3 Million and Counting
by Doug Lederman
Aug. 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed
“Love ’em or hate ’em — and many of this city’s current power brokers seemingly fall into the latter category right now — for-profit colleges are attracting students in ever-growing numbers, as made powerfully clear by an Education Department report released Wednesday. The report, an annual study of college enrollments, prices and degrees awarded, includes data on the number of students who enrolled in various types of postsecondary institutions throughout the 2008-9 academic year. As seen in the table below, the statistics show that for-profit colleges enrolled a total of 3.2 million students, 11.8 percent of the nearly 27.4 million students who studied at all institutions that year.”
“The figure for for-profit enrollments reflected an increase of more than 20 percent over 2007-8, and a rise of more than 60 percent since 2004-5. The number of enrollees in for-profit four-year institutions nearly doubled over that period, from 1.1 million to 2.1 million.” . . .
California Ends Deal With Kaplan
by David Moltz
Aug. 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed
“The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has terminated a controversial deal with Kaplan University that allowed students at some overcrowded community colleges the ability to take online courses from the for-profit institution at a discount.” . . .
“The deal with Kaplan was seen by some as a solution to the overcrowding problem at the state’s community colleges, where many students have stopped making progress toward earning a degree simply because they are unable to get access to a handful of necessary courses. As news of the deal spread this spring, however, faculty groups were up in arms about the move, raising concerns about the quality of the courses offered by Kaplan. Others argued that the state was trying to hide from its responsibility to provide the needed courses at the community colleges, and noted that the Kaplan courses, even with discounts, were more expensive than those at community colleges.” . . .
Has For-Profit Higher Education Missed Its Big Opening Into The Mainstream?
by Lloyd Armstrong, Jr.
Aug. 25, 2010, Changing Higher Education
. . . “The negatives of the for-profit side are on much display at present. There seems to have been a widespread lack of understanding in the sector that higher education plays a central role in the American dream that puts in on a different level from, say, auto repair or mortgage lending. Because of this special role, unethical (not to mention illegal) behavior in the provision of higher education will likely be met with societal responses that are considerably harsher than would be stimulated by similar failures in other sectors.”
“Perhaps because of this lack of understanding, the sector did not sufficiently police itself against providers who focused on the quick buck, and many of the more responsible players did not set up sufficient internal controls to catch bad behavior on the part of employees. Business models that focused almost exclusively on gaming the federal student aid budget through recruitment of large numbers of aid-eligible students with little or no potential to graduate put the sector in a very risky position, indeed. Thus, we see recruiting scandals, loan repayment scandals,etc. As a consequence, it would not be at all surprising to see a number of laws and rules coming out that greatly restrict conditions under which students in the for-profit sector have access to federal loans, and much tighter rules on student recruiting.”
“However, there also is much to be positive about on the for-profit side. Much of the real innovation in higher education over the past decade has come from this sector. Most have focused on matching educational opportunities to the realities of the life conditions of adult students, e.g. courses that start on an almost continuous basis rather than two or three times a year, learning centers located in high traffic areas for better access, broad on-line offerings, standardization of course content between campuses to enable continuity when students move, and an emphasis on career preparation. They are flexible, able to expand or contract following demand, and rapidly create new courses of study in response to local employment opportunities and in consultation with local business leaders. Some have evolved systems of advising and tracking of students that provide considerably more contact and support than has been traditional in higher education.” . . .
Egg on Its Interface
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 26, 2010, Inside Higher Ed
“When the popular scholarly database JSTOR unveiled its new interface earlier this month, some librarians were horrified by what they saw. Now, after an Internet outcry, the nonprofit scholarly journal database says it plans to change two features that critics said were bound to confuse, frustrate, and squeeze money out of researchers.” . . .
“Two elements of the site’s new interface elicited the ire of two academic bloggers and a number of commenters on Tuesday. The first was a search parameter asking users if they want their search to call up articles from JSTOR’s entire collection, or only those covered by their library’s subscription. The interface chooses the comprehensive option by default, meaning some articles that come up in the search results cannot be read in full unless the researcher pays an additional fee. Further, the interface does not let users change the default to hide those pay-walled articles.” . ..
What are Learning Analytics? (LA)
by George Siemens
Aug. 25, 2010, eLearnSpace
“Learning analytics is the use of intelligent data, learner-produced data, and analysis models to discover information and social connections, and to predict and advise on learning. EDUCAUSE’s Next Generation learning initiative offers a slightly different definition “the use of data and models to predict student progress and performance, and the ability to act on that information”. Their definition is cleaner than the one I offer, but, as I’ll detail below, is intended to work within the existing educational system, rather than to modify it. I’m interested in how learning analytics can restructure the process of teaching, learning, and administration.”
“LA relies on some of the concepts employed in web analysis, through tools like Google Analytics, as well as those involved in data mining (see educational data mining). These analytic approaches try to make sense of learner activity (through clicks, attention/focus heat maps, social network analysis, recommender systems, and so on). Learning analytics is broader, however, in that it is concerned not only with analytics but also with action, curriculum mapping, personalization and adaptation, prediction, intervention, and competency determination.” . . .
Google Is Offering Phone Calls via Gmail
by Claire Cain Miller
Aug. 25, 2010, New York Times
“Google entered a new business beyond Internet search on Wednesday with a service within Gmail to make phone calls over the Web to landlines or cellphones. The service will thrust Google into direct competition with Skype, the Internet telephone company, and with telecommunications providers. It could also make Google a more ubiquitous part of people’s social interactions by uniting the service for phone calls with e-mail, text messages and video chats.” . . .
“Gmail has offered voice and video chat for two years, but both parties must be at their computers. Google said the new service would work well for people in a spot with poor cellphone reception or for those making a quick call from their desk.”
Report: Broadband, Race and Ethnicity , Digital Divide – Home Broadband 2010
by Aaron Smith
Aug 11, 2010, Pew Internet and American Life Project
“The adoption of broadband internet access slowed dramatically over the last year. Two-thirds of American adults (66 percent) now have a broadband internet connection at home, a figure that is little changed from the 63 percent with a high-speed home connection at a similar point in 2009. Most demographic groups experienced flat-to-modest broadband adoption growth over the last year. The notable exception to this trend came among African-Americans, who experienced 22 percent year-over-year broadband adoption growth.”
– In 2009 65 percent of whites and 46 percent of African-Americans were broadband users (a 19-point gap)
– In 2010 67 percent of whites and 56 percent of African-Americans are broadband users (an 11-point gap)
“By a 53 percent-41 percent margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Contrary to what some might suspect, non-internet users are less likely than current users to say the government should place a high priority on the spread of high-speed connections.”
Don’t Let The Openness Door Hit You In The Ass (On The Way In Or Out)
by Alan Levine
Aug. 12, 2010, Cogdogblog
. . . “I have some quibbles (hence the barking) in some ways people are looking at open courses that seem to fall back on traditionalist views of courses. It’s mainly when people talk about ‘drop-outs’ or ‘why people don’t stay in open courses’ (recently well summarized among other points by Dave Cormier). . . . The openness door ought to swing both ways, right?”
. . . “What is wrong with choosing some minimal or micro level to be in an open course? Is the only way to get something out of such a course is to be an active over-achiever in the forums? Why am I a no good drop out if I choose to pick the parts that interest me and leave the rest? Is it open or not, cause I smell a wee bit of hypocrisy if the assumption is I have to have a high attendance rate in an open course. . . . Or maybe I really am a loser drop out, someone who does not stick to the pace of the course, a lazy dog if you will.” . . .
Changed but Still Critical: Brick and Mortar School Libraries in the Digital Age (Part one of two)
by Doug Johnson
Aug. 11, 2010, The Blue Skunk Blog
. . . “Today’s reality is that readers and information seekers are having increasingly less need to visit a physical library to meet their basic information needs. Digital information sources, readily accessed from classroom, home or mobile computing devices are the choice of many students and teachers. The ‘Net Generation’ student increasingly prefers the visual and the virtual rather than the printed text. Why, many school leaders are asking, does a school need a physical library when seemingly all resources can be obtained using an inexpensive netbook and a wireless network connection? Might these large physical spaces in our schools be re-purposed for greater educational impact?”
“I would argue that the best school libraries are not just surviving, but thriving, in this new digital information environment — but not without seriously re-purposing their physical spaces. This article looks at three ways today’s school library can and should adapt to the digital age, new learning environments and 21st century skill expectations of today’s students.” . . .
Bill Gates: Technology Can Lower College Tuition to $2,000
by Sara Jerome
Aug. 9, 2010, The Hill
“Online learning can shrink the cost of higher education by eroding the need for place-based instruction, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said during a presentation at the Technonomy conference in San Francisco last week. ‘College, except for the parties, needs to be less place-based,’ he said. Moving more learning activities online can bring down the soaring cost of a college degree.”
” ‘Only technology can bring [college tuition] down, not just to $20,000, but to $2,000,’ he said, citing price tags as high as $50,000 for a year of college. Gates predicted that technology could soon make place-based learning five times less important for college and university students. But for students in elementary and high school, Gates said he did not foresee online education shaking up the traditional framework anytime soon.” . . .
Department of Justice Announces Plans to Prepare New ADA Regulations
Comments Due: Jan 24, 2011
On July 23, the Justice Department published four new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) proposals addressing the accessibility of websites, the provision of captioning and video description in movies shown in theaters, accessible equipment and furniture, and the ability of 9-1-1 centers to take text and video calls from individuals with disabilities.
Web Accessibility – State and local governments, businesses, educators, and other organizations covered by the ADA are increasingly using the web to provide information, goods, and services to the public. In the web accessibility ANPRM, the department presents for public comment a series of questions seeking input regarding how the department can develop a workable framework for website access that provides individuals with disabilities access to the critical information, programs, and services provided on the web, while respecting the unique characteristics of the internet and its transformative impact on everyday life.
Video Description Research and Development Center
Department of Education
Application Deadline: Oct. 12, 2010
Purpose of Program: The purposes of the Technology and Media Services for Individuals with Disabilities program are to: (1) Improve results for children with disabilities by promoting the development, demonstration, and use of technology; (2) support educational media services activities designed to be of educational value in the classroom setting to children with disabilities, and (3) provide support for captioning and video description of educational materials that are appropriate for use in the classroom setting. In the context of this notice, educational materials for use in the classroom setting include television programs, videos, and other materials, including programs and materials associated with new and emerging technologies, such as CDs, DVDs, and other forms of multimedia. Estimated Number of Awards: 1