Thursday, March 30, 2023

OPM ‘loophole’ defended and attacked in Ed. Dept. hearings - Lindsay McKenzie, EdScoop

Both criticism and praise were piled on the online program management companies that help institutions launch online degree programs for a cut of tuition revenue during two three-hour “listening sessions” held by the U.S. Department of Education last week.  Dozens of speakers — including current and former students of online degree programs supported by OPM companies, consumer advocates, faculty members, senior higher education administrators, education policy experts, edtech investors and OPM business leaders — aired their views last Wednesday and Thursday on the pros and cons of various OPM business models. 

Online Learning Options Broadens Path for Women in STEM Careers - Nathan Eddy, Information Week

Web-based IT courses are enabling women to gain the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career in STEM and offering more flexible paths to success in the field. Women continue to face a variety of obstacles pursuing a career in IT or STEM, but online learning options make it possible for women to receive the necessary training and education without encountering many social obstacles that accompany in-person education. Online learning platforms and the shift to distance learning have also allowed for more flexible scheduling and a new approach to instruction takes hold.

UWO expands its online course offerings - Josh Lehner, Advance-Titan

Oshkosh Student Association Vice President Ben Blaser reported that the UW System will be pushing the expansion of online offerings last month, after UW System President Jay Rothman created a task force analyzing online offerings in Aug. 2022. In Nov. 2022, Rothman ordered UW-Platteville Richland to halt degree programs at the end of this semester due to financial pressure (though the Richland campuses’ closing and Rothman’s emphasis on increased online opportunities aren’t related). Rothman assembled a task force aimed at assessing the UW System’s online presence.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Where Will Generative AI Lead? - Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed

It is certainly true that GPT-4 and other large language models bring new abilities and opportunities to higher education.  Importantly, we in higher education will determine if these tools will supplement or, rather, replace workers in our field. If we follow the early lead of businesses, it is likely that we will reduce our staffing while expanding the use of generative AI. The advice seems clear. We all may be well served by investing some time in understanding this technology and testing out ways in which we may be able to use it to advance our work.  Looking ahead to the not-too-distant future, we are likely to see more about biocomputers. Using brain and stem cells, researchers are hoping to vastly accelerate and expand performance. Research is already well under way at Johns Hopkins.

6 Ways Higher Education is Celebrating Women’s History Month - Peggy Bresnick, Fierce Education

Higher education institutions are celebrating Women’s History Month with diverse and innovative programs and events that recognize accomplishments by women in every area of life and look at and look at barriers women continue to face – and discuss ways to overcome obstacles. Here are some of the ways colleges and universities are honoring Women’s History Month in March 2023.

Students Want More Workplace Skills From Colleges. Will Higher Ed Adjust? - Jenn Hofmann, EdSurge

Today’s high school graduates are increasingly questioning whether higher education is worth it, and that’s pushing colleges to rethink the value they bring students. This was a key theme I heard at last week’s SXSW EDU conference, where several panels addressed what today’s generation of students want, and how colleges can respond. It was also a top-of-mind issue for me coming into the conference. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Higher education accountability: Measuring costs, benefits, and financial value - Katharine Meyer, Brookings

The U.S. Department of Education recently requested feedback on a policy proposal to create a list of “low-financial-value” higher education programs. The Department hopes the list will highlight programs that do not provide substantial financial benefits to students relative to the costs incurred, in hopes of (1) steering students away from those programs and (2) applying pressure on institutions on the list to improve the value of those programs—either on the cost or the benefit side. 

Bill Gates Says We're Witnessing a 'Stunning' New Technology Age. 5 Ways You Must Prepare Now - Minda Zetlin, Inc.

"The age of A.I. has begun." On Tuesday, Bill Gates sent this mostly hopeful message out to the world through his Gates Notes blog and email list. Of course, artificial intelligence in general, and public-facing A.I. apps such as ChatGPT, Bard, and the new A.I.-powered Bing, have gotten plenty of headlines recently. But, Gates says, much bigger changes are coming.  "The whole experience was stunning," he writes. "I knew I had just seen the most important advance in technology since the graphical user interface." And so, in Gates-like fashion, he immediately began imagining how A.I. could rewrite the future. Here are some of the changes he foresees, and what you should do to prepare.

24 Engaging Synchronous Activities For Online Learning - Kaluki Kaluku, Teaching Expertise

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we learn and work. With remote learning becoming the new norm, educators are constantly searching for new and engaging ways to keep their students interested and motivated. Synchronous activities, where students learn in real-time with their peers and teachers, are becoming increasingly popular as a way to create a sense of community and interactivity in virtual classrooms! Here are 24 synchronous activities that can make online learning more engaging for students!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Which Tech Roles Do Managers Have the Hardest Time Filling? - Nick Kolakowski, Dice

According to Hired’s new State of Software Engineers 2023 report, back-end engineers have become some of the toughest tech talent to source, followed by engineering managers, full-stack engineers, and site reliability engineers. Check out the full chart at the link below.  Demand for back-end engineers on Hired’s platform grew by 3 percent year-over-year, to 59 percent of all interview requests, followed by full-stack engineers and, in third, front-end engineers. “Traditionally, smaller organizations find more value in the versatility of full stack engineers,” Hired CTO Dave Walters wrote in a statement accompanying the data.

How to make ChatGPT provide sources and citations - David Gewirtz, ZD Net

Ask ChatGPT to provide sources: This is where a bit of prompt engineering comes in. A good starting point is with this query: Please provide sources for the previous answer. I've found that this often provides offline sources, books, papers, etc. The problem with offline sources is you can't check their veracity. But it's a starting point. A better query is this: Please provide URL sources - This specifically tells ChatGPT that you want clickable links to sources. You can also tweak this up by asking for a specific quantity of sources, although your mileage may vary in terms of how many you get back: Please provide 10 URL sources.

Washington may be about to take a giant step backward in closing the digital divide - Blair Levin, Brookings

The North Star of communications policy should be to make services faster, better, and cheaper for all. Yet, next year, about 50 million Americans could find that their access to the core communications service of our time—broadband—has become slower, worse, and more expensive, with many even likely to be disconnected. That shift would constitute the biggest step any country has ever taken to widen, rather than close, its digital divide. The reason for the potential debacle? The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a $30 per month subsidy for broadband to over 16 million households (with the number continuing to grow) will run out of funds. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023

How does ChatGPT work? - David Gewirtz, ZD Net

ChatGPT, by contrast, provides a response based on the context and intent behind a user's question. You can't, for example, ask Google to write a story or ask Wolfram Alpha to write a code module, but ChatGPT can do these sorts of things. Fundamentally, Google's power is the ability to do enormous database lookups and provide a series of matches. Wolfram Alpha's power is the ability to parse data-related questions and perform calculations based on those questions. ChatGPT's power is the ability to parse queries and produce fully-fleshed out answers and results based on most of the world's digitally-accessible text-based information -- at least information that existed as of its time of training prior to 2021.

The privilege of staying home for college - Emmely Ramirez, EdSource

As a first-generation Latina raised in a low-income, single-parent home, all I ever wanted was to leave my hometown and explore the world after graduating from high school. I was also painfully aware that this would not be my reality. Now, four years later, as I get ready to graduate from California State University, Sacramento, I realize that it was a privilege to live at home as a college student.I knew that the reality of leaving Sacramento would come with many struggles that I was not ready to face, prime among them: money. 

Predicting the Future of Instructional Design in Higher Education - Joseph Evanick, Evolllution

The future of instructional design is rooted in modalities and models that engage students through gamified, personalized, flexible learning that uses AI thoughtfully and builds partnerships that benefit students. It’s no secret that the field of instructional design in higher education is constantly evolving. As new educational technologies and teaching methods emerge, instructional designers must adapt to stay ahead of the curve. But what does the future hold for instructional designers? In this blog post, we’ll look at some predictions to give you a glimpse into what’s in store for instructional design.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

ChatGPT can generate, but can it create? - Lee Ann Dickerson, eCampus News

While artificial intelligence (AI) has been a relatively silent partner in higher education’s early warning systems, personalized learning platforms, and more for some time now, we might fairly say that ChatGPT is the big boom heard ‘round the university. The AI chatbot is taking many of us by surprise and startling more of us to attention, not in small measure by its charming, eager extroversion: it “talks” to us. What’s happening here? Is ChatGPT a threat? What happens next?

Curriculum, Standards, Proxies, and the Response to AI - Jack Rice, the Evolllution

As higher education evolves its approach to teaching and learning, there remains a general disconnect between behavioral standards and assessment that needs to be addressed. Engaging and relevant education; the kind that requires dialogue, research and inquiry has always been the objective. I would argue that our hyper focus on perpetuating outdated structures has gotten in the way of us reaching the mark. Today’s technology gives us hope, for a new and exciting age of teaching and learning, not only for the new opportunities it creates, but by allowing us to forego the many obsolete models that remain firmly in our way. Here’s hoping.

Are Accreditors Ready for an Incremental Credentialing System? Part 1 - Holly Zanville, the Evolllution

As institutions look to implement more credentialing, accrediting bodies need to be there for support to ensure credentials are high-quality and meet requirements. Credential As You Go hosted an online Summit on Higher Education, Quality Assurance & Incremental Credentialing on February 1, 2023. The discussion focused on ways accrediting bodies support incremental credentials, and what institutions and state systems of higher education are doing to ensure quality and address accreditation requirements in incremental credentialing. The following summary, the first in a three-part series, has been abridged and edited from the recorded transcript.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Make ChatGPT Work for You With These Browser Extensions - David Nield, Wired

Whether you're using ChatGPT for free or paying for ChatGPT Plus ($20 a month), the impressiveness of its text-generating capabilities aren't really matched by its interface, which sticks largely to the basics. That's where third-party browser extensions come in: They can help you get easier access to ChatGPT from other websites, add missing features such as a chat exporter, and suggest better prompts for getting better answers out of the AI bot.

Why more Americans are skipping college - Collin Binkley, Associated Press

In dozens of interviews with The Associated Press, educators, researchers and students described a generation jaded by education institutions. Largely left on their own amid remote learning, many took part-time jobs. Some felt they weren’t learning anything, and the idea of four more years of school, or even two, held little appeal.  Searching for answers, education officials crossed the state last year and heard that easy access to jobs, coupled with student debt worries, made college less attractive. “This generation is different,” said Jamia Stokes, a senior director at SCORE, an education nonprofit. “They’re more pragmatic about the way they work, about the way they spend their time and their money.”

Texas universities eschew DEI initiatives at governor’s direction - Caroline Colvin, Higher Ed Dive

In Texas, the anti-DEI dominos are falling, in a design constructed by Gov. Greg Abbott. In February memos to state agencies and public universities, Chief of Staff Gardner Pate announced the administration’s intentions to ban the “innocuous-sounding notion of diversity, equity and inclusion” — on the grounds of reducing identity-based discrimination. Just a month later, the University of Houston leadership said it will not use DEI initiatives in its hiring practices.