EDU news curated by Kiosk: 2023 Predictions …and other higher ed news

Faces of 2022: Who shaped higher education headlines this year

From Times Higher Education: “Fedir Shandor. Within the first few months of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, it is believed that almost 1,000 academics signed up to fight and protect their homeland. Many of them, including Fedir Shandor, a professor of tourism and hospitality at Uzhhorod National University, joined the war effort on 24 February – the very day Vladimir Putin started his attack. But having worked at the university for almost 30 years, Professor Shandor was not going to let his new role stand in the way of his teaching commitments. He has been continuing to conduct his classes online, from the front line, with an image of him working remotely from the trenches used by media outlets around the world.”

The forces that are shaping the future of higher education

From Inside Higher Ed: Derek Newton, a leading higher education commentator … has observed, ‘The higher education community has an unlimited capacity for doomsaying.’ How true. … Take the claim that there is a college enrollment crisis: that over the past decade enrollments have dropped by 13 percent, with Black and Latino/a enrollments down 20 to 30 percent. You wouldn’t know from these figures that the enrollment decline is confined largely ‘to specific sectors and [is] not nearly as dramatic or drastic as the doomsayers say.’ Community colleges and for-profits have borne well over 90 percent of the drop.

17 predictions about higher education in 2023

From eCampus News: “Coming out of the pandemic institutions are redetermining their value proposition and asking questions like: What is the ROI for students and how can universities help close the skills gap? How can they diversify their offerings and in what way can learning technology help institutions meet these challenges? Humanizing the digital learning experience: Institutions and faculty want to make the digital learning experience feel more human and connected. After rapidly transitioning to online learning, faculty and students can see the benefits but still struggle through certain challenges. How can institutions humanize the experience to show the value to students?… Dr. Cristi Ford, VP of Academic Affairs, D2L.

Mental health is the top student stressor

From Inside Higher Ed: “Fifty percent of college students cited their own mental health struggles as their top stressor going into 2023, according to a survey of 1,200 students nationwide conducted by the virtual health services provider TimelyMD. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they were most concerned about their personal finances, and 37 percent named academics, while mass shootings and inflation were each cited by 35 percent.”

The partnership imperative: Community colleges, employers, and america’s chronic skills gap

From Harvard Business Review: “The nature of work has changed dramatically across industries in the last few decades … Nowhere is this more evident than in middle-skills positions—those that require less than a four-year college degree but more than a high school diploma. America’s community colleges have been, and should remain, the education portal through which these workers pass. But increasingly, the ecosystem is in imbalance due to the growing gulf between those who teach and those who hire. … Employers complain they cannot find the talent they need … Critical middle-skills positions go unfilled … educators struggle to get employers engaged—in curriculum development; in gaining access to information on how technical and foundational skills for middle-skills positions are changing.”

Rick Singer gets 3.5 years in prison

From Inside Higher Ed: “Rick Singer, who masterminded the Varsity Blues admissions scams, was sentenced last week to three and a half years in prison for his role in the scandal. U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel ordered Singer to pay $10 million in restitution to the federal government. … The federal prosecutors in the case had recommended a six-year jail sentence and a fine of more than $10 million.”

A year on, edX sale to 2U leaves both sides struggling

From Times Higher Education: “2U’s stock price has dropped nearly 70 per cent this year, provoking extensive lay-offs and glum assessments by industry analysts who argued that the company was mistaken in betting so heavily on the prospect of profitably converting edX students. Officials at MIT and Harvard, meanwhile, have yet to find a leader for the non-profit entity created from the sales proceeds, or an overall strategy for how the edX platform software it kept in the deal will be used, as promised, to broadly improve online learning across higher education.”

The end of higher ed’s wild west: Online students must demand quality

From Evolllution: “Understanding the percentage of students who complete their degrees within six to eight years is critical for evaluating institutional quality. But it’s more complex to measure for online universities because the student population is nontraditional and more likely to be part time than traditional-aged students. Graduation rates of 70% over eight years for first-time, full-time students are a good benchmark to apply to students just starting out. For working adults returning to higher education, the returning, part-time graduation rate makes more sense. And there, graduation rates higher than 50% over eight years are a reasonable standard.”

Can a national marketing campaign change the souring conversation about College?

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Campaigns by institutions that share a common characteristic make sense in a landscape as varied as American higher education. But can any snappy pitch encompass the whole sector? … At best, it can be hard to talk about in singular terms. At worst, it might be downright dishonest. The success of higher education in advertising itself as a path to a better life in the late 20th century is partially what led to this moment of self-reflection, as students’ and families’ willingness to pay for degrees, for any higher ed, regardless of price, have left many feeling they got a raw deal. … There also remain substantive issues to address. Why focus on image when the sector still has opaque pricing, equity gaps, and an obsession with prestige and rankings?”

Unusual majors help some colleges stand out from the crowd — and boost enrollment

From The Hechinger Report: “This particular small college has what it says is the country’s only four-year bachelor’s degree in automotive restoration … At a time when other colleges and universities are struggling for students, McPherson’s enrollment has been steadily increasing. Because its program is unique, it can cast a wider net than other colleges its size; its 851 students — up 18 percent over the last five years, according to figures provided by a spokesperson — come from 33 states and seven countries. Nearly twice as many apply to the automotive restoration program as can get in, and between 97 and 100 percent of graduates in each of the last three years have landed jobs in the industry.”

Can anti-plagiarism tools detect when AI chatbots write student essays

From EdSurge: “The last few weeks have seen a rush of articles in the popular press detailing how students are using ChatGPT to write their papers. The Atlantic magazine put the question starkly: ‘The College Essay is Dead.’… But like the internet—which provided the data the chatbot was trained on—ChatGPT’s output can be dicey. … It turns out that the makers of TurnItIn, one of the most widely used plagiarism detection tools, aren’t breaking a sweat. ‘We’re very confident that—for the current generation of AI writing generation systems—detection is possible,’ says Eric Wang, vice president of AI for the company.”

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