Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, is observed annually on November 11th and gives the nation an opportunity to honor those who served in the U.S. Military. Many other countries celebrate the same day as Remembrance Day to mark the end of major hostilities after World War I, but for Americans, it’s a day to explicitly thank a veteran for his or her service and sacrifice.
Something about a challenge motivates us. Whether it’s the first transatlantic flight, landing on the moon, or taking on one of numerous YouTube challenges going viral on smartphones everywhere, there is something about challenges that creates energy, creativity, and innovation. Even the U.S. government has harnessed the power of challenges, from using RFID to locate items on the International Space Station, launching payloads into space within a matter of days, or helping to prevent opioid misuse in expectant and new mothers. Challenges with cash prizes are available from various agencies on Challenge.gov, which reports awarding over $250 million in prizes to creative individuals, small business owners and academic researchers.
One of the wonderful aspects of the challenge process is that you don’t have to do the challenge to participate; you can learn from the process itself and even assist in judging entries for which you have expertise and interest. However, if you have a unique approach or an innovative idea, you can join the students, entrepreneurs, technology-inclined, and academic researchers in the challenge to be the first and best.
I recently participated on a panel at the University of Pennsylvania’s Future of Higher Education conference. The text below is excerpted from my prepared remarks.
It’s no surprise that we have both digital-only universities and universities that offer digital classes. However, you may be surprised that in the U.S., we have 140 digital-only universities and 3,338 universities and colleges offering online courses. The latest Babson Survey Research Group online learning survey found that approximately 6.4 million students attending U.S. universities (representing 31.6% of all students) took at least one online course in the last year. Almost half of these students attended one of 235 institutions representing 5% of U.S. higher education institutions.
I recently attended my third CBExchange and this year, I had the pleasure of serving on the program and welcome committees. The number one benefit to being a Competency-Based Education Network (CBEN) member and/or attending CBExchange is learning from the experiences of those who participate. The community is open in sharing the good, the bad, the challenges, and the triumphs of starting, fostering, and scaling CBE programs. While I wasn’t around at the beginning of the online education movement, the comradery I’ve seen forged in those who built online education is reflected in the relationships established through CBEN.
The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) held its biannual Internet, Policy, and Politics conference on September 20-21, 2018 at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. The conference is one of academia’s leading venues for examining the interplay between technology, politics, and the development of innovative new policy. This year’s event, “Long Live Democracy?”, examined the challenges and opportunities for democratic processes in a digital world.
The conference was organized by OII and the journal Policy and Internet, in collaboration with the European Consortium of Political Research’s standing group on Internet and Politics, Policy Studies Organization (PSO), and American Public University System. Scholars attended from all over the world, including Bar Ilan University, Cornell University, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul Bilgi University, London School of Economics, McGill University, Northwestern University, St. Petersburg State University, University of Amsterdam, University of Helsinki, University of St. Andrews, University of Sydney, University of Texas at Austin, and World Bank Group, among others.
We operate in a turbulent higher education marketplace. Many forces are impacting the foundational pillars of higher education, from economic and demographic to social, cultural, and, especially, technological. Knowing how these forces will impact higher education helps leaders adjust, adapt, and plan for the future. This awareness can help an institution to survive or even flourish.
One established source for understanding trends has been the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) annual Horizon Report, which assesses short-, mid-, and long-term trends in the adoption of technology in higher education. The report also looks at the anticipated timeframe for the adoption and the challenges that might impede the adoption of that technology. Over the last 16 years, NMC has used the Delphi Method, engaging industry experts like consultant Bryan Alexander to develop, discuss, and forecast the likelihood and strength of these trends. I have used the report as homework for my academic leaders and it has been suggested reading for all university leadership for many years.
Our core mission at American Public University System is to provide quality higher education to our military and public service community to prepare these learners for service and leadership in our society. One way we fulfill this mission is through our participation in the Credential Engine, a nonprofit with the complementary mission to enhance credential transparency and literacy to empower learners to make more informed decisions about credentials and their career value.
In 2016, APUS joined the Credential Transparency Initiative (CTI), a collaborative project to research and develop a centralized registry of credential information, a common credentialing language and supporting search engine. In January 2017, APUS became a founding member of the newly-formed Credential Engine to contribute more substantively to the development of this organization and its first offering, Credential Finder.
APUS Provost and former EDUCAUSE Board member Dr. Vernon Smith has a keen understanding of the contributions technology can make to advance the academic mission. In this recent EDUCAUSE Review interview, he discusses where IT and higher education are, and where they're heading.
I attended this year’s Commencement ceremony by earning my B.A. in English. Let me explain what Commencement meant to me.
I flew from Okinawa to participate in a weekend of fun. First, I attended the food drive and met some great people. Whoever came up with this idea deserves more than a pat on the back. It brought the graduates together, in a way that removed the feeling of not knowing anyone amongst so many new faces from all walks of life. Afterwards, I attempted to make the social events, but due to traffic I did not make it although my hotel was only seven miles away. No problem, because nothing was going to dampen my spirits. The coup de grâce was happening June 2nd at 3 p.m., and I thought gracing that stage as my name was called would be the cherry on top. It was not.
Innovative institutions of higher learning are increasingly incorporating Open Educational Resources (OER) in their curricula to improve instruction and lower students’ education costs.
OER brings together teaching, learning and resource materials in any medium that have been released under an open license. Open Educational Resources include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation products. In 2017, APUS converted 222 courses to OER.