This research summary is one of a series of reports outlining higher education's readiness to move teaching and learning online to preserve and continue its educational mission during the current pandemic.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
With the rapid increase in remote working in mind, European cybersecurity agency ENISA has set out a series of recommendations for companies moving to teleworking as a result of COVID-19. ENISA said it had already seen an increase in coronavirus-related phishing attacks. The agency recommends, as far as possible, that workers try to not mix work and leisure activities on the same device and be particularly careful with any mails referencing the coronavirus. "Attackers are exploiting the situation, so look out for phishing emails and scams," ENISA said.
COVID-19: With everyone working from home, VPN security has now become paramount - Catalin Cimpanu, ZD Net
With most employees working from home amid today's COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak, enterprise VPN servers have now become paramount to a company's backbone, and their security and availability must be the focus going forward for IT teams. "It will be very important [that] the VPN service is patched and up-to-date because there will be way more scrutiny (scanning) against these services," said Guy Bruneau, an ISC SANS instructor in a post last week. Bruneau's warning is just one of the many cybersecurity industry alerts published over the past few days on the topic of VPN security.
Friday, March 27, 2020
As a sociologist, I’m interested in the organizational, cultural, and structural conditions that enable or impede colleges and universities from mounting an effective response to COVID-19. I wonder about the conditions that will enable some institutions to efficiently and effectively accomplish the rapid transition from residential to remote learning? How COVID-19 will re-order the existing power relationships and status hierarchies within colleges and universities will be fascinating to observe. What will COVID-19 mean for marginalized higher ed populations such as adjunct faculty?
Ed Dept green-lights virtual site visits for accreditors due to coronavirus - Hallie Busta, Education Dive
The U.S. Department of Education has expanded guidance issued to accreditors earlier this month about the level of flexibility they can offer colleges that are moving classes online due to the novel coronavirus. In a memo this week, the department said accreditors could conduct site visits virtually at their discretion, though they would be expected to visit in-person at a later date. Virtual visits must be interactive, such as through phone and video calls, "rather than solely document reviews or exchanges of emails," the guidance explains. The guidance comes as at least one accreditor said it plans to temporarily take most site visits remote and as others consider the option for some schools.
Moody's lowers higher ed outlook to negative amid coronavirus crisis - Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Education Dive
Moody's Investors Service downgraded its outlook for the higher education sector from stable to negative, predicting widespread instability as a result of the new coronavirus. Colleges will face "unprecedented enrollment uncertainty" headed into the next fiscal year as the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, throws the country into economic turmoil, the credit rating agency wrote in an analysis released Wednesday. Institutions' budgets will immediately be stressed as they are forced to respond to outbreaks of the virus, and those with weak finances will likely have more trouble adapting to trying conditions in the future.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Industry gurus on navigating digital learning during social distancing times - Erin Jones, Ray Schroeder, Ceceilia Parnther; Unicheck
Recently, the coronavirus pandemic caused all educational institutions across the globe to shift toward digital learning. This situation made the Unicheck team think about how we can help educators handle these tough times. So, we’ve contacted a few of the education industry’s thought leaders to discuss the challenges and ways to make this time effective and rewarding.
As more and more colleges and universities are shutting down their campuses over the next several weeks in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, education technology companies have stepped forward to help move student learning to the virtual realm. Some companies are making their paid services free through the rest of the school year; others are lifting limits to services and/or adding premium features to what's free. The following list will be updated regularly as announcements are made.
In my job at Google, I advise people on how to use their time as efficiently as possible. When working from home, my productivity strategies are even more important because I don’t have the ordinary structure of a day at the office, like commuting to work, walking to meetings, or running into coworkers. When your house becomes your office, you need to learn a whole new routine. etting work done when your teammates aren’t physically with you has been the norm at Google for a while. So I put together some of my go-to productivity tips—no matter where you’re working—and a few things I’ve learned about how to get it all done from home.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever. We all want things to go back to normal quickly. But what most of us have probably not yet realized—yet will soon—is that things won’t go back to normal after a few weeks, or even a few months. Some things never will. What counts as “social distancing”? The researchers define it as “All households reduce contact outside household, school or workplace by 75%.” That doesn’t mean you get to go out with your friends once a week instead of four times. It means everyone does everything they can to minimize social contact, and overall, the number of contacts falls by 75%.
Will Shift to Remote Teaching Be Boon or Bane for Online Learning? - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed
So today this column will focus on a question that is generating a good bit of discussion among thoughtful observers of teaching and learning issues: What impact will this sudden, forced immersion and experimentation with technology-enabled forms of learning have on the status of online learning in higher education? Below, 11 experts share their thoughts on how the explosion of remote learning -- much of which may be primitive and of dubious quality -- could affect attitudes and impressions of a mode of learning that already struggles to gain widespread faculty and student support.
What if we subscribed to learning and educational engagement throughout our careers? Subscription models abound. They are the sustainable future of higher education. It is all about growing with the learners from where they are today to where they will be tomorrow through evolving and expanding continuing professional education and engagement.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
With spotty sick leave and health care, adjunct professors worry about the spread of coronavirus - Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post
The spread of the coronavirus in the United States is rattling adjunct instructors. Few receive health insurance through the colleges and universities where they work, and fewer still have paid sick leave. Even adjuncts with access to paid time off say there are barriers that impede their ability to take advantage of the benefit.
Faculty Readiness to Begin Fully Online Teaching - D. Christopher Brooks and Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE Review
One response to the COVID-19 virus is to immediately shift all courses to fully online environments, but many faculty are not prepared to teach online. Colleges and universities undertaking such a momentous shift will need to provide significant and ongoing support to faculty and instructors.
Adaptive assessments are becoming a valuable tool for educators who see the critical need for personalization in the classroom. With adaptive assessments, a teacher can test student knowledge and skill sets by adjusting questions based on student responses. To do this, more and more virtual platforms are being created and employed by institutions across the United States. Implementing adaptive assessments effectively and efficiently, however, is key to student, teacher, and institutional success. Below are three best practices for carrying out adaptive assessments.
Monday, March 23, 2020
Open Educational Resources Are ‘Moving Up the Adoption Ladder’ Around the World - Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge
Open educational resources have gone global and may help make learning more accessible, equitable and inclusive around the world. So says the new Educause Horizon report, which identifies technologies and trends that are changing higher education. This year’s forecast was created by nearly five dozen higher education experts, a third of them from institutions outside of the U.S. OER was one of six “emerging technologies and practices” the panelists highlighted as most likely to significantly influence postsecondary teaching and learning in the future.
Already stretched universities now face tens of billions in endowment losses - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report
Even before the crisis, endowment returns and payouts had been comparatively low. “A lot of endowments are going to suffer big losses from this,” said Charlie Eaton, a sociologist at the University of California, Merced, who studies the financialization of higher education. Making matters worse, the massive setback comes on top of existing financial challenges resulting from an unprecedented enrollment decline, leaving many universities poorly positioned to cope. “Most schools are running with very little cushion, especially regional privates,” said Kaitlyn Maloney, senior director of research at the education consulting firm EAB.
Coronavirus could rattle colleges' international enrollment strategies - Jeremy Bauer-Wolfe, Education Dive
The country has already seen a downturn in new international enrollments in the last several years. The number of new international students fell around 10% between its peak in the fall of 2015 and the fall of 2018, according to data gathered by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The drop-off is in part due to inhospitable immigration policies and hostile rhetoric from the Trump administration, explains a recent report from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Yet colleges have historically relied heavily on this sector for tuition revenue to help balance budgets left gaping by decreases in state funding. Of particular importance have been students from China, who account for about one-third of all international students in the U.S.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
The federal government opened the door for regional accreditors to operate in other parts of the country, and one agency is taking advantage, Judith Eaton writes. Is this a good idea or a bad one? Department officials said their goal was to open up the institutional accreditation system to competition. The agency's firecracker was, at first glance, a small one. The regional accreditors are not forced to operate nationally. They don’t even have to consider institutions out of their regions that seek accreditation, even if institutions make such requests. But, in the last few weeks, the firecracker went off. One regional accreditor, the WASC Senior College and University Commission, has taken first, albeit modest, steps to operate nationally.
That night he created a similar Google spreadsheet for UT Austin students to post the things they need or things they could help with. Students at over a dozen universities have started similar spreadsheets, Facebook groups and resource documents. As more campuses close across the county, these resources continue to grow. At the University of Virginia, the Student Council has led the effort. The council is currently matching donors to those in need and has raised over $10,000 in less than five days, said Isabella Liu, chair of the representative body.
Student retention remains a major challenge for American colleges and universities. Although first-to-second year college persistence of entering students has increased slightly over the last decade, results from the National Student Clearinghouse, indicate that among first-time students entering college in fall 2017, 73.8% continued their education at some U.S. institution in fall 2018 (persistence) while only 61.7% continued at the same college they entered (retention). But some institutions are now taking a different tack and are using technology to communicate with students in order to learn about personal issues that might be causing them to consider dropping out.