IPP Conference

Internet, Politics, Policy Conference 2016: The Platform Society

The fourth conference organized by the Policy and Internet Journal (PIJ, founded in 2009) and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) was held at the Mathematics Institute at Oxford University in late September. I was pleased to attend and represent American Public University System. The following recaps some of the presentations.

“We move from one online platform to another as part of our daily lives,” said Professor Helen Margetts, OII chair.

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Business of Higher Ed

Higher Ed Insights: Week of October 17, 2016

Reuters wrote about how a Chinese company, Dipont, bought access to admissions officers at elite U.S. colleges and universities including Vanderbilt, Tulane, the University of Virginia, and Wellesley College.  Eight former Dipont employees were interviewed about the company’s practices with U.S. admissions officers.  One of those practices, hosting a summer program in China and inviting U.S.

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President's Forum

Measuring Progress: Catching Up With Innovation – the 13th Annual Presidents’ Forum

The Presidents’ Forum, established in 2004, is a collaboration of accredited, national, adult-serving institutions and programs that have embraced the power and potential of online education. The Forum provides a venue for leaders in higher education and stakeholders to share their knowledge and learn from others’ best practices. It was originally affiliated with Excelsior College and Excelsior’s president, John Ebersole, deserves credit for organizing and supporting it in its early years (note: I currently serve as Forum vice chair and APUS has supported the Forum for years).

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Institutional spaces

Higher Ed Insights from the Week of October 10, 2016

A recent Inside Higher Education article, Oberlin Expands Its Reach, noted that Oberlin College is willing to open its library to online students in a Pioneer Academics program, and grant them credit for completing college level courses requiring a 15-30 page research paper.  Oberlin is remunerated for the use of its library and for the credit granting. 

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Photos and Videos in the Digital Age

Wally Boston glances back to when he acquired his first camera and later down the line, his first digital camera. As technology in this area evolves and becomes more sophisticated, so do consumers' needs for devices that can keep pace. Boston says that while he can only speculate on the power of government-operated facial recognition software, the power distributed to the person on the street through their phones and online software platforms is notable.

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Down and Out in Silicon Valley

Oakland has been chosen as a pilot for the concept of UBI (universal basic income). Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley incubator and early-stage funder of Airbnb and Dropbox, announced a pilot in May to provide 100 individuals a monthly stipend for up to a year. The purpose is not just to test whether the UBI theory will succeed, but to also test the logistics of how to manage such a program. Matt Krisiloff, the manager of the pilot, noted that he was inspired to conduct the experiment based on his work with Artificial Intelligence.

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Blavatnik School of Government Review

The Trust Issue

The Blavatnik School of Government is a relatively new school at Oxford University, focusing on global public policy. In the August 2016 first edition of their first journal entitled The Government Review, the school assembled a series of papers dealing with The Trust Issue with governments.

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College Scorecard

College Scorecard Does Not Fairly Represent All Institutions

On September 12, 2015, the White House released its long-awaited College Scorecard and, much like other ranking and comparison tools available for use by students, the Scorecard came up short in representing all institutions fairly. While it may have been created with the latest mobile technology to allow for easier access, its data do not accurately portray many institutions, including those serving non-traditional students or where most students do not use federal student aid (FSA) to cover the cost of tuition.

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Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators Will Make College Accessible and Affordable

In Revolution, Dr. DeMillo continues where he left off with Abelard, noting that “most American colleges and universities are locked in a system that is anything but excellent.” The “Middle” represents the 4,000 colleges and universities just below the elite level, the ones that are “in trouble.” The Middle schools enroll 80 percent of all students, are in financial disrepair and their historical inability to control costs has reduced public confidence in the value of a college degree. Without innovation, cost increases at institutions will continue to repel prospective students.

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Jeff Selingo Life after College book cover

There Is Life after College

Jeff Selingo, author of College (Un)bound, recently released his latest book, a primer for parents of college-aged children. He maintains that today’s teenagers and young adults have many challenges ahead of them after college graduation and that it’s appropriate to start thinking about how to manage your career as soon as you finish high school. Selingo notes that the education system is out of sync with the economy and that college is a platform for lifelong learning that we will leave and return to whenever we need further education and training to get ahead in our existing job or to switch careers.

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