Thursday, August 16, 2018

If data is the answer in higher ed, what is the question? Empowering leaders to make informed decisions requires more than a four-letter word - Richard L. Riccardi, University Business

In this era of increased accountability, diminishing resources and fierce competition, institutions have begun to see a culture of data-informed decision-making as a necessity instead of a luxury. Making good decisions depends on quality data and less on intuition or anecdotes. The days of telling a good story with no concrete evidence to back it up are numbered. Too often leadership’s default answer to a problem is “we need data” without truly understanding what the question is. At a recent enrollment meeting, a vice president emphatically stated that students do not read their emails, and the immediate response from the room was a request for data. Upon further discussion at subsequent meetings, the real question emerged: How can we get students to respond to the important emails we send?

Seeing The New Academics - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

The structures that support academia have not kept up with the emerging importance of non-faculty educators. Our language is running behind the reality. Professional associations have not evolved or adapted quickly enough to accommodate the growing community of non-faculty academics working as learning professionals. The old ideas of staff and faculty divide still persist in thousands of ways, both big and small. Career paths, professional recognition, and protections of academic freedom must still be negotiated on a case-by-case and individual basis. We are all making this up as we go along.

Applications Open for Federal OER Grant - Mark Lieberman, Inside Higher Ed

The U.S. Department of Education’s first grant for open educational resources, totaling $5 million, will be awarded in late September to between one and three applicants, the department announced today in a call for proposals published in the Federal Register. In an effort to develop OER content that can be disseminated to the widest possible audience for the largest possible savings, the department plans to award grants to one, two or three consortia that each include at least three higher education institutions, subject matter and technology experts, and an advisory group of at least five employers or work-force representatives.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

4 Ways to Fine-Tune Academic Innovation in Higher Ed - David Raths, Camus Technology

Getting faculty to try out new technologies can be a challenge. And while many universities have established programs to foster digital innovation campuswide, their efforts are constantly evolving with new developments in teaching and learning and changing mindsets around learning analytics, learning design and more. From internal grant programs to forming communities of practice, here are four ways academic technology leaders are fine-tuning their approaches to working with faculty.

Fewer international students could become a problem for U.S. universities - GAURAV KHANNA, the Hill

After a decade of rapid growth, international enrollment has declined over the past few years. This has university administrators worried, as tuition revenues fall, leading some to make budget cuts. Public research universities may be particularly concerned since many have become more reliant on international students since the mid-2000s. This increasing reliance on students from abroad comes in response to falling support from state budgets. Recent research I conducted with John Bound (University of Michigan), Breno Braga (Urban Institute) and Sarah Turner (University of Virginia) shows fee-paying students from abroad have allowed public universities to weather state budget cuts, and that has kept tuition affordable for local residents and maintained the quality of the institutions.

Universities Working to Make Library Metadata Searchable on the Web - David Raths, Campus Technology

Since the 1960s, academic libraries have been using their own standards for the communication of metadata about resources in their catalogs. Originally designed for magnetic tape-based computers, machine-readable cataloging (MARC) standards are only understood by library systems. Failure to speak the language of the web has isolated libraries from the broader world of information developing there. Determined to take advantage of the semantic web, Stanford Libraries is working with the libraries of Cornell, Harvard and the University of Iowa to continue the development of a "linked data" metadata environment.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top out-of-state colleges prowl San Diego looking for online students - Gary Robbins, San Diego Union Tribune

Its main campus is 2,300 miles away. But Penn State University is on the prowl in San Diego, searching for students willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to earn a degree online. The University of Maryland is doing the same. So are Purdue, Old Dominion, Colorado State, Arizona State, the University of Arizona, Southern New Hampshire University and Grand Canyon University. There’s a feeding frenzy going on in San Diego and other California cities, where big out-of-state schools are trying to capitalize on the promise of online education, largely to offset a huge drop in college enrollment that’s most acute in the Northeast and Midwest.

Students say textbook costs have 'big impact' on finances - James Paterson, Education Dive

A new Morning Consult study shows that 46% of students surveyed believe textbooks and other course materials have a "big impact" on their financial situations, and some experts say the costs heighten stress and force students to make tradeoffs that affect their ability to pay for housing and food, according to Inside Higher Education. About 43% of students surveyed said they skipped meals because of the expense for books, about 70% said they took on a part-time job because of the the added costs and around 30% said they had to take fewer classes. Some respondents even changed their major or opted out of a specific course so they would not have to pay the extra money. The head of the the education technology firm Cengage, which sponsored the survey of more than 1,600 students, said that textbooks and other course materials cost on average $1,200 a year per student, though learners often find other avenues — including renting books or copying what they need — but still pay almost half that.

OER is at a tipping point. Here's how to keep it moving in the right direction. - Regina Gong, EdScoop

In his now-classic book "The Tipping Point," Malcolm Gladwell explains how everything from “Sesame Street” to Airwalk shoes has sky-rocketed in popularity and shaped society. Gladwell posits that when the right elements are in place, a good idea can gain traction, reach a “point of critical mass,” and then spread like wildfire. Open educational resources (OER) are reaching the type of tipping point that Gladwell describes. While the rise of OER — freely available, openly licensed materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared — has happened gradually over the past decade, these resources are now poised to transform both K-12 and higher education for the better.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Panicked universities in search of students are adding thousands of new majors - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report

Administrators at universities and colleges across the country have been spending the summer in the same level of suspense as they invest scarce resources in large numbers of new programs they hope will bolster sagging enrollment. Largely unnoticed federal figures show that, even as their finances have become more and more strained and their student populations have declined, public and private higher education institutions have added 41,446 degree or certificate programs since 2012. That’s a 21 percent increase in the number that existed when the dramatic slide in enrollment began.

Don't assume online students are more likely to cheat - Chris Pilgrim And Christopher Scanlon, The Conversation

Don’t assume online students are more likely to cheat. The evidence is murky.  You’d think that studying online would make it easier to cheat. But don’t jump to conclusions.  More university students are choosing to study online rather than face-to-face, prompting concerns about academic integrity. If you're tempted to cheat in face-to-face courses, even during exams, how much easier would it be to pass off work that isn't your own when you're online? But research by us and others shows how university courses are delivered is less important in predicting which students are more likely to cheat. A better predictor is students' demographic characteristics, particularly their age.

True or false: Breaking down myths about online classes - ALLISON COLLINS, the Missourian

Nearly half of all MU students took an online class during the 2016-17 school year, according to the university’s website. They are popular for a variety of reasons. Some students like to free up their daily schedule for work or other activities, while others like the convenience of pacing their work around other deadlines and busy times during the semester. Online classes can even help students graduate faster. Online classes can be a great resource to a busy college student, but misperceptions about them can cause confusion. Successfully completing an online class demands strong study habits and good time management skills.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

How Udacity Decides What Subjects To Offer Courses In (And Why It Isn’t Doing New University Partnerships) - Tina Nazerian, EdSurge

EdSurge recently sat down with Clarissa Shen, Udacity’s chief operating officer, to learn more about how Udacity selects what will be taught on its platform and its industry-centered education strategy. Here’s an excerpt of the interview, which has been edited and condensed:  With the so-called ‘new collar economy,’ there are a lot of jobs popping up that haven't existed, and a lot of jobs that do exist that are going away. There's a little bit of art and science to this. I won't say we always get it right, but I think we look at not just the number of jobs, but growth for those jobs. Because certainly, there's a lot of jobs that you could say are out there but they may be actually declining. So, we want to always look at where the options are, that they're at least growing.

Fewer Americans are making more than their parents did—especially if they grew up in the middle class - Richard V. Reeves and Katherine Guyot, Brookings

One of the most striking social science findings of recent years is that only half of today’s 30-year-olds earn more than their parents. Raj Chetty and his coauthors showed that rates of absolute mobility—that is, the share of children with higher inflation-adjusted incomes than their parents—declined from around 90 percent for children born in 1940 to just 50 percent for those born in 1984.  For many people, mobility does consist of doing better than your parents did, in absolute terms. This seems to have become steadily harder to achieve for those born into middle-class families in particular from 1950 onward. The challenge is to learn from these historical trends in order to secure a better future for the middle class.

Hatch, bipartisan senators introduce Innovation Grants Higher Education Bill - Utah Policy

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the Fund for Innovation and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act to promote innovation and efficiency in higher education. There is a growing need for innovation in higher education. It has become increasingly evident that a single model for higher education does not fit the diversity of our nation’s learners. Institutions receiving federal funding should have some regulatory flexibility to meet the needs of vulnerable students and ensure that those entering college have the support and resources needed to gain access to and complete higher education. Just as important is ensuring accountability over federal funds in higher education. Encourage Open-Educational Resources: The bill also encourages institutions to make all forms of postsecondary instructional content widely available. Doing so would result in significant cost-savings for students and increased efficiency to institutions of higher education.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

How Alexa and Siri are changing SEO: AI and Voice Search - Tom Desmond, ClickZ

Alexa, how is AI-assisted voice search changing the SEO landscape? It’s putting more emphasis than ever on conversational content, integration with Google Maps, and dominating the SERPs.  As smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo become more popular and available, people are beginning to use them to conduct searches. Because smart speakers aren’t linked to a screen or display of any kind, users only receive a verbal response to voice searches. That response is often based on a single search result—chosen by the AI assistant in an unseen selection process that takes only a few seconds. A page two or even top five ranking isn’t what it used to be. As voice search gains traction, being number one becomes more important than ever.

Cengage Contributes Open Licensed Content to OER Community

Cengage, an education and technology company, is contributing the narrative content for three openly licensed textbooks, as well as the learning objectives and assessments for 12 course areas as Open Educational Resources (OER). The Creative Commons Attribution licensed (CC BY) narrative content and the learning objectives are available to download from the Cengage website where content can be accessed as editable files without a required login or purchase. The CC BY licensed assessments are available via editable files with an instructor login.

All learning ‘is going to happen digitally’, Coursera boss says - Anna McKie, Times Higher Education

Eventually “all learning is going to happen digitally”, according to Jeff Maggioncalda, the chief executive of online learning platform Coursera. Increasing use of technology on campus will erode division between online and offline education, according to Jeff Maggioncalda But Mr Maggioncalda was not rehearsing the tired trope that massive open online courses offered by the likes of Coursera will drive traditional universities out of business. Instead, he was predicting that learning on university campuses will increasingly take place online over the next five to 10 years.

Friday, August 10, 2018

White House, and Kushner, Dig Into Higher Ed - Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed

As the Department of Education refines the next phase of its higher education agenda, the White House is apparently weighing in on the new policy direction. The special office headed by Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to and the son-in-law of President Trump, held a meeting last week with officials from the department, outside higher ed groups and funders of postsecondary research, with accreditation at the center of discussions. The topic reflects the focus of a new round of rule making recently announced by the department, which wants to rethink the role of accreditors as gatekeepers of federal student aid. Judith Eaton, president of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, said she could not comment on the White House meetings as her group wasn’t involved in them. But she said it was clear that both Congress and the Department of Education are taking an interest in a comprehensive look at the role of accreditation.

World Campus researches effectiveness of VR headsets and video in online classes - Penn State University

Penn State instructional designers are researching whether using virtual reality and 360-degree video can help students in online classes learn more effectively. Designers worked with professors in the College of Nursing to incorporate 360-degree video into Nursing 352, a class on Advanced Health Assessment. Students in the class, offered online through Penn State World Campus, were offered free VR headsets to use with their smartphones to create a more immersive experience while watching the video, which shows safety and health hazards in a patient’s home. Bill Egan, the lead designer for the Penn State World Campus RN to BSN nursing program, said students in the class were surveyed as part of a study approved by the Institutional Review Board and overwhelmingly said that they enjoyed the videos and thought they provided educational value. Eighty percent of the students said they would like to see more immersive content such as 360-degree videos in their online courses, he said.

Columbia U Opens Research Center Devoted to Blockchain Tech - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

A new center at Columbia University will focus on research and innovation in blockchain technology. The institution partnered with IBM to create the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, which will "combine cross-disciplinary teams from the academic, scientific, business and government communities to explore key issues related to the policy, trust, sharing and consumption of digital data when using blockchain and other privacy-preserving technologies," according to a news announcement.