A Best-Selling Textbook Is Now Free — from insidehighered.com by Liam Knox
A popular chemistry book’s jump from a publishing titan to an OER pioneer could be pivotal for the open access movement. For the author, it’s also a fitting tribute to his late son.

Excerpt:

John McMurry’s textbook Organic Chemistry has helped millions of students across the globe pass the infamous gauntlet of its namesake class — also known among stressed-out pre-med students as “orgo” — since the book was first printed in 1984.

For his bestseller’s 10th edition, McMurry has decided to part ways with his longtime publisher, the industry giant Cengage, which has published the book since the beginning. He recently sold the rights to OpenStax, a nonprofit based at Rice University that is dedicated to developing open education resources (OER), learning and research materials created and licensed to be free for the user.

From DSC:
From someone paying for a young adult to get through college, I hope this kind of thing happens more often! 🙂 But seriously, there are too many instances when students have been treated as cash cows, when we should have been bending over backward to help them get their educations.

For example, if I pay an invoice from our son’s university by credit card, I get a 3% charge — of the total invoice/$$ amount!!! — added to the bill. Are you kidding me? I have to pay several hundred dollars just for an electronic transaction?!

Can you imagine if the same thing happened to the rest of us at restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc. out there? Consumers would throw a fit! And I’d be right there with them.


Also related, see:

Millennials have money problems — from linkedin.com by Taylor Borden

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The average millennial is $117,000 in debt, but don’t blame avocado toast. According to new research, more than 70% of millennials have some form of non-mortgage debt, typically linked to student loans and credit cards.

Too Broke to Finish a Ph.D. Program? Tell Us About It — from the chronicle.com by Fernanda Zamudio-Suarez

Excerpt:

Doctoral programs can be long, trying, and expensive — even cost-prohibitive, depending on your circumstances.


 

The workforce is changing. Can community colleges change with it? — from workshift.opencampusmedia.org by Bylilah Burke; with thanks to Dr. Paul Czarapata for this resource
Advocates and researchers in education are asking if two-year institutions might transform to reach a fuller potential—serving as community hubs for social and economic mobility.

Excerpt:

Increasingly, they’re also the place students like Plunkett turn to when they find themselves at a dead end in their career and need to retool. And advocates and researchers in education are asking if these institutions might transform to reach a fuller potential—serving as community hubs for social and economic mobility.

That’s certainly the future envisioned by groups like Achieving the Dream, a leader in the student success movement. Karen Stout, president and CEO of the organization, has said that means colleges must take a more active role in bringing career-aligned education and reskilling opportunities—whether their own programs or those developed by industry—to the community.

“In the past, community colleges were lifelong-learning institutions,” Stout told Work Shift earlier this year. “Now we must become lifelong career-matching institutions—a source of upskilling, a rational pathway to career development that weaves together opportunities for students to move in and out of work and school that is designed to progressively lead to a career in a particular field.”

It’s a tall order, as the American workforce from Alabama to Wyoming is set to change drastically over the next few decades. Can community colleges rise to the occasion? Some already are. 

Also from workshift.opencampusmedia.org, see:

 

4 Institutional Effectiveness Indicators to Watch — from campustechnology.com by Jack Neill
Is your college or university on track to achieve its strategic goals? Taking the pulse of these four areas can identify problems that need attention or successes moving the institution forward.

Future-proofing higher ed means knowing what’s coming and not waiting to enact a plan. In terms of what’s coming, we know advancements in technology, changing accreditation requirements, student demand, and employer-led education and job training (to name a few examples) are quickly changing the nature of how we learn and how we work. When it comes to future planning, embracing the new era of Institutional Effectiveness is the way forward.

Excerpt:

Like many things in life, Institutional Effectiveness is easier to define than it is to implement. But now we can’t deny the urgency for institutions to get these next steps right when it comes to executing their short-term and long-term strategic plans. Institutional change can take a long time, and while a holistic approach is encouraged, it’s usually not feasible (or recommended) to try to tackle everything all at once. Therefore, it’s important to recognize which areas require immediate attention in order to successfully steer the college or university in the right direction.

Here are four key indicators to watch, and how to determine if your institution is on the right track:

 

For Native Americans, Unequal Child Care Funding Leaves Tribes in Need — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Excerpt:

Native communities are in desperate need of quality child care. And yet, they are the least likely demographic to get it.

Tribal leaders have long known that access to child care is essential to making sure their members can work. That was true four decades ago, when researcher Linda Smith—now director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative—was starting her career in early childhood education by establishing a child care center on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana.

Over the years, she says little has changed in the way of getting tribes more support to meet the child care needs of their members.

 

Higher Ed Is Looking to Refill Jobs. But It’s Finding a ‘Shallow and Weak’ Candidate Pool. — from chronicle.com by Megan Zahneis

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

While higher education has largely recovered nearly all of its pandemic-associated job losses, the task of recruiting and hiring administrators and staff members has become a daunting one, according to a Chronicle survey of college leaders, hiring managers, and administrators that was conducted with support from the Huron Consulting Group.

Nearly 80 percent of the 720 respondents said their campus has more open positions this year than last, and 84 percent said that hiring for administrative and staff jobs has been more difficult in the last year.

Those positions are harder than ever to fill, too: 78 percent of leaders said their campus had received fewer applications for open jobs in the last year, and 82 percent agreed that they’d fielded fewer applications from qualified candidates. Said one person who took the survey: “The pools have been shallow and weak.”

From DSC:
Ask any ***staff*** member who has been working within higher education these last 10-20 years if this development is surprising to them, and they would tell you, “No, this is not a surprise to me at all.” Working within higher education has lost much of its value and appeal:

  • Budgets have been shrinking for years — so important/engaging new projects get taken off the plate (or indefinitely postponed). So opportunities for personal growth and new knowledge for staff members have been majorly curtailed. Also, members of administrations may decide to outsource those exciting projects that do survive to external consultants.
  • Oftentimes, salaries don’t match inflation — and they were never stellar to begin with.
  • Staff are second-class citizens within the world of higher education
    • They aren’t part of the governing bodies (i.e., the Faculty Senates out there don’t include staff). Faculty members have much more say, control, and governance over things and get the opportunities to travel, learn, present, grow, share their knowledge, etc. much more so than staff members.
    • There are few — if any — sabbaticals for staff members.
    • Even those working within teaching and learning centers and instructional designers don’t have their hands on many steering wheels out there. Many faculty members prefer to hold their own steering wheels and they won’t listen to others who aren’t people they consider their “peers” (i.e., essentially other faculty members).
    • They often don’t get the chance to do research and to make money off that research, like faculty members do
  • Staffing levels are inadequate, so one takes on an ever-increasing amount of work for the same pay.

And others could add more items to this list. So no, this is not a surprise to me at all. In a potential future where team-based content creation may thrive, it appears that some team members are dropping out.

 

Public colleges’ operating revenue rose 3.1% in 2021 despite lower net tuition — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer

Excerpt:

“This strong performance is unlikely to continue as universities continue to grapple with student affordability issues and enrollment losses, along with inflation affecting labor and other operating costs,” the report said.

 

Second Chance Pell helps deliver degrees to over 9,000 incarcerated students — from highereddive.com by Laura Spitalniak

Excerpts:

“Some programs may start as a real passion of an individual faculty member,” she said. “But in order for them to be sustainable, programs need cross-college support. Students need things like academic advising and access to library services. We’re seeing more and more of that, which is terrific.”

The existence and funding of such programs benefits people both in and out of the prison system. Inmates who participate in correctional education programs are 28% less likely to return to prison after their release than those who don’t, according to a 2018 meta-analysis of research. And research suggests that offering postsecondary programs could reduce levels of violence in prison.

 

Higher ed investments in student systems doubled last year, report finds — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Dive Brief:

  • Higher education investments in student technology systems doubled in 2021 compared to the year before, marking the largest annual increase over the past decade, according to a new report from the Tambellini Group, a technology research and advisory firm.
  • However, many college leaders are hesitant to invest in modern cloud student systems because most of these products still lack the functionalities institutions seek. The Tambellini Group based its findings on technology spending by more than 3,600 U.S. institutions.
  • Vendors are adding new tools and enhancements to their student technology systems to respond to increased pressures on colleges to improve their enrollment, retention and other student success metrics. That includes by providing engagement analytics and automated alerts.

Also from highereddive.com:

 

Private colleges’ net tuition revenue from first-year students declined in 2021-22, study finds — from highereddive.com by Rick Seltzer
The revenue drop comes as tuition discount rates for first-year undergraduates rose to 54.5%, NACUBO found. Selective colleges discounted less than others.

Dive Brief (emphasis DSC):

  • Tuition discount rates for full-time first-year students attending private nonprofit colleges rose 2.1 percentage points to average 54.5% in 2021-22, a new record high, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
  • Average tuition discount rates also climbed for all undergraduates attending private nonprofits, increasing by 1.4 percentage points to 49%, an annual NACUBO study released Thursday found. That measure hit its highest recorded mark as well.
  • Net tuition revenue from first-time undergraduates fell for just the second time in 10 years, with colleges that aren’t selective in admissions struggling most.

Also relevant/see:

Smaller and Restructured: How the Pandemic Is Changing the Higher Education IT Workforce — from educause.edu by Jenay Robert

 

Native American Students Can Now Attend U. of California Tuition-Free — from chronicle.com by Abbi Ross

Excerpt:

Native American students who are California residents will no longer have to pay tuition or fees at one of the nation’s largest public-university systems — a decision that some say is a long-overdue acknowledgment of past harms.

The University of California system said this week that all in-state students who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribes will have tuition and fees — about $14,000 each year — waived starting this fall. Then, on Wednesday, one of California’s recognized tribes announced a $2.5 million scholarship fund that will cover tuition and fees for in-state students from unrecognized tribes.

From DSC:
Given the atrocities that have occurred within our nation in the past, this is an excellent step in the right direction.

 

From DSC:
There are many things that are not right here — especially historically speaking. But this is one WE who are currently living can work on resolving.

*******

The Cost of Connection — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan
The internet is a lifeline for students on far-flung tribal campuses. Too often, they’re priced out of learning.

Excerpt:

Affordable and reliable broadband access can be a lifeline for tribal colleges, usually located on or near Native American reservations, often in remote, rural areas across the Southwest and Midwest. Chartered by their respective tribal governments, the country’s 35 accredited tribal colleges operate in more than 75 campus sites across 16 states, serving more than 160,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives each year. They emphasize and help sustain the culture, languages, and traditions of their tribal communities and are often the only higher-education option available for Native students in some of the nation’s poorest rural regions.

Also relevant/see:

Tribal Colleges Will Continue Online, Despite Challenges — from chronicle.com by Taylor Swaak
Other institutions could learn from their calculus.

Excerpt:

Two years after tribal colleges shuttered alongside institutions nationwide, many remain largely, if not fully, online, catering to students who’ve historically faced barriers to attending in person. Adult learners — especially single mothers who may struggle to find child care, or those helping to support multigenerational households — make up the majority of students at more than half of the 32 federally recognized institutions in the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program. These colleges are also often located in low-income, rural areas, where hours of daily commute time (and the cost of gas) can prove untenable for students simultaneously working part- or full-time jobs.

Also relevant/see:

Why Tribal Colleges Struggle to Get Reliable Internet Service — from chronicle.com by Katherine Mangan and Jacquelyn Elias
For tribal colleges across the country, the pandemic magnified internet-access inequities. Often located on far-flung tribal lands, their campuses are overwhelmingly in areas with few broadband service providers, sometimes leaving them with slow speeds and spotty coverage.

“You can be driving from a nearby town, and as soon as you hit the reservation, the internet and cellphone signals drop off,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of the American Indian College Fund and a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation. “Students would be in the middle of class and their Wi-Fi access dropped off.”

Worsening matters, many students have been limited by outdated equipment. “We had students who were trying to take classes on their flip phones,” Crazy Bull said. Such stories were cropping up throughout Indian territory.

 

“Unpaid internships should be illegal:” Why colleges should reconsider unpaid internships. — from newamerica.org by Mauriell H. Amechi and Iris Palmer; with thanks to Goldie Blumenstyk for this resource

Excerpts:

College leaders must do more to facilitate access to paid work experience, especially for historically underserved, low-income, and racially minoritized student populations.

  • Require all internships offered through career services to be paid. The inequitable practice of not paying interns makes such opportunities impossible to access for many students. Colleges should require that internships they offer be paid for by the employer or through matching funds from the college. Paying interns for their time is the right thing to do and the best way to start creating access for all students.
  • Maintain some on-campus internship opportunities to ease transportation and care needs and offer on-campus care.
  • Provide shuttles, transit passes, or travel stipends to internship sites.
  • Consider working with employers to make internships renewable across semesters.
  • Consider student populations that are typically excluded from internships.
  • Document what works to create sustainable funding streams.
 

Bridging the digital divide in online learning — from tonybates.ca by Tony Bates

Excerpt:

The problem
At the start of the pandemic, in Oakland, California, 40 miles north of Silicon Valley, only 12 percent of low-income students, and 25 percent of all students, in Oakland’s public schools had devices at home and a strong internet connection.

The outcome
Two years into the pandemic, Oakland has been able to connect 98 percent of the students in the district. As of February, the city had provided nearly 36,000 laptops and more than 11,500 hot spots to low-income public school students.

Also from Tony, see:

Getting into the online learning industry

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post called ‘So you want to be an educational technologist…’ in which gave some advice on how to get into and develop a career as an educational technologist. In that article, I noted that I didn’t have much experience to guide people going into the corporate training area, and this article by Matthew Lynch does exactly that. This article complements nicely what I wrote earlier.

 

How a Statewide Entrepreneurship Contest Launched 3 Indianapolis High Schoolers into a Million-Dollar Business — from the74million.org by Tim Newcomb

Excerpt:

If not for a statewide pitch competition for entrepreneurial students, three Indianapolis high schoolers likely wouldn’t have started their business. And they certainly wouldn’t have seen that company, Find Ideal Applicants, earn $20,000 in early-stage investment that valued the company at $1.5 million.

State leaders “wanted to see if they could intersect students with entrepreneurship and innovation,” he says. Students learn how to see a problem as an opportunity and come up with a plan. Wettrick says the faster students understand the benefits of learning from their mistakes, the more success they will have sooner in their lives.

 

Intel plans to pump $100M into Ohio and US higher ed — from highereddive.com by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

Dive Brief:

  • Technology giant Intel will provide $50 million in grants to Ohio colleges over the next decade, and it will spend another $50 million for development of STEM curricula at other two- and four-year institutions across the U.S.
  • The latter investment will be matched by the U.S. National Science Foundation, which is giving $50 million for research and curriculum initiatives. The entire pot of money will help establish semiconductor manufacturing education at institutions nationwide.
  • State leaders and the company are touting the funding as an opportunity to bolster workforce development amid a national worker shortage in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
 
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