College Calculus: What’s the Real Value of Higher Education?

Educational Innovation Weekly Review for Ed Leaders
Curated by Tecnológico de Monterrey's Observatory of Educational Innovation
September 8, 2015
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College Calculus: What’s the Real Value of Higher Education?
The New Yorker
  • If there is one thing most Americans have been able to agree on over the years, it is that getting a college education is a key to human betterment and prosperity. Economists refer to this as the “human capital” theory of education, the notion that colleges teach their students specific, marketable skills, which they can use to get a good job.
  • But if getting a bachelor’s degree is meant to guarantee entry to an arena in which jobs are plentiful and wages rise steadily, the education system has been failing for some time. If almost everybody has a college degree, getting one doesn’t differentiate you from the pack. 
  • “What employers want from college graduates now is the same thing they want from applicants who have been out of school for years, and that is job skills and the ability to contribute now,” writes Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton and author of the book “Will College Pay Off?”. 
  • So what’s the solution? Some people believe that online learning will provide a viable low-cost alternative to a live-in college education. Another approach is to appreciate the actual merits of a traditional broad-based education, often called a liberal-arts education, rather than trying to reduce everything to an economic cost-benefit analysis. 
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Keywords: higher education
What Motivates Higher Education to Change?
  • How do we motivate people to even consider the possibility that significant change is needed? I know one approach that will not work. It is complete folly to think that people will willingly change if we simply threaten their very existence: change the way you do things or your job will cease to exist, or your institution will close.
  • In times of crisis, we don’t need “doom and gloom.” We need a positive, shared vision with a practical, step-by-step plan to achieve that vision, and we need to celebrate small victories along the way to encourage us to keep on the path.  
  • We need to continue to focus on long-term goals, remain flexible, and use all of our “liberal arts” skills to help prepare our institutions – not for a particular future, but for whatever the future holds.
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Keywords: leadership, higher education, motivation
Facebook is Building Education Software that it Plans to Give Away to Any School that Wants It
Business Insider
  • Facebook has built a tool to help schools adopt a system of personalized learning that it wants to give to any public school that wants it for free. The company developed the tool — called the Personalized Learning Plan — in partnership with Summit Public Schools, which have notably high college-acceptance rates thanks to a special approach to learning that emphasizes letting students move at their own pace. 
  • Instead of spending classroom time for lectures, Summit schools deliver all content and assignments online. Class time is then dedicated to teacher-led, real-world projects and student collaboration. The software won't require a Facebook account to join. 
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Keywords: personalized learning, learning tools, facebook
A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win
The New York Times
  • Teachers often spend hours preparing classroom lesson plans to reinforce the material students are required to learn, and many share their best materials with colleagues. Founded in 2006, TeachersPayTeachers speeds up this lesson-plan prep work by monetizing exchanges between teachers and enabling them to make faster connections with farther-flung colleagues.
  • On TeachersPayTeachers some educators have been able to convert hours of class preparation into thousands of dollars, and 12 have become millionaires. The site is fostering the growth of a hybrid profession: teacher-entrepreneur. The phenomenon has even spawned its own neologism: teacherpreneur.
  • To date, Teacher Synergy, the company behind the site, has paid about $175 million to its teacher-authors, says Adam Freed, the company’s chief executive. The site takes a 15 percent commission on most sales.
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Keywords: technology, educators, entrepreneurship 
Is School For Everyone? Some Say ‘No’
  • Teens across the country are struggling to get through school, unaware that there are other options, believing that school is a shared but hated experience that everyone must get through until their real lives can start. School can work for people, but it’s not a universal fit. 
  • A network of learning centers is helping families make the difficult decision to remove a struggling child from school in favor of a radically different, self-directed type of education.
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Keywords: education, high school, college, learning, self-direct education
Stop Saying “College isn’t for Everyone”
The Hechinger Report
  • Let’s admit that the “college isn’t for everyone” cliché is really a euphemism for those people aren’t smart enough for college. The “college isn’t for everyone” statement isn’t false; it’s just disingenuous. Let’s be clear. We should prepare all students as if they are going to college.
  • Famous college dropouts like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are often used as examples of how high-paying jobs are available for those with only high school or community college training.
  • But Zuckerberg and Jobs aren’t examples of why colleges don’t work; they are examples of why colleges must change. College and universities need to become more affordable, flexible, relevant and inclusive. College may not be for everyone, but it should be.
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Keywords: higher education, opinion
Universities Take Baby Steps Towards Diversity
The Guardian
  • Higher education is an increasingly crowded, commercialised and competitive global market, and the sector is undoubtedly entering an era of greater diversity. The leadership skills required by vice-chancellors are more varied than ever. 
  • The concern about the lack of diversity in choosing vice-chancellors is now mirrored by fears that the lack of diversity on university boards may stifle innovation. In a report entitled Diversity Matters, published by McKinsey, there is a clear demonstration of the business benefits of diversity on boards, a view that is starting to transfer from the corporate world into academia.
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Keywords: leadership, higher education, diversity, innovation
Campus Chronicle: Cracking Content Marketing For Higher Education
Marketing Land
  • Your school needs content marketing. In fact, it relies on it. It has done it for years; it’s just never had a name before. But while students have advanced and grown and changed how they devour their information about potential schools, you haven’t adapted, changed or grown with the times. It's time for that to change. 
  • In this article you’re going to learn: How to determine your site’s unique selling proposition (USP) and be honest about your school’s story; How to use that story and USP to guide your content marketing efforts; and The three most effective ways to market to students. 
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Keywords: higher education, marketing, school websites, content marketing, social media
Buzz Aldrin Joins University, Forming ‘Master Plan’ for Mars
The Washington Post
  • Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne to develop “a master plan” for colonizing Mars within 25 years. The Buzz Aldrin Space Institute is set to open this fall.
  • The 85-year-old Aldrin, who followed Neil Armstrong onto the moon’s surface on July 20, 1969, will serve as a research professor of aeronautics as well as a senior faculty adviser for the institute.
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Keywords: research, science, aeronautics
Times Higher Education Awards 2015 Shortlist Announced
Times Higher Education
  • Universities need individuals and teams with adaptability, creativity, long-headedness and leadership. Luckily, there is no shortage of such talent, as evidenced by the shortlist for the 2015 Times Higher Education Awards. Winners will be announced on 26 November at the awards ceremony. 
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Keywords: higher education, universities, awards
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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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