Tag Archives: Higher Education

Even America’s Top Students are Ill-Prepared for College

Elaine Tuttle

Elaine Tuttle

I have had the privilege of working for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program for 7 years and have never been more amazed by the level of brilliance and ingenuity amongst America’s Youth.  In her piece at the Chronicle of Higher Ed, their Executive Director, Elaine Tuttle Hansen, highlights the fact that it is not only America’s low achieving students that are struggling to acquire core skills necessary for success in college, but our top students as well.

She notes that: “What’s changed is that today, college readiness is more often a hot topic for educators and policy makers focused on at-risk students.” This focus, for laudable reasons, on at risk children has largely left gifted and advanced students out in the cold. This is especially problematic for bright children in disadvantaged homes.

“…the focus on low­-achieving students in public schools has disproportionately left more smart minority and low-income kids behind, creating a well-documented ‘excellence gap.'”

Elaine highlights programs, like CTY, help to engage and promote gifted youngsters  thus giving them a leg up when it comes to college life.

“Take David, a college student I heard from recently, who loved the summer program he took at the Center for Talented Youth a few years ago. But it wasn’t enough to save him from being so bored in school that he “coasted” through elementary, middle, and high school and his first two years of college. ‘By the time I found academic work that challenged me, … I realized my work ethic and study skills were atrocious, in large part, I believe, because I had never been forced to use them,’ he said. ‘I would like to know the person I would have become had I been engaged as a young learner.'”

Unfortunately, gifted summer programs (even those with generous outreach and scholarship programs) remain out of reach for many underprivileged children. To read Elaine’s argument, see her article in the Higher Ed Chronicle as well as her interview on NPR’s “Tell Me More”.

Higher Education – Not What it Used to Be

The Economist looks at Higher Education in American and examines whether the cost is truly ‘worth it’ for most American students now pursuing 4-year degrees.

Higher Education – Not What it Used to Be

Using Free Educational Resources to Boost or Change Careers

I was recently visiting with a friend of mine who was expressing dissatisfaction in her career and was telling me about her new plan to do a complete career shift. Now, we are in our 30s, well educated, and the thought of going back to school (and adding to already crippling loan debt) can be rather daunting. Instead, she told me that she was planning to take some free classes via iTunes U and MIT OpenCourseware. I had never even considered the potential of these courses for career changes – especially for those who already have college and graduate degrees. However, the opportunities for those who wish to do their own professional development in field as well as broadening their own opportunities are truly boundless.

There are many resources out there, the most famous of course being iTunes U. With access to an iOS device or simply a computer with iTunes (free software), anyone can listen in (audit) classes on a variety of topics: history, philosophy, computer programming, marketing, business, and more. These are not cheap or hapless classes – rather, they’re from world famous institutions like Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford (to name a limited few). Heck, if you’re interested in the Classical World, you can listen to my own educational podcasts (from my years at TCU).

One of the most famous recent announcements has been the Harvard-MIT EdX initiative. Harvard and MIT have come together to offer online course enrollment for a grade (but no degree) for those interested. So, ‘regular joes’ can enroll in some of the most prestigious university courses for no cost and even receive a grade (although no credit).

So while you may not get a Harvard Degree, these courses are an excellent way for adults to hone their own professional skills, indulge a hobby or interest, or even give you the prominent background understanding to change careers!

Open Yale Courses on iTunes U

Today I would like to highlight Open Yale Courses on iTunes U. iTunes U is a collection of academic resourcImagees for both secondary and post-secondary schools around the world. The Open Yale Courses includes introductory classes on subjects from philosophy to astronomy. All courses are free, downloadable, and playable on your Mac or PC via iTunes or on your iOS device.

Students With iPads Out-Perform their Peers on Tests

With the introduction of the iPad, educators and administrators have been eager to see its potential for application in the realm of education and academics. Abilene Christian University has pioneered an aggressive mobile technology program in higher education (a first of its kind) for the past three years and is about to publish some rather surprising and positive results.

Namely, their findings that in undergraduate study, researchers state:

students who annotated text on their iPads scored 25% higher on questions regarding information transfer than their paper-based peers. In a separate project covering iPad usage patterns, two researchers studying ACU’s first all-digital class discovered that the iPad promotes “learning moments” and helps students make more efficient use of their time. Grad students working in an online program reported a 95% satisfaction rate for online iPad-based coursework. As far as the ACU studies are concerned, the iPad in education is a success story.

To learn more about the study, see the article TUAW and AppAdvice.

15 Opportunities for Free Online Education

A reader just forwarded me an interesting article entitled “15 Inspiring Examples of Free Online Education” by OnlineCollege.org. They list a number of gems ranging from online open academies, free resources, and courses offered by world-renowned institutions. They are geared towards beginners, early learners, returning students, and advanced levels of education:

  1. Khan Academy
  2. MIT Open Courseware
  3. Berkeley Webcast
  4. Tufts Open Courseware
  5. Open Courseware Consortium
  6. Academic Earth
  7. Textbook Revolution
  8. Project Gutenberg
  9. iTunes U
  10. The Open University
  11. Watch, Know, Learn
  12. The University of the People
  13. TED
  14. Wikiversity (I’m trying to find the time to be a contributed here)
  15. Instructables

You can find some wonderful information on nearly any topic, free books, supplements for student learning, and more!

The Higher Education Bubble

Today, The Daily Infographic has published information about the new economic bubble – students loans. It highlights the skyrocketing cost of higher education, the replacement of grants/scholarships with student loans, and the decline in value of a college education. It’s a very interesting and disturbing read.