While there was little effect on high school graduation rates this year, due to changes in education wrought by COVID-19, the number of 2020 high school graduates who went to college immediately this fall dropped by nearly 22 percent compared to 2019 graduates, almost eight times the pre-pandemic loss rate of 2.8 percent. The decrease occurred across the board, in all kinds of high schools. But the decline hit high poverty schools the hardest, where college enrollment dropped by nearly twice as much as higher income schools.
Monday, January 25, 2021
While the higher education business as a whole has had to adjust the way it operates, admissions staff, recruiters, and counselors have had to rethink their approach to connecting with students, as well. Institutions have been overwhelmed with calls from students and teachers struggling to adapt to the new remote reality. This is where automation comes in. Using emerging technologies such as chatbots, digital assistants, and conversational AI interfaces ensures that no student’s question goes unanswered, and it frees up staff to spend more time forging critical one-on-one connections with students in an almost entirely remote landscape.
The thought of teaching technology at a distance can be intimidating and downright scary. How can professors teach hands-on technology skills to students from afar? How can students get access to the technology they need to complete courses successfully when they are studying online? Additionally, it is important to consider students’ geographic location, access to Internet, access to updated hardware/software, and the technical specifications or requirements needed by each student’s device in order to install, run, or access the specific software you are teaching. If, for example, you are teaching game programming, students may need a device with robust memory, storage, and video card.
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Colleges should test students and employees for COVID-19 at least twice a week, with results available within 48 hours, says a new report from the American College Health Association. The report was released at the same time a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine found that the combination of extensive social distancing and mandatory mask wearing prevents 87 percent of campus COVID-19 cases, and does so cost-effectively. Layering routine testing with a one-day lag in results onto these twin policies is even better, preventing 96 percent of infections, the study says. But doing so would require low-cost tests to be economically attractive to most institutions.
We're all hoping some degree of pre-pandemic life will return in 2021. But for higher education, many of the trends that dominated storylines in 2020 will continue into this year. We've rounded up a few below and will be following them throughout the year. Colleges collectively enrolled about 560,000 fewer undergraduates this fall, a 3.6% decrease from a year ago. The losses were much steeper at community colleges and among first-time students. While the pandemic hasn't been found to have had a negative effect on overall high school graduation rates, low-income schools and those with high shares of Black and Hispanic students sent far fewer graduates to college this fall. The number of international students at U.S. colleges also tanked.
While students around the world cope with online schooling in the COVID-19 pandemic era, digital learning for adults is having its moment in South Korea. Online learning has been an emerging trend in recent years, but the pandemic has accelerated its growth. Best suited to those already comfortable with the digital world, mostly people in their 20s and 30s, classes normally consist of 20 to 30 lectures under 10 minutes long.
Saturday, January 23, 2021
How long-term online learning in pandemic may affect college students’ well-being - Lilah Burke, PBS News Hour
Amy Bintliff, a developmental psychologist and professor in the University of California, San Diego’s department of education studies, said that there are some small things this negative experience may improve for some people — students and faculty are learning new skills and becoming more independent. But overall growth, flourishing and a sense of purpose are all important parts of well-being, she said. Clinging to purpose, with small goals as well as large ones, may make the experience easier. “This experience, if we think of it as a growth experience,” she said, “I think we’ll be able to get through it.”
While many colleges are making big cuts, a few opt for permanent transformation - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report
“What Covid did is it accelerated the innovation. Because in higher education we’re about tradition over innovation,” said Melik Peter Khoury, Unity College's president, casually dressed in a sweater in a conference room of the administration building. Melik Peter Khoury, president of Unity College in Maine, which will continue to offer a choice between in-person and online education, even after the pandemic. Beneath the quiet of the campus, the college has been busy drastically revising its academic calendar, reducing its prices and altering the way it provides education, so that courses are offered both in-person and online, not just during the pandemic, but forever.
Among the most popular online courses in this pandemic year is one titled How to Learn Online. However, three publicly traded education and training companies also have seen a sharp pickup in their businesses this year. Two are based in Beijing and offer after-school programs for K-12 students, both online and in learning centers across China. The U.S.-based company offers a variety of online services. All three have market caps of more than $10 billion, and all have seen their share prices rise by at least 50% in 2020.
Friday, January 22, 2021
Teaching the teachers: why online learning training will be crucial for higher ed talent prospects - Lisa Malat, Chief Learning Officer
While these groups should all be commended for the resilience they’ve shown under these circumstances, the results from and reactions to this rapid transition to online learning have been understandably mixed. Students are frustrated with a remote learning environment dependent on virtual interactions; they miss the in-person access to professors and other campus resources, as well as to other students. Many instructors are equally frustrated, and, frankly, many are overwhelmed with trying to keep students engaged and motivated to continue with their coursework, as they themselves struggle with learning the skills to adapt to this new way of teaching.
For some students in need, campus is a safe — but lonely — place to live during the pandemic - Susan Svrluga, Washington Post
As at many schools that closed dorms to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, including some D.C.-area campuses such as American University, exceptions were granted for those who didn’t have good alternatives. For people facing complications, such as international students unable to travel home because of closed borders, or those from an unstable home, university housing provided a safe place to learn. Life on an almost-empty campus can be surreal, an experience antithetical to the usual joyful buzz that permeates residential colleges, with the constant presence of friends, the last-minute decisions, good and bad, the laughs and the parties, the ideas traded in classrooms, the yelling at packed stadiums.
Pediatricians in U.K. see rise in eating disorders during pandemic, survey shows - Miriam Berger, Washington Post
In a survey of more than 40 pediatricians and specialists in England, health-care providers reported a doubling, tripling or quadrupling of patients with food restriction disorders compared to last year, according to RCPCH. Centers that specialize in treating adolescents with eating disorders reported long waiting lists and a scarcity of spare beds for inpatient treatment. Pediatricians said they are often seeing children brought in with very progressed diseases, probably because of limited in-person interactions with friends, teachers or doctors who before the pandemic may have noticed changes earlier.
Thursday, January 21, 2021
I can’t predict the future, but my bet is that many of the innovations and changes we’ve witnessed this year will stick around. And I know two things for certain: first, many students will go back to in-person learning, but the demand for high-quality online education and shorter, non-degree learning pathways—like boot camps and short courses—will continue to grow as people upskill, reskill and look for greater flexibility in education. And second: demand for online undergraduate and graduate degrees will grow too.
Online learning is booming as a productive use of otherwise idle time during COVID-19 lockdowns. According to a new report from Class Central, the world's most popular catalog of free online courses, major providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs) have recorded 180 million learners, making 2020 the most consequential year for MOOCs since their inception in 2011. One-fifth of the 100 most popular free online courses launched in 2020 are directly related to COVID-19. The top course, with over 1 million enrollments, is Johns Hopkins' "COVID-19 Contact Tracing," followed by Harvard's "Mechanical Ventilation for COVID-19," with 300,000 enrollments.
10 free or affordable online courses and programs that can help you land a project management job - Denise Stephens, Business Insider
In these rapidly changing times, project management skills are in increasing demand across all industries. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 79,800 new project management jobs between 2019 and 2029, with employment in the field growing at a faster-than-average rate. With this high demand, transitioning into project management is definitely a viable career option for the future. Below are 10 online courses and resources, from free intro classes to programs that will prepare you to take the Project Management Institute's Project Management Professional (PMP) exam.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Rahim Rezaie is associate director of the International Virtual Engineering Student Teams Project at the University of Toronto and senior program development officer at Academics Without Borders. Will higher education simply go back to the old ways and put virtual learning on the shelf? Or will they embrace the moment and ensure that online education benefits are further explored, developed and realized? Going forward, students are likely to demand online options in suitable circumstances. Our universities and colleges should seize the moment and make a decisive move to a hybrid educational model that blends both online and on-campus approaches. In doing so, they can provide a superior educational experience in a more inclusive, accessible and cost-effective manner.
Zoom (and other videoconferencing) fatigue was recognized early in the remote learning efforts of 2020. It is real. We have learned much about the cause and some about how to avoid the symptoms that impair communication and learning. The crucible of massive use of these technologies by less experienced faculty at all levels of education has exposed vulnerabilities and a host of less-than-optimum uses of online conferencing. Reducing the number and frequency of Zoom meetings may actually enhance productivity, lower frustration and anxiety, and make everyone just a bit happier in these COVID-plagued times.
As 2020 staggers to a close, knowledge workers routinely occupy desk or office space in their homes, using a desktop or laptop computer on an internet connection that they pay for but is now vital to their employment as well as the running of their household. Communications with colleagues, company departments and clients revolve around the collaboration features built into office suites, along with instant-messaging and video-conferencing platforms, often using a secondary device such as a tablet or smartphone for some of these tasks. Cybersecurity is more important than ever for this newly distributed and heterogeneously equipped workforce, for whom commuting is a fading memory (along with real-world interaction with colleagues and clients).
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Now Is Not the Time for Education to Stand Still. It’s Time to Reimagine and Revolutionize. - Kyair Butts, EdSurge
A once in a lifetime pandemic. A once in a lifetime opportunity. Teaching in the year 2020 reminds me of a quote from “Inherit the Wind:” “Perhaps it is you who has moved away by standing still.” All at once our world was completely halted by a global pandemic the worst in 100 years and yet in a moment of crisis an opportunity to create appeared. Are we going to move away from progress by standing still?
The 2010s saw the lowest population growth in U.S. history, new census estimates show - William H. Frey, Brookings Institution
Newly released Census Bureau population estimates through mid-year 2020 reveal record lows in U.S. population growth, both annually and for the 2010-to-2020 decade. While these estimates are done independently from the yet-to-be released 2020 decennial census, they provide the most recent preview of what that census may show for the population totals of the nation and individual states, as well as for congressional reapportionment. The new estimates indicate that over the period from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020, the nation grew by just 0.35%. This is the lowest annual growth rate since at least 1900. The new data also shows that when the 2020 census numbers are announced, the 2010-to-2020 decade growth rate could be the lowest in any decade since the first census was conducted in 1790.
Minnesota students, professors say college during pandemic was 'not a lot of fun' - RICHARD TSONG-TAATARII, Star Tribune
Months of online classes and social distancing took a toll on many. But the various campus life restrictions that institutions put in place appear to have paid off. Students lined up for COVID-19 tests at the University of Minnesota before the Thanksgiving holiday. Minnesota colleges have closed the book on the strangest fall semester in recent memory, one in which students and professors alike spent much of their time perched behind a computer screen and isolated from their peers. Months of online classes and social distancing took a toll on many students and faculty, who reported struggling with loneliness, stress and burnout. But the various campus life restrictions that institutions put in place appear to have paid off, as most Minnesota colleges managed to avoid large outbreaks of COVID-19. As they look toward the spring, college leaders say they will likely continue to operate under strict campus safety measures until vaccines become widely available.