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 largest electronic portfolio conference in the world to date, the AAEEBL ePortfolio World Summit 2011 will be held in Boston July 25-28. The conference will be hosted by AAEEBL, The Association for Authentic, Experiential and Evidence-Based Learning, and co-located with Campus Technology 2011 at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center on the Boston Harbor.
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."
Adobe has released Creative Suite 5.5, a major mid-cycle update to its flagship digital media production suite. For educators and students, Adobe is supporting the new version with professional development, learning resources, and educational pricing.
Quark is making its recently released QuarkXPress 9 available to faculty members free for a limited time.
Quark has released a major update to QuarkXPress, its flagship page layout and publishing tool, adding an app design tool for building iOS apps, plus more mobile development tools.
ShareStream has released version 5.0 of ShareStream Rich Media Platform.
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.