Per Johann Neem, the innovations that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

The University in Ruins — from chronicle.com by Johann N. Neem
The “innovations” that promise to save higher ed are a farce.

From DSC:
First of all,
I appreciated Johann Neem mentioning and/or discussing several books in one posting:

  • Ronald G. Musto’s The Attack on Higher Education (2021)
  • Arthur Levine’s and Scott J. Van Pelt’s The Great Upheaval (2021)
  • Bill Readings’ The University in Ruins (1996)
  • Ronald J. Daniels’ What Universities Owe Democracy (2021)

And as a disclosure here, I have not read those books. 

Below are excerpts with some of my comments:

It’s already happening. Today, we walk among the ruins of an institution that once had a larger purpose. It’s not clear what role universities should play in society, and to what or to whom they are accountable, other than their corporate interests.

To some, that’s not a problem, at least according to Arthur Levine and Scott J. Van Pelt in The Great Upheaval (2021). They see higher education undergoing the same transformation that reshaped the music, film, and newspaper industries. Rather than place-based education overseen by tenured professors, they anticipate “the rise of anytime, anyplace, consumer-driven content and source agnostic, unbundled, personalized education paid for by subscription.”

Between Musto’s existential fears of disruption and Levine and Van Pelt’s embrace of it lies a third path. It takes the form of a wager — outlined by Ronald J. Daniels in What Universities Owe Democracy (2021) — that universities can and should continue to matter because of their importance in civic democratic life.

The article covers how the learning ecosystems within higher education have morphed from their religious roots to being an apparatus of the nation-state to then becoming a relatively independent bureaucratic system to other things and to where we are today.

Along the journey discussing these things, one of the things that caught my eye was this statement:

Hopkins, in this sense, lived up to its founding president Daniel Coit Gilman’s 19th-century aspiration that universities be places that acquire, conserve, refine, and distribute knowledge.

From DSC:
While I completely agree with that aspiration, I think more institutions of higher education could follow what John Hopkins University did with their efforts concerning the Covid-19 situation, as Neem mentioned. Generally speaking, institutions of higher education are not distributing knowledge to the levels that Gilman envisioned years ago.

In fact, these days those working within K12 are doing a whole lot better at sharing information with society than those who work within higher education are. For example, when I search Twitter for K12 educators who share content on Twitter, they are out there all over the place — and many with tens of thousands of followers. They share information with parents, families, fellow educators, students, school boards, and others. Yet this is not the case for those working in higher education. Faculty members normally:

  • aren’t out on Twitter
  • don’t blog
  • don’t have a podcast
  • don’t write for society at large. Instead, their expertise is often locked up — existing behind paywalls in academic journals. In other words, they talk to each other.

Later on…

As Daniels intuits, without a larger purpose to hold them fast, there is nothing to prevent universities from being buffeted by winds until they have lost direction. That is what Readings foresaw: Globalization liberates universities from national fetters, but at the risk of ruin.

From DSC:
While globalization may have something to do with universities becoming unanchored from their original purposes, globalization isn’t at the top of my mind when I reflect upon what’s been happening with colleges and universities these last few decades.

To see but one area of massive change, let’s take a brief look at college sports. There are now multimillion-dollar stadium projects, enormous coaches’ salaries, and numerous situations where tax-paying citizens can’t even watch sporting events without tons of advertisements being thrown into their faces every few seconds. Personally speaking, on numerous occasions, I couldn’t even access the games at all — as I wasn’t paying for the subscriptions to the appropriate providers.

Also, as another example of becoming anchored — and going back to the 1980’s — I attended Northwestern University for my undergraduate degree in Economics. While I have several wonderful lifelong friends from that experience for whom I’m deeply grateful, even back then NU had already moved far away from its motto which is based on Philippians 4:8.

Instead, please allow me to tell you what that learning community taught me and strongly encouraged me to think about:

  • You are only successful if you have the corner office, drive the higher numbered BMW’s, and have many people reporting to you.
  • If you make a lot of money.
  • You are supposed to compete against others vs. being in relationships with others. As but one example here, our test scores were published — by our Social Security numbers — outside our professors’ offices for all to see how we measured up to our classmates.

In fact, I’m not even sure that I would use the word “community” at all when I reflect upon my years at Northwestern. Instead, a WIIFM approach was encouraged (i.e., What’s In It For Me? where you are supposed to look out for #1). It took me years to unlearn some of those “lessons” and “learnings.”

But I realize that that’s not the case with all learning communities.

As Neem alluded to, I love the idea that an institution of higher education can — and often does — impact students’ hearts as well as minds. That was the focus at Calvin College (now Calvin University). Our oldest daughter went there and she was profoundly and positively influenced by her experiences there. In that context, students were encouraged to be in relationships with one another. There was plenty of hugging, praying for one another, etc. going on in that setting. There truly was community there.

***

Neem doesn’t think much of Levine’s and Van Pelt’s perspectives. He claims there’s nothing new in their book. He seems to discard the arguments being made about the cost of higher ed and, like many others, clings to the intellectual roots/purpose of higher ed.

While I’m not against intellect or pursuing knowledge — in fact, I’m all for it — I just have a problem when the price of doing so continues to become out of reach for soooooo many people.

Personally, I’ve tried to lower the cost of obtaining a degree within higher education for many years…but I was/we were only successful in doing so for a few years (and that was during a pilot of online-based learning). Yohan Na and I created the graphic below in 2008 for example — as I was trying to raise awareness of the dangers of the status quo:
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So from a cost/access perspective, Levine’s and Van Pelt’s perspectives here sound pretty good to me. It appears to be much more affordable and realistic for the masses. Otherwise, the image/reality of the ivory tower is maintained…allowing “intellectuals” to continue to live and operate within their own sphere/hive/tribe.

Also, we need an AI-backed system of presenting which skills are needed and then how to get them. The ways things are set up today, institutions of traditional higher education have not been able to deal with the current pace of change out there.

As a final comment here…
The changing directions/purposes of institutions of higher education present a good example of why I entitled this blog Learning Ecosystems — as the systems that we use to learn and grow in are constantly morphing:

  • People come and go
  • Tools and vendors come and go
  • Purposes, focuses, and/or mission statements change
  • Our sources of information (i.e., our streams of content) come and go
  • Etc.
 

The Conversation: Twitter Trends 2022 -- from marketing.twitter.com

The Conversation: Twitter Trends 2022 — from marketing.twitter.com

Excerpt:

Billions of Tweets reveal tomorrow’s big movements. 

The biggest movements start quietly. An idea becomes conversation becomes a seismic cultural shift. And if you want in on what’s next, listen to what people on Twitter are saying right now. 

To help you out, we analyzed1 billions of Tweets over a two-year period to find three must-know trends about to go big. From The Great Restoration to Fan-Built Worlds to Finance Goes Social, the talk on Twitter reveals the underlying shifts in power shaping where the world is going. 

 

Best Cameras for Vlogging in 2022 — from futurism.com

Excerpt:

Whether you’re looking for a camera to start your journey to internet stardom, or would just like to improve your video quality, this list of the best cameras for vlogging will not only capture you as you ham it up, but produce some seriously crisp content that you won’t have to patch up in editing.

Sony - ZV-1 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera for Content Creators and Vloggers - Black

Also see:

The Best Vlogging Cameras and Gear — updated in May 2021 — from nytimes.com (Wirecutter) by Geoffrey Morrison and Phil RyanU

 

What Makes a Great School Website Design [with Practical Tips and Examples] -- from graphicmama.com by Boril Obreshkov

What Makes a Great School Website Design [with Practical Tips and Examples] — from graphicmama.com by Boril Obreshkov

Excerpt:

A school website is much more than means to list information online. It’s the front gate to your school community, representing its values and philosophy. A well-made school website design and structure can help build a reputation for the institution, create an entire concept for how first-time visitors will view it, and ultimately give the school an advantage over competitor schools. In this article, we’ll talk about what makes a great school website, with many examples and practical tips on how to improve your virtual hub of knowledge!

Things Great School Websites
Have in Common >>

Also relevant/see:

Digital branding is key for everyone in education — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

People in the educational sector tend to face lots of competition. Currently, there are tons of colleges, universities, and most training centers. This means that there’s a high need for everyone in education to venture into the building and create a unique identity for their brands. In this way, people can have the opportunity to stay ahead of their competitors in a tangible manner.

One way that this can be achieved is through educational digital branding. It’s a cost-effective and more efficient means of targeting the right audience. In this piece, we will talk about how you can implement digital branding, especially in education.

You are using your school website wrong — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Part of the problem is that developing and maintaining a useful school website is quite a big undertaking but isn’t super urgent. Because of this, it often falls through the cracks. Another issue can be ownership of the project.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes made when designing and keeping school websites.

 

 

5 Ways Teachers Can Help Students in Their Online Learning Journey — from edtechreview.in

Excerpt:

With the growing prominence of online education and its integration into the daily lives of students, teachers can play an active role in helping students in their online learning journey. Here’s how:

 

Making Your Research Applicable for Mainstream Audiences — from insidehighered.com by Diana Brazzell
Four ways to extend the reach of your scholarly work beyond academe.

Excerpt:

Many academics I work with struggle to make their research applicable for audiences outside academia. They’re doing important, even ground-breaking work, but they aren’t sure how their ideas can make the leap from labs and libraries to newspapers, boardrooms, hospitals and the halls of government.

Below are four ways you can make your research applicable to policy, business, public health and people’s everyday lives, along with examples of how some of the academics we collaborate with at Footnote have used these techniques.

From DSC:
Faculty members, doing this could help reduce the backlash that’s been building against higher education. Folks out in society could see how the work that you are doing is relevant to them. For example, your podcasts, Tweets, postings out on LinkedIn, your vidcasts, or your blog postings could be read by students, teachers, administrators or others within the K-12 space. And the topic could peak their interest and curiosity. Who knows, your research may just jump start someone else’s passion in that area or even someone else’s career. But at minimum, it could show that some faculty members are interested in talking to/with a far wider audience than just the peers in their discipline.

 

 

From DSC:
Perhaps folks might want to experiment with the teaching strategy as mentioned below from Dr. Barbi Honeycutt’s Lecture Breakers Weekly e-newsletter.


From The Scholarly Teacher blog — who just added a new section on the blog which includes teaching tip infographics.

This week, they shared variations of Think, Pair, Share. In this teaching strategy, you give the students a problem or question. Then, you ask them to think about the question, pair up with a partner to discuss it, and then share it with the rest of the class (hence the name “think, pair, share”).

In this adaption, you do the same process, but instead of asking them to share with the class, you ask them to post a tweet using a class hashtag. Then you can read the tweets aloud, integrate them into your lecture, and/or facilitate a class discussion. This teaching strategy works well for blended, in-person, and online course formats, so it’s very adaptable to any topic or lesson.

 

Twitter for Teachers’ Professional Development: A Guide to Advanced Search Tips — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Twitter is one of the most popular microblogging platform among educators. More and more teachers are drawing on its communicative and social networking powers to connect, share, and grow professionally. As such, Twitter embeds tons of educational resources buried deep into its Tweetosphere. In today’s post, I am sharing with a host of practical search tips that will enable you to easily locate resources and grow your PLN. More specifically, you will learn how to search for Tweets that contain specific words, phrase, hashtags, or mentions; how to search Tweets sent from or sent in reply to a given user; how to access Tweets that embed links in them, how to search for Tweets shared during a particular period of time, and many more.

 

Twitter rolls out tipping with bitcoin, explores verifying NFT profile pics — from mashable.com by Jack Morse
Bitcoin is coming to Twitter.

Excerpt:

Twitter is leaning into the blockchain.

The social media giant announced Thursday that, starting immediately, users around the globe will be able to post their bitcoin wallet directly into their profile — while a more limited subset will be able to more directly integrate a bitcoin payment app. The addition of cryptocurrency payments to Twitter, via Tips (formerly dubbed Tip Jar), coincides with the larger rollout of Tips to all iOS users globally, with Android access promised in the near future.

 

Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 [Hart]

Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 — from toptools4learning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

2021 was the YEAR OF DISRUPTION! There were a substantial number of new tools nominated this year so the main list has now been extended to 300 tools to accommodate them, and each of the 3 sub-lists has been increased to 150 tools. Although the top of this year’s list is relatively stable, there is quite bit of movement of tools on the rest of the list, and the effect of the new tools has been to push other established tools down – if not off the list altogether. Further analysis of the list appears in the right-hand column of the table below.

This table shows the overall rankings as well as the rankings on the 3 sub-lists: Top 150 Tools for Personal Learning (PL150), the Top 150 Tools for Workplace Learning (WL150) and the Top 150 Tools for Education (ED150). NEW tools are shaded YELLOW, tools coming BACK on the list are shaded GREEN. The most popular context in which each tool is used is also highlighted in BLUE.  Click on a tool name to find out more about it.

 


Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 -- from Jane Hart


 

 

Employers Tiptoeing into TikTok Hiring: Beware, Attorneys Say — from by news.bloomberglaw.com by Dan Papscun and Paige Smith

Excerpt:

  • The app encourages ‘hyper superficiality’ in hiring
  • Age discrimination also a top-line concern for attorneys

 

 

Facebook to target Nigerian learners with educational app Sabee, created by its R&D team — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Perez

Excerpt:

Last fall, Facebook announced it was opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria, which would provide the company with a hub in the region and the first office on the continent staffed with a team of engineers. We’ve now spotted one of the first products to emerge from this office: an education-focused mobile app called Sabee, which means “to know” in Nigerian Pidgin. The app aims to connect learners and educators in online communities to make educational opportunities more accessible.

 
 

The Future of Social Media: Re-Humanisation and Regulation — by Gerd Leonhard

How could social media become ‘human’ again? How can we stop the disinformation, dehumanisation and dataism that has resulted from social media’s algorithmic obsessions? I foresee that the EXTERNALTIES i.e. the consequences of unmitigated growth of exponential digital technologies will become just as big as the consequences of climate change. In fact, today, the social media industry already has quite a few parallels to the oil, gas and coal business: while private make huge profits from extracting the ‘oil’ (i.e. user data), the external damage is left to society and governments to fix. This needs to change! In this keynote I make some precise suggestions as to how that could happen.

Some snapshots/excerpts:

The future of social media -- a video by Gerd Leonhard in the summer of 2021

 

 

 

 


From DSC:
Gerd brings up some solid points here. His presentation and perspectives are not only worth checking out, but they’re worth some time for us to seriously reflect on what he’s saying.

What kind of future do we want?

And for you professors, teachers, instructional designers, trainers, and presenters out there, check out *how* he delivers the content. It’s well done and very engaging.


 
© 2022 | Daniel Christian