Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rewriting the Higher Ed Act: ‘Too Much, Too Fast’? - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

GOP’s Higher Education Act rewrite would give a boost to competency-based education, short-term certificates and alternative providers, but experts worry about the bill’s lack of safeguards. The Republican-led Congress's early attempt at rewriting the federal Higher Education Act uses incentives and deregulation to encourage new twists on college, including competency-based education, short-term programs and nonaccredited providers. Experts continue to absorb details about the complex bill from Republican leaders on the U.S. House of Representatives’ education committee, which on Tuesday voted to pass a 590-page version. Some applauded the innovation push but worry about the bill’s lack of “guardrails” that seek to keep low-quality offerings in check.

Republican proposal could create bigger role for private industry in higher education - Jillian Berman, MarketWatch

The bill proposes limiting the federal government’s role in regulating colleges, capping graduate student borrowing, making it easier for schools to limit undergraduate borrowing and overhauling the student loan repayment system.  Much of the proposal that House Republicans released last week is controversial and likely won’t make it into the final law, but the plan provides an indication of Congressional Republicans’ priorities for the nation’s higher education system. Those priorities include limiting the federal government’s role in regulating colleges, capping graduate student borrowing, making it easier for schools to limit undergraduate borrowing — and overhauling the student loan repayment system. Many of those moves have the potential to create a larger role for private industry.

Chuck Cohn turned a college project into a global business - Jennifer Mason, StL Today

Varsity Tutors is a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction online, on mobile devices and in person. To date, students have accessed more than 2 million hours of live instruction. The company, with a corporate office located in St. Louis, has free online learning tools including test preparation books, practice questions, answers and explanations. After struggling to find an effective tutor to help him in high school, founder and CEO Chuck Cohn recognized there was an opportunity to create a business that helped people learn. Varsity Tutors was founded in 2007 at Washington University in St. Louis.

Online Students Can Build In-Person Relationships - Olena Reid, US News

Opportunities are available for online students to engage with classmates at local and on-campus events.  Even in an online degree program, whether you live close to the school's campus or hundreds of miles away, you have ways to meet classmates, faculty and alumni in person. If your main hesitation in pursuing an online education is the fear of being isolated, know that you will likely have opportunities to engage with others face to face. Here are four examples.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Serving Post-traditional Learners - Jonathan Gagliardi & Louis Soares, Higher Education Today

ACE has a long history working with both post-traditional learners and higher education institutions that serve them. We review military and corporate training to recommend college credit, provide technical assistance to universities on how to better serve post-traditional students, and are moving into providing digital badges for reviewed training. Based on our most recent estimates of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 Current Population Survey, there are more than 36 million adult Americans with some college but no degree. Four out of five of these adults attended college for one year or more. That boils down to 31 million Americans who are right at the doorstep of earning a credential.

What higher ed leaders need to know about what's going on in Washington - Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

Advocacy experts talk what's happening on Capitol Hill and how institutions will be impacted. The proposed tax reform legislation working its way through Congress has raised a lot of concerns for higher ed stakeholders and advocates. Brian Flahaven, senior director of advocacy for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, said “negotiations [between the conferees] are really happening already” and the convening of a conference committee is really “more of a theater conference.” “It’s now or never on the conference issues,” he said during a session at the Higher Education Relations Conference Thursday. “If you have been weighing in, if you have been talking about your presidents about weighing in, weigh in now.”

Choose an Online Program for a Law Enforcement Career - Jordan Friedman, US News

When selecting an online degree, weigh one in criminal justice against a more specialized focus, such as homeland security. Prospective undergraduate and graduate online students have many decisions to make – including the type of credential they pursue. David Poulin, a detective at the Salinas Police Department, is also considering eventually teaching law enforcement courses at a college or university. A master's will enable him to do that, says the 46-year-old, who adds that he has taken on additional responsibilities at his job since graduating earlier this year. For those hoping to launch or accelerate a law enforcement career, online education offers flexibility in both program types and scheduling, which experts say is beneficial for police officers and others in the field who work shifts around the clock. When looking into different, relevant online options while assessing your career goals, here are four to consider.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Syracuse University’s 2018 budget projections, shows growth in online education programs - Michael Burke, Daily Orange

Syracuse University’s fiscal year 2017 budget and projected 2018 budget each feature a surplus and illustrate a growing presence of online education programs at the university, a University Senate report shows. The distribution of the university’s revenues and expenses outlined in the report closely mirror distributions in years past, but the report does highlight one new trend at SU: There has been rapid growth of online education in recent years. Tuition revenue from online graduate programs has more than doubled since 2015, a period of growth that coincides with the launch of partnerships between several of SU’s schools and colleges and 2U Inc., a provider of online education degree programs.

'Pop-up Courses' Provide Short-Term Learning Experiences at Saint Michael's College - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Saint Michael's College, a private Catholic institution in Vermont, is updating its curriculum with a new "pop-up" course format. The courses are meant to "create a space for educated discussion between students and their instructors" about timely issues or interests that aren't being accommodated in the traditional curriculum, according to a news announcement. "Higher education hasn't been too creative or responsive to students' needs and interests, and we need to be," said Karen Talentino, vice president of academic affairs, in a statement. She added that students are allowed to propose their own ideas for courses, which helps ensure the topics are relevant and innovative.

Leaders dissect the partisan divide over higher education's value - Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

“How can higher education be so bad when there’s so much data" from analytics on jobs and earnings data to quality of life indicators, constantly showing all of the positive outcomes associated with a college degree, asked Shaun Harper, Executive Director of the USC Race and Equity Center and a professor of education and business at the University of Southern California. The question was posed during the Higher Education Government Relations Conference in San Diego Wednesday as a response to a growing partisan divide — and specifically, what seems to be a Republican retreat — on the value of higher education. “I don’t think it’s that necessarily Republicans hate higher ed and Democrats love it, I think it’s that nobody knows what to do with it,” said Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein.

Monday, December 11, 2017

U Maryland Baltimore County Plugs in Hybrid Reality Wall - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

The University of Maryland Baltimore County last month cut the ribbon on a new immersive "hybrid reality" lab for working with 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality. The University of Maryland Baltimore County last month cut the ribbon on a new immersive "hybrid reality" lab for working with 3D, virtual reality and augmented reality. The university said the technology will facilitate new research efforts with visual exploration of data for biology, math, engineering, visual arts and digital humanities while also serving as a tool for studying the potential of the medium itself. "π²" — pi squared — as it's called, features a curved wall with 50 million-pixel resolution. The wall stands 15 feet tall by 20 feet wide. It was made from multi-column, thin-bezel, stereo-capable LCDs and is intended to accommodate a variety of uses: immersion, hybrid reality, high resolution, large field of view, large space and size, body-centric human-computer interaction and support for data fusion.

This is how you measure the viability of academic programs - KARLI GRANT, eCampus News

One of the most frequent questions I hear when visiting colleges and universities is, “What about a tool for measuring the viability of our academic programs?” Institutions are seeking greater insight into the true value of programs beyond traditional metrics or accounting methods, especially as budgets continue to shrink and regulatory accountability for student outcomes increases. This is difficult to achieve through traditional higher education accounting, in which revenues, program needs, and student success initiatives are often opaque to each other and treated as discrete functions. To gain greater insight into program and institutional ROI, more institutions are looking at the way businesses use activity-based costing to determine the bottom line value of products and services. The goal is to tie the cost of these discrete functions to the big picture of operational and student success.

The Case for Synchronous Online Courses - Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

For many learners, online degrees are ideal because they are non-synchronous. They allow people to complete their studies and further their career on their own time, outside of a semester schedule. They can keep their jobs, maintain their roles in their family, and remain with their community while learning.  This benefit also has its downsides. Most importantly for many learners, remote degrees can feel isolating. Many people hope to engage with their instructors and other learners while they get their degree. These relationships can lead to friendships and helpful professional connections Unfortunately, many iterations of eLearning—such as most MOOCs, many online university degrees, coding bootcamps, and other programs—do not allow for a social learning experience.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Has higher education lost the battle of public perception? - Brian C. Mitchell, Huffington Post

Public perceptions that confuse sticker price and the cost of attendance, the unwillingness or inability of many American families to share the financial burden incurred by their children, and confusion over whether a college degree translates into a job certainly affect how American families perceive the value of a college degree.

Why Online Law Degrees Are Unlikely to Gain Legitimacy - Cait Etherington, eLearning Inside

The law profession carefully regulates which programs can gain accreditation and so far, online law degrees have made few gains, even as other professions rush to scale up their online offerings. Indeed, as stated on the American Bar Association (ABA) website, “Currently, no law schools that provide a J.D. degree completely via distance education are approved by the ABA.” The ABA even warns prospective students that “Earning an education completely via distance education may drastically limit your ability to sit for the bar in many states.” The key reason the law profession appears to be resistant to online degrees is tradition. Gregory Duhl, an associate dean for strategic initiatives at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law recently told US News, “I think the legal profession and legal education are just very resistant to change.” This was also the conclusion reached when a promising online JD program at Syracuse was rejected by the ABA earlier this year.

Research proves learning is a lifelong process - Peter Rule, The Conversation

Aging brings a slight deterioration in functions like short-term memory. But it has the advantage of accumulated experience. This means you know what you want to learn and how you want to apply it, and can link it to experience and concepts you've already acquired. Children at school typically learn a prescribed curriculum for future application. Adults tend to choose their learning and want it to count here and now. Learning as an adult is not easy. You have to admit what you don't know. Sometimes past learning experiences have been negative and associated with feelings of fear and failure. And adults have multiple responsibilities: work, family, social involvements and ageing parents, to name a few. Learning means negotiating these commitments and your own feelings. When you decide to embark on new studies, it's important to let those around you know; explain how it will change things and enlist their support.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Open online courses offer many opportunities to expand educational horizons - TANYA ALLBRITTEN, US Dept of Defense

It’s no surprise that the Internet provides numerous training opportunities for employees who want to improve their skills and advance their careers. “Massive open online courses,” known as MOOCs, are online learning courses that are available to thousands of students at a time. And, many of these courses are absolutely free while others are provided at rates drastically less than traditional courses. While the Army does not endorse any one specific program, MOOCs are freely accessible courses, delivered to large cohorts of learners.

What to Know About Earning an Online Degree in a Cohort - Jordan Friedman, US News

Despite what some prospective students may believe, many online degree programs still allow for plenty of student interaction. When looking into different online undergraduate or graduate programs, prospective students should understand whether they will be part of a cohort, although this type of program's exact structure may vary among schools. Here are three aspects to know about completing an online degree in a cohort.

Wary of Online Degrees? There’s Probably a Residency Program in Your Field - Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

The benefits of online education and remote degrees has been proven. It may not be able to replace all in-person, traditional instruction in every field, but it can come pretty close. In some cases, it can even exceed a traditional college course. But online programs also come with their challenges. A singular obstacle is that, by their nature, they can be isolating. “In the 1990s,” wrote Professor Wen-Li Chyr in a recent study, “it was found that students felt physically isolated when they participated in online courses, especially when the instructor could not immediately provide feedback to learners … These issues are still present today.”

Friday, December 8, 2017

Effective student support key to online learners’ success -Joseph J. Grilli, Times Leader

Nationwide, colleges and universities are reporting tremendous growth in adult students taking classes online instead of working toward their degrees via the more traditional brick-and-mortar format, according to a recent study published by Aslanian Market Research. In nine short years, the profile of the adult learner has changed dramatically, according to the study. With an average age of 29, less than one-third of these students who consider themselves tech-savvy, prefer classroom-based study. In 2006, the average age of this target audience was 35. Adult learners have other unique characteristics and preferences that separate them from the traditional 18-year-olds fresh out of high school.

Study Uncovers How Ed Tech Decision-Making Works - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Higher education people most often turn to each other when they're trying to make decisions about education technology. And it's not uncommon for them to start with a particular technology and then find a problem to solve, vs. identifying a pedagogical need and then looking for the tech tools that would address the challenges.