This Week’s Trends in Education and Technology (November 1-8)
[The Week in Education and Technology is a weekly summary of news, events, and ideas related to education, technology, and culture.]
Part of the problem higher education faces right now is we think if we just tell our story better, people will change their opinions about us,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to fundamentally reimagine how we deliver education for this century, for this technology, this economy, this political environment.”
James Hilton, vice provost for academic innovation at the University of Michigan
The Atlantic has an article out about how some colleges could soon cost $100,000 a year. While that amount is not typical of most colleges and universities, the article is a reminder that the cost of college tuition continues to rise. This is placing an inordinate amount of pressure on many institutions, forcing them more than ever to differentiate their programs and justify the time and money required to earn a college degree. And, while some liberal arts colleges are changing to meet new market demands, not all are finding success on their own. Some are finding it necessary to merge with or be acquired by another institution in order to survive. Such is the case with Marlboro College, which will merge with Emerson College over the next eight months.
I definitely think Robert Ubell, vice dean emeritus of online learning at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. has a strong point in claiming that higher ed has now split into dual economies: online and traditional.
“The fastest-growing population in higher education is adult learners, now comprising nearly half of the total learner population. Working professionals have vastly different needs than those of the traditional student,” said Nelson Baker, dean of professional education at Georgia Tech in an American Council of Education report last month, acknowledging that college leaders are uneasy over the inability of conventional higher ed to respond effectively to fierce market forces. Baker is also the new president of UPCEA, the association for professional, continuing, and online education.
But, in spite of the shift, it’s fair to ask if colleges and universities are meeting the online learning challenge.
As we all know, a college education isn’t cheap. For institutions of higher learning, there is a massive opportunity to expand potential enrollment to students who might not have the time or financial resources to attend brick-and-mortar institutions on a full- or even part-time basis. There is also the benefit of enabling students to extend their digital lives into their education.
Unfortunately, however, many colleges and universities are squandering this opportunity. For the past several years, many of these institutions have somewhat begrudgingly embraced the idea of rolling out online education programs, mainly because they must in order to survive and meet the expectations of students today.
Statistics indicate the global online education market is expected to top more than $130 billion in the next few years. Meanwhile, on-campus enrollment is dropping, and the number of students turning to online education is steadily growing. But there is more to these trends than meets the eye.
One of the biggest enrollment opportunities for inline programs is working adults, For these potential students, fully online courses are the no. 1 requirement for meeting their needs.
Finally, I think it’s interesting to read how graduate school officials are adapting or struggling to deal with the fast-moving landscape of higher education.
With a growing emphasis on preparing today’s students for the modern workplace, it isn’t surprising to see so much interest in adopting experiential learning models (such as PBL) to help students build 21st-century skills and competencies.
A desire for real-world, relevant, engaging learning experiences is also driving interest in extended reality technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) applications. And mapping these technologies into formal learning practices is certain to transform higher education pedagogy.
Through this “hacking of the senses”, we can link together the visual three-dimensional view and three-dimensional sound to overload our senses and generate a feeling of touch in an environment where there is no touch or haptic feedback. The result is a new space to design within, yet how do we link this to a solid pedagogical foundation? While we might have a new shiny object to play with, making it work in a learning environment or more specifically a Learning Management System is another matter altogether.
This isn’t to say, of course, that we will all be moving en masse immediately (or even anytime soon) to new teaching and learning paradigms. Which means that Donald Clark’s critique of the traditional lecture is still timely reading.
The Hechinger Report has a good take on the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s recent report on the 36 million Americans with some college education but no degree.
Not everyone who enrolls in college will leave with a certificate or degree, but the number of people who drop out or take a break is much higher than experts previously believed. In December 2013, there were 29 million people with some college education but no degree. That number jumped to 36 million by December of 2018, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
These data alarm the experts, considering all the messaging about the need for postsecondary education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2016 and 2026, employment will grow by 10 percent for jobs that require a bachelor’s degree – faster than the growth projected for all occupations. And even those with a certificate make more, on average, than those who have taken college classes but have not finished their education. College graduates are also more likely to share their wealth with charities and to volunteer, according to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
Also of interest in workforce education this past week is Pearson’s purchase acquisition of Lumerit Education, a San Antonio, Texas-based company that works with businesses to offer their employees opportunities to earn bachelor’s degrees.
The big news over the past week or so in educational publishing has centered on the OER movement — in particular on the controversy and announcement(s) coming out of the recent OpeneD conference. There have been a number of immediate (and worthwhile) takes on the opportunities and issues facing the open education movement.
- The Crumbling of the OpenEd Coalition
- Open Ed: Reflecting on context, centrality and diversity
- An Elephant in the OER Room: One Topic We Aren’t Talking About
- A Distributed Content Addressable Network for Open Educational Resources
Looking out on the near horizon, there are plenty of signs regarding the technologies that will shape our cultural and learning futures. A couple of examples include AR and VR for the military and the use of AI and face-scanning technologies for prescriptive activities such as qualifying job applicants.
With the current U.S.-China trade war in mind, it’s also worth noting that China’s Communist Party has pledged to master core technologies.
Student Computer and Information Literacy Skills (Daily Takes)