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Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

Just as industry is primarily employing three generations of workers, Boomer, Generation X, and Millennial, it also employs three generations of marketers … the mass marketer, the target marketer, and now the digital marketer. Similarly, as Generation Z is making its presence known in the workforce, so is the analytical or automated marketer.

Over the past few decades, marketing and sales jobs have changed significantly, as higher education marketing, as well as marketing outside of academia, has shifted from broadcast and print and other mass media approaches to relational or target marketing, and now to maturing digital marketing. (Figure 1) Pre-2000 sales and marketing content or mass marketing approaches have become practically obsolete. The relational or target market approaches of sales and marketing degrees from the past decade (pre-2010) are considered foundational, and although not necessarily applied or transactional, they still hold value. If the sales and marketing professional is to keep pace, they will have to adopt today’s tools, such as digital or social media marketing, or they too will soon become obsolete.

Click here to read the full report.

Online: Trending Now #140 

Jobs and careers are changing rapidly, influenced by emerging and maturing technologies and an evolving marketplace mix for human and AI skills and functionalities.

It seems that the most popular book for summer reading this year at my university has been Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun. It recognizes that we have moved beyond mere retention of facts as the primary descriptor of the best qualified applicant or worker, to such areas as critical thinking, depth of understanding, mental agility, literacy in the 21st century technologies, and leading human/intelligent computer interaction. Publisher MIT Press describes it in this way:

A “robot-proof” education, Aoun argues, is not concerned solely with topping up students’ minds with high-octane facts. Rather, it calibrates them with a creative mindset and the mental elasticity to invent, discover, or create something valuable to society—a scientific proof, a hip-hop recording, a web comic, a cure for cancer. Aoun lays out the framework for a new discipline, humanics, which builds on our innate strengths and prepares students to compete in a labor market in which smart machines work alongside human professionals. The new literacies of Aoun’s humanics are data literacytechnological literacy, and human literacy. Students will need data literacy to manage the flow of big data, and technological literacy to know how their machines work, but human literacy—the humanities, communication, and design—to function as a human being. Life-long learning opportunities will support their ability to adapt to change. 

Long gone are the days when we professed to prepare students for a life-long career in a given field. Facts are near instantly accessible in an internet environment. In a sense, the World Wide Web becomes an appendix to areas of the brain where memory is stored and processed. Facts are easily accessed and updated. But, it is much more difficult to build creativity, social and emotional intelligence into a machine, as Lee Raine of Pew Research says:

But there are skills that may help you protect your career from robots, according to a survey of more than 1,400 technologists, futurists and scholars, released Wednesday, by the Pew Research Center. “The vast majority of these experts wrestled with a foundational question: What is special about human beings that cannot be overtaken by robots and artificial intelligence?” says Lee Rainie, director of internet, science and technology research at Pew Research Center and co-author of the report. “They were focused on things like creativity, social and emotional intelligence, critical thinking, teamwork and the special attributes tied to leadership.”

Updated facts and processes are the material for periodic employee trainings. Education, on the other hand, is where we must cultivate the creativity, social engagement, cross-cultural communication, critical thinking, teamwork strategies and leadership abilities of our students. We have been doing just that for some time.  But, now we must focus on these and related skills and abilities for our students to succeed in a competitive marketplace of humans and AI. 

And, we must not lose sight of the fact that the very same is true of all of us and our careers in this dynamically changing field of professional and continuing education. Our value within universities no longer resides primarily in historical knowledge, but rather in the processes, engagements, and interactions with both our fellow humans and our AI-enabled bots and programs that make our colleges thrive.

Of course, I will continue to track the developments in emerging trends, technologies, pedagogies and practices, in the Continuing and Online Education Update blog by UPCEA. You can have the updates sent directly to your email each morning – no advertising, no spam!

Best,
 
Ray Schroeder Founding Director

National Council for Online Education

 

A new study forecasts the next generation learning environment.

From the creators of Virtually Inspired, a website that showcases pockets of digital learning innovation worldwide, comes “The Classroom of the Future” whitepaper. This downloadable document examines next generation learning.

To reimagine education of tomorrow, we must consider new methodologies augmented with technologies that enable us to create active, authentic and customized virtual learning experiences. Learners will expect convenient and continuous access to active and authentic, customized formal and informal self-directed learning.

Dr. Susan Aldridge, President of Drexel University Online and Marci Powell, Chair Emerita and Past President of the U.S. Distance Learning Association take a look the attributes that should be the cornerstone of the next generation learning environment.

Download the whitepaper here. We hope that the ideas and resources it provides will inspire all of you to join the conversation, both within and beyond your own institutions, as we create the next generation of learning.

Alice Warren, vice provost for continuing education at North Carolina State University, has announced that she is retiring effective October 1, 2018.

Warren joined the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education at North Carolina State University in 1979. In 2008, she was appointed assistant vice chancellor and director of the division. Under Warren’s leadership as vice provost for continuing education, the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education programs and services were aligned under the Provost’s Office in 2011.  This alignment has demonstrated the value of continuing education to North Carolina State University and resulted in new collaborations with academic departments.

Established in 1924 as the General Extension department at State College, today the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education at North Carolina State University is comprised of eight units that reflect the ever-growing demand for continuing education and the needs of the people it serves with 225 employees and a $50M budget.  The units are the Center for Urban Affairs & Community Services, Customized Contractual Education, McKimmon Conference & Training Center, Office of Professional Development, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Technology Training Solutions, The Collaborative at the Gateway Technology Center, and the Upper Coastal Plain Learning Council.

Warren’s involvement with UPCEA spanned the association’s activities. She has led national UPCEA committees for the association’s Annual Conference and Association Awards, served in multiple leadership roles for the South Region including chair, and has also served as an active member and chair of the Outreach, Engagement and Economic Development Network, as well as serving on UPCEA’s board of directors. Warren received the South Region’s Outstanding Service to Continuing Education Award in 2013 and the Walton S. Bittner Citation for Outstanding Service to UPCEA in 2014 and the Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership in 2018.

Warren received her A.S. from William Peace University, her B.S. from Campbell University, and her Master of Education from North Carolina State University.

Read more here.

Online: Trending Now #139

We all are in higher education; we encourage prospective students to enroll; we extol the benefits of continuing to learn throughout life; the question is, how well do we practice what we preach

With a commitment to higher education and with many of us in professional and continuing education, one would think that we all provide for continuing, professional education in our colleges, schools, and departments. In 2018, ours is a highly competitive field that is growing more so every day. It is one that requires us to be vigilant technologists, pedagogic specialists, and futurists. We need to understand the market factors in our field and the changing needs of our students. So, of course, we would make a continuing commitment to professional development. But, it is not always so.

I am often surprised when I visit universities around the country that do not invest in a continuing budget for professional education for employees. There is no substantial recurring annual budget to enable staff and faculty members to engage in formal training and development. Sure, faculty members may have a small annual travel stipend, but mostly that is reserved for presentations at discipline-based scholarly conferences. Aside from one-time opportunities, it is uncommon to find funding for professional education in teaching technologies and pedagogies.

Interestingly, the entrepreneurs and those leading startups know this need very well. Mark Goldin of Cornerstone on-Demand writes in Venture Beat about the need for continuous learning:

By investing time and money into developing a culture of continuous learning, your company will be ahead of the curve. Organically, these investments will result in a mindset among your workers that every individual at the organization – not just the CTO or CIO – needs to be a futurist. In today’s age, with such rapid change, every worker must be an active – not passive – participant and doggedly pursue new knowledge and skills. And when your team has developed new skills, make sure you give them the opportunity to put those skills to work.

When you invest in yourself and your team, you reap benefits that accrue to building success. When you fail to do so, you fall behind in this rapidly evolving field of higher education. The technology is changing so rapidly, and the societal demands for our services are changing as well. Those universities that will thrive in this environment are the ones that understand the changing expectations of higher education and are near the leading edge of technology change to most efficiently meet those changing expectations.

So, how much should you set aside for continuing professional education in your own shop? Eddy Ricci, author of The Growth Game: A Millennial’s Guide to Professional Development, suggests that setting aside 3% of every salary might be a good place to start in assuring adequate professional development:

Neither investments nor professional development are cookie cutter but 3 percent of your gross salary is a good rule-of-thumb for reinvesting in yourself. If you are running your own business or have ambitious goals for your future it would be much more. Three percent should be the baseline for your professional development whether through books, courses, personalized coaching, new experiences or relationship building. To put it into perspective, if you make $50,000 per year, then at least $1,500 per year should be put towards professional development. If you can commit to $125 per month for cable, you should have no issue in committing $125 into yourself.

As believers and leaders in higher education, we must practice what we preach! Invest in yourself and your team, and assure that the level of investment continues – or grows – in coming years.

Of course, I will continue to track the developments in emerging trends, technologies, pedagogies and practices, Continuing and Online Education Update blog by UPCEA. You can have the updates sent directly to your email each morning – no advertising, no spam!

Best,

Ray Schroeder Founding Director

National Council for Online Education

For millennia, knowledge has always been equated to power. Information was once a scarce commodity and those who held the information or knowledge were generally already in power or had the ability to gain it. Since we have now left the industrial age and entered into ‘The Informational Age’ – or whatever we end of up calling it – there is an immense amount of data and information.

Today, information is no longer a scarce commodity, and attention span is the highly prized asset. The goal today is to make the most use of the very small window of attention we get from those we love, those we want to be connected to, and those we do business with.

Power is held by those who own the data or have the faculty in which to control it.

Organizations like Google, Verizon, AT&T, Facebook, and Amazon, all own and hold a tremendous amount of data, and their value will continue to increase in the long-run. Those who control the data or have the faculty to use it, such as Equifax, Axiom, and the marketing and advertising world, are able to use this information and data to drive their success.

People and organizations are drowning in data.

I have dozens of conversations a year with people who say – “Sure we have Google analytics” and “Of course we know what is going on with our website.” And as we further our discussion they inevitably recognize that they:

  • Seldom look at it
  • Understand very little of it
  • Rarely, if ever, change their tactics and approaches based on the information provided by analytics

As I continue to learn, through discussion and engagement, I conclude that people are overwhelmed by too much information and data. For 20+ years business analytics and dashboards have been the holy grail of the data and information world – but more is not always better. Precision around the display and communication of that data and information is more important than its volume. And I encourage people to always start with the question:

“What now?”

If the data shows X, or the data shows Y, how does your behavior change?

Not everything is black and white.

I like to think of data and information as a starting point to query further. During my work on the quality movement in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there was a tool called the ‘5 Whys’ which was used to determine the root cause of a problem by repeating the question. One of my favorite things to do is to dig deeper and understand the story behind dashboard pains and seeming anomalies in trends or reports. And as I reach new depths, I find the narrative of why something is happening incredibly valuable in effecting the desired change in behavior or approach.

I find when asking someone, or inviting a group to change behavior, many people are reluctant to move forward unless they can understand why – and the why is different for each person. Having a variety of ways in which to respond gives me a better opportunity to help that group or person to move forward successfully.

If you are looking to develop a stronger appreciation for the question ‘Why?’, a book I strongly recommend is: “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek.

In conclusion, the ability to measure along with the access and control of data is tremendously powerful. And with great power, comes the importance of great responsibility. It is my hope that those who possess this power exercise thoughtful responsibility.

 

Lee Maxey is Founder and CEO of  MindMax. Lee has led MindMax since its founding in 2009, providing technology-enabled marketing solutions to accelerate enrollments for universities. Lee takes pride in building long-lasting relationships with MindMax’s university partners and building a culture focused on results aligned with client specific needs. MindMax provides strategic guidance, proven processes, and the latest digital tools to optimize online marketing and enrollment operations for university-affiliated continuing and professional education organizations. We are a trusted advisor to many of the nation’s top universities, and have transformed hundreds of online programs, impacting over 1 million students.

As the continuing and online education community knows all too well, in American higher education, where you learn something is more important than how well you know and can apply it. The average adult spends over 700 hours a year engaged in purposeful learning outside of the formal college curriculum. And the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained through that personal learning are largely internalized and forgotten by the learners as well as going unrecognized by colleges and employers alike. This is knowledge discrimination pure and simple, because the learning was devalued based on where it was learned.

I wrote Free-Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education (SelectBooks, NYC, June, 2018), to do two things.

  • First, I wanted to show the consequences of knowledge discrimination at street level, through the eyes of adult learners who have been left behind.
  • Second, I wanted to identify some of the positive practices and examples that are emerging within higher education as well as in the entrepreneurial world beyond campus boundaries. Again, I wanted to do through the eyes of the innovators. That’s why I interviewed several innovative presidents, like Ed Klonoski (Charter Oak State College) and Paul LeBlanc (SNHU). And then I supplemented their perspectives with those garnered from non-academic innovators such as Troy Markowitz at Portfolium and Matt Sigelman at BurningGlass.

The plain fact is that we are developing the tools and practices to end knowledge discrimination and bring this personal learning out of the closet. Doing so will drive serious, positive change for individuals as well as businesses as these previously hidden credentials are brought to light and validated.

While reasonable people can debate some of the specific causes and solutions, one thing is indisputable. As I lay out in Free-Range Learning, higher education is facing major disruption driven by forces beyond its control. In short, the traditions and practices that flow from faculty governance, broadly defined, are challenged by new practices and models for learning and employment driven by technological change.

And, importantly, the forces driving technologically-enhanced learning lie beyond the boundaries and the control of college campuses. So, the context within which colleges have historically operated is changing radically. In most cases, institutions that ignore the disruption and look the other way will be badly hurt. And in some cases, they will fail. Standing still is not an option.

Free-Range Learning is my attempt to paint this “emerging revolution” as an opportunity for reinvention and dramatic improvement of the learning/working environment for millions of Americans. 

As I wrote in the Introduction to Chapter 5,

                “….the five presidents I spoke with also agreed strongly on core values and  

priorities for the services and attitudes that would underlie institutional and student success in the future.  They included …

personalization…(academic and personal) advising and support…convenience…and strong connection to employment and the outside world.

Unspoken, but understood was the knowledge that almost two-thirds of the adult learners who are in online and blended programs and who leave before graduating, do so for non-academic reasons.”

The opportunity I referred to above reaches far beyond the capacity which technology is bringing to the table. It also includes changing our attitudes and institutional behaviors towards the people we serve. Continuing educators, as well as UPCEA, have embraced these “new” attitudes for years. They can be among the leaders of the charge.

 

Peter Smith is the Orkand Endowed Chair and Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Previously, he was the Assistant Director-General of UNESCO and the founding president of California State University at Monterey Bay. Smith was the first president of the Community College of Vermont (1970–1978). He also served Vermont as Lieutenant Governor and as representative to the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the author of Free Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education.

 

Alexander N. Charters (1916-2018) died in August 2018. Dr. Charters was an internationally-recognized American expert in the field of adult and continuing education.

Dr. Charters was born in Verdant Valley, Alberta, Canada in 1916. He earned a B.A. in history and English from the University of British Colombia in 1938, and a Ph.D. in adult education from the University of Chicago in 1948. Dr. Charters’ aunt and uncle were both active in the adult education field, and reading material they provided while he was serving in the Canadian Navy sparked Dr. Charters’ interest in the field. In 1948, Dr. Charters was appointed Assistant to the Dean of University College at Syracuse University, beginning his career in the field of adult education. He subsequently served Syracuse University in numerous roles, including Dean of University College (1952-1964) and Vice President for Continuing Education (1964-1973).

Dr. Charters was very involved with UPCEA (then NUEA), and served as the association’s president for the 1965-66 term. Dr. Charters’ work and influence are still felt in the association to this day, as described by UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen at UPCEA’s 100th Annual Conference in 2015:

The next major inflection point for the association was precisely 50 years after the first conference in Madison.

Remarkably, the man who was at the center of that story is in the room with us today, Alex Charters, dean emeritus at Syracuse University and former president of the association.

At the 50th golden anniversary conference at Purdue in 1965, President Charters announced “discussions involving the establishment of a Washington office.”

A formal report on the matter argued that a professional staff headquartered in Washington could serve as a vital link between universities, the federal government, and other major associations.

In March 1966, President Charters announced the appointment of the association’s first Executive Director, and a motion was passed to establish a Washington Office.

We opened an office on Massachusetts Avenue later that year, and subsequently moved to the new National Center for Higher Education, better known by its iconic address, One Dupont Circle—or simply “One Dupont”—a name that has become synonymous with higher education policy in the U.S.

The modern era of the association had begun.

Partnership is in Support of Initiative Dedicated to Advances in Online Education, Virtually Inspired

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 15, 2018) — UPCEA today announced a new partnership with Drexel University Online (DUO) to provide the association’s community with access to DUO’s ‘Virtually Inspired’ website. Virtually Inspired features a series of high-quality videos illuminating how educators worldwide are utilizing the latest technologies in online and blended education.

Through the partnership, members of the UPCEA community have full access to Virtually Inspired’s interactive repository for knowledge sharing. Virtually Inspired visitors can learn from the successes and best practices of other colleagues in the field, and become familiar with the technologies and tools changing education today.

“UPCEA members are consistently at the forefront of innovation and experimentation in online and blended learning,” said Bob Hansen, CEO of UPCEA. “Our partnership with DUO and Virtually Inspired is a powerful resource, enabling our members to learn from the experience of others as well as to share their own successes.”

Virtually Inspired features dozens of showcases that exemplify virtual success in areas of technology-enhanced education from virtual reality, robotics, and holography to real-time videoconferencing, gamification, and wearables. The site shares carefully curated content designed to provide creative inspiration to connected learning professionals.

“Virtually Inspired is a place where educators facing the unique opportunities and challenges of the digital age can come for inspiration, while also adding examples of their own virtual success stories,” said Susan Aldridge, Ph.D., President, Drexel University Online. “We are excited to partner with UPCEA to expand access to these important resources for those in the professional, continuing, and online learning field.”

UPCEA community members are encouraged share successes and best practice with Virtually Inspired at virtuallyinspired.org/share. Visit Virtually Inspired at upcea.edu/virtually-inspired.

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About UPCEA

UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

 

About Drexel University Online

Drexel University specializes in innovative, internet-based education programs for working professionals, organizations and corporations, enrolling more than 7,500 unique online students from all 50 states and more than 25 countries. Having offered online degrees since 1996, Drexel is known as a leader in technology-enhanced education and enjoys regional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

 

Despite the evolution of learning management systems over the past two decades, LMSs seem to remain tech-oriented rather than learner oriented – is this likely to change? 

Online: Trending Now #138

Learning management systems have been around since the last century.  The World Wide Web, of course, provided great impetus to the LMS through the point-and-click interactivity. Arguably, the first broadly deployed LMS was WebCT, developed at the University of British Columbia by Professor Murray Goldberg in 1995. When I first opened WebCT in 1996, it was a breakthrough in organizing and delivering course materials to students.  But, it was also clear that the design was designed first and foremost to accommodate the technology demands of the task. 

And, so it has continued through the development of the LMS over the intervening two and a half decades. The vast majority of the dozens of following systems have followed a left-hand navigation panel with material appearing in a box on the right. That’s not a bad approach if you are creating an inventory system or a filling in fields of a database. But, if the focus is on the learner, perhaps we are better served with something that is more intimate and personally-responsive to the learner. This becomes especially important as we move to scale online courses, creating the threat that learners will feel more isolated and less engaged.

Amy Ahearn addressed the concerns in a recent EdSurge article:

The majority of online learning environments are no more than video-hosting platforms with quizzes and a discussion forum. These default features force online instructors to use a style of teaching that feels more like shouting to the masses than engaging in meaningful conversations. This presents a challenge and an opportunity: How can we design online learning environments that achieve scale and intimacy? How do we make digital platforms feel as inviting as well-designed physical classrooms? 

The potential of artificial intelligence offers us the promise that we may be able to provide personalized learning opportunities to our students. By giving AI a lead role in engaging the student, the learning management system can become much more flexible and responsive as we have seen in Professor Ashok Goel’s early work with “Jill Watson” at Georgia Tech

A relatively new AI chatbox, Hubert, gives a glimpse of the future. It is designed to solicit student feedback on classes. But, rather than offering a multiple choice or short answer format such as other student evaluations, it opens a chatbox window engaging conversation with the student. Hubert analyzes answers on the fly and follows-up with more probing questions. Finally, the data is compiled and put into an actionable report to the instructor of areas students feel could be improved.

The folks at Hubert.ai write “Personalized learning is probably the most common AI application in edtech today and is a sizzling hot topic in the overall educational sector. And for a good reason. For long it’s been known that different individuals learn in a different way and at a different pace, but most schools are still stuck in the same habit of the active, lecturing teacher and the passive, listening students.”  https://medium.com/hubert-ai/ai-in-education-personalized-learning-94e2d01fee94

Projecting the advances in AI and machine-learning, the days of the LMS as a tech-first product may be numbered. We will likely see more and more products that assess learner preferences and build an environment that most comfortably meets their needs.  Stay tuned!

Of course, I will continue to track the developments in emerging trends, technologies, pedagogies and practices, Continuing and Online Education Update blog by UPCEA. You can have the updates sent directly to your email each morning – no advertising, no spam!

Best,
 
Ray Schroeder Founding Director
National Council for Online Education