Saddening: Women say colleges not preparing them for a career

New report sheds light on 2016’s college seniors’ feelings about career-readiness —and they’re not great.

Only four in 10 (40 percent) college seniors, and a similar number of college students overall, feel their college experience has been helpful in preparing for a career—and percentage that drops to 19 percent for women when asked if they feel very  prepared for their career overall .

These are just some of the all-too-real findings part of McGraw-Hill Education’s recently released third annual Workforce Readiness Survey, conducted by Hanover Research among 1,360 U.S. college students during March and April 2016, using an online survey.

Looking to national conversations, the growth of career readiness programs and past reports over the last two years, the perceived importance of preparing for careers while in college appears to be on the rise, yet certain college students – including humanities majors and women – continue to report lower career confidence than their peers, found the report.

“Despite the increasing cost of attending college, it continues to be a great investment for young people to make in their futures if they graduate,” said Peter Cohen, McGraw-Hill Education’s group president of U.S. education. “It should be our collective goal to maximize the experience–whether in community colleges, four-year colleges or graduate programs–so students can feel confident they’ll have a successful career after finishing their higher education journey. While no two students’ career aspirations are the same, every college graduate deserves to enter the workforce with the confidence that their degree was worth the investment.”

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Some of the differences in perceived career preparedness among specific groups include:

  • Men are more likely than women (24 percent compared to 19 percent) to report that they feel “very prepared” for their careers, even though women are more likely to report that they are “satisfied” with their college experience (82 percent compared to 74 percent).
  • Arts and Humanities majors are more than three times as likely as other students to report that they feel “not at all prepared” for their careers (18 percent of Arts and Humanities majors, compared to less than 6 percent of all other students).
  • Students in STEM majors are the most likely to report that they are optimistic about their career prospects (73 percent), while students in Arts & Humanities and in Social Science majors are the least likely (61 percent of each).
  • Students in community colleges are as likely to feel prepared for careers and be satisfied with their collegiate experience as students at four-year colleges.

(Next page: More career-readiness findings from the report)


Tablets will see a decline, then increase in 2018

After a decline, tablet shipments will pick up due to the emergence of detachables

Worldwide tablet shipments are expected to decline for the second straight year in 2016, dropping 9.6 percent compared to 2015 volumes, according to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker forecast.

The tablet market in totality has seen its peak and will face down years in 2016 and 2017, followed by a slight rebound in 2018 and beyond driven by detachable tablet growth. Right now the detachable category only accounts for 16 percent of the market and IDC expects it to reach 31 percent in 2020.

Tablet life cycles have proven to be more like PCs a few years back, which is likely to be somewhere around four years. Tablet manufacturers, both large and small, are slowly shifting focus toward the detachable tablet market segment, which has quickly resulted in increased product offerings, lower average selling prices (ASPs), and broadened consumer awareness for the category.

Many traditional PC manufacturers have assumed the detachable category to be a natural extension of the PC market and perhaps assumed it would rightfully be theirs to capture. Now they find themselves in head-to-head competition with a slew of new manufacturers that have created their market off of smartphone and slate tablet growth. This brings new channel dynamics and lower prices to a brand new category with an abundance of upside.

“The detachable tablet segment is also considered by some manufacturers, like Apple, as a way to spur replacement cycles of the existing slate tablet installed base,” said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director, Tablets. “One reason why the slate tablet market is experiencing a decline is because end-users don’t have a good enough reason to replace them, and that’s why productivity-centric devices like detachable tablets are considered replacement devices for high-end larger slate tablets.”

Despite all of the negativity around slates, most of which is driven by the forecasted negative year-over-year growth, IDC still expects well over 100 million slates to ship annually through 2020. The main driver for this is the low cost associated with smaller screen slate devices. Slate tablets with screen sizes less than 9 inches had an average selling price of $183 in 2015 and IDC expects this to decline to $157 in 2020. Despite the small screen and typically lower configurations, for many this still provides a fairly decent computing experience. Especially within emerging markets.

“It wasn’t long ago the industry talked about one PC per person and to some extent that theory has vanished,” said Ryan Reith, Program Vice President with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “I’d rather look at it and say the PC we were referencing six to eight years ago has changed, drastically. In many emerging markets the only computing device for many will be a mobile device, whether that is a small screen tablet, smartphone, or both. This is the main reason why, despite all the hype that the detachable category receives, we believe cheaper slate tablets fill an important void.”


Best practices for higher-ed improvements

Catch up on the most compelling higher-ed news stories you may have missed this week

Every Friday, I’ll recap some of the most interesting and thought-provoking news developments that occurred over the week.

I can’t fit all of this week’s news stories here, though, so feel free to visit and read up on other news you may have missed.

This week, we take a look at how to best benefit students, faculty and staff in higher education, from a new framework seeking to make higher-ed metrics more transparent, to a plea to institutions to retain their independence if they want to innovate.

Read on for more:

Op-Ed: Why innovation-desperate higher ed needs to break its shackles
Outsourcing and technology adoption are booming in higher education, as student demographics change and learning models evolve. There’s an inherent challenge: as the complexity of delivering personalized, student-centered education increases, institutions run the risk of ceding their independence to outside entities in the name of innovation.

3 higher ed metrics that can truly benefit today’s students
The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) has produced a comprehensive new report that details the importance of a proposed new higher ed metrics framework that aims to better represent and inform students of all backgrounds.

15 higher education revelations from NCES
It’s nice when trending assumptions get fact-checked. Using a more formal description, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released its “Condition of Education” report for 2016, required by Congress to measure key indicators on important topics and trends in U.S. education.

UF, Elsevier maximize impact of research articles
The George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida (UF) and Elsevier have embarked on a pilot project to maximize visibility, impact and dissemination of articles by UF researchers that have published in Elsevier journals. Starting today, article links and metadata are automatically delivered to UF’s institutional repository (IR@UF) through ScienceDirect application programming interfaces (APIs) that are freely available to libraries.


MIT announces new Makerspace

Makerspace, with support from Victor and William Fung Foundation, will forge global connections

MIT has announced the creation of a makerspace that will facilitate connections between the MIT campus and the global community and meet the increasing demand for hands-on learning opportunities at the Institute.

Made possible with support from the Victor and William Fung Foundation, the new space will provide MIT students with the facilities and tools they need to explore, design, and build technologies and innovations that have the potential for international impact.

Although MIT has more than 120,000 square feet of makerspaces on campus, many of these innovation and entrepreneurship facilities are heavily oversubscribed. The new makerspace, which will be housed in a location to be determined, will serve to vastly increase MIT students’ access to the resources they require to iterate and drive ideas toward realization and adoption by the marketplace. It will also provide maker training to students and enhance the ability of departments to deliver project-based and capstone classes in prototyping and manufacturing.

The makerspace will also connect the Institute’s innovation ecosystem to the world, serving as the physical location for the MIT community to collaborate physically or virtually — through advanced telecommunication technology — with the recently launched Innovation Node in Hong Kong.

“More than ever before, innovation will define tomorrow’s business world,” said Victor K. Fung ’66 at a signing ceremony on campus to celebrate the new makerspace initiative. “Supporting the construction of makerspaces at MIT will contribute to pushing the frontier of innovation by more rapidly moving ideas from laboratory to market. We look forward to bringing to life innovative services and products as a result of enhanced collaboration between MIT’s makerspaces in the U.S. and Hong Kong.”

“As an innovator and entrepreneur, Victor Fung is a visionary, and he understands firsthand how bold ideas become breakthrough innovations. This new makerspace will inspire a new generation of MIT makers, inventors, and entrepreneurs by giving them the local resources and global connections to explore new concepts and technologies, and learn to deliver market-ready ideas,” said L. Rafael Reif, president of MIT. “In and beyond Hong Kong, Victor has been a tremendous advocate for MIT, and we couldn’t ask for a better partner as we build the innovation ecosystem surrounding MIT’s campus and connect it to innovation around the world. I am deeply grateful to Victor for his leadership and his commitment to MIT, and to Victor and his brother William for their extraordinary support.”

“This facility will add an exciting new dimension to MIT’s makerspace universe,” said Provost Martin A. Schmidt SM ’83, PhD ’88, who in 2015 initiated Project Manus, MIT’s effort to upgrade maker spaces and foster maker communities on campus. “It will cultivate our students’ deep passion for learning, inventing, tinkering, and creating while providing them with new avenues through which to share their potentially game-changing prototypes and visionary projects with the world.”

Victor Fung is one of Hong Kong’s most prominent business and civic leaders. He is chairman of the Fung Group, a Hong Kong-based, privately held consumer goods and retail conglomerate cofounded by his grandfather in 1906. He serves on the boards of several corporations in Asia and is currently chairman of the Asia Advisory Board of Prudential Financial.

With his brother William, he founded the Victor and William Fung Foundation in 2006 to commemorate the centenary of the Fung Group. The foundation promotes leadership development, principally through scholarship programs and thought leadership, and it recently renewed its funding to support global education opportunities for MIT undergraduates. Fung has also given generously to the MIT Sloan School of Management. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from MIT and a PhD in business economics from Harvard University. He taught at Harvard Business School before returning to the family business in Hong Kong in 1976. Fung was chairman of the Council of the University of Hong Kong from 2001 to 2009 and recently supported the establishment of the Asia Global Institute, a multidisciplinary think tank of the university that generates and disseminates research and analysis on global issues from Asian perspectives.

Fung has been a champion of the MIT alumni community in Hong Kong since the 1970s, representing MIT to the Hong Kong government and other organizations, and guiding MIT’s presence in the region.


5 must-have’s for viable credentials

A much-needed accessible and easily understood system for viable credentials could have a major impact on learners, employers and education providers.

What will it take to make credentialing an easier process for students? How can education stakeholders validate credentials? What do employers need from today’s credentials? How can minority learners better take advantage of these viable credentials?

Those are just some of the issues addressed in a report from Lumina Foundation concerning the Connecting Credentials partnership, which aims to address problems that hamper students’ efforts to attain high-quality, viable credentials in the current higher education system.

In Early 2015, Lumina Foundation, in partnership with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), called for a national dialogue on postsecondary credentialing. A national summit was held on the topic in Washington, D.C. on October 5 last year, co-sponsored by 89 other organizations, with nearly 170 organizations in attendance.

The report, “Connecting Credentials: Lessons from the National Summit on Credentialing and Next Steps in the National Dialogue,” details findings and suggestions from the summit that could lead to a reformed credentialing system boasting greater transparency and portability to better serve the needs of students, employers and educators.

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With many different pathways to higher education, each with their own postsecondary credential, there currently is not a common language that enables users to compare and connect them, no system to assure credentials are of quality and relevance to the workplace, and no repository where users can easily obtain relevant information about credentials.

The drawbacks from this system are severe, and especially hamper older, low-income and minority learners who have the potential to fall further behind without a clear pathway to a high-quality higher education.

A Need for Order

As more jobs increasingly demand postsecondary credentials, it is critical for institutions to prepare students as well as they can to succeed, notes the report; meaning developing clear ways to help all employers, students, and education providers to understand credentials’ meaning and value for different purposes.

And if institutions and stakeholders still believe that the need for credentialing is on a distant horizon, they may be wrong: The report reveals that the amount of associate degrees earned has doubled since 2002; technical programs now represent 25 percent of all credentials; and in the last three decades, the number of postsecondary certificates awarded has increased by more than 800 percent.

Yet, despite such a competitive market, only 11 percent of business leaders said they considered college graduates to be prepared for the workforce–a problem that could be remedied through effective credentialing.

(Next page: What would a better system of viable credentials look like?)


Echo360, iDesign target the transition to active learning

New partnership pairs technology platform with hands-on support to help faculty implement modalities to better engage students

Echo360 has selected instructional design firm, iDesign, to support the implementation of a technology platform that helps faculty apply active learning techniques to improve student engagement.

“Technology alone won’t engage students or transform the classroom,” said Perry Samson, head of teaching innovation at Echo360. “Evidence-based instructional design is paramount. Great instructional designers armed with analytics can play a powerful role in guiding faculty through pedagogical shifts that maximize the potential of classroom technologies and data.”

Active learning engages students in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content before, during, and after class. Echo360 is used by over three million college students to take time-synched lecture notes, ask questions in class, revisit lecture content, flag areas of confusion, and collaborate with peers and faculty during and after class. Faculty use the platform to see real-time data on student behavior to identify challenges early, and inform and adapt their instructional strategy.

iDesign brings deep instructional design expertise and a hands-on approach to guide faculty through the implementation of new pedagogical practices that utilize technology, such as online, flipped, or blended classrooms. The data captured through implementation of active learning is both instructionally relevant and used to inform predictive analytics for colleges and universities looking for risk indicators – and better predictors of student success.

“Our focus is on designing the ultimate student-centered learning experience with faculty,” says Paxton Riter, chief executive officer of iDesign. “When faculty feel comfortable, informed, and equipped with the right design support, they can make the best use of the toolsets and data, allowing the technology to fulfill its promise.”


UF, Elsevier maximize impact of research articles

Pilot project enhances University of Florida’s institutional repository with ScienceDirect API services

The George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida (UF) and Elsevier have embarked on a pilot project to maximize visibility, impact and dissemination of articles by UF researchers that have published in Elsevier journals. Starting today, article links and metadata are automatically delivered to UF’s institutional repository (IR@UF) through ScienceDirect application programming interfaces (APIs) that are freely available to libraries.

“The project addresses several university needs including showcasing UF’s body of works, providing a better user experience for researchers who use its repository and facilitating compliance with US policies on public access to federally funded research,” said Judith Russell, Dean of University Libraries, UF.

Among UF authored articles, the largest portion is published in Elsevier journals, and they represent a large share of citations. For Elsevier, this pilot provides an opportunity to get a better understanding of information and content presentation requirements of institutional repositories. Combined, these facts made it a natural choice to collaborate.

“The project is a great example of libraries and publishers working together to expand access, to increase compliance with funder policies, and to reduce duplication of cost and effort,” said Alicia Wise, Director of Access & Policy at Elsevier. “Our shared aim is to broaden this approach to include other libraries and other publishers.”

This is how the IR@UF works after implementation of ScienceDirect APIs:

ScienceDirect shares article metadata and links to the full text directly within the institutional repository, so the university’s output is more easily found by users. Users can access the published article on ScienceDirect which enables tracking and reporting of article usage and reach. Linking back to the full article on ScienceDirect also means that users add to overall aggregated data of the article which is helpful for both the author and the institution. These aggregated data would not be available if different versions of the article existed across multiple platforms.

The automated population of the repository is applicable for both open access and subscription articles. Open access articles, which are available to everyone, are identified by an indicator in the search results.

The full article on ScienceDirect is available to all users of IR@UF that have access to ScienceDirect, not only those affiliated with UF. In instances where users are not entitled to access ScienceDirect, articles can be accessed through an interlibrary loan request, or options to purchase the article are specified.

In the next phase, the University of Florida and Elsevier will work together to also embed accepted manuscripts within IR@UF. This means all IR@UF users will be able to read a full-text version of the article – the final published version of the article for entitled users and the post-embargo accepted manuscript for other users. Indexing will be based on the full text.

Looking ahead, this approach holds opportunity to scale to other libraries and publishers. This could potentially happen via organizations such as CHORUS – a nonprofit organization that facilitates a simple compliance process, optimized search and dashboard services, and multi-party archiving and preservation capabilities – and SHARE – an initiative of the Association of Research Libraries, Association of American Universities, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.


15 higher education revelations from NCES

New Condition of Education report provides illuminating snapshot of current postsecondary ed enrollment, attainment, diversity and much more.

It’s nice when trending assumptions get fact-checked. Using a more formal description, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released its “Condition of Education” report for 2016, required by Congress to measure key indicators on important topics and trends in U.S. education.

These indicators focus on population characteristics, such as educational attainment and economic outcomes; participation in education at all levels; and several contextual aspects of education, including international comparisons, at both the elementary and secondary education level and the postsecondary education level. The three Spotlight indicators for the 2016 report provide a more in-depth look at some of the data. Supplemental indicators, which help to provide a fuller picture of the state of American education, are available online.

Some indicators, such as attainment and annual earning based on completion levels haven’t changed much between the years, yet some indicators such as enrollment rates for different type of institutions, as well as college participation rates among some ethnicities show interesting developments.

Revelations from NCES on Postsecondary Ed


1. There are a lot of differences in postsecondary enrollment programs among recent high school completers.

In fall 2013, among fall 2009 ninth-graders who had completed high school, three-quarters were enrolled at postsecondary institutions: some 14 percent were taking postsecondary classes only and were not enrolled in a degree program, 3 percent were enrolled in occupational certificate programs, 25 percent were enrolled in associate’s degree programs, and 32 percent were enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs. The remaining 25 percent were not enrolled in a postsecondary institution at all.

2. Employment outcomes vary by ethnicity/sex.

While 86 percent of all young adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor’s or higher degree were employed in 2014, differences in employment outcomes were observed by sex and race/ethnicity. For example, female full-time, year-round workers earned less than their male colleagues in nearly all of the occupation groups examined and for every employment sector (e.g., private for-profit, private nonprofit, government). Black young adults who worked full time, year round also earned less than their white peers in a majority of the occupations analyzed.

3. We’re ahead of our international counterparts, but they’re moving faster.

The OECD average percentage of the adult population with a postsecondary degree increased by 11 percentage points between 2001 and 2014, from 22 to 33 percent. During the same period, the percentage of U.S. adults with a postsecondary degree increased by 7 percentage points, from 37 to 44 percent.

4. Attainment rates have increased, but the gap is growing.

In 2015, some 36 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds had attained a bachelor’s or higher degree. The percentage of white 25- to 29-year-olds who had attained this level of education increased from 1995 to 2015, as the size of the white-black gap in the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree widened from 13 to 22 percentage points and the size of the white-hispanic gap widened from 20 to 27 percentage points.

5. Demand for faculty is growing.

From fall 1993 to fall 2013, the number of full-time faculty at degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 45 percent, while the number of part-time faculty increased by 104 percent. As a result of the faster increase in the number of part-time faculty, the percentage of all faculty who were part time increased from 40 to 49 percent during this period.

(Next page: More NCES data)