Future of Learning Council on Statewide Grassroots Strategies & Pathways — from gettingsmart.com

Description of podcast:

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast Shawnee Caruthers is joined by Dr. Dave Richards, the Executive Learning Strategist for Michigan Virtual and a key part of Future of Learning Council, a partner that we’ve loved working alongside over the last year.

We are also joined by two superintendents who are a part of this project – Dr. Christopher Timmis, Superintendent of Dexter Community Schools and Dr. John VanWagoner of Traverse City Area Public Schools.

 

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

 

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.

 

ABA cleans up accreditation rules surrounding distance education for law schools — from highereddive.com by Lilah Burke

Dive Brief (emphasis DSC):

  • Recent amendments to American Bar Association accreditation standards addressed definitions of distance education, but Leo Martinez, immediate past chair of the ABA Council for the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, says the resolution won’t change much for law schools without waivers allowing them to conduct extra distance education.
  • The changes, made at the ABA’s annual meeting in August, were meant to clarify language in accreditation standards.
  • The ABA, which serves as the accreditor for 199 law schools and programs, requires waivers for institutions that want to offer more than one-third of J.D. program credits online. But it remains interested in reviewing distance education.

From DSC:
For an industry in the 21st century whose main accreditation/governance body for law schools still won’t let more online learning occur without waivers…

…how can our nation expect future lawyers and law firms to be effective in an increasingly tech-enabled world?

Here’s the pace of change in the world today:

The exponential pace of change is like warp speed for the U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek) or the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars).

Yet here’s the pace that the American Bar Association (@ABAesq) has been taking — and continues to take — at least in the area of supporting online-based learning as well as in developing sandboxes/new methods of improving access to justice (#A2J):

.

It’s high time the ABA did their research re: online-based learning and majorly picked up their pace. Undergraduate online-based education started back in the late 1990’s for crying out loud! (And the number of students taking one or more of their courses completely online has been increasing ever since that time.)

Plus, many law school students are adults who have jobs as well as families. They often don’t have the time nor the money to travel to campuses in order to take part in something that they could have easily accomplished online.

It’s also appropriate to recognize here that the current learning ecosystems out there continue to move more towards hybrid/blended learning models as well as a hyflex model. 

The ABA is not serving law school students nor our citizenry well at all in this regard.

 

The 21-day challenge for disability equity -- offered by the United Way of South Central Michigan

To view previous content, click HERE.
Also see the following resources from this challenge.

Below are some local and general resources related to disability justice and advocacy that may be helpful. There is a Disability Network or Center for Independent Living serving all of the counties in the state of Michigan. You can find the office that covers your area by going to https://dnmichigan.org/

If you have questions about the information in this 21 Day Challenge, please contact Disability Network Southwest Michigan.


Michigan Resources


  • Find your local Disability Network or Center for Independent Living: https://dnmichigan.org/ 
  • Disability Rights Michigan is the independent, private, nonprofit, nonpartisan protection and advocacy organization authorized by Federal and State law to advocate and protect the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan: https://www.drmich.org/ 
  • Michigan Disability Rights Coalition cultivates disability pride and strengthens the disability movement by recognizing disability as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity while collaborating to dismantle all forms of oppression: https://mymdrc.org/
  • Self-Advocates of Michigan is an advocacy organization comprised of people with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities, working together to make a difference: https://selfadvocatesofmichigan.wordpress.com
  • The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports full inclusion and participation in the community. https://arcmi.org/.

General Resources


  • Americans with Disabilities Act information and technical assistance: www.ada.gov
  • Disability is Natural is a source for new ways of thinking about disability and moving beyond the status quo: www.disabilityisnatural.com
  • Job Accommodation Network is a one-stop web page to get information regarding accommodations at work and advocating for disability rights in the workplace: www.askjan.org
  • Disability Scoop is the nation’s premier source for developmental disability news and information: www.disabilityscoop.com
  • Rooted in Rights tells authentic, accessible stories to challenge stigma and redefine narratives around disability: www.rootedinrights.org
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) serves as a national grassroots disability rights organization for the autistic community, advocating for systems change and ensuring that the voices of autistic people are heard in policy debates and the halls of power: www.autisticadvocacy.org
  • Sins Invalid promotes leadership opportunities for people with disabilities within our communities and within the broader social justice movement: www.sinsinvalid.org
  • The Disability Visibility Project is an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture: https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/
  • The National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America: https://www.nad.org/
  • The National Council on Independent Living is the longest-running national cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities: https://ncil.org
  • National Federation of the Blind is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. The National Federation of the Blind is continuously working toward securing full integration, equality, independence, acceptance, and respect for all blind Americans: https://nfb.org
  • Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) is the United States’ national self-advocacy organization: https://www.sabeusa.org
  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is a feature-length documentary about the disability rights movement available on Netflix and YouTube: https://youtu.be/OFS8SpwioZ4
[Image description: photo of Mia Mingus on a colorful striped background with her quote, “Understanding disability and ableism is the work of every revolutionary, activist and organizer – of every human being.” Mia Mingus, writer and community organizer for transformative justice and disability justice.]

To view previous content, click HERE.


A somewhat relevant resource:

 

Howard University receives 2 bomb threats in a week as some HBCU students say they feel forgotten after no arrests in previous threats — from cnn.com by Jacquelyne Germain

Excerpt:

(CNN) As Howard University students returned to campus on Monday for the start of the fall semester, the university received two bomb threats just months after the school and other historically Black colleges and universities had to lock down or postpone classes because of similar threats.

From DSC:
I wonder if the response would look different if this happened at one of the Ivy League schools…? Yeh, probably so. Either way, this is incredibly sad that this happens at all.


Addendum on 9/2/22:

DHS details response to HBCU bomb threats but says ‘much more’ needs to be done — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz


 

The State of the Digital Divide in the United States — from pcrd.purdue.edu by Roberto Gallardo

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic shed a bright light on an issue that has been around for decades: the digital divide. As parents, children, and workers scrambled to learn, socialize, and work from home, adequate internet connectivity became critical. This analysis takes a detailed look at the digital divide as it was in 2020 (latest year available), who it affected, and its socioeconomic implications by using an innovative metric called the digital divide index. It should also increase awareness on this issue as communities and residents prepare to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime investment in both broadband infrastructure and digital equity, components of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Data for this analysis came primarily from the U.S. Census Bureau 5-year American Community Survey. Additional sources include but are not limited to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Lightcast (formerly known as Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. or EMSI) and Venture Forward by GoDaddy. The unit of analysis was U.S. counties for which DDI scores were calculated 1 .

 

College Rankings Are ‘a Joke,’ Education Secretary Says Brianna Hatch

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona called college rankings “a joke,” and took aim at selective colleges’ obsession with them, as he made a broader push on Thursday for closing stubborn equity gaps in the nation’s college-graduation rates.

“Many institutions spend enormous time and money chasing rankings they feel carry prestige, but in truth do little more than Xerox privilege,” Cardona said, attributing the phrase to the president of a historically Black college.

There’s a “whole science behind climbing up the rankings” that leads to misplaced priorities, Cardona said. The best-resourced colleges are playing a prestige game instead of centering “measures that truly count,” he said. “That system of ranking is a joke.”

Cardona called for a “culture change” in higher ed so that institutions would value inclusivity, use data to help students before they dropped out, and create more-accessible pathways for adult learners, rural students, and first-generation students.

“Let’s confer prestige on colleges’ breaking cycles of poverty. Let’s raise the profiles of institutions delivering real upward mobility, like all of you,” Cardona told attendees, echoing an essay he wrote for The Chronicle on Thursday. “Let’s turn the universities that walk the walk on equity into household names.”

From DSC:
The above item re: culture change caught my eye. Coming out of college, I didn’t think about the culture of an organization. It didn’t mean anything to me.

But as the years went by — and especially as I was working for Kraft Foods at the time when it got acquired by Philip Morris — I began understanding the power and influence of the culture of an organization. That power and influence could be positive and helpful or it could be negative and could stunt the growth of the organization.

I personally question whether many of the existing cultures within our colleges and universities have the ability to change. Time will tell. But the culture of places where I’ve worked had a (sometimes strong) distaste for the corporate world. They didn’t want to be called a “business.” I put that word business in quotes purposefully — as the term was spoken with disdain. The higher calling of higher education could not be considered a business…yeh right. Looking at things these last few years, one can certainly not claim that any longer.

The cultures of our traditional institutions of higher education may be the biggest challenge to their survival. Perhaps some tips in this article may help — though it has to go waaaaay beyond the IT Department.

 

How higher education lost its shine — from hechingerreport.org by Jon Marcus
Americans are rejecting college in record numbers, but the reasons may not be what you think

Excerpt:

“With the exception of wartime, the United States has never been through a period of declining educational attainment like this,” said Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University’s Miller College of Business.

There has been a significant and steady drop nationwide in the proportion of high school graduates enrolling in college in the fall after they finish high school — from a high of 70 percent in 2016 to 63 percent in 2020, the most recent year for which the figure is available, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Myriad focus groups and public opinion surveys point to other reasons for the dramatic downward trend. These include widespread and fast-growing skepticism about the value of a degree, impatience with the time it takes to get one and costs that have finally exceeded many people’s ability or willingness to pay.

 


From DSC:
This again reminds me of my concerns captured in this graphic I created with Mr. Yohan Na back in 2009:
.


 

I think we’ve run out of time to effectively practice law in the United States of America [Christian]


From DSC:
Given:

  • the accelerating pace of change that’s been occurring over the last decade or more
  • the current setup of the legal field within the U.S. — and who can practice law
  • the number of emerging technologies now on the landscapes out there

…I think we’ve run out of time to effectively practice law in the U.S. — at least in terms of dealing with emerging technologies. Consider the following items/reflections.


Inside one of the nation’s few hybrid J.D. programs — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz
Shannon Gardner, Syracuse law school’s associate dean for online education, talks about the program’s inaugural graduates and how it has evolved.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In May, Syracuse University’s law school graduated its first class of students earning a Juris Doctor degree through a hybrid program, called JDinteractive, or JDi. The 45 class members were part of almost 200 Syracuse students who received a J.D. this year, according to a university announcement.

The private nonprofit, located in upstate New York, won approval from the American Bar Association in 2018 to offer the three-year hybrid program.

The ABA strictly limits distance education, requiring a waiver for colleges that wish to offer more than one-third of their credits online. To date, the ABA has only approved distance education J.D. programs at about a dozen schools, including Syracuse.

Many folks realize this is the future of legal education — not that it will replace traditional programs. It is one route to pursue a legal education that is here to stay. I did not see it as pressure, and I think, by all accounts, we have definitely proven that it is and can be a success.

Shannon Gardner, associate dean for online education  


From DSC:
It was March 2018. I just started working as a Director of Instructional Services at a law school. I had been involved with online-based learning since 2001.

I was absolutely shocked at how far behind law schools were in terms of offering 100% online-based programs. I was dismayed to find out that 20+ years after such undergraduate programs were made available — and whose effectiveness had been proven time and again — that there were no 100%-online based Juris Doctor (JD) programs in the U.S. (The JD degree is what you have to have to practice law in the U.S. Some folks go on to take further courses after obtaining that degree — that’s when Masters of Law programs like LLM programs kick in.)

Why was this I asked? Much of the answer lies with the extremely tight control that is exercised by the American Bar Association (ABA). They essentially lay down the rules for how much of a law student’s training can be online (normally not more than a third of one’s credit hours, by the way).

Did I say it’s 2022? And let me say the name of that organization again — the American Bar Association (ABA).

Graphic by Daniel S. Christian

Not to scare you (too much), but this is the organization that is supposed to be in charge of developing lawyers who are already having to deal with issues and legal concerns arising from the following technologies:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) — Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), algorithms, bots, and the like
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and/or the Internet of Everything (IoE)
  • Extended Reality (XR) — Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Holographic communications
  • Big data
  • High-end robotics
  • The Metaverse
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • NFTs
  • Web3
  • Blockchain
  • …and the like

I don’t think there’s enough time for the ABA — and then law schools — to reinvent themselves. We no longer have that luxury. (And most existing/practicing lawyers don’t have the time to get up the steep learning curves involved here — in addition to their current responsibilities.)

The other option is to use teams of specialists, That’s our best hope. If the use of what’s called nonlawyers* doesn’t increase greatly, the U.S. has little hope of dealing with legal matters that are already arising from such emerging technologies. 

So let’s hope the legal field catches up with the pace of change that’s been accelerating for years now. If not, we’re in trouble.

* Nonlawyers — not a very complimentary term…
I hope they come up with something else.
Some use the term Paralegals.
I’m sure there are other terms as well. 


From DSC:
There is hope though. As Gabe Teninbaum just posted the resource below (out on Twitter). I just think the lack of responsiveness from the ABA has caught up with us. We’ve run out of time for doing “business as usual.”

Law students want more distance education classes, according to ABA findings — from abajournal.com by Stephanie Francis Ward

Excerpt:

A recent survey of 1,394 students in their third year of law school found that 68.65% wanted the ability to earn more distance education credits than what their schools offered.


 

Summer Learning Programs Struggle — and Devise Solutions — as Staff Shortages Persist — from edsurge.com by Emily Tate Sullivan

Excerpt:

It’s summer time, and the learning is not easy.

That’s in large part because the widespread staffing shortages that plagued the 2021-22 school year have stretched into summer programming, which, in many cases, relies on licensed school teachers to sign up to continue working with students.

But teachers are exhausted. They may want—even need—the extra income from summer jobs, but many are also desperate for a break after the last two-and-a-half years and trying to prioritize their mental health.

From DSC:
In futurism speech, this is a strong signal of what could be a tough year ahead. If that turns out to the case, what are some possible scenarios and what are some possible solutions to those scenarios?

 

How Alternative Credentials Can Help You Find Employees — from shrm.org by Kathryn Tyler
Focus on skills, not degrees, to increase your talent pool.

Excerpts:

“Alternative credentials,” such as the ones Brown attained, are increasingly available in the form of micro-credentials, digital badges and industry-recognized certificates. They’re less expensive than a college degree and designed to help prepare workers for better jobs.

IBM is ahead of the game in many respects. Six years ago, the tech giant began revising its job descriptions to focus on skills and not just educational attainment. On average, 50 percent of the company’s posted positions in the U.S. don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

“We call these ‘new-collar jobs,’ and they’re aligned to careers that require the right set of skills and a commitment to lifelong learning,” says Tommy Wenzlau, talent leader for new-collar initiatives at IBM, which employs more than 250,000 workers globally. “New-collar roles are in some of technology’s fastest-growing fields, including data science, cloud computing, application development, cybersecurity and digital design.”

 

Dead Malls and Future Campuses — from insidehighered.com by Joshua Kim
Thoughts on Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall.

Excerpt:

Can we learn anything about the future of the university from the history of the shopping mall?

If any lessons connecting malls to colleges are to be found, the starting place is Meet Me by the Fountain. It is hard to imagine a more complete social, architectural, cultural, economic or cross-national comparison of shopping malls than this book provides.

For some, all the detail, theorizing and analysis of the mall’s history, relevancy and meaning might be a bit too much. For those looking for clues about how the university might evolve post-pandemic, the deep dive into malls that Meet Me by the Fountain provides is helpful.

 

Hypercompetition Is Harming Higher Ed — from chronicle.com by Julie A. Reuben
Colleges should ease off the branding and remember their shared values.

Excerpt:

Competition has long been viewed as a key to the greatness of the American college. But developments over the last half century have knocked the balance between competition and cooperation out of whack. These changes include rising tuition; the use of merit aid and other discounts to drive enrollment; the increased importance of rankings; soaring student debt; a surge in revenue-seeking activities, such as patenting and corporate partnerships; increases in revenue-containment strategies, such as the use of contingent faculty; and uneven or declining support at the state and federal levels. Researchers have used terms such “privatization,” “market-oriented,” or “neoliberal” to characterize this larger transformation. The pursuit of institutional advantage at the expense of the health of the larger sector is both a consequence and a driver of these changes.

The excessive competition may be bringing the whole system down. As that happens, even the institutions with the strongest brands will suffer.

Leaders are more interested in defining the distinctive qualities of their institutions than in debating what higher education writ large should be.

From DSC:
I like what Julie’s saying, and I agree with much of it. That said, I’m very skeptical that we can achieve this. From the earliest ages, we introduce a great deal of competition to our youth. How fast can you run the 50 or 100 yard dash? What violin chair are you in the school orchestra? What’s your GPA? Where are you on the Bell Curve?

Capitalism — our basic economic system here in the U.S. — further compounds these dynamics.

We focus more on ourselves as individuals than we focus on our communities.

So while I hope we can achieve what Julie’s saying, I’m not optimistic here.


Somewhat related items:


Along the lines of competition, the following item was added on 7/16/22:


 

Education Week -- The Top 7

Excerpt:

The struggle to keep classrooms fully staffed is getting increasingly desperate and it shows in this week’s top stories. A dozen states are amending—or considering amending—their teacher certification rules to expand their teacher pipelines. Districts are using 4-day school weeks as a carrot to draw job applicants. And then there’s emergency certification. In some states, the last-resort practice is becoming business as usual. Some educators wonder if that’s a good idea.

Across the country, policymakers are taking steps to relax their states’ certification requirements to get more teachers in the classroom and circumvent shortages.

Reviews by Education Week and the Education Commission of the States found about a dozen states that have recently amended—or are considering amending—teacher certification rules. Some are changing the criteria for licensure, others are expanding the qualifying score on state licensing tests, and some are dropping licensure tests altogether.

Those changes reflect a teacher pipeline in flux.

Source


Also relevant/see:

  • Principals Are on the Brink of a Breakdown — from edsurge.com by Emily Tate Sullivan
    A recent survey found 85 percent of school principals are experiencing job-related stress and 48 percent are dealing with burnout. What can be done to keep them in their roles?

 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian