Progressive strategies for modern learning
Winds of Change
Education technology reshaping the landscape
Through the Looking Glass Seeing through nontraditional studentsâ€™ POV
The Tao of Connectivity Completing the student link
Global Harvest Overcoming the daunting task of international student recruiting
Exploring the World of Higher Education UniversityOutlook.com
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6 The Hype, the Backlash and the Future of MOOCs By Dr. Anthony G. Picciano Whether the MOOC phenomenon is considered evolutionary or revolutionary, it has garnered much attention from both proponents and critics alike.
DIY or ISS for Best ROI
By Dr. Keith Hampson
Digital course design and development is taking a bold new direction, but existing and limited resources must be maximized to find the best approach.
10 International Students Ripe for the Picking
52 Through the Nontraditional Looking Glass
By Jonathan Shores
By Angela Dugan
Recruiting international students can be a daunting task, but the opportunities are there for the taking with a bit of strategic planning and diversification.
There a few methods higher education institutions can adopt to not only better tap into the nontraditional learner market, but facilitate students’ academic success.
14 Surveying the MOOC Landscape
56 Three Big Web Trends for Higher Education in 2014
By Lance Merker
niversity and college leaders must U keep current technological changes and communication styles in mind when adapting to recruiting nontraditional students and supporting today’s web users.
By Steve Adams
A new study provides a comprehensive view of MOOCs and a frank strategic analysis of higher education administrator and faculty motivations.
18 You Don’t Have to Call Them Customers
By Shaul Kuper
Treating nontraditional students as customers and discovering ways to efficiently meet their unique demands allow colleges and universities to create a competitive edge.
28 The Zen of Rapid Response
By Lisa Cynamon Mayers
Timely responses and attentive customer service have been found to be the keys in competing for the recruitment of coveted international student prospects.
34 Top Changes We’ll See in Higher Education During the Next Five Years
By Brjden Crewe
Technology has altered the way higher
education can be achieved, and the winds of change will continue to reshape the landscape.
46 From a Whisper to a Shout
By Dr. Brenda K. Harms
The changing higher education landscape is being reformed rapidly and profoundly, with envelope-pushing nontraditional programs leading the charge.
60 Eureka … There’s Gold in Your Own Backyard!
By Dave Jarrat
Institutions are increasingly centralizing strategic decision-making related to online programs in their continuing education, professional studies and post-traditional divisions.
62 Plugging in to Social Media in the Classroom
By Pamela Rossow
As the shift from mass media to social media continues to grow and play a significant role in classrooms, instructors face the challenge of connecting with adult learners.
egular Features/Columns R 4 Letter from the Editor 20 Newsmakers 22 Conference Coverage 38 Book Review 42 From Across the Pond 64 Contributors 66 Calendar of Events
Letter From the Editor
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” - Chief Seattle
February 2014 | 4
Connectivity is a concept that can be viewed and construed in many ways, forms and levels. And while Chief Seattle’s sentiments predate the “web” as we know it by nearly a couple hundred years, his message is just as relevant: All things are connected, and the “Tao,” or path to connectivity, is as important as the actual plugging in. Sure, I can plug in to whatever device is flickering in front of me and be immediately connected to my colleagues and co-workers 1,600 miles and 70 degrees Fahrenheit away. But as their voices crackle over my laptop speakers, the real connection I feel, that keeps me grounded enough to cope with whatever nonsense comes my way, is the 55 pounds of four-legged fur that’s curled up and snoring across my bare feet under the desk. It’s the interpersonal connection, I suppose, that makes all the technoadvances in our world of any real value. This can be particularly true in the higher education sector.
In this issue of University Outlook, we explore how some of the personal “soft skills” are crucial in connecting with students from around the world in ways that simply plugging in is not. Whether in the realms of recruiting, marketing, online courses, or focusing on the retention of students and ensuring the successful completion of their academic programs, nothing can surpass the importance of making students feel connected in a human way, rather than being just another number or body in a seat.
Steve Adams Editor in Chief
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The Hype, the Backlash and the Future of MOOCs Is the development of the MOOC phenomenon evolutionary or revolutionary? By Dr. Anthony G. Picciano, City University of New York
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) captured the imagination of higher education when they came on the scene five years ago, but now they have been the focus of a good deal of publicity questioning their viability. Sebastian Thrun, Founder of Udacity, opened up the floodgates for criticism in an interview with Fast Company, where he was quoted as saying that he was throwing in the towel and that “we [Udacity] have a lousy product.” While popular media have followed Thrun’s proclamation with “I told you so” articles, it is too early to predict the end is near for MOOCs. The purpose of this article is to review the rise and fall of MOOC technology and speculate on its future.
Overhyped? Our society has evolved so that media are used to influence our activity like never before. Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” is well understood and in play. Mass media technologies, such as television, the Internet and social networks, have added significantly to this trend. History tells us technology solutions and products have frequently been hyped by companies and their investors.
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At its extreme, the term “vaporware,” coined in the 1980s, was applied to technology products that were all hype and really did not exist or at least did not exist in the form advertised. Products like the Apple Lisa, Windows Vista Operating System, Microsoft Zune and Linden Labs Second Life are examples of technologies that never lived up to their promotion.
A legitimate question is why did MOOCs attract so much attention?
Unfortunately, MOOCs have been overhyped by the media as the new “thing” that was going to transform education. The hype may have reached its zenith when New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote about MOOCs as the “revolution” that has hit American higher education. It would have been impossible for MOOC providers to live up to the hype, and they are now taking a fall and coming down to reality.
Evolution or revolution? MOOCs are a part of the online learning evolution that has been going on for decades. The concept of digital learning predates the Internet and the World Wide Web. Instructional software packages designed to be used on large mainframe computers and distributed via digital communication technologies have been in existence since the 1960s. Computerassisted instructional programs (CAI), using software such as PLATO developed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, were developed and delivered over closed or private networks.
In the 1980s, Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff at the New Jersey Institute of Technology started experimenting with virtual learning that went beyond programmed instruction and allowed for interactivity among students and faculty. These virtual systems planted the seeds for one of the most significant developments in delivering instruction in the 20th century and developed into what many referred to initially as the asynchronous learning network (ALN) and later as online learning.
Ralph Gomory, President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, promoted the ALN concept in the early 1990s by establishing the Learning Outside the Classroom and later the Anytime, Anyplace Learning programs for which the first grants were awarded in 1992. His vision was that students could learn in their homes, places of business or just about anywhere they could connect to a digital network. The arrival of the Internet greatly accelerated interest in online learning and allowed it to proliferate throughout education. By the time MOOCs came on the scene, online learning was being offered by a majority of American colleges and universities with millions of students enrolling in courses every year. A significant amount of research has been published by the Department of Education on the pedagogical practice we call online learning and its progeny, blended learning. Dozens of journals, professional organizations and conferences attracting tens of thousands of participants emerged well before the MOOC phenomenon. A legitimate question is why did MOOCs attract so much attention?
Scale, funding and new players The major interest in MOOC technology was not its pedagogical benefits but its scale. Without a doubt, courses that were enrolling hundreds of thousands of students deserved attention. In addition, some big name institutions such as Stanford University, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology became associated with the MOOC phenomenon. MOOCs were glamorized by their founders at Udacity, Coursera and edX as the technological revolutions that would indeed change higher education. As a result, the media bought into their hype and went on a frenzy. Significant investments of capital were made mostly by private investors
February 2014 | 8
and venture philanthropies into MOOC companies. These investors likewise fueled the hype of MOOC technology. Lastly, education policymakers and university trustees took notice and thought they found a solution to their education funding woes and pushed for major new MOOC initiatives in places such as San Jose State University and the University of Virginia.
Faculty, public higher education and experts weigh in As the MOOC phenomenon took off, a closer examination at the pedagogy of this technology was made by faculty and instructional technologists, many of whom were experienced online learning developers for public institutions in Maryland, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts. Upon examination, the high student dropout rates of 90 percent in MOOC courses could not be easily explained away. The CAI style of many early MOOCs based on glorified “read, watch, listen and repeat” course materials was questioned by experienced online learning developers who relied more on socially constructed pedagogical approaches that emphasized extensive interaction among students and faculty. The high-profile MOOC initiative at California’s San Jose State University and a preliminary evaluation showing relatively poor results of its materials also gave much pause to the MOOC movement. Lastly, but perhaps most significant, was a rejection by educational leaders and faculty of the notion that colleges would jump at the chance to use course materials developed by the faculty at Ivy League and other highly selective universities. To the contrary, faculty and administrators saw this as elitist and arrogant on the part of MOOC providers.
At a meeting of MOOC developers sponsored by MIT and Harvard University, Bill Bowen, former President of Princeton University, reminded the audience that they occupied a privileged position: “ They occupied ‘really rarefied air’ in deciding how they might want to use online education. But professors who are serious about reaching the masses online, he said, will have to think about innovation and design with a broader, more diverse audience in mind … I would humbly suggest that the kinds of assessment and standards and all the rest that I’m sure are appropriate at MIT and Harvard and so forth,” Mr. Bowen said, “have very little relevance for the large parts of American higher education, particularly in the state systems, that are under genuine siege.” (Kolowich, March 4, 2013) Faculty at San Jose State University who were asked to pilot an edX MOOC entitled JusticeX stated in an open letter to Michael Sandel, the professor at Harvard University who had developed the course, that it undermines their university and: “ Professors who care about public education should not produce products that will replace professors, dismantle departments and provide a diminished education for students in public universities.” The “elitism” label resounded among many educators and has been used by critics to depict MOOCs as the technology for the masses while the colleges of the privileged will continue to be taught in modest-sized classes led by faculty.
The major interest in MOOC technology was not its pedagogical benefits but its scale.
Speculating about the future is always a risk; however, it is desirable for trying to understand what MOOCs can contribute for the betterment of education. Without a doubt, MOOCs have presented possibilities of scale that need to be evaluated and considered by faculty, administrators and policymakers. MOOC providers also have capital and resources that can be put to good use if invested wisely. First, the founders of MOOC companies and their investors need to tone down their own hype and stop trying to sell their products as if they will solve all of educationâ€™s problems. For example, should the MOOC approach really be designed for students who have remediation and other learning needs and who lack the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic? Daphne Kollner, Founder of Coursera, recently commented at the Sloan Consortium Annual Conference that such students would probably be better served by face-toface instruction. Second, with substantial financial resources at their disposal, MOOC companies should develop more pedagogically sound course materials that can be used in blended online formats rather than fully online formats. In fact, the future of MOOCs might indeed lie with blended learning that allows for the meaningful involvement of faculty. To do so, they may even have to jettison the MOOC brand because their final products may not be massive in terms of hundreds of thousands of student enrollments and may not be open or free. Rather than course providers and developers, they might rebrand themselves more as providers of high-quality content, giving faculty the option as to how to best use their materials.
companies that have gone bankrupt. As some point, the initial capital will run out, and these companies need to generate revenue. It is likely that some will succeed, but some will not. This is a major conundrum for MOOC developers and distinguishes them from faculty and instructional design competitors at colleges who develop their own online courses and materials on modest budgets primarily for pedagogical reasons and not with the intent to turn a profit. It might be that MOOC providers can concentrate on developing and providing courseware targeted for certain disciplines and subject matter that can benefit from enriched content. It might be that they can concentrate on specific student populations such as the adult and continuing education market. It might be that MOOCs can be used as recruitment tools for students in colleges or for employees in private industry, especially those interested in serving and working with global populations. There are a number of possibilities, but the MOOC developers know their resources best and should study their markets carefully to determine where they can provide a valuable service or product. If they nurture these markets and deliver the best products they can, they will secure their future.
Third, as private enterprises, MOOC developers need to figure out a way to return their investments and make a profit. The past 50 years of instructional software providers are littered with hundreds of
International Students Ripe for the Picking Strategic planning and diversification can lead to growth opportunities for higher education institutions By Jonathan Shores, PlattForm
Since 2000, growth among international students attending college has increased more than 80 percent, jumping from 2 million to just over 3.6 million students. With almost 160 of the worldâ€™s top 400 schools within its borders, the United States is still the No. 1 educational destination for students. In fact, the United States accounts for 20 percent of all international enrollments; with the United Kingdom second at 11 percent; followed by Australia with 8 percent; and China, France and Germany rounding out the top six countries with 7 percent each. At 29 percent, China remains the largest single source of international enrollments in the United States. Coupled with the fact that, on average, 20 percent of Chinese students want to study outside of their home country each year, China will not lose its reign as being the largest single source of international enrollments any time soon. While Chinaâ€™s economic prowess has
February 2014 | 10
been growing in stature over the last several years, the country only boasts two of the top 400 universities worldwide. India, the second closest to China, produces about 12 percent of international student enrollments, followed by South Korea at 9 percent. A country that saw one of the largest increases of students enrolling internationally was Turkey with a fiveyear increase of 69 percent. Turkey has quite a bit of potential in terms of student growth population as their middle class population continues to expand. While the United States boasts the largest total headcount of international students, its total population of international students only accounts for about 4 percent of overall college enrollments. The United Kingdomâ€™s international student population accounts for 16.8 percent of total enrollments, while Australiaâ€™s total international enrollment is 23.8 percent of their student body.
Developing a strategy aimed at the recruitment of international students can be daunting.
In many regards, the United States is seen as being about 10 years behind Australia and the United Kingdom in terms of their international student recruitment. This is due, in part, to the negative connotation working with agents to help in the procurement of international students has held in the past. Currently only about a fourth of U.S. institutions utilize the services of agents.
Recent findings from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) illustrate an increase in international student enrollment at institutions that follow the Associationâ€™s Principles of Good Practice with regard to working with agents. The United States does possess several key strengths in its current recruitment of international students. First, the number of international students in the United States jumped more than 7 percent this past year to a record 819,644 students. Second, the United States is consistently rated as a top preferred destination of students, many times by an overwhelming majority. Some surveys report the United States to be among the top 70 percent
February 2014 | 12
of choices among students. Further, the United States has a large capacity for vast amounts of students, with more than 3,000 accredited institutions. Despite the strengths, the United States does have a few weaknesses it needs to address. The United States is heavily dependent on three countries for its enrollment. As mentioned earlier, China, India and South Korea account for almost 50 percent of international student enrollments in the United States. In addition, there are several other areas of opportunity that many institutions should consider, if they have not already. The first opportunity involves offering online courses as a preparation for international students who may want to study abroad. These courses could be designed to introduce students from other countries to the learning system of the United States and open the door for continued study should they enjoy their experience and decide to enroll on a full-time basis. Many international students have to prove English proficiency through the TOEFL exam. A second idea would be to offer a prep course for the TOEFL, and introduce your institution to the growing international population through the prep course. Both of these opportunities would allow prospective international students to get a glimpse of your institution before they decided to go elsewhere.
While offering these students a chance to engage with the learning system of the United States, it is important to also focus upon delivering degree programs that students are seeking. If an institution wants to develop a marketing strategy aimed at recruiting more international students, it must understand current trends of what international students want to study. While it is important to think on the macro level and the fact that business (22 percent) is often the most requested degree program, institutions should also keep in mind that science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs (35 percent) will continue to dominate the growth projections. On the other hand, an alternative, more granular approach would be to adapt a marketing strategy for each respective country that requires a microview specific to those who are either key players in international enrollment or those who are becoming emerging forces.
intensive English, by far the country with the most interest in that academic program. Developing a strategy aimed at the recruitment of international students can be daunting, and there are many different variables that an institution should consider. Hopefully, though, it is apparent that the international market is ripe and ready for further engagement from institutions in the United States. Among many other variables, international students bring diversity to an institution and afford U.S. students the opportunity to view our global society in ways that may otherwise not be possible. Consider if your institution is ready to engage these students and respond with sound research and a determination to help educate those who have a willingness to learn!
For instance, Canadian students are more interested in business (15.8 percent) and health fields (15 percent), while students in India are interested in engineering (35.6 percent) and math and computer science (23.1 percent). Furthermore, students from China prefer business (29 percent), whereas students from Iran are more interested in engineering (55 percent). Interestingly, in Saudi Arabia, 27 percent of students had an interest in studying
Surveying the MOOC Landscape An analysis of administrator and faculty motivations By Steve Adams, University Outlook
The relatively fresh landscape of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has been wrought with potholes and pitfalls, praise and possibilities, and as many opinions regarding their value and efficacy as there are hairs on Duck Dynasty’s chins. Whether savior or skunk, gold or garbage, one cannot deny that the topic of MOOCs has been at the educational forefront of late, creating a maelstrom of discourse and debate. Only time will tell what the MOOC legacy ultimately will be, but a pair of organizations have joined forces and collaborated on a recent research project to evaluate the strategic decision-making process of higher education institutions involved in these courses, from the perspectives of both the faculty who teach them and the senior leaders who administrate them. “To MOOC or not to MOOC: Strategic lessons from the pioneers” is a survey project created and implemented by the American Council on Education (ACE) and InsideTrack, an organization dedicated to improving outcomes in higher education
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that regularly advises institutional leaders on ways to improve student access and success. Designed to support institutional leaders considering the development of MOOCs, the survey data aim to help the higher education community understand more about MOOCs and the ways in which they are being integrated within traditional institutions, according to ACE and InsideTrack. “MOOCs have done much to capture our attention and curiosity and have fostered a great deal of positive discussion and debate,” said Cathy Sandeen, Vice President of Education Attainment and Innovation at ACE. “ACE and InsideTrack are pleased to be able to contribute to the conversation from an evidence-based perspective.” “To MOOC or not to MOOC is a question many institutional leaders are asking right now,” said Dave Jarrat, Vice President of Marketing at InsideTrack. “Our goal is to support them in making more informed decisions by arming them with insights gathered from peers who have already travelled the MOOC road.”
Thirty-minute telephone interviews were conducted with senior administrator decision-makers leading their institutions’ MOOC strategies, including chancellors, presidents, provosts, vice provosts and vice presidents. These leaders represented nine institutions (four public and five private) across six states (California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas), ranging in student populations from approximately 3,000 to 50,000. On the faculty side, the survey was the largest conducted to-date exclusively of faculty involved in teaching MOOCs, and it was sent to 446 faculty members, of which 108 (24 percent) responded. Respondents included both first-time and experienced faculty teaching MOOCs at public and private universities of various sizes throughout the country on a variety of MOOC platforms, including Canvas Networks, Coursera, edX, Udacity and homegrown systems.
considerations for pursuing MOOCs. Both groups considered sharing knowledge more broadly and advancing pedagogical development to be key motivations, while neither group saw MOOCs as an immediate road to generating revenue or cutting costs. Additionally, both administrators and faculty felt MOOCs were a viable way to enhance the oncampus experience while not replacing it, and that there would be significant investment involved in pursuing MOOCs, with simultaneous limitations in measuring the returns.
One of the surprising highlights unveiled by the study is how aligned both administrators and faculty are on the motivations and
Below are some of the questions and results excerpted from the study.
Administrators “What were the original motivations behind your MOOC strategy?” • Share knowledge and showcase faculty/research/institution to a global audience. • Engage faculty in pedagogy improvement and content development to apply in existing teaching modalities. • Develop infrastructure – processes and expertise, not necessarily technology – to support continuing evolution of the institution. • Prepare students to succeed in creditbearing courses. • Learn how to personalize educational experience at scale. • Raise awareness and encourage young people to explore overlooked fields and professions. • Keep alumni connected to the institution through lifelong learning opportunities. • Provide access to the best professors in the world. “How have your motivations evolved after some experience with MOOCs?” • Faculty enthusiasm and student response is more positive than expected, encouraging the acceleration of MOOC activity. • The volume of insights is greater than expected, and more attention is being paid to how best to leverage all of the data being collected. • MOOCs are serving as a low-risk way to test new ideas, and we are looking more closely at how to design MOOCs specifically to maximize research and innovation value to enhance the traditional residential experience. • We are exploring how MOOCs can be used to keep incoming students engaged prior to starting. • MOOCs can be used as a way to keep faculty engaged in discussions about the long-term strategy of the institution.
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•E xperimenting with MOOCs beyond STEM fields has yielded promising results in the humanities. “How are you measuring the success of your MOOC strategy?” •S atisfaction and engagement level of students and faculty. •V alue of insights generated to enhance credit-bearing courses. •R ate of course and content development, progress toward establishing processes, and infrastructure to support faculty. •C omparing success in credit-bearing courses between those who took a remedial/preparatory MOOC and those who did not. •G rowth in overall inquiries and enrollment. “What lessons and best practices have emerged from your experience with MOOCs?” •E ngage faculty early and work closely on course selection, content creation and delivery. •D o not focus on revenue generation; produce high-quality courses first and allow for experimentation – expect to invest. • I nvest in the infrastructure – content production, course design, assessment and feedback mechanisms, etc. – to support faculty. •O ptimize content for the MOOC platform and then repurpose it for the traditional classroom. •D evelop a clear process for faculty to propose courses that is fair and widely representative. •A ssess how you can leverage data collected from MOOC students in overall efforts to predict student success. •L everage existing knowledge and infrastructure from online, professional and/or continuing education units.
“What are your plans to expand the use of MOOCs?” •M OOCs will get folded into the overall educational experience, and the lines between ground, online, hybrid, MOOC, flipped, etc., will become increasingly blurred. •W e will expand their use of MOOCs for specific internal purposes, such as preparing students for specific courses and generating content for use in a flipped classroom. •W e will move MOOCs in-house, off of third-party platforms. •S ome focus will shift to developing MOOCs for executive, continuing and graduate education. “What advice would you give to other senior leaders considering a MOOC strategy?” •E ngage faculty and other stakeholders in discussions about why to pursue MOOCs; be intentional in your pursuit. •R einforce the value and relevance of your existing face-to-face and online offerings; focus on how MOOCs can enhance these. •P rovide adequate support to develop high-quality MOOCs and avoid overburdening faculty. •D on’t overreach, overhype or set unrealistic expectations about what this medium can accomplish. •D on’t succumb to pressure from the board, the technophiles or the Luddites – focus on your university’s future role in higher education. •E mpower faculty who support the concept to engage their colleagues and dialog peer to peer. •K eep an open mind and foster an environment of experimentation.
Surveying the MOOC Landscape Faculty “What was your original motivation for teaching a MOOC?” • Expand access to higher education and the reach of my institution. • Internationalize/globalize the student makeup of my class. • Innovate/experiment/satisfy curiosity. • Develop professionally/improve pedagogy. • Fulfill a mission/serve the profession. • Respond to an invitation, request, mandate. • Recruit students to my field. • Help reduce costs/increase options for students. • Promote/market/brand my institution. • Prove that my discipline can be taught online/in MOOC format. • Build the foundation for generating revenue down the road. “Now that you have taught a MOOC, how has your motivation evolved?” • Refining content, pedagogy, gamification techniques, cross-cultural engagement and learning assessment. • Designing courses that only work in a large/global/online format. • Tailoring curriculum to the needs of working adults, international audiences without higher education access and other groups. • Enhancing the campus experience by flipping classrooms, gamifying tutoring and integrating asynchronous discussions. • Reimagining the roles of professors and graduate assistants. • Leveraging a global collective of individuals interested in the same subject.
“Based on your experience, what advice would you have for a faculty colleague preparing to teach his/her first MOOC?” •G et experience with flipped classrooms, online teaching and others’ MOOCs before doing your own. •D on’t try to design or teach like you’re in a classroom. •S tart simple and then layer on the bells and whistles. •E nlist a support team and empower them. •P rioritize your ideas for engaging students – you can’t do them all. •B eware of copyright infringement – your materials must comply. •F inish developing all of the materials before you start the course. •D on’t just test the technology; practice your delivery – over and over. •B e prepared for very different students with different motivations. •B e prepared to fail, learn and iterate – it won’t go 100 percent right. •B e prepared to learn that your teaching style needs work. “What would you say is the primary motivation of your institution in offering MOOCs?” •W anting to market the university, enhance the brand and/or recruit new students. •W anting to avoid being left behind or missing out on a lucrative opportunity. • Some acknowledged other motivations: o Expanding access o Reducing costs o Eliminating course bottlenecks oE xperimenting with new content, pedagogies and technologies oP reparing students for creditbearing courses o I ncreasing the impact of university research
“Based on your experience, what advice would you have for the senior administration at your institution relative to MOOCs?”
•V iew MOOCs as an alternative to classroom education. •E xpect MOOCs to generate revenue or save money. •U nderestimate the amount of effort involved in design or delivery. •T hink you can create a solid MOOC without major investment. •R ush to monetize MOOCs or offer credit for them to support MOOCs long-term.
•T reat MOOCs as part of the “tool kit” to fulfill your mission. •D iscuss, define and communicate your MOOC strategy broadly. •S et clear priorities and incentives for those responsible for MOOCs. • I nvest in the infrastructure and resources (both technology and skills). •C reate an environment where failure and learning are expected.
To see the complete ACE/InsideTrack study “To MOOC or not to MOOC: Strategic lessons from the pioneers,” please go to: ACENet.edu/NewsRoom/Documents/ACE-InsideTrack-MOOCStrategy-Motivations-Study.pdf.
You Don’t Have to Call Them Customers But you do have to treat them that way By Shaul Kuper, Destiny Solutions
Are students customers? That’s a question certain to start an argument in any faculty lounge. Regardless of the answer, the fact is that students – especially nontraditional students – see themselves as customers. Destiny Solutions recently wrote a report analyzing what students want from a higher education provider. We found that students have high expectations for the service they receive before, during and after enrollment. Already savvy shoppers, today’s nontraditional students have the same service expectations when selecting a higher education institution as they do when making any other major purchase. But as institutions try to do more to meet these expectations, they require more staff. As a result, administrative staff productivity – defined as the number of staff per student – has declined between 23 and 53 percent in the last two decades, according to a report from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Yet as student expectations are rising, colleges and universities are looking to trim budgets and increase efficiency. Public universities have recently experienced severe budgeting problems due to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds drying up in 2012. Private universities are also having difficulties as their expenditures have increased more rapidly than their revenues.
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In light of all this, some might ask why it matters what students want, considering that for a long time students came to the institution and did as they were told. But today, there are thousands of institutions for students to choose from, including options online, abroad or for free. There are so many institutions, programs and courses that if students feel their needs and wants are not met, they will simply take their enrollment elsewhere. To get an edge over the competition, colleges and universities must find a way to efficiently meet student demands. The difficulty is that today’s student body is far from homogeneous, and trying to find one thing that will please everyone is nearly impossible, especially when it comes to nontraditional students.
To get an edge over the competition, colleges and universities must find a way to efficiently meet student demands. The answer to this riddle is surprisingly simple. You need to get to know your students (and prospective students) and communicate with them as individuals. What does this entail? •K eep track of whom you are serving. By keeping complete customer profiles with accurate data, institutions stand to increase revenue by 66 percent. •S peak directly to the student. A highly targeted email drives 18 times more revenue than a widely sent email blast. •A nswer their questions. Twentyseven percent of inquiries made to institutions never receive a response. •T ake customer relationship management seriously. By doing so, institutions stand to decrease the cost of sales by 35 percent while also increasing customer satisfaction by 20 percent.
Colleges and universities have been hesitant to call their students customers and have held out on implementing customer-centric business practices. There was a time when this made a lot of sense. With only one or two local institutions, prospective students were left with little choice as to where to attend. And with most students attending one institution for two or four years prior to moving on, the school had a captive audience. As a result, basic business rules could safely be ignored, since most students wouldn’t come back after graduation anyway. But education today has become a lifelong pursuit, and students are coming back to school time and time again to update skills and to learn new processes, technologies and ideas.
For the first time, higher education institutions have the opportunity to retain the customer for a lifetime and to build real brand loyalty as an education provider, not just nostalgia as an alma mater. So, call it customer service or call it something else. Either way, colleges and universities – the market leaders at least – are starting to adopt it. Institutions that understand their students and provide them with rapid and personalized service stand to increase enrollments, improve retention and reimagine market potential.
Newsmakers Study shows concealed handguns not welcome on college campuses The vast majority of students at 15 Midwestern colleges and universities do not want concealed handguns on their campuses. A study from Ball State University, “Student Perceptions and Practices Regarding Carrying Concealed Handguns on University Campuses,” found that 78 percent of students in the Midwest oppose allowing concealed handguns on campuses and would not obtain a permit to carry one if it were made legal.
The study surveyed 1,649 undergraduate college students and was recently published in the Journal of American College Health.
“The issue of allowing people to carry concealed weapons at universities and colleges around the U.S. has been raised several times in recent years,” he said. “This is in spite of the fact that almost four of every five students are not in favor of allowing guns on campus.” Khubchandani pointed out gun violence is largely attributed to the extensive presence of firearms across the country. Firearm possession has repeatedly been linked to increased risks of violent death. For
individuals with access to firearms, the risk of suicide increases 17 fold. The study also found:
“Firearm morbidity and mortality are major public health problems that significantly impact our society,” said study co-author Jagdish Khubchandani, a member of Ball State’s Global Health Institute and a community health education professor in the university’s Department of Physiology and Health Science.
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• About 16 percent of undergraduate students own a firearm, and 20 percent witnessed a crime on their campus that involved firearms. • About 79 percent of students would not feel safe if faculty, students and visitors carried concealed firearms on campus.
• About 66 percent did not feel carrying a firearm would make them less likely to be troubled by others. • Half did not know whether their university had a policy regarding firearms on campus. • Most students believed that allowing the concealed carry of firearms would increase the rate of fatal suicides and homicides on campus. “The study also found that students who perceived there to be advantages to carrying concealed handguns on campus were significantly more likely to be males, firearm owners, victims of crime on or off campus, and binge drinkers,” Khubchandani said. “However, the majority of women said there were more disadvantages to carrying handguns on campus. These were women who did not own firearms and did not have a firearm in the home growing up.” The study is part of a series conducted by Khubchandani examining firearm violence in the United States. In 2009 he found the majority of campus police chiefs supported the idea of informing students and parents about a “no firearms” on campus policy, expelling students who brought firearms on campus, and creating rigid policies and effective practices to reduce firearm violence and mass shootings on campuses. For more information, contact Jagdish Khubchandani at JKhubchandan@BSU.edu or 765.285.8345.
Regent Education releases fully automated student verification solution Regent Education has launched Regent Review, the industry’s first fully automated student verification solution. Regent Review leverages the advanced technology of Regent’s SNAP and Regent 8 solutions to fully automate student verification and C-code processing. The robust capabilities of Review help schools reduce the time needed to perform verification, processing costs and compliance risk, all while improving the student experience. Regent Review fully automates the collection of verification documents, automates C-code processing, task assignments and workflows. Students and staff will experience real-time features such as immediate acknowledgement of receipt of documents and updates on the progression of verification. This automation streamlines the entire administrative process for schools and the students they serve. “Efficient management of the verification process is critical to an institution’s ability to control costs, maintain compliance and deliver exceptional service to its students,” said Randy Jones, CEO of Regent. “Review takes verification processing to the next level by providing advanced automation for both administrators and students – and takes a step that no other product has taken with the inclusion of tax transcript automation. We are pleased to be continuing our mission of delivering products that resolve processing, compliance and service issues through advanced technology.”
The verification process has become more challenging due to the increased regulatory complexity and the annual policy changes that impact processing rules. Verification is a leading cause of compliance audits and findings, representing a key risk to higher education institutions. Review resolves these challenges by offering the industry’s most robust solution for verification processing. Key features that improve compliance include: • A complete audit trail that includes all submitted documents, student communications and processing history. • The leveraging of the proven and highly advanced ISIR processing features of Regent 8. • Approved electronic signature capabilities. • Single sign-on options to prevent fraud.
• Real-time dashboards for administrators. • Integration with student information systems. • Advanced task management features to maximize staff resources. • Sophisticated reporting capabilities. “Our customers are highly focused on the student experience and recognize the verification process as an area of opportunity to improve service levels,” said Shaun Poulton, Regent’s Chief Technology Officer. “We are excited to help schools improve efficiency and compliance while also taking service to the next level.” For more information, contact Lesley Phelps at Lesley.Phelps@RegentEducation.com or call 509.332.0882.
The escalating cost of a college education and reduced budgets are making efficiency critical to an institution’s competitiveness. Review is increasing the efficiency of this typically labor-intensive process through automation and advanced technology. Key features include: • Integration with IVES tax transcript services. • Intuitive student portal with document submission capabilities. • Intuitive data collection tools that simplify the verification process.
Conference Coverage: MOOCs Have Appeal … But Credibility? Observatory for Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) conference – London, England By Emma Ward, PlattForm U.K.
With some excitement about exploring an “international higher education revolution,” I attended the recent Observatory for Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) conference in London at the end of last year along with colleagues from our Kansas City operation, all of whom have significant experience in delivering online learning. We were disappointed not to have made the billing, since PlattForm has so much expertise in working in online delivery in the U.S., but we got over that and were eager to hear what our colleagues in the sector had to say. And it was quite interesting. Although the conference wasn’t intended to be singularly about MOOCs, there was a distinct theme that brought them into pretty much every session, and it made me wonder whether they are really a lot more important than I, or even the sector, had perhaps acknowledged. In a previous issue of University Outlook, an article appeared by PlattForm U.K. Managing Director Marcel Dalziel in which he discussed MOOCs’ use as a marketing tool rather than a threat to accredited programme delivery. And many of the themes that appeared in that
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article were echoed across the conference. MOOCs have massive appeal, but they’re not degrees; they’re used as an enticement by schools like the Open University to tempt people into trying learning with them – and they’re also a way of sharing really valuable academic content. All still true. In his keynote address, Rt. Hon. David Willetts MP (Minister for Universities and Science) discussed how he felt about MOOCs and their contribution to the sector: Are they the higher education sector’s Napster moment? How credible are they? Are Coursera or FutureLearn the
Willetts delivered an interesting parallel between the music industry and the higher education sector: Digital music drives live music – it doesn’t replace it. Amazon or eBay of the sector? (The latter is certainly not, in Willetts’ opinion.) And what came through in the conference (for me at least) was that we still don’t really know quite what to make of them and how to leverage their openness into something that really does cross borders. Willetts discussed the development of education analytics and our ability to see trends in learning patterns through online delivery. Sir Michael Barber had also addressed this topic during his opening session, in which he drew comparisons between traditional classroom assessment and online learning. In an online environment, instructors assess as they go through the modules; in the classroom, all assessment falls at the end.
And for those of us who are worried about the MOOC overtaking the traditional classroom environment, Willetts delivered an interesting parallel between the music industry and the higher education sector: Digital music drives live music – it doesn’t replace it. In fact, there has been a substantial increase in live performances since music has been available to download online. If the same turns out to be true in higher education, what we really need to think about then is the way we deliver the learning. Now back to the question of how to do it most effectively.
suggested that competition for delivering this experience in new ways would come not from within the same sector but from other sources. He continued that perhaps this is where the sector needs to focus its efforts, on identifying promising partnerships that can help the sector deliver this experience. Employer accreditation, official qualifications, agency accreditation and transnational partnerships were all discussed as opportunities. Should we use a MOOC as a credit toward a degree?
predictions of the way the market will develop – frankly, without many surprises for anyone who already works in international markets. Keep an eye on Asia, Africa and probably South America, with smaller growth in Europe and the U.S. One thing everyone agreed on: We have to work out how we foster that growth online. Cost of delivery, administration issues, quality and assessment, and funding all got an airing to the point where I certainly felt MOOCs had been thoroughly put through the proverbial wringer – disappointingly, without much conclusion on what to do next. Two things, however, have stuck with me more than anything else from that conference. The first is that working out how best to accredit MOOCs will be a key part of the delivery. If a robust accreditation process was in place, provided by a single authority worldwide and probably involving employers in some way, then perhaps that would help retain credibility and respect for online programmes. The second is a statement that was made by a speaker, and I apologise if that speaker is now reading this article, because I did not note who it was. The statement reminded us that the academic community created the Internet to share research and learning, and that it is now trying to work out how best to use it to do just that.
There were some other interesting concepts that developed as recurring themes during the conference. My favourite term of the conference, “unbundling,” came up in many presentations and is essentially the idea of taking apart the traditional university offering and recombining aspects of it in a new way. Barber discussed the different elements of a 20th century university: the human interaction, curriculum and assessment, teaching and research, and the experience. He then pointed out that, if you remove the physical experience, you can still deliver the vast majority of these elements online. He
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Much discussion also ensued regarding which markets were ripe for transnational education (TNE). OC&C presented interesting data based on its own study, which used Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) figures around market growth internationally, predicting a 6.3 percent growth in international markets between now and 2020, with Asia continuing to be the biggest international mobile territory, sharing the highest levels of growth (9 percent) with Africa. The same data from OECD were cut a number of ways, and there were various
I doubt we can go back to basics – the world has moved on since the Internet’s popular inception in the mid-1990s – but I think we have to work out why we want to put our courses online and what success might look like for an individual institution. The Internet is an immense space, and there’s plenty of room for numerous approaches to MOOCs, so I imagine that there won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. We’ll certainly be closely monitoring developments, so keep an eye on innovations to come in the MOOCs market.
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Conference Coverage: Babson College wins Marketer of the Year Award AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education – Boston, Mass. By Steve Adams, University Outlook
Getting, being and staying connected was the theme of the 2013 American Marketing Association (AMA) Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education held in Boston. More than 1,100 participants – the largest turnout in the symposium’s history – attended the event, which also saw Babson College’s marketing team honored as Higher Education Marketer of the Year. Through its Marketer of the Year Awards, the AMA honors individuals and organizations that have helped advance or transform the field of higher education marketing through the development of innovative and unique methodologies, breakthroughs, and advances in organizing and planning. “In a highly competitive and quickly evolving industry, there is a greater need than ever before to differentiate with unique and meaningful positioning and to execute on this positioning in a unified and bold way,” said Sarah L. Sykora, Babson’s Chief Marketing Officer. “By shattering traditional marketing silos and integrating our positioning into every aspect of the consumer journey, we have successfully repositioned Babson as the educator, convener and thought leader for
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‘Entrepreneurship of All Kinds,’ the most positive force for generating sustainable economic and social value around the world.”
reality. The website does this using feature stories, videos, interviews and related external content.
Babson recently launched a fully integrated campaign comprising online, homebased, radio and print media to redefine entrepreneurship and help shape how the world views and values entrepreneurs of all kinds. Through the campaign’s digital hub – Define.Babson.edu – the college is crowdsourcing definitions of the word “entrepreneurship” and sharing information about the entrepreneurial experience. The campaign engaged more than 158,000 visitors from 179 countries since its launch in 2012.
The message that resonated throughout the symposium was that higher education marketing is a strong, growing, evolving industry, but one faced with many challenges. With the number of donors sliding downward and decreases in government funding during the past decade, colleges and universities are looking at ways to get creative to accomplish more with less – all this while faced with initiatives to expand their national and international enrollment base.
Babson also elevated its thought leadership through the creation of EntrepreneurshipOfAllKinds.org, a website that spotlights a variety of diverse people and organizations that are acting entrepreneurially to create opportunities, deploy solutions and collaborate with others to make their visions
During his keynote address, Jason Simon, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of California system, shared some of his experiences, trials and tribulations in branding the system, as well as six tenets he believes that all higher education marketers should keep at the top of their minds when dealing with clients: 1) O wn your seat at the table (and don’t get up) 2) Think digital (and mobile) 3) Be friends with data 4) Integrate and advocate 5) Fly closer to the sun (be bold) 6) Our jobs are freakin’ hard!
Schools are increasingly embracing strategies that use new marketing channels, such as social media and digital marketing, yet tangible results related to their effectiveness are still inconclusive.
The Zen of Rapid Response What mystery shoppers uncovered in international student recruitment By Lisa Cynamon Mayers, Intead
Recruiting international students is hard work. Thereâ€™s no doubt about it. Traveling internationally, meeting students and parents over the span of back-toback-to-back 12-, 14- or 16-hour days, all while keeping up with home office responsibilities is taxing work. Thank goodness the rewards are great. Well, the personal rewards are great, which is why we are in this line of work. But what about the organizational rewards? How are we doing there? Our latest mystery shopper experiment checked out a number of international recruiting tours to assess this highly used prospecting method. We were a bit stunned by the results. Traveling globally to recruit international students is not only time-consuming but also a significant financial investment. Meeting students in their home countries needs to show the right return on investment or it becomes increasingly difficult to justify. Early trips to a region may not show immediate returns in new international enrollments. Yet there is often justification in the market research and relationship building that is critical to entering a new market.
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Slow responders may miss the boat
It is often the first institution to respond to a prospective international student that wins the recruitment competition.
Our Chinese analyst sent an email to 60 institutions – 40 in the United States, 10 in Canada and 10 in Australia – to request information about their undergraduate programs. In some cases, he submitted an online inquiry form. In other cases, he sent an email directly to the undergraduate admissions office or to the office that handles international student admissions. He requested information about the undergraduate program and specific information in Chinese to share with his parents who have limited English skills. Of those 60 institutions, 32 percent did not reply within two weeks.
Still, international recruiting tours are designed to do more than develop relationships and provide market intelligence. They are designed to develop prospects that your recruitment program should then convert a percentage of into enrolled students.
This past spring and fall we introduced two experiments in which our mystery shopper, a Chinese high school student, contacted institutions asking for information. We were shocked to find that one-third of surveyed institutions did not respond to our student’s requests.
After meeting students and collecting their contact information, there should be an established and systematized approach to following up and building a connection with those students met during travel.
After learning that so many institutions fail to respond to prospective international students who email requests, we decided to try another approach. Our mystery shoppers hit the road and attended college fairs organized by the major fair providers in China, Vietnam and India this past fall. Our international students completed many inquiry cards. After two weeks, none of the institutions had reached out to our “prospective students.”
Unfortunately, we’ve found that many institutions lack the time, energy or resources to prioritize contacting students in a timely manner. This reality calls into question the value of investing in these prospecting trips.
Think about it. A student has taken the time to navigate your website, which is not always as easy as it seems. The student then sends a request for information and awaits a response. If the student is sending your institution an information request, he/she is likely contacting numerous universities. As the student receives the responses, he/ she is making assessments about the institution and developing a feeling about the place. When the student doesn’t receive a response at all, you can imagine what the student thinks. If your institution was among the 32 percent of institutions that never sent a response, why would this student continue to show interest in your institution? As we’re seeing more and more, competition is fierce for international students. If your institution misses that key step of beginning the dialogue with an interested prospective student, you have ended the conversation before it has even begun and potentially missed out on a phenomenal addition to your campus.
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Student mystery shopper from Vietnam contacted 26 U.S. institutions No response Response within 24 hours Response in 2 to 5 business days Response within 2 weeks Response within 1 month 28 institutions that attended a college fair in Beijing, October 2013 No response Responded within 24 hours Responded in 2 to 5 business days Responded within 2 weeks Student mystery shopper from India contacted 13 U.S. institutions Institutions with no response Institutions with a response 60 institutions randomly selected from U.S., Canada and Australia No response Responded within 24 hours Responded in 2 to 5 business days Responded within 2 weeks Student mystery shopper from China contacted 30 institutions randomly selected from U.S., Canada and Australia
The prime period of engaging with the students was completely lost. No doubt the admissions counselors were incredibly busy with additional travel and catching up on work post-travel. All completely understandable and, yet, the opportunity was lost. And what of the investment in all that travel in terms of time and money? There has to be a better way to engage with students and capitalize on their interest before they turn that interest elsewhere. These international students have a lot of options, and often the institution that pays the most attention, the one that is most attentive during the process, has a serious advantage over the competition. In fact, it is often the first institution to respond to a prospective international student that wins the recruitment competition. After a couple of weeks, and having received no follow-up from our inquiry cards, our mystery shoppers took it upon themselves to pursue the institutions. Our â€œprospective studentsâ€? attempted to re-engage the institutions they had met at the college fairs by sending email inquiries to those universities, and, when possible, specifically to the contact person they met at the fair. The results were consistent with what we had discovered through our previous mystery shopper email inquiry experiments. For the student who attended the college fair in Vietnam, upon sending a follow-up email to the institutions and requesting additional information, 31 percent of the 26 institutions either did not reply at all or took close to a month to respond.
No response Responded within 24 hours Responded in within 2 business days Responded within 1 month UniversityOutlook.com
Of the 28 institutions our prospective student met at a Chinese college fair, 25 percent did not reply when a follow-up inquiry was sent. We found similar results in India. Of the 13 U.S. institutions that received a followup inquiry, less than half responded to our studentâ€™s request. Our reaction was probably similar to yours: This is simply unacceptable. The students that an admissions counselor meets on the road are more interested and engaged in the institution than a random student contacting a college. Failing to respond to their simple inquiries for additional information is inexcusable. If the whole purpose of spending time and money to travel abroad for recruitment is to engage with prospective students, failing to follow up on their inquiries in a timely manner completely undermines the trip itself. What is the point of engaging with students only to ignore their requests shortly thereafter? Interestingly, when higher education professionals were surveyed in two recent World Education Services (WES) webinars, Recruiting Students Seeking Bachelorâ€™s Degrees and Recruiting Chinese Students, results showed that if participants had an extra 10 percent of their budget for international student recruitment, more than one-third would participate in additional recruiting trips. Recruitment travel handily beat online outreach efforts, an international student/alumni ambassador program, recruitment agents and information technology systems. We found it fascinating that so many of our colleagues would choose to spend additional resources on travel when we would argue that travel is not being done in the most cost-effective means. Institutions could benefit greatly from more effective post-travel follow-up.
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What is the point of engaging with students only to ignore their requests shortly thereafter?
We also know from our work with clients that in many instances admissions officers are not responsible for follow-up delays. Often, they are waiting for their fair organizers to deliver student contact information. There are simple solutions. Proactive admissions offices across the country, and throughout the world for that matter, have established auto-response emails with appropriate, relevant and compelling content. They can respond to and engage with prospective students anytime, anywhere. Compared to the cost of travel, the initial investment in time and resources to establish automated email messaging is minimal. Furthermore, emails need not be boring, static messages. There are numerous ways to implement exciting and engaging
digital tools to make your emails stand out from the crowd. Finally, in selecting a tour operator, we suggest that you make timely provision of student email contact information as one of your selection criteria. Weâ€™d be surprised if your fair providers wonâ€™t be responsive to you if they fear they are in danger of losing your business. There are many prospect capture tools out there that can automate the process of knowing who stops by your booth with a simple scan or swipe. Automated emails can go out the very next day. Customized emails can easily follow. Why are these systems not standard for international student recruitment tours?
recruit international students. Meeting students at college fairs and then failing to continue the conversation simply doesnâ€™t achieve the results we all expect. Relationship building takes time and must be nurtured through multiple channels. A successful recruitment trip should not be undermined by email/ follow-up failures. Students are fickle, and often the institution that pays the most attention or shows the most involvement wins the day. Your goal is to be that institution.
We want to see institutions in the United States succeed as they work to
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Top Changes We’ll See in College Education During the Next Five Years Education delivery will continue to be defined on students’ terms By Brjden Crewe, Contributing Writer
Education in a bathrobe. Not quite what the ancient Romans had in mind when they created the concept of college and the grouping of individuals who desired to master and cultivate their learning of a particular skill or subject. But today, college students can further their learning and receive quality teaching from the comfort of their own living room, regardless of their wardrobe ... or lack thereof. This is just one of many examples of how technology has changed the way higher education can be achieved. The availability of a virtual presence changed the college game. Many functions and products, such as e-books replacing textbooks, computer tutoring programs, convenient communication techniques by way of classroom message boards, and social networking groups between students and teachers, have become standard in education systems over the past decade. With so many innovative and technologically advanced tools to help make receiving a degree so much easier and convenient, I’m going to try to get ahead of the curve and make some predictions as to what’s next for higher education through forward thinking and technology over the next five years. Get ready; you may be seeing many of these changes soon.
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Students helping students learn the lingo If there is one thing a young student in Omaha can relate to with a young student in Okinawa, it is personal gadget technology. And because of that technology, people on two different sides of the planet can communicate via Facebook, Skype or a number of Internet platforms that allow students to talk about everything from Miley Cyrus’ new album to how to say “I like Miley Cyrus’ new album” in Japanese. So picture this: a learning program where students are monitored, mediated and allowed to communicate with other students from other parts of the world to learn how to speak in each other’s mother tongues. Many students from around the world learn English from a very early age, so the initial language barrier would be minimal, considering the sophistication of the program and the participants. This would also give students from around the world the opportunity to understand and conjugate English words and phrases correctly from American students. Much of the fundamental learning of foreign languages can be done in the classroom, but the understanding and usage can be taught with and from one another, given the accessibility of talking to anyone from anywhere no matter where they’re located on the planet, in a fun and relatable way. If a young student in Omaha is learning to speak Japanese, who better than a young student in Okinawa to help him understand exactly how to use different words and phrases and vice versa? And again, Miley Cyrus, like many American pop stars, is huge in Japan, so there would be no limit to the conversations (and learning) had from one another.
The death of the campus classroom I hated going to class when I was in college. Not because of the education I received, but because of having to get up, shower, iron, get dressed and haul myself into a monstrous-sized classroom where, because of the number of
students, the professor didn’t know if I was there or not. My term papers, tests and projects were what mattered, so why did it matter if I was sitting inside the classroom? That’s a rhetorical statement (not a question) because understanding the information and teachings from my professor were essential to learning, preparing my homework and projects, and receiving high test scores. But as I said earlier, why not be able to attend these learning sessions from the comfort of my dorm room? Online classes have taken off tremendously over the past five years, and many students have opted to receive their education online instead of through the high-priced university education that’s seeing the cost of tuition rise and the number of enrolled students fall. Maybe virtual classrooms are the wave of the future – slice of cold pizza, no showering or ironing, and the sound of my professor’s voice over the speakers of my trusty computer tablet as I lie in bed taking notes. Does it sound too good to be true? It may be truer and sooner to reality than you think.
No child left behind (in robot voice) I’ll make this one short and sweet. The emergence of e-books and learning programs gives educators the ability to quickly and more efficiently pinpoint learning problems and disabilities in students, thus eliminating the need for traditional tutors. Many new learning programs are created to quiz and assess students’ learning capabilities and get a better understanding of the needs of students who may have difficulty with traditional course workloads. With these virtual assessments available to accurately formulate programs custom-made for individual students, educators will have a better idea of how to approach the problems of students who have a hard time learning, which will erase much of the digging and exploring tutors are known to provide before the education even begins.
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More courses, less college Harvard, Stanford, Brown, Berkeley – all great educational institutions, without question. And I’m sure they have great educators who inhabit the halls of those colleges. But what if a college student was able to pick and choose the courses she’d like to take from educators located in different parts of the world, thus creating her own custom-made education? Think about this: A young student wants to learn and understand Spanish from a professor in Barcelona,
in Antarctica searching for a rare squid and holds a weekly class for students all around the world interested in his work. Each educator is accredited and able to sign off on the proper education given to each student through online tests and assessments, thus validating the student’s education. And the student does this all from her laptop while curled up with a blanket on the couch. Custom-made courses could do away with standard colleges and allow students to get a more versatile, well-rounded education from
Slice of cold pizza, no showering or ironing, and the sound of my professor’s voice over the speakers of my trusty computer tablet as I lie in bed taking notes. so she attends an online course given by this professor. Then she attends the class of an archeologist in Egypt who holds weekly virtual classes available online for students interested in material culture and geology. Then she tunes in to a biology course where her professor is
educators around the world. You can mark it down: Custom-made courses are the future!
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Book Review Ties to Tattoos Turning Generational Differences Into a Competitive Advantage By Tasha Cerny, Contributing Writer
Businesses today are facing a first: a unique workforce spanning four distinct generations, all with widely varying ideas about work ethic, commitment, values and personal priorities. Sherri Elliott-Yeary, President and Owner of Optimance Workforce Strategies, LLC, discusses strategies for reaching across these generations in her book Ties to Tattoos: Turning Generational Differences Into a Competitive Advantage. The book serves as a manual for recognizing generational differences, assessing and serving a generationally diverse workforce, and increasing harmony and productivity between employeesâ€™ generational values. With the more experienced traditionalists and baby boomers and the tech-savvy Generation Xers and millennials, todayâ€™s workforce has never been more diverse. In her book, Elliott-Yeary points out the unique characteristics of each generation. She suggests the traditionalists believe in good work ethic and money management, the baby boomers are creative idealists, the Generation Xers are ambitious and entrepreneurial, and the millennials are confident and eager to learn. However, this diversity also brings its own challenges; along with a looming labor shortage and a decrease in employee productivity, the
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generational gap between employees brings problems of the language barrier, stereotyping and a transfer of knowledge from long-time employees to new hires. Ties to Tattoos gives insight into these generational differences, giving employers the knowledge and advice to resolve problems in the workforce and boost employee productivity. Along with addressing conflict built on generational variances, Ties to Tattoos provides strategies for recruiting, training, managing and monitoring a multigenerational workforce, as well as motivating younger generations and looking past outside appearances in order to reward what Elliott-Yeary says “really matters.” In an ever-changing job market, today’s complex workforce serves as the key to creating and preparing a successful business for the future. Through ElliottYeary’s insights, Ties to Tattoos provides the knowledge and strategies employers need in order to harness this complex and generationally diverse workforce and create productive, long-term employees.
A New Outlook on the Horizon Have a voice …
Visit: UniversityOutlook.com/ Subscribe
A large part of each edition of University Outlook will comprise the thoughts of education leaders, innovators, and the professionals who are working with our students and schools. If you are interested in becoming a regular contributor on a topic important to the sector, want to sound off on a single issue or simply want to share some best practices, please contact:
Steve Adams Steve@UniversityOutlook.com
Just a few of the topics we will be covering in upcoming issues of University Outlook: • Student recruitment and retention. • Serving the new nontraditional student. • Online and distance education trends in universities. • Marketing to international and domestic students. • Effectiveness of new modalities in teaching. • Progressive perspectives on university leadership. • Coverage of upcoming conferences.
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From Across the Pond Navigating the seas of political and educational outcomes Are students at the heart of the system? By Emma Ward, PlattForm U.K.
A recent announcement by the U.K. Chancellor George Osborne in his autumn budget got me thinking about the impact of politics on education. It’s natural in the U.K. that political challenges will always affect education; the large majority of our universities are (at least for now) “publicly” funded. And they, like others around the world, will always be at the behest of visa regulations and border control when it comes to the evergrowing issues around immigration policy and international student recruitment. But what I have started to wonder is how much of a political hot potato tertiary education has become and what effect policy has on overcomplicating the system for students and institutions. What started this thought process was the autumn budget statement by Osborne, in which he discussed the cap on student number controls. Student number control (SNC) was introduced in 2012/13 to control the amount of funding available through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The government pledged to provide more funding directly to students rather than to
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institutions in light of the new tuition fee loans – these were introduced in response to the changes in tuition fee levels, allowing universities to charge up to £9,000 per year in fees (an increase of more than 200 percent since 2004, for anyone who isn’t familiar with historic U.K. fee levels). I’m going to attempt to simplify this next explanation, as it could take a whole article just to explain how the number control works, so please forgive me if you’re a detail person.
Thinking about the politics of education has made me realise that the people who ultimately benefit (or not) are the students trying to better their education.
SNC meant that universities had to estimate the number of students that they thought they could recruit, and then they had to hit that number dead-on. If a university didn’t hit that number and underrecruited, its future ability to recruit would be affected, as the space for new students would potentially be cut in the next year’s allocation. If it went over those estimates, it would have to pay significant fines to compensate the government for funding additional students.
institutions have offered scholarships or bursaries and additional incentives, such as extracurricular activities, as an attraction tactic. Students who don’t achieve their predicted results enter clearing, which means that they have been rejected by their institution on the basis of poor grades and must look for a place elsewhere. Exam results time for institutions now entails recalculating student numbers on a minute-by-minute basis as applications are accepted and rejected, high-achieving students leave, other high-achieving students arrive, and so on. Tactics are planned months in advance for attracting and keeping high-achieving students. “Poaching” students from other institutions is a contentious issue – there are strict rules on communication with students imposed by the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), and stealing away another institution’s students is considered to not be a very “British” thing to do. However, the business case says absolutely do it; after all, all is fair in love and marketing, right?
The government recognised that this could have a discouraging and detrimental effect on high-achieving students attending a university, so it made an exemption: Students who achieved an AAB A-level score (or equivalent qualification) would not be counted toward that control number, and therefore an institution could recruit as many of them as it could teach with no financial penalties. But it still has to meet its SNC number in addition or face the prospect of losing space for new students in future years. Incidentally, there was also an exemption at the bottom end of the scale, allowing institutions with lower fee levels to recruit additional students.
The system changed again the following year to open up the high-achievers bracket to ABB students, so more students were in the adjustment category once clearing came. That didn’t necessarily mean that SNC numbers dropped, however, which in turn meant that universities had a smaller pool to recruit from. Clearing got even more frenetic for some universities, as they now had to consider potentially lowering grade requirements in their admission standards to both meet SNC numbers and compensate for students filtering out into the unlimited bracket at the top end.
Keeping up? Excellent!
It would be easy to think that this issue is something just reserved for institutions with lower entry requirements, but actually it has just as much effect on the universities whose entry requirements are in the upper grades. After all, their students will always fall into the unlimited cohort, which does not count toward student numbers.
The net effect was that when A-level results are announced each August, we see universities scrambling to recruit AAB students. These students fall into a “pot” called adjustment, allowing them to change their institution choice if they wish. Some
How do these institutions meet their SNC? Or do they gradually allow that to dwindle and rely solely on the exempt higher-achieving students? In this second possibility, some wealthy and high-profile institutions might have to undertake more marketing activity – which would be unusual for the U.K., where institutions that don’t need to advertise, like the Russell Group, are often invisible. But this is a theory that we’ll never test. In his autumn budget statement, Osborne announced that he would remove the cap on student numbers completely for 2015 entry. In the interim, an additional 30,000 places for new students would be “released” for 2014/15 entry, with a focus on STEM subjects. No one really saw the announcement coming, and it was almost a throwaway paragraph in the official statement. That statement confirmed that the cap will be removed “at publicly funded higher education institutions in England by 2015/16,” with alternative providers also being freed in a “similar manner” that year. This has changed the game completely. And, as yet, we have no idea how government funding for this will really work practically. So why? What on earth is the reason for such an about-face? The philanthropist in me would like to think that it is because there are some students who don’t get to attend university due to capped funding. According to Osborne, “Each year, around 60,000 young people who have worked hard at school, got the results, want to go on learning and want to take out a loan to pay for it are prevented from doing so because of an arbitrary cap. That makes no sense when we have a far lower proportion of people going to university than even the United States, let alone countries like South Korea. Access to higher education is a basic tenet of economic success in the global race.” A very worthy reason, and I don’t doubt for a second that it is completely true. But the cynic in me says that this change of heart
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is more about setting up a political policy that will help policymakers take a very defined stance in the next general election, scheduled for 2015. The tuition fee situation and resulting loans and caps were brought about as a result of a Labour party report on student funding and higher education (the Browne report), which the current coalition government had to action when they came into power in 2010. There was a House of Commons vote in favour of the increase in tuition fees, and the result was students rioting in the streets, universities rioting (quietly) in their planning departments, and everyone else looking a bit confused. For Nick Clegg (leader of the Liberal Democrats), this was
The logic there is that the more students it can attract, the more able an institution should be to afford facility development, allowing more students, who generate more funding, and so it goes on. Would less funding from the public purse mean a vision for a more privatised higher education system in the U.K.? Will tuition fee loans remain in place, and at what cost? Will we see institutions whose reputations are less renowned disappear completely from view, or will they offer a low-cost option? Will we have a greater divide between those in higher education from achievement and affluence? Will vocational learning have a renaissance in the U.K. instead of being seen as the second choice for many?
Higher education that is accessible to all is a shared vision, but opinions on how we get there will undoubtedly be different. a bit of a disaster; his election party policy was that there would be no raise in tuition fees, a policy some say he gave up in favour of a joint seat of power. At the next election, education will undoubtedly be a focus for all of the three major political parties. Higher education that is accessible to all is a shared vision, but opinions on how we get there will undoubtedly be different. In my view, the lifting of the SNC cap is a precursor to the conservative party raising the cap on tuition fees. With no government-imposed restrictions on numbers and universities charging more, the government can argue that higher education institutions can selffund, enabling them to recruit as many as they can physically teach. Higher education would potentially be accessible to all.
A party would win some votes and lose some votes on this one. It might get the backing of research-intensive, world-ranked institution staff – in my last article, I wrote about Oxford’s statement that £16,000 was the minimum it would want to charge for a degree at one of its colleges, but I’m sure it would also lose a fair few, too – students are unlikely to favour this approach, and the more socialist amongst university staff will probably not be too keen either. My concern is whether the choice for politicians is about what is really best for students (are they at the heart of the system?) or whether it’s about the best tactics for a party to win seats. When we look back at government decisions that have shaped education, we see the influences as early as 1640, when Czech teacher Comenius was invited by the House
of Commons to participate in an education agency for the promotion of learning. Only as recently as 1944 and 1988 did education acts really create the landscape we know today, and for a long time, universities were aligned to the church and unfunded by public (government) money. We can see the influence on what we might call modern higher education: the transformation of polytechnics to universities in the 1992 Royal Charter; the introduction of £1,000 tuition fees in 1998 to supplement LEA grants; degreeawarding powers being granted to private providers in 2004; and of course, most recently, the rise in tuition fees and tuition fee loans that we talk about here so often. Undoubtedly, many of the earlier acts have benefitted society immeasurably, but I wonder if, more recently, our desire to create the perfect higher education system has been overtaken by a greater desire for political popularity? Which drives which? I don’t know and don’t think I’m qualified to answer, but for anyone who has a spare minute, I’d love a debate.
Thinking about the politics of education has made me realise that the people who ultimately benefit (or not) are the students trying to better their education. I’m not a political commentator; I’m an education marketer. I see the impact policy has on the day-to-day operations at the hard face of student recruitment and the developments that everyone has to keep up with, often with limited information.
And it frustrates me that policy could so easily get in the way of students finding their perfect study path.
What I hope happens, whatever the driver, is that universities can spend more time looking at the quality and outcomes of their programmes rather than navigating their way around the latest policy change. It must be a distraction, and if the time spent planning clearing outcomes was spent working with employers or redeveloping poorly performing courses, perhaps everyone would benefit more, and the sector would be empowered to implement a truly student-focused approach.
From a Whisper to a Shout Nontraditional student programs lead the charge in the rapidly changing higher education landscape By Dr. Brenda K. Harms, Converge Consulting
When we consider the field of higher education, the element that is most striking is the amount of change that has taken place in recent years. It is almost as if higher education has woken up from a long slumber and is now racing to catch up. If we think historically about change in higher education, and who is leading that change, it has often been the programs serving the nontraditional audience that have pushed the envelope most aggressively. Twenty-five years ago, adult student programs were seen as being “different” than the traditional, residential program on campus and thus represented change on almost every college campus where they sprouted up. Today, colleges and universities that have some form of an intentional adult audience are becoming the majority, and this “normalizing” of adult student programs comes with its own set of pros and cons.
The good news We are becoming more widely accepted and thought of on campus. We have a voice, we are more readily considered when student policies are made, and our role in the financial viability of the campus is more widely understood.
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The challenge Without realizing it, many of us are no longer pushing as aggressively as we used to because we now have our seat at the table and are no longer proving ourselves. Not being the new kid on campus any more has caused us to become complacent. For many of our programs, we are now sitting back and watching the types of aggressive changes to the higher education landscape of which we used to be a part.
are all on the table for discussion. These conversations are underway, if not at your institution directly, in the larger adult student sector as a whole.
The next step The key right now is to get started and dive into the conversations around change. Some of these areas are large, institutional-level changes that will take time and the coming together of seniorlevel administrators to discuss. It
It has often been the programs serving the nontraditional audience that have pushed the envelope most aggressively. If you review the infographic, you see a compilation of issues that were not even on the radar for most colleges and universities when adult student programs first came on the scene. Online education, for-profit institutions, young alumni engagement, MOOCs, the cost of college, etc. â€“ these issues were hardly a whisper on the landscape nearly 20 years ago. How quickly times have changed. Today you canâ€™t attend a higher education conference in North America without hearing about all of them. Layer on to that things like social media, competencybased learning, big data, digital marketing and web analytics, and we begin to see that in a very short window of time the higher education landscape has taken a huge turn. The impact of what is new and changing in higher education has already dramatically impacted the serving of adult students. How students are recruited, retention strategies, student support services, academic program delivery modes, demonstration of prior learning, competency-based degree programs and institutional policies surrounding the transfer of credit
is imperative to evaluate the list of what has changed in higher education and begin to determine the one or two areas on your campus where you can begin to make an impact. Changing your recruitment process is not nearly as difficult to execute as adding a competency-based Bachelorâ€™s degree would be. Create a short list of areas you can address in the next three to six months and then pick one thing. The key is not to talk about everything, but to DO one thing now.
The question On your campus, is the adultserving program aggressively leading the conversation around the changes that are happening in higher education? If not, you will find yourselves being left behind by those institutions that are rapidly adapting to the change that has become the new norm in higher education.
DIY or ISS for Best ROI New directions in digital course design and development By Dr. Keith Hampson, Acrobatiq
When it comes to creating, funding and distributing instructional resources in digital higher education, there are two fundamental approaches being used today, each with its own set of practices and business models. The DIY (do-it-yourself) approach involves small-scale, low-cost development of online courseware, primarily by lone instructors, who are working with limited support and funds. The instructional materials are typically used only in a single course. This is essentially a cottage-industry approach, its origins based on the deeply ingrained traditional classroom model. In the ISS (investment, specialists and scale) approach, instructional materials are created by teams of professionals with a wide range of skills and draw on a far greater level of investment. Scalability is key; the expectation is that the materials will be used in dozens, if not hundreds, of courses. The ISS model assumes that individual instructors donâ€™t typically have the time, resources or skill sets required to consistently produce high-quality online learning experiences for students.
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In the next two or three years, we will see a more intense debate over finding a balance between these two approaches and identifying the best path forward. The way this debate unfolds will determine how successfully we manage costs, how we view academic roles and responsibilities, and how institutions compete with one another.
The appeal of the DIY model is obvious: It enables a quick transition to online education without fundamentally reworking the organizational structure. And it doesn’t challenge the instructor’s autonomy – a firmly fixed and politically charged aspect of the traditional institution model.
Our task is to find the right approach to maximize that value, given existing resources. The DIY model: its appeal and limitations Advances in technology have enabled individuals to do things that were once the exclusive purview of large, heavily resourced organizations. The advent of desktop publishing in the 1980s, for example, allowed individuals to produce their own print materials. Blogging has radically expanded the diversity of commentary and information. YouTube channels operated by individuals are cutting into the market share of major TV networks.
The limitations of the DIY model, however, have been largely downplayed. Placing the responsibility for the design and development of courseware in the hands of lone instructors dramatically limits what kind of content and software can be made available to students. Sole instructors, nine times out of 10, do not have the range of skills, the time or
the incentives to devote to high-quality course design and development. Many courses are often hastily put together using repurposed classroom and print materials. Very few online courses can claim to be based on rigorously tested, thoughtfully designed courseware that offers students hundreds of opportunities for formative assessment, or personalized learning, to measurably improve learning outcomes. And without economies of scale (volume), investment is restricted to the revenue generated by a single course. Some universities even offer two versions of a single course simply because more than one instructor teaches it. Moreover, the growth of DIY capabilities and tools does not mean that everyone will or should create instructional materials for the online environment. While anyone can set up a blog, a very small number choose to do it; even fewer keep their blog up to date.
In some respects, the DIY model fits nicely into how traditional higher education is organized. Instructors are accustomed to high levels of autonomy. Classroom education is essentially a one-person operation; the individual instructor is responsible for the majority of the student’s learning experience. When online learning emerged, the majority of traditional institutions simply transplanted the classroom model to the online context. We selected technologies that didn’t disrupt the one-person, classroom-based model. The learning management system (LMS) was an immediate success precisely because it maintained the traditional organizational model; it allowed instructors to create and manage their own online courses with little external support.
It requires a serious investment of time to learn how to use DIY tools well enough to consistently produce highquality, effective materials. And even then, a quality gap exists between DIY efforts and what large-scale organizations can achieve. Compare homemade YouTube videos to what Hollywood creates using computer-generated imagery (CGI) and other techniques.
The ISS model: growing demand for quality, ROI, analytics The Internet introduced new opportunities to develop and distribute large-scale, high-quality products and services. The cost of reaching thousands of users became only marginally greater than reaching one. This, in turn, meant that we could invest more and reduce costs per user. The possibilities were not lost on education entrepreneurs. As early as the 1990s, several companies and not-forprofit organizations used the Internet to set up large, open-access courses, predating MOOCs. While originally based on a DIY production and financial model, MOOCs quickly transformed into an example of ISS. As enrollments and public attention grew, university leadership recognized that these initiatives could serve as extraordinary vehicles for expanding the brand and reach of the institution.
But what really drove the shift to ISS in MOOCs was the very public nature of the instructional materials. Unlike traditional higher education, MOOCs made their materials available to people outside of the institution. As a result, universities and individual faculty found one of their core activities – course content – on display in ways not previously seen. This unprecedented level of transparency put the spotlight on quality and competition. Not surprisingly, investment made in the instructional quality of high-profile MOOCs (e.g., Coursera, edX, etc.) has significantly increased during the past 18 months. While the vast majority of online courses in North American universities are made for $20-25K, investment in MOOCs has reached 10 times that amount. The bigger budgets are producing better written video lectures and presentations, with professional lighting and sound. We are seeing less traditional lectures and more “performances.” In one Udacity course, the instructor begins by interviewing passersbys in a style lifted straight out of late-night comedy television. One edX course, Fundamentals of Neuroscience, features 5- to 10-minute NOVA-like episodes. The CEO of edX was quoted in an article saying, “From what I hear, really good
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actors can actually teach really well,” and floated the idea that using actors in the future was a possibility. I know of at least one digital higher education publisher that has turned to actors, rather than academics, to star in the company’s video lectures. The lecture-based approach of many highprofile MOOCs is not instructionally innovative. But the business model of MOOCs has nevertheless stimulated conversation about the possibilities of sharing relatively expensive instructional materials. Governments and education technology pundits are now talking about the potential savings and logic in sharing the best available digital instructional content. Faculty members, on the
Different types of course development impact the quality of the materials available and by extension: - The quality of learning - Completion rates - Investment levels - Number of end users/learners - Reuse by instructors at different institutions - Demands placed on instructors and student support Greater level of investment could reduce the total cost to the institution and reduce demands on the instructor’s time, freeing him or her up for other highpriority activities. The second factor, the degree to which curriculum is common, influences the
I know of at least one digital higher education publisher that has turned to actors, rather than academics, to star in the company’s video lectures. other hand, have raised concerns about possible “academic colonialism” and the displacement of labor that such a trend could bring. Two factors determine the savings potential of the ISS model: first, the cost of the development of courseware as a percentage of total costs; second, the frequency with which instructional materials are common across institutions. Regarding this first factor, course design and development is approximately 15-20 percent of the total cost of offering an online course at a traditional institution. While not a significant percentage, this figure can be misleading. The costs incurred are tied to the type of course development and, more broadly, the business model that underpins it.
first. The more diverse the curriculum is across a state system, for example, the less potential savings there are from sharing. While the DIY and cottageindustry model assumes that content is extremely diverse – indeed, unique – evidence suggests otherwise. Just look at the higher education textbook publishing industry. Even the major publishers release titles with remarkably few differences. And all institutions must be organized to serve incoming high school students, who are taught according to common curriculum standards. Educators are, themselves, products of the same systems, and this is reflected in their curriculum decisions.
Shifting the balance The shift to digital learning presents higher education with new opportunities to increase value to students, faculty and institutions. Our task is to find the right approach to maximize that value, given existing resources. Here are four reasons why we are likely to see the balance shift from DIY to ISS: -G rowing recognition among educators that the quality of online instructional materials is highly dependent on the range of talent and level of investment to a far greater degree than the traditional classroom model. -G rowing recognition among educators that instructional resources are common across certain types of courses, and that sharing is the smart thing to do. -D emand for quality. Students, university leaders and government are more concerned than ever about the return on investment. ISS provides a relatively quick and direct path to improving the quality of instructional materials. -D emand for learning analytics. Spurred on by accountability pressures, instructors and institutions need sophisticated, evidence-based courseware that helps them measure and improve learning outcomes. DIY should continue to be part of higher education’s process for creating content and pockets of innovation and diversity, where needed. The DIY model is best suited for those courses in which the curriculum is unique. But for those courses that have a significant percentage of shared curricula, we need to find ways to leverage the extraordinary potential of the ISS model.
Through the Nontraditional Looking Glass How one student views personal academic success, and what institutions can do to help By Angela Dugan, Booz Allen Hamilton
As we all know, nontraditional students face many unique challenges in achieving academic success. Here are three ways we found to help make nontraditional students more successful in school. By following these simple methods, universities can tap into the market of the nontraditional learner and gain an entirely new student base.
Assumed constraints When elephants are babies, a circus trainer will take the baby and tie it up with a thick rope to ensure it will not break free. Eventually the elephant stops trying to break free and accepts its fate. As the elephant grows into a massive being that could crush almost anything, it still assumes the same constraint. People, however, have the ability to reason and choose not to accept their boundaries and limitations. Nontraditional students face this issue when they choose to go back to school, as they face their own constraints such as family, kids, friends, money, work and health. The hardest decision students make is the decision to return to school.
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Can you imagine a world where students have a guide to help navigate the open ocean?
Students are trying to figure out how to juggle family schedules, work schedules and personal schedules. Give any reason why students shouldn’t make that hurdle, and they just may agree with you. We need to enhance the way that admissions does business. Admissions practices are often plagued by complicated application procedures. Can you imagine a world where students have a guide to help navigate the open ocean? Some schools believe a checklist is sufficient information to support students. I, however, disagree completely. I am a nontraditional student and, to be honest, have been every kind of student. I have been confused, frustrated, upset and aggravated in applying for schools with all the paperwork involved. If you’re a military student or transferring credit in, the process can get even more complicated. I finally did find a school that got it right. Liberty University had a new, innovative approach: Fill out the paperwork, and they will do all the chasing and requesting for you, then send you the updates. Now this is a revolutionary way of doing business. For the first time, I filled out a single
application, and they took care of all the transcript requests and kept me posted through email. Then something else happened. They did not demand payment upfront to do this, which gave me the impression that this university really does care and is not just trying to extract money from me.
Blackboard, discussion boards, wikis, oh my! Returning to school may be the hardest decision, but the hardest action students will face is the actual act of returning to school. Quite a few students are new to online learning, and when they log in for the first time, their heads may spin. Instructors can ease the students into the process a few ways. The key is to give the student manageable bites, so to speak. The first thing an instructor can do is provide a cheat sheet for the students. This gives the students a way to navigate the unknown seas. They may not learn to navigate the entire system, but they will be able to accomplish what they need for the course, and then slowly they can
look around at their own pace, as opposed to learning a new learning management system and a new course concurrently. One instructor I had posted a question on our discussion board, which asked “What are your feelings toward this course/program?” With this being my first course, I read the question and hesitated. I was scared to death and didn’t know how I would survive with kids and work. I closed my laptop. I logged in the next day determined to answer this question with a politically correct answer. I read the first three posts, and each one stated they were afraid and didn’t know how they were going to juggle work, family and school. I was shocked and amazed by their answers – they were honest and just like me. I replied to their posts asking for advice and commiserating with them. Reading the discussion board calmed my fears. I had thought I was alone and in this by myself, but I quickly learned most of the students felt the same way, and the ones that didn’t offered tips on how to survive. A win-win situation for all, it didn’t cost anything, but allowed students to share experiences and fears.
Support the student Not everyone is ready for or wants online courses, so universities need to be flexible in their course offerings. Offering classes at a variety of times and days can be beneficial, as sometimes juggling a family and work forces students to look to weekend or evening classes. Some schools are moving toward more condensed schedules, for example all-day Saturdays or Saturday and Sunday once a month. This does not lower the knowledge or expectations performed in the course, just the time it takes to complete the course. I completed my first Masterâ€™s degree at night, while I worked during the day, and this fit my schedule perfectly. Online classes can be helpful for people with varied schedules or scheduling issues. I began my second Masterâ€™s degree when I was diagnosed with cancer. Online courses allowed me to continue my education while undergoing treatment, as I did not have the strength to attend class itself. I could arrange and plan my study to coincide with my treatments and how I would be feeling. This was the only way I could have obtained my second Masterâ€™s degree. Online courses allow students to juggle their life while continuing their education and to study when it is convenient for them. I noticed quite a few of my peers were posting discussions late at night, while some students would even post on their lunch hour. If universities are really interested in attracting nontraditional students, they have the ability to do so without incurring further costs on their end. The universities have to care about the students, especially the nontraditional learners, and show they care by accommodating these students. Again, by approaching the situation this way, it will be a win-win situation for all. The university is receiving more tuition, and the student is achieving higher levels of success.
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The key is to give the student manageable bites, so to speak.
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Three Big Web Trends for Higher Education in 2014 What college leaders must keep in mind when adapting to today’s web users By Lance Merker, OmniUpdate
Colleges, universities and other educational institutions are being buffeted by the rapid changes in technology that are transforming the way we work and communicate. As a content management system (CMS) provider, you can imagine how important it is that we keep schools current with these changes as they serve recruitment goals and support students, faculty, alumni and staff. Here are three big trends higher education leaders must consider as they adapt to today’s web users.
1. The rise of the mobile user Schools nationwide are seeing an explosion in the number of visits to their websites from smartphones and tablets. Sixty-eight percent of college-bound students report they have viewed college websites on a mobile device, according to the Noel-Levitz “2013 E-Expectations Report.” Not only is mobile use growing, but a full 43 percent of students use their mobile devices for all their web browsing. Staff at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania found this mobile trend even stronger among adult learners.
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“There’s a misconception that it’s just young kids accessing websites from mobile phones,” said Donna Talarico-Beerman, Director of Integrated Communications at Elizabethtown College. “Our website analytics showed that adult learners are more likely than our traditional students to visit our website from mobile devices.” For this reason, when Elizabethtown College revamped its School of Continuing and Professional Studies website to appeal to adult learners, they decided to make their site responsive. With responsive design, users can view a site on any device, and the content is automatically formatted to the device’s width. “We wanted to make sure our prospective students had a good experience on the website whether they were viewing it from a tablet, mobile device or desktop computer,” said Talarico-Beerman. “It was an extra effort to use responsive design, but we wanted to take care of everything from the get-go. In the long run, it will pay off.” While Elizabethtown went with a responsive site to improve the experience for mobile users, other schools are working on turnkey mobile apps or native apps. Tarrant County College watched visits to their website from mobile devices shoot up a whopping 16 percent in just eight months. They went from approximately one in 10 visitors accessing their site on a smartphone or tablet to an astonishing one in four. However, since their CMS could not easily provide a mobile-friendly site, they chose to use OU Campus to implement a mobile site. “Building a website designed for mobile devices would bring in a lot of responsive design features, in addition to being adaptive and working on any mobile device. It would provide easy access among students and devices,” said Robert Heyser, Interim Director of Web Communications at Tarrant County College. “We decided a mobile app was the way to go, and we would implement our main site in OU Campus later – when we were ready and resources were available.”
Schools nationwide are seeing an explosion in the number of visits to their websites from smartphones and tablets. 2. Library services in the digital age Today’s students have high expectations for their libraries. Additionally, as more and more institutions add distance learning as an alternative to classroom-based programs, library websites are becoming even more central to the educational experience. Noel-Levitz’s “National Online Learners Priorities Report” surveyed students at 104 institutions and found that online learners rate adequate online library resources as a top factor in their overall satisfaction with their program. Libraries are responding to these changing student needs by using technology to improve the experience both online and in person. For example, The University of Utah J. Willard Marriott Library found that when students had questions, they wanted help in different ways. “Some people just don’t want to talk on the phone,” said Tracy Medley, Head of Discovery and Web Development at Marriott Library. From that observation, the library built an “Ask the Library” widget through OU Campus.
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Found on the library’s homepage, the widget directs users to a range of options for getting assistance. The library’s phone number is prominently featured, as is a button to start a live online chat with library staff, a form to ask questions via email, a link to a map of service desks in the library and a form to request an in-person library research consultation. Through the widget, the library is able to quickly guide website visitors to assistance in the way that makes the most sense for them. The library also used its CMS as a portal for users to search multiple databases. Now students can search course reserves, local resources, journals, digital collection items and articles from a single search field. “More and more users are going to expect this from their online experience,” Medley said. The library also dealt with users’ jarring experience of finding pages through search that looked completely different based on the source.
“One of the trends we’re seeing is that people want things to be prettier. We’re using OU Campus to make their experience seamless using web design templates,” Medley said. “We’re unifying the look and feel of our services for our patrons.”
3. Today’s college website: one brand Western Kentucky University (WKU) was also looking to unify the look and feel of its websites across campus. “We had 730 different websites that all looked different,” said Corie Martin, Creative Web Services Director at Western Kentucky University Public Affairs. “It was impossible for our users. It was important for our brand to have some consistency.” The school’s solution was to move to a single CMS for the entire school, with consistent WKU-branded templates.
“The vast majority of departments were supportive of the move because it meant that they would have a better website than they had before, and one that was easier to maintain than what they had before,” said Martin. “But it was key to our buy-in process to allow people to manage their own content.” To enable faculty, staff and students to act as site creators and contributors, WKU marketing and IT divisions partnered on a CMS implementation and training program, using a combination of forums, hands-on training workshops, online modules and a self-help website. The team trained 650 CMS users in 18 months with just three employees. “It was revolutionary for us to move into a CMS because it meant we completely changed how we managed our entire web presence,” said Martin. “But that collaboration was really essential to our success.”
Eureka … There’s Gold in Your Own Backyard! The value of continuing education units in online learning strategy development By Dave Jarrat, InsideTrack
InsideTrack has been working with online higher education programs for more than a decade. However, in the last few years, we’ve noticed a clear shift in how institutions are formulating their online education strategies. Traditional public and private institutions are increasingly centralizing strategic decision-making related to online programs in their presidents’ and provosts’ offices, as opposed to allowing individual academic units to develop strategies on their own. This shift, in itself, is not that surprising. After all, there are economies of scale, scope and strategic alignment at stake. What strikes me as odd is that many of these institutions have thriving continuing education (CE), professional studies and/or other post-traditional divisions (ones serving primarily non-first-time, non-full-time students), but aren’t bringing the leaders of these divisions to the online strategy discussion table.
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Post-traditional units have long been recognized as the pioneering innovators of higher education. Post-traditional units have long been recognized as the pioneering innovators of higher education. The identification of new markets, creation of cutting-edge programs, and development of state-of-the-art engagement and teaching methods are but a few of their many contributions. For decades, online education has thrived in institutional units focused on serving working adults. University of Maryland University College, Penn State World Campus, Brandman University and Drexel University Online are just a few examples of pioneering online learning providers to emerge from traditional public and private universities. Nonetheless, it seems that some institutions may be ignoring this treasure trove of expertise and knowledge as they begin to formulate their institution-wide approaches to online education. Over the last year, at least a dozen prominent universities have created new VPlevel positions to oversee online learning. In
several cases, the person selected to fill the role had prior experience operating an online learning division or institution. However, many did not. Moreover, Iâ€™ve spoken with a number of post-traditional program leaders who have expressed concern about their universitiesâ€™ approaches to formulating an online learning strategy. Many are concerned that these strategies are based largely on institutionsâ€™ experiences with traditional campus-based students taking individual online courses and ignore insights derived from providing online degree programs and serving working adults. Whatever the case may be, presidents and provosts would be wise to tap the expertise of their post-traditional units on issues of innovation, technology and online learning behavior. They may discover that they have online strategy gold sitting right there in their backyard.
Plugging in to Social Media in the Classroom Its potential impact on students has come a long way since AOL By Pamela Rossow, Contributing Writer
Social media could play a crucial role in more classrooms in 2014. Since the Web 2.0 revolution and the shift from mass media to social media, educators may be able to tap into this popular resource to enhance students’ learning and even assist in making learning more relevant to students. With online learning as an option for nontraditional students who may desire increased flexibility in their studies, the challenge could become connecting with these adult learners in ways that extend beyond the physical classroom.
When did social media begin?
With the Internet’s advent, computer users were able to access information previously found in libraries, books and other hard-copy forms. Although social media technically began in 1969 with CompuServe, an online service that connected people across the globe, it wasn’t until later with AOL Instant Messenger and other blogging platforms that social media became more recognizable.
Why could social media be important for educators and students?
One of social media’s most notable traits is its ability to connect people across the globe regardless of geographical boundaries. This characteristic could be important for educators who are teaching online classes or for nontraditional students who may log in to class discussions in varying time zones. Furthermore, information may be shared instantly, which could allow for the quicker dissemination of knowledge.
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Educators could convey important knowledge more readily to their students via social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook pages. A study by the Babson Survey Research Group stated, “Nearly 80 percent of educators are using social media in some way, according to a recent survey of nearly 2,000 college faculty.” Along with the benefits mentioned, social media tends to be user-friendly and accessible to most students and teachers.
do not have to be in a classroom, they can shape their own learning on their own time. Social media could be a tool that these e-learners use to supplement and expand their college educations.
How has social media shaped learning?
• Engagement: By bringing a social media tool such as Twitter into the classroom, students may find themselves more engaged with course content. For example, if a guest speaker is invited to lecture, students could be encouraged to ask questions during the lecture using Twitter and a specific hashtag. The teacher could stream the questions live for the lecturer and students to see. At the end, the lecturer might select certain tweets to respond to. This dialogue has the potential to carry on outside of the classroom, too, which may also enhance learning.
Social media has not only altered the way people communicate – it has also affected the classroom in regard to how educators teach and how students learn. With access to various social media tools, students could take their education into their own hands more often and even customize their education to suit themselves. Thanks to this shift, learning has become more studentcentered instead of teacher-centered for many students.
How might social media positively impact learning in the classroom? There are numerous ways that social media could positively affect classroom learning.
With access to various social media tools, students could take their education into their own hands more often and even customize their education to suit themselves. How do social media and student-centered learning coincide?
If adult learners want to go back to college and earn degrees, they might enroll in online degree programs. They may tweak their schedules so that their college courses fit around their work and family life. They could use social media tools such as Facebook to connect with their peers or Google Hangouts to interact with study groups. They could track down paid internships on LinkedIn or start a blog about an industry that interests them. Because these nontraditional students
• Learning styles: Students have different learning styles. Some students are auditory learners and prefer hearing class materials presented either via lectures or social media sites such as YouTube. Other students learn better visually, so posting their artwork on Flickr or pinning it onto Pinterest boards are great social media options. Because there are many types of social media platforms available, educators may pick and choose which types they would like to introduce into the classroom and, in doing so, could make course information more relevant for students.
• Life skills: With the rise of educational technology and digital media, using social media in the classroom could help prepare students for life after graduation. Certain careers might require basic knowledge of blogging sites such as WordPress or how to create company Facebook pages. Students who are exposed to social media in the classroom could have an advantage over peers who do not utilize social media in educational settings. • Collaboration: Because educators and students often collaborate when using social media for educational purposes, students may graduate with digital portfolios they could use when job seeking; teachers may connect with one another and share course materials; and social media may streamline classwork by pulling it into one place such as a blog, Blackboard discussion board or a Facebook page. • Accessibility: Some students may work graveyard shifts or unusual hours. Because of their life circumstances, they might need to check school information during unconventional times. By using social media tools (for example, a class Facebook page or Twitter profile) to update class specifics such as canceled classes, test date changes or other pertinent information, more students could remain in the loop and feel included in class activities. Social media as an educational enhancement tool has the potential to break down barriers such as geographical separation, encourage team-based projects using social media tools like YouTube or even enable students to go straight to the sources of trending topics on LinkedIn. It may be the wave of the future in 2014 classrooms as some educators use digital methods for enriching students’ knowledge. It could enhance face-to-face instruction, too, because social media may be another avenue to build trust between educators and students via educational technology.
Contributors BRJDEN CREWE has been in radio for more than eight years and is a writer for a number of well-respected publications nationwide, including MTV.com, BET.com, SonicMusicMonkey.com and a number of local publications. He writes for The Las Vegas Sun, The Review-Journal, The Las Vegas Weekly, The Daily Scene, VegasDeluxe. com, Las Vegas Magazine, Vegas Magazine and Vegas Rated & Seven Magazine. ANGELA MARIE DUGAN resides in Fairfax, Va., with her children; is currently a Senior Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton; and has been an Instructional Designer and Facilitator for more than seven years. She has worked with clients such as Special Forces, DIA, CIA, DEA and NRO. Dugan possesses two Master’s degrees, an MBA and a M.S. in educational technology, and recently started her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction. She may be contacted at AngelaMarie0826@gmail.com. DR. KEITH HAMPSON is the Managing Director of Client Innovation at Acrobatiq, a Carnegie Mellon company focused on enabling faculty and universities to measurably improve student learning through intelligent courseware, learning analytics, and consulting and professional development services. Hampson has deep roots in higher education. After earning his doctorate at the University of Queensland (Australia), he served as a member of the faculty at Ryerson University, where he focused on the intersection of markets, culture and consumer behavior. He then took on the role of Director, Digital Education Strategies, at Ryerson University, where he and his team grew enrollment by 500 percent and won six national awards for excellence in digital higher education. Before joining Acrobatiq, Hampson served as an advisor to dozens of institutions and companies trying to improve online education.
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DR. BRENDA K. HARMS is a Senior Vice President with Converge Consulting and is author of the book Up to Speed: Marketing to Today’s Adult Student. Harms has a diverse background in higher education marketing, recruiting and retention and has been involved in the development and delivery of accelerated on-campus and online courses. She has served as Secretary/Treasurer of the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators executive committee and National Conference Program Chair, and she is an avid speaker, presenting at several national conferences. Harms received a B.S. in allied health and an M.A. in educational psychology and counseling from the University of South Dakota and her Ph.D. in human services with her dissertation on adult student retention from Capella University. She may be reached at Brenda@ConvergeConsulting.org. DAVE JARRAT is Vice President of Marketing at InsideTrack, where he directs marketing, research and industryrelations activities. In addition to engaging prospective university partners and building InsideTrack’s brand through thought leadership and research activities, he also manages the InsideTrack advisory board and the company’s relationships with key associations and policy bodies. He has authored numerous papers on issues related to higher education and student success, and his research and opinions have appeared in popular education outlets, including the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. He is also a regular speaker at higher education industry events and conferences. Jarrat holds a B.A. in environmental science, economics and politics from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. He can be followed on Twitter @DJarrat.
SHAUL KUPER is President and CEO of Destiny Solutions, a company that provides business software solutions for nontraditional divisions of leading higher education institutions. Kuper, widely considered one of the foremost experts in reimagining the business of higher education, conceptualized and built the higher education industry’s first comprehensive business software solution, Destiny One, designed to exclusively meet the divergent needs of today’s students. Destiny Solutions assists institutions including Penn State World Campus, Stanford Center for Professional Development and eCornell. Kuper regularly advises on student engagement strategies with industry leaders in higher education and enterprises around the world. He holds a B.A. in molecular biology and genetics from the University of Toronto. LANCE MERKER is President and CEO of OmniUpdate, a leading web content management system (CMS) provider for higher education. Its enterprise web CMS, OU Campus, is used to manage more than 700 college and university websites around the world. OU Campus empowers institutions to effectively manage and enhance their web presence and take advantage of the latest web and mobile technologies. Lance can be reached at LMerker@OmniUpdate.com.
LISA CYNAMON MAYERS is the Academic Advisor for Intead, providing guidance on the college application and admissions processes. She has spent nearly 15 years working in undergraduate admissions and college counseling. Upon graduating from Washington University, she stayed on campus to work as a Senior Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions. For the past 10 years, she has worked as an independent college counselor, guiding American and international high school students and their parents through the college admissions process. She was a keynote speaker at the 2008 Inside Ivy Conference in Seoul, South Korea, organized by the Princeton Review Korea and Road to College. As a speaker and published writer on the subject of college admissions, she has been able to advise countless students and parents. Mayers may be contacted at LCynamonMayers@Intead.com. DR. ANTHONY G. PICCIANO is a Professor and Executive Officer in the Ph.D. program in Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is also a member of the faculty in the graduate program in Education Leadership at Hunter College, the doctoral certificate program in Interactive Pedagogy and Technology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and the Online B.A. program in Communication and Culture in the CUNY School of Professional Studies. He has authored 12 books, numerous articles, and has been invited to give presentations at national and international conferences on his work in online and blended learning. He was a founding member and continues to serve on the board of directors of the Sloan Consortium. In 2010, Picciano was the recipient of the Sloan Consortium’s National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Education by an Individual. He may be contacted through his website AnthonyPicciano.com.
PAMELA ROSSOW is a freelance writer who works with higher education clients, such as eLearners. She is a native South Floridian who enjoys photography, literature and hockey. You can follow her on Google+. JONATHAN SHORES is nearing his 17th year working in higher education. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. with a concentration in marketing and has an MBA with a concentration in marketing and a B.A. in wealth management from Campbell University’s Lundy Fetterman School of Business. He currently serves as Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment for PlattForm. Previously, Shores was Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment at Montreat College in North Carolina and at other institutions working in admissions, student affairs and as a member of the faculty. Shores has also served in the U.S. Air Force for almost 14 years and was deployed numerous times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Joint Forge and Operation Joint Endeavor. He may be contacted at Jonathan.Shores@PlattForm.com.
Tasha Cerny is a freelance writer. She is a former Marketing and Communications Intern at PlattForm and has been working closely with Career College Central. She is a senior studying English literature and creative writing at the University of Kansas. She can be reached at email@example.com.
EMMA WARD has worked on both the agency and university sides of the fence and is PlattForm’s Coventry, England-based Client Relationship Director. With an eye on sector developments, government policy, and the latest marketing and recruitment tools, Ward combines a control-freakish love of marketing with a deep understanding of higher education in the U.K. and overseas. She may be contacted at Emma.Ward@PlattForm.com.
Calendar 2014 March
SCUP 2014 North Atlantic Regional Conference Theme: Mind the Gap: Linking Mission, Resources, Technology and Place Boston University Boston, Mass.
SCUP 2014 Pacific Regional Conference Theme: Discover NEW MODELS (of Integrated Planning) Loews Hollywood Hotel Hollywood, Calif.
99th UPCEA Annual Conference Theme: Own the Moment Hyatt Regency Miami Miami, Fla.
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2014 Annual Meeting Theme: The Power of Education Research for Innovation in Practice and Policy Philadelphia, Pa.
Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE-2014) Merrion Road Dublin, Ireland
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Third Annual International Universities Networking Conference St. Petersburg, Russia
The Digital Education Show Asia 2014 Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
HETL 2014 Anchorage Conference Theme: Innovative Learning-Scapes: e-Scapes, Play-Scapes & More Anchorage, Alaska
SCUPâ€™s 49th Annual International Conference Theme: Plan for Transformation in Higher Education David L. Lawrence Convention Center Pittsburgh, Pa.
National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) 70th National Conference Indianapolis, Ind.
International Conference in Transnational Education and Learning Theme: The State of Transnational Education and Learning Hyatt Regency Milwaukee Milwaukee, Wis.
AASPA Annual Conference 2014 Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront Portland, Ore.
Visit our website at UniversityOutlook.com for more details about upcoming conferences and events. If you or your organization have an upcoming conference, forum or event that you would like to include in the University Outlook calendar of events, please forward submissions to Steve Adams,
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UniversityOutlook.com/Subscribe For advertising opportunities, email Advertise@UniversityOutlook.com or call 1.855.280.1890 To inquire about article submissions, contact: Steve Adams Steve@UniversityOutlook.com or by telephone at 1.855.280.1890
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Progressive strategies for modern learning ONLINE! Visit us at UniversityOutlook.com for additional news and events or for subscription and advertising information.
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Open the door for adult learners. Adult learners are here to stay. Just recently, adult student enrollment surpassed traditional undergraduate enrollment for the first time in U.S. history. Does your institution have a strategy for reaching a new kind of student? Donâ€™t be left behind. Turn to an education marketing partner with more than 20 years of experience to meet your enrollment goals. We deliver a full range of services in one integrated strategy tailored to the needs of your institution. 550 team members strong, we are experts in education, leaders in marketing.
913.254.6000 | PlattForm.com
Do you want to recruit international students? The Student World has been designed to support you in reaching out to students in the UK, Ireland and South Africa interested in studying overseas. We organise the largest international study abroad events in the UK, Ireland and Road Shows in the UK and South Africa which visit top schools with a select number of international universities. The USA is the top destination for British students (almost 40%) and South African students (over 25%) looking to study abroad and the second most popular country for Irish students after the UK. Make sure you get your share of students by attending The Student World events this spring.
Spring 2014 Events UK
London Networking Day: London Fair: Leeds Fair: Road Show:
Dublin Networking Day: Dublin Fair:
Friday 21st March 2014 Saturday 22nd March 2014 Sunday 23rd March 2014 Monday 24th March 2014 Wednesday 26th March 2014 Friday, 28th March 2014 Saturday, 29th March 2014
Johannesburg Road Show: May 2014 Discover more about the exhibitions and international markets by visiting our website:
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and my experience with The Student World is always stellar. They really pay attention to details and making the experience excellent for everyone involved. Over 75% of the students were exactly at the level in their studies (1st or 2nd year of A levels), and this is perfect timing for an undergraduate college such as us, Berkeley College.â€? Berkeley College, USA