5 things higher ed can learn from the food truck phenomenon

Unless you have been hiding out in the remote hills of the Appalachians, you have probably noticed the onslaught and popularity of food trucks over the last several years. Although street food is anything but new, almost every suburban and metropolitan area now has a plethora of food trucks serving everything from fusion to comfort food.

In my own town, we have several special events based on food trucks, as well as several new bars or pubs that allow food trucks to serve as their mobile kitchen. And even though they are using a familiar idea, why have food trucks become so popular? And better yet, what could institutions and educators learn from the phenomenon?

1. Simplicity: Since food trucks are not large, they tend to simplify their menus. They can’t be like (too many) restaurants that try to prepare, sell and offer an unending list of seemingly unrelated foods. They have a handful of menu items people flock to, specifically because their simple menu often leads to the achievement of quality. Institutions are now suffering from trying to do-or offer-too many things. Most colleges and universities have dozens and dozens of programs, initiatives and plans all trying to address hundreds of standards, needs and goals. If institutions could focus (or simplify), they might find their schools more successful.

2. Specialization: Along the lines of simplification, there is specialization. Food vendors, and schools, cannot be good at everything. What is attractive about charter schools is that they tend to have a focus or specialization–they don’t do everything, but get very good at something.

(Next page: More school tips from the food truck phenomenon)


How one university reduced summer melt 21.4% and increased enrollment 3.9%

AdmitHub, an edtech startup which builds conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to guide students on the path to and through college, together with Georgia State University, has released the results of a study that examined the efficacy of ‘smart text messaging’ in reducing their summer melt rate. Summer melt refers to students who accept offers of admission but who subsequently do not show up for fall enrollment.

Georgia State experienced its best enrollment results in school history thanks in large part to AdmitHub’s text-based intervention. In particular, the experimental group using AdmitHub experienced a 21.4 percent lower summer melt rate and a 3.9 percent higher enrollment rate when compared to the control group.

In April, Georgia State University launched the first university virtual assistant in the U.S. using AdmitHub’s conversational AI technology. Named after the school’s mascot, “Pounce” was introduced to half of all admitted students with a U.S. mobile phone number as part of a Randomized Control Trial (RCT). The treatment group received timely reminders, relevant information, surveys, and answers to their questions from Pounce. The remaining admitted or confirmed students made up the control group, and received GSU’s standard email and snail mail communication.

“Over the course of four months, Pounce exchanged nearly 200,000 messages with 3,100 students in response to questions ranging from ‘When is my tuition due?’ to ‘Can I bring my salamander to Piedmont dorm?’ Every interaction was tailored to the specific student’s enrollment task,” says Scott Burke, Assistant Vice President of Undergraduate Admissions at Georgia State University. “We would have had to hire 10 full-time staff members to handle that volume of messaging without Pounce. As a result of the success of last season’s trial, we are not only continuing our use of Pounce this year, but also expanding its role to include several new initiatives focused on enrollment and student success.”

Key Outcomes

“We observed positive results in nearly every area of focus, notably a 3.9 percent increase in enrollment as compared with the control group,” said Lindsay C. Page, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who oversaw the trial together with Hunter Gehlbach, a professor at UC Santa Barbara. “This is a significant contribution to the overall reduction in summer melt experienced by Georgia State last year.” In recent years prior to the study, Georgia State had seen its summer melt rate increase to more than 18%.

Additional Metrics and Findings

  • 3,114 students in the treatment group with a valid phone number capable of sending/receiving texts accepted help from Pounce, representing a 90 percent opt-in rate.
  • By the end of the trial period, 63 percent of all students in the treatment group had engaged with Pounce on at least three separate days throughout the enrollment process, and had exchanged an average of 60 messages.
  • Of the more-than 50,000 student messages received, only 0.9 percent required the attention of Georgia State staff. The rest were handled by Pounce or AdmitHub staff overseeing the virtual assistant’s learning process.
  • First-generation college students (those that are the first in their family to attend college) and students receiving Federal Pell Grants sent on average 9.4 percent and 31.7 percent more messages to Pounce than the average student user, respectively.
  • 80 percent of students in the treatment group rated Pounce as a 4 or 5 out of 5 stars, and 94 percent recommended that Georgia State introduce Pounce to next year’s incoming class.

“The college application process is already stressful, so it makes sense that innovative institutions like Georgia State are looking for ways to both improve and streamline the approach to interacting with incoming students. The idea is to ensure students have a positive experience with the college from first inquiry to enrollment,” says Andrew Magliozzi, CEO of AdmitHub. “Our technology has proven to be an affordable and extremely effective way to provide students with the near real-time feedback they expect today, while yielding positive results for the university.”

Additional Resources

About AdmitHub

Founded in 2014, AdmitHub is an edtech company committed to fostering college success with conversational artificial intelligence. AdmitHub’s virtual assistants provide on-demand support via chat by gathering data, sending reminders, answering questions, surveying students, and connecting students to appropriate advisors. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML), AdmitHub can calibrate a virtual assistant for any campus community. Currently, AdmitHub has various university partnerships focusing on recruiting prospects, yielding admits, and retaining enrolled students. AdmitHub’s co-founders, Andrew Magliozzi and Kirk Daulerio, have a combined thirty-three years’ experience in higher education and software development. Additional information is available at AdmitHub.com.

Material from a press release was used in this report.


A new technology is fundamentally changing learning–here’s how

Students across the U.S. are learning how the body works by studying the anatomy of a frog, a vertebrate with an organ system similar to that of humans. But unlike traditional education lab work that uses real specimens or images of a virtual frog on a screen, a new approach to this standard experiment is taking the act of learning to a unique interactive level, thanks to the use of technology known as blended reality.

What is Blended Reality?

Blended reality combines the physical and digital with augmented reality that takes sensory inputs – sounds, scents, sites and haptic or “touch” feedback–to blur the lines between the real and virtual worlds. By replacing a keyboard and mouse with a touch mat and 2D and 3D scanners, blended reality computers enable students to take actual or printed objects and “put” them right into the computer to create a 3D animated image they can rotate and manipulate. In a blended reality lab dissection, for example, students can scan images of individual frog organs and assemble them with the touch of a keystroke–giving them an in-depth understanding of how each part works and how they work together as a system.

A Video Description of Blended Reality

Blended reality can be used in other ways. On the touch mat below the scanner, a teacher can place educational materials about a frog that carry embedded markers that come to life. Next they can display a video of the amphibian on the monitor. Using the computer as a projector, the teacher can display the frog, annotated notes and other background material onto a digital whiteboard for the entire class to view.

Multimedia Matters–But Not Enough

The use of multimedia in the classroom has proven to enhance learning because it helps present situations that are more “true to life” through video simulations and animations.  And it turns out multimedia may also help with student retention. Students can better recall what they saw and touched over what they heard, as evidenced by a University of Iowa experiment in which 100 undergraduate students were exposed to a variety of sounds, visuals and things they could feel.

Video of One Blended Learning Technology

However, while multimedia technology–whether a podcast, video or some combination of text, audio and video–may make classroom instruction more memorable, it has not provided a transformative educational experience. Students remain passive consumers of content in a 2D world, but blended reality makes learning active, enabling students to interact with content in real-time through instruction that is self-directed, inquiry-based and personalized. Blended reality helps achieve the potential of technology to foster creativity, imagination and new ways of thinking.

(Next page: How blended reality is changing the role of the teacher)


Report: Higher ed still woefully unprepared against cyber attacks

Twenty-six percent of education respondents in a new survey reported daily or weekly cyber attacks in 2016, and 98 percent of all responding organizations experienced cyber attacks in 2016.

The 2016-2017 Global Application & Network Security Survey from cyber security company Radware reveals that while cyber ransom proves the easiest and most lucrative tool for cyber criminals, almost all ransom events have a different attack vector, technique or angle.

Ransom attacks are the most prevalent, increasing from 25 percent of attacks in 2015 to 41 percent of attacks in 2016. The report attributes the increase to the lucrative nature of such a “business.”

Twenty percent of education respondents reported monthly cyber attacks, 31 percent reported 1-2 per year, 4 percent said they have never experienced a cyber attack, and 19 percent were unsure.

The report characterized the education industry at a “medium likelihood” for cyber attacks, along with the retail and health industries.

But of all sectors, education is the most vulnerable to cyber attacks, scoring the lowest in terms of being extremely or very well prepared to defend against various attacks.

(Next page: Emerging threats and key cyber security predictions)


How to address faculty’s 3 biggest online learning concerns

As education becomes more accessible with advanced technology, more and more students are opting to enroll in online schools or take some of their traditional college courses online.

But as this trend grows, institutions are finding it necessary to address faculty concerns and ensure online programs are high-quality and rigorous.

Online and blended learning programs from higher-ed institutions across the nation certainly inspire innovation, but higher-ed administrators must consider faculty point of view amidst these changes, according to Building Trust: How to Address Faculty Concerns about Online Education, a new whitepaper from Wiley Education Services.

Nearly five years ago, 58 percent of professors in a Babson College survey described themselves as having “more fear than excitement” about the growth of online learning; more than 80 percent of academic technology administrators, on the other hand, said they felt more excitement than fear.

The whitepaper aims to help administrators better understand faculty concerns about online learning, and it also offers recommendations to address those concerns.

(Next page: Faculty’s 3 biggest online learning concerns)


The 2 edtech fields with the most potential under Trump

The tumultuous early weeks of the Trump administration have produced plenty of headlines and controversy, but almost nothing on higher education. The nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has only recently been confirmed, and given her background in K-12, higher education was not a major theme of her Senate hearing. The announcement of a task force to reform higher ed, to be led by Liberty University President, Jerry Falwell, Jr., gave little detail about its policy priorities or objectives but remains the young administration’s only substantive action on higher ed to date.

Why the Administration Matters

Ultimately, public policy is just one of many factors shaping the edtech environment; and, regardless of policy direction, any administration should provide consistency and stability for the institutions and investors that purchase our products and services.

However, the few signals from the new administration have yet to allay any fears about instability, causing concern about revenue and institutional mission. Action to curtail immigration risks the ability of colleges and universities to recruit students from abroad, engage in global research communities and attract faculty talent, endangering important revenue sources and institutional reputations.

Also, the president’s tweet threatening UC Berkeley’s financial aid funding over a controversial speaker on campus may prove to be an isolated incident, but it reinforces concerns among institutions that this administration will intervene unexpectedly and directly. Such uncertainty among edtech’s customer base will have considerable and direct effects on the sector.

Though  it’s too early to predict what impact the administration’s higher ed policies will have on the education technology sector, last year’s electoral campaign and executive actions in the early weeks of the administration may offer some insight into education priorities, pointing attention—and, potentially, funding—toward workforce development and institutional accountability. Neither area is a major departure from longstanding trends in higher education, but the administration’s emphasis will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors alike.

(Next page: Workforce initiatives and accountability in the Trump Era)


Coding bootcampus unveil Council on Integrity in Results Reporting

The largest coalition of accelerated learning programs announced today their commitment to publish student graduation and job placement data in a single, standardized framework that includes truth in advertising standards, taking a significant step beyond mere transparency. Participatory organizations will apply the newly established definitions, documentation, and validation requirements to 2016 data and fully implement the standardized structure in 2017 reporting.

Known as the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting (CIRR), the effort is led by student financing and quality assurance entity, Skills Fund.

“Leading bootcamps are moving beyond transparency to embrace the simplicity, clarity, and integrity of reporting graduation and employment outcomes in a single table free from footnotes, complexity, and gimmicks,” said Rick O’Donnell, founder & CEO of Skills Fund. “Students are the clear winners here. It’s another way coding schools remain at the forefront of delivering a high return on education that is leaps and bounds above traditional higher ed.”

In compliance with CIRR standards, programs will release graduation and placement data on a semi-annual basis. Bootcamps will segment self-paced and published-length program figures, and report all 2017 cohorts according to adopted standards criteria. Initial 2016 outcomes data will be reported in accordance with CIRR methodologies on March 29th of this year. Outcomes data will be validated by a third party annually, beginning in 2017.

“CIRR creates an industry gold standard by constructing a clear accountability framework that anyone – students and regulators – can understand. Loopholes have been removed, safeguards have been put into place, and participatory schools have individually made an explicit commitment to data integrity and rhythms of coordinated, standardized reporting,” said Shawn Drost, co-founder of Hack Reactor.

CIRR also establishes disclosure requirements in the promotion of average salary and in-field employment figures. To ensure truth in marketing in admissions practices, advertised salaries must be accompanied by a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure of metrics, and advertised in-field employment figures must have met CIRR established documentation requirements for paid, in-field positions.

“Students select these programs to learn new jobs-ready skills and to change their lives,” said Sharon Wienbar, CEO of Hackbright Academy. “If bootcamps report results in a standardized, caveat-free format, students can make important decisions with quality data. The CIRR standards provide just that.”

CIRR reporting will be made publically available on Skills Fund’s, Course Report’s, and individual school’s respective websites for use and engagement by all interested parties.

“A common outcomes rubric reduces the burden on future coding bootcampers to wade through scattered methodologies as they compare coding schools. Over the past three years, we’ve seen various bootcamp trade associations and reporting methodologies emerge, but CIRR is the first to bring a group of high-quality, committed schools together to decide on and enact a common outcomes rubric. While the coding  bootcamp industry is still relatively nascent, the most successful schools have clearly proven that they can deliver results that their students expect; uniformity across reporting aims to do just that,” said Liz Eggleston, co-founder of Course Report.

CIRR member organizations include Code Fellows, Codeup, DevMountain, Epicodus, Fullstack Academy, Grand Circus, Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, Ironhack, RefactorU, Sabio, The Software Guild, Thinkful, Turing School of Software & Design, Wyncode, Course Report and Skills Fund.

“The power of a high-quality online education is its accessibility — anyone can start learning. Now, because of CIRR standards, students don’t need to take a gamble when they pick a school. Students have realistic, verifiable expectations from the get-go. We’re excited to put forward this standard, as it’s a critical building block for the future of education,” said Darrell Silver, founder of Thinkful.

For more information on CIRR, please visit: http://www.cirr.org

Material from a press release was used in this report.


16 of this year’s biggest teaching and learning issues in higher ed

Since 2011, the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) has surveyed the higher education teaching and learning community to identify its key issues. This year, the top three dominant issues within colleges and universities include those around faculty development, academic transformation and digital and information literacies.

The community polled by the ELI is wide in scope: the initiative solicits input from all those participating in the support of the teaching and learning mission, including professionals from the IT organization, the center for teaching and learning, the library, and the dean’s and provost’s offices.

According to college and university thought leaders, these are the 16 biggest teaching and learning issues in 2017:

1. Faculty Development: Empowering and enabling faculty to craft active learning engagements and deploy edtech to achieve learning objectives.

2. Academic Transformation: Breakthrough teaching and learning models, innovative partnerships and alliances, and strategic transformation of the campus mission.

3. Digital & Informational Literacies: Identifying and developing new student competencies in finding, evaluating, creating, and managing digital information in the 21st century.

4. Accessibility & Universal Design for Learning: Educating the community in effective practices and course designs that are accessible by everyone.

5. CBE & Assessment of Student Learning: All forms of student learning are viewed through new assessment lenses, such as competency-based learning.

6. Open Education: The rising cost of textbooks, widespread mobile usage, and a need for broader access have led to open educational resources.

7. Online & Blended Teaching and Learning: Evolving course delivery methods combine traditional and online learning to serve on-campus students and remote learners alike.

8. Learning Space Designs: Learning spaces are evolving from places of presentation to interactive spaces of discovery, inquiry, and making.

(Next page: Teaching and Learning issues from ELI 8-16; infographic)


Groundbreaking school blends high school and college together

The way we prepare students for the future is beginning to change because our economy is undergoing a makeover. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce published a report stating that by 2020, 65 percent of our economy’s jobs will require post-secondary education or training beyond high school. That means that students without these post-secondary milestones will only be applicable for 35 percent of jobs. Because of this, it is important to create programs that encourage students to pursue post-secondary education.

However, a four-year degree may not be the right path for every student.

At Pikes Peak Early College (PPEC), we don’t exclusively encourage our students to pursue a four-year college degree. Because of this, we are able to attract different types of students from various backgrounds.

Our Blended School Model

PPEC is a multi-district, early college high school, meaning students from all across Colorado can enroll. Upon enrollment, every student meets one-on-one with our college and career counselor to discuss his or her interests and plans for the future, as well as to take a placement test to determine his or her current level of college and career readiness.

The counselor then uses this information to create a personalized “degree plan” outlining which courses the student should take at PPEC. This includes high school courses needed to meet graduation requirements and to increase his or her college and career readiness skills, elective courses to match the student’s interests and future goals, and college courses or industry certification programs the student should pursue during his or her time at PPEC to reach future goals.

Most students complete their high school courses and electives online so students only physically attend school three days a week. Days in school consist of teachers leading project-based learning to complement what students are learning online, as well as helping students master the concepts they are learning in the online courses. Students spend the other two days of the week completing online courses at home, participating in internships or shadowing opportunities, or attending classes on community college campuses.

(Next page: Support for all students at PPEC; different goals)


$10M raised to make financial aid easy, mobile, and personalized

CampusLogic, the  student financial aid engagement platform, announced that it has secured $10 million in a Series B financing round led by 4.0 Partners. The funding will support the continued expansion of a college search-to-graduation student engagement platform, strengthened by CampusLogic’s recent acquisition of Cegment, developer of the nation’s most popular commercial net price calculator.

Research suggests that 4-in-10 low income high school students who are accepted to college don’t enroll in the fall, due to concern and confusion about the financial aid process. CampusLogic’s unique technology enables students and families to understand the true cost of college early in the enrollment process, easily complete critical financial aid forms, and access digital, easy to understand award letters– all from their mobile phone. By streamlining the management process for financial aid officers, CampusLogic’s platform also frees up time for institutions to focus on coaching and advising to support student success.

As part of the Series B investment, Eric N. Shapiro, Senior Venture Partner from 4.0 Partners, will join CampusLogic’s board of directors. Eric is a three-time successful entrepreneur, and is currently CEO of ArcTouch, a mobile & connected experiences studio he founded in 2008, which was recently acquired by WPP.

“We are impressed with the CampusLogic leadership team and their transformative approach to financial aid,” said Shapiro. “CampusLogic is a category creator, solving real problems around accessibility to education, student borrowing, and administrative cost. We’re excited to support CampusLogic’s continued growth.”

“I’m thrilled to have Eric join our board,” said Gregg Scoresby, CEO of CampusLogic. “He and 4.0 Partners bring deep knowledge and expertise in software and mobile technology. Together, we are well positioned to accelerate CampusLogic’s already rapid growth, more than 300 percent year-over-year.”

CampusLogic is currently used by more than 400 colleges and universities, including innovators Georgia State University, Arizona State University, and Purdue University, to eliminate paper-based workflows and decrease financial aid processing times. Financial aid offices using the platform report improved enrollment yield, staff efficiency, and student satisfaction with the financial aid process.

About CampusLogic

CampusLogic transforms the way higher education delivers financial aid with the first—and only—student engagement platform. Easy. Mobile. Personalized. Our cloud-based technology helps schools increase accessibility to education, reduce student borrowing, and drive down the cost of financial aid administration. More than 400 schools serving 1.4 million students improve enrollment yield, process efficiencies, and student satisfaction by better engaging students from their initial college search through graduation. For more information visit www.campuslogic.com.

About 4.0 Partners

4.0 Partners invests in companies that are driving the fourth Industrial Revolution, where real and virtual worlds merge, led by exponential advances in Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things, and Big Data. Our team of experienced entrepreneurs, investors and advisors work with founders and visionaries to start and grow their technology ventures. For more information visit http://4.0partners.com

Follow CampusLogic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/campuslogic

Blog: http://campuslogic.com/blog/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/campuslogic