here:

I published the idea of 50% off and more back in 2008

I discussed The Walmart of Education with Mary Grush back in 2013

Learning from the living class room

 
 
 

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

 

It’s time for leaders to get real about hybrid — from mckinsey.com by Aaron De Smet, Bonnie Dowling, Mihir Mysore, and Angelika Reich
Employers are ready to get back to significant in-person presence. Employees aren’t. The disconnect is deeper than most employers believe, and a spike in attrition and disengagement may be imminent.

Excerpt:

Once in a generation (if that), we have the opportunity to reimagine how we work. In the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution moved many in Europe and the United States from fields to factories. In the 1940s, World War II brought women into the workforce (if not the C-suite) at unprecedented rates. In the 1990s, the explosion of PCs and email drove a rapid increase in productivity and the speed of decision making, ushering in the digital age as we know it today. And in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drove employees out of offices to work from home. Thanks to the development and wide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, 2021 presents another such opportunity. The return to the workplace is a chance to create a new, more effective operating model that works for companies and people navigating a world of increasing uncertainty. There is, however, one big catch: employers must confront the broadening disconnect between how they and their employees see the future.

 

Pennsylvania system board votes to merge 6 institutions into 2 — from highereddive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
The plan intends to correct PASSHE’s declining enrollment and unsteady finances, though it attracted bitter faculty and staff opposition.

Excerpt:

The vote comes as other states like Vermont and New Hampshire advance or weigh merger plans — and years after Georgia started combining many of its public institutions. But such changes have long been resisted in the Pennsylvania system, making Wednesday’s approval noteworthy.

 

A LIFETIME OF LEARNING — from continuum.uw.edu

Excerpts:

The 60-year curriculum is the modern approach to a lifetime of learning. Getting a degree, getting a job and never setting foot in a classroom again are not today’s reality.

A discussion paper from the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that in the next 10 to 15 years, the need for new tech skills will accelerate. We will also need people who will develop, innovate and adapt those technologies. The paper asserts that, right now, 80% of the workforce doesn’t have the skills for most of the jobs that will be available in the next five to 10 years.

The 60-year curriculum. Lifetime learning is now a requirement.

From DSC:
It would be good to integrate more vocational types of pathways/items in here as well.

 

For College Finances, There’s No ‘Return to Normal’ — from chronicle.com by Mark S. LeClair
The critical problems facing higher education won’t end with the pandemic.

Excerpt:

Higher ed is in trouble. It faces a demographic crunch in 2026, when smaller high-school graduating classes will mean greater competition for students. That will lead to tuition discounting and underenrolled classes for many colleges. And yet that demographic crisis is only one of many significant challenges the sector faces. As noted by Forbes in its annual review of college and university financials, approximately 20 percent of all institutions now warrant a “D” ranking (its lowest). Many are under serious financial strain and may not survive.

The Forbes financial analyses have been warning of a worsening situation for years. The added stresses from the Covid-19 pandemic will further aggravate the untenable circumstances facing hundreds of institutions. There is now a very short window within which we must carry out significant reforms.

 

It’s like Netflix for education: UND considers subscription tuition model — from grandforksherald.com by Sydney Mook; with thanks to Ray Schroeder for this resource out on LinkedIn
Think of it as Netflix or Hulu – popular television subscription services – but for a UND education. Students could pay a flat rate and take as many (or as few) online courses as preferred, so long as they aren’t considered a full-time, degree-seeking student.

Excerpts:

UND wants to add a flat-rate subscription option to its tuition model.

Think of it as Netflix or Hulu – popular television subscription services – but for a UND education. Students could pay a flat rate and take as many (or as few) online courses as preferred, so long as they aren’t considered a full-time, degree-seeking student.

“You enroll, you have a subscription and during that subscription, you can binge watch,” said Jeff Holm, vice provost for online education and strategic planning at UND.

UND says it wants to “provide competency-based, online education that provides ‘micro-pathways’ or smaller targeted units of learning to individuals as a way to enhance their skill set and knowledge for advancing in the labor market or reskilling for a new employment opportunity.”

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian