Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Pennsylvania Consolidation Plans Spark Confusion, Criticism - Emma Whitford, Inside Higher Ed

Amid hearings, meetings and press conferences centered on plans by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to consolidate six universities, a new report details potential job losses for the public university system.In the week since the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education published its 400-plus-page plan, the system has already received feedback. Public concern also has been heightened by a new report on the economic impact of the consolidation and ongoing system redesign, indicating it could mean more than 1,500 job eliminations.

The Many Ways Colleges Are Handling Covid-Complicated Graduations - Rukmini Callimachi, NY Times

With vaccinations on the rise, many colleges are planning in-person commencements, sowing frustration on campuses sticking to online ones. Many of the schools doing in-person ceremonies are putting in extensive safety measures, like the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, which is requiring graduates and their families to provide proof of vaccination, or else a negative coronavirus test, said the university’s president, Heidi M. Anderson.

A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing - Holly Else, Nature

In 2018, an influential group of research funders announced a bold pledge: the scientists they fund should publish their peer-reviewed papers outside journal paywalls. The initiative, called Plan S, caused an instant uproar over its aim of ending journal subscription models — the means by which many scholarly publications have financed their existence. Its intended start date in 2020 was delayed, and its details were tweaked. But after much sparring over policy, the project formally began in 2021, with 25 funding agencies rolling out similar open-access (OA) mandates.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Provosts Face the Pandemic - Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Provosts are confident in the academic quality of their institutions, despite negative changes brought about by the pandemic, according to the 2021 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers, published by Inside Higher Ed and Hanover Research. About one in four provosts said that their institution had cut faculty positions during the pandemic. They said most of the positions were adjuncts (67 percent), but also cut were nontenured, tenure-track faculty (19 percent).  More provosts from private institutions than public ones said that the humanities disciplines were disproportionately cut (33 percent versus 4 percent).

Undervaluing doctoral education post-COVID brings risks - Tessa DeLaquil and Lizhou Wang, University World News

As national systems of higher education and individual higher education institutions grapple with loss of funds in this pandemic year, recent months have shown that the consequences may have dire implications, especially for doctoral education. By undervaluing the role of doctoral education in higher education, national higher education systems risk critical long-term damage, not only to higher education, but also to economic and human development.

How To Start Online Learning Successfully Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Online learning is becoming a more and more popular method of learning. This is because it is much more convenient than attending a physical school. However, there are also various challenges that students will face with this form of education. We will be discussing how you can achieve the best possible results from your online learning journey.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Some universities’ response to budget woes: Making faculty teach more courses - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report

Citing financial problems worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, colleges and universities nationwide are quietly increasing the number of courses faculty teach and the number of students in them as a way to lower costs. Such changes are primarily occurring not at selective private or public flagship universities, but on campuses that largely serve low-income students who often come from poorly resourced public high schools or whose parents never finished college, threatening to further widen the quality divide between the educations rich and poor Americans receive.

Online learning remains high priority for higher ed, Educause report finds - Emily Bamforth, EdScoop

Higher education leaders and instructors interviewed by Educause reviewed 130 technology practices and identified six as the most crucial to the future. Blended and hybrid course models were rated as the most important as universities sought ways to maintain their operations through the health crisis. “Sustainability was something that I think we felt worldwide,” said Kathe Pelletier, director of Educause’s teaching and learning program. “If I had to trace that back, [that could be from] having come from a place of responding to the pandemic and at those panelists own institutions that they did not have a sustainable or a flexible plan that could help sustain.”

6 Key Technologies Moving Teaching and Learning Forward in 2021 - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Educause's latest Horizon Report outlines the biggest trends shaping teaching and learning this year. In particular, the report identified six technologies and practices that are key to higher education institutions' future planning, whether those topics are newly emerging or evolving from previous years. They are topics that can come, go and return to Horizon Reports from year to year "more organically, reflecting the most current issues," the report explained. In this year's list of key technologies, the categories of artificial intelligence, open educational resources, and learning analytics have made a repeat appearance in the report. They are joined by three new categories: blended and hybrid course models, quality online learning, and microcredentialing.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

New approaches for teaching science remotely arise from the COVID-19 crisis - Science Daily

A New York University paper on college science classes taught remotely points to teaching methods that enhance student communication and collaboration, offering a framework for enriching online instruction as the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit in-person courses.  The study finds enhanced student communication and collaboration."These varied exercises allow students to engage, team up, get outside, do important lab work, and carry out group investigations and presentations under extraordinarily challenging circumstances -- and from all over the world," explains Erin Morrison, a professor in Liberal Studies at New York University and the lead author of the paper, which appears in the Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education. "The active-learning toolbox can be effectively used from a distance to ensure quality science education even under sudden conditions in a public health crisis."

Private college finances steady in fiscal 2020 despite pandemic's blows: Moody's - Hallie Busta, Highered Dive

Private higher education institutions kept their expenses in line with revenue during fiscal 2020, showing they "are flexible enough" to endure short economic contractions, a new report from Moody's Investors Service explains. The nearly $14 billion in federal relief made available to colleges early in the pandemic offset some initial losses, according to the analysis, which is based on schools Moody's rates. But continued expenses, lost revenue and enrollment declines have been a strain on colleges in the months since.

The EU path towards regulation on artificial intelligence - Valeria Marcia and Kevin C. Desouza, Brookings Insitution

Advances in AI are making their way across all products and services we interact with. Recently, the European Commission proposed its first legal framework on Artificial Intelligence. This proposal is the result of a long and complicated work carried out by the European authorities. In its framework, the European Commission adopts an innovation-friendly approach. A very interesting aspect is that the Commission supports innovation through so-called AI regulatory sandboxes for non-high-risk AI systems, which provide an environment that facilitates the development and testing of innovative AI systems.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Announcing next steps in CU Boulder’s online education strategy - University of Colorado Boulder

Provost Russ Moore and Chief Operating Officer Patrick O’Rourke today announced CU Boulder’s Online Education Team, a collaboration of university experts that will “support faculty with exciting new opportunities to offer innovative, accessible and impactful online learning experiences,” according to Moore. “Our Online Education Team will empower our faculty to leverage their research, scholarship, and creative work for the benefit of our current students, as well as for learners in all phases of life and at all points of career, anywhere on the globe,” Moore said.

7 Things You Should Know About the Digital Divide - Colin McFadden, EDUCAUSE

Along the two primary dimensions of the digital divide—internet access and the hardware needed to use online resources and services—people of lower economic means, of certain racial and ethnic groups, with disabilities, and who live in rural areas consistently lag in their ability to participate fully in the technology-driven world. When the pandemic closed campuses, the divide widened, in part because students no longer had access to campus-based support but also because the pivot to online learning created new obstacles.

Supporting Digital Service-Learning through Campus Collaboration - Lance Eaton and Danielle Leek, EDUCAUSE Review

Expanded online and remote learning as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic allows campuses to support and collaborate on digital service-learning projects, creating opportunities to expand service-learning and, in doing so, play a pivotal role in enhancing the learning of students, faculty, and staff for years to come.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Courts Skeptical on COVID-19 Tuition Lawsuits - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

While judges have dismissed many of those cases, finding them to be without merit or to fail to state a legitimate legal claim, dozens of other courts have given the plaintiffs preliminary victories by allowing the lawsuits to go to trial -- and at least two colleges have agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle lawsuits. On balance, though, most legal experts agree that the tuition reimbursement cases face a generally uphill climb in the courts -- because judges give institutions broad latitude to determine the quality of their education and tend to dismiss claims of educational "malpractice."

From admissions to teaching to grading, AI is infiltrating higher education - Derek Newton, Inside Higher Ed

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is being used to shoot off these seemingly personal appeals and deliver pre-written information through chatbots and text personas meant to mimic human banter. It can help a university or college by boosting early deposit rates while cutting down on expensive and time-consuming calls to stretched admissions staffs. AI has long been quietly embedding itself into higher education in ways like these, often to save money — a need that’s been heightened by pandemic-related budget squeezes.

Movable Satellite Internet: SpaceX to Lift Geo-Restriction on Starlink Dishes Later This Year - Michael Kan, PC Magazine

Currently, SpaceX geo-restricts every Starlink dish to the subscriber’s registered residence. Hence, customers generally can’t use the dish at another location unless it's nearby. But the tweet from Musk indicates the company will lift the restriction, enabling customers to move it from one place to the next. In the meantime, the company still needs more time to build up the Starlink satellite network, which currently numbers at more than 1,300 satellites. In March, SpaceX then filed an application with the FCC for clearance to operate Starlink on moving vehicles—including trucks, boats, and aircraft—in the US.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

What Ed Tech Could Be Today's Antikythera Mechanism? - Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed

The Antikythera mechanism is an astounding device dating to antiquity. It has been hailed as the first mechanical computer, but more precisely it is an educational device.This was an ed-tech device that was millennia ahead of general adoption. It is that revelation that gives me pause to question, what might be the educational technology in recent history that could be comparable in some more modest way to the Antikythera mechanism? Likely, any such comparison will be to virtual technologies such as apps or software.Or, maybe, in fact, it is the medium rather than the multitude of educational technology devices and applications that are developed that will go down as the most remarkable ed tech of our time.

UNL students and staff reflect on remote learning challenges - Chad Mays, Daily Nebraskan

Rita Shmakova, a journalism and mass communications graduate student, said she has had an unusual experience as a UNL student because she lives in Russia. The U.S. Embassy in Russia limited its services on March 19. Shmakova said many of her professors were surprised she was joining classes via Zoom at early hours of the morning, and they are more than happy to meet with her at times that better suit her.  UNL’s Center for Transformative Teaching on campus has worked with faculty, especially those who are remote, throughout this past year to help teachers adjust their teaching styles, Nick Monk, director of the center, said.

Many left behind in this recovery have something in common: No college degree - Heather Long, Washington Post

The latest hiring numbers show encouraging signs that women are returning to the labor force, but major struggles remain for men and women without college degrees. Hiring has rebounded quickly for Americans with college degrees. In recent months, there has been a noticeable surge in people with two-year associate’s degrees getting back into the workforce, but Americans with only a high school diploma or less remain deep in crisis mode, even as employers claim they are having trouble finding workers.