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The Vision for Higher Education and possibly for K-12 as well:

In the future, there will be a "Walmart of Education"

EduMart -- Save money. Learn better.

  • A higher education degree at 50% (or likely even more) of the normal/typical/average cost

  • Remedial education is offered if needed

  • A great majority of the engaging, interactive materials will be delivered/accessible online -- available 24x7, from anywhere, on any device

  • The institution will constantly review, select and implement state-of-the-art technologies:
    • Web-based tools (or other as appropriate) to meet the needs of a global, mobile, & lifelong student body
    • Video-based and audio-only-based conferencing
    • "Document" collaboration tools -- where the "document" could be a song, a video, a PDF file, a spreadsheet, a VoiceThread, a website, or some other type of "file"
    • Shared-learning spaces where the individual can invite others from all over the world to enter into their personalized learning environment
    • Ability to offer breakout rooms for group work
    • Etc.

      By doing this, this organization will equip their students for "hitting the ground running" upon "graduation". Corporations will support this organization because it serves their interests as well -- i.e. better prepared, skilled workers for their global project teams/workforces. They will demonstrate such support by hiring graduates from this organization.

  • For any given topic or learning objective, students will be able to select from multiple content types, based on what works best for their learning style(s)

  • The materials will be interactive, employing more game-like learning devices and scaffolding (i.e. think Sherlock Holmes...learning while having fun...perhaps not even knowing that you are learning)

  • Faculty members will act as subject matter experts (SME's) to either select content (from an every-larger pool of high-end learning modules) or to help build content (along with a TEAM of specialists in their areas) as well as to guide, facilitate discussion and discovery, answer questions, help resolve problems when necessary

  • The TEAM will be composed of:

    • Subject Matter Experts

    • Instructional Designers
      (ideally they will also know which types of materials/scaffolding to use to address the various age groups out there; especially relevant when designing learning materials for traditional students vs. adult/lifelong learners)

    • Project Managers

    • Recruiters
      (to obtain the assistance from -- and licensing for -- using the best materials from the most knowledgeable/networked SME's from around the world)

    • Legal Counsel
      (for navigating a complex, ever-changing technological world while insuring proper licensing, copyrights, etc.)

    • Researchers / Mind Experts
      (i.e. learning about and relaying discoveries of how the mind works, while helping to apply these learnings)

    • Digital Audio Specialists

    • Digital Video Specialists

    • Streaming Media Experts

    • Mobile Learning Consultants

    • Writers and Editors
      (skilled at putting as much content into as few words as possible)

    • Programmers and Database Specialists
      (Flash, ActionScript, PHP/mySQL, Ruby on Rails, AJAX, or whatever other "language" arises)

    • Web Design and Production Specialists

    • Interactivity Designers

    • Multimedia Specialists including Multi-Touch Experts/Programmers

    • 3D / 2D Graphic Designers and/or Animators

    • MindMappers / Visual Learning Experts

    • Personalized Learning Consultants
      (knowing how much to push and how much to encourage)

    • Security Experts

    • The students themselves

    • Other

      Do you see why -- if and when such an organization is developed and begins delivering this type of engaging, interactive content -- that one person doesn't stand a chance of competing by himself or herself? NO way! I can't, you can' one can. Can one person create something like this?

      Example of an excellent simulation/learning game.

  • "Courses" to offer engaging content; pedagogy designed to turn over the control to the students -- perhaps even having the students themselves create the cross-disciplinary courses, assignments, and marketable products of the future.

  • Promotion of a network of multimedia centers/labs where students can freely create their content

  • Incentive systems, promotions, hiring policies, professional development, etc. will be geared towards being creative and effective implementers of technologies that help meet specific learning objectives


  • (3/23/09)
    The learning modules will strive to be relevant to real-world problems and issues, even moreso that what is typically practiced. See iSchool as an example of this.

  • (10/14/09)
    The students will be able to customize their interfaces to see only what they want to see -- and they will be able to build their own learning ecosystems. Materials created by the teams of specialists (as described above) will be ONE of their potential sources of learning. Depending upon how things are setup/administered, they will also be able to contribute their own content and see (and rate) content contributed by other students from either a certain college or university, or even from students around the world. There will be web-based videoconferencing, audio-conferencing, chat, interactive whiteboarding, and application sharing.

Daniel Christian -- new model of PLE's

Who might this organization turn out to be?

  • An organization with deep pockets -- one that operates more like a corporation than a traditional institution of higher education; one that can be more fluid, innovative, adaptive, responsive

  • A consortium of colleges or universities or goverments

  • It could be the federal government or an alliance of governments from various nations...

  • Open education resources may play a critical role here as well

  • It may turn out to be one or more of the major publishers (perhaps even in a collaborative effort or via online exchanges)
    The major publishing companies already have such teams, access to world-famous SME's, and have already developed materials along the lines of what I'm proposing here. Who knows...publishers may decide to get into the business of offering degrees themselves.

  • But most likely, it will be a new player that is organized and behaves like a responsive, for-profit corporation. I doubt that the current player already exists of December 1, least not in their current form.



  • For Presidents, Provosts, and decision-making bodies of all universities and colleges -- now is the time to develop a game plan on how you want to prepare/react to this impending competitive situation
    • Especially consider whether your institution has the resources necessary to compete here or whether you will need to team up with others

  • For teachers and professors -- you will need to add some additional chairs at the table, which can be:
    • Threatening / maddening
    • A source of relief -- knowing that you won't have to bear all the weight anymore

  • For professors and teachers -- be good to your local instructional technologists, designers, programmers, etc.! You are probably going to be needing them quite a bit in the future.

  • For instructional designers, programmers, and for the other team members as listed above -- get you gear, you'll be going into action more and more.

  • For urban students, for inner-city students, and for students throughout the world -- Be encouraged, the great leveler is coming! You, too, may be able to take the best courses from the best teams in the world.

  • For students as well as for faculty at "Edumart Education":
    Such an institution will have a bit more bent towards vocational/practical training; working to provide healthy returns on investments.


For Calvin:

  • Do we carve out a niche for Christian-based e-learning modules? For engaging, interactive materials?
  • Do we host our own applications, simulations, online/serious/educational games?
  • Will our faculty members be forced to "get into business for themselves" and branch off to create and offer their own courses throughout the world?


Further thoughts:

  • Creating an online course is expensive and time-consuming -- for the first time it is offered. Then, changes can be made if necessary during subsequent times that the course is offered (via an iterative design process)

  • But once a course is set, it can be offered again, and again, and again, and again-- the ROI is excellent as:
    • The more times it is offered, the higher the ROI
    • If all members of the consortium could offer this course, the ROI increases even further
    • There would be far fewer costs related to physical facilities:
      • No more building new facilities -- adding an additional server is far less expensive than building a new facility
      • No more building maintenance projects
      • No more janitorial service expenditures
      • Greatly reduced energy-related expenditures -- heating, A/C, electricity (and these could be covered by an ASP/hosted solution at that)
    • The costs could be spread out amongst members of the consortium

  • Online learning does have some other disadvantages (beside the initial expense to create the materials)
    • It is more work to offer for the professor or teacher at times due to technology-related hurdles, headaches, and learning curves (at least for first-time students and staff). Orientations and 1-800 tech support #'s are helpful here.
    • Student expectations are often set too high; they want 24x7, instant responses

  • With those things said, online-based tools offer a great deal of convenience, accessibility, and efficiency. Items such as online-based gradebooks, assignments, syllabi and other materials, etc. save time, printing costs and can efficiently be copied from one session to another in most course management systems.

  • According to the recent report from the New Media Consortium and The Economist entitled, "The Future of Higher Education: How Technology Will Shape Learning", 71% of higher ed institutions already offer online courses and another 20% plan on doing so in the next 3-5 years.

  • Online learning provides a convenience that students continue to want -- the growth has not plateaued yet.

  • Online learning will provide end-user control and the students will be able to select the items that help them learn the best. The materials will be more engaging than what one person can generate at this time.


Follow up images:


As a follow up to the information posted above on 12/1/08 -- The Forthcoming Walmart of Education -- here's a visual representation of one of the pieces that I was talking about:

Players at the Table -- 2008

Some of the players at the table in 2015

Above (edited) image purchased from
NOTE: Librarians added to above image on 4/25/09


As an addendum, I wanted to offer another idea that might help fund engaging, multimedia-based, online-based learning materials: (NOTE: The figures I use are not accurate, but rather, they are used for illustration purposes only.)

Let's reallocate funds towards course development, and then let's leverage those learning materials throughout the world!

Reallocate funds to course development, and bring costs WAAAAYYYY down and ACCESS WAAAYYY  UP!

For students: Bring costs waaaayyyyy down and access waaayyy up!
Plus, no more defaulted loans, students could experience richer content, students wouldn't have to wait as much on financial aid decisions. There would be fewer financial aid headaches; and the resources devoted to figuring out & processing financial aid could be reduced.
The issue will be how an institution can differentiate itself in such a new world...but that issue will have to be dealt with in the future anyway.

"It is a ridiculous irony that FAFSA is too intimidating a process for many of the very people it is designed to assist. Margaret Spellings, secretary of education in the Bush administration, estimated that 8 million American families never applied for aid for which they were eligible because they were scared off by the FAFSA process."

-- from College loan ritual an absurd maze

Addendum 4/28/09

New Study Details Impact of Economic Crisis on College Enrollment: Report Drives Colleges to Ramp Up Services -- original link from Ray Schroeder
Over 70% of incoming college freshmen and their families are considering BIG changes in their college plans due to the current economic climate. This new study, which includes regional breakouts, puts hard figures to what has been speculation on the part of colleges, students and government officials over the past few months.

Over 70% of students in the 2009 freshman college class may be looking at big changes in their education plans due to economic pressures, according to a nationwide study released today by Longmire & Co., Inc, an educational consulting firm. Nearly half of the families participating in the study say they will definitely modify their children's college plans and another 26% are in a state of flux because of the uncertainty surrounding the economy. Adding to their anxiety is an overall frustration in understanding the complexities of the financial aid system, the study showed.



Here are some potential pricing models for higher education in the future.

We offer more choices to the students (perhaps ala carte) -- ideally significantly lowering the costs by charging only for what each student actually chooses to use:

Potential pricing models for the future -- Daniel S. Christian -- July 13, 2009


Top  Home

Related articles / thoughts:

From DSC: Behold...disruption cometh!
I've said for years that what education/higher ed becomes will be mind-blowing to those of us alive right now! We couldn't of imagined it! Along these lines, I can't emphasis enough how disruptive technology can and will be. Recently, it seems to me that a couple of interesting pieces of the puzzle are becoming clearer in their potential impact for education as well as for how an individual will find their jobs/work:

  • Online exchanges
  • Your online identity is your online resume, your online portfolio, your online reputation; this is what can land you a job. Question from our silo of the world, where will colleges and universities fit into this puzzle?
  • Convergence / platforms

"Reputation systems now challenge academic credentialing" -- from Academic Evolution blog

The Last Professor -- from The New York Times, by Stanley Fish
The for-profit university is the logical end of a shift from a model of education centered in an individual professor who delivers insight and inspiration to a model that begins and ends with the imperative to deliver the information and skills necessary to gain employment.

The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities -- by Frank Donoghue

College Tuition Not Affordable in Future? -- from Will Thalheimer
The New York Times published an article today saying that college tuition may be out of reach for most Americans. This, of course, is stunning news. If true, it will rip a gaping hole in the very fabric of our society. It will also, make the job of work-learning professionals that much harder.

Soaring College Tuitions -- how much longer can the public take this?


University of the People - providing low cost online degree courses worldwide -- from

On the Internet, a university without a campus -- from the Global Edition of the New York Times, by Tamar Lewin

Israeli Entrepreneur Plans a Free Global University That Will Be Online Only -- from the Global Edition of the New York Times, by Tamar Lewin

Analysis: New Strains Put Pressure on Traditional College-Pricing Model -- from the Chronicle of Highere Education, by Beckie Supiano
Concern over the rising cost of college is nothing new, but it's taking an interesting turn. Most of the attention given to college costs focuses on the sticker price, but few students ever pony up that much. As that price rises, merit-based aid does, too, and most students get what amounts to...

"How long can the model of ever-increasing price and merit aid be sustained? What new system would rise in its place? The college pricing system's shaky foundation is based on a decline in government support for higher education."..."The economic reality and the demographic reality is there aren't enough residential full-time students for all the colleges that want them who can afford them," says Robert A. Sevier, senior vice president for strategy at Stamats Inc., a higher-education-marketing company.

College students flocking to online classes -- from the Boston Globe
The current financial crisis is expected to further the trend.
"In these tough economic times, with unemployment up and higher costs for heating and transportation, we will inevitably see the appeal of online education grow," said Frank Mayadas, program director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "The survey results demonstrate that online education is increasingly playing an important role in higher education."

Sustaining supply of content for the digital education revolution


The Future of Education
The pace of change is mandating that we produce a faster, smarter, better grade of human being. Current systems are preventing that from happening. Future education systems will be unleashed with the advent of a standardized rapid courseware-builder and a single point global distribution system. As part of the rapidly developing courseware movement we will see education transition from:

  • Teacher-centric to learning-centric
  • Classroom-based teaching to anyplace, anytime learning
  • Mandated courses to hyper-individualized learning
  • A general population of consumers to a growing population of producers

Data Show College Endowments Loss Is Worst Drop Since ’70s -- from the New York Times

More Students Taking Classes Online, with Further Growth Expected -- from Educational Technology, by Ray Schroeder

$200 Laptops Break a Business Model -- from the New York Times

Rethinking the value of college -- from George Siemens

When higher education is viewed as being primarily about getting a job, reports of this nature* understandably arise: "Today's economic downturn has blindsided a generation of young people around the globe brought up to believe that a college degree guaranteed them financial prosperity. Whether in the US, China, or in countries in between, graduates from even marquee-name schools are feeling the crunch, prompting many rightly to rethink the value of their education".

Later in the article, the author turns the focus of college to something more in line with my thinking: "College is not intended to be a trade school. Its purpose is to develop the skills necessary to be lifelong learners who are capable of finding new information, evaluating it, and applying it to the real world". Of course, if you have a degree and are looking for work, saying "I feel good about my capacity to handle information and can clearly see my contribution to the history of ideas" feels rather hollow.

*Rethink the value of college -- from the Christian Science Monitor
In a world where a degree no longer means a job, we need to prepare students for challenges ahead

Transformation 101 -- from, by Kevin Carey
Technology is driving down the cost of teaching undergraduates. So why are tuition bills going up?

Students, meanwhile, will likely turn in increasing numbers to the for-profit universities that are aggressively moving into the market by offering convenient, no-frills degree programs over the Web. Enrollment in the "Online Campus" of the University of Phoenix, an accredited for-profit institution, grew from fewer than 15,000 students in 2000 to nearly 225,000 in 2007. And since there are no publicly available measures of learning results, there’s no way to know if Phoenix courses and others like them are better or worse than those offered by traditional institutions.


That, along with everything else that traditional colleges provide, is worth paying for. But people will only pay so much. As that limit approaches, colleges will either embrace the need to compete on quality and use technology to enhance productivity, or they’ll find themselves diminished in a way that leaves students, scholarship, and society at large all the poorer.

Americans Increasingly See College as Essential and Worry More About Access, Poll Finds -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Sara Hebel (2/4/09)l

The proportion of Americans who view a higher education as being necessary to succeed economically has risen sharply this decade, but the percentage who believe that the vast majority of people who are qualified for college have the opportunity to go has dwindled over the same period, according to survey findings scheduled for release today. Among the 1,009 adults who participated in the nationwide survey—conducted by Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, two independent nonprofit research groups—55 percent said college is necessary, up from 31 percent of those who responded to the same question in 2000. But only 29 percent of respondents to the most-recent poll said qualified students have the opportunity to go to college, down from 45 percent in 2000. The proportion of respondents who said access to higher education for qualified students is a problem—67 percent—was the highest in the 15-year history of the survey of public attitudes about higher education. This is the sixth time the poll has been conducted.


University of the People

The University of the People promises to open the gates of higher education to anyone in the world interested in attending college. We believe that education at a very minimal cost is a basic right for all suitable applicants, not just for a privileged few. The University of the People is based on the premise that education is crucial to the advancement of individuals and of society at large. There are millions of people around the world, especially in third world countries, who are excluded from higher education for various reasons: some live far away from academic institutions, others cannot afford the admission fee and tuition for the local university.

You’ll work for free or not at all, graduates warned -- from Evening Standard (UK)

Graduates will be forced to work for free for the first time in a generation as firms axe jobs, employers warned today. London is facing the sharpest cuts in graduate vacancies amid signs that university leavers are already abandoning the capital in search of work elsewhere. Finalists face the "double whammy" of lower salaries and record university debts from top-up tuition fees, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) warned.

Cornell Experts Discuss Colleges' Responsibilities During Hard Times

Mr. Ehrenberg offered an assessment that was mostly bleak. The United States, he said, is no longer the leader in providing degrees for its population, and the parts of the population that are growing most rapidly are traditionally the most underrepresented in college. While Cornell's tuition equaled 28 percent of median family income in 1980, it was 57 percent in 2007, and it will increase next year.

In years past, there were no market pressures on tuition; families strove to buy the best education for their children that they could afford because they realized that an elite college might open more doors than one less esteemed (at the Cornell Club, indeed, a doorman opens the front door for visitors). But the market may be reaching a breaking point, Mr. Ehrenberg said.

Is higher ed the next bubble?

This next resource/link was found and added to this page on 4/14/09:
Could independent colleges be the next bubble? -- from, by Maurna Desmond
Many face threats to solvency as students seek cheaper options

[The Chronicle of] Higher Education Facing Extinction -- from Academic Evolution

A few days ago Gordon Gee, President of Ohio State University, proclaimed to other college presidents gathered at the American Council of Education that colleges are at a defining crossroads: "The choice, it seems to me, is this: reinvention or extinction." Strong words from an academic leader, to be sure. Of course the Chronicle of Higher Education, that flagship for issues affecting colleges and universities, reported on it. But to whom? To the broad array of stakeholders who need to think through the problems and discuss proposed solutions to higher education? Nope. The Chronicle of Higher Education kept Gee's remarks safely quarantined behind its pay-to-play subscription gate.

Because its owners and editors are trapped, like traditional academic journals are trapped, in a business model (based on an obsolete print paradigm) which dictates that costs be recovered at the point of distribution--something possible only through restricting access. This is so customary that it proceeds unquestioned, despite the fact that restricting access is fundamentally antithetical to the spread of knowledge that is, purportedly, the goal of the industry that the Chronicle "serves"; despite the fact that alternatives exist. Good alternatives, looking better all the time.

Because of that fact, change makers will route around the Chronicle of Higher Education, just as students are bound to route around institutions of higher education, once they realize that it is both easier and more productive to do so.

Also see Gordon Gee’s Call for ‘Reinvention’ of Higher Ed from


Web 2.0 Finally Takes on Textbooks -- from Campus, by Trent Batson
Web 2.0 is essentially about a new way to create knowledge in human culture. We are a decade into this revolution of distributed, aggregated, and synthesized wisdom. Still, textbooks, written in the old pre-packaged way are sold by the millions. And, their cost increases each year by three times the cost of living increase. These two factors, new ways to create and keep creating knowledge, and over-the-top prices, have led to the stirrings of a revolution in how students have access to textbooks.


New Players, Different Game925 New Players, Different Game: Understanding the Rise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities
-- from Tomorrow's Professor Blog

"The authors apply the interesting concept of "disruptive innovation" to their analysis of the for-profit sector. They note that FPCUs (for profit colleges and universities) use a different overall approach-different decision-making models, different ways to deliver instruction, and different ways to measure success. FPCU innovations include serving new markets; achieving lower unit production costs (not price) through small size, simplicity, and convenience; and initially offering a narrowly defined, underperforming product that has since improved in quality, leading to competition over more products."




Lev Gonick: How Technology Will Reshape Academe After the Economic Crisis
-- from The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog by Jeff Young

From DSC:
Here are some quotes from this article that I think are very relevant to Calvin and any other institution of higher education:

Where will higher education be the day after the current global economic crisis passes? If you think things will simply go back to the way they were once the economy recovers in a year or two, think again.

The structural challenges we face are far more complex than (tuition+research+endowment)-(salaries+facilities).

Indeed, the whole learning process is changing thanks to the Internet. First professors posted syllabi online and used e-mail to supplement their office hours. Then learning activities like classroom presentations were supplemented by student-published Web pages, searchable discussion forums, and collaborative wikis. In a curve that has only been accelerating these past 20 years, we now have an educational economy of information abundance confronting an educational delivery system that was built for a time of information scarcity. Colleges have shared some of their best teaching using new systems like Apple’s iTunes U, OpenCourseWare, and explosive content-creation activities underway in countries like India and China.

Future generations of learners will no doubt look back at the global economic crisis of 2008-9 and reflect on which institutions were agile enough to make a difference by bringing the wisdom of their scholars together with the acumen of their technology officers and the ingenuity and determination of their university leaders. It’s actually not only the future of the university that is in play. How we produce, organize, and distribute open education resources is at the heart of the future of education around the world. —Lev Gonick


Signs of a Significant Disruption in the Traditional Textbook Model -- from The Journal, by Geoffrey H. Fletcher
Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the December 18, 2008 issue of the New York Times in which he gave advice to the car companies. Friedman was saying that the car companies were giving the public what they wanted, but that was their problem. "Their job is to make the cars people don't know they want but will buy like crazy when they see them." He noted Apple's success with the iPod and Toyota's success with its hybrid. His point was that companies that are too market-driven are in danger; they need to show customers the possibilities because often customers don't know what they don't know until they see other options.

From DSC:
(This posting piggybacks on the article by Janet Clarey -- "Are you playing the role of the Subject Matter Expert instead of the Instructional Designer?"; it touches upon a subject that I've been reflecting upon for quite some time now...)

Along the line of what Janet Clarey was saying, don't we also force our Subject Matter Experts (SME's) to be Instructional Designers (ID's) and/or Professors as well? That is, don't we in education assume that solid SME's are also solid Teachers? Is that a fair assumption? Is that really serving the student? I took many classes at Northwestern University (NU) from people who knew their subject matter cold...but that didn't mean they could teach. Also, that doesn't mean I can remember most things that they taught me, even though I did very well there.

NU and other research universities -- where the emphasis is not on teaching but on research, being published, etc. -- may have the luxury to operate the same way for a long time. After all, they have a $7 billion endowment and an admissions situation where only 17% of the applicants are accepted; and there will be people who are still able to afford the almost $50,000 a year price tag...and who will still pay for the degree because they trust that piece of paper will bring them big $$ down the road. Why? Because of the name of the school.

But are such universities' students *really* being served? Are they experiencing an appropriate ROI? (Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm proud of my days at NU. It was a great school and I was surrounded by very bright students. I have many good memories from that place and I love what I'm doing today. But I believe that I could have followed my exact same career path by attending a far less expensive school.)

My days at NU make me reflect on the almost "scam-like" situation that can take place in higher education these days. Students pay over $50,000 per year these days to attend Northwestern University! These same students may very well be taught by grad students trying to make their ways through their own programs or by solid SME's who were never taught how to teach others (in fact, for many of them, teaching is a "been there done that" sort of thing...and it's not their primary focus at all). Is that what students should be paying for?

That's why Calvin College is such a great place I might add. Our professors know their students by name and they strive to be the best teachers as possible. The focus is unashamedly and without reservation on teaching. As it should be, at least from the perspectives of the people who are paying the bills.

But this almost scam-like situation that I'm reflecting upon may be another reason why online learning-- created by a team of experts -- will blow away NU's current way of doing business. Let the SME's be SME's...let the ID's be ID's...let the programmers be programmers...and bring all of the talent together to create something that they could never have done working individually.

If I were Morton Schapiro, the incoming president of NU, I would be at least a bit suspect of the changing dynamics in higher education. It might even keep me up at night...

(4/28/09) Follow up quote from the New York Times article, "End the University as We Know It" by Mark C. Taylor

The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations.


Job prospects for college grads worst in generation; grads get schooled in job market -- The Salt Lake Tribune

From DSC:
If you were graduating, how much debt would you want on your back?

Imminent Changes in Higher Education and its Delivery -- from elearnspace by George Siemens
Over the last several years, I’ve been trying to communicate the basis for educational change: don’t change education based on an instantiation of change (web 2.0, participative web)…change education based on foundational change. What is the foundational change? As this article - Imminent Changes in Higher Education and its Delivery - states, it’s related to how information is created/shared/validated/disseminated:

The term education is no longer bound by the traditional concepts that shackled it for so long - we don’t have to rely on the traditional methods of information access and content delivery that formed our staple learning diet all these years. Thanks to the Internet and associated technology, there have been rapid advances in the way we access and assimilate information. What was earlier available only at a premium cost is now open to all at no cost at all, what was earlier limited to the heavy, printed and bound version is now digitized and easier to access.


Double Take -- from
After already announcing plans to deal with the economic crisis, three of the nation's wealthiest universities are employing new strategies.

The first cut isn’t always the deepest. As endowments continue to lose value and economic outlooks grow ever bleaker, some of the nation’s wealthiest universities are calling for greater sacrifices than they were just a few months ago. In recent weeks, administrators at Stanford, Harvard and Cornell universities have laid out financial assessments that will require budget reductions, layoffs and increased borrowing. These measures go beyond earlier plans to deal with the economic downturn, suggesting the first steps were deemed insufficient to address a problem that has grown in scale.

In a letter circulated Feb. 18, Harvard President Drew Faust laid out just how severe the crisis now appears. “Uncertainty sometimes seems our only certainty,” the letter stated. “But what has become clear is that we are living through much more than a bump in the road. Our economic landscape has fundamentally changed.

“In less challenging times, we might have avoided some difficult decisions that lie ahead,” Skorton said in the letter. “But a new reality is at hand for higher education, as well as for the rest of our economy. We are at a defining moment in Cornell’s history.”


I don't know much about WizIQ or its offerings, but from the looks of the bullet points (see below), we in higher education better fasten our seatbelts. In fact, if you combine this type of offering with 1:1 learning mechanisms, you have a potent learning platform.



Leading in a Recession: A 2009 Higher Education Action Plan -- A White Paper
Though often considered counter-cyclical, the higher education sector has been deeply and broadly affected by the financial crisis. To help make sense of this complex crisis and its impact on colleges and universities, Eduventures conducted interviews with some of higher education’s leading thinkers to learn from their experiences and about their plans for the future. We spoke with provosts, chief development officers, enrollment management executives, and presidents. We talked to representatives of for-profit and non-profit, two-year and four-year, public and private, large and small institutions. We asked about leadership, priorities, and the role of higher education in an economic crisis. This paper weaves some of the most insightful comments from our interviews into a 2009 timeline for university leaders and can serve as a reference and planning document as this highly anticipated year unfolds.

From a white paper by Eduventures: Leading in a Recession (2009)

Enrollment overwhelming community colleges in Fla. -- by Jim Ash, Florida Capital News Bureau Chief
The worst recession since the Great Depression is sending the unemployed streaming back to school, and Florida's community colleges are at the breaking point, officials told the state board of education Monday.

Community College Surge -- from


Online learning -- dominated by the For Profits

Online market trends -- from Eduventures Dec 2008 Report

Above two graphs from:
Online Higher Education Market Update 2008: Market Size, Forecasts and Differentiation, December 2008 Report

From DSC: An additional thought here...
I the above projection, Eduventures assumes here that the online world will stay roughly the same...and students will move towards it at roughly the same, steady rate. However, I think the situation will be different. I have it that if teams of specialists come together in the online world but not in the face-to-face world, and if the online world moves more towards giving control to the learner while at the same time offering engaging items such as interactivity, simulations, games, role-playing, and chances for solid professor-to-student and student-to-student won't a contest. Online learning will dominate. Also consider that more "traditional" students will have to work just to pay the bills. Thus, convenience becomes a much greater factor.


Thoughts from DSC:

I believe Higher Education -- as an industry -- must be able to reinvent itself, or at the least, adapt as the world changes. As an industry (and not addressing the value of a Christian-based education), we sell peer-reviewed information. However, much of this information is now free or soon will be if the current trends continue. Accredidation is what keeps us in business.

But where does this leave us and for how long? How do we differentiate ourselves and provide value in this ever-changing world?

For you all in positions of leadership within education/higher education, please don't underestimate the disruptive power of technology. If you do, the institutions and organizations that you lead will be obsolete and irrelevant within a generation. Remember, the game has now changed...the speed at which information can flow is now exponentially faster. Thus, the pace of innovation is now much faster.

A somewhat-relevant book here is The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google, by Nicholas Carr (2008), which discusses the complex interplay between technological and economic systems..

Open access for scholarly publication required by MIT -- from Liberal Education Today by Bryan Alexander


NYC iSchool -- a new screened high school in New York; original link from Immunization for an Uninteresting Curriculum Found at the iSchool (from The Innovative Educator)

Comment from DSC:
This is one of my biggest fears about the future for educators in K-12 and at the collegiate level. Will we face an uphill battle of keeping our students' interests if we don't change our game? The game they are growing up with is very different then ours was...and this is not in our control. What is a bit more in our control is how we will react to this situation. The word "engage" will become a key goal for us I believe.


Academic Earth Is The Hulu For Education -- from by Leena Rao

Location: New York, New York, United States
Founded: 2008
Location: New York, New York, United States
Launched: 2008
Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Futurist Update
News & Previews from the World Future Society | April 2009 (Vol. 10, No. 4)
In This Issue:

  • Putting Professors Back in the Classroom <-- From DSC: Calvin is very fortunate/blessed here; our focus IS on the students and on teaching...but that is not the norm, as this article asserts. Will students put up with this within higher education as an industry? At the prices they are paying, they shouldn't and they won't (as time goes by and they gain more power and control over their learning).


YouTube EDU Brings Free Education to the Masses -- from Lifehacker: Top by Adam Pash
YouTube has just released a new sub-site called YouTube EDU, aggregating thousands of free lectures from over a hundred universities across the country, including MIT, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and oh-so-many more.

CampusBuddy Connects Students and Universities Through Social Media
--- from Mashable! by Jennifer Van Grove -- empowering students

From DSC:
Get used to hearing this...due to the web and technological innovations, students
will continue to gain power. That may turn out to be a good thing.

Blockbuster and TiVo Join to Deliver Digital Movies
-- from the New York Times, by Brad Stone
With its lingering debt problems resolved for now, Blockbuster is pinning some of its hopes on a digital future. The struggling video rental chain will announce a partnership with TiVo on Wednesday to deliver Blockbuster’s digital movie library over the Internet directly to the televisions of people with TiVo digital video recorders.

From DSC:
This is yet another sign of disruption...and my hunch is that the upper suites at Blockbuster's headquarters were mainly inhabited by old school execs. Execs who, once again, over the last 10 years greatly underestimated the disruptive power of technology. Folks who didn't grow up with technology, have not taken courses in it, don't use it much themselves, or those who don't believe in its power are the ones to likely make such strategic errors. Unfortunately, these folks are often the ones in places of decision-making power. The marketplace is not very forgiving of such errors. Unfortunately, these types of executives learn this lesson too late...


Many college students face mountain of debt once they graduate -- from

Top 10 Tools for a Free Online Education -- from

Related posting:
Hacking education: Google U -- from Jeff Jarvis


Revolt Against Outsourced Courses -- from
Here's the pitch: "Can you really GO TO COLLEGE for LESS THAN the cost of your monthly CELL PHONE BILL? We can't say that this is true in ALL cases -- hey, you might have a GREAT cell phone plan. But maybe it's your cable bill, electric bill, or your GAS bill. ... The point we're trying to make is that taking general education, required college courses just became A LOT more affordable [emphasis DSC]."


How affordable? $99 for a course. And if you take the courses offered by StraighterLine -- in composition, economics, algebra, pre-calculus, and accounting -- you don't need to worry that the company isn't itself a college. StraighterLine has partnerships with five colleges that will award credit for the courses [emphasis DSC]. Three are for-profit institutions and one is a nontraditional state university for adult students. But one college among the five is more typical of the kinds of colleges most students attend. It is Fort Hays State University, an institution of 10,000 students in Kansas.

Also see my Consortiums, Societies, & Pooling Resources (in Education) page.

"I’m talking about the launch of StraighterLine, StraighterLine, an alliance between the largest online tutoring company (Smarthinking), one of the largest media/publishing companies (McGraw Hill), the largest learning management company (Blackboard), and a number of partner educational institutions." -- from CWerry

Relevant articles/thoughts from Kairosnews -- by cwerry
Kairosnews is a discussion community for educators interested in the intersections of rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy.

The Rhetoric of Crisis -- from Kairosnews by cwerry

Three interesting stories in today’s Chronicle of Higher Ed. Each has implications for discussions of new media, online education and open source.

1: Newspapers are dying. Are universities next?

The first, by Kevin Carey (policy director of Education Sector, a Washington Think Tank) is titled “What Colleges Should Learn from Newspapers' Decline.” It begins with this rather scary question: “Newspapers are dying. Are universities next?”

The 'Perfect Storm' Facing Higher Education, and how Open Source Initiatives Might Offer Some Solutions


Tomgram: Andy Kroll, The Crisis of College Affordability -- from, my thanks to Ken Piers, Chemistry Dept. at Calvin College, for the original link

Welcome to the other crisis spreading quietly across the country: the crisis of college affordability. Talk to enough students and families on a college campus like the University of Michigan, where I'm a student, and you'll hear plenty of stories like Bobby Stapleton's -- of families scraping by in increasingly tough times as tuition bills rise, of students working second and third jobs, of newly minted graduates staggering into an ever more jobless world under the weight of tens of thousands of dollars in student-loan debt.

Oberlin College breaks $50,000-a-year tuition threshold -- from by Janet Okoben

The higher costs of higher education

From article

In case you missed it, see my above posting on this outrageous -- almost SCAM-LIKE -- situation!
This is pure craziness. I am a Northwestern grad. However my wife and I would have no hope of sending our kids to NU even if we wanted to...there's no way we could afford these kinds of prices! And honestly, it isn't worth it...and you can tell that to the grad students teaching many of your courses at Northwestern...or to the researchers at NU who don't give jack about their skills at teaching students -- nor were they ever trained in how to teach someone (and by the way, nor were they hired for their teaching skills). How much longer will students and families put up with this situation?


As Newspapers Implode, Diverse Voices Move Online -- from George Siemens
Any media that is mismatched to the needs and interests of the market it wishes to serve has a dim future. The multi-perspective (in theory at least…it depends on whether or not we avail ourselves to opinions contrary from our own) personalized, social online world is one that newspapers cannot duplicate in print form. In a presentation a few weeks ago, I argued that universities face a similar challenge of relevance. Universities - as with media - need to “map reality” (Frank and Gabler), namely the concerns, trends, and vital interests of a society. Newspapers are playing the “democracy is in danger” card…much like universities will play the “society is in danger” angle [emphasis DSC]. That’s a misplaced view. Mismatching form and function (between university and society) calls into question the future of universities, not society.

Podcast: American Higher Education Is Going Global: Implications for CIOs, National Networks, and Federal Policymakers -- from Educause Connect, Networking and Emerging Technologies by gbayne
This 44 minute podcast features a keynote address by Jeffrey S. Lehman, Former President of Cornell University. His speech, "American Higher Education Is Going Global: Implications for CIOs, National Networks, and Federal Policymakers," was recorded at the EDUCAUSE 2008 Policy Conference in Arlington, Virgina.

U.S. universities have come to see their universes in global terms, most visibly in brand-new overseas campuses. But just as important are joint teaching and research projects that dramatically intensify the flow of data to points halfway around the world. Historically, such data flows have required the physical transportation of people or storage media from place to place. Dramatic improvements in networking technology, however, are changing academic leaders' perceptions of the kinds of collaborations that are possible [emphasis DSC]. The most ambitious forms of network cooperation test the capabilities of the global cyberinfrastructure, with bits crossing campus, regional, national, and international networks. Each of the four tiers is a vital link. Each involves a different set of actors, challenging us to develop new policies and governance structures that respond to the concerns of each level, as well as a truly global perspective that is not yet effectively captured. Our national policy community must step into this void, helping demonstrate the range of possibilities and the choices we face, while respecting and reflecting that people in other countries will likely perceive matters differently from us.

Colleges are the ones fearing rejection letters -- from, by G. Jeffrey MacDonald Special for, USA TODAY
For college-bound students, it's time to make decisions — and to navigate a transformed landscape where acceptances and wait-list status might have different implications than they did just a year ago. Decision letters being sent out this week reflect the worries of administrators, who fear admitted applicants may hesitate to commit in this climate of economic uncertainty. Private colleges especially are preparing for lower than normal matriculation rates by accepting more applicants, expanding wait lists and bolstering efforts to woo admitted students, says the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

College grads face worst job market in years -- from


Quote from section entitled, "Drivers of change" from The Association of Commonwealth Universities Bulletin #166:

Underpinning many of the presentations on how technology can service the higher education sector was the acknowledgment of vast and rapid change in the sector [emphasis DSC]. Expanding and diversifying access, participating in an internationally-networked sector, developing sustainable funding models in the face of declining public resources, changes to how we construct knowledge and deliver higher education, changing expectations of students, and participation in the global knowledge economy were some of key drivers of change highlighted. Technology is a critical part of this changing paradigm, but as the ACU’s Secretary General emphasised in the opening of the conference, technology serves both to facilitate and force change, with universities compelled to keep up with their more technologically literate students. At the most fundamental level, technology is making the delivery of education more flexible, interactive, collaborative and mobile. The Chair of the ACU’s Council noted that ‘technology is much more than a tool; it is a transformative development that has the potential to open access to higher education to many more people’.


What Colleges Should Learn from Newspapers' Decline -- from the Chronicle of Higher Education, by Kevin Carey; thanks to Mr. Rob Bobeldyk, Assistant Director Teaching & Learning at Calvin College, for the link

Newspapers are dying. Are universities next? The parallels between them are closer than they appear. Both industries are in the business of creating and communicating information. Paradoxically, both are threatened by the way technology has made that easier than ever before.
To survive and prosper, universities need to integrate technology and teaching in a way that improves the learning experience while simultaneously passing the savings on to students in the form of lower prices.

Newspapers had a decade to transform themselves before being overtaken by the digital future. They had a lot of advantages: brand names, highly skilled staff members, money in the bank. They were the best in the world at what they did — and yet, it wasn't enough. The difficulties of change and the temptations to hang on and hope for the best were too strong.
Recession forces changes on prospective collegians -- from, by Karla Schuster and Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Cash-strapped Iowa colleges benefit as online courses gain popularity -- from, by Erin Jordan
Record enrollment in online courses at Iowa's 15 community colleges is generating tuition revenue and creating opportunities to save money at a time when the schools are facing drastic budget cuts, officials said.

“All of the evidence is that over the last 15 or 20 years, we have actually been increasing
social stratification with what we’re doing in the academy.”

-- from "After the Crash, Scholars Say, Higher Education Must Refocus on Its Public Mission",
The Chronicle of Higher Education, by David Glenn

Online learning set to soar
-- from, by Dennis Pierce, Managing Editor; author reveals what’s about to disrupt class
If Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen is right, half of all instruction will take place online within the next 10 years—and schools had better get into the online-learning market or risk losing their students to other providers. Christensen was at the American Association of School Administrators conference in San Francisco Feb. 19 to discuss his book Disrupting Class, which looks at why schools have struggle to...

Disruptive innovation is the business idea that, every so often, a new innovation comes along that completely changes the marketplace, knocking the old market leaders from their perch and giving rise to new ones [emphasis DSC]. Disruptive innovations transform products or services into something so simple that anyone can use them, creating what Christensen called “asymmetric competition.”


Related posting
What is the future of the course? -- from elearnspace by George Siemens
Courses have long served as the primary mode for organizing formal learning in secondary and higher education as well as corporate training. Given the dramatic changes in information access brought about by the internet, what is the future of the course? This ONLINE (free) two day event - running May 14 & 15, 2009 - will focus on what a future with (or without) courses might look like. Sessions will be held live in Elluminate as well as in the conference Moodle.

Related posting
Just can’t get enough of newspapers -- from elearnspace by George Siemens
And, again, I return to the plight of newspapers. Death wheeze of newspapers explores the challenge newspapers face between being open (wanting Google to index their content so others can find it) and content control and ownership (not wanting others to take and use their content). I think one or the other view has to give. Openness and content control are two separate tightropes. Both can’t be walked at the same time.

Jeff Jarvis blames the failure of the newspaper industry on…the newspaper industry:”You blew it. You’ve had 20 years since the start of the web, 15 years since the creation of the commercial browser and craigslist, a decade since the birth of blogs and Google to understand the changes in the media economy and the new behaviors of the next generation”.

I’m intrigued by the inability of large organizations and industries to respond to changes and shift focus even when they have a decade (or more) of warning. GM comes to mind. As do newspapers. And the music industry. Why can’t an industry change when it’s in trouble? Why try and impose your will/model on others, rather than tuning into what your audience wants and then responding appropriately? [emphasis DSC]

Related posting
Higher ed: Adapt or die -- from edustir

What will the future of higher education look like? Will an iTunes-like application provides access to thousands of university courses from around the globe, allowing students to download a la carte courses and craft them into a customized degree? Will brand name degrees backed by credible institutions replace accreditation?

No matter where the industry heads, one thing is for sure. A lot of adaptation and change will be needed, if many of the schools in this country expect to survive into the next decade [emphasis DSC].


Applications Down At Top Liberal Arts Colleges As More Students Eye State Schools - Russ Mitchell, CBS Evening News -- link from Ray Schroeder, New Realities in Higher Education
What's different, reports CBS News anchor Russ Mitchell is the economic crisis has left students and parents wondering more than ever about being able to afford the cost of a four year college education [emphasis DSC] - and that has radically changed the pattern of college applications [emphasis DSC]. "Students who need financial aid are applying to a greater variety of schools and are applying to some schools they feel they can definitely afford to go to if nothing comes through for them in terms of financial aid," Siegel said.


College students look for ways to cut costs -- from Standard.Net, by Loretta Park; original link from Ray Schroeder

The future of selling degrees -- from Ron Broson, edustir blog
Advanced degree folks will be okay. They’ve been consistently bumping the undergrads among us out of jobs for years now, as the value of the bachelors degree continues to be watered down. But the question I’ve had for a while, after talking to more and more people is “How will colleges sustain their marketing efforts when a generation will be lamenting their student loan debt, rather than their wonderful experiences, knowledge and the great opportunities that school provided them?”

You can laugh, but think about it. This is truly the first generation that’s been saddled with college debt that would have rivaled mortgages a decade ago. People are always quick to say “well, maybe you shouldn’t have gone to x school” or “You spent that much for a degree in basketweaving? That job doesn’t won’t ever get you any money!?

University of the People's vision:

The University of the People promises to open the gates of higher education to anyone in the world interested in attending college. We believe that education at a very minimal cost is a basic right for all suitable applicants, not just for a privileged few.


Number of Colleges That Fit the 'Liberal Arts' Mold Is Falling, Study Finds -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Economic turmoil sends enrollment at city public colleges soaring -- from

GM Has To Ditch Its Dealers -- from The Big Money by Matthew DeBord
Reuters is reporting that General Motors (GM), as part of its Obama-mandated restructuring process, is going to axe 1,700 dealerships ahead of the government auto task force's June 1 deadline.

From DSC:

So it appears that this is one of the only strategies left for those who don't adapt to change or who don't anticipate change. All businesses need to peer into the future to see what trends might impact them -- and then make plans to address those potential impacts. Otherwise, they seem to be left with holding the cutting block.

The same goes for those of us in higher education. We need to adapt in order to continue providing real and new value in this ever-changing world; "business-as-usual" and the "status quo" will only lead to bringing out the cutting block for programs, personnel, equipment, projects, etc.

My proposals to address this situation:

  • Move more towards hybrid- and online-based instruction

  • Develop or leverage internal and external teams to create content and/or to find high-quality content

  • Develop consortiums of like-minded institutions; then be very accepting of credits from other sister/brother institutions within one's consortium (perhaps each institution will move towards a particular specialization); provide more options/choice -- allow students to create their own programs (within given parameters)

  • Use more project-based learning and/or more experiential learning where students are actively participating in their learning

  • Develop more cross-disciplinary assignments where students from different disciplines and courses (Phase I) as well as from different colleges, universities, or countries (Phase II) need to work together in order to complete the projects. Alternatively, have students create the content for the next "class" to review, take, perform, or complete (you learn something better if you have to teach it, right?)

  • Introduce more interactive, multimedia-oriented, engaging materials that turn the control and pacing over to the students -- this includes lectures that are divided up into various sections (clickable items) so that students have the choice of going through the lecture serially or by selecting only certain topics to review

  • Integrate technologies into face-to-face classrooms that allow for worldwide communication with other students and faculty; in fact, we need to integrate as many of the appropriate technologies that we can afford to into every single course out there, in order to prepare our students for what they will encounter after graduating

  • Find ways to cut the cost of the average course in 1/2; this may involve working with the publishers, and/or others within your consortium, and/or re-using open-source materials that have been reviewed and approved by the faculty





Kalamazoo Gazette

Colleges work to get new students in down economy -- from Kalamazoo Gazette
KALAMAZOO -- Officials at Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo College say they're working hard to prevent enrollment declines in 2009-10 but face considerable uncertainty about how the sour economy will affect students' plans for next fall. Will high school seniors choose less-expensive colleges than they might have selected a year or two ago? Will students pay deposits now only to change their minds this summer if the recession worsens? How will the recession affect retention of current undergraduates? How can schools maximize their use of financial aid at a time when families are taking a hard look at college costs?

Paying for College: 529 Plans Won't Cover the Cost Anymore - Mark Korba, CNBC -- from Ray Schroeder
Parents who've seen the value of their 529 college-savings plans plummet over the past year may have another shock coming: Experts say the plans can't be counted on to pay the entire cost of a child's higher education. Unfortunately, as the value of many 529 portfolios shrinks, the cost of a college education continues to skyrocket, says Seth Varnhagen, president of North Castle Investors.


Tracking the recession: Tuition programs in danger -- from, by Stephen C. Fehr, Staff Writer

Purdue Offers Bachelor's Degree in 2 Years -- from Inside Higher Ed
More colleges this year are talking about three-year bachelor's programs. Purdue University's College of Technology in Kokomo is starting a program that will award a bachelor's degree in two years. The program is designed for people who lost jobs in the auto industry and will provide them with a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership and supervision, with a concentration in industrial technology. Students will take one or two courses at a time, with several hours of class time per course each weekday and without summers off.


Trustee Survey Paints Grim Budget Picture for Public Universities -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Paul Fain
About 80 percent of the governing boards of public universities [emphasis DSC] say they are dealing with state budget cuts this year, according to a new survey conducted by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.


The Ivory Tower: Crumbling From Within? Successful education entrepreneur Jeff Sandefer describes the academy as too corrupt to endure. -- by Jane S. Shaw

From DSC:
I hadn't thought about higher ed as necessarily corrupt...but I guess in many ways it has become that in many universities throughout the country today. Or, at the very least, extremely desensitized to -- and disconnected from -- whom institutions of higher education should be serving -- the STUDENTS. I have it that the Internet will give students the power to enforce some changes here.

Community college enrollment growth outpaces resources, shutting out students -- link from Ray Schroeder, article by Lisa M. Krieger, Mercury News

From DSC:
If you were a student living in California and you couldn't get into a community college out there -- one of the few alternatives that you could afford by the way -- what would YOU do? Seriously. This environment we are operating in is a game-changer. Those of us in higher ed -- let's not stick our heads in the sand and think that this is going to just blow over so that we can get back to business as usual...not going to happen this time around.

From DSC:
Don't we have a responsibility to make education more accessible?!

The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap on America’s Schools

The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap on America’s Schools

McKinsey's report, The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America's Schools, examines the dimensions and economic impact of the education achievement gap. While much controversy exists on the causes of the gap and on what the nation should do to address it, the full range of the achievement gap's character and consequences has been poorly understood.

This report examines the dimensions of four distinct gaps in education: (1) between the United States and other nations, (2) between black and Latino students and white students, (3) between students of different income levels, and (4) between similar students schooled in different systems or regions.

The report finds that the underutilization of human potential as reflected in the achievement gap is extremely costly. [emphasis DSC] Existing gaps impose the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession—one substantially larger than the deep recession the country is currently experiencing. For individuals, avoidable shortfalls in academic achievement impose heavy and often tragic consequences via lower earnings, poor health, and higher rates of incarceration.

Download the report (PDF - 772 KB)asdf and supporting materials (PDF - 1.0 MB)asdf.


End the University as We Know It -- from the New York Times, by Mark C. Taylor

The dirty secret of higher education is that without underpaid graduate students to help in laboratories and with teaching, universities couldn’t conduct research or even instruct their growing undergraduate populations.


Of Many Minds on College Costs -- from
When people talk about "colleges" doing this or that, or "higher education" failing to confront one problem or another, to whom are they referring? Anyone who has worked in or around the academy knows all too well that colleges and universities are made up of significantly different audiences that approach any given subject from widely divergent perspectives. It's probably not surprising, then, that quick and decisive action to deal with emerging problems may be hard to come by. That's essentially the point of a report about college costs and prices released today by Public Agenda, a nonprofit group that is working with the Lumina Foundation for Education's Making Opportunity Affordable project. Following up on reports that examined the views of college presidents and the general public, Public Agenda's new study, "Campus Commons? What Faculty, Financial Officers and Others Think About Controlling College Costs" compares the views of professors and campus and state financial officers with those of presidents on how they define the "problems" in higher education, the depth and breadth of those problems, and the potential solutions.

Excerpt of the introduction to "Campus Commons?"
The concerns of top higher education leaders were succinctly captured in a December 2008 open letter to then President- Elect Obama. In it, over 50 university presidents emphasized the importance of higher education to the nation’s economic vitality and highlighted a number of key points:

  • America’s fall from first to tenth place internationally in the percentage of the population with higher education degrees, just at the time when the country faces increased global economic competition in a knowledge-intensive economy.
  • The challenge of educating a new generation of students, including many black and Hispanic-Americans who have attended deficient secondary schools and have significantly lower graduation rates.
  • Declining state subsidies for public higher education.
  • Tuition and fees, which have risen much faster than the median family income. According to these leaders, the additional revenue has been needed to offset declining taxpayer support.

These issues are being raised against the background of what many believe will be a prolonged economic recession. The higher education leaders emphasized the importance of a “federal infusion of capital” in higher education as part of the overall economic stimulus program, followed by a 20-year vision for greater educational attainment.


From DSC:
It doesn't matter how big an organization or institution is -- or used to be. If it doesn't adapt, it runs into unsustainable territory.

Chrysler files for bankruptcy

Please Confuse Me with the Facts -- below is an excerpt from Carol Twigg, The National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT)

What is StraighterLine’s Model?
StraighterLine’s model has three primary components:

  • Courses - McGraw Hill educational materials developed by educators who have spent years thinking about how to teach introductory courses to college students (you can read about their course development process at, which are used by thousands of colleges and universities.
  • Tutoring - online tutoring and writing assistance provided by SMARTHINKING to students at colleges and universities. By providing tutoring online and to many institutions, SMARTHINKING improves service and provides 24/7 assistance that wouldn't otherwise be available. SMARTHINKING has hundreds of institutional clients.
  • Partnerships – a growing list of institutions who have agreed to award credit for successful completion of the courses. Current partners include three for-profit institutions; Charter Oaks State College, a nontraditional college for adult students; and, Fort Hays State University (FHSU), a traditional institution of 10,000 students in Kansas.

Currently, StraighterLine offers ten general education courses: Introductory Algebra, College Algebra, Precalculus, Developmental Writing, English Composition I and II, Economics I and II, and Accounting I and II. More courses are in the pipeline. Students can start any time they like, set their own schedules and work at their own pace.

What do these courses cost? $399 each. Affordable, accessible, flexible, high-quality courses with on-demand assistance. What’s not to like?

One would think that in a time of rising college costs, slashed budgets, laid-off faculty, furloughs, course enrollment caps, community colleges bulging at the seams, and so on, StraighterLine would be welcomed with open arms. You may be surprised to know that this is not the case. The higher education community, as illustrated by the discussion on the IHE web site, appears to be horrified by this new alternative to traditional higher education. One blogger on another site described the phenomenon as “a straighterline to higher education hell.” [From DSC: This isn't a surprise...many in higher ed will be disrupted by such a thing and are very much threatened by this type of event; but such cynics decided to maintain the status quo while overcharging the students and have little ground to stand on -- at least on numerous occassions -- regarding the subject of providing quality teaching to students. That is not the case here at Calvin, whereby we put teaching as a top priority, not research; and Calvin College is a place where our faculty members teach all of the courses and where they know each of their students by name.]
Students today want and demand flexibility in their educational pursuits. This flexibility includes the ability to participate anywhere at any time. Working students who cannot attend a class at 9:00 am, business people whose responsibilities take them on the road too often to consistently attend an on-campus course, servicemen and women who are never stationed at one location long enough to complete a degree, traditional-age students who need to make up a course for one reason or another—the list goes on and on.

StraighterLine courses are self-paced in that students can begin at any time and complete a course at their own pace. StraighterLine offers two payment options for students: one course at $399 or continuous enrollment at $99 per month. Thus, able students can complete a course for $99. Each course comes with up to ten hours of one-on-one live interaction with a qualified SMARTHINKING tutor (90% have a masters degree or Ph.D.) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A student struggling in college algebra at 2:00 am can get live help within three minutes. In addition, each student is assigned a course advisor who works proactively to move them through the course.

From DSC: WOW!!! Did you hear that? Wow...agreed Carol.


May 11: How Technology Will Reshape Academe After the Economic Crisis
Some believe the current global financial crisis will take a toll on a number of universities. Mergers, consolidations, and perhaps even closures are all possible outcomes. Viewed as only a financial crisis, crisis management has attempted to attack the economic equation by constraining and redirecting inputs: fewer students, restricted offerings, suspended sabbatical leaves, salary freezes, and staff layoffs are all intervention strategies for the financial ledger. If a crisis is "a terrible thing to waste," future generations of learners will look back at this global economic crisis and reflect on which institutions were agile enough to harness the wisdom of their scholars with the acumen of their technology leadership and the ingenuity and determination of their leadership team to make a difference.

In "How Technology Will Reshape Academe After the Economic Crisis," Lev Gonick, vice president for information technology services/CIO at Case Western Reserve University, will explore a range of technologically informed "opportunities" from the pragmatics of shared services models to "transformational" arcs of activities in internationalization and open education resources. Join us at 1:00 p.m. EDT, May 11. No registration is required.


Live Teaching And Learning Marketplaces: The Emerging Online Social Learning Networks For Professional Independent Educators -- from Robin Good

Live learning marketplaces

Live teaching space

For learners:

  • It's cheaper than enrolling to a university course or going to a private teacher.
  • You are not limited inside pre-packaged learning paths, but you can rather follow your interests and cultivate your passions.
  • You can learn at your own pace, wherever you want, and finding the time which is most comfortable for you.
  • You don't have to get through an exam or test to prove that you are learning something. You are self-responsible for your education.

For teachers:

  • You can sell your own instructional material and share your knowledge with other passionate peers.
  • You can teach from the comfort of your place, earning money and limiting the costs of teaching to your Internet connection fee.
  • You get in touch with a far larger audience than the students you could physically meet.
  • You are not subjected to any institutional rule or approach in the way you teach, and you're greatly facilitated to use live interaction and multimedia content with your students.

If you want to explore in greater detail these new emergent online teaching and learning marketplaces, I have prepared for you a list of the most interesting live teaching platforms out there, complemented with a comparative table which compares each service main features:

  • Live classes: live audio / video conferencing integration
  • Social evaluation: connection and mutual evaluation between learners and teachers
  • Content distribution: redistribution and sharing of lessons outside the learning platform
  • Advertising: ads displayed on free version
  • Premium price / features: first price level to access extended features

From DSC:
We are in a game-changing environment -- don't miss that fact. It WILL affect US/YOU.

UniPeopleThe University of the People is now open for enrollment -- from BizDeansTalk

The University of the People
is based on the premise that education is crucial to the advancement of individuals and of society at large. There are millions of people around the world, especially in developing countries, who are excluded from higher education for various reasons: some live far away from academic institutions, others cannot afford the admission fee and tuition for the local university.



From DSC:
Creating engaging multimedia-based learning materials can be expensive. This is why I've been pressing the idea of using consortiums. Therefore this caught my eye:

IMS consortium sponsors digital learning catalogue
The IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS GLC) has announced, at its annual Learning Impact conference, that several of its member organisations have committed to funding the development of a shared web catalogue of learning resources.

Who's Teaching at American Colleges? Increasingly, Instructors Off the Tenure Track -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education, by Audrey Williams June
At community colleges, four out of five instructors worked outside the tenure track in 2007. At public research institutions, graduate students made up 41 percent of the instructional staff that year [from dsc -- this is unbelievable and a huge disservice to students!]. And at all institutions, the proportion of instructors working part time continued...


Growth of Universities -- from George Siemens
I'll happily admit my bias: higher needs to be rethought and restructured. But it's important to take an accurate look at where we are and where we might end up (a subject for futures thinking, as stated previously). Higher education is not (yet?) in decline. It's growing. Rapidly. Daily announcements are made about funding for higher education: research, new buildings, new campuses, etc. Globally, enrollment in HE increased from 68 million in 1991 to 144 million in 2005. The need for education has never been greater. But while education is in demand, the current model seems untenable. The expense of education in the developed world is not feasible as a model for the next 3 billion people that require education in developing regions of the world. I personally think online and networked learning will play a central role in expanding access, improving quality, and reducing the costs of education (see Daniels, Kanwar, Uvalic-Trumbec). It's time to question those aspects of our thinking about education that were formed in a pre-internet era and are no longer needed.


What business strategy for news publishers? When most of your content is freely republished elsewhere, how can you survive? -- from Robin Good's Latest News by John Blossom

From DSC:
What happens if the words "institutions of higher education" replaced the words "news publishers" in the sentence above? Hmmmmm...what are our plans? Each college and university must work hard from here on out to differentiate themselves, while providing compelling reasons to attend any particular institution. Some serious value added must be provided from here on out.

Join Bror Saxberg, Chief Learning Officer of K12, and Curtis Johnson, co-author of Disrupting Class they discuss how technology and online learning are extending the power of public education. Individualized learning through online courses can, and will, help districts tackle some of their toughest problems, including student achievement, graduation rates, and budget pressures. Wed., 5/27, 2pm ET online webinar.


Australia Sees Big Jump in International Enrollments, Despite Downturn Fears -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education
Despite fears that the global economic downturn would stunt the growth of Australia’s lucrative education market, the number of international students enrolling in its colleges and universities has jumped a record 20 percent, the newspaper The Australian reported.
Australia is particularly attractive to foreign students at the moment. The fall of the Australian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar makes a college education in Australia nearly 25 percent cheaper than it was a year ago.

The high cost of financing college - Tacoma News Tribune -- original link from Ray Schroeder
The class of 2009 is graduating from college with miserable distinction: Not only do its students face one of the toughest job markets in recent history, they carry more debt than any previous graduating class. Time has run out for the federal government to do something meaningful to make higher education affordable.
But as college tuition soars (Washington’s public universities just got permission to raise tuition 28 percent over the next two years) and personal finances falter, that break-even point gets pushed so far into the future that college becomes a less likely prospect for many students and families. The number of undergrads using costly private loans – which don’t fall under any federal program – nearly tripled between 2003-04 and 2007-08, reflecting in part a pent-up demand for financial aid. The status quo is simply unsustainable if the nation wants to continue to compete in a world economy, not to mention improve the lives of its citizens. Obama’s plan is an opening to consider how to improve access to education.


... is a membership cooperative of institutions and organizations dedicated to advancing access and excellence in higher education through the innovative use of technology. WCET creates and supports a diverse array of initiatives focused on our strategic goal: to advance access and excellence in higher education through the innovative use of technology. Many of our initiatives come from our members, who play an active, leading role in shaping these events and programs. We often partner with other organizations that share our interests, creating alliances that increase our impact and accelerate results.

WCET is a membership cooperative of institutions and organizations dedicated to advancing access and excellence in higher education through the innovative use of technology.

Related item:
McLuhan on "The Future of Education: The Class of 1989" -- from Norm Friesen

This vintage McLuhan article was originally published in the now-defunct magazine, LOOK (sort of like Life magazine). With predictions of the end of the school and the university still being widely circulated today, it is well worth a (re)read. There are many startling statements and predictions that can be read in different ways. But one of the most astonishing things is the similarity of many arguments made by McLuhan in 1967 to those still made today, 42 years later:

  • that schools are as outmoded as the mass production model on which they are based; and that forms of “mass customization” promise a radically different educational approach
  • that "the demands, the very nature of this age of new technology and pervasive electric circuitry... will [unavoidably] shape education's future"
  • that “the walls between school and world will continue to blur”
  • that "Future educators will value, not fear, fresh approaches, new solutions."

Are McLuhan's statements prescient, premature, preposterous, or all of the above? What does this say about current predictions? Decide for yourself. Being a part of the (BA[hons]) class of 1989 myself, I found it fascinating.


Crisis in Higher Education -- from; listen here
For a long time, the American Dream has been predicated on the belief that anyone who wants to should be able to go to college. Andrew Delbanco says the US is falling behind other developed countries in sending its citizens to college. Delbanco is a professor at Columbia and author, most recently, of “Melville: His Work and World.”

A report released in January by the Lumina Foundation, "Trends in College Spending," concludes that "higher education is becoming more stratified," with enrollment growing in the institutions with the least resources—the public community colleges—as more and more students are "pushed out of higher-priced institutions."

No doubt, much of the relative decline in America's college-educated population can be attributed to poor preparation by K–12 schools, especially in inner-city and rural communities, and to social pathologies that leave young people—including, disproportionately, minorities—unready for, or uninterested in, higher education. But a great many gifted and motivated young people are excluded from college for no other reason than their inability to pay, and we have failed seriously to confront the problem [emphasis DSC].

The Universities in Trouble -- from the New York Review of Books, Volume 56, Number 8 · May 14, 2009, by Andrew Delbanco

Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education
by Peter Sacks
University of California Press, 376 pp., $24.95

Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites
by Mitchell L. Stevens
Harvard University Press, 308 pp., $25.95

Fulfilling the Commitment: Recommendations for Reforming Federal Student Aid in Brief
by Sandy Baum, Michael McPherson, and others
Spencer Foundation/College Board/Lumina Foundation for Education, September 2008, available at

Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go?
by Jane V. Wellman and others
Delta Cost Project/ Lumina Foundation for Education, January 2009, available at

A stronger nation through higher education:
How and why Americans must meet a “big goal” for college attainment -- from the

Our nation — and every state within our nation — faces huge social and economic challenges. At Lumina Foundation for Education, we are convinced these challenges can be addressed only by educating many more people beyond high school. This means that we as a nation must continue to focus on approaches that make higher education more accessible and affordable for all. It also means that all students who come to college must leave with meaningful, high-quality degrees and credentials so they can contribute to the workforce and provide for themselves and their families. Current economic conditions have only made this priority clearer and more urgent.

College a la carte? -- from Edustir by Ron Bronson
I was reading Foreign Policy earlier today and ran across an article entitled “Personalized Education” as part of their “next big things” feature.

Throughout most of history, only the wealthy have been able to afford an education geared to the individual learner. For the rest of us, education has remained a mass affair, with standard curricula, pedagogy, and assessments. The financial crisis will likely change this state of affairs. With the global quest for long-term competitiveness assuming new urgency, education is on everyone’s front burner. Societies are looking for ways to make quantum leaps in the speed and efficiency of learning [emphasis DSC]. So long as we insist on teaching all students the same subjects in the same way, progress will be incremental. But now for the first time it is possible to individualize education—to teach each person what he or she needs and wants to know in ways that are most comfortable and most efficient, producing a qualitative spurt in educational effectiveness.

In fact, we already have the technology to do so. Well-programmed computers—whether in the form of personal computers or hand-held devices—are becoming the vehicles of choice. They will offer many ways to master materials. Students (or their teachers, parents, or coaches) will choose the optimal ways of presenting the materials. Appropriate tools for assessment will be implemented. And best of all, computers are infinitely patient and flexible. If a promising approach does not work the first time, it can be repeated, and if it continues to fail, other options will be readily available. Just how will this happen? Where, when, and by whom?


Again, we are in a game-changing environment! If you doubt that, consider the following items:


CommLab India -- a new global online university

From DSC:
Here is the email I just got on the above item. I'm not joking folks -- this is a game-changing environment!
The question is, how are you/we currently adapting to this changing landscape?! It's not going away.

Dear Mr. Christian,
I am RK Prasad, CEO of CommLab India, a custom eLearning solutions company. Since 2000, we at CommLab have been using top-of-the-line authoring tools Captivate, Lectora and Articulate to develop world-class eLearning courses for our Global Fortune clients in 6 countries.

We believe that mastering authoring tools like Captivate, Lectora or Articulate will give you a real edge - to get a job or become more valuable to your current employer.

We have now launched an online global university, to offer high quality, career-oriented online courses at very affordable costs. For example, 3 courses for 3 authoring tools will cost you only $250 and 1 course will cost you only $150! These courses are designed by our in-house experts of authoring tools. Additionally, you can avail free support from these experts during your learning period through webinars and emails.

I invite you to visit our site, See our demo courses and try out our free courses before you make up your mind. Even after you buy, if you are not satisfied, we will refund your money, no questions asked.

Best wishes
RK | R.K.Prasad | Chief Executive Officer | |

Note this

Press Conference on First Even Tuition-Free Global Online University -- from the United NationsUnited Nations
The first non-profit, tuition-free global online university could provide unprecedented access to education for aspiring students in developing countries, Shai Reshef, founder of the University of the People, said at a Headquarters press conference this morning.

We in the University of the People are opening the gate for them to go into higher education to continue their education and open a better future for themselves,” he said of the initiative, which aims to use growing access to the Internet to counter the worldwide effects of rising tuition fees.

Each virtual classroom would hold 20 students from around the world [from dsc: WOW!], he said.  They would read the same “lecture” at the beginning of each week, hold discussions in a kind of chat room and help each other understand the material. If students still had problems after discussing the material with their peers, they could go to a course forum where they could consult with academics.

From DSC:
Incredible! Can you imagine what this might do for helping us learn more about other cultures? To get out of our often times ethnocentric ways of viewing things? A worldwide discussion tuition-free.

Online School Pilots Cloud Services
-- from The Journal, by Dave Nagel
The state-funded Minnesota Online High School is piloting a cloud computing initiative to provide its students and teachers with virtual desktops. For the pilot, MNOHS signed on to the SIMtone Education Thunder Program, which provides cloud-based access to personal computers from any place that has broadband access, without requiring the school to pay for the equipment up front or handle support. The PCs include a range of software tools, as well as resources like coursework, homework, personal files, and access to school services.

Getting Students More Learning Time Online

Executive Summary:
Internal and external forces are simultaneously transforming elementary and secondary education. Complementary changes within the K-12 education community are sweeping schools in the form of one-to-one computing, online learning for students and teachers, and differentiated instruction. Students can choose from among schools, courses, and powerful educational tools and resources that never before existed. As a result, education for many students today bears little resemblance to their parents’ education. This transformation is a positive change when students are connected with the tools and opportunities that meet their individual needs.

Local and national economic conditions, increasing ethnic and cultural diversity, and global forces are among the new and growing external pressures on American elementary and secondary schools. Schools alongside families form the foundation for successful participation in communities, the workforce, and our democracy, and their job has therefore grown more complex and challenging. American schools, when compared to other developed nations, appear to need new approaches that increase their capacity to prepare students academically.

Delta Project

Trends in Colleg SpendingNew Whitepaper on Cost per Degree

The Delta Cost Project today released a white paper that describes different approaches to calculating what it costs colleges to graduate students with bachelor’s degrees. View release (PDF) | View Whitepaper (PDF)

New Report Released

} The Delta Project has released its newest report, Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go? This analysis presents recent trends in revenues, spending, and results in higher education, and includes state-by-state data. Full Report (PDF) | Executive Summary (PDF) | Presentation Summary (PDF) | Recommendations for Action (PDF) | Frequently Asked Questions | State Data


Bridgepoint Education’s postsecondary education services focus on offering associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in the disciplines of business, education, psychology, social sciences and health sciences.  Bridgepoint Education’s regionally accredited academic institutions – Ashford University and University of the Rockies – deliver their programs online as well as at traditional campuses located in Clinton, Iowa, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, respectively.

From DSC:
Should a similar viewpoint be coming from a Christian college? Higher access to higher education? "WWJD?", as they say...

College a la carte? -- from Edustir by Ron Bronson
I was reading Foreign Policy earlier today and ran across an article entitled “Personalized Education” as part of their “next big things” feature.

Throughout most of history, only the wealthy have been able to afford an education geared to the individual learner. For the rest of us, education has remained a mass affair, with standard curricula, pedagogy, and assessments. The financial crisis will likely change this state of affairs. With the global quest for long-term competitiveness assuming new urgency, education is on everyone’s front burner. Societies are looking for ways to make quantum leaps in the speed and efficiency of learning [emphasis DSC]. So long as we insist on teaching all students the same subjects in the same way, progress will be incremental. But now for the first time it is possible to individualize education—to teach each person what he or she needs and wants to know in ways that are most comfortable and most efficient, producing a qualitative spurt in educational effectiveness.

In fact, we already have the technology to do so. Well-programmed computers—whether in the form of personal computers or hand-held devices—are becoming the vehicles of choice. They will offer many ways to master materials. Students (or their teachers, parents, or coaches) will choose the optimal ways of presenting the materials. Appropriate tools for assessment will be implemented. And best of all, computers are infinitely patient and flexible. If a promising approach does not work the first time, it can be repeated, and if it continues to fail, other options will be readily available. Just how will this happen? Where, when, and by whom?

How Our Kids Using the Internet in 2009


Education Online Services



From DSC -- for Calvin Colllege:

From Daniel Christian at -- My concerns if we maintain the status quo.

By status quo I mean that we:

  • Keep offering face-to-face courses only and that we don't move towards offering our students more online-based courses

  • Don't consider Academic Earth, University of the People, Open Source/Open CourseWare (OCW), iTunes U, YouTube EDU, and for-profit universities to be a threat to us

  • We continue to think that one person -- i.e. the faculty member -- can do it all and that they can compete with a team of people (as is currrently being used in online, for-profit universities)

  • Don't think the Internet and other technologies will impact or disrupt our business -- even though businesses involved with music, entertainment, journalism, retail, hotels, books, trading/brokerage, etc. have been turned upside down by the disruptive impacts of technology

  • Continue to be suspect of the value of technology and see technology as something that only really involves those IT people over there (vs. thinking that various technologies can provide us with a strategic advantage...that they can provide us with solid sources of innovation and differentiation for our future -- a future, by the way, where the information typically relayed for a higher education is becoming a commodity)

  • Continue to not offer incentives for faculty to integrate technology into their classroom.

  • On one side of college -- K-12:
    • Kids are growning up immersed in technology and contributing content to Facebook, My Space, YouTube, etcetera. Will they not come to college with a set of expectations of wanting to use these various technologies while also wanting to contribute their own content to each others' learning processes?

  • On the other side of college -- the corporate, education, government, healthcare, etc. worlds:
    • These worlds are also changing. Shorter windows of time to get the product out there and supported. Learning is becoming more informal, networked, on-demand. Web-based collaboration tools are used to connect teams throughout the world. "Though most people would think differently, blogs, social media, RSS, video and podcasting are gradually establishing themselves as new critical components in the development strategy of many large companies in the American corporate landscape." (Quote added 5/22/09 from Robin Good's blog, article by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson) To what degree should we help prepare our students for this ever-changing world? Our students will need to hit-the-ground-running upon graduation.


From DSC:
As a follow up to my post from yesterday, it's important to realize that there are things that we can not control, such as:

  • How K-12 students are changing and how they now prefer to learn
  • What kinds of technologies K-12ers are growing up with
  • What it will take to engage a recent graduate from high school
  • What happens in the corporate/education/government/healthcare/etc. worlds that we need to help prepare our graduates for

We can respond to these things, but we can't control these things.

2 Virtual Schools Launching in California -- from The, by Dave Nagel

Two new virtual academies are launching in California, both providing tuition-free online education for middle school and high school students. The new academies--Kaplan Academy of California, San Diego and Kaplan Academy of California, Central--will provide one to one instruction with state-certified teachers, according to California Virtual Education Partners, a non-profit organization that is partnering with Kaplan Virtual Education to launch the academies. The programs will, according to the companies, provide a full range of courses, including AP and honors courses. Computers can be supplied to students who need them for as long as they are enrolled, and the academies can will help cover the costs of Internet access for students who need it.

Visiting Assistant Professor: K-12 Online Teaching, Boise State University -- from Virtual High School Meanderings


Hubs of 21st-century life -- Santiago Iñiguez outlines the ways in which universities must move to adapt to a changing world -- from Times Higher Education (UK)
Of course, technologies play a key role in redefining higher education. New high-quality forms of online delivery - essentially different from classical distance learning - are paving the way for revolutionary learning experiences that allow students to combine study with internships abroad. These blended educational platforms, combining face-to-face and online formats, help students develop a wider range of interpersonal skills than can be cultivated in the classroom. They also foster interaction among fellow participants and with the lecturer, thus allowing closer monitoring of students' performance than conventional tutorials.

Hubs of 21st Century Life

Students will demand not universities but "multiversities" - institutions that provide a diverse and cross-cultural learning environment that mirrors students' global career paths. Again, online education allows for the creation of very international classes and intense multicultural debate. Through online social networks, students today already deal with peers from different continents with almost the same ease and familiarity they share with their parents. Web-based cross-cultural educational offerings for a global audience can only help to reduce the potential for clashes of civilisations.

Open Courseware


The Excellent Inevitability of Online Courses -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Margaret Brooks (Professor of Economics and Chair of the Economics Department at Bridgewater State College and President of the Massachusetts Council on Economic Education)
Here are eight reasons that colleges should proudly — and without apology — offer online courses:

  1. We want our students to be actively engaged in learning.
  2. We want to reach students with diverse learning styles.
  3. We want our students to have a variety of experiences outside the classroom.
  4. We want to teach our students how to do independent research.
  5. We want to make college more accessible to students.
  6. We want to make attending college more affordable.
  7. We want to teach our students values and ethics.
  8. We want our students' degrees to be valued by employers.

From DSC:
From DSC:
Here's the thing. Online learning seems to be to represent today's best method of offering a learning product that was produced by a team of specialists. The face-to-face environment offers limited evidence of innovation and limited room to grow and innovate within (at least it seems to me at this point in time). The tough part is trying to figure out where the innovation for the face-to-face world is going to come from...?

The future demands innovation; status quo won't work. Plus, the online world has plenty of room to hit its stride and is just beginning to innovate...just beginning to enter the race. The face-to-face world has to figure out how to bridge itself with the online world if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.

The EDUCAUSE Top Teaching and Learning Challenges 2009

Challenge #1: Creating Learning Environments That Promote Active Learning, Critical Thinking, Collaborative Learning, Knowledge Creation
Challenge #2: Developing 21st-Century Literacies (Information, Digital, and Visual) among Students and Faculty
Challenge #3: Reaching and Engaging Today's Learners
Challenge #4: Encouraging Faculty Adoption and Innovation in Teaching and Learning with IT
Challenge #5: Advancing Innovation in Teaching and Learning with Technology in an Era of Budget Cuts

Study: Virtual schools can help cut costs
Rapidly-increasing online education eliminates need for transportation and facilities costs, researchers note; from, by Laura Devaney, Senior Editor
New research suggests that more K-12 public school students will take classes online and will have longer school days in the next decade--and academic improvement and cost savings are two big benefits.

Three year bachelor’s degrees the wave of the future? -- from Edustir by Ron Bronson

Related idea/item:
Social Networking Technologies for Teaching and Learning Transformation -- from George Siemens

Content Interaction Accredidation

Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?

The Challenge to States: Preserving College Access and Affordability in a Time of Crisis
-- from


Related item:
We are witnessing the passing of working-class masculinity -- by Margaret Wente; original link from George Siemens
Jobs in the new economy require emotion labour, not manual labour

As the General Motors plant in Oshawa shut down for good last week, people wept. “It was a beautiful life,” said Sue Stewart, whose husband, Bill, had spent 31 years working at GM. Bill wore a T-shirt that said: “Pride and Dignity - The Last Truck Rolls Off the Line.”

No matter what you think of the auto industry, the poignancy of these scenes is undeniable. It's the end of an era, not just for Sue and Bill, but for an entire way of life, when a man with a high-school education could raise a family, have a house with a backyard pool, and buy his-and-hers motorcycles so he can tool around the countryside with his wife on weekends. Bill is not to blame for what has happened to him. He's simply been flattened by history.

From DSC:
The above article brings me nicely into a graphic from the cover of TIME Magazine (see below).
The question becomes, how do we in higher education best prepare our students for a world that is constantly changing -- albeit at an ever-increasing pace?

The Future of Work -- from TIME Magazine



Online Newspapers Best Content Publishing Strategy: Free Or Paid? -- by Alan Murray

  • The best content publishing model is a mix of paid and free content.
  • The content you don't give out for free will be published elsewhere and you will lose traffic.
  • Do not charge your audience for the most popular content you have on your site.
  • Target your paid content to highly-focused niches.

From DSC:
Those of us in higher ed need to watch what happens to the journalism industry very carefully...because we may also have to face similar challenges.

Access Denied at the Very Time of Increased Need for College Graduates -- from The Other 85 Percent blog from Capella University



Mad Avenue Bllues: The Year the Media Died

My thanks to my cousin, Steve Gibson, for this link...excellent...thanks Steve!
Graphic by DSC.

That failing newspaper industry…
-- from George Siemens

Transformative changes in other information-based industries should capture the attention of educators [emphasis DSC]. A few recent newspaper-related stories...


The next great crisis: America's debt -- from by Shawn Tully, senior editor
At this rate, your share of the load will be $155,000 in a decade. How chronic deficits are putting the country on a path to fiscal collapse.

From DSC:
At this rate, the pool of people who can send their kids to an expensive college or university is shrinking...and may shrink precipitously.


The Disaggregated Future of Higher Education


Schwarzenegger seeks online revolution in schools

Note: The decision to offer online courses may not be up to any particular college or university... it may be dictated by your state's legislature (from my viewpoint, that's a positive).

The Changing Priorities of College Students in a Recession - Caitlin Lunsford, Epoch Times
With General Motors filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the Michigan auto industry floundering as a whole, and a high rate of unemployment, it might be hard for some Michigan college students to feel confident after having invested thousands of dollars in an uncertain future. Jason Novetsky, a graduate student at Wayne State University, says, “It’s necessary, but a four-year degree almost doesn’t seem worth it when you graduate into a poor job market with $30,000 in student loans.”


Technologies for 2 million students at IGNOU -- from Macquarie University by Agnes Bosanquet
Imagine serving a diverse student body of 2 million students across a vast geographical area when the level of internet use nationally is one percent! Indira Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU) makes use of a blend of technologies - including their own television and radio networks, face to face delivery and online technologies. They are also exploring if and how mobile phones can come into play, as mobile penetration is far greater than that of internet use.

An “Amazing” business model -- from The Auricle by Derek Morrison
While some are wondering if the digital zeitgeist will obliterate their ‘traditional’ business models others are looking at how the they can enhance theirs. One such new kid on the national UK digital radio/ internet radio block is called Amazing Radio which is broadcasting test transmissions at the time of writing from its base in Newcastle; a fact unique in itself (all other UK-wide stations broacast form London). So what else is unique? Simply the synergy between the partner web site and the radio station.

Radio You Control

So what! you say, “it’s common nowadays for radio and television stations to have web sites”. The difference here is that the web site is the source of all the music played on the digital radio broadcast. There are several notable interactions here. First original unsigned artists upload their unique creations to the AmazingTunes web site. Second, said artists receive 70% of the download cost (currently 79p) with the other 30% going to the company. Third, music for the radio station playlist is selected by what’s proving popular on the web site. Even the DJ’s are selected by audience participation. Apparently ethical, a clever synthesis of older and new models, and, because its focus is on unsigned acts, it should provide a showcase for new emerging talent. Perhaps there’s something here for those interested in how learning technologies could be employed, or ideas and content/information disseminated, in Higher Education could learn from [emphasis DSC]?

Also see: Jamendo.


Here's a great item relating to change, innovation, paradigm shifts; my thanks to Mr. Brian Christian at DASO Consulting:

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions -- by Thomas S. Kuhn


To Save Courses, College Will Name Them for Donors -- from
Like community colleges throughout California, City College of San Francisco is facing such deep budget cuts that it is planning to eliminate hundreds of courses and sections. So the college is offering donors the ability to save a course -- and have the course named for them -- for $6,000, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Currently, about 800 classes are slated to be canceled. There are so many classes being killed that the newspaper reported that potential donors have lots of options, including traditional introductory courses in fields such as biology and French, practical courses in fields such as accounting, and electives such as Psychology of Shyness and Self-Esteem and Advanced Kung Fu.

Online Course at the Wharton School Reaches More Than 50,000 Students and Alumni via Mediasite -- from
Online course on Economic and Financial Crisis delivered to desktops around the world.



Jack Welch Launches Online MBA -- from by Geoff Gloeckler
The legendary former GE CEO says he knows a thing or two about management, and for $20,000 you can, too

The Jack Welch MBA Coming to Web -- Wall Street Journal

Business Icon Lends His Name to New Online University Program
Noel Tichy, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and former head of GE's Crotonville executive training program, will be the dean of the Welch Institute starting in July.

Mr. Welch says he was initially skeptical of online education, but has been impressed by the Apollo Group Inc.'s University of Phoenix, which has nearly 400,000 students, and Mr. Clifford's Grand Canyon University. Last fall, he called Mr. Clifford and said he wanted a role in Chancellor.

"I'm now a believer," Mr. Welch says.

Mr. Clifford, 55, is CEO of Significant Federation LLC, Solana Beach, Calif. He previously worked in broadcasting and telecommunications, and with evangelical Christian leaders such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Bill Bright. He became interested in education after consulting with Christian organizations and universities.

Jack Welch Offering Online MBA

According to the WSJ report, EduVentures Inc. indicates that 11 percent of the roughly 18.5 million U.S. college students took most of their classes online in the fall of 2008 — a significant uptick from 1 percent 10 years ago. Online higher education will crank out revenue of $11.5 billion this year, the survey firm noted.

For sure, Welch is backing a trend.

the edgeless university: why higher education must embrace technology [UK] -- by Peter Bradwell

Nonetheless, universities find themselves in a fragile state. The huge public investment most of the sector relies on is insecure. Universities are being asked to do more for less, from meeting the needs of a larger and more diverse student population to withstanding increased competition. Current ways of working are unsustainable. We are entering a period of critical change in which UK institutions will need to adapt to survive.

The economic and social imperatives for continuous higher learning and innovation are growing more urgent just as the primary means to achieve them come under threat. Two vital public policy aspirations are jeopardised: the need to give more people the opportunity to access lifelong learning regardless of background, and the positioning of the UK as a global centre of innovation in the knowledge economy. With an increasing diversity of students and student needs, fierce competition, and a crunch on funding, it is not surprising that some commentators are predicting the end of the university as we have known it.

Why technology is changing universities
The aim has to be to make those running universities realise that technology isn’t just something that means you build a room full of computers on your campus.

Technology is at the heart of this story of institutional change. Universities are now just one source among many for ideas, knowledge and innovation. That seems to threaten their core position and role, but in this new world of learning and research, there are also great opportunities. The internet, social networks, collaborative online tools that allow people to work together more easily and open access to content are both the cause of change for universities, and a tool with which they can respond.


Learning Leaders Fieldbook -- from The Masie Center
The Masie Center is pleased to announce their latest free e-Book, created by Learning CONSORTIUM colleagues: Learning Leaders Fieldbook

From DSC:
Several notable/relevant quotes I saw:

The future will be like:
a) a rollercoaster
b) whitewater rafting
c) Niagara Falls in a barrel…

Global competition and surging technology will cause it to look like “all of the above”.

First, do the math. Next, hang on!!
By 2010, there will be 8 billion people, 4 billion cell phones, 2 billion computers, 1 billion hosting websites, 40 million robots and our global knowledge will double every year. Eight out of ten U.S. workers will be employed in knowledge industries that will require massive technology to stay competitive globally. Learning the latest competitive hot skills, mostly through your “device”, is the only way to protect your professional career. Fast learning focused on performance and capability will be the greatest demand.

My favorite future place: eCampus! Learner-centric, 24X7 learning, support and tools – with IM Mentor!
Focus on the self-directed learner and give that professional talent a powerful mix of learning, support and competitive tools. Self-directed learners are the right talent to recruit and retain because they are also self-directed performers that have initiative, smarts and drive for success.


U.S. Push for Free Online Courses -- from
June 29, 2009 WASHINGTON -- Community colleges and high schools would receive federal funds
to create free, online courses in a program that is in the final stages of being drafted by the Obama administration.


New School Alerts -- from

  • Dora Cyber School
    Dora Cyber School is a new online high school in New Mexico. This joins the only other one of which we are aware: New Mexico Virtual School.
  • Virtual Learning Academy of St. Clair County
    Virtual Learning Academy of St. Clair County adds yet another online high school offering to the great state of Michigan.
  • Wyoming Virtual Academy
    Wyoming Virtual Academy is a free online high school school for Wyoming residents. It uses the curriculum.

Apollo Group profits up 45% in 3rd quarter - Dawn Gilbertson, The Arizona Republic -- from Ray Schroeder
Students continued to flock to the University of Phoenix in the spring, sending its parent company's revenue and profits soaring again. Phoenix-based Apollo Group Inc. on Monday said net income jumped 45 percent, to $201.1 million, on a 26 percent increase in revenue for its fiscal third quarter that ended May 31. The company surpassed $1 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time, coming in at $1.05 billion.

Utah State OpenCourseWare
"We believe that all humans beings are endowed with a capacity to learn, improve, and progress. Educational opportunity is the mechanism by which we fulfill that capacity. Utah State OpenCourseWare is a collection of educational material used in our formal campus courses, and seeks to provide people around the world with an opportunity to access high quality learning opportunities."

The Impending Demise of the University [6.4.09] -- by Don Tapscott
"There is fundamental challenge to the foundational modus operandi of the University — the model of pedagogy. Specifically, there is a widening gap between the model of learning offered by many big universities and the natural way that young people who have grown up digital best learn."

Building a new UC -- in cyberspace

Christopher Edley Jr. is dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law.

The UC XI cyber-campus could be a way to put high-quality higher education within reach of tens of thousands more students, including part-timers, and eventually provide a revenue boost for higher education.

A new California master plan should define and deliver state-of-the-art online education. There are scores of tough questions to be answered, and business plans to be drafted and redrafted. But every cliche about a crisis tells us that the best offense is often innovation.

College-bound hold heavy financial burden -- from the Detroit Free Press

Michigan's Tuition Hikes


Is higher ed the next bubble?



Experts Assess Consequences of Global Surge in Demand for Higher Education -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education
National education ministers and other delegates are attending the World Conference on Higher Education, sponsored by Unesco, the United Nations' education-and-science agency.

The overall themes of the conference are highlighted in a report, “Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution,” prepared for the occasion by the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. Those themes include the rapid rise in mass demand, or massification, as the report calls it, for higher education; increased student mobility; the growth of private higher education; and persistent inequalities in access to higher education. The report cites a recent study of 15 nations that found that “despite greater inclusion, the privileged classes have retained their relative advantage in nearly all nations.


“There is simply not enough money to sustain higher education in its current format. There will always be a Harvard, and people willing to pay ... whatever it’s going to cost for four years, but for all other students we really need alternative models.”

— Carol Twigg, CEO of the National Center for Academic Transformation, p. 21 of 33

We Rent Movies, So Why Not Textbooks?
-- from the New York Times by Miguel Helft



"FREE" -- a book by Chris Anderson

In his New York Times bestseller, The Long Tail, Wired magazine's editor in chief provided a glimpse of the business future that's already here. And now, in Free, he does it again.

As the cost of doing business online drops closer and closer to zero, giving things away is not just becoming an option--it's inevitable. But if the product is free, where's the revenue? In Free, Anderson breaks down the priceless economy into six broad categories, demonstrating how to make money in each:

  • "Freemium": Free Web software and services, and some content, to users of the basic version. (Think Flickr and the $25-a-year Flickr Pro.)
  • Advertising: Free content, services, and software to an audience that advertisers will pay to reach.
  • Cross-subsidies: Give away any product that entices customers to pay for something else. Example: It's a free second-gen Wii! But only if you buy the deluxe version of Rock Band.
  • Zero marginal cost: Anything that can be distributed without an appreciable cost to anyone, like online music.
  • Labor exchange: Performing tasks to gain access to "free" sites and services.
  • Gift economy: From Freecycle (free secondhand goods) to Wikipedia, money isn't the only motivator.

In Free, Anderson uses the fundamentals of economics, a long view of the history of business, analysis of today's rapidly changing landscape, and fascinating predictions to create a book that, like The Long Tail, will be essential reading in the years to come. In hardcover, The Long Tail had lengthy runs on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Book Sense, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists, and has sold200,000 copies. Like The Long Tail, Free began as an article in Wired--in this case, as a controversial cover story. Anderson has also been discussing the book's progress on his widely read blog As editor in chief of Wired and author of The Long Tail, Chris Anderson is one of America's most sought-after commentators on tech trends.



The Future of Content -- 2009

-- original link from The Future of Content -- Open Culture by Dan Colman

  1. The book is the last holdout that has not become fully interactive. Going to be able to sell books in a "million different tiers." More atomic -- people will be able to buy a chapter, be able to choose single short story from an author, buy a premium product (book about a musician will contain the music of that artist, for example).

    From DSC :
    Think about this in terms of higher education -- ability to piecemeal a degree; a class; even a topic. Ability of faculty to publish their findings in multiple fashions/channels...obtaining multiple sources of revenue perhaps.

  2. Steve Johnson -- "In the future, no one will read a book alone." Fans will talk to each other; will develop a citing community; will discuss characters; will lift up a particular chapter.
  3. Book industry has not started the conversation over price. Kindle and Amazon are the first to tackle this conversation. Way behind rest of content business.
  4. Create a platform that matches your customers' preferences.
  5. Get to the point -- quickly -- people are very busy. Make people smarter. Save them time while you do it.
  6. How many others can you play nice with while preserving a business model? (Involved changing a culture). No longer about keeping others away.
  7. Give the consumer a lot of choice. Given the consumer control.
  8. Advertisers can get very targeted and take things further w/ a customer. Growing # of customized solutions to other peoples' problems.
  9. "Inform me / entertain me" box. | "Interactive / manage my life" box.
  10. Specialization -- the NY Times will specialize for example.
  11. The model needs to change. A reporter may not be just a reporter, a cameraman may not be just a cameraman. Practices of people may change. Multi-platformed.
  12. You want to be indespensable to your target audience; need them willing to pay for your product/service/information.
  13. Put your best employees in places "off the battleships". Don't have them tied down to turning the battleships.
  14. What is the next thing the customer is going to need. Be pro-active.
  15. Divide up the book; completely tailored to reader. Bobby Kennedy's speeches integrated into materials, for example.
  16. Copyrights -- how do you get the rights to the content yet also, at the same time, protect your business model? Apple did this successfully w/ iTunes. Also, Apple made their product/services better than the "pirate sites" people willing to pay for it.
  17. Everything is fragmenting; but broadcasting has still remained on top. The network effect. Franchise model/network affiliate model (i.e. ABC has local hooks, for example).



Obama's Ambitious Plan for Community Colleges Raises Hopes and Questions -- from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Marc Parry and Karin Fischer

...Their struggles framed the backdrop on Tuesday as President Obama visited Macomb Community College here, outside Detroit, to propose an unprecedented federal infusion of dollars for two-year colleges.

If the proposed $12-billion were divided among the country’s 1,000-plus community colleges, can that realistically produce the five-million number? And if you bring in more students, where will you put them? “What are you going to do, put a tent out on the lawn?” asks Mr. Knapp.*

The infrastructure money is vital, several experts said, as the surge in students further strains a worn infrastructure. Between the 2001-2 and 2005-6 academic years, nearly 2.3 million new students enrolled at community colleges, the greatest enrollment boom since the 1960s, when many of the institutions were founded. At the same time, two-thirds of all state community-college systems report deferred maintenance needs, according to a 2007 survey by the Education Policy Center at the University of Alabama. Ten of those states said they had “significant” increases in deferred maintenance. Insufficient classroom space is a problem that can force students to delay courses. Completion rates can fall as a result, the White House argues. Mr. Obama's proposed solution: a $2.5-billion fund “to catalyze $10-billion in community-college facility investments,” money that can be used to pay the interest on debt, create state revolving-loan funds, and kick-start capital campaigns.

* From DSC:
No! As addressed later in the article -- you put more courses online.

I vote for putting $1 billion of that $12 billion into creating engaging, incredibly-well done, multimedia-based, online content. Then spread out that content to millions of students around the U.S. and even the world! Believe me, such a tact WILL be figured out and done by someone; why not the Federal Government?


Academic Earth...Awesome and question-raising.... -- from e-Clippings (Learning As Art)
So I am just wondering; does this raise deeper questions about the value of a university education? Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE universities, I love campuses and student unions and libraries and so on...some of my fav places in the world really - BUT - do we need to be a bit more honest about why students are paying to go there when all of this content/interaction is available? I mean if we extrapolate and see a day when all of a college's content is online like this...what the are you paying for with tuition? Student-to-student interaction? Teacher-to-student interaction? That's a shift isn't it? Then we're selling interactions and not content...and we can now engineer interactions in a whole myriad of ways...

From DSC:
The above quote represents why I say that institutions of higher education are vulnerable and must work to keep themselves from becoming a commodity. Students will continue to gain more power and control, which is a good thing in my mind; they will have more choice. But that means that each institution of higher education that continues to exists must have a solid reason for are you going to differentiate yourself?

Right to Education

From DSC:
I wonder what Jesus is thinking, saying or doing about this guess is that it involves the Internet.


Detroit Public Schools Consider Bankrupcy -- from Jay Greene's Blog by Matthew Ladner
An enormous experiment in school choice is going on in Michigan, and it doesn’t receive a fraction of the attention it deserves. The Detroit Public Schools- perhaps the most dysfunctional of the nation’s large urban districts- has been bleeding students and is now actually considering seeking bankruptcy protection. The Wall Street Journal lays it out:

DPS’s enrollment — which largely determines its allotment of state funding — is about half what it was in 2001, as suburban districts and charter schools have siphoned off tens of thousands of students. By this fall, DPS will have 172 schools open and more than 100 vacant. Meanwhile, the high-school-graduation rate is 58%; coupled with the enrollment losses, only about one-quarter of students who start high school in the district graduate from it in four years, according to outside estimates.


College of 2020

"The full-time residential model of higher education is getting too expensive for a larger share of the American population. More and more students are looking for lowercost alternatives to attending college. Three-year degree programs, which some colleges
are now launching, will almost assuredly proliferate. The trend toward low-cost options also will open doors for more inexpensive online options."

"Colleges that have resisted putting some of their courses online will almost certainly have to expand their online programs quickly. Many colleges are learning from the for-profit college industry that they must start courses and certificate programs at
multiple times throughout the year."

"The conversion to more convenience for students will multiply over the next decade. To some degree, those situations are already happening, and they will be amplified as time goes on:

  • Students will increasingly expect access to classes from cellular phones and other portable computing devices.
  • They may sign up to take a course in person, and then opt to monitor class meetings online and attend whenever they want.
  • Classroom discussions, office hours with a professor, lectures, study groups, and papers will all be online."

"Colleges will need to offer those options in addition to face-to-face instruction."

"Colleges are only slowly waking up to the need for substantial change. Admissions officers who are members of a Chronicle Research panel expect significant changes over the next decade in the makeup of their student bodies. Of the 121 institutions that
responded to a survey, two-thirds said that almost all of their students were full time and ages 18 to 25. Those characteristics will change. Only about half the institutions believe that in 2020 their enrollments will be primarily made up of traditional-age, full-time
students. By 2020, almost a third of respondents said, students will be taking up to 60 percent of their courses entirely online. Now almost no students at those colleges take courses only online."


Related items:

Obama Pushes for Education Reform with $4.35 Billion in Competitive Grants -- from by David Nagel
President Barack Obama is calling on states and districts to set higher standards for student achievement. In a speech delivered at the United States Department of Education headquarters in Washington, DC Friday, Obama highlighted some of the top reforms he thinks will help accomplish this and also announced $4.35 billion in competitive grants designed to help support innovative reform efforts.

During the presentation Friday, Obama and representatives from the United States Department of Education outlined the previously introduced Race to the Top Fund and announced that the program will award grants on a competitive basis. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also announced the draft application for the program, and a Notice of Proposed Priorities, Requirements, Definitions, and Selection Criteria has been published in the Federal Register (PDF). The Race to the Top Fund, announced in the first quarter of 2009, is designed to help states bolster student achievement through various reforms. It provides $4.35 billion in incentives for states to create "innovative programs" that can be replicated throughout the country.

Gates: U.S. ed has no choice but to improve -- from
Microsoft co-founder said education is the field that has changed the least with technology

The U.S. must improve its educational standing in the world by rewarding effective teaching and by developing better, universal measures of performance for students and teachers, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said on July 21.

Speaking at the National Conference of State Legislatures' annual legislative summit, Gates told hundreds of lawmakers how federal stimulus money should be used to spark educational innovation, spread best practices, and improve accountability.

Gates, 51, talked of the importance of improving the quality, quantity, and searchability of online lectures, which he noted his own children have used.


Monroe College Sued by Unemployed Grad -- from Education-Portal Blog
Monroe College is being sued by a recent graduate who has been unable to get a job since earning her degree. The displeased grad demanded last week that the Bronx school refund her $70,000 tuition. A spokesperson for Monroe College rejected the claim and said the lawsuit is without merit.


The future of mobile phones is software, not hardware -- from Royal Pingdom

From DSC:
I absolutely agree here, and it's why the phone makers are scrambling to catch up to Apple and RIM (and now Google). This is why everyone must scan the horizon to see what's coming down the pike. If you don't, you lose.


The Truth About Teaching and Learning -- from by Ben Johnson
The truths about teaching and learning are that one size never fits all, and surefire works only some of the time.

From DSC:
I believe this is a true statement. Thus, it seems to me that we will migrate more towards the use of customized learning solutions. These types of solutions will go by different names, such as Personalized Learning Environments (PLE's), Electronic Personal Tutors (EPT's), 1:1 Computing, Individualized Instruction, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Intelligent Web Teacher, Individualized Learning Systems, Learning Companion Systems, Lifelong Learning Companions, 1:1 Technology Enhanced Learning, Adaptive (Educational) Hypermedia, Learning Design Technologies, Adaptive Hypermedia Generators, Adaptive Systems, Learning Agents, Learning Bots, Intelligent Agents, Harvesting Bots, Data Miners/ Data Mining, Business Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, and more. Whew! Also see:

Disrupting Class



Budget cuts devastate California higher ed -- from
Larger class sizes, fewer programs and services, and higher fees await students this fall

130,000 Illinois college students denied financial aid - DAVE NEWBART, Chicago Sun Times -- from Ray Schroeder


Cutting Price—Factors to Consider -- from by Kathy Kurz and Jim Scannell
Helping to determine if this high-risk strategy will have high rewards
IN THE CURRENT ECONOMIC environment, it comes as no surprise that some higher ed institutions are beginning to wonder whether a radical strategy like reducing sticker price would be the best way to maintain market share. This spring, deposits were lagging at many private IHEs, even at campuses where admit numbers were up. More families were appealing financial aid awards, and more institutions were responding to those appeals. Officials are concerned students may “melt away” before fall. Clearly, families are more reluctant to make significant financial investments in higher education than they were even a year ago.

P2Peer Education: Bringing Elite Education to the Masses -- from by Mike Speiser

Related item:
AlgebraPrep App Now Available on App Store -- from Pearson
New Series from Modality and Pearson Brings Algebra Learning to iPhone™ and iPod touch®
Boston, MA, August 12, 2009 — Pearson Education and Modality, Inc. today announced the AlgebraPrep: Factoring application is available on the App Store. This iPhone™ and iPod touch® app, comprised of practice tests and video tutorials by the award-winning instructor and bestselling author Elayn Martin-Gay, is designed to provide supplemental help for students in or out of class.

From DSC:
Note the almost celebrity status of this instructor. I think this is a very potential direction in the future. Team-based content creation, lifting up the best facutly members, instructors, and teachers in the world.


Peer 2 Peer University

The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources. The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses. Students and tutors get recognition for their work, and we are building pathways to formal credit as well.

Md. community colleges riding new wave in higher education - Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun -- from Ray Schroeder


What Will They Learn? A Report on General Education Requirements at 100 of the Nation’s Leading Colleges and Universities -- the American Council of Trustees and Alumni

From DSC:
I saw the above link in an opinion article from the New York Times by Stanley Fish. I haven't read either one carefully, but I thought I'd pass them along. With rising tuitions, all colleges and univrsities are being forced to answer the question, "What's my ROI if I go to [your school]"?

By the way, Northwestern University, my alma mater, rec'd an F (which was not surprising to me; see my comments re: NU above).

'The World Is Open' -- from
Technology is changing higher education in more ways than can be counted. Distance education has become common. Leading universities are putting course materials or even entire courses online -- free. The Obama plan for community colleges envisions free online courses that could be used nationwide. Curtis J. Bonk, a professor of instructional systems technology at Indiana University, surveys this landscape in The World Is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education (Jossey-Bass). Bonk responded to questions about the book in an e-mail interview.

Online school is a cheaper way to educate -- from the Christian Science Monitor
Florida Virtual School has less overhead and higher test scores than average public schools.

From DSC:
I believe this to generally be true -- but it depends upon how complex/polished your learning objects and materials are and how many times you can offer and leverage these materials.


How do organizations respond to emerging technologies? -- from elearnspace by George Siemens
Businesses, schools, and universities are having difficulty responding to emerging technologies. The newspaper industry, for example, is not having an easy time adjusting to the internet. If you're looking for a case study in how one organization responded to potentially disruptive change, have a look at NPR - at a tipping point? It's rare for an organization to be foresighted enough to not only recognize substantial changes, but to plan a focused, strategic, organization-level response.

How do large organizations make the changes that they have to? How do they do this when the New is often the opposite of what they are and what they do today? I think that the answer for NPR and Public radio is that they overcame the huge natural resistance by investing in a shared and deep exploration of what confronted them. What they have done since has come from the genuine emergence of ideas and of a language that they created for themselves.

Edufire – live video learning -- from onlignment

edufire.comEdufire provides a very different take on synchronous online learning. This new site brings together teachers and students for webcam-based online classes. These could be on any subject imaginable, but right now the majority are for language learning. As a teacher, you set your own price and EduFire takes 15% of the sales. Sounds like a good deal to me and the exact reverse of the usual royalties you’d expect from a book publisher. In true Web 2.0 style, the teachers are rated, so demand for the good ones (and presumably the price) will increase, while the poor teachers will look in vain for somewhere to hide.

From DSC:
This gets back to what I've been saying about the power of the Internet to set up exchanges (such as,, Craigs List, etc.)



Disruptive Innovation

Online Learning as a Strategic Asset
-- from George Siemens
A valuable report (in two parts) has been produced by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and Sloan-C: Online Learning as a Strategic Asset.


MissionToLearn.comMission to Learn -- resource from Curtis Bonk a destination for lifelong learners seeking resources for self-education and personal growth and development. We provide a continual stream of lifelong learning resources, news, and insights through three channels...


Quote of the Month -- from Mission to Learn
If you think the fallout in the newspaper business was dramatic, wait until you see what happens to education.

-- Seth Godin

Peer-to-Peer University Offers First Session of Free Online Classes
-- from by Jamie Littlefield
Want to take a quality online class from an experienced adviser without paying a dime? The pilot session of Peer-to-Peer University begins this September. Although no formal credit is offered, Peer-to-Peer University courses look like a promising resource for lifelong learners. They combine freely available opencourseware with more personalized instruction, giving enrollees the opportunity to study alongside peers.

50 Terrific Web Tools to Teach Yourself the Piano

100 Incredible Lectures from the World’s Top Scientists
From “Unless you’re enrolled at a top university or are an elite member of the science and engineering inner circle, you’re probably left out of most of the exciting research explored by the world’s greatest scientists. But thanks to the Internet, and our list of 100 incredible lectures, you’ve now got access to the cutting edge theories and projects that are changing the world.”  via @openculture

45 Free Online CS Courses



College at $99 a month?!

From DSC:
Say what you want about Straighterline and similiar organizations...but someone is going to get this thing right and blow the rest of us out of the water! Below are some very relevant quotes:

"But someone with the means and vision to fundamentally reorder the way students experience and pay for higher education is bound to emerge."

"Whether this transformation is a good or a bad thing is something of a moot point—it’s coming, and sooner than you think. "

This, Smith explained, was where StraighterLine came in. The cost of storing and communicating information over the Internet had fallen to almost nothing. Electronic course content in standard introductory classes had become a low-cost commodity. The only expensive thing left in higher education was the labor, the price of hiring a smart, knowledgeable person to help students when only a person would do. And the unique Smarthinking call- center model made that much cheaper, too. By putting these things together, Smith could offer introductory college courses à la carte, at a price that seemed to be missing a digit or two, or three: $99 per month, by subscription. Economics tells us that prices fall to marginal cost in the long run. Burck Smith simply decided to get there first.

Given the choice between paying many thousands of dollars to a traditional university for the lecture and paying a few hundred to a company like StraighterLine for a service that is more convenient and responsive to their needs, a lot of students are likely to opt for the latter—and the university will have thousands of dollars less to pay for libraries, basketball teams, classical Chinese poetry experts, and everything else.


Will tuition-free college kill the academy?

You/we better figure out how NOT to become a commodity -- and fast. The pace of change has changed:

We are moving at a much faster pace now! Beware!



Nibipedia is an online educational video database of high-quality content that grows in value through community collaboration. Built using a wiki-like construct, members of the Nibipedia community annotate and share Nibipedia videos, via "deep links" to specific moments in video time, with commentary— or with links to other references, texts, and rich media.

Where to Find Free Online Computer Classes -- from Ace Online Schools


From DSC: I created this graphic back in July...but thought I would share it here as well.

Perhaps, in the future, institutions of higher education will charge different amounts for "courses" that offer various types of options (i.e. along the lines of "ala carte" or selecting "options on a car" type of approach):

Potential pricing models for the future -- Daniel S. Christian -- July 13, 2009

Here's and interesting example of adapting / using new pricing models and out of the box thinking...

Economics Lesson for Higher Ed -- from
Call it third way politics if you like, but Reich...suggested another option no one else had previously considered.

What if the school could offer two different options for students, giving them some access to the popular class while still reducing the need for TA’s? In one class, worth four units, students would have the traditional lectures with Reich and break-out discussion groups with TA’s. In a second class, worth only two units, students would attend the Reich lectures without the additional break-out sessions or the same level of coursework. Students in the lecture-only class will still receive exams, which will be graded by less expensive readers, but they won't write essays graded by TA's. Reich concedes the option is "not ideal," but says "I wouldn't be offering it to students lecture-only if I didn't think they would get a lot out of it. And it seems to me we've hit on a reasonable compromise."

Google News: A Payment System and A New Search Bar -- from John Battelle's Searchblog

From Neiman:
Google is developing a micropayment platform that will be “available to both Google and non-Google properties within the next year,” according to a document the company submitted to the Newspaper Association of America. The system, an extension of Google Checkout, would be a new and unexpected option for the news industry as it considers how to charge for content online.


What would this concept look like if applied within higher education?

Students Borrow More Than Ever for College - ANNE MARIE CHAKER, Associated Press
-- from Ray Schroeder
Students are borrowing dramatically more to pay for college, accelerating a trend that has wide-ranging implications for a generation of young people. New numbers from the U.S. Education Department show that federal student-loan disbursements—the total amount borrowed by students and received by schools—in the 2008-09 academic year grew about 25% over the previous year, to $75.1 billion. The amount of money students borrow has long been on the rise. But last year far surpassed past increases, which ranged from as low as 1.7% in the 1998-99 school year to almost 17% in 1994-95, according to figures used in President Barack Obama's proposed 2010 budget.

Who Needs Harvard When You've Got the Internet? -- from Academic Commons by Lisa Gates
Change or die is the message to college officials. In her article for FastCompany, Anya Kamenetz explores the power of edupunks, the progenitors of a high-tech educational remix.  Says Jim Groom, an educational technologist who coined the term, "Edupunk is about the utter irresponsibility and lethargy of educational institutions and the means by which they are financially cannibalizing their own mission." Is there a future for our campuses in open education?

How web-savvy edupunks are transforming American higher education

If you want to perform a proper string quartet, they noted, you can't cut out the cellist nor can you squeeze in more performances by playing the music faster. But that was then -- before MP3s and iPods proved just how freely music could flow. Before Google scanned and digitized 7 million books and Wikipedia users created the world's largest encyclopedia. Before YouTube Edu and iTunes U made video and audio lectures by the best professors in the country available for free, and before college students built Facebook into the world's largest social network, changing the way we all share information. Suddenly, it is possible to imagine a new model of education using online resources to serve more students, more cheaply than ever before.

Related article:
5 Startups to Watch

2tor Inc.
Princeton Review founder John Katzman's team has built a Facebook-like multimedia social-learning platform for the online Master of Arts in Teaching program at the University of Southern California. Students use Flip cameras to make their own video content.

Jon Bischke founded this platform for live video teaching and tutoring. He started two earlier education-related companies: Network, which he sold in 2001, and, billed as the Internet's largest catalog of educational audio, video, and podcasts.

A live online multiplayer game providing test prep is the latest startup from Farbood Nivi, who was the Princeton Review's National Teacher of the Year in 2001. Nivi has gotten more than $10 million in funding from Benchmark Capital and Integral Capital Partners.

"The social Web for education," funded by Facebook's Founder's Fund, is using social media to help colleges with recruiting, retention, and alumni relations. Cofounder and CEO Michael Staton is a former high-school teacher who built Facebook's Courses application.

People at the Venture Capital in Education conference were talking about this "adaptive learning engine" from Kaplan test-prep vet Jose Ferreira. It promises to customize content for each student, down to the concept level, with integrated assessment tools.

The internet disrupts any industry who's core product can be reduced to ones and zeros.

From DSC:
I don't necessarily believe that everything that we offer here at Calvin College can be reduced to ones and zeroes (but much of it can, actually). However, I post it here because disruption is happening -- daily now. We will be impacted by the innovations occurring concerning the Internet...and so will you.

"The architects of education 2.0 predict that traditional universities that cling to the string-quartet model will find themselves on the wrong side of history, alongside newspaper chains and record stores. 'If universities can't find the will to innovate and adapt to changes in the world around them,' professor David Wiley of Brigham Young University has written, 'universities will be irrelevant by 2020.'"


A Virtual Revolution Is Brewing for Colleges -- from Gatlin Education Services and the Washington Post
“Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which ‘going to college’ means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet. The business model that sustained private U.S. colleges cannot survive.

“The real force for change is the market: Online classes are just cheaper to produce. Community colleges and for-profit education entrepreneurs are already experimenting with dorm-free, commute-free options. Distance-learning technology will keep improving. Innovators have yet to tap the potential of the aggregator to change the way students earn a degree, making the education business today look like the news biz circa 1999. And as major universities offer some core courses online, we’ll see a cultural shift toward acceptance of what is still, in some circles, a ‘University of Phoenix’ joke.”

"Similarly, at noon on any given day, hundreds of university professors are teaching introductory Sociology 101. The Internet makes it harder to justify these redundancies. In the future, a handful of Soc. 101 lectures will be videotaped and taught across the United States."

Click here to read the full article.



Next: An Internet Revolution in Higher Education -- from
Web technology is poised to shake universities, the way it rocked newspapers and the music industry—with convenient, cheaper alternatives
Over an omelet and fruit, McNealy made it clear that possibilities in open-source education go far beyond textbooks. Before long, he claimed, the whole bloated, expensive, lecture-based higher education system will face the first challenge to its very existence: open-source, online higher education that costs a fraction of four years at Harvard—but is good enough for employers who want a college graduate. "Universities will be forced to decide what they are. You know, are they going to be football teams with libraries attached?" McNealy asked. "That's what a lot of them are now."

"The economics of traditional schooling are so out of whack that there is an opening for new players," says Fred Fransen, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education, which helps donors more effectively give money to universities. From that perch, Fransen sees the typical university business model as prone to attack.

From DSC:
Don't underestimate the power of the Internet to set up exchanges (even within education); here's another example:

Top 5 Reasons to use redbeacon:

  1. Providers compete for your job so you get a better price
  2. Only qualified providers see your job
  3. Providers work on your schedule
  4. Schedule the appointment online - no calls or hassle
  5. It's completely free to use


Breaking Down the Traditional Barriers to Education -- from
An interview with Shai Reshef, founder and president of University of the People

CT: What are [U of People's] goals?
Reshef: Ultimately, we want to make higher education accessible to everyone, and to serve as an alternative for those who have no higher education alternatives. There are hundreds of millions of people around the globe who graduate from high school, but who are unable to attend college because they can't afford it--and because there aren't enough universities. Either they get in, or they're left out and wind up with very limited futures. With all of the global development and Internet usage we're seeing, it's a shame that these talented individuals have to stay home and miss out on successful futures. Thanks to our new model, it's now possible for them to get a good education without having to leave home.


Related item:
Revisiting Paid versus Earned Media: Now Enter "Blended" Media -- from




Just what might it take to reform higher education? -- from Michael J. Offerman, EdD, Vice Chairman, Capella University


For-profits thrive while universities decline - Madeleine Leroux, SIU Daily Egyptian -- from Ray Schroeder
As the university continues its struggle to improve declining enrollment, for-profit institutions are seeing increased numbers, but administrators say there is a clear difference in service. Paul Sarvela, vice president for Academic Affairs, said at the Sept. 10 Board of Trustees meeting, a report from the Chronicle of Higher Education outlined how for-profit institutions, such as the University of Phoenix, are growing faster than community colleges, public four-year institutions and private not-for-profit institutions, such as DePaul University. “For-profit institutions are an area of tremendous growth, not only in the United States, but in Illinois,” Sarvela said. “Many of the for-profit institutions are adding new programs and courses of study throughout the state.”


Related item:

Newpapers: gone. Next: TV Networks.


'Wannabe U' -- from, referencing a book by sociologist Gaye Tuchman; some quotes below include:

All of these trends shouldn't be viewed simply as a sign of economic challenges, but as a historic shift, Tuchman argues. "Here's what matters: These and other treatments of grand trends insist that higher education is one of the last revered Western institutions to be 'de-churched'; that is, it is one of the last to have its ideological justification recast in terms of corporatization and commodification and to become subject to serious state surveillance," she writes. "Universities are no longer to lead the minds of students to grasp truth; to grapple with intellectual possibilities; to appreciate the best in art, music, and other forms of culture; and to work toward both enlightened politics and public service. Rather they are now to prepare students for jobs. They are not to educate, but to train."

She writes that the administration is imposing "an accountability regime" on faculty members.

"Universities are no longer to lead the minds of students to grasp truth; to grapple with intellectual possibilities; to appreciate the best in art, music, and other forms of culture; and to work toward both enlightened politics and public service. Rather they are now to prepare students for jobs. They are not to educate, but to train."

From DSC:
I hear what Tuchman is saying here in this article and I heartedly agree in the value of a liberal education (after all, I got my undergrad degree in the college of arts and sciences...and I work for a liberal arts college). We need and want students to learn about music, art, culture, and other important very important topics (I would also add matters of faith to that equation). However, a few thoughts instantly come to my mind:

  1. Higher ed has been a business for years -- I don't know for how long, but it certainly is one now. With budgets getting tighter and tighter, keeping the doors open at any institution of higher ed has become a very real priority/item to address. That is not to excuse the research universities out there who charge huge amounts of tuition, mainly to deliver the "Tommy Hilfiger", "Gucci", "Versace", or some other name in the end (and not teachers who have been trained to teach the students and who have teaching as their top priority).

  2. What do you expect would happen when the price tag of getting an education continues to go up, up, and up again? There needs to be some measure/degree of accountability there is with most other professions. The difference is that as the price tag has continued to go up (almost never down), so has the call -- and the pressure -- for a healthy return on that investment. Think about it....if you or I graduated from college with $100,000+ in loans to repay, what would you/I NEED? A damn good job -- and fast!

  3. Also...when you pay your mechanic, you expect that the car has been fixed, no? When you pay a lawyer for helping you out with a will, you expect that the will she drafted represents what you want and paid her for, no? When you send your son or daughter off to college, you expect that he or she will get a high-quality education that will help them be well-rounded, able to think critically, be a problem solver, AND be employable, no?

  4. There has to be some integration or concern with how to help our students "hit the ground running" -- at least to some extent. If you had that mountain of debt on your back, what would you want (need)


A new model of teaching & learning:
Let's offer our students a personalized, customized, learning ecosystem

From Daniel S. Christian

Education is moving towards providing much more customized, personalized learning environments – environments whereby the student selects and utilizes their preferred means of learning. Students will need to be able to continually know where to go to get information in the future. This project aims at helping them in their never-ending quest for obtaining effective, lifelong, learning. Such tools in their toolbox could be:

  • Internal and external blogs
  • Internal and external wikis
  • Internal and external discussions boards
  • RSS feeds
  • Web sites
  • Facebook
  • Textbooks
  • Internal and external virtual classrooms / webinars / seminars
  • Online tutorials
  • Online simulations
  • Online games
  • Articles and journals from online-library databases
  • Ability to contribute content
  • Rating systems for content
    • For other students’ content
    • For publisher’s content
    • For faculty’s content
  • Ability to poll other students
  • Ability to use various devices with this learning ecosystem
    • Laptops/notebooks
    • PDAs
    • Smart phones and iPod touches
    • Tablet PCs/Macs
  • Each discipline / department creates and offers their own feeds – which their majoring/minoring students can subscribe to
  • Let students access and build what works for them
  • Help students identify and pursue their passions
  • Over the next 1-3 decades, the learning technologies will change so fast it will make our minds spin. We need to teach our students how to learn…how to access information.
  • User requirements must be explicitly ascertained from faculty and students via:
    • Focus groups
    • Interviews
    • Surveys
    • Observations
    • Other

Daniel S. Christian -- a new model for building your own learning ecosystem

PBS and NPR Add to Trove of Free Online Lectures -- from The Chronicle by Simmi Aujla
PBS and NPR are now posting taped interviews and videos of lectures by academics, adding to the growing number of free lectures online. Their site, called Forum Network, says it makes thousands of lectures available, including the Harvard professor Michael Sandel's take on calculating happiness in a lecture called "How to Measure Pleasure," and a discussion by a Northeastern University professor, Nicholas Daniloff, about the difficulties of reporting in Russia in a lecture called "Of Spies and Spokesmen: The Challenge of Journalism in Russia." The Web site also includes material featuring political figures and business executives. The offerings from PBS and NPR add to video and audio already available on sites such as YouTube EDU and from individual universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University.

How to Write a Book and Have It Not Be Hopelessly Out of Date
-- from

Attention all institutions of higher ed -- as well as the publishers who supply textbooks:
We need to figure out a way to do this. We need CURRENT information in the hands of our students at all times!

YouTube EDU goes international - a global classroom for all -- from Google Student Blog

Universities from the Europe and Israel have now joined YouTube EDU. The site now provides over 45,000 videos from over 20 top universities in nine countries with academic lectures, public talks and college life from universities including Cambridge University, The Open University, (UK), INSEAD, (France),Bocconi University (Italy), Open University of Catalonia, (Spain) University of Gronigen (The Netherlands), Moscow State University (Russia) - in addition to the 200 US universities already on the site.

The international version now includes a drop-down menu to filter content based on language of choice. For example, select French and find content from HEC in Paris and also the French-Canadian University of Montreal, or set to 'All' to browse videos in all languages. The Directory also enables subjects to be browsed - e.g. select 'Business', 'Engineering' or 'Literature' to see content available. Although this feature is currently only available for English at the moment, we are looking to roll-out to languages as more universities join.


More professional development is NOT the answer!

Using technology to improve the cost-effectiveness of the academy: Part 1
-- by Tony Bates

Our View: Higher ed needs a redo - Pasadena Star News -- from Ray Schroeder
There are signs everywhere that the state's pillars of higher education - access, affordability and quality - are crumbling. The budget crisis that sparked last week's UC protests has forced hundreds of millions in cuts, with students bearing the burden through fees that went up by more than 30 percent. At CSU, for the first time, students now pay more than the state. That's astounding in light of the Master Plan's promise of a tuition-free education for anyone who qualified. The update must begin with a robust public discussion about the future of public higher education - including what's at stake if the world's finest system continues to deteriorate. Maintaining quality, access and affordability at CSU, UC and the community colleges will be expensive, but letting these institutions falter will be far more costly to California's economy and its people.


Just as I have been saying...

From DSC:
To the powerbrokers within higher ed, you need to
listen to this piece and have a plan on how to respond to this trend; no joke.

I have been saying this for many months now...but I don't think people
want to -- or like to -- hear about this impending change.


The Lost GenerationThe Lost Generation -- from
The continuing job crisis is hitting young people especially hard—damaging both their future and the economy

From DSC:
How much debt can recent graduates and future graduates handle with this situation? For how long? Do you hear what I hear? A call for ROI and the NEED/REQUIREMENT for a good-paying job immediately upon graduating from college. If this is not the case, won't parents and students have to make changes? What sort of changes might be anticipated here?



Online education expanding, awaits innovation -- from
The online education sector grew 13 percent last year and had been growing at about 20 percent in previous years. Nearly one in four students take at least some college courses online, up from one in 10 in 2002. Two million students, most older than the traditional 18-22 year-old undergraduates, take all their courses online and two million more take one or more online course.

President Barack Obama pledged $500 million for online courses and materials as part of a multi-pronged plan aimed at expanding access to college.


The National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) -- from Carol A. Twigg | President and CEO | National Center for Academic Transformation
Would you like to learn how to improve student learning while reducing instructional costs? In partnership with more than 150 colleges and universities, the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) has shown how it is possible to increase student success and access while containing or reducing instructional costs. In 2006, NCAT initiated The Redesign Alliance, a membership organization of 70+ institutions and companies whose mission is to advance the concept of course redesign throughout higher education.
If you would like to learn more about course redesign, an excellent way to do so would be to attend the Redesign Alliance Fourth Annual Conference to be held March 28 - 30, 2010, in Orlando, FL. Participation in this conference is open to the higher education community.


Welcome to the University of iTunes -- from
The wisdom of business professors, once only available to MBAs and business students, can now be accessed by anybody with an Internet connection. Hundreds of universities and business schools are making recordings of lectures and conferences available to the public via iTunes and YouTube.

Welcome to the University of iTunes

Technology and the Rise of the For-profit University -- from

Take for example the courses we are developing. They are problem-based, high-touch, interactive courses, Students are asked to solve problems from day one, long before they have the requisite knowledge. Why? As motivation. As goal-directed reading. As tools for understanding. Are these low-quality training courses? No, they are high quality courses, developed with our consortium universities: Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, CMU, London School of Economics.

Note: we have separated the development of the course from the instruction. We use the best professors in the land to develop the course. The instructional staff then teaches them without deviation. No favorite lecture (no lectures). No re-ordering the textbook chapters. No skipping sections. The knowledge experts prepare, the teaching experts teach. Will education change in 2010? You bet.


Universities - recorded lectures better than live -- from Donald Clark
Simple enough, video lectures with ratings and details of number of downloads, from over 320 Universities such as; Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford,, and so on. Cambridge, Coventry, Edinburgh, Leeds, Nottingham, OU, The top lecture has received 10.5 million views! [emphasis DSC] But even physics lectures are beating the 350,000 mark. Compare this with the once a year, lecture from a typical living academic – let’s say 100 students once a year for 15 years (and that’s really pushing it). You’re effectively extending the life of a good physics lecturer by thousand of years!

From DSC:
I would have preferred recorded lectures, knowing that I could go through the lecture at my own pace -- without madly scambling to write down everything before the professor erased the board. I would have been more at to cognitively interact w/ the content more. But again, that was in lecture halls with 100-300 people in them...not 10-20 people in them as is the case here at Calvin College.

Challenging conventional wisdom about [what] college should cost -- from The Other 85 Percent
Jane Wellman and Dennis Jones offer some important challenges to conventional wisdom about college costs in this Inside Higher Ed article. They see a developing national agenda for higher education driven by the goal put forward by President Obama to return the U.S. to world leadership in degree attainment levels by 2020. Achieving that goal will require extraordinary measures and management of costs. What is fun and important about their piece is how they dismiss eight beliefs that are so widespread that they are recognized as conventional wisdom. They do a great job of talking about each of the eight “wisdoms”...

Bucking Conventional Wisdom on College Costs -- back from July 20, 2009 -- by Dennis Jones and Jane Wellman
A national agenda for postsecondary education in the United States is beginning to form, motivated by the goal of moving the United States to a position of international preeminence in postsecondary education by the year 2020. The size of our achievement gap and current fiscal realities present real challenges, making productivity increases in higher education imperative, to maintain access and increase degree attainment on a reduced funding base. One strategy is to improve the management of costs within higher education — reducing the need for tuition increases, improving public credibility necessary for increased public investments, and better targeting resources to those functions that pay off in terms of increased educational attainment. Managing costs will require attention both within institutions and at the state policy level — changing how funds are allocated, and focusing on the relationship between resource use and quality.


The future of college may be virtual

In many ways, education hasn’t changed much since students sat at the feet of Socrates more than two millenniums ago. Learners still gather each autumn at colleges to listen to and be questioned by professors.

But the Internet has caused sudden shifts in other industries, from the way people read news to the way they buy music or plan travel. Might higher education be nearing such a jolt?

“Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which ‘going to college’ means packing up, getting a dorm room, and listening to tenured professors,” she wrote in The Washington Post. “Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the Internet.”

Carey points to the fledgling company, which offers college courses in subjects from algebra to business statistics, English composition, and accounting. Students can take as many courses as they want for $99 per month, the company’s website says. The price includes 10 hours each month of one-on-one live support and a course adviser.

The pace has changed -- big time!

Can you hear the roar of the engines?! If not, keep reading...

The New, Faster Face of Innovation -- from MIT Sloan Management Review by Erik Brynjolfsson and Michael Schrage. Thanks to technology, change has never been so easy—or so cheap.

Call it innovation on steroids. Or innovation at warp speed. Or just the innovation of rapid innovation.

But the essential point remains: Technology is transforming innovation at its core, allowing companies to test new ideas at speeds—and prices—that were unimaginable even a decade ago. They can stick features on Web sites and tell within hours how customers respond. They can see results from in-store promotions, or efforts to boost process productivity, almost as quickly.

The result? Innovation initiatives that used to take months and megabucks to coordinate and launch can often be started in seconds for cents.

The Speed of Change An endangered species: Experts


NOTE the SPEED of the changes these days:

Walled gardens collapsed nearly overnight

See slide #46

New winners and losers

See slide #60

Web technology is about to change how we learn -- from

The education industry is on the cusp of being massively disrupted by innovation in Web technology. Like other industries prior, it would like to pretend that it can weather the storm and continues business as usual, with only minor tweaking. We all know how that story ends.

A massive advantage Web-based learning applications offer is tools for collaboration. Collaboration tools give students the chance to teach and learn from each other, and they’re going to jump on these tools in the same way they’ve jumped on Facebook and MySpace to construct and interact with their social universe.

Perhaps even more valuable than collaboration is the Web’s ability to bring complete customization to the learning experience. The classroom is by definition an experience of the mean: cut out the outliers at the top and the bottom and deliver the common denominator to those in the middle. It’s hard to do otherwise. Even with a reasonable class size, there’s no way an instructor can be agile enough to teach in different ways simultaneously to students with different backgrounds and interests who learn at different speeds.


The Virtualization of K-12 and Higher Education (PDF of slides) -- by Sam Adkins and Ambient Insight

Slide from Ambient Insight's 10-21-09 Presentation: 2009-2014 Growth of US Online Higher Education Students

Slide from Ambient Insight's 10-21-09 Presentation: PreK-12: By 2014 over 13 Million Students will be participating in online classes


Apple builds a grad school in iTunes -- from Tech.Blorge
Apple is increasing involvement in the education area with a special iTunes project that will put MBA-level lectures from famous universities and professors into the iTunes store at no cost to users. Universities such as Cambridge, Fuqua School of Business, and Yale School of Management and hundreds of others are recording lectures from their business graduate program professors and storing them on iTunes for everyone to listen to. This adds to a trend in which educational material is made available to the public through sites like iTunes and YouTube. More schools are coming on line with these programs every day, according to a CNN story. Although credit cannot be offered for “taking” classes in this manner, the knowledge is still imparted by the content, you don’t have to spend any time in the classroom, and it does not cost a thing.

How a new online learning approach aims to revolutionise language learning - the Independent
-- from Online Learning Update by Ray Schroeder
The Open School for Languages (provisionally called MYLO), a £5.4m online learning project, is one of the main initiatives being unveiled next year to support teenagers learning a key language. Aimed at harnessing the best of new technology and the interest that most young people have in online as well as face-to-face learning, the open school is designed to provide 11 to 16-year-olds with a new range of online materials relevant to their world, as well as new resources for teachers. The scheme will begin with French, German, Spanish and Mandarin, but more languages will be added if initial results are positive. The first modules will focus on the basics and preliminary skills for Key Stage 3, while the later modules will be for GCSE students.

Average College Costs on the Rise -- from
The College Board's annual report on college pricing trends shows that there has been a substantial increase in average college costs over the last year. The data confirms what many people already knew or suspected: average college prices are rising much faster than the prices of other goods and services.

"So a cheaper price not only revolutionised this market, it decimated the market."

-- from Donald Clark's Future is Free posting


How to learn a foreign language online


Stop the presses!


The Three Year Solution

-- by Lamar Alexander, now a U.S. senator; was U.S. education secretary for George H.W. Bush, president of
The University of Tennessee, and governor of Tennessee.Alexander,

Excert of misc quotes:

  • "You won't be given credit for seat time -- you're gonna get credit for actually being able to do it. The faculty are going to be people who are ready to talk to you because you are ready to talk to them." -- Professor Robert Zemsky (see video) of the Penn Graduate School of Education

  • Yet, as with the auto industry in the 1960s, there are signs of peril within American higher education.

  • But as I discovered myself during my four-year tenure as president of the University of Tennessee in the late 1980s, in some ways, many colleges and universities are stuck in the past. For instance, the idea of the fall-to-spring "school year" hasn't changed much since before the American Revolution, when we were a nation of farmers and students put their books away to work the soil during the summer. That long summer stretch no longer makes sense. Former George Washington University president Stephen J. Trachtenberg estimates that a typical college uses its facilities for academic purposes a little more than half the calendar year. "While college facilities sit idle, they continue to generate maintenance, energy, and debt-service expenses that contribute to the high cost of running a college," he has written.

  • "There is nothing more vulnerable than entrenched success." -- George Romney, President American Motors

  • Meanwhile, tuition has soared, leaving graduating students with unprecedented loan debt.


Holy smokes! We are most definitely in a game-changing environment! Play this out and it's mind-blowing...syndicated online courses...matching up buyers and sellers of courses via online-based exchanges...creating a platform for distributing one's (or a team's) work... wow. Developing a Great Experience
-- from

Coming in November -- Smart.FM for your iPhone

...the [] iPhone app has been submitted to Apple and is very close to being in your hands. Screenshots of the app are available at Early in November we anticipate seeing a smiling owl sitting in the iTunes app store.


From Textbooks to Virtual Learning Villages -- from EducationWeek
According to this article in the Boston Globe, Houghton Mifflin, one of the largest textbook companies in the U.S., has signed a $40 million contract with Detroit public schools to provide not only textbooks, but also the software to create an interactive classroom network called Learning Village.

Publisher enters new chapter in textbooks
Houghton sells $40m high-tech teaching system

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the oldest publishers in the United States, plans to unveil today the biggest deal in its history: a $40 million, multiyear contract with Detroit public schools. But this is not the typical agreement to sell a textbook to every student.

Instead, Houghton will be providing a computer-based teaching system it developed with Microsoft Corp. that will connect teachers, students, and administrators. It’s a radical shift away from the classic textbook publishing model and represents an industry transformation, as technology supplants books.

“We are now in a transformational period. Everything we have has to be two worlds: print and digital,’’ Cohen said. “The future of learning is going to be high-quality online material and, to a lesser extent, textbooks.’’

Online Education, Growing Fast, Eyes the Truly 'Big Time' -- from The Chronicle by Marc Parry

Orlando, Fla. -- Online education is a runaway best seller. Its growth rate -- 12.9 percent -- dwarfs the overall pace of academe’s student expansion. More than 25 percent of all students may have taken at least one online class this year, according to a speculative estimate suggested at a distance-education conference that wraps up here today. But the success isn’t smashing enough. Not even close.

That’s the case made by A. Frank Mayadas, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation program director who called on online educators gathered here to meet what he sees as a major need -- fast. And Mr. Mayadas, considered the Father of Online Learning, suggested in an interview following his speech that the government should step in with some $500-million to support traditional online courses -- not just the experimental “free” courses that have emerged as a darling of the Obama administration.


Free online courses


'Convergent education' comes together -- by Gregg W. Downey, Editor
Commentary: Educational transformation will come--whether entrenched interests like it or not

As I was saying last month, an avalanche of change is rumbling towards our field. I propose we call this cascading phenomenon "convergent education."

Here's what I mean: A new species of education is emerging that artfully aggregates up-to-the-minute instructional technology, sophisticated pedagogy, robust and standards-based educational content, and web-based delivery that requires a computer or other personal digital device but no fixed address. Under most circumstances, convergent education certainly can amplify the impact of traditional instruction, but it is not necessarily dependent on face-to-face encounters between teacher and student.

At its best, convergent education features diverse learning opportunities delivered via multiple media platforms combined with field trips (virtual or real), live streaming video, interactive archived video, educational gaming, student collaboration, animation, celebrity lectures and adventures, project-based instruction with student-managed data, virtual demonstrations and experiments, continuous monitoring of student engagement and learner satisfaction, and classic, in-the-classroom instruction.

In general, convergent education is based on developments such as distance learning and lecture-capture strategies that have been around for some time, but which are now reinforced by the completely unprecedented fact that nearly every willing learner has (or soon will have) economical access to the rich multimedia resources of the internet--access delivered by such devices as personal computers, netbooks, smart telephones, personal digital assistants, interactive whiteboards, pocket projectors, and handheld reading devices.

Convergent education has been made feasible--and perhaps even inevitable--by a unique confluence of social and technological forces that ultimately must transform the way we learn. Such forces include--but are by no means limited to--the thinning of our teaching corps by retirement, reductions in force, and classroom abandonment; the movement toward charter schools, open-courseware, and online universities; the push for school reform from government and industry; and the desire and necessity of multitudes of adults to obtain new skills and knowledge to survive and thrive in a swiftly changing job market.

Here's what's profoundly different now: This time the transformation will come whether entrenched interests like it or not.

The Higher Educational Bubble Continues to Grow -- from Karl Kapp, who cites the articles mentioned below the graphic I created back in February '09

Prices are Manipulated Without Regard to Market Supply/Demand
The sticker price of college tuition is seldom ever paid, colleges continue to let parents and eager young students know that financial aid is available in a number of formats and they will work with you to get the best "deal" on your four years of college.

Isn't this like buying a car (before Edmunds), dealers put an outrageous sticker price on the car and then you "negotiate" them down to a "fair" price or a "bargain"? Since no one knew the real price, many people ended up paying more than they need to. Additionally, according to a US Today Opinion piece, in good times, colleges blame tuition hikes on high labor costs. In bad times, they blame endowment troubles. Either way the rates continue to go up unabated. This is a growing bubble.

Is higher ed the next bubble?

Is college still worth the price? -- from
Costs are soaring twice as fast as inflation, even as salaries for graduates are falling. Time to examine the old belief that college is worth whatever you can pay.

Students suffocate under tens of thousands in loans -- from (back from Feb 2006) by Sandra Block


[Re:] The Higher Educational Bubble Continues to Grow -- from Stephen Downes
Higher education, writes Karl Kapp, is in the grip of a bubble. The signs?

  • core mission and fundamentals are ignored
  • disproportionate compensation at the highest levels
  • product value doesn't match marketplace expectations
  • prices are manipulated without regard to market supply and demand
  • perception of exclusivity
  • a delusion that "this market is different"

I have long affirmed that such a crisis is coming and that it would arrive very suddenly after being years in the making. It is now very close - within a matter of months. 2010 some time, maybe (at the outside) 2011, at least in North America. Funding will dry up, there will be significant staff reductions, institutions will merge or close, and administrators will be desperate for alternatives. Not just in education, but education will be very hard hit, and at all levels.

From DSC:
This is not a joke folks...I couldn't agree with Karl and Stephen more.



In Search of the Big Idea -- from
NEW YORK -- Nothing concentrates the mind like a fiscal crisis; or at least that's the hope of higher education leaders. Gathered here Thursday for the TIAA-CREF Institute's Higher Education Leadership Conference, some of the nation's most prominent figures in postsecondary education wrestled with the central question of their time: What is the future of this thing called college?

What became quickly and painfully obvious in their deliberations is that the center will not hold. In something of an irony, higher education leaders acknowledged here Thursday that the very system that put them in the position to run the nation's colleges and universities is no longer fit to groom their successors or the rest of the U.S. work force. Diminishing state support, a skeptical public pressing for accountability, and dramatically shifting demographics all point toward the necessity for a serious rethinking of the way colleges educate students, according to just about every panelist who spoke at the conference.

...And therein lies the tug of war within higher education. Innovation is invariably greeted with a mix of applause and raised eyebrows, as an "industry" steeped in tradition seeks to redefine itself for the 21st century. Is the skepticism rightful protection of a system that is the envy of the world or unwarranted protectionism of a system that is built to fail? That's the question college presidents say they're now confronting every day, according to several who attended the conference.

Leading Education Organizations Announce Consortium for Transforming Low-Performing Schools from Within -- from B2E
Renaissance Learning and JBHM Education Group introduce program that builds school and district capacity to accelerate learning, provides alternative to charters and closures

JACKSON, Miss. – Nov. 4, 2009 – Amid growing pressure on public school districts to improve performance of chronically struggling schools, two nationally recognized education organizations have formed a consortium to offer a research-based approach for transforming  these schools into successful learning environments without requiring mass dismissals of staff, school closures or turnover to charters or outside management organizations. The new initiative, called SetPoint, pairs classroom technology with intensive coaching to build capacity for sustained change within the local district.


Making college affordable -- from Tom Haskins (my thanks to Karl Kapp for the resource here)
As Karl Kapp recently explored in The Higher Education Bubble Continues to Grow, most colleges are mimicking Wall Street's flawed strategy of self-serving financial schemes. Colleges cannot slow the runaway inflation which results in soaring costs, declining value and under-served students. These colleges are conforming to a single contaminated business model, much like the health care providers that Clayton Christensen has analyzed. The "significant" differences between colleges amount to mere superficial variations in course offerings, campus activities and financial aid resources. The financial crisis is shared by nearly all institutions of higher education. As I recently explored on my other blog, the reasons the costs are soaring out of sight are not even on their radars.

David Wiley Presentation: When innovation gets difficult


The High Cost of College – Is the Three-Year Bachelor Degree Program the Answer? -- from Open Education


Two year colleges swamped -- no longer welcome all

“Enrollment has been growing steadily, but this was a tidal wave for us this fall,” said [LaGuardia Community College's] president, Gail O. Mellow, pointing out that the student body had risen by almost 50 percent in the past decade. “I’ve never seen anything like this. We used to pretty much be an open door.”

Stephen Downes presentation on open education


Colleges Find Creative Ways to Cut Back -- from Time Magazine by Sophia Yan

Connectivisim: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age -- from E-learning Practice & Research blog; and ultimately from George Siemens
The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe. Our ability to learn what we need for tomorrow is more important than what we know today. A real challenge for any learning theory is to actuate known knowledge at the point of application. When knowledge, however, is needed, but not known, the ability to plug into sources to meet the requirements becomes a vital skill. As knowledge continues to grow and evolve, access to what is needed is more important than what the learner currently possesses [emphasis DSC].

Connectivism presents a model of learning that acknowledges the tectonic shifts in society where learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity. How people work and function is altered when new tools are utilized. The field of education has been slow to recognize both the impact of new learning tools and the environmental changes in what it means to learn. Connectivism provides insight into learning skills and tasks needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.

Michigan Community College Association's Virtual Learning Collaborative

-- i.e. pooling resources; also see my consortiums page


Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning -- from Virtual School Symposium 2009 Overlay

Key emerging trends for online learning?

  • We haven’t addressed the mobile device and we know it is what students want – might not be 2010 but in 18 months we will see mobile devices
  • We will continue to see the conversation changing from what is it to how we manage it
  • We will see integration into special education in much greater numbers
  • We will see more states require online learning experience - MI, AL already have this
  • Several different waves are coming – growth in elementary, blended learning – adults needing a high school diploma are a huge audience coming to virtual schools
  • Within corporate training, we will see more cohort based collaborative learning in the corporate world
  • More multiple pathways to learning – more ability to just in time resources to support the learning that needs to happen for students
  • All states will finally have online learning and the discussion will dramatically change

    This is the wave, the wave is coming – you either ride the wave or wipe out!
    [emphasis in bold red by DSC]

Keeping pace with K-12 online learning

Enormous growth rates in K-12 online education!


Jack Welsh's backing will boost online learning

This January, what he does intend to start is something that could boost online education and threaten competitors. The Welch institute plans a marriage of investment capital, minimum admission standards, online reach, established academics, and the global brand of Fortune's Manager of the Century. That contrasts with other for-profit online colleges that offer open admission, including a brand whose reputation was recently mocked on Saturday Night Live. The Welch program's cheaper tuition may also lure students away from some traditional business schools.

From DSC:
As Jack's health is very questionable, his longevity is not the key to his contribution to online learning. However, his current backing signifies to the corporate world that this new online learning world is to be taking extremely seriously. More than that, the investment community is getting behind this movement as well. Someone with deep pockets will get this thing right...and when they do...lookout!



Virtual Classrooms Could Create a Marketplace for Knowledge -- from the New York Times
Teacherless or virtual-teacher learning is described by enthusiasts as a revolution in the making. Until now, they say, education has been a seller’s market. You beg to get in to college. Deans decide what you must know. They prevent you from taking better courses elsewhere. They set prices high to subsidize unprofitable activities. Above all, they exclude most humans from their knowledge — the poor, the old, people born in the wrong place, people with time-consuming children and jobs.

Champions of digital learning want to turn teaching into yet another form of content. Allow anyone anywhere to take whatever course they want, whenever, over any medium, they say. Make universities compete on quality, price and convenience. Let students combine credits from various courses into a degree by taking an exit exam. Let them live in Paris, take classes from M.I.T. and transfer them to a German university for a diploma.

“This is putting the consumer in charge as opposed to putting the supplier in charge,” said Scott McNealy, the chairman of Sun Microsystems, the technology giant, and an influential proponent of this approach. He founded Curriki, an online tool for sharing lesson plans and other materials, and was an early investor in the Western Governors University, which delivers degrees online.

From DSC:
Students will demand better in the future. If we don't give it to them, they will go elsewhere. Our offerings must be relevant, accessible, affordable, and engaging.

NOTE: Using technology to electronically deliver education does NOT prohibit a live human from being involved! The role of what a "teacher" is may change along the lines of a guide...a mentor...a person who steers others in the right direction. For example, provide live tutors -- so using technology and involving human beings are NOT mutually exclusive!

Online Learning for Dollars: Selling Lessons Online Raises Cash and Questions - Winnie Hu, New York Times
-- resource and quote below from Ray Schroeder

Between Craigslist and eBay, the Internet is well established as a marketplace where one person’s trash is transformed into another’s treasure. Now, thousands of teachers are cashing in on a commodity they used to give away, selling lesson plans online for exercises as simple as M&M sorting and as sophisticated as Shakespeare. While some of this extra money is going to buy books and classroom supplies in a time of tight budgets, the new teacher-entrepreneurs are also spending it on dinners out, mortgage payments, credit card bills, vacation travel and even home renovation, leading some school officials to raise questions over who owns material developed for public school classrooms.

Following graphic from Daniel Christian:

The power of online exchanges.


The Future Of Higher Education -- from Virtual High School Meanderings

The Future of Higher Education


Top ten trends in student learning with technology -- archived presentation

Students design for an online textbook -- Nov 2009

The Teaching Company


Just launched today: -- quick and easy method of taking courses online


Supercool School Supercool School

-- resource passed along by Stephen Downes

I don't know if this site is any good or not...however, I find the explosion
in innovation incredible...and much of it is happening online. This page
involves changing business models for this type of site is very relevant.


College education is about to feel the heat. Posting on HS Dent's site.

You Can't Innovate Like Apple
-- from Pragmatic Markting by Alain Breillatt
When what you teach and develop every day has the title “Innovation” attached to it, you reach a point where you tire of hearing about Apple. Without question, nearly everyone believes the equation Apple = Innovation is a fundamental truth. Discover what makes them different.

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what’s the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’’’

From DSC:
This is how I feel about integrating technology into the classroom. I don't expect our faculty members to lead in terms of integrating technologies into the classroom -- I feel that's the job of our Teaching & Learning Group. Faculty members:

1) Don't have enough incentive to investigate all of the technologies out there (and therefore may not know what's out there that's potentially very useful in the classroom)
2) Don't have the time to do so
3) May not be interested in doing so in the first place
4) May feel that their game is a winning one and not in need of any change (which may or may not be the case as the years go by).

In other words, faculty members are not generally going to lead in this ever-increasingly important and influential space. But they must be open to change in this area. They must be open to developing a culture of innovation; a thing, which this article suggests, is neither easy nor inexpensive. But, I would argue, a must if an institution of higher education wants to survive in this new climate.

Directions in Education and Learning
-- George Siemens at University of Oslo

One of the slides from George Siemens' talk last week at the University of Oslo


Number of students taking online courses rises -- from USA Today by Justin Pope (back on 11/9/09), The Associated Press; my thanks to Ginger Howell for this resource
Roughly one in six students enrolled in higher education — about 3.2 million people — took at least one online course last fall, a sharp increase defying predictions that online learning growth is leveling off.

A new report scheduled for released Thursday by The Sloan Consortium, a group of colleges pursuing online programs, estimates that 850,000 more students took online courses in the fall of 2005 than the year before, an increase of nearly 40% [emphasis DSC..and below as well]. Last year, the group had reported slowing growth, prompting speculation the trend had hit a ceiling.

"The growth was phenomenal," said Jeff Seaman, Sloan's CIO and survey director, who also serves as co-director of the Babson College survey research group. "It's higher in absolute numbers and higher in percentages than anything we've measured before. And it's across the board," at schools ranging from doctoral institutions to those offering associate's degrees to for-profit colleges.


DianaThe Future of Higher Education -- from Educause by Diana Oblinger
Session Type: Teaching and Learning; from Educause recording
The economic downturn and society-wide changes catalyzed by information technology (disintermediation, consumerization, and so forth) are causing many colleges and universities to question what the future of higher education in the digital age will be. Many historic challenges persist, such as cost, access, retention, and graduation rates. The digital age offers new opportunities (for example, online learning) as well as threats (for example, competition from other providers). IT is a tool that can help address these challenges, but it may also change how we frame the future. This presentation will explore common themes emerging worldwide, including cloud computing, identity management, analytics, and open educational resources.

Oblinger -- 2009

Future of Work blog

Reading Street Texas -- Integrating technology into the K-12 world

BCIT launches The CUBE: Centre for the use of 3D simulation technology taking teaching and learning to a new level -- from; original resource from Tony Bates
BURNABY, BC: It will transform the way instructors teach and the way students learn at BCIT. It will bring the workplace into the classroom and enrich curriculum – virtually. Unique to BCIT, the CUBE initiative will place 3D simulations of expensive, rare and modern equipment in the hands of every BCIT student, anytime, anywhere. This will allow learners to explore complex components, systems and concepts in a 3D virtual world before they touch the real thing. They will be able to manipulate virtual objects from rail cars to knee joints, explore an aircraft engine and its internal components, and even disassemble, assemble, and cross-section it using laptops, tablets, and other new communication devices. 

With a US$1 million grant from Lockheed Martin and $380,000 in software contributions from NGRAIN (Canada) Corporation, BCIT is launching The CUBE. This visionary two-year initiative will move the institution’s learning and teaching to a new level through the development of NGRAIN interactive 3D simulations that will enrich curriculum and enhance many elements of the learner experience [emphasis DSC].


Project On Student Debt: Report

India offers lessons for the world
-- from The National by Anuj Chopra; original resource from Ray Schroeder
BANGALORE // Every day at 2am, Sapna Ajay, an English teacher in Raipur, wakes up to begin her lessons. As her first cup of coffee hits, Ms Ajay switches on her computer to connect with her student, who is sitting half a world away in the US. Receiving grammar lessons from an Indian teacher using an imperfect American accent at the other side of the globe may sound bizarre, but teaching in a virtual classroom has never been cheaper and more convenient, she says.


Universities must do more to keep up with online developments -- from Education Executive; original resource from Ray Schroeder
Universities must do more to keep up with developments online, particularly given the rise in popularity of social networking, according to a new report from Sapient. The report suggests today's students are ‘digital natives', used to a world of online social networking but argues many universities are yet to adapt to these changes and embrace new technologies to enhance the student experience.

According to the report, if universities are to continue to provide an excellent learning environment to researchers and attract the best students it's essential they deliver a sophisticated online environment for learning. This is particularly important given most university populations are fragmented with students living in multiple locations - sometimes abroad. Although some have sought to foster a sense of community online through the introduction of various online tools these are often little more than e-learning services that fail to promote high value collaboration and engagement.

'The Business of Higher Education' -- from
The notion that colleges need to act more like businesses appeals to many people outside higher education and, especially in difficult financial times, to some trustees and state leaders. Efficiency, productivity, innovation -- all concepts that colleges and universities are all too often accused of lacking. And yet, many college and faculty leaders bristle at the suggestion that the institutions -- and their students -- would be better off if only institutions operated more like their counterparts in the private sector.

The Business of Higher Education (Praeger), a new three-part collection of essays edited by John C. Knapp and David J. Siegel, presents a wide range of perspectives on the complex impact of business models on higher education.

Disrupting Class: Inspiring Change in Online Learning -- by Jamey Fitzpatrick, President & CEO, Michigan Virtual University and Michael Horn
Disrupting Class uses the theories of disruptive innovation to identify the root causes of schools’ struggles and suggests a path forward to customize an education for every child in the way he or she learns. In his keynote address, Horn will share the main ideas of his book to inspire change in today’s online learning field.

Michigan Virtual University Virtual Symposium   Disruptive innovations create asymmetric competition


Online Learning Policy Survey: A survey of the states


Community Colleges Get Gift of Millions for Online Education
-- from The Chronicle by Josh Fischman
While Congress is still weighing legislation that could put $500-million into the development of open, online courses, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has stepped up to the plate. The charity is giving $12.9-million to advance technology at community colleges, improving virtual learning environments for both students and teachers.

From DSC:
$500 million may go a long way towards creating highly-engaging, interactive, multimedia-based content that can then be accessed freely via the Internet. How is your college or university going to handle this if this trend continues? Also...if your college or university is in the middle of a fundraising campaign, you would be very wise to set aside $1-$5million of it for developing such engaging, interactive content.

New Wave of Student Activism -- from
WASHINGTON -- Students at California public universities have been staging protests against budget cuts and fee hikes all fall, capturing local and national attention with administration building sit-ins, 24-hour library occupations and large outdoor rallies.

From DSC:
There is little doubt in my mind that we are seeing a shift in the power structure within higher education. Students will continue to become more knowledgeable "consumers" of educational offerings. As tuitions have increased, it seems to me that this has pressured students to demand relevancy and want to know how their learning directly applies to what they will need to be able to know and do in their futures. They will continue to demand more accessible, more affordable options. The Internet is starting to provide far less costly options -- so I believe that we are only seeing the beginnings of this shift in buyer/seller power.


Interactives from


Items regarding Intelligent Agents

  • 2009 IEEE Symposium on Intelligent Agents -- from IEEE
  • The Intelligent Software Agents Lab -- Carnegie Mellon
  • Classes of Intelligent Agents --
  • Intelligent Agents - Knowledge Bases -- from
    Intelligent agents are programs that carry out a task unsupervised and apply some degree of intelligence to the task. The intelligence may be pretty minimal but often will include some degree of learning from past experience. For example, an agent that searches the Internet for interesting material can be told by the user whether what it found was interesting or not. In this way it can be trained to be more successful in the future.Some intelligent agents can also interact with one another. There is considerable ongoing research in this field, with many exciting possibilities.
  • Intelligent Agents in Desire 2 Learn (D2L) -- from James Moore, DePaul
    I have been teaching a class in Desire2Learn (MKT 595: Internet Marketing) as part of long-term study and comparison of Learning Management Systems (teaching in Blackboard, D2L and Moodle to explore the respective advantages and disadvantages of each system). My colleagues in SNL, SoE and SPS are doing the same. I had not posted about my experiments here, but have decided that I should.
    This week I decided to see how well Intelligent Agents could be put to use. Intelligent Agents are scriptable events that send out e-mails based upon a set of criteria. You could use them to send a gentle nudge to students who had not logged into the course for several days, or who had not completed an assignment before the deadline.
    This is a great feature, but I did not want to send students automated e-mails until I had tested things for myself. What I did instead was to create an intelligent agent that sent me e-mail as each of students completed milestone tasks. This highlighted some issues that I would have to work through...
  • Intelligent Agents: A Physics Education Opportunity in Latin-America -- from
    Abstract: Intelligent Agents are being applied in a wide range of processes and everyday applications. Their development is not new, in recent years they have had an increased attention and design in learning and as mentoring tools. In this paper we discuss the definition of what an intelligent agent is; how they are applied; how thy look like; recent implementations of agents; agents as support in learning process; their state in Latin-American countries and future developments and trends that will permit a better communication between people and agents. Keywords: Intelligent Agent, Software Development, Tutoring System, Web-based Systems, Artificial Intelligence.
  • Intelligent Agents Software -- from
  • IVA 09
    Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are interactive characters that exhibit human-like qualities and communicate with humans or  with each other using natural human modalities such as  speech and gesture. They are capable of real-time perception, cognition and action that allows them to participate in a dynamic social environment.
  • Using Intelligent Agents to Change the Delivery of Education -- from John Rosbottom, University of Portsmouth and Claude Moulin, Université du Havre IUT; Annual Joint Conference Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education
  • Designing Distributed Learning Environments with Intelligent Software Agents -- Fuhua Oscar Lin (Editor)
Online Solutions to the Enrollment Boom -- from by Geoffrey Fletcher
Community colleges don't have to resort to midnight classes if they have a viable online learning program.


2010 Horizon Report: Preview

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

 Mobile Computing
Open Content

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

 Electronic Books
 Simple Augmented Reality

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

 Gesture-Based Computing
 Visual Data Analysis

World's largest open university goes mobile -- from pr-inside and above report from the NMC
"The classroom of the future is moving to mobile phones, and reaching farther into India thanks to a new partnership between Ericsson and The Indira Gandhi National Open University."

folksemantic -- ocw

herrenbruck.jpg A strategic vision for online learning -- from by Denise Herrenbruck; original link from
As more students turn to Oregon virtual charter schools, there's a brewing conflict between educators and parents in the K-12 community.

Educators are worried about the redistribution of public school funding and how to monitor quality and compliance in schools operated with business sector services. Many parents are fuming over the Oregon Legislature's move to halt the growth of virtual schools. They want the freedom to chose a school option that they say works for their children. Both sides have important concerns, but there is something crucial missing from the debate. A strategic vision for online learning is the key to finding a solution that's best for kids.



Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age -- from
Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age was an invite-only Google forum this past October to bring together 200 of the nation’s top thought leaders in science and technology, informal and formal education, entertainment media, research, philanthropy, and policy to create and act upon a breakthrough strategy for scaling-up effective models of teaching and learning for children. The forum was hosted by Google, Inc., in cooperation with forum founders: the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, Common Sense Media, the MacArthur Foundation. Since I didn't get the invite to Mountain View, CA for the event, I did take a look at some of the video of sessions.

Connie Powell

America’s “Top” College Professor (In the Classroom) -- from
The Wall Street Journal published an interesting story last week about the Cherry Teaching Award, an honor bestowed annually on America’s “top” college professor. Sponsored by Baylor University, the award comes with a nice chunk of change ($200,000), and is somewhat unusual because it measures not scholarly research and publications but rather classroom performance. As the Journal explains, “The Cherry award seeks out college teachers who, according to both students and fellow teachers, are especially good at making clear, forceful, inspiring, knowledge-rich classroom presentations that actually help students to learn.”

The award’s three finalists this year are Elliott West, an American history professor at the University of Arkansas; Roger Rosenblatt, an English professor at Stony Brook University; and Edward Burger, a mathematics professor at Williams College.

“All three finalists emphasize that teaching is something you have to work at,” writes the Journal’s Naomi Schaefer Riley. “It takes time to prepare. It takes time to practice. It takes time to process the feedback from students. Maybe that sounds obvious. But the truth is that many professors don’t bother. It’s an old observation but a true one. At most colleges, promotion and tenure decisions are made based on a record of publication. Even at liberal-arts colleges, studies have shown that a financial premium is placed on publication”[emphasis DSC].

From DSC:
We are truly at the point where we need to start specializing. Teaching is difficult enough, but when you add researching and working on getting published, you have two to three jobs on one plate. Teaching is getting even more difficult, especially with our out-dated model of attempting to have one person do it all. This model will no longer work -- especially from the students point of view. If you doubt this, you may want to listen to this recently-featured student posting from Faculty Row:

"Knowingly, science classes at [a university in NY] are some of the hardest. Because of this students often seek help from the professor to learn tips and tricks for exams or general help with the coursework. While seeking help from a science professor during his office hours, I was only told that perhaps I am not a strong enough student to finish such a course and should seek a counselor at the wellness exchange "if I need to talk." Once I left his office, and met up with my other group of friends who had also just met with him, we learned that he said the same thing to all but one of us. I understand the process of weeding out students, especially from the sciences, but to blow off a student who's grade was at that point a B+, when they are seeking honest help is ridiculous. I am seeking help so I can reach that A-/A range, not so you can say "just study, and go to the wellness exchange if you feel it's becoming too much," and please don't repeat the same thing to 400 of your 500 students. We're paying $50,000+ for an education that most of us care a lot about, we want to get to know our professors and learn from them, not be blown off" [emphasis DSC].

I had a similar experience back at Northwestern; and, all's I can say now is that students who are paying megabucks for their educations will begin to demand better than this. With an ever-increasing amount of alternatives for getting information cropping up all over the world -- coupled with the ever-increasing price of tuition -- students may just go elsewhere for their learning. Heaven forbid that higher education lose their stronghold on accreditation. Accreditation bodies can't sit back and relax either...or it will be like water around a rock...

Like water around a rock



Tuition Turmoil -- on the cover of this month's edition of eCampus News

Keynoter: Make higher education more accessible -- from eCampusNews (p. 29 of 35)

Colleges should consider accrediting web-based programs offered at free or low-cost online schools, making higher education more widely available to populations with little access to post-secondary classes, a former official from the United Kingdom’s Open University told EDUCAUSE conference attendees Nov. 6.

Brenda Gourley, vice chancellor of the Open University from 2002-09 and a long-time advocate for education’s role in social justice, stressed that colleges and universities that cannot afford to launch web-based classes should evaluate courses offered at ventures such as the Open University and allow students to take the class for school credit.

Gourley warned against trimming back college offerings as campus operating budgets shrink and endowments dwindle, reminding IT officials gathered at the conference that this could be a chance to bolster online education that would keep campuses financially afloat and serve non-traditional students whose schedules don’t allow for on-campus lectures.

“I don’t think these … times should be some kind of excuse for putting that on hold while we sort something else out,” she said. “Exactly the opposite. … If your strategic thinking of technology isn’t combined in your holistic strategic thinking, I think you’re in trouble” [emphasis DSC].


The Job Market: Is a College Degree Worth Less? -- from Time, by Kristi Oloffson

From DSC:
Why am I posting this? Do I believe this? It doesn't matter what I believe -- it's what the public believes. I publish it here because it's another piece of the puzzle...of the perfect storm that continues to develop that will usher in change throughout higher education. This change is already occurring -- we have already seen some waves hit the beaches. But we may have a very tumultous 12-18 months ahead of us. Don't get me wrong. Many of these changes will turn out to be beneficial...but that doesn't make going through such monumental changes any easier.

College for $99 a Month -- from by Kevin Carey, back in Sep/Oct issue
The next generation of online education could be great for students—and catastrophic for universities.


Pell Costs Explode -- from
Obama administration officials confirmed on Thursday that unexpectedly strong demand for Pell Grants would sharply increase government spending on its primary need-based student aid program, requiring an extra $18 billion over the next three years. While such shortfalls are common in programs like Pell -- which act like entitlement programs and expand to meet students' need -- this dwarfs previous gaps.

Pell Grant Program Faces Shortfall -- from University Business
The Pell Grant program for needy college students is facing a massive shortfall as the country's bleak job market drives people back to school.

Michigan's Online Teacher of the Year Selected
LANSING, Mich., Dec 07, 2009 /PRNewswire-USNewswire
Online instructor Melanie Laber excels in the virtual classroom. Melanie Laber teaches trigonometry, geometry and pre-algebra to students in Detroit, Paw Paw, Traverse City and Houghton. She was recently named Michigan's Online Teacher of the Year. Laber is an online instructor for Michigan Virtual School(TM); she teaches in a virtual classroom for schools all across Michigan. The course content and instruction all happens over the Internet, with students logging in to follow lessons and complete assignments, and Laber interacting with students through e-mail and discussion rooms.

Excerpt from:
Online learning opens doors wider for students in tough economy:

Reform does not include building more brick and mortar "solutions" to absorb additional "traditional" students. Reform has more do with rethinking the way we design and deliver learning opportunities to our students, and understanding the nature of today's learner, who wants to be engaged, yet needs convenient access. Reform must include new strategies to support students completing their degrees, and attracting adults back into our educational system to complete their education.  These adults must sustain employment while continuing their studies.

Florida's state college system, including Broward, is uniquely poised to embrace a key component of the American Graduation Initiative — the "online skills laboratory."  Through the state's Orange Grove Digital Repository, Florida's colleges and universities already share flash animations, lessons, videos, open access textbooks, books, games, maps, pictures, graphs, lesson plans, professional development materials, courses, institutional research, and planning documents [from DSC: See consortiums and pooling of resrouces page].

However, in an era of diminishing state support, we must find ways to reduce cost while increasing access. Clearly, the face-to-face model cannot be sustained in an era of diminished public support and demand for increased access. Nor can higher education increase degree production, as we need to do, by building capacity through tuition increases that make higher education unaffordable [emphasis DSC]. We must build in new ways — we must reach out to adults to help them complete their college education while maintaining employment, and we must use redesigned online learning opportunities to connect with students.

-- J. David Armstrong, Jr., President of Broward College,
and former Chancellor of the Florida Community College System

Wowza Boosts Student Learning at Hundreds of Universities Around the World with Video Streaming for Flash, iPhone and Beyond
Educators Expand Classrooms Beyond Ivy-covered Walls While Gaining Resource and Cost Efficiencies
As digital video and audio grow into a preferred communications media on campuses across the world, Wowza Media Systems®, the media server software company, today announced that more than 500 universities and colleges on four continents are using Wowza Media Server® technology to deliver live, on demand and interactive content to students and faculty on multiple players and devices, including Flash® and iPhone®.

The collegiate market is among the most aggressive adopters of streaming media technology solutions as the modern campus expands beyond the traditional four walls of classrooms, labs and lecture halls and the Internet is an increasingly inseparable component of learning curriculum [emphasis DSC]. According to Reuters, the online education sector grew 13 percent last year and had been growing at about 20 percent in previous years.

"Universities are discovering that lecture capture is a competitive advantage and of great benefit to 'millennial' learners, who are accustomed to convenience and to on-demand access to myriad content sources," said Alan Greenberg, Senior Analyst & Partner at Wainhouse Research in his recent report The Distance Education and e-Learning Landscape Volume 2: Videoconferencing, Streaming and Capture Systems for Learning . "The beauty of streaming and lecture capture today is that they are more affordable than ever before."

Excerpt from:
Did You Know Moodle 2.0 Will...? (Online Educa 2009) -- from Hans de Zwart
  • change the world of education (if nothing else). I think that Moodle already has had a very positive impact on the world of education, but if the Moodle Hubs scheme works, it will be a lot easier for teachers to share the share their best practices and collaborate with other teachers the world over.

Moodle Hubs scheme: Goals and rationale
The main goals of the Community hub project are:

  1. to allow people to easily find courses around the world that they want to enrol in:
    • educators want to find communities of practice that are subject or region-oriented, so that they can associate with their peers on a long-term basis.
    • other learners want to find and study courses on various other subjects
  2. to make it easy for educators to find and download course templates from other people. This will help educators share and identify examples of best practice in online pedagogy and hopefully improve the average quality of online courses.

Finally, we want to do all this in the simplest, safest way possible, while allowing a range of scenarios such as courses that are public or private, free or paid, so that the Moodle community can build solutions for themselves.

Moodle Hub Server


State Cut Higher Education Spending


The Educator-to-Student Ratio -- from by Joshua Kim
College teaching is transitioning from a craft model where a single faculty member designs, delivers and evaluates a course to a model that encompasses a range of professionals. This shift has been led by online courses, but is filtering out towards hybrid and on-ground classes. In this model a faculty member (subject matter expert) works with a team of learning designers, library subject specialists, media experts, and technologists to create and deliver the course.

A team approach for developing and delivering effective online courses is a necessity. The online environment is unforgiving of poor pedagogy and course design, and requires the introduction of multimedia content and collaborative platforms to succeed. The business model of online course delivery, namely eliminating the need for physical classrooms and the ability to grow enrollment, has facilitated the funding of the course design/delivery team approach. [emphasis above by DSC]

Expensive college degrees vs. job-qualifying online training -- from GoldenSwamp

University of Wisconsin System to Market Cost-Saving Tips as Some Campuses Raise Tuition -- from University Business

From DSC:
For what's coming down the pike, this is too little, and too late. We need to be far more aggressive in our responses and thinking than the ideas proposed herein.

Note sharing sites - a challenge to academic experiences? -- from Ian Gardner


Virtual Schools -- from Education Next by Terry Moe, Larry Cuban and John Chubb
Will education technology change the role of the teacher and the nature of learning?


Interesting...ability to charge per video/lecture...

Interesting...ability to charge per video/lecture...


Related item from Ross Dawson's
Creating the Future of Media: 4 Driving Forces, 4 Strategic Issues, 4 Essential Capabilities

Media Revenue Models



Where Does All That Tuition Go? -- from The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research by Mark Schneider
As any parent with a college-bound child knows, college tuitions are rising much faster than inflation. One way to control costs is to make parents better consumers by giving them better price and outcome information. But the true cost of a college education is hard to calculate because of complex and opaque pricing structures. Today, colleges are spending more on administrators than on faculty or students and using dubious practices to get more revenue from students. Have we reached a tipping point?

Key points in this Outlook:

  • College tuition costs are rising much faster than inflation, yet graduation rates and other measures of student success remain mediocre.
  • Data show that colleges and universities are spending more money on administration than instruction.
  • Federal and state governments should tie funding to performance measures to introduce greater accountability.
  • We should give parents and students the tools to shop carefully for colleges and universities whose performance justifies their costs.

College Admissions - The Stars Might Lie, But The Numbers Never Do -- from by Rodney Johnson

So while the numbers look good today, colleges should be doing some very focused strategic planning for tomorrow.

Weighing the Value of That College Diploma -- from the Wall Street Journal Online by Sue Shellenbarger
As millions of students labor over college applications this month, they and their parents are pondering just how big a tuition bill they want to pay. Students are increasingly skeptical about the value of a college degree; the proportion who are willing to borrow money for college if necessary has fallen to 53% from 67% in the past year, based on a survey of 800 college students by Sallie Mae, Reston, Va.

What matters more, it seems, is graduates' personal drive. In a surprising twist, a stronger predictor of income is the caliber of the schools that reject you. Researchers found students who applied to several elite schools but didn't attend them—presumably because many were rejected—are more likely to earn high incomes later than students who actually attended elite schools. In a summary of the findings, the Bureau says that "evidently, students' motivation, ambition and desire to learn have a much stronger effect on their subsequent success than average academic ability of their classmates."

New Report: For-Profits Gobble Up More of Online Market Amid Recession -- from The Chronicle by Marc Parry
Regulatory heat. Loan default worries. Bad publicity. That's the storyline about for-profit colleges lately, but here's some other news: They just keep gobbling up the online-education market. According to new research from the consulting firm Eduventures, for-profits' share of the 2.1-million-student online sector rose from 39 percent in 2008 to 42 percent in 2009, as the recession drove students back to college and severe budget cuts strained public universities.

From DSC:
It appears that there are some similarities here to what Christensen, Horn, and Johnson (2008) are talking about...


Heutagogy -- from Wikipedia
In education, heutagogy, a concept coined by Stewart Hase of Southern Cross University, is the study of self-determined learning. The notion is an expansion and reinterpretation of andragogy, and it is possible to mistake it for the same. However, there are several differences between the two that mark the one from the other. Heutagogy places specific emphasis on learning how to learn, double loop learning, universal learning opportunities, a non-linear process, and true learner self-direction. So, for example, whereas andragogy focuses on the best ways for people to learn, heutagogy also requires that educational initiatives include the improvement of people's actual learning skills themselves, learning how to learn as well as just learning a given subject itself. Similarly, whereas andragogy focusses on structured education, in heutagogy all learning contexts, both formal and informal, are considered.

From DSC:
THIS is what we need our graduates to know how to do. THIS is what we need to integrate into our teaching and learning endeavors throughout all disciplines. Why? So that when a student graduates, she can not only hit the ground running, but can keep hitting the ground running throughout her lifetime. No matter what comes down the pike, she will know how to learn, where to get information, how to sort through it and synthesize it. She can be a self-directed learner, getting training/information on demand...when she needs it.

THAT's a SOLID Return On Investment (ROI)!

Being too cautious -- going always with the status quo -- can be very risky!

-- resource from Dan Colman

Independent Analysis Released Exploring College Finances -- from

Overcrowded and underfunded -- from Tony Bates

From DSC:
Tony brings up a good question at the end of his posting:

This will of course result in more demand for online courses, but will the resources be there to ensure good quality programs?

From DSC: We need to get this right. We need to invest in creating high-quality, multimedia-based, interactive materials that are professionally-done, engaging, and ones that turn the control/pacing over to the students.

From Tony Bates' "Six priorities for Canadian e-learning in 2010" (emphasis below is from DSC):

Establishment of (at least one) hybrid digital university.
We need more experimentation, more new organizational models, to find the right balances between digital and face-to-face learning. My proposal then to provincial governments anticipating increased post-secondary education enrolments (and most Canadian provinces with reduced budgets face this challenge over the next few years) is to ask for proposals from existing institutions to take on extra enrolments with extra funding, but using hybrid delivery methods (i.e. at least 50% of the program will be delivered online).

From the government perspective this would mean using funding that otherwise would have gone into extra buildings and facilities to support increased digital learning activities. To ensure applications, a government could limit all increases in institutional funding in a particular financial year to such a project. (There is a precedence for this – over 1993 and 1994, the BC government withheld  a total of 2.5% of universities’ operating budgets for an innovation fund. Institutions got their ’share’ by developing innovation project plans.)

The most likely candidates are second-tier suburban or regional universities looking to enhance their status through being innovative and leading edge. It may also enable them to widen their ‘natural’ catchment area.

University of Michigan prepares budget request for state, warns of 'aggressive' changes - Ann Arbor -- resource and quote below from Ray Schroeder
Without naming a dollar amount, the University of Michigan is asking the state for help with next year's budget. In the annual operating budget request to the state for the Ann Arbor campus, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman reminded the state of U-M's contributions to the economy. She noted the university is "an essential component in the stabilization and revitalization of the Michigan economy." The letter highlighted a number of recent cost containment measures and spoke of efforts on the university's part to help students pay for tuition.

From DSC:
If you follow Ray's blog -- Recession Realities in Higher Education -- as well as many other blogs, periodicals, etc., then you already know that this is not an isolated incident -- not at all. It's happening all over and it's a piece of the perfect storm that's developing right now. Bottom line: Major change is on the way.

The Builder- Designing The Future of Educational Leadership -- from Robert Jacobs
If we are to create "tomorrow's" educational organization and model, are the leaders of "yesterday's" model the leaders we will need to build "tomorrow's" model? If education is to be transformed, should we not transform its leaders? If we are to create a new educational organization, then does it follow, we would need a new style of educational leader?

Livemocha Bags Another $8 Million From August Capital, Maveron -- from by Robin Wauters

From DSC :
If I'm correctly understanding what Livemocha is about...this is the kind of thing that I'm talking about. Investing some serious cash into web-based, interactive, multimedia-driven, educational content. It's going to be hard to compete against such engaging content -- created by a TEAM of specialists and offered for a greatly reduced price (or even free).


Hybrid Education 2.0 -- from Educause
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed an online learning environment that could make lecture halls -- if not professors -- obsolete.

Open Learning Initiative

Feedback Loops for Continuous Improvement
The most powerful feature of web-based instruction is that it allows us to embed assessment into every instructional activity and use the data from those embedded assessments to drive powerful feedback loops for continuous evaluation and improvement. As we deliver the instruction, we use technology to collect real-time interaction level data of all student use. We use this data to create four positive feedback loops. “Feedback” in this context is the information derived from student activities that is used to influence or modify further performance.

“Improvement in Post Secondary Education will require converting
teaching from a ‘solo sport’ to a community based research activity.”
-- Herbert Simon

As college costs rise, loans become harder to get -- from The Washington Post by David Cho
When Daniel Ottalini entered the University of Maryland in 2004, his family had an array of choices to cover the cost -- cheap student loans, a second mortgage at low rates, credit cards with high limits and their own soaring investments.

By the time his younger brother, Russell, started at the University of Pittsburgh this fall, the financial crisis had left the family with fewer options. Russell has had to juggle several jobs in school, and the money he could borrow came with a much higher interest rate that could climb even further over time. The upheaval in financial markets did not just eliminate generous lending for home buyers; it also ended an era of easy credit for students and their families facing the soaring cost of a college degree.

To pay for higher education, most Americans had come to rely on a range of financial products born of the Wall Street boom. Nearly all of these shrank or disappeared in the storm that engulfed the stock and debt markets. Lenders have raised rates and tightened standards, dramatically limiting the availability of home-equity loans and private student loans. College savings accounts, known as 529 plans, had acute losses in the downturn. And a new law, set to take effect Feb. 22, will bar students younger than 21 from getting credit cards on their own.

As college costs rise, loans become harder to get -- from The Washington Post by David Cho
When Daniel Ottalini entered the University of Maryland in 2004, his family had an array of choices to cover the cost -- cheap student loans, a second mortgage at low rates, credit cards with high limits and their own soaring investments.

By the time his younger brother, Russell, started at the University of Pittsburgh this fall, the financial crisis had left the family with fewer options. Russell has had to juggle several jobs in school, and the money he could borrow came with a much higher interest rate that could climb even further over time. The upheaval in financial markets did not just eliminate generous lending for home buyers; it also ended an era of easy credit for students and their families facing the soaring cost of a college degree.

To pay for higher education, most Americans had come to rely on a range of financial products born of the Wall Street boom. Nearly all of these shrank or disappeared in the storm that engulfed the stock and debt markets. Lenders have raised rates and tightened standards, dramatically limiting the availability of home-equity loans and private student loans. College savings accounts, known as 529 plans, had acute losses in the downturn. And a new law, set to take effect Feb. 22, will bar students younger than 21 from getting credit cards on their own.


Even before the financial crisis intensified the upward pressure on college costs, the price of a degree was soaring. Since 1980, the average cost of tuition and room and board has grown by a staggering 121 percent while median household income has risen a mere 18 percent, according to federal data. But the credit boom earlier this decade provided some relief for families.


"If you are the average family and you've got two car payments and a mortgage, sadly, you are probably living paycheck to paycheck these days," said Gary Carpenter, executive director of the National College Advocacy Group. "And you've got a big problem -- how are you going to afford a state institution at $20,000 a year, not to mention a private one for than $40,000?" [emphasis DSC]


Dive into the Future of Learning -- from

Top Internet Trends 2010: A Guide To The Best Predictions From The Web - Part 1
-- from Robin Good

Top Internet Trends 2010: A Guide To The Best Predictions From The Web - Part 2 -- from Robin Good

Online Learning Marketplaces

WizIQ Moontoast


K12 virtual learning is taking off!

Notes on Digitization in Higher Education -- from Higher Education Management Group
The emergence of inexpensive and highly efficient information networks has increased the volume of available information. But it has also changed the way in which information is produced and distributed. While the impact of these changes on society is clearly far-reaching, its’ significance to higher education is particularly profound given the fundamental role of information in higher education. Changes of particular significance to higher education include:

  • Information used in education is often now available from sources other than higher education institutions, often at lower costs (or free), and in more convenient forms.
  • It is far easier for individuals to form communities focused on narrow interests and needs, including educational, without involvement of mediating educational institutions.
  • Increasingly sophisticated search technologies make finding relevant information easier, often reducing the value of intermediaries. Forecasts suggest that search capabilities will continue to accelerate in the coming decade.
  • What constitutes current and relevant information changes more quickly, placing great pressures on institutions that produce and distribute information to keep pace.
  • Traditional strategies used for protecting ownership of information (i.e. copyright) have lagged behind the capacity to share/copy information.

Next Vista for Learning -- original resource from Free Technology for Teachers
An online library of free videos for learners everywhere - our goal is to gather a set of resources to help you learn just about anything, meet people who make a difference in their communities, and even discover new parts of the world. Next Vista for Learning wants to post your educational videos online, too. Everyone has an insight to share and yours may be just what some student or teacher somewhere needs!

Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2009: No. 6 -- from
Online learning becomes a true "disruptive innovation"… Also see this piece, which has the following quote in it:

Online learning already has disrupted providers of traditional education to some extent, but a new movement that began this year could really shake up higher education: A few online startup universities are charging little or no tuition for access to a wealth of college curriculum, and advocates say these free web-based programs could help expand higher education to the developing world.

Reining in College Costs -- from by Michael Bassis
Higher-education costs are spiraling out of control, and quality leaves much to be desired. The surprising solution, argues a college president: online learning.

The "Learning" Paradigm
In the "learning" paradigm, the teacher is not the expert provider of knowledge, but rather a guide who first specifies what students are expected to learn and then lays out pathways they can follow to meet the learning goals. The teacher becomes a supporter, a collaborator, and a coach for students as they learn to evaluate and gather information, test ideas, and explore their application to different issues and problems. Students begin to learn how to develop and pose their own questions and to explore alternative ways of finding and framing answers. So instead of working only to master the subject matter of a course, students are developing the skills to learn on their own. They no longer wait to be taught—they come to realize that, if they are to succeed, they must take a good deal of responsibility for their own learning.

The learning paradigm changes the traditional roles and relationships that have defined higher education for so long. Since technology can provide students with access to more and better learning resources than they could ever get from a lecture, faculty can let go of the full weight of being the "subject matter expert." Freed from the burden of being the sole source of subject-specific information, they can function as learning guides, facilitators, and mentors, placing more emphasis on helping students master those critical intellectual skills and attributes that transcend academic disciplines. And once released from the responsibility to deliver all of the content, faculty can work effectively with more students, thus reducing the cost of the learning experience and increasing its quality.

Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, is not optimistic about how traditional higher education in the U.S. will adapt to the mounting pressures for change. He writes, "Higher education is unprepared for a global information economy. …This era will bring increasing competition from for-profit postsecondary educators and international universities. Meanwhile, some of these same competitors are already taking advantage of the gap between our students' extensive use of digital learning technologies and our institutions' continuing reliance on traditional methods of teaching and learning." [emphasis DSC] Clayton Christensen goes a step further. He believes that increasingly sophisticated online learning models will ultimately transform higher education into an enterprise that is much more affordable, convenient, and effective and that many more people will have access to it than ever before. He also claims that these new models will ultimately topple many of the universities that today seem to be so unassailable.

Transforming Academic Culture
To achieve success in this environment, colleges and universities, at least those that have no immunity from the winds of change, will need to begin to develop high-tech/high-touch programs as a means to lower costs and improve quality. To do so, presidents must convince their governing boards and their faculties that change is necessary and that it will require a shift from "teaching" to "learning." This will be no easy task, for shifting from one paradigm to another is to radically transform the academic culture of an institution, an entity that has proven to be remarkably resistant to change.


The Case of the Vanishing Full-Time Professor -- from the NY Times by Samantha Stainburn

From DSC:
This continuing trend will tip the power structure within higher ed. Good or bad, we have seen the peak of the level of control and influence that the professor/faculty member has within higher education. The result of all of this may be more pre-designed courses created by teams of specialists.

Higher Ed, Higher Costs



1:1 Schools

New Realities -- from
Generally, these presidents pointed to successes in the last year, but a lot of concerns looking ahead. Most said that they had met their enrollment targets for the year. But a large majority raised their hands when asked if their discount rates (the average discount on the listed price of tuition and fees actually paid by students and their parents) had gone up this year. Some presidents said that they thought their rate had gone up too much, and a number said after that they believed both that their discount rate had gone up too much and that they didn't have much of a choice this year.

The Year Ahead in IT -- from by Lev S. Gonick
Open Content meets the Open University and the Vision of the Metaversity.
It’s hard not to reflect on the past decade as we say goodbye (good riddance) to the first decade of the 21st century. University CIOs have contributed in important ways to the transformations underway in the university mission over the past decade. The arc and rate of activities on our campuses, as breathtaking as they may seem, are moving at a completely different slope and velocity to the genuine explosion of open education, research, and innovation enveloping the broader Net ecosystem. On a global scale, on a population-wide vector, our institutions are generally ill-suited for addressing the needs and opportunities in 2010 and for the next generation. To be sure, universities are not heading for obsolescence. What continues to be worrisome is our collective ability to remain genuinely relevant to the Internet society in all its complexities and contradictions. While this country has a rather anemic tradition of Open Universities, these organizations all over the world are now engaged in regional and global dialogues on how the Open University platform can contribute to the Internet-scale challenges and opportunities. Former MIT President Charles Vest suggested (as early as 2006) that a meta-university would be “a transcendent, accessible, empowering, dynamic, communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced.” We’re quickly approaching the maturing of all the requisite elements in Vest’s analysis against ever sharper and growing emphatic need for collective response. In a year in which a movie called “Avatar” will likely be the odd- on favorite for a golden boy or two, look for new sources of inspiration and experimentation in framing up the 21st century metaversity project(s).

Are U.S. Colleges Failing to Meet the Demands of the Labor Market? -- from
A paper presented this week at the American Economic Association conference indicates that American colleges are only 'moderately responsive' to the changing needs of the labor market.

Staying relevant...otherwise it's like water going around a rock


College Cost Calculator -- The NY Times
Although grants, scholarships and loans can significantly lower the costs of college, prices have increased faster than the rate of inflation. Use this tool to estimate the future cost of college.

That Old College Lie -- from Democracy Journal (Issue #15, Winter 2010) by Kevin Carey; original resource from George Siemens
Are our colleges teaching students well? No. But here's how to make them.

  • Comment from George:
    The author recommends more transparency and greater focus on measurement. I think transparency is a good start - universities should be explicit about the data they collect in relation to students, professors, and learning in general. I doubt the solution to education's difficulties will be found in better measurement, however. Higher education faces a significant challenge in demonstrating the value of its teaching role (the other two roles of HE - research and accreditation are still secure). The growth of freely available resources and even a few alternate university models (University of the People) gives reason to pause and ask: "What is it that universities offer today's learners and is the existing model one that needs preservation"?

  • Comment from DSC:
    Here at Calvin College, there truly is an emphasis on teaching. Also, we have 10-20 students in many of our classrooms (though I wonder if this model is sustainable over the long term). The result is that each student gets excellent access to the professor. In my experience at Northwestern, however, I sat with 50-200 other students and the professor never knew me from Adam (and likewise). So I would substitute the word "Universities" for "College" least I would in Calvin's case. Regardless, Carey stresses the need for more accountability/proof of effectiveness via more transparency, data, and measurement.


Redesign Alliance Fourth Annual Conference
Do you know that it is possible to reduce instructional costs while improving student learning? In partnership with more than 150 colleges and universities, the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) has shown how this is possible through large-scale course redesign. There is a way to deal with the budget constraints facing all of us without sacrificing the quality of our academic programs. The Redesign Alliance Fourth Annual Conference to be held March 28 - 30, 2010, in Orlando, FL, can show you how to do it. Participation in this conference is open to the higher education community. Final conference agenda.

Highlights include:

  • Presentations from more than 30 institutions that have fully implemented large-scale course redesigns, all of which improved student learning outcomes while generating cost savings. 
  • Roundtable discussions with NCAT Redesign Scholars and 30 additional institutions that are in the midst of implementing course redesigns in disciplines as diverse as biology, developmental math, economics, Spanish and technical writing about getting started and meeting implementation challenges.
  • Keynote addresses by David B. Daniel, James Madison University, on effective pedagogical techniques; and Dennis Pearl, Ohio State University, on the Buffet Model of course redesign.
  • Opportunities to interact with higher education's major publishers and technology companies whose products and services support course redesign.
  • Networking with 300 colleagues all of whom are finding ways to increase academic quality in difficult financial times.


The Disposable Worker -- from by Peter Coy, Michelle Conlin and Moira Herbst
Pay is falling, benefits are vanishing, and no one's job is secure. How companies are making the era of the temp more than temporary.

The forecast for the next five to 10 years: more of the same, with paltry pay gains, worsening working conditions, and little job security. Right on up to the C-suite, more jobs will be freelance and temporary, and even seemingly permanent positions will be at greater risk. "When I hear people talk about temp vs. permanent jobs, I laugh," says Barry Asin, chief analyst at the Los Altos (Calif.) labor-analysis firm Staffing Industry Analysts. "The idea that any job is permanent has been well proven not to be true." As Kelly Services, CEO Carl Camden puts it: "We're all temps now."

From DSC:
Students need to be their own "brand" -- they need to be able to "hit the ground running" and stay running throughout their careers. The world's spinning far too quickly to ever stay idle. One's professional networking skills will be key; a significant portion of that will occur online.

Also...with the potential of coming out of college with $20,000 - $50,000+ on your back...what would you do? Would you not begin looking for less expensive alternatives?

Lifelong Learning 2.0 -- from

I found it in the non-academic publication, the AARPBulletinToday, which serves AARP members, a group of people over 50 who may or may not be retired. The article, "How to Learn Just About Anything Online ... For Free," is a good primer about using resources to learn without enrolling, paying tuition or earning a degree.

They list what they call "smorgasbord" sites that offer a variety of subjects and providers. Those include iTunes U, Apple's online “university” of 100,000 educational video and audio files from universities, NPR stations, museums and other cultural institutions all over the world.

There's also Academic Earth with its thousands of video lectures, and YouTube (not so much for the user-generated contents as for the education “channel” called YouTube EDU), and the ResearchChannel with content from a consortium of leading research and academic institutions. One that is new to me is the internationally-flavored Videolectures.Net with lectures from conferences, seminars, and workshops.

AARP also recognizes that not all learning is academic and includes "How To" sites like the Learning Center with topics like mastering Google Desktop, and Hewlett Packard’s online classes etc. and WonderHowTo, Howcast, and Videojug.

Besides the article being a nice list of resources and primer on eLearning for an older, non-traditional student audience, it's also a reminder of what continuing education and lifelong learning probably will look like in Web 2.0.


The end of ‘mass universities’ -- from Daniel Lemire's blog (Canada); original resource from Stephen Downes
The stated goal was to make degrees more accessible. We succeeded. Yet, we are now facing an intriguing paradox due to this success. Technology, by making access easier than ever to access educational content, is also shaking the very foundation of the University. As an example of this transformation,  Michael Nielsen was pointing out this morning that you can watch 120 hours of lectures on Physics by Lenny Susskind, for free on YouTube. You are in deep trouble if what you are selling in 2009 are mass-produced lectures. The market price just went through the floor.

From DSC:
Lemire may have been a year or two ahead on this prediction, but he's right on. This is what I've been saying about trying NOT to become a commodity! How will we/you differentiate ourselves? What values do we want to bring to the table for our future students?


2010 Virtual Symposium

Our Biggest Expense -- from by Joshua Kim
We often hear that buying a house will be a family's biggest expense. I wonder if this aphorism still holds true. In my family, our greatest expense will be higher education. My wife and I are committed to giving our girls (now 7th and 5th grade) the same advantage of a debt-free college and graduate school that we enjoyed.

But the math is daunting. Let's say that our kids followed in our path and went to a private undergraduate school. That is about $50K per year - times four years. For both girls that's $400,000 total in undergraduate expenses. Yes, I know that this is the retail cost that most families don't pay. And yes they could go to a public institution. And yes they might qualify for scholarships. But I'm betting that our family will fall into the tuition bubble - we will make too much to qualify for much aid, but too little not worry and struggle.

Then comes graduate or professional school. If one kid follows my wife in medicine that is easily another couple of hundred thousand dollars. If the other kid goes to graduate school then perhaps our family cost will be less, but given the realities of the job market, I'm betting they will both go the professional school route.

At this point in the game I'm thinking that $500,000 is a reasonable estimate for what it is going to cost to get our kids fully graduated and credentialed, again if we don't want them to start life with a huge educational debt (emphasis DSC). Does this sound realistic to you?

There is no way we will be able to save that much money. Who can? (emphasis DSC) We anticipate that when college comes for our girls that we will downsize our house, trade the equity for tuition, and move into something small, cheap and outside of an expensive school district. We also plan to work forever.


Generation Bored! Why We are Boring Our Students and How We Can Stop? -- presentation by Julie Young at FETC2010
Although online learning introduced entirely new approaches to education, are we actually engaging students effectively in learning? What’s the use of whiz-bang technology if students are still bored? Join this session as the presenter shares how quality design—both in curriculum development and organizational management—is being used to “kick it up a notch” in student engagement.

Playing History

From DSC:
Innovation is taking place at a far greater pace within the
online world (vs the more traditional face-to-face world).
What will this mean for student engagement? Choice/preference?

Example of free course:
Introduction to Computer Science and Programming -- MIT Opencourseware


Report: Public universities becoming 'far richer, far whiter' -- from USA Today by Mary Beth Marklein
The entering and graduating classes at many of the nation's leading public universities are looking less and less like the state populations they were founded to serve, a report said Wednesday. The follow-up to a 2006 analysis of federal data concludes that 50 public flagships, one in each state, "continue to enroll students who are far richer and far whiter" than most in their states, says Kati Haycock, director of the non-profit Education Trust, which released both reports.

Everyday that passes now, higher ed is looking more like a bubble ready to burst. What should we be doing about this?

From DSC: With each day that passes now,
higher education is looking more like the next bubble to burst.
I don't mean to be a doomsdayer here, but rather, we need
to be prepared to address the perfect storm that's brewing and
ask ourselves, how do we want to respond? What's our plans here?
How will you keep from being broadsided?

State Now Has Power to Close Failing Mich. Schools -- from Education Week by The Associated Press
[LANSING, MI.] Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Monday signed into law a sweeping series of education bills that give the state new power to close failing schools, dump bad teachers and administrators and measure if students are moving ahead.

Good Science, Great Technology Will Drive Student Engagement -- from The Journal by Chris Riedel
It's up to America's teachers to get the country's youth involved in critical environment issues. But that's not going to happen if teachers aren't delivering the message in a way that engages students, according to Ed Begley Jr., who delivered the opening general address at this year's FETC conference in Florida. "We have to speak in a language young people understand. And that language," he said, "is technology."

From DSC:
It also up to the parents...but teachers and professors can play a major role in engaging the youth. The bar is we're not talking about the cheesy [use of] technology here...we will soon be talking major investments. That's why I stress the importance of pooling resources. In the future, it won't be so much about raising $$ for a new building, as it will be raising money for more professional, interactive, personalized, customized learning materials.

Hybrid Education -- from elearnspace by George Siemens

Many aspects of education, training, and development need to be questioned. What has technology (and the internet) made obsolete? How important is space? What can we do at a distance? What does a live lecture add that a good quality recording doesn’t? How can we thin classroom walls and bring in external experts? Or connect with learners in similar courses from around the world? Or what do use from the growing open education pool? Systems are created to serve the needs of an era. When eras change, systems don’t…at least not until they encounter a disruptive force (in education – the financial climate looks like it may serve this role) that causes individuals to question the value of the assumptions underlying the existing systems.

Hybrid Education reviews Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative – a project that relies on virtual tutors to change the role of faculty in the learning process: “The virtual tutor takes care of the basic concepts that typically dominate lectures, leaving professors open to plan the face-to-face component of the course according to what parts of the curriculum the software tells him students are picking up more slowly, and what concepts could bear reinforcement.”

Welcome to, the free Moodle hosting with ethic in mind.

What does do? aims to create the best free Moodle hosting service for everyone who wants to do e-learning activities. If you want to create a course, login or create a new account and fill a course request, you'll have the full moodle power in your hands, without restrictions of any kind! You'll also be able track your students subscriptions setting a password for the course enrolment.

And what about ethics? This is THE question, as you may know we strongly believe that knowledge is a whole humanity's heritage (that's why we created the community). When you create a course within e-Socrates you always allow website visitors the right to read your contents, you can prevent them from subscribing as students but you can't prevent them from accessing the material. This is the only "fee" we ask teachers in change of the free hosting service.

2010 Horizon Report -- from the New Media Consortium


What do employers say about online education? -- from and MSN Careers
“Going back to school is an appealing option for many people, but they can’t afford to quit their jobs to be a full-time student. If this sounds familiar, there might be a solution that allows you to go to school and continue working: an online or distance-learning program.

From DSC:
Believe me, you WANT to hire someone who has proven that they can be successful with online learning. Why? Because they are self-motivated. They don’t need someone looking over their shoulder or strongly encouraging them to do the next thing. They are disciplined. They budget their time wisely. You can give them the assignments and then let them go to it. Coupled with the ability to work well with others…if I were running a business, I’d want some folks like that around.

Nation's Largest Labor Union Group Creates Online Degree Program – from The Chronicle by Jill Laster
A new distance-learning program says it is the first accredited, degree-granting, online college open only to union members. The new program, called the College for Working Families, is a joint venture between the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Labor College, and the Penn Foster Education Group (now owned by the Princeton Review). The National Labor College already offers in-person training and some online classes as the only accredited higher-education institution specifically for unions. The new online program would combine the college's on-the-ground resources with online tools to offer programs in subjects including health care and business administration.

Colleges Cap Enrollment Amid Budget Budget Cuts -- from; original resource from Ray Schroeder
Competition for college admission intensifies amid state budget cuts, surge in applications


Will online education be a future revenue stream for news organisations? -- from Mercedes Bunz

As news organisations struggle to find new revenue models, education offerings seem to be a very good way to extend the brand and earn extra revenue. This spring, the New York Times will start awarding certificates in conjunction with several universities to students who pay to take its online courses.

Two years ago, the New York Times Knowledge Network was started to enter the market of online education providing courses with its editors and journalists as collaborators and participants in shaping the curriculum. However, as online education mainly aimed at adults has become a profit center the aim now is not only to transfer its expertise of the newsroom but to earn money at the same time.

New York Times Knowledge Network

From DSC:
Very iiinnnttteeerrreesssttttiiiinngggg. Hmm...

Living on the Future Edge

The future of higher education [UK] -- from
An outward-looking forward-thinking summit stimulating debate and shaping thinking on rising to the challenges facing higher education.

The Guardian's annual summit for higher education leaders returns for the fourth year with a new format and a new outlook. It will be taking place at the America Square Conference Centre, London. The combination of the fiscal crisis and imminent reductions in public service budgets coupled with significant changes in the demands faced by institutions means that the way forward for higher education has become increasingly contested. This year we will bring together higher education leaders for a series of debates that will explore future scenarios for the shape and structure of the sector. Led by key stakeholders and shaped by expert analysis the debates will be supplemented with in-depth panel discussion, focused breakout sessions and insightful keynotes.

The future of higher ed conference

How Online Learning Is Revolutionizing K-12 Education and Benefiting Students -- from by Dan Lips; original resource from Ray Schroeder
Abstract: Virtual or online learning is revolutionizing American education. It has the potential to dramatically expand the educational opportunities of American students, largely overcoming the geographic and demographic restrictions. Virtual learning also has the potential to improve the quality of instruction, while increasing productivity and lowering costs, ultimately reducing the burden on taxpayers. Local, state, and federal policymakers should reform education policies and funding to facilitate online learning, particularly by allowing funding to follow the students to their learning institutions of choice.

Envisioning the Future of Higher Education



-- resource from Stephen Downes


Study Shows Drop in State Support for Higher Education -- from
''Grapevine,'' in cooperation with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), just released a survey of state financial support for higher education for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. Across the country, the results were dismal.

Many states cutting funds for higher ed

Paying for College without going broke

If you're kids are awake, they're probably online.

'Desperate' UC students scurry to snag key classes -- from LA Times by Larry Gordon
Some courses have hundreds wait-listed as the new term begins. Many students fear they won't get the classes needed to graduate on time -- and with higher fees, may not be able to afford an extra year.



Learning Ecosystems -- My new home

This will be my new virtual home. Why?

  1. For those familiar with technology and blogging, you have been shaking your head at me for far too long -- and I don't blame you.
    You know that (in addition to numerous other reasons), using something like WordPress to set up and run a blog is much more time efficient than running a website such as this one. With more things continually trying to make their way onto my job/time plate, I need -- no scratch that -- I have to do this.

  2. RSS feeds are not supported on Calvin's personal websites. I have appreciated your patience in continually having to return/check-in here on this site, but it's time to move on to a better way of doing things.

I will keep this site up for reference sake -- as I've worked hard to obtain the information on the various topics located herein. Thankfully, some of this site has been helpful to other people.


For up-to-date postings, see you over at my new "Learning Ecosystems" blog!




Daniel S. Christian

Daniel S. Christian

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(Unfortunately RSS feeds are not available for personal web sites such as this one.
Note: The above perspectives are those of Daniel S. Christian and not necessarily those of Calvin College.)