The academic career is broken  — from chronicle.com by Hannah Leffingwell

Excerpt:

We are in the midst of a crisis in academe, to be sure, but it’s not an economic crisis. It’s a crisis of faith. The question is not just whether our institutions pay faculty fairly, but whether any wage is worth the subservience and sacrifice that modern higher ed requires. Too often, colleges perceive themselves as voluntary, meritocratic institutions dedicated to a “higher” moral purpose. Or, as one of the characters in Babel puts it: “The professors like to pretend that the tower is a refuge for pure knowledge, that it sits above the mundane concerns of business and commerce, but it does not.”

Have these strikes solved the central paradox of academe: a capitalist institution that claims it is above capitalism while exploiting students, faculty, and staff for financial gain? No, they have not.

It gives me no pleasure to say that the system I have dedicated my entire life to is broken — that it needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Also related to careers and higher education, see:

36% of higher ed supervisors are looking for other work, study finds — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpt:

Over a third of higher education supervisors, 36%, are likely to look for a new job in the next year, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, CUPA-HR. And only 40% said they were interested in finding employment opportunities at their current institution.

 

14 Technology Predictions for Higher Education in 2023 — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
How will technologies and practices like artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, digital transformation, and change management impact colleges and universities this year? Here’s what the experts told us.

Excerpt:

In an open call on LinkedIn, we asked higher education and ed tech industry leaders to forecast the most important trends to watch in the coming year. Their responses reflect both the challenges on the horizon — persistent cyber attacks, the disruptive force of emerging technologies, failures in project management — as well as the opportunities that technology brings to better serve students and support the institutional mission. Here are 14 predictions to help steer your technology efforts in 2023.

 

Job Titles: It’s Not Only Instructional Design — from idolcourses.com by Ivett Csordas

Excerpt:

When I first came across the title “Instructional Designer” while looking for alternative career options, I was just as confused as anybody would be hearing about our job for the first time. I remember asking questions like: What does an Instructional Designer do? Why is it called Instructional Design? Wouldn’t a title such as Learning Experience Designer or Training Content Developer suit them better? How are their skill sets different from curriculum developers like teachers’? etc.

Then, the more I learnt about the different roles of Instructional Designers, and the more job interviews I had, ironically, the less clarity I had over the companies’ expectations of us.

The truth is that the role of an Instructional Designer varies from company to company. What a person hired with the title “Instructional Designer” ends up doing depends on a range of factors such as the company’s training portfolio, the profile of their learners, the size of the L&D team, the way they use technology, just to mention a few.

From DSC:
I don’t know a thing about idolcourses.com, but I really appreciated running across this posting by Ivett Csordas about the various job titles out there and the differences between some of these job titles. The posting deals with job titles associated with developers, designers, LXD, LMS roles, managers, L&D Coordinators, specialists, consultants, and strategists.

 

 

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
    stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.

From DSC:
Obviously, all of this goes for me as well. I constantly thank the LORD for His patience with me as well as His grace and forgiveness. I often seek His help, wisdom, and strength. Anyway, the above verse caught my eye due to Isaiah’s focus on justice and to seeing that justice is had by all.

And those reflections caused me to think about what the church is all about — at least for me. This brought to mind an old pastor friend of mine who once exclaimed, “The church is a hospital.”

Wow. That thought hit me powerfully. And you know what? I agree with him.

My pastor friend said that the church is a hospital -- and I agree with him

“The church” is a place for “sick” people who are in need of hope, healing, teaching, support, forgiveness, grace, love, wisdom, community, and more. Besides a place to worship the LORD, those are some of the reasons why I continue to go to church.

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.


Along these lines, I’m trying to figure out what the LORD wants me to do (during this next year and beyond). I want to make a contribution. For those who pray out there, I could use your prayers on where He wants me to plug in.

 

Education is about to radically change: AI for the masses — from gettingsmart.com by Nate McClennen and Rachelle Dené Poth

Key Points:

  • AI already does and will continue to impact education – along with every other sector.
  • Innovative education leaders have an opportunity to build the foundation for the most personalized learning system we have ever seen.

Action

Education leaders need to consider these possible futures now. There is no doubt that K-12 and higher ed learners will be using these tools immediately. It is not a question of preventing “AI plagiarism” (if such a thing could exist), but a question of how to modify teaching to take advantage of these new tools.

From DSC:
They go on to list some solid ideas and experiments to try out — both for students and for teachers. Thanks Nate and Rachelle!


Also from Rachelle, see:


 

From DSC:
A few items re: ChatGPT — with some items pro-chat and other items against the use of ChatGPT (or at least to limit its use).


How About We Put Learning at the Center? — from insidehighered.com by John Warner
The ongoing freak-out about ChatGPT sent me back to considering the fundamentals.

Excerpt:

So, when people express concern that students will use ChatGPT to complete their assignments, I understand the concern, but what I don’t understand is why this concern is so often channeled into discussions about how to police student behavior, rather than using this as an opportunity to exam the kind of work we actually ask students (and faculty) to do around learning.

If ChatGPT can do the things we ask students to do in order to demonstrate learning, it seems possible to me that those things should’ve been questioned a long time ago. It’s why I continue to believe this technology is an opportunity for reinvention, precisely because it is a threat to the status quo.

Top AI conference bans use of ChatGPT and AI language tools to write academic papers — from theverge.com by James Vincent; with thanks to Anna Mills for this resource
AI tools can be used to ‘edit’ and ‘polish’ authors’ work, say the conference organizers, but text ‘produced entirely’ by AI is not allowed. This raises the question: where do you draw the line between editing and writing?

Excerpt:

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) announced the policy earlier this week, stating, “Papers that include text generated from a large-scale language model (LLM) such as ChatGPT are prohibited unless the produced text is presented as a part of the paper’s experimental analysis.” The news sparked widespread discussion on social media, with AI academics and researchers both defending and criticizing the policy. The conference’s organizers responded by publishing a longer statement explaining their thinking. (The ICML responded to requests from The Verge for comment by directing us to this same statement.)

How to… use AI to teach some of the hardest skills — from oneusefulthing.substack.com by Ethan Mollick
When errors, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies are actually very useful

Excerpt:

Instead, I want to discuss the opportunity provided by AI, because it can help us teach in new ways. The very things that make AI scary for educators — its tedency to make up facts, its lack of nuance, and its ability to make excellent student essays — can be used to make education better.

This isn’t for some future theoretical version of AI. You can create assignments, right now, using ChatGPT, that we will help stretch students in knew ways. We wrote a paper with the instructions. You can read it here, but I also want to summarize our suggestions. These are obviously not the only ways to use AI to educate, but they solve some of the hardest problems in education, and you can start experimenting with them right now.

NYC education department blocks ChatGPT on school devices, networks — from ny.chalkbeat.org by Michael Elsen-Rooney

Excerpt:

New York City students and teachers can no longer access ChatGPT — the new artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that generates stunningly cogent and lifelike writing — on education department devices or internet networks, agency officials confirmed Tuesday.

Teachers v ChatGPT: Schools face new challenge in fight against plagiarism — from straitstimes.com by Osmond Chia; with thanks to Stephen Downes for this resource

Excerpt:

SINGAPORE – Teachers in Singapore say they will likely have to move from assignments requiring regurgitation to those that require greater critical thinking, to stay ahead in the fight against plagiarism.

This comes on the back of the rise of ChatGPT, an intelligent chatbot that is able to spin essays and solve mathematical equations in seconds.

ChatGPT Is Not Ready to Teach Geometry (Yet) — from educationnext.org by Paul T. von Hippel
The viral chatbot is often wrong, but never in doubt. Educators need to tread carefully.

Excerpt:

Can ChatGPT provide feedback and answer questions about math in a more tailored and natural way? The answer, for the time being, is no. Although ChatGPT can talk about math superficially, it doesn’t “understand” math with real depth. It cannot correct mathematical misconceptions, it often introduces misconceptions of its own; and it sometimes makes inexplicable mathematical errors that a basic spreadsheet or hand calculator wouldn’t make.

Here, I’ll show you.


Addendum on 1/9/23:

9 ways ChatGPT saves me hours of work every day, and why you’ll never outcompete those who use AI effectively. — from .linkedin.com by Santiago Valdarrama

A list for those who write code:

  1. 1. Explaining code…
  2. Improve existing code…
  3. Rewriting code using the correct style…
  4. Rewriting code using idiomatic constructs…
  5. Simplifying code…
  6. Writing test cases…
  7. Exploring alternatives…
  8. Writing documentation…
  9. Tracking down bugs…
 

Teaching: Will ChatGPT Change the Way You Teach? — from Chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpt:

Want to get involved in the conversation around AI writing tools? Here are a few resources you might find helpful.

Anna Mills has put together several documents:

Elsewhere, a group of professors is compiling examples of how instructors are using text generation technologies in their assignments. The results will be published in an open-access collection. You can find out more about the project on this site, Teaching with Text Generation Technologies.

If you’re rather listen to a discussion, here are a couple of webinars:

 

 


Also relevant/see:

 

What Can We Learn from Barnes & Noble’s Surprising Turnaround? — from tedgioia.substack.com by Ted Gioia
Digital platforms are struggling, meanwhile a 136-year-old book retailer is growing again. But why?

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Daunt refused to play this game. He wanted to put the best books in the window. He wanted to display the most exciting books by the front door. Even more amazing, he let the people working in the stores make these decisions.

This is James Daunt’s super power: He loves books.

But I almost hate to say it, because the lesson is so simple.

If you want to sell music, you must love those songs. If you want to succeed in journalism, you must love those newspapers. If you want to succeed in movies, you must love the cinema.

But this kind of love is rare nowadays. I often see record labels promote new artists for all sorts of gimmicky reasons—even labels I once trusted such as Deutsche Grammophon or Concord. I’ve come to doubt whether the people in charge really love the music.

 
 

From DSC:
For those who dog the “doomsayers” of higher ed…

  • You need to realize many “doomsayers” are trying to get traditional institutions of higher education to change, experiment, lower their price tags, collaborate with K12 and/or with the corporate/vocational realms, and to innovate
  • While many of those same institutions haven’t closed (at least not yet), there are many examples of budget cuts, downsizing, layoffs, early retirements, etc.
  • Many of those same institutions are not the same as they were 20-30 years ago — not even close. This is becoming especially true for liberal arts colleges.

Here’s one example that made me post this reflection:

Why some rural universities are dropping dozens of programs — from npr.org by Ason Fuller, Lee Hale, and Sarah McCammon

NPR’s Sarah McCammon talks with Hechinger Report Author Jon Marcus about the financial woes of rural universities and why some are dropping dozens of programs.

Excerpt:

Many colleges and universities in rural America are slashing budgets as enrollment numbers continue to dwindle. And often, the first things to be cut are humanities programs like history and English. It’s forcing some students to consider transferring to other schools or leaving higher education altogether. Jon Marcus has been covering this erosion of funding at rural universities and its domino effects with The Hechinger Report, and he joins us now. Welcome to the program.

 

From DSC:
For me, I wish politicians and legislators would stay out of the way and let public and private educators make the decisions. But if any politician is about to vote on significant education-related policies, laws, etc. — I would like to suggest that society require them to either:

  • teach a K12-based class for at least one month
    or
  • be in the classroom for the entire day to observe — and do this for at least one month 

Perhaps we would have far less standardized testing. Perhaps we would have far more joy and wonder — for the teachers as well as for the students. Perhaps lifelong learning — and the love of learning — would get the wind in its sails that it so desperately needs.
.


From DSC:
Along these lines of enjoyment in everyday things, could this type of thing happen more within education?

 

Some Day In Higher Education: Predictions And Possibilities For A Jolly Academic New Year — from forbes.com by Ann Kirschner

Excerpt:

  • Partnering with the private sector. Some university will have a clear strategy and adequate staff to develop strategic partnerships with key regional economic players. These would include internship/apprenticeship student opportunities and curricular initiatives including part-time teaching roles for professors of practice in rapidly changing technologies.
  • Looking for presidential talent in new places. Some university will vet its new president for skills and experience as leaders of complex organizations in an era of disruption, with a Ph.D. as a optional nice-to-have. There just aren’t enough good ex-provosts and deans to go around.
  • An educated board of trustees. Some university will provide its trustees with a realistic understanding of the highly competitive and complex world of higher education today. Nostalgia for the good old days and a roomful of well-meaning financial experts can strangle innovation at a time when the university should be the leader in solving the world’s challenges, starting with the exploding need for advanced, scalable, affordable education.

Redefining the professoriate. Some university will reject the institutional shame of relying on overworked and underpaid adjunct faculty and on graduate students who are headed for those same dead-end adjunct positions. Some university will evolve the tenure process into one that celebrates and supports faculty as innovative teachers and rewards their critical role in student career development and service to the university.

 

Top challenges for L&D leaders in 2023 — from chieflearningofficer.com by Ken Blanchard

Excerpts:

From an HR perspective, survey respondents reported that the biggest challenges they expect as HR and L&D leaders in 2023, in ranked order, are:

  1. Capacity and resources
  2. Turnover and attrition
  3. Improving engagement and experience
  4. Adapting to a hybrid culture

From DSC:
I wonder if many in higher education might respond similarly…? Perhaps some even in the K-12 space as well.

Also see:

This posting from William Kennedy-Long (re: instructional design) out on LinkedIn:

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

I read Clark Quinn’s outstanding article which I highly recommend reading, entitled Performance Focus For Deeper Learning Design.

Immediately, I was captivated by what it and he had to say, such that I wrote a short piece to follow up on it.

What are on-ramps? Here’s how to build them for all adult learners to reach their academic potential — from chieflearningofficer.com by Michelle Westfort

Excerpt:

This may come as a surprise — adult learners over 25 make up nearly 40 percent of today’s U.S. undergraduate population at colleges and universities. However, these learners often find themselves treated as outliers by institutions designed for traditional students, which leads to poorer learner outcomes and, as a result, barriers to social mobility.

To ensure adult learners can meaningfully participate in your workforce education program, organizations can build on-ramps capable of accommodating all learners.

On-ramps provide employees access to high-quality academic programs, enable them to continue their educational journey toward a degree or certification by meeting them where they are, and hold a key role in paving the way for successful learner outcomes.

Leveraging 2022’s future-forward lessons to improve L&D — from chieflearningofficer.com by Keith Keating

Excerpts:

Top 4 future-forward lessons from 2022:

  1. The world changes rapidly — prepare for it
  2. Anticipate trends, events and the skills you’ll need in the future
  3. Continuously adopt new capabilities and expand your knowledge
  4. Use tech to your advantage
 

ChatGPT and The Professional’s Guide to Using AI — from linkedin.com by Allie K. Miller

Excerpt:

Real Ways Professionals Can Use ChatGPT to Improve Job Performance
Let’s dive into some real examples of how professionals across sales, marketing, product management, project management, recruiting, and teaching can take advantage of this new tool and leverage it for even more impact in their careers.

Teachers and ChatGPT

  1. Help with grading and feedback on student work.
    Example prompt: “Tell me every grammar rule that’s been violated in this student’s essay: [paste in essay]”
  2. Create personalized learning materials.
    Example prompt: “Help me explain photosynthesis to a 10th grade student in a way similar to sports.”
  3. Generate lesson plans and activities.
    Example prompt: “Create an activity for 50 students that revolves around how to learn the different colors of the rainbow.” or “Generate a lesson plan for a high school English class on the theme of identity and self-discovery, suitable for a 45-minute class period.”
  4. Write fake essays several reading levels below your class, then print them out, and have your students review and edit the AI’s work to make it better.
    Example prompt: “Generate a 5th grade level short essay about Maya Angelou and her work.”
  5. Providing one-on-one support to students.
    Example prompt: “How can I best empower an introverted student in my classroom during reading time?”

From DSC:
I haven’t tried these prompts. Rather I post this because I’m excited about the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help people teach and to help people to learn.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian