Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bill Gates on the College Crisis

A couple of weeks ago, Bill Gates gave a presentation on the current state of higher education, and I thought his PowerPoint slides made a great model for students in this class.  (Of course, why should we expect anything less from the man who brought us PowerPoint in the first place).  His argument, as you might expect, is that technology is the solution -- but he stops his presentation before using the M_ _ _ word.  Worth a look.
Is College Worth It?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"College of the Future...."

In "College of Future Could Be Come One, Come All" (The New York Times, Nov. 19, 2012), Tamar Lewin documents and feeds the exploding interest in MOOCs (massive open online courses) as the "next REALLY BIG thing" in higher education.  The focus of the article is Princeton Sociology professor Mitchell Duneier's MOOC, which you can check out online (see above).  I wonder what the MOOC version of "College!" would look like?  Or maybe "Basic Composition"?  I can definitely feel the trend.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Students Worry about Money (Surprise!)

"Financial Worries Pile on Long Before Graduation" (November 14) according to a recent article in The New York Times, which cites data from the 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement.  Students are not only concerned about finding a job after college (which has become the most important factor in choosing a major for most students, especially in STEM fields) but they are also very worried about finances while in school, which can impact their engagement and performance.  According to the report: 
Concern for finances appears to affect many students’ academic performance. About one in four first-year students and one in three seniors frequently did not purchase required academic materials due to their cost, and a third of students believed that financial concerns interfered with their academic performance. Yet despite their financial concerns, three out of four students agreed that college is a good investment (17).
Read the complete report online.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Presentations in the Cloud

As I discussed last class, I encourage you all to use cloud-based options for the presentation, especially Google Presentations or Prezi.  I have posted two short instructional videos that may be of assistance.  Please share your presentation with me and I will comment on it.  Remember: I also discourage using a lot of text (avoid "PowerPoint Overload").  Just get the basic information up there in headline form and try to use visual elements to help communicate your ideas orally.  You only have 10 minutes.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TIME's "Reinventing College"

With the blackout, canceled classes, and general distraction of Hurricane Sandy, I am just getting around to reading TIME Magazine's excellent recent issue devoted to "Reinventing College" (October 29, 2012).  I was especially happy to see Amanda Ripley's lead article, "College Is Dead.  Long Live College!" which does a great job of assessing the rising tide of internet optimism surrounding massive open online courses or MOOCs (an acronym destined to be a major addition to the dictionary this year.)  As she writes:  "Already, the hyperventilating has outpaced reality; desperate parents are praying that free online universities will finally pop the tuition bubble -- and nervous college officials don't want to miss out on a potential gold rush."  Writing about her own experience of a MOOC, she provides a very refreshing portrait of how technology can add a lot to college students' educational experiences, when done right.  There is no question in my mind that MOOCs are going to change college, if only by changing the way many traditional college courses are taught.  Students working on their papers for this class will appreciate the statistics and graphics in "Degrees of Difficulty," which I expect to see in a few student presentations....  Check it out.