How Nanodegrees Are Disrupting Higher Education

Educational Innovation Weekly Review for Academics
Curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation
August 11, 2015
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How Nanodegrees Are Disrupting Higher Education
Campus Technology
  • New "micro" online certification programs are changing the educational pathways to success in certain industries.
  • It used to be that certificates were mainly meant for those who had already completed a bachelors degree and needed either continuing education for professional licensure or, often later in life, to pursue new intellectual challenges.That's changed. Now we see undergrads seeking out certificates while they are completing their degree, or — as in the case of ASU — completing the equivalent of 'pre-bachelors' programs to try out the university before continuing on.
  • That portfolio model may be influencing how higher ed approaches transcripts. The University of Wisconsin Colleges and Wisconsin Extension, for example, are participating in the Lumina Foundation's Extended Transcript Project, which aims to build and test a first-of-its kind "credential registry."
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Keywords: higher education, nanodegrees, credentialing
Pioneer of Ed-Tech Innovation Says He's Frustrated by Disruptors' Narrative
Chronicle Of Higher Education
  • George Siemens is a key innovator in higher education. So it’s no surprise that he was invited to a recent closed-door gathering at the White House to discuss “innovation and quality in higher education.” 
  • His frustrations ran in all directions. Some leaders in higher education, he wrote, remain uninformed about “what’s brewing in the marketplace as a whole” — such as shifts in demand for education and the emergence of “code academies” — which will change higher education “dramatically.” 
  • One of his biggest complaints is a narrative popular among leaders of education start-ups: that colleges are no different today than they were hundreds of years ago.“This is one of the most inaccurate pieces of @#%$ floating around in the ‘disrupt and transform’ learning crowd,” Mr. Siemens wrote. “Universities are exceptional at innovating and changing,” he argued. “Explore any campus today. It’s a new world on most campuses, never mind the online, competency, and related systems.”
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Keywords: innovation, higher education, disrupters
Stanford is Top University for Producing Nobel Laureates
Times Higher Education
  • Stanford University has topped a list of institutions with the most Nobel prizewinners this century, while the US dominates a top 10 based on the nationality of winners.
  • Harvard University does not feature in the elite top 10, lying just outside in 11th place, while the University of Cambridge’s tally of one Nobel prize this century is not enough to make the top 10. The University of Oxford fails to feature in the list, having produced no Nobel prizewinners this century. 
  • Henry Yang, chancellor of the University of California, Santa Barbara, the seventh institution on the institutional list, said that its success is down to its focus on “developing an intellectual environment that nurtures collegial partnerships”. 
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Keywords: research, higher education
More College Students Selling Stock - in Themselves
The Wall Street Journal
  • Skyrocketing tuition costs and Americans’ growing reliance on student debt have also increased the risks in a labor market where some college degrees have little worth and studies show that nearly half of all recent college graduates have jobs that don’t fit with their degree.
  • The desire of some students to transfer at least part of that risk has given rise to a variety of government, university and market-based experiments with such income-share agreements, in which investors essentially buy stock in the students. At stake: a fundamental shift in the way Americans finance higher education.
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Keywords:  higher education, financing education
A Prudent College Path
The New York Times
  • Every year the frenzy to get into highly selective colleges seems to intensify, and every year the news media finds and fawns over the rare students offered admission to all eight Ivy League schools. This year Ronald Nelson, from the Memphis area, was one of those who sopped up that adulation.
  • But his story had a fresh wrinkle. Nelson turned down Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the rest of them and chose instead to stay in the South, at the University of Alabama, where he’ll begin his studies later this month.
  • Nelson’s decision taps into a striking development in higher education. More and more public schools are starting, expanding, refining and successfully promoting honors programs, and particularly honors colleges, that give students some of the virtues and perks of private schools without some of the drawbacks, such as exorbitant tuition and an enclave of extreme privilege.
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Keywords:  higher education, selectivity, tuition
A Technology That Reveals Your Feelings
Bloomberg Business
  • Memo to students: Think you can fool your teacher when you’re not paying attention? Think again. In the not-too-distant future, a laptop flashing a graph tracking classroom attention in real time could give you away. 
  • By the end of 2015, as many as 1,000 schools in the U.S. and Canada could be using a technology that monitors students, says Rich Cheston, chief solutions officer at Stoneware, a Lenovo unit that makes classroom management software 
  • The teachers “can see it as they are teaching, so they can determine when to take corrective action,” Cheston says. His product will come out in September, and then he will start marketing it to schools. 
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Keywords: affective computing, ed-tech
The Language of Learning Analytics
Inside Higher Ed
  • “Analytics” is one of the hottest buzzwords in education. For ed-tech companies, it is also a selling point. By using vendors’ suites and solutions, colleges will gain access to data about why some students succeed and where and when others stumble -- or so the pitch goes.
  • But there’s a catch, said Linda Feng, senior product manager for analytics and SIS integration at Instructure. “The whole premise is that all that data has to be in their world,” she said. “In order to talk a common language, we have to agree to a common vocabulary."
  • The IMS Global Learning Consortium and others have for years been working to agree on which words go into that vocabulary, and their work is finally nearing its version 1.0 release. Known as Caliper, the vocabulary -- called metric profiles -- and the mechanisms to detect the words in it -- sensors -- will serve as a framework for tracking and reporting learning analytics.
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Keywords: learning analytics, ed-tech
Should High School Students Have to 'Defend' Their Diploma Like a Ph.D? 
The Hechinger Report
  • Jorge Magana, 18, zipped through a PowerPoint presentation with the confidence of a Fortune 500 CEO.He had 45 minutes to present a portfolio of three “artifacts,” one academic, one artistic, and one of his own choosing. The panel grilled him: Can you describe your research process? Which obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them? How will the skills you learned help with your future plans?
  • Portfolio assessments like this one, which look a lot like doctoral dissertation defenses, are on the rise in California. The practice, touted by educators nationwide as a proven path to college success, has largely been squeezed out by standardized tests, the quicker, less-costly measure of student performance. 
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Keywords: portfolio assessment, high school, college success
The 3 Instructional Shifts That Will Redefine the College Professor
  • As faculty at colleges and universities are all too aware, it’s hard to do two jobs at the same time. Since the advent of the modern research university over a century ago, faculty have effectively held down two jobs: conducting (and publishing) research and teaching students.
  • The downside is that both jobs require significant expertise and commitment to do well. And so I often think about this question: would faculty be better teachers and produce superior student outcomes if we asked them to focus solely on instruction? If today’s answer is “maybe,” tomorrow’s will be “probably” due to three shifts that will make instruction more complex and involved:  The Dynamic Classroom, Smartphones and Apps, and Competency-Based Education.
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Keywords: innovation, ed-tech, competency based education
Move Over Science, Humanities' Tech Savvy Research is Making Waves
The Guardian
  • From digital archives to 3D modelling, humanities research has undergone a technological revolution 
  • Arts and humanities researchers still spend a great deal of time in libraries and archives; they still write excellent books; they still portray themselves as lone scholars. However, this approach is now only one component of an ecosystem that embraces technological change, collaborative and interdisciplinary engagement to address global challenges, and serious attention to how research can benefit society.
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Keywords: digital humanities, research, innovation
Teaching Machines to Understand Us
MIT Technology Review
  • Deep learning  has become a new battleground between Google and other leading technology companies that are racing to use it in consumer services.
  • Deep-learning software may be able to make sense of language more the way humans do. Researchers are developing software that has shown progress toward understanding what words mean.
  • Facebook’s leaders are already thinking about how to use it. The future Facebook will retrieve and coördinate information, like a butler you communicate with by typing or talking as you might with a human one
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Keywords: deep learning, artificial intelligence
Educational Innovation Weekly Review is curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's  Observatory of Educational Innovation. With the highlights of the week on innovation, technology and education. If you require more information about a specific note, please email us: TECNOLÓGICO DE MONTERREY, 2015.

Observatory of Educational Innovation

Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation: We identify and analyze the educational innovation trends that are shaping the future of learning and education. 

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