Over the past few weeks, I’ve been following The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of schools that have made announcements about their reopening in the fall of 2020. In today’s Chronicle, they wrote that they are combining forces with Davidson College’s College Crisis Initiative (C2i).
In an article published by Brookings, authors Steven Hemelt and Kevin Stange report that their analysis suggests that moving classes online is unlikely to reduce instructional costs. According to the authors (who are associate professors of public policy at UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan, respectively), evidence on the relationship between online coursework and costs is sparse, and the evidence on how online instruction differs by program and field is largely nonexistent.
This week, I moved one of my daughters from her off-campus apartment with an expiring lease to the apartment that she selected for this year. Next week, the same transition will occur with her sister, but at another university in another city. The plans were made and leases signed in January before anyone knew what havoc the pandemic would wreak on their campuses and college campuses nationwide.
In 1997, Forbes Magazine published an article titled "Seeing things as they really are," which was an interview about the future with legendary management professor Dr. Peter F. Drucker. When asked about the future of higher education, Drucker said, "Thirty years from now, the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won't survive. It's as large a change as when we first got the printed book. The college won't survive as a residential institution. Today's buildings are hopelessly unsuited and totally unneeded." Given that his prediction was for 30 years in the future, Dr. Drucker has six more years for something similar to it to occur.
Potable water is a requirement for life, yet in many towns and cities across the United States, municipal water poses human health risk either from source water or water infrastructure. As a society, we need household-scale water testing to understand the extent to which the health of the local population is at risk. In an effort to help our students understand the quality of their local drinking water, we have established the Water Testing and Awareness Project (Water TAP).
Times Higher Education (THE) published an article about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the assessment of learning in colleges and universities. Steve Masters, Education 4.0 Lead at Jisc (formerly the Joint Information Systems Committee), stated, “Universities’ first challenge was to get remote working up and running and get learning out there during this ‘triage’ period, but there’s a disconnect between what we need to do for students moving forward and what’s happening now.” Masters believes that as universities prepare for the possibility of teaching online in the fall, online assessment will need to be on the agenda.
When the first college campuses in the state of Washington closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought the actions to be reasonable and short term because of the proximity to Seattle, the early coronavirus hotspot in the U.S. As more college campuses closed for the remainder of the spring semester and athletic teams’ seasons were cancelled, I thought the actions to be reasonable. Those measures were designed to keep a socially active age group from spreading the coronavirus on campus and in their college towns and cities.
In Monday’s Inside Higher Ed, regular contributor Joshua Kim calls out the online publication’s editors for allowing the publication of an op-ed titled “Generals Die in Bed,” written by Jeff Kolnick, a professor of history at Southwest Minnesota State University. Dr. Kim, Director of Online Programs and Strategy at Dartmouth’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (and co-author of Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, which I recently reviewed), states that he does not disagree with Dr. Kolnick’s concerns about the health risks of face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a matter of fact, Dr. Kim shares the same concerns.
With cases of the coronavirus on the rise around the U.S., colleges leaders that made the early call to go online for the fall appear more prescient every day as we get closer to the anticipated start date. While the safety of students, faculty, and staff has to be at the forefront of any decision to return to campus, there are some who have asked if the decision to return has been driven primarily by financial considerations.
Recently, the American Council on Education (ACE) released its findings from a six-month study on the use of blockchain technology in education.