For many reasons--grade inflation, disparity between quality of educational institutions, confusion about what the grades actually demonstrate--the value of grades, as they are constructed now, is slipping. An emerging process using electronic portfolios produces evidence-based evaluations: richer data for better decisions during college and at graduation.
American higher education--the jewel in the global crown of universal education, with nearly a quarter of the total number of higher education institutions in the world, and including graduate programs that are the envy of the world--is facing the prospect of being the next bubble to burst. Technology is both a culprit and a promising ally.
The debate over electronic textbooks and ever-increasing costs for traditional textbooks continues to rage. Part of these Web-era dilemmas ironically involves the willingness to face contradictions from the university's past.
In the popular imagination, the Web distances learners and teachers (and "face-to-face" in the classroom is then assumed more desirable). But in reality "face-to-face" can be the most distancing experience for the student, and Web-based learning the most connected of all. It is odd to realize that in many higher education classrooms, we find the real "distance learning."
As more and more digital technology finds its way into academic, business, and social domains on higher education campuses, and as the world into which students are received when they graduate demands greater technological competency, the pleas for "digital literacy" heard at colleges and universities make sense. Sherry Turkle also argues that institutions should foster a deeper understanding of how new digital tools affect students’ work and lives, though she proposes a somewhat different focus--she suggests "rethinking technological literacy."
If you find a good OER (open education resource) and copy it into your project, and meanwhile the OER keeps evolving, your project may quickly become obsolete. But OER Glue (from Tatemae), recognizing the transience of Web 2.0 resources, lets you mash live OERs into your project.
CIOs need information to do their jobs, but it's not always easy to get the right kind of information to lead proactively.
The Houston Community College System is operationally decentralized, with six colleges and 26 campuses spread out across 660 square miles. With faculty and staff running their own reports in different formats using data from various sources and time periods, it was not uncommon last year to find six different versions of the same report. HCC’s Vice Chancellor of Information Technology explains how a BI solution implemented in the past year has provided centralized online reporting, a dashboard, and consistent information for better decision making.
Higher education seems stuck in a tricky dilemma: how to move, en masse, to new learning models that seem, on the surface, to require a lower teacher-student ratio. But the dilemma is tricky only if the basic assumption about how students learn remains in the box of behaviorism. And it is tricky only if technology is seen as peripheral--handy but not transformative.
WCET Executive Director Ellen D. Wagner will give a keynote at Campus Technology 2011, just prior to the CT 2011 Innovator Awards recognition ceremony. In a brief interview, CT asked Wagner for her views on IT innovation and adoption in higher education.