Posts published in January, 2012
Universities “unbundle” credentials
Free, open-enrollment courses at top-tier universities have highlighted the fact that a major benefit of higher education in today’s society is credentialing. Separating these credentials from educational content may change major aspects of the cost structure of and delivery mechanisms for higher education.
Despite some bold proposals , Congressional action will be requred. Nothing is likely to happen in an election year, and his concepts need to be carefully crafted to accomplish his objectives -see below where the link has much more depth on Obama higher education plan than news reports.
President Barack Obama called for an overhaul of the higher education financial aid system, warning that colleges and universities that fail to control spiraling tuition costs could lose federal funds. He also proposed a Race to the Top competition to encourage states to better use higher education dollars in exchange for $1 billion in prize dollars. The First in the World competition would encourage innovation to boost productivity on campuses. (Boston Globe, 01/27/12)
by Perry A. Zirkel : In Teachers College Record
This commentary suggests a systemic
solution to the pernicious problem of big-time college basketball and football.
Lumina Foundation Focus
reports on the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP)
and how two institutions in southern California–Marymount College and National
University–are using the DQP framework to define what students, regardless of
discipline, know and are able to do upon graduating with an associate,
bachelor’s and master’s degree. More »
Stressful AP courses – a push for a cap
By Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle
Perfect isn’t good enough when it comes to getting into some of the country’s top colleges. Last year, the average grade point average of an accepted freshman applicant at UCLA was 4.34 – well above the former gold-standard 4.0 for straight A’s. The only way to push past a 4.0 and compete for a spot at Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley or UCLA is to take Advanced Placement courses, college-level classes that offer a grade-point premium, which typically increases a grade by an entire point, making, say, a B look like an A on a transcript. Over the past decade, students increasingly have loaded up on those classes, sometimes juggling so many that they have little time for anything besides academics. With four or more hours a day of homework, even sleep is often an afterthought.
By Larry Gordon/Los Angeles Times
System President Mark G. Yudof says staff will study student group’s proposal in which graduates would have to pay 5% of their wages for two decades. UC Riverside students received a dose of validation Wednesday from system President Mark G. Yudof over their radical plan to abolish tuition and replace it with post-graduation payments equaling 5% of their income for 20 years. Speaking at a UC regents meeting on the Riverside campus, Yudof said he was “very impressed” with the proposal — despite the obstacles it would face in implementation. “We think the ideas are constructive,” Yudof said, promising that his staff would study the plan. His comments were a triumph of sorts for Chris LoCascio, a UC Riverside student who has led an effort to find an alternative to skyrocketing tuition and a way to cope with shrinking state education revenues. (more)
By Watson Scott Swail, President & CEO, Educational Policy Institute/EPI International
Before the Christmas break, I wrote a piece called “Higher Education for Free” (December 23, 2011). This week I am providing a “Part Deux” due to emerging news and conversations on the topic.
This week, Apple announced two important announcements. First, an expansion of their iTunes U, which provides not only courses from higher education institutions around the world, but full courses. Second, the expansion of iBooks for textbooks.
These two innovations build upon our prior news of MIT opening its course content to the masses, giving people who complete MIT online courses an option of getting full course credit for their effort.
In the past few days, critics have crawled out of the woodwork to complain how Apple will be bad for higher education. As one critic noted, this is not Apple’s humanitarian interest in expanding education to the masses, but rather, to sell more iPads. Others suggest that this will only weaken the “higher education brand” for institutions and we will continue to water down the pristine ivory towers of postsecondary education.
This past week, EPI hosted its Executive Institute on Student Success in Scottsdale, Arizona. Former Congressman and CSU-Monterey Bay Founding President Peter Smith (now of Kaplan Higher Education) discussed the potential of “badging” in higher education. This is the practice where students will essentially receive a statement of competency acquired in a particular course. This is not necessarily the same as gaining course “credit,” but it begins to eat away at the necessity of certain course work and may pave the way for redefining the structure of the higher education “degree.”
The recent proposal by D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown that would require all students to take a college entrance exam and apply to at least one post-secondary institution in order to get a high school diploma is not without merit, write the editors of The Washington Post. However, “the way [it was] developed — without consultation with those who manage the schools or any regard to the impact — is a troubling sign of a council that seems more interested in sound bites than in providing thoughtful oversight.” The editors pose a host of questions as yet unanswered: Does the system have in place supports needed for successful outcomes, or would it be setting up students for failure? Is the city prepared to pick up the costs of applications for students who can’t afford fees? What about exam fees? Will there be counselors to provide effective advice on what college to pick or how to write an essay? And is it really a good idea to deny a diploma to someone who met all the requirements of a high school education save for filling out a college application? “It would be better for the council not to ricochet from issue to issue, coming up with half-baked legislation that takes up time that [D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya] Henderson could better spend on other issues,” opines The Post.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/6wmf8q7
Source: PEN Newsblast
In response to the growing popularity of online education, U.S. News and World Reports announced that it would review online post secondary programs. However, after controversy around how these programs would be evaluated, U.S. News chose to launch the new reviews without numeric program rankings.
Ralph A. Wolff, president of the senior college commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges expressed to university leaders that accreditors must identify a “core set of student achievement measures, both quantitative and qualitative,” and define an “acceptable level of performance” that all colleges should meet.