Category Archives: Higher Education

Should I go to Grad School?

Special thanks to a reader Roy from the University of Arizona submitted to me an excellent infographic that highlights the costs and benefits of enrolling in a graduate program. Many recent college grads are not contemplating this very issue. Check out the handy infographic below.

If like Roy you have an idea you would like me to highlight on my blog, please send me a suggestion here. As always, I cite my sources and give credit to contributors!

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Source: GradSchoolHub.com

Infographic: How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education

We can all agree that, for better or worse, the internet is having a profound impact on education. I believe that the growing pains we are currently experiencing with new technologies will ultimately change how we teach, assess, and access education in both K-12 as well as Higher Education. The infographic below, created by OnlineEducation.net highlights that most radical impacts the Internet has had on education. You can read more about this via Edudemic here.

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SXSWedu – Can the Liberal Arts Survive in an Age of Innovation?

The next session I am attending is a topic near and dear to my heart as a liberal arts major, “Can the Liberal Arts Survive in an Age of Innovation?” The speakers are David Maxwell, President of Drake University, Liz Willen,

The seven liberal arts – Picture from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century); Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The seven liberal arts – Picture from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century); Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Editor of the Hechinger Report, Michelle Weise, a Senior Research Fellow at the Clayton Christendon Institute, and Scott Kinney, President of the Capella Education Company.

Quite famously, the President dissed the Liberal Arts not long ago with a sleight directed at Art History. Although he then followed up with a letter of apology to an upset professor. At the same time, he highlighted an issue in higher education. How do we resolve Liberal Arts with workforce readiness in higher education? Many educators, administrators, and law-makers are focusing on changes in education with a greater emphasis on STEM, leaving the Liberal Arts behind.

David begins by reaffirming his belief in and support of the Liberal Arts and Sciences in higher education. They have a long tradition in education. They are narrative tools that describe the world around us – help us to understand who we are, why we are, our place in the order of things, and our record in the human condition. They are proof of the fact that we were here. They are also how we try to answer the “big questions” in the world. However, he does acknowledge that the Liberal Arts alone are not sufficient in preparing students for the broader world. Preparation for a professional workforce is a necessary but not sufficient outcome of higher education.  We must ensure that our graduates can fulfill their personal and professional aspirations and needs. Sadly, we cannot get away from addressing the financial model of college – especially as costs for higher education is increasing at such an exponential rate. David also expresses his concern that the discussion about higher education and jobs seems to only be “about jobs.” Our objective is not simply job training – but to prepare students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments, and global citizenship.

Michelle next steps in to discuss her concerns about the “myths” of Liberal Arts – namely that the Liberal Arts are the antithesis of workforce/vocational training and that increased technology means the need of the Liberal Arts. This is the result of the division in this country between colleges and technical schools – that technical schools are where we learned how to do “mechanical thinking/acting” and that higher education was where we “learned to know.” Of course, college is no longer a luxury good, it’s a necessity. Additionally, college costs are becoming more prohibitive. Also, in a knowledge economy or learning society, learning is becoming work and work is becoming learning. A college degree is not enough for the learning economy of our time. We cannot let students assume that a liberal arts degree will “sort itself out” due to buzzwords like “critical thinking” and “creative problem solving.” The pursuit of passions has become a privilege, even a luxury good. Academics has never been good at proving its relevance to industry. As the cost of academics continues to rise, the onus will be put on higher education institutions to prove their relevance and return. Whoever can link non traditional pathways and preparation for the workforce, will fill a great need.

Scott Kinney of Capella University, a for-profit online institution, feels that his institution (and similar) have a role in addressing this issue. You can still receive the benefits of a liberal arts education and come out prepared for the workforce. Scott argues that no matter what happens in Liberal Arts Education, we need to do a much better job of serving non-traditional students who are looking to be job-ready immediately upon graduation. Scott states that 75% of currently enrolled students are “non-traditional” (I guess that makes them “traditional”?). Embracing a non-traditional student needs to be a focus and can be the solution for the issue of resolving Liberal Arts with Industry. Scott argues that we determine outcomes/competencies and then build curriculum around that. He also argues that we have to focus on lowering the price and raising completion rates.  Additionally, we must connect that with job readiness – that they enter the workforce with the necessary skills and competencies. Scott argues that we need to navigate job competencies in conjunction with employers.

Liz (our moderator) asks David if the for-profit model by Scott’s institution is in conflict with the traditional model at Drake. David is surprisingly in agreement with the other members of the panel. He feels that colleges must do a better job at preparing students for careers, we must fit the needs of all of our students, and that we need to work with employers to ensure that they get from their students what they need. Michelle also highlights the challenge of enacting change from within an institution – especially at Colleges and Universities where tradition is so valued. Additionally, Scott highlights that job preparation does not undermine Liberal Arts objectives – you can still hold discussions on novels and works of art. David states that the real issue is “How does learning take place? What is assessed and how is it assessed?”

Ultimately, Liberal Arts is vital to the human experience, but we must find a way to effectively merge it with our modern needs. However, I would argue that it’s dangerous to make education solely about training for jobs. Education is about developing sophisticated thinking and learning skills.

Shmoop’s Learning Guides and Libraries – Great Free Resources for Students and Educators!

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 10.14.26 AMI have written about Shmoop in the past (see my article: “Highlight of Product at the AP Conference Shmoop“). If you are unfamiliar with Shmoop, think of them as an all inclusive website for study-guides, lesson plans, student and teacher resources, and sample standardized test repository (just to name a few). While Shmoop offers a wide variety of paid resources (inexpensive and well worth the investment it in my opinion), they also have ample free resources for both educators and students.

If you are looking for a great review of material, check out their “Free Learning Guides” that cover a myriad of topics from literature to mathematics. They also have a great repository of learning videos under their “Shmoopsterpiece Theater.”

If you are looking to provide guidance to students preparing to leave High School, try the section on “Shmoop Careers,” where students can take a brief aptitude and interest test and receive guidance, or “College 101,” which can help students to select a college or university that will meet their needs, complete a successful application, and get funding.

New material is added regularly, so this is  a site to bookmark!

The Mobile Educator – Best Podcasts for Educators

I don’t listen to a lot of live radio anymore. Instead, I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts. I can find content specific to my area and take it with me on the go. Here is a great list of podcasts for Educators (all for free and in no particular order):

tns.mxboduof.170x170-75Edutopia Webinars – Edutopia presents engaging webinars hosted exclusively for our audience of educators, parents, and administrators throughout the year. These interactive events are free and universally accessible thanks to support from foundations, advertisers, and donors. Each webinar is designed to connect our valued audience with thought leaders in the movement for educational reform, providing opportunities to learn about the latest research, tools, and ideas from experts in the field. Note: Most Edutopia Webinars are large files, approximately an hour long.

Education & Teaching from Yale – Yale Professors and special guests speak on teaching, education and the important role education plays in our lives.

mza_1941855506054357745.170x170-75Great Teachers by Harvard University – Harvard’s Great Teachers invites you to discover our faculty sharing their ideas, very much as they do every day with undergraduates at Harvard College.

Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University – The Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning supports the effective communication of knowledge and the love of learning by faculty inside and outside the classroom, by graduate students in their roles as apprentice scholar/teachers, and by undergraduates as they take their place in the community of scholars.

Google Tools – Google is much more than a search engine. It is a suite of free software and services that can enhance learning, engage students, and make the work of teachers easier. This series of podcasts demonstrates the usefulness and applications for some of Google’s most innovative products including custom search engines, Google earth, iGoogle, Google Calendar and Google Docs. Each podcast will consist of a screencast demonstrating the product in action and suggesting applications for use in the classroom.

mza_3818613649415185422.170x170-75Department of Education Public Seminars at Oxford University – Public seminars from the Department of Education. Oxford has been making a major contribution to the field of education for over 100 years and today this Department has a world class reputation for research, for teacher education and for its Masters and doctoral programmes. Our aim is to provide an intellectually rich but supportive environment in which to study, to research and to teach and, through our work, to contribute to the improvement of all phases of public education, both in the UK and internationally.

Technology Integration by Edutopia – Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.

Harvard EdCast – The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast will mza_3370589433019548374.170x170-75serve as a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.

NPR Education – From NPR: perspectives on great teachers, the science of learning, classroom dynamics and more. The best of Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs.

Who is the Online Student?

For years, online education has been the institution of for-profit educational programs (most famously the University of Phoenix). Now, non-profit institutions are “fighting back” and becoming more invested in online education. Online Degrees has posted an interesting Infographic highlighting the evolution of online education.

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