Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cal Lt. Gov. cites insufficient outreach to faculty in push for online education - David Siders, Sacramento Bee

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that he and other proponents of online education, including Gov. Jerry Brown, failed to sufficiently engage faculty members in their longstanding push to expand online course offerings at California’s colleges and universities. Brown has pressed the University of California and California State University systems to expand online offerings for more than two years, hoping to expand the system’s reach and to reduce costs. But his efforts remain largely unfulfilled.

UK Digital Course Provider Claims Biggest Student Uptake - Shannon Greenhalgh, MISCO

Classroom overcrowding is not an issue for UK online learning platform FutureLearn. The digital course provider is claiming the biggest online university course ever. The service has reported that 370,000 students have enrolled for its English language British Council course - showing the scale of online learning, says the BBC. The Understanding IELTS (International English Language Testing System): Techniques for English Language Tests course, which prepares students for a recognised English language proficiency test, has overtaken in numbers a US social psychology course from the Connecticut-based Wesleyan University which had 260,000 students.

When Your Online Course Is Put Up for Adoption - Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Ed

For many institutions, online education has been an opportunity not only to increase the number of enrolled students, but also to focus on designing courses that are compelling no matter who is leading them. “You’re seeing more and more of instructors rotating in and out of courses once they’re developed, because obviously the time to develop a course is a lot,” says John Haubrick, manager of instructional design at Pennsylvania State University’s online arm.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Quick Hits: Moving the Needle on Predictive Analytics - the American Council on Education

​In using data to improve student success, higher education is at a transition point, pivoting from harvesting data to learning how to use it strategically in developing interventions—and getting those findings to faculty and students so they can have an impact. Read more in this edition of Quick Hits, our series of briefs on current and emerging topics in the realm of education attainment and innovation.

A Semi-Automated System for Recognizing Prior Knowledge - Joaquim Moré, et al; iJET

Adaptive e-learning systems are able to automatically generate personalized learning paths from the students’ profile. Generally, the student profile is updated with information about knowledge the student has acquired, courses the student has passed and previous work experience. Unfortunately, dealing with courses that students passed in other learning environments is very difficult, error prone and requires a lot of manual intervention. In addition, the recognition of external courses is a process that all institutions, on-site and online learning organization, must perform during the access of new students, since it can be greatly useful not only for personalization but also for recognizing the courses the students attended. In this paper, we propose an intelligent system that analyzes the academic record of students in textual format to identify what subjects the students studied in the past and therefore are potentially recognizable. In addition, the proposed system is able to enrich the information the institution has about the students’ background, facilitating the identification of personalized learning paths.

Reducing Procrastination in Online Classes - Carl Straumsheim, Tomorrow's Professor

The key to making online students focus on their course work may be making procrastination as unenjoyable as possible, according to a study out of Cornell University. It's a familiar problem to anyone with a deadline and a computer: the assignment is open on the screen, half-finished, but is quickly lost in a stack of web browser tabs. Upon rediscovery (with an accompanying pang of guilt), the procrastinator resolves to buckle down and type out the last few paragraphs -- right after clearing the notification that just popped up and checking just one more website. Richard W. Patterson, a Ph.D. student in policy analysis and management at Cornell, wanted to see if software could reduce procrastination and, as a result, improve students' grades.

Among state universities, a fight for rich students - LYNN O'SHAUGHNESSY, MoneyWatch

State universities are increasingly becoming bastions of privilege. In order to boost their revenue by moving up in popular college rankings, public universities are increasingly awarding merit scholarships to affluent students who live within their borders -- and beyond. This often comes at the expense of the institutions' own state residents, according to a new study by the New American Foundation, a centrist think tank that explored the merit aid practices at 424 public colleges and universities.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lessons From a Competency-Based Education Experiment - Paul LeBlanc with Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Paul LeBlanc, president of Southern New Hampshire University, has become a leading proponent of competency-based education, a way to award degrees based on testing and portfolios rather than "seat-time" in a traditional course. Last year the university started a competency-based degree program, called College for America, that has enrolled about 2,000 students. Mr. LeBlanc has been in Washington to counsel the U.S. Department of Education on the issue, as part of a three-month assignment as a senior adviser to the under secretary of education, Ted Mitchell. He stopped by The Chronicle's offices recently to talk about his vision of competency-based education and what has surprised him from his college's own experiment.

Even Private Colleges Feel the Pain as Enrollment Falls Again - Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Total college enrollment fell again this year, driven primarily by the departure of older students finding employment in an improving economy, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Student Clearinghouse. Total postsecondary enrollment this spring dropped 1.9 percent from last year, according to the report. The sector suffering the biggest decline was four-year for-profit institutions, which saw a 4.9-percent enrollment drop. Public two-year institutions saw the second-highest percentage of students leave, at 3.9 percent. Students over the age of 24 left for-profit and community colleges at the highest rates, with the sectors seeing declines of 6 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Enrollment at private four-year colleges dropped for the first time in several years.

The In-State Tuition Break, Slowly Disappearing - Kevin Carey, NY Times

Part of this story is familiar to anyone who has watched public universities raise tuition and fees, in some cases by 50 percent or more. But there’s another, less obvious, part of the story. Many of the most elite public universities are steadily restricting the number of students who are allowed to pay in-state tuition in the first place. A result is the creeping privatization of elite public universities that have historically provided an accessible route to jobs in academia, business and government. One of the most important paths to upward mobility, open on a meritocratic basis to people from all economic classes, is narrowing.

Archaeology professor designs first online companion course for field work in Kenya - Ryan Lasker, GW Hatchet

Before GW’s archaeology students visit Kenya, they’re going to have to see it on their computer screens. A field archaeology course run by David Braun, an associate professor of archaeology, now features a four-week-long online course that prepares students to study early human origins for six weeks over the summer at the Koobi Fora Field School in northern Kenya's Sibiloi National Park. The class marks the University’s first online companion course for a course held abroad. With previous classes, Braun had previously typed up a 150-page manual with information on geology, ecology and evolution for students to read before heading off to Kenya. But that set the students back in learning once they got to Kenya because, “we knew that they didn’t get to read [the document],” he said.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

TwitterChat Transcript

Challenged by complex and shifting funding models, higher education faces a growing urgency to balance mission and product mix to keep things afloat as enrollments and state funding decline. Adding to this complexity is the growing tension in the marketplace in which the value/currency of traditional degrees are challenged by micro-credentials and the emergence of CBE. How can institutions address these crises?

Tweets were posted every six seconds for an hour! Many great ideas surfaced. The live question and answer session was captured via Storify:

4 Reasons Why I Finally Said Yes to a Twitter Chat - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Are you planning on participating in the UPCEA #HigherEdAhead Twitter Chat today (Wednesday, 5/27) at 2:00pm EST? The topic - Balancing the Urgency of Revenue Performance with Mission and Quality Online Imperatives: What's Ahead? See:
A special thanks to Josh Kim of Dartmouth College for his kind words this blog post. It is JOSH KIM who is one of the key reasons YOU should attend this Twitter Chat. His ever-thoughtful blog postings at Inside Higher Ed are daily reminders to leaders in this field of how we may best pursue our careers with integrity and energy while keeping a steady course set on advancing and advocating quality higher education for our students.
"See" you at the Chat where Josh will join me and our great colleagues Blackboard's Katie Blot, Berklee College of Music's Debbie Cavalier and edX's Lee Rubenstein joining all of you in discussing some of the key issues confronting higher ed today! -Ray

Buying Outsiders - Kellie Woodhouse, Inside Higher Ed

Public universities are using non-need-based aid to recruit out-of-state students, at the expense of low-income and in-state students. That’s the thesis of a report released today by New America. Public colleges that provide substantial amounts of what they call merit aid to students tend to enroll more nonresident students -- and have experienced a greater decline in resident students over the past 15 years -- than their peers that don't use that strategy, the report found. They also tend to enroll fewer students with Pell Grants and charge low-income students a higher average net price than colleges that provide little merit aid.

Online classes, convenience does not mean easier set up - Rachel Fradette, State News

My fellow procrastinators, you cannot procrastinate in these classes and expect to pass with flying colors. Online classes require participation throughout the entire class. If you wait to work on anything, you will get far behind and you can kiss that 4.0 goodbye. So if you are constantly battling your own laziness, I would recommend you either not take the class or you use it as a way to fix your problem. After each of my online classes, I had become a much more diligent student–they forced me to actively participate. Go for those online classes, but be cautious, you will have to work harder than usual.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Collaboration Critical for System-Level Online Aggregators - Mary Niemiec, et al; Evolllution

Collaboration, stakeholder trust and clear roles have allowed the University of Nebraska Online Worldwide to succeed where other system-level online aggregators have failed. The system-level online aggregator works with the campuses of the NU system to deliver online programs to a wider audience, within Nebraska, across the United States and across the world. In this interview, Mary Niemiec, Marie Barber and Lanyce Keel discuss the elements of the NU Online Worldwide project that have made it so successful and share some insights into what it takes to maintain such a strong partnership.

Enrollment at Utah colleges expected to jump by nearly 25 percent in 10 years - ANNIE KNOX, The Salt Lake Tribune

As Utah graduates walk the stage and toss their caps, their alma maters are already preparing for coming waves of graduates. Utah's college student population is expected to swell by roughly 25 percent during the next 10 years. The current batch of about 174,000 students statewide will likely rise to about 226,000 by 2024, according to new estimates from Utah higher-education managers. The growth will require more student advisers, class space and other resources, members of the Board of Regents said after their monthly meeting Friday. The panel oversees Utah's eight public institutions. Snow College, Utah Valley University and Weber State University are expected to see the biggest jumps. At the University of Utah, full-time enrollment is expected to bump up by about 13 percent over the next 10 years.

NM higher education enrollment down - Mike Bush, Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s colleges and universities saw – by far – the steepest enrollment drop in the nation over the past year. From spring semester 2014 to the spring of 2015, enrollment in New Mexico’s post-secondary institutions plummeted 8.3 percent, compared with a national decline of 1.9 percent, according to a new report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Overall, New Mexico had 10,914 fewer students enrolled in its colleges and universities this spring when compared to last spring. “The declining enrollments in higher education are a concern,” said CNM President Kathie Winograd. “In New Mexico, we need to be increasing the percentage of our population that possesses higher education credentials, in order to generate a more robust economy that provides more good jobs.”

Stigma over online courses has gone away - Patrick Murphy, Ft Wayne Journal Gazette

Online degrees are more common and accepted part of the educational landscape, according to career counselors and people like Jennifer Schramm, manager for workforce trends and forecasting with the Society for Human Resource Management. “More and more employers and job applicants are realizing the opportunities available online,” Schramm said. “And company executives and human resource professionals feel more comfortable considering and hiring individuals who obtained these types of degrees later in life.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

TwitterChat: Balancing the Urgency of Revenue Performance with Mission and Quality Online - Ray Schroeder, Josh Kim, Katie Blot, Debbie Cavalier

Challenged by complex and shifting funding models, higher education faces a growing urgency to balance mission and product mix to keep things afloat as enrollments and state funding decline. Adding to this complexity is the growing tension in the marketplace in which the value/currency of traditional degrees are challenged by micro-credentials and the emergence of CBE. How can institutions address these crises? Join UPCEA for this timely TweetChat by using the hashtag #HigherEdAhead on social media as online education leaders share experiences and resources and respond to your questions. A live question and answer session will occur on May 27th from 2-3PM EST. Is this your first Twitter Chat? - It's free, it's fun, it's fast, it's a fire hose of information! Explained at the URL below:

Community of practice helps faculty and staff step into role of online learner - Lika Balenovich, University of Wisconsin

Lisa Hebgen and other TeachOnline@UW participants shared their lessons learned during mini-presentations after the Fall 2014 workshop. This past year, more than 20 faculty and instructional staff received another chance at being a student — a role reversal that allowed each of them to explore the opportunities and challenges facing today’s online learners and instructors. As participants in UW-Madison’s inaugural TeachOnline@UW learning community, participants from eight schools and colleges came together to learn and share strategies for designing and teaching quality online courses. Over 12 months, they met and completed online coursework to learn how to better design and manage courses with specific learning goals, and to explore the use of new tools to help their teaching and their students.