Thursday, December 8, 2016

MIT task force releases preliminary “Future of Libraries” report - Peter Dizikes. MIT News Office

An MIT task force is releasing a preliminary report featuring a set of proposals aimed at steering MIT’s library system toward becoming an “open global platform” enabling the “discovery, use, and stewardship of information and knowledge” for future generations. The report, based on a year of work since the formation of the task force, contains general recommendations intended to develop “a global library for a global university,” while strengthening the library system’s relationship with the local academic community and public sphere. “For the MIT Libraries, the better world we seek is one in which there is abundant, equitable, meaningful access to knowledge and to the products of the full life cycle of research,” the report states. “Enduring global access to knowledge requires sustainable models for ensuring that past and present knowledge are available long into the future.”

More jobs will require bachelor's degrees in the future, study says - Matt Zalaznick, University Business

The University of Maryland’s open source textbook initiative, known as “MOST,” has guided faculty through more than 50 OER adoptions. The program helps instructors assemble resources to significantly keep down the cost of course materials. The University of Maryland’s open source textbook initiative, known as “MOST,” has guided faculty through more than 50 OER adoptions. The program helps instructors assemble resources to significantly keep down the cost of course materials. Open educational resources have grown over the last few years from one-off oddities in single courses to the basis of entire degree programs. Cutting out textbook costs for students tops the list of reasons administrators encourage faculty to develop and adopt these free—or very inexpensive—resources, also known as OER.

The Future of Online Education: Will Our Courses Foreshadow Our Ends? - Anthony Picciano, Evolllution

American higher education is moving to a model where almost every course offered will have an online component. This is desirable during a time when enrollments will rise and perhaps get a boost if calls for debt-free public college education gain momentum. Because of state funding constraints, there will likely be fewer full-time, tenure-track faculty as a percentage of the total faculty as contract, untenured adjunct faculty, and tutors will take on more of the teaching load. Instructional approaches such as learning analytics, adaptive learning, competency-based instruction, interactive media, and mobile technology will mature in the 2020s. In the 2030s and beyond, it is likely that major new technology breakthroughs such as artificial intelligence, massive cloud computing, and brain machine interfaces will emerge that will change many aspects of human endeavor including education.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Moody's Sees Stable Outlook for Higher Ed in 2017 - Rick Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed

Aggregate state funding is expected to grow 3 percent to 4 percent for the current fiscal year before slowing to between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent growth in fiscal year 2018. But funding levels will vary substantially from state to state. States heavily reliant on the energy sector, like Louisiana and West Virginia, face high pressures on the amount they allocate to higher education. So do states with high pension liabilities, like Illinois, and those where policy decisions have eroded revenue growth, like Kansas. Total enrollment growth is predicted to be modest, averaging 1.5 percent for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. A slow improvement in retention rates will help stabilize enrollment, Moody’s predicted, noting that retention rates rose by two percentage points for classes entering between 2009 and 2014 as institutions invested in retention efforts like more intensive counseling.

Understanding Blended Learning Through Innovative Professional Development - Stepan Mekhitarian, EdSurge

There are two common practices used during professional development sessions that are limited in their applicability and effectiveness: First, teachers learn about multiple sites or tools they can use in their classrooms and are given time to experiment with them. Second, teachers discuss instructional practice for application in a traditional classroom, but are then expected to apply it in a blended setting. Neither of these practices melds effective pedagogical practice with educational technology to train teachers on how to offer individualized differentiation and constructivist learning opportunities for students. Another approach, however, can dramatically impact the effectiveness of blended learning professional development. Follow the steps below to apply a blended approach to professional development while focusing on effective instructional practice: Start with a pedagogical concept such as questioning or grouping that applies to all teachers.

UW-Madison slips in ranking as research spending declines - NICO SAVIDGE, Lacrosse Tribune

Spending on research at UW-Madison declined by more than $100 million between 2012 and 2015, leading the university to fall from the top five of the National Science Foundation’s ranking of research institutions for the first time in more than four decades. Contrasting UW-Madison with other universities that have increased their research spending in recent years, campus officials highlighted the falling expenditures Tuesday as they make the case for lawmakers to increase funding for the University of Wisconsin System in the next state budget. Marsha Mailick, UW-Madison’s vice chancellor for research and graduate education, said years of funding cuts have made it harder for the university to recruit top researchers, and have led some to leave Wisconsin and “take their grant funding with them.”

A huge and stubborn reason, still unsolved, that students go into so much debt - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report

Some policymakers can’t believe that universities and colleges still haven’t worked out a way of accepting each others’ credits, a problem the National College Transfer Center estimates wastes $6 billion a year in tuition and is a little-noticed but major reason students go deep into debt or never graduate. The proportion of students who transfer is at record levels. More than two-thirds who earn bachelor’s degrees from four-year institutions today have changed colleges at least once, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which estimates that an average of about 342,860 students change schools each year. Yet the U.S. Department of Education says the average transfer student still loses 13 credits already earned and paid for.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Strategy, Differentiation, and Online Learning - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

The place to start an online program is around your school’s strengths. It is doubtful that every student who wants to learn what your school does best can move to where your school is located. Online learning solves this challenge. An online program does not need to be big to be sustainable. The beauty of online learning is that it can aggregate worldwide demand, and then be run without building one more physical classroom. 2017 will be the best year ever to start an new online program - as all the platforms, tools and technologies that you will need to teach at a distance are already on campus. You don’t need a new LMS (learning management system) for online courses because you already have one. The technology of online become both commoditized and ubiquitous.

A ‘Moon Shot’ for Libraries - Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Chris Bourg, director of libraries at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, describes the MIT report as a “moon shot” for libraries. The wide-ranging report covers digitization, open access, redesign of physical spaces and more, but it ultimately recommends libraries focus on four “pillars”: community and relationships, discovery and use, stewardship and sustainability, and research and development. Bourg said, “Providing access to credible information and the tools to assess, use, understand and exploit it is what libraries, librarians and archivists have always done. It’s more important than ever now.” MIT, with its focus on science, technology, engineering and math, is in a different position to grapple with those issues compared to universities with traditional strengths (and extensive library collections) in the humanities and social sciences, other library directors and researchers said.

Colleges look to the cloud for student intervention services - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

University Business reports on the growing number of campuses using cloud-based technology to improve online services wth academic intervention and student life. A variety of systems tracking student data on attendance, learning resource utilization and student life helps campuses to more easily divert resources based upon student need or desire, with stronger integration between systems becoming easier to create and to manage. Security concerns about cloud-based technology have decreased in the last two years, as technologies and safeguards have improved to help preserve student information.

Reclaiming the Watch List - Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Professor Watchlist faces challenge from Watchlist Redux, where being named is intended as a badge of honor and where "radical" applies to Socrates, Jesus and Alan Turing, as well as those singled out today. Some professors were troubled by Professor Watchlist when it debuted last month, viewing it as a serious threat to academic freedom. Yet others saw the site -- which names and monitors professors “who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom” (the “promoting anti-American values” criterion has since been removed) -- as more annoying than dangerous. Some submitted complaints about Indiana Jones, Professor Plum or other fictional academics, for example. Others joked they wished they'd been named, saying they’d wear it as a badge of honor. But now Professor Watchlist has met its match in a new blog, Watchlist Redux, where being named is intended as a badge of honor.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Virginia Foxx Named Chair of House Education Committee - Andrew Kreighbaum, Inside Higher Ed

North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx, a vocal critic of the Obama administration's higher education policies, will be the chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Foxx, a former community college president, replaces Minnesota Republican John Kline, who is retiring at the end of the 114th Congress. In a postelection interview with Inside Higher Ed, Foxx said studying how those regulations could be repealed would be a top priority. And she said she would support scaling back the size of the Department of Education in the next Congress. Foxx's committee will also play a key role in shaping education policy through the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

4 Reasons Why Online Courses Can Get You Out Of A Career Rut - Laurence Bradford, Fortune

Especially in recent years, online courses have officially claimed their place as the future of affordable, accessible education. Whether you’re just entering the workforce and want more skills and credentials to pad your resume, you’re looking to upskill early to late in your career, or you want to change careers entirely, here’s why taking courses online should be at the top of your priority list.

Changing the Landscape of Higher Education - David M. Kirby, Huffington Post

Education is ever-changing, especially in a world with rapid technology advancement. As new technologies and methods become available, the way we teach and are taught must by necessity change as well. Core principles and basics of education remains, yet the method by which these are accomplished must by necessity adapt to meet the needs of students and the workforce. Education continues to evolve at a rapid pace because how we learn has importance. There’s never been only a single way to learn, and the educational system is reflecting that. MOOCs and other online courses are both examples of adapting education to suit the needs of the evolving modern student. Technology plays an important role in this, especially as education becomes more accessible to students regardless of their location or background.

Online law degrees flourish under tight supervision - Ian Wylie, Financial Times

The latest law school to say it will venture a hybrid JD programme is Syracuse University College of Law. From 2018, pending approval from the American Bar Association, students will take classes online then come to campus for weeklong residential sessions. The school, which hopes the programme will help reverse its enrolment decline, is delivering the course with edtech company 2U. The school’s intake for 2016 is up 14 per cent on last year, but — in line with the national trend — still almost a fifth lower than a decade ago. The cost of tuition will be the same as the standard JD programme at Syracuse but the “opportunity cost” of attending will be “significantly lower”, says Nina Kohn, associate dean for research. “Students can continue working while completing their degree and will not have to move their families or leave their existing support systems,” she says. Syracuse will be only the second law school accredited by the ABA to offer such a hybrid JD programme; Mitchell Hamline School of Law launched the first last year. In 1998, non-ABA-accredited Concord Law School rolled out the first online JD programme, and other non-ABA accredited schools soon followed.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The IT Issues Ahead - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Educause recently revealed its Top 10 IT Issues for 2017, prioritizing information security for the second year in a row and emphasizing data, infrastructure and IT leadership. What issues will most impact your institution? Each year at the Educause annual conference, I make sure to catch the preview of the coming year's Top 10 IT Issues. It's always a packed room (it's a good idea to arrive early to find a seat), full of attendees with cameras ready to capture the presentation slides as they appear on the projection screen. After all, the Top 10 IT Issues are like a bellwether for the year ahead, pointing to key trends and challenges that every higher ed IT leader should be thinking about.

Student Success Pervades Top IT Issues for 2017 - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Yes, it's true that for the second year running cybersecurity has come in first on Educause's list of the Top 10 IT issues for higher education. But this year it doesn't dominate the results as it did last year, according to Susan Grajek, the organization's vice president of data, research and analytics. Information security "is a huge risk area," she said, but, according to Educause member votes, "not by quite as much." Instead, Grajek sees growing concern for the broader area of student success, an issue that landed in third place in 2016, fourth place in 2015 and first place in 2014. While the explicit topic of student success showed up second on the 2017 list, Grajek pointed out that many if not most of the other issues link back to that theme — including data-informed decision making (No. 3 in the ranking), effective leadership (No. 4), the digital transformation of learning (No. 10) and even sustainable funding (No. 8).

How to Select the Right E-Portfolio Platform - Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Electronic portfolio experts from colleges and universities across the country offer their key considerations for choosing a campuswide e-portfolio system. "Students are documenting a lot of their work, and they know what they're proud of, and faculty members are being encouraged to look more at having outcomes that can be measured outside of the classroom," said John Ittelson, professor emeritus at California State University, Monterey Bay and co-author of Documenting Learning with ePortfolios: A Guide for College Instructors. As e-portfolios become a more formal part of assessment, many institutions are looking to standardize on one platform campuswide. We asked the experts at colleges and universities across the country to identify their key considerations for e-portfolio technology selection.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gartner's Top 10 Strategic Predictions For 2017 And Beyond - Daryl Plummer, Forbes

Disruption has moved from an infrequent inconvenience to a consistent stream of change that is redefining markets and entire industries. In 2016, we saw the astonishing rise of Pok√©mon Go, which demonstrated accelerated digital change into areas such as augmented reality (AR). Gartner’s top strategic predictions for 2017 and beyond describe not only the disruptive effects of digital business innovation but how secondary ripple effects will often prove to be more disruptive than the original disruption. Three high level trends emerge from the predictions: *Digital experience and engagement will draw people into nonstop virtual interactions *Business innovation will create extraordinary change from mundane concepts *Secondary effects will be more disruptive than the initial digital change

Groups Issue Guidance on Making Digital Learning Accessible to All - Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Two organizations have put together a 20-page guide to help steer state and district education leaders toward thinking about how to embed accessibility into their decision-making. The "Digital Accessibility Toolkit" was published by the Consortium on School Networking (CoSN) and the Center on Technology and Disability (CTD). While accessibility encompasses three specific groups of learners — those with disabilities, English language learners and students from under-resourced communities — the upshot of choosing accessible products is that all students actually benefit, the report stated. Universal design for learning (UDL), also known as "born accessible" or "inclusive design," "seeks to level the playing field for all students" in three ways.

Open Online Education and Liberal Arts Schools - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

As the open online learning movement comes to it fourth year of life, it is natural for attention to focus on matters of economic sustainability. The path to cover the costs of open education will surely go through online courses that focus on career building and job skills. The fees that students pay for alternative credentials in these programs represent the surest path to cost recovery for both the schools creating these courses and programs. As those of us in the open online learning world turn our attention to professional education, we would be wise to not lose our connection with the founding liberal arts institutions of the open online education movement.