During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, fewer articles about higher education are published, primarily because colleges and universities are closed and faculty, students, and administrators are not around. On December 28, 2012, however, The Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Deans List: Hiring Spree Fattens College Bureaucracy- and Tuition.” The article doesn’t appear to have been picked up in too many other places.
In the clamor for increasing graduation and persistence rates, are we ignoring the student at risk factors and student characteristics?
In the early days of online education, a commonly discussed phenomenon was the low completion rates of students. Some chose to explain the departure of students using characteristics such as lack of social integration and academic integration for students matriculating in online programs as identified by Vincent Tinto and others. As technologies utilized in the classroom improved and subsequently, online teaching techniques, student persistence improved as well, but not close to the levels sustained by some of the best face-to-face programs.
Today’s higher education environment vis-à-vis the national economic situation has ignited a debate over whether a college degree is worth the cost. Significant budget cuts in many states have meant that colleges are raising tuitions, increasing fees, and offering less in scholarship money to students. Few students had enough money saved to pay for college prior to the economic downturn which has had a catastrophic impact on many schools (see my daily headline postings and links in the “Impact of the Economy on Higher Education” section of my blog for some examples).
This past week, I was invited to participate on a panel at the Education Innovation Summit organized by ASU SkySong (affiliated with Arizona State University) and NeXtAdvisors. The goal of the summit’s organizers is to “’curate’ an environment that provides the right mix of wild-eyed education entrepreneurs, value added investors, not-for-profit leaders, progressive policy makers, academic thought leaders, and forward leaning foundations, philanthropists and industry executives.”
I received an email from a student asking me what he could do when people state that American Military University (AMU) or American Public University (APU) are “diploma mills” or unaccredited. I thought I would post my response.
The “myths” that AMU or APU are diploma mills or unaccredited are invalid. In most cases, the myths are more than likely disseminated by individuals who do not care for online colleges and universities.
I recently had the chance to read a research report titled “With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them,” published by Public Agenda with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The authors of the report surveyed over 600 young adults between the ages of 22 and 30. The purpose of the survey was to compare the answers of students who dropped out of college to the answers of students who graduated within the three year (for community colleges) or six year (for four-year colleges) standards as measured by the U.S.
The Delta Cost Project recently released a report titled, “Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does it Go?” The report is enlightening given the well-documented increases in college costs combined with the current financial crisis.
The Forward to the report, written by Delta Cost Project’s Executive Director, Jane Wellman, notes that “Our country needs to increase capacity and improve performance in higher education.
The U.S. Department of Education released the findings of a meta-analysis conducted by its Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development on Friday that confirm what online educators have known for years: “on average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
Online education has gained tremendous momentum in the last several years.
American Public University System has focused on assessment and learning outcomes since 2004. Dr. Jennifer Stephens, our Dean of Assessment, publishes our learning outcomes on the web at http://www.apus.edu/learning-outcomes-assessment. We are committed to continuous improvement and making sure that we are providing online programs that match our students’ needs. I asked Dr. Stephens to provide me with a guest blog article summarizing the trends in accountability and our participation in the Transparency by Design initiative.