The Public’s Growing Doubts About College ‘Value’ — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman
Americans aren’t questioning the importance of higher education, but they’re concerned it is unaffordable and unavailable for too many people. Experts dig into the data.

Excerpt:

After decades of almost unquestioned public support as some of America’s most valued institutions, colleges and universities are facing growing questions—not about whether higher education remains important but whether it’s available, affordable and valuable enough.

An episode of Inside Higher Ed’s The Key podcast recently explored the public’s evolving attitudes toward higher education, part of a three-part series on the concept of “value” in higher education…

Thousands of Students Take Courses Through Unaccredited Private Companies. Here’s a Look Into One of Them. — from chronicle.com by  Taylor Swaak

Excerpts:

A growing number of students are taking courses offered by unaccredited private companies and completing them in a matter of days or weeks — often for less than $200 — and then transferring the credits to colleges.

That growth comes in response to a perfect storm of skyrocketing higher-education costs, more adult learners seeking flexibility, and drops in enrollment that have spurred colleges to beef up retention and re-engagement efforts with “stopped-out” students.

 

Ed tech leaders just predicted these 3 trends will unfold in higher education — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Ed tech leaders gathered in New York on Thursday to discuss trends in the sector. Here’s what they had to say.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK — It’s a brutal moment for ed tech companies.

The stock market has been battered over the past few months, and the technology sector has been particularly hard hit. Meanwhile, colleges are experiencing enrollment declines at the same time their coronavirus relief funds are drying up, potentially constraining how much they can spend with vendors.

Still, ed tech CEOs and investors remained bullish about their own sector’s future during a conference in New York on Thursday held by HolonIQ, a market analysis firm. Here are three trends they say are coming down the pike.

 

Lessons Learned from Six Years of Podcasting — from derekbruff.org by Derek Bruff

Excerpt:

Last month on Twitter, I shared some of the many, many things I’ve learned from podcast guests over the last six years. I encourage you to check out that thread and listen to a few of my favorite episodes. Here on the blog, I’d like to share a few more general reflections about what I learned through producing Leading Lines.

Finally, one lesson that the podcast reinforced for me is that faculty and other instructors want to hear stories. Sure, a peer-reviewed journal article on the impact of some teaching practice is useful, but some of those can focus too much on assessment and not enough on the practice itself. Hearing a colleague talk about their teaching, the choices they’ve made, why they made those choices, what effects those choices have had on student learning… that can be both inspirational and intensely practical for those seeking to improve their teaching. A big part of Leading Lines was finding instructors with compelling stories and then letting them shine during our interviews.

Speaking of digital audio, also relevant/see:

With Audiobooks Launching in the U.S. Today, Spotify Is the Home for All the Audio You Love — from newsroom.spotify.com by

Excerpt:

Adding an entirely new content format to our service is no small feat. But we’ve done it before with podcasts, and we’re excited to now do the same with audiobooks.

Just as we did with podcasting, this will introduce a new format to an audience that has never before consumed it, unlocking a whole new segment of potential listeners. This also helps us support even more kinds of creators and connect them with fans that will love their art—which makes this even more exciting.

 

Just another new Academic Year? Think again! — from The Educationalist by Alexandra Mihai

Excerpt:

Welcome to a new issue of “The Educationalist”! For many of us the new Academic Year just started or is about to start. These are busy times: catching up with our academic (and administrative) duties, reconnecting with colleagues and with students. It’s all too easy to fall back into an old pattern and go into the classroom with the same set of assumptions and expectations from previous years. That’s why I would like to call for a pause. A moment to collect our thoughts and acknowledge where we are. Think of what’s important. I believe this exercise is not a luxury; it is extremely necessary right now as it allows us to take stock of the current situation and decide on our next steps. Intentionally and not “by default”.

But how about letting go of the idea of “normal”? How about we take a moment to meaningfully reflect on our experience in the past three years in a try to see how it shaped the way we teach, learn, work, the way we interact with each other and with our environment?

 

The sale of student lists exacerbates inequity in the admissions process, reports say — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpt:

  • Student lists from providers like the College Board and the ACT systematically exclude underrepresented students, according to a series of reports released Wednesday by The Institute for College Access & Success.
  • Researchers found list search filters, which allow colleges to select which demographics of students they buy information on, disproportionately exclude students from low-income and rural communities, as well as communities of color.
 

What the Faltering OPM Market Means for Colleges — from chronicle.com by Phil Hill
Even institutions not involved with the companies should take heed.

Excerpts:

It turns out that the OPM business is a difficult one. And colleges with online programs — whether or not they use OPMs — can take a handful of important lessons away from the recent developments.

Long-term contracts might not be viable. What happens to an online program if the OPM company helping manage the program with complicated contractual terms gets bought or starts operating at a reduced level? That is no longer a theoretical question. Colleges need to become much more sophisticated when they enter into contracts, coming up with real contingency plans and terms that can end partnerships without harming the underlying academic programs.

 

Course Awareness in HyFlex: Managing unequal participation numbers — from hyflexlearning.org by Candice Freeman

Excerpt:

How do you teach a HyFlex course when the number of students in various participation modes is very unequal? How do you teach one student in a mode – often in the classroom? Conversely, you could ask how do you teach 50 asynchronous students with very few in the synchronous mode(s)? Answers will vary greatly depending from teacher to teacher. This article suggests a strategy called Course Awareness, a mindfulness technique designed to help teachers envision each learner as being in the instructor’s presence and engaged in the instruction regardless of participation (or attendance) mode choice.

Teaching HyFlex in an active learning classroom

From DSC:
I had understood the hyflex teaching model as addressing both online-based (i.e., virtual/not on-site) and on-site/physically-present students at the same time — and that each student could choose the manner in which they wanted to attend that day’s class. For example, on one day, a student could take the course in room 123 of Anderson Hall. The next time the class meets, that same student could attend from their dorm room.

But this article introduces — at least to me — the idea that we have a third method of participating in the hyflex model — asynchronously (i.e., not at the same time). So rather than making their way to Anderson Hall or attending from their dorm, that same student does not attend at the same time as other students (either virtually or physically). That student will likely check in with a variety of tools to catch up with — and contribute to — the discussions. As the article mentions:

Strategically, you need to employ web-based resources designed to gather real-time information over a specified period of time, capturing all students and not just students engaging live. For example, Mentimeter, PollEverywhere, and Sli.do allow the instructor to pose engaging, interactive questions without limiting engagement time to the instance the question is initially posed. These tools are designed to support both synchronous and asynchronous participation. 

So it will be interesting to see how our learning ecosystems morph in this area. Will there be other new affordances, pedagogies, and tools that take into consideration that the faculty members are addressing synchronous and asynchronous students as well as online and physically present students? Hmmm…more experimentation is needed here, as well as more:

  • Research
  • Instructional design
  • Design thinking
  • Feedback from students and faculty members

Will this type of model work best in the higher education learning ecosystem but not the K-12 learning ecosystem? Will it thrive with employees within the corporate realm? Hmmm…again, time will tell.


And to add another layer to the teaching and learning onion, now let’s talk about multimodal learning. This article, How to support multimodal learningby Monica Burns, mentions that:

Multimodal learning is a teaching concept where using different senses simultaneously helps students interact with content at a deeper level. In the same way we learn through multiple types of media in our own journey as lifelong learners, students can benefit from this type of learning experience.

The only comment I have here is that if you think that throwing a warm body into a K12 classroom fixes the problem of teachers leaving the field, you haven’t a clue how complex this teaching and learning onion is. Good luck to all of those people who are being thrown into the deep end — and essentially being told to sink or swim.

 

‘Spaces Matter’ — from insidehighered.com by Colleen Flaherty
Limited access to active learning spaces may disproportionately hurt historically excluded groups, and institutions should build more of these spaces in the name of equity, according to a new study. Where does higher ed stand on next-generation learning spaces?

An interactive lecture hall at Rutgers University at New Brunswick, surrounded by active learning spaces across the U.S.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new study is therefore concerning—it found that limited access to active learning classrooms forced students to self-sort based on their social networks or their attitudes toward learning. The authors warn that limited access to active learning spaces may create a marginalizing force that pushes women, in particular, out of the sciences.

The solution? Invest in active learning spaces.

From DSC:
The groups I worked in over the last 15 years created several active learning spaces, but the number of rooms was definitely limited due to the expenses involved. Students liked these spaces and the feedback from faculty members was positive as well. Some students often staked their claims in these rooms so that they could study together (this was especially true for those majoring in Engineering).

 

Virtual Internships matches students with top companies around the world — from techcrunch.com by Catherine Shu

Excerpts:

Remote work struck down barriers for many employees, and now Virtual Internships is doing the same for university students around the world by partnering with over 12,000 companies from 100 countries.

Virtual Internships uses AI to match students at scale with internships at companies ranging from startups to blue chips and guarantees a match within one month.

 

Scams in College and How to Avoid Them — from ivypanda.com and Yvonne McQuarrie

A young college student looking shocked at her phone.

Excerpt:

These days scams are on the rise. Employing all sorts of schemes, con artists target different society layers, from children to the elderly. College students are no exception.

Our team has prepared the infographic below to describe various scams directed at college students. We’ve also explored the ways to prevent being scammed.

 

Transfer enrollment declined 13.5% since the pandemic started — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that transfer enrollment had declined twice as much as nontransfer enrollment.

Excerpt:

Transfer enrollment at colleges and universities has declined 13.5% since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, representing a loss of nearly 300,000 students.

That’s according to the latest figures from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which based the findings on a fixed panel of institutions that collectively enroll more than 13 million undergraduate students.

Also relevant/see:

 

From DSC:
I signed up to receive some items from Outlier.org. Here’s one of the emails that I recently received. It seems to me that this type of thing is going to be hard to compete against:

  • Professionally-done content
  • Created by teams of specialists, including game designers
  • Hand-picked professors/SME’s — from all over the world
  • Evidence-based learning tools

Outlier dot org could be tough to compete against -- professional-executed content creation and delivery

 

To Improve Outcomes for Students, We Must Improve Support for Faculty — from campustechnology.com by Dr. David Wiley
The doctoral programs that prepare faculty for their positions often fail to train them on effective teaching practices. We owe it to our students to provide faculty with the professional development they need to help learners realize their full potential.

Excerpts:

Why do we allow so much student potential to go unrealized? Why are well-researched, highly effective teaching practices not used more widely?

The doctoral programs that are supposed to prepare them to become faculty in physics, philosophy, and other disciplines don’t require them to take a single course in effective teaching practices. 

The entire faculty preparation enterprise seems to be caught in a loop, unintentionally but consistently passing on an unawareness that some teaching practices are significantly more effective than others. How do we break this cycle and help students realize their full potential as learners?

From DSC:
First of all, I greatly appreciate the work of Dr. David Wiley. His career has been dedicated to teaching and learning, open educational resources, and more. I also appreciate and agree with what David is saying here — i.e., that professors need to be taught how to teach as well as what we know about how people learn at this point in time. 

For years now, I’ve been (unpleasantly) amazed that we hire and pay our professors primarily for their research capabilities — vs. their teaching competence. At the same time, we continually increase the cost of tuition, books, and other fees. Students have the right to let their feet do the walking. As the alternatives to traditional institutions of higher education increase, I’m quite sure that we’ll see that happen more and more.

While I think that training faculty members about effective teaching practices is highly beneficial, I also think that TEAM-BASED content creation and delivery will deliver the best learning experiences that we can provide. I say this because multiple disciplines and specialists are involved, such as:

  • Subject Matter Experts (i.e., faculty members)
  • Instructional Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Learning Scientists; Cognitive Learning Researchers
  • Audio/Video Specialists  and Learning Space Designers/Architects
  • CMS/LMS Administrators
  • Programmers
  • Multimedia Artists who are skilled in working with digital audio and digital video
  • Accessibility Specialists
  • Librarians
  • Illustrators and Animators
  • and more

The point here is that one person can’t do it all — especially now that the expectation is that courses should be offered in a hybrid format or in an online-based format. For a solid example of the power of team-based content creation/delivery, see this posting.

One last thought/question here though. Once a professor is teaching, are they open to working with and learning from the Instructional Designers, Learning Scientists, and/or others from the Teaching & Learning Centers that do exist on their campus? Or do they, like many faculty members, think that such people are irrelevant because they aren’t faculty members themselves? Oftentimes, faculty members look to each other and don’t really care what support is offered (unless they need help with some of the technology.)


Also relevant/see:


 

From DSC:
Now you’re talking! A team-based effort to deliver an Associate’s Degree for 1/3 of the price! Plus a job-ready certificate from Google, IBM, or Salesforce. Nice. 

Check these items out!


We started Outlier because we believe that students deserve better. So we worked from the ground up to create the best online college courses in the world, just for curious-minded learners like you.

The brightest instructors, available on-demand. Interactive materials backed by cognitive science. Flexible timing. And that’s just the beginning.

Outlier.org

MasterClass’s Co-Founder Takes on the Community-College Degree — from wsj.com by Lindsay Ellis
A new, online-only education model promises associate degrees via prerecorded lectures from experts at Yale, NASA and other prestigious institutions

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

One of the founders of the celebrity-fueled, e-learning platform MasterClass is applying the same approach to the humble community-college degree—one based on virtual, highly produced lectures from experts at prestigious institutions around the country.

The two-year degrees—offered in applied computing, liberal studies or business administration—will be issued by Golden Gate University, a nonprofit institution in San Francisco. Golden Gate faculty and staff, not the lecturers, will be the ones to hold office hours, moderate virtual discussions and grade homework, said Outlier, which is announcing the program Wednesday and plans to start courses in the spring.

Golden Gate University and Outlier.org Reinvent Affordable College with Degrees+ — from prnewswire.com

Excerpt:

For less than one-third the price of the national average college tuition, students will earn an associate degree plus a job-ready certificate from Google, IBM, or Salesforce

NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Golden Gate University is launching Degrees+, powered by Outlier.org, with three associate degrees that reimagine the two-year degree for a rising generation of students that demand high quality education without the crushing cost. For annual tuition of $4,470 all-inclusive, students will earn a two-year degree that uniquely brings together the best of a college education with a career-relevant industry certificate.

Beginning today, students can apply to be part of the first class, which starts in Spring 2023.

“Imagine if everyone had the option to go to college with top instructors from HarvardYale, Google, and NASA via the highest-quality online classes. By upgrading the two-year degree, we can massively reduce student debt and set students up for success, whether that’s transferring into a four-year degree or going straight into their careers.”

Aaron Rasmussen, CEO and founder of Outlier.org
and co-founder of MasterClass

Outlier.org & Universities Call for Greater Credit Transfer Transparency — from articles.outliner.org

Excerpt:

“Outlier.org is working with leading institutions across the country to build a new kind of on-ramp to higher education,” said Aaron Rasmussen, CEO and Founder of Outlier.org. “By partnering with schools to build bridges from our courses into their degree programs, we can help students reduce the cost of their education and graduate faster.”


From DSC:
All of this reminds me of a vision I put out on my Calvin-based website at the time (To His Glory! was the name of the website.) The vision was originally called “The Forthcoming Walmart of Education” — which I renamed to “EduMart Education.”

By the way…because I’m not crazy about Walmart, I’m not crazy about that name. In today’s terms, it might be better called the new “Amazon.com of Higher Education” or something along those lines. But you get the idea. Lower prices due to new business models.

.


 

8 big questions as colleges start fall 2022 — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
Will higher ed’s financial picture clear? Can campuses innovate? Is a new generation of presidents ready to rise to the moment?

Excerpt:

Can colleges innovate?
Observers wonder whether the higher education sector is ready to make the changes necessary to meet the moment, like becoming more flexible, serving a wider range of students and containing costs. Higher ed leaders have been discussing certain priorities for years amid projections of diversifying student bodies, financial crunches and public policy changes.

From DSC:
I excerpted an item re: innovation because I think institutions of traditional higher education will have to make some significant changes to turn (the negative tide of) the public’s perception of the value of a college degree. No more playing around at the edges — significant value/ROI must be delivered and proved.

A quick way to accomplish this would be to lift up the place of adjunct faculty members at one’s institution:

  • Give them more say, voice, and control — especially in the area of which topics/courses should be offered in the curricula out there
  • Give them more input into faculty governance types of issues 
  • Pay them much more appropriately while granting them healthcare and retirement kinds of benefits

I say this because adjunct faculty members are often out there in the real world, actually doing the kinds of things in their daily jobs that they’re teaching about. They’re able to regularly pulse-check their industries and they can better see what’s needed in the marketplace. They could help traditional institutions of higher education be much more responsive.

But because higher education has been treating its adjunct faculty members so poorly (at least in recent years), I’m not as hopeful in this regard as I’d like to be.

Another option would be to have faculty members spend much more time in the workplace — to experience which topics, content, and skills are required. But that’s tough to do when their job plates are often already so full that they’re overflowing.

Bottom line: It’s time for change. It’s time to become much more responsive — course-offering-wise.

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian