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Category: Edu Trends

Hot Off the Presses: 2016 Horizon Report

The 2016 Horizon Report for Higher Education was officially released during the annual meeting of the Educause Learning Institute (ELI), which wrapped up yesterday in San Antonio, TX. If you aren’t familiar with  it, the annual Horizon Report for Higher Education, now in its 13th edition, is an ongoing collaborative research project between the New Media Consortium and ELI designed to “identify […]

Two steps forward

Despite a great deal of time, money, and effort spent by foundations, educational institutions, and policy-makers to decrease the number of college students who leave college over the past four years, the opposite has happened. According to recent findings from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the portion of first-time U.S. students who return to college for a second year dropped 1.2 percentage points since 2009.

The 1.2 percentage point dip is substantial, as it applies to a total enrollment of 3.1 million students. That means an additional 37,000 students last fall would still be enrolled under the 2009 persistence rate. The largest decline was among young students who were just out of high school.


The report doesn’t address potential reasons for this drop but the news will certainly give pause to those organizations involved in national college completion efforts such as Project Win-Win, Achieving the Dream, and Complete College America.

You can read more at Inside Higher Ed:


2013 Horizon Report: Higher Education

NMC_Horizon_2013I am a bit late to the game on posting this, but better late than never. A few weeks ago, the New Media Consortium released the 2013 Horizon Report for Higher Education, the yearly prognostications of educational and political thinkers on what educational technologies they see coming “on the horizon.” It is always an interesting read and thankfully the report authors don’t limit the focus to only technology tools but also include emerging practices. Below is a quick bulleted list of this year’s report. However, I advise you to download and read the whole thing. It’s free.

One Year or Less

  • MOOCs
  • Tablet computing

Two to Three Years

  • Games and Gamification
  • Learning Analytics

Four to Five Years

  • 3D Printing
  • Wearable Technology

Key Trends

  1. Openness — concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information–is becoming a value.
  2. Massively open online courses are being widely explored as alternatives and supplements to traditional university courses.
  3. The workforce demands skills from college graduates that are more often acquired from informal learning experiences than in universities.
  4. There is an increasing interest in using new sources of data for personalizing the learning experience and for performance measurement.
  5. The role of educators continues to change due to the vast resources that are accessible to students via the Internet
  6. Education paradigms are shifting to include online learning, hybrid learning, and collaborative models.

Here is the full link to download the 2013 Horizon Report:

VCU Online Learning Summit 2013

VCU Online Learning Summit

If you are in the Richmond area on May 14th, or want to justify a spring trip to our fair capitol city, you may want to consider attending the Online Learning Summit at Virginia Commonwealth University. Seasoned keynoter Gardner Campbell will be headlining. There is no opening band or cover charge. That’s right: it’s free.

If you haven’t seen or heard Gardener speak before, you can get a taste of what you are in for by viewing his spectacular keynote speech at the OpenEd conference in Vancouver, BC last year. I wrote about it here. The link to the recording is here.

More info from the VCU Summit website:

The VCU Online Learning Summit is organized by the Center for Teaching Excellence at Virginia Commonwealth University. This regional conference serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for the discussion and exchange of information on the research, development, and applications of all topics related to teaching and learning online. We invite proposals of substantive, interactive sessions that will raise provocative questions, engage participants in discussion, and foster conversations.

If you want to submit a proposal, you have until Monday, March 1st, 2013. Visit the Online Learning Summit web site for more details:

This course brought to you by…

The Chronicle recently pushed out a number of articles on the current state of the college textbook. One of these articles, The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook, begins by acknowledging the changing nature of the textbook,  as not simply a repackaging of content into a new, digital new format (i.e. e-text), but as a new form of media altogether. Promising. But rather than exploring the potential of the open web and social media  to redefine the college course as something more than content, or mentioning platforms like PLEs, PLNs, and wikis, or tools like RSS aggregators, the article instead focuses on big P publisher’s interpretation of the modern textbook, as so-called “personalized learning experiences,” or a “course in a box”,  forms that essentially add a layer of interactive software overtop the same old content (albeit digital). It’s like tapping out a message in Morse code over the telephone.

“It’s not a textbook, it is an entire course,” says Jean Wisuri, director of distance education at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, describing a product called Course360, from Cengage Learning. “It has activities built right into the textbook itself.” A professor could essentially rely on a Course360 title as the full curriculum in an online course, letting students loose in the system and having them teach themselves. The Course360 titles connect to the university’s learning-management system, linking them directly into an institution’s existing virtual classroom.” Also: It slices! It dices! It juliennes!

Now, rather than simply relying on publishers to produce and polish a significant piece of a course curriculum–the textbook–publishers are now developing and delivering the entire curriculum, as well as creating assignments and giving the tests. When we peered into the future a few years ago and considered the possible outcome of the explosion of web-based technologies, the embrace of social media, and the promise of distance learning, is this what we imagined? The same pedagogy, only with a few bells and whistles added on and an even larger role for publishers?

The most distressing quote from the article that I think  captures the current reality that, for whatever the reason–budget cuts, impossible teaching loads, institutional culture–many post-secondary faculty are abdicating educational control of their courses to commercial vendors and publishers, like Pearson, is this one:

Mr. Finegold emphasizes that this doesn’t mean professors have to choose books from Pearson. But in the courses for which professors do adopt Pearson textbooks, that will represent an unusually deep role for a publisher—helping to build the virtual classroom, the curriculum, and the course materials. And that raises the question of why students need the university at all, if the publisher is the one doing much of the teaching. <emphasis mine>

I’m afraid Pearson already knows the answer to that question.

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