Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

Friends, it has been a while. Since my last post we’ve hosted several events, I have attended many events, and there has been much news to report.

Recently, in my 115th attempt to change how I manage my inbox (as an inbox zero person I am always looking for new tactics to get my inbox down to zero) I’ve removed ALL THE FILTERS AND RULES I had set up. Those filters and rules had some unintended consequences as I found myself ignoring the news sources that are really critical to staying current with our work. Removing the filters and rules that governed my inbox has ratcheted up the message count in my main folder and starved folders that are no longer being fed by my old inbox rules. That being said, I am reading more, a lot more. Here are the things I found the most interesting as I started digging out:

WCET’s Frontier Blog Post on the Neg Reg Consensus: This is a great breakdown of the discussions regarding two big issues (state authorization and licensure notifications).

Unbound: Unbound’s Spring 2019 edition focuses on microcredentials and other non-degree credentials.

Chronos.org: Here’s one for the history nerds among us. eLearningInside featured Chronos.org, a map which shows “the changing borders of political entities over time, it also includes population, the dominant culture and religion of a given area, migration, notable events, centers of power, and much more. In all, Chronas contains over 50 million data points”. I haven’t had a ton of time to play with this but wow does it look cool! I sort of wish I taught an undergraduate history course so I could use this tool!

ASU as a ‘virus’: EdSurge published a really interesting interview with Michael Crow on ASU and his vision for ASU. It is a good read.

5 Network Event Tips for Introverts: As an extreme extrovert I am always geeked to attend networking events. Strangers are just friends and colleagues I haven’t met yet. So, when I read this item I immediately thought of all my dear introvert friends.

10 tips to be a better online teacher: The Chronicle does a decent job of outlining many of the best practices we’ve learned regarding online teaching and makes them accessible to those that might be intimidated by full-blown quality frameworks. I’d send this to faculty with the explanation that the use of ‘better’ in the title doesn’t suggest that anyone is a ‘bad’ online teacher (as I think the title does a disservice to the piece).

CHEA/CIQG’s policy brief on free tuition: A really interesting brief on free college tuition – where it is working and the impact it is having on equity in three different countries.

And now for your George Michael reference (if you didn’t catch it in the post title). His album ‘Faith’ was released on April 11, 1988 (so I am a few days late celebrating the 31st anniversary). One More Try is one of my favorite tracks from the album.

U.S.-China conference highlights similarities among innovators in ed tech around the world. How should colleges react?

In mid-March of this year, some 250 higher education faculty, administrators, programmers and others involved in the educational technology policy and development areas gathered for the fourth annual U.S.-China Smart Education conference at the University of North Texas. It was a fascinating merging of cultures and subjective perspectives centered on some of the distinctly objective aspects of coding, hardware and standards.

UNT was the perfect host for this event, sharing their technology growth vision; engaging their information and technology faculty members and students, including those from China who could offer informal translation services for the rest of us; and a Texas venue that offered plenty of western music, high-flying camera drones over the Texas Motor Speedway and an immersion in Texas culture.

The technologies that were focused on were state of the art in augmented and virtual reality supported by artificial intelligence. Clearly the attending faculty members from universities across Asia, Europe and North America valued the qualities and potential of rich media to support teaching and learning. We talked pedagogy, engagement, adaptive delivery and related strategies that could best be floated on these vehicles of technology. Simulations and immersion activities were among the key applications most frequently discussed. We eagerly queued up to test the demonstrations that so richly filled the array of goggles shared by vendors.

On my flight home, I pondered the takeaways from this conference. Certainly, there was a universal enthusiasm among those attending the U.S.-China conference for the ways in which these technologies can bring learning experiences to those at a distance. In many ways these technologies can be transformative by personalizing learning and advancing adaptive learning, and by creating a vast array of simulations that capture nuances of personal interaction in limitless contexts. In a down-to-earth practical working example, the simulation of Developing Leadership Skills With Virtual Reality by Carrie Straub of Mursion effectively showed in real time how we can simulate and improve supervisor-employee exchanges.

Yet, because of the complexity of developing many of these technologies, particularly artificial intelligence, the most important role rests with the corporations that develop the technologies. The immense power of artificial intelligence and its independence from explicit programming for every situation requires that effective parameters are put in place to assure products do not go off the intended tracks. To the extent that corporations rather than the universities will control the basic assumptions to be applied within the AI algorithms, we are put in the position that our programs will carry cultural, racial and gender assumptions that may not be consistent with our own. Amy Webb, in her popular new release, The Big Nine, examines the role of the six American and three Chinese companies that are competing for leadership in AI. They share a profit motive, but they have diverse cultural and corporate approaches that should give us pause to consider where they will lead us. In an excerpt from the book published in Fast Company, Webb explains the importance of internal corporate governance in the development process:

The Big Nine should develop a process to evaluate the ethical implications of research, workflows, projects, partnerships and products, and that process should be woven in to most of the job functions within the companies. As a gesture of trust, the Big Nine should publish that process so that we can all gain a better understanding of how decisions are made with regards to our data. Either collaboratively or individually, the Big Nine should develop a code of conduct specifically for its AI workers. It should reflect basic human rights and it should also reflect the company’s unique culture and corporate values. And if anyone violates that code, a clear and protective whistle-blowing channel should be open to staff members.

There is much at stake in the development of AI. The “big nine” corporations are the linkages that ideally will bring cultures together and create a compass for development in this field. Action must be taken now to assure that the underlying assumptions are in the best interests of the learners. A first model for a governance framework for AI has been developed by the Personal Data Protection Commission of Singapore. The 27-page instrument is well worth reading to gain a better understanding of AI and its implications.

This document and these sort of events can spark discussions on emerging technologies and how our adoption could be undertaken broadly across campuses to stimulate discussion, debate and begin the process of setting a framework at your own institution for research and development in this field. A framework customized for your university should be in place before occasions arise in which it will be needed (in some cases, those occasions have already arisen). So, begin today to consider these issues; to delay risks unforeseen consequences for your institution and beyond.

This article originally appeared in Inside Higher Ed’s Inside Digital Learning on April 17, 2019.

Generation Z is amazing and not annoying; social and not selfish; inclusive and not isolated; informed and not ignorant. They are resourceful individuals and savvy, informed consumers. They are far different from the often-misunderstood Millennial, yet are often classified similarly. 

Generation Z is gaining a lot of attention, yet they remain a mystery to many. Generation Z (or the iGeneration), born between the years of 1995 and 2005, are approximately 13 to 23 years of age at the time of this article. This generation is about sixty million strong and primarily in the latter stages of middle school, immersed in high school or college, or have recently graduated or chosen not to attend college. 

UPCEA just released the 4th edition of An Insider’s Guide to Generation Z, with the last issue written by me and four Generation Z’ers.  New to the 4th edition is:

  • A deeper understanding of the earlier research and additions through a perspective of the Generation Z authors. These Gen Z’ers provide insight into the research presented and commentary on the claims that are made. In the latest version, subjects such as micro-mobility, social media influencers, podcasts, esports, pets, and mental health. 
  • Greater insight on the understanding of either mental health challenges or a heightened awareness of how the mind and body of Generation Z are connected. Further insight on the mental health challenges of Generation Z were brought to the forefront at the 2019 UPCEA Annual Conference in Seattle where a panel of Generation Z women and their Generation X moms addressed a number of issues.

Generation Z is finding their voice. Unfortunately, the tragic events of Parkland and other school shootings has shown the generation how to gather via social networks and to have a strong physical presence through school walk-outs and other activities. In a study done by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2018, 75% of Generation Z report mass shootings as a significant source of stress. Other national issues that are significant stressors to them include rising suicide rates, climate change, the well-being of immigrant families, and sexual assault. With the upcoming 2020 U.S. presidential election, should a new president be elected, Generation Z will accelerate the rate of change in the issues mentioned above. With a close election expected in 2020, Generation Z could play a major role with 22 million new voters becoming eligible since the last election (in addition to the 23 million Gen Z voters that were eligible in 2016), despite their lower voter turnout rates. During this same time, while a dismal reality, about 36 million Boomers or those from the Great or Silent Generations will have died since the 2016 election. This loss is significant in terms of human lives, as well as electorally because individuals in these generations have had higher participation rates.

Generation Z will find their voice and the 2020 presidential election could be the trigger. Considering the APA report showed that 68% of Generation Z feel significantly stressed about the nation’s future, and 66% do not believe that the nation is moving toward becoming stronger, the time may have come for Generation Z to act. If the current president is re-elected, Generation Z, unlike their Millennial predecessors, will still create change, but likely at a slower pace. They will find their voice through other charges, such as renewable energy, climate change or social injustice. They will ultimately accelerate the need for change in our system of higher education in the U.S. and potentially worldwide. Colleges and universities, as evidenced with declining enrollments the past eight years and an increasing number of college closures and mergers, are lagging in a more rapidly changing economy. 

If tuition rates remain high and new technologies emerge, it is likely that Generation Z and Millennials will embrace alternative credentialing of education.  They already embrace a modular or deconstructed approach to many consumer products and services…why not education?

Click here to download An Insider’s Guide to Generation Z (4th Edition).

 

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2019 – UPCEA, the Washington, D.C.-based association for college and university leaders in professional, continuing, and online education, welcomed one new officer and five new directors to serve on the UPCEA Board of Directors during the 2019 UPCEA Annual Conference.

“The Board’s newest members are an impressive group, and the Board Development committee is pleased to be the first to welcome them in their Board service,” said Richard Novak, Vice President for Continuing Studies and Distance Education at Rutgers University, 2007-08 UPCEA President, and Chair, UPCEA Board Development Committee. “I look forward to seeing the important work that these strong and qualified leaders will contribute to the association and the field during their time on the Board.”  

Rovy Branon, Vice Provost for Continuum College at the University of Washington, will serve as President-Elect for a one-year term (2019-2020). UW Continuum College serves over 55,000 learners annually through its 400 programs. Dr. Branon holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University. His advocacy for increasing access to higher education has been featured on: CBS TechRepublic, Fox Business, GeekWire, Portland NBC affiliate KGW, The Seattle Times, USA Today and other regional publications. Previously, Dr. Branon was the associate dean for online learning and the executive director of the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Madison.

Susan Catron, Interim Dean for Continuing & Professional Education at the University of California, Davis, will serve as a Director-At-Large for a two-year term (2019-2021).Susan Catron, M.P.P.A., Ed.D., is interim dean of UC Davis Continuing & Professional Education, a self-supporting $40 million academic division. As the division’s chief academic officer and strategic leader, Catron oversees a team of 230 academic and professional staff serving 50,000 learners each year–regionally and globally. In her prior role as Sr. Associate Dean, Catron led program innovation and academic strategic planning. She holds a doctorate in educational leadership from UC Davis, and a master’s in public policy from California State University, Sacramento. Her research has focused on program innovation, online educational quality, and educational accountability.

Huntington Lambert, Dean of the Division of Continuing Education and University Extension at Harvard University, will serve as a Director-At-Large for a two-year term (2019-2021). The Division serves 28,000 learners annually with more than 1500 open access online and on-campus for-credit courses as well as 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and fields of study; Harvard Summer School and study abroad programs in more than 20 worldwide locations; Harvard Professional Development Programs serving more than 3,000 learners; Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. Previously, Lambert served as Associate Provost of OnlinePlus at CSU. Prior to this, Lambert was a founder and interim CEO of CSU Global Campus.

Karen Pedersen, Dean of Kansas State University Global Campus, will serve as a Director-At-Large for a two-year term (2019-2021). Pedersen has a long history of serving in various digital learning leadership positions at both public and private higher education institutions. Prior to joining Kansas State University, she worked as the Chief Knowledge Officer for OLC where she fostered initiatives related to learning innovation, quality enhancement, leadership development, and institutional transformation. Pedersen has expertise leading award-winning online and off-campus units, expanding partnerships, engaging cross-institutional academic operations, and realizing significant enrollment growth and retention outcomes. Other experiences include serving on the launch team for a competency-based education initiative, leading a system-wide enrollment management transformation, and building academic collaborations internationally.

Aaron Brower, UW System Senior Associate Vice President and Executive Director for the UW Extended Campus (formally CEOEL), will serve as a Director-At-Large for a two-year term (2019-2021). UW Extended Campus/CEOEL has built a national reputation for award-winning online programs for adults and professionals. Among these programs is the UW Flexible Option, the first-in-the-country direct-assessment CBE for a public university system. Brower has more than 30 years’ experience as a faculty member, administrator and program developer. He has written 4 books, more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and received over $18M in grants to support his work on educational innovation, student learning, and outcome assessment.

Bob Hieronymus, Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships at Emsi, will serve as Corporate Director-At-Large for a two-year term (2019-2021). Hieronymus’ focus is on developing and maintaining partner and industry relationships in higher education. Emsi, a member of the Strada Education Network, is based in Moscow, Idaho. Emsi uses labor market analytics to inform and connect people, education and business. Within higher education, Emsi helps colleges and universities measure their economic impact, align their programs with regional demands, prepare students for the right careers, and track student outcomes.

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About UPCEA
UPCEA is the association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. With innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications, we support our members’ service of contemporary learners and commitment to quality online education and student success. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues. Visit www.upcea.edu.

Given the domestic and global trend towards medicinal and/or recreational cannabis legalization and the multitude of businesses those laws will create, U.S. universities should consider preparing their students for emerging jobs in this growing market. The industry has expanded far beyond smoking cannabis products, especially because that is not how the future average user of cannabis will be consuming the product. For the most part, universities have been taking a “wait and see” approach given the problem of the federal legality. However, seeing how far cannabis has come legally and culturally, it seems unlikely to be stopped now. Some universities will ignore cannabis and others will take advantage of the opportunity.

Read more  in this just-released whitepaper, Cannabis: The New Root and Stem of Higher Education, here.

The long-standing tension between “free and open” and for-profit business models is now playing out with textbooks and open educational resources.

Over the decades, there has been considerable debate over just who first uttered the phrase “information wants to be free.” It is widely reported that this arose in a discussion between Stewart Brand, editor of the Whole Earth Catalog, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. These pioneers in the digital age recognized the coming struggle between “free and open” materials and “for-profit” publishing and dissemination.

This came up in an era of the pre-web internet, and relatively early on in the personal computer revolution. The early programmers and inventors recognized that information would soon be very easy to uncover, but there still was value in compensating the work of acquiring and assembling the information. Brand raised the tension between the value of information and the dropping cost of accessing that information, to which Wozniak is quoted as saying “information should be free but your time should not.”

Decades later, the tension continues. We have seen the meteoric rise in the cost of textbooks at a rate of more than four times inflation in the past decade and the advent of access codes for associated online materials that expire at the end of the term. The expiring codes undermine the rental and used-book marketplace that helped some students afford their texts.

A study by the National Association of College Stores shows the beginning of a possible trend toward the decline in the cost of purchase of required class materials, with an increase in the number of students reporting that they downloaded free online materials. Unreported are the numbers of students who simply skip buying books and other required materials. Librarians at colleges and universities have stepped in across the country to offer text materials in open reserves prompted by their concern for those students who do not have affordable access to texts. For example, at Alverno College in Milwaukee, more than half of the students reported that they had not purchased a textbook because of the cost. The Alverno library put texts on open reserve and tracked their use.

Open educational resource initiatives have sprung up nationally. These generally have taken the form of stipends and release time for faculty members to develop and assemble resources to replace their required texts. In 2015, the University of Maryland University College made a commitment to providing open resources across the undergraduate and later the graduate curriculum. Some larger initiatives have crossed college lines to provide resources to groups of colleges and universities. SPARC maintains a list of initiatives and resources.

One of the most successful initiatives is OpenStax, hosted at Rice University. OpenStax reports that in 2018 students saved more than $175 million in textbook costs using their open products. Now 20 years in evolution (the program began as the Connexions Project at Rice in 1999), the initiative continues to gain momentum and extends to more and more faculty authors and collaborators.

As recounted by University of Idaho president Chuck Staben in Inside Higher Ed, the university is testing a new incentive model for faculty to acquire or develop open resources to replace traditional, expensive textbooks. “Our plan is to give some of the estimated yearly savings from OER use to the department, our teaching and learning center, and our library (5 percent/2.5 percent/2.5 percent, respectively),” Staben said.

The Idaho president adds, “Providing even 5 percent of the projected savings from OER adoption directly to the department as flexible money would be highly motivating to many departments; the teaching center and library are incentivized to support adoption and access.”

Information wants to be free — even more so in 2019 than 35 years ago. Students are on board. Recent studies have begun uncovering the link between OER and engagement, learning outcomes and student success.

In sum, reasons to consider moving to open educational resources:

  • Success in student recruitment and marketing because of lower costs
  • Improved student retention due to more students accessing the required materials
  • Improved student learning outcomes as indicated in recent studies
  • Implicitly finer faculty control and familiarity with resources they produce

Do you have data showing how many students have not purchased required materials each semester?

Have you investigated learning outcomes or final grades of students who did not purchase the text? Such research does involve careful crafting to protect student privacy, but it is important to determine if learning is at risk.

What OER initiatives are underway at your university?

Who should lead the initiative at your college to customize and reduce the costs of learning materials for your students?


This article originally appeared in Inside Higher Ed’s Inside Digital Learning on April 3, 2019.

Professor Emeritus Ray Schroder finds it difficult to stop working. As the Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield and the founding director of the National Council for Online Education at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), he has a lot on his plate.

IBL News recently got in touch with Professor Schroder to discuss his current work and a few trends in online learning.

The interview occurred on the afternoon of March 12th, and the first topic of conversation had to be the admissions scandal that had come to light that morning.


Ray Schroeder
: I think it has more than anything to do with the egos of parents. My older daughter was a National Merit Scholar, which meant she had admission to just about any place with full rides. But she chose a little place, Bradley University, and it fulfilled her dream of teaching. She’s quite successful.

I’m a believer in the idea that going to the top-ranked schools doesn’t necessarily get you much more than the first job. After that, you really do have to prove yourself.

Read the full article here.

As part of the Department of Education’s recent and wide-ranging negotiated rulemaking, negotiators reached consensus on all of the topics discussed during their sessions. With only three minutes remaining in the time allotted for negotiators to do their work, before the entire process would have been for naught, all negotiators agreed on changes to regulatory items like regular and substantive interaction, state authorization, accreditation, TEACH grants, among others. The topics were split amongst three subcommittees to work on and provide recommendations to the full committee to consider. Many of the most controversial topics that the Department had proposed in their initial drafts were rejected. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos applauded the efforts, “(r)ethinking higher education required each person at the negotiating table to challenge assumptions and examine past practice in order to better serve students. I commend them for doing just that.” Some critics seemed to think the changes might go too far, and open up items like accreditation and weaken safeguards on students. Others state that negotiators may have acted to enact the provisions reviewed and weighed in on by negotiators, as imperfect as they might be, to avoid the alternative outcome of allowing the Department to fully write the rules themselves, which would have occurred if consensus was not reached.

Even though consensus was reached, the regulations are not yet complete or going into effect. The Department now must publish the proposed regulations over the next few months, allow for a public comment period, review that feedback, and release their version of the final regulations by November 1st in accordance with the legislative calendar, to be sure that the regulations will have an effective start date of July 1, 2020. If the November deadline is missed, the earliest the regulations could go into effect would be July 1, 2121, which may see a new presidential administration, with changed priorities (thus starting the process over, once again). Ongoing Congressional discussions and actions on items like Higher Education Act reauthorization could also affect these regulations.

Department of Education Page on 2018-19 Negotiated Rulemaking