Aligning SLOs with employability

Today’s universities measure student learning outcomes (SLOs) through in-class assessments targeting the micro and macro level of a learner’s knowledge acquisition.

At the micro level, these assessments take the form of quizzes, mid-term and final exams, and evaluations of assignments submitted by students. At the macro level, SLOs feed into what administrators expect every student, regardless of specific curriculum, program, or major, to master in order to graduate. These are not skills-specific necessarily; they are ideals. These are the outcomes that students should be able “to know, think, or do across all courses” by the time they graduate.

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The success or failure of a university’s macro-level SLOs is later assessed (voluntarily) during the accreditation process via one of the nation’s six regional accreditors. This assessment is something that the vast majority of the colleges and universities in the United States undertake currently to earn and maintain campus-wide accreditation.


Initiative zeroes in on blockchain in higher ed

​A new federally-funded and ambitious initiative aims to explore the use of blockchain technology in higher education.

The American Council on Education (ACE) has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to support the Education Blockchain Initiative, which is designed to help identify and evaluate ways that blockchain technology can improve the flow of data among educational institutions and employers while empowering individuals to translate educational outcomes into economic opportunity.

Related content: How will blockchain transform higher education?

It will include the launch of a competitive challenge to fund pilot programs later this year.

“This work is about exploring the potential of blockchain technology to give learners greater control over their educational records,” says Ted Mitchell, president of ACE. “It’s about enabling more seamless transitions between and across K-12, higher education, and the workforce. This initiative will explore how this nascent technology can break down barriers for opportunity seekers to fully unlock their learning and achievement.”


College launches start-up accelerator for student entrepreneurs

A Maryland community college is gearing up to launch a start-up business accelerator for student entrepreneurs.

Montgomery College’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education (WDCE) Program will offer a program for budding entrepreneurs in Montgomery County (MD) to gain start-up business resources and get newly created businesses registered.

Related content: 4 insights about higher-ed innovation

The college joins others around the nation that support local start-ups and student entrepreneurs. For example, the University of Cincinnati recently opened up its Venture Lab to students and staff from nearby institutions.

Montgomery College’s program, named LaunchCamp, starts April 7 and is a 12-week sprint for entrepreneurial-minded students to turn their ideas into registered businesses with identified customers.


Online program helps improve how teachers teach with tech

[Editor’s note: This story originally appeared on the University of Michigan’s site and is reposted here with permission.]

Step into any K-12 classroom and chances are the students will at one point during the day be engaged with technology using a computer, tablet, or other device.

Yet those who lead these classroom activities often are the first to admit they haven’t a clue how to integrate digital tools in a way that effectively promotes learning.

Related content: 5 tools to create a meaningful online course

A new online certification program from the University of Michigan School of Education, developed in partnership with the U-M Center for Academic Innovation, offers current K-12 teachers, technology coaches and administrators the opportunity to learn how to effectively integrate technology into classroom teaching so that it adds value to learning.


4 takeaways from a successful badging initiative

In Colorado, digital badging is on the rise. The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) has built badging initiatives around technical math, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare and the badges are working. In fact, the system currently offers more than 85 badges.

CCCS developed a badge for an advanced manufacturing software program. A company called the CCCS office and said it had trouble finding people that could operate its software. Students shared their badges and within weeks the company filled the open seats.

Related content: How to do digital badging the right way

In Boulder, students who earned horticulture badges received a raise from the city of Boulder Parks & Recreation department.

Here are some of the lessons they’ve learned.


Why lifelong learning matters for all ages

In an ever-changing global workforce, today’s students are developing skills to make them productive members of tomorrow’s workforce. Perhaps one of the most important skills they’ll learn is lifelong learning.

A new report highlights lifelong learning’s prominent part in higher ed and the workforce and delves into its potential to impact the nation’s economic and global success.

Related content: Keeping pace with lifelong learning demands

Future of Lifelong Learning: Designing for a Learning-Integrated Life, a new whitepaper from D2L released during the 2020 Education World Forum, focuses on the future of work and learning. The paper describes how these forces and the interactions between them are permeating all aspects of our society, driving an increasing need for lifelong learning.


How to teach with 3D anatomy tools

How is it possible that someone who has been involved in developing 3D anatomy technologies for 12 years took 7 of those years to find a way to teach with it effectively?

I prided myself on being a great teacher. In every possible sense – a good explainer, an innovator, a student advocate. And I was killing it in the lecture hall and in the lab, teaching in the ways that I learned from my great teaching mentors. So how was it that after 7 years of working with 3D anatomy technologies as a product developer (Cyber-Anatomy/VIVED Learning), I wasn’t really using the technology that much in my teaching?

Related content: How your campus can tap into extended reality

I think a part of me was afraid of technology failures. I knew that running a huge simulation over the web just fails sometimes. I was also discouraged when I saw students starting to work with the software themselves. They clicked around aimlessly, and turned to ask the exact same question they asked in the cadaver lab – “What am I supposed to see here?” So I held back my trust and kept doing what I’d always been doing – PowerPoint-based lectures and dissection labs.

That is, until I had a problem in my dissection labs that I just couldn’t fix.


3 strategic steps for successful financial planning in higher ed

In 2014, taxis had 76 percent of the ride-hailing market for business travelers. Just four years later, taxis have only 7 percent of that market, with Uber and Lyft taking the other 93 percent.

The forces of disruption can be fast and furious. They have attacked business verticals throughout the economy. Disruption displaces an existing market, industry, or technology and produces something new, more efficient, and worthwhile, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. Disruptors’ favorite targets are industries that are vulnerable on affordability and convenience. For higher education, that description strikes close to home.

Related content: Using analytics to increase student success

Disruption is simultaneously destructive and creative, and it is happening in higher education right now. Sixty-six percent of higher education leaders understand this and believe that the traditional business model in higher education is no longer sustainable, according to a Kaufman Hall survey.

These leaders don’t expect the current business model to remain viable for more than five to 10 years. Across all institution types and endowment levels, confidence in the strength of the current business model has dropped, with negative sentiment fueled by:
• Intense competition for a declining number of students
• The emergence of “free” or “nearly free” college programs offered by employers
• Endowments that return only slightly more than average spending rates
• Rising costs to provide education — including tuition discount rates approaching 50 percent

But it’s not too late for higher education institutions to adapt and thrive in this disruptive environment. Linking the institution’s strategic plan to its financial plan and capital planning processes is a significant step toward long-term viability and is a strategy that colleges and universities across the U.S. should prioritize.


Leading tech trends have big implications for grads

As technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence evolve, students can look to tech trends–some emerging, some well-established–to explore paths of study leading to high-paying STEM careers.

A new report from GlobalData, a data and analytics company, details how virtual reality companies are increasingly using artificial intelligence and cloud technologies to develop stronger ecosystems. These developments have implications for higher education, from students up to campus leadership.

Related content: 4 key ways AI is impacting higher ed

Leading virtual reality technology trends, as identified in the report, include:

Custom silicon

The smartphone component ecosystem has played a critical role in the evolution of VR, but the next wave of innovation is being driven by purpose-built silicon. Nvidia and AMD lead the VR/augmented reality (AR) chip market, but Qualcomm is a formidable competitor. The company’s Snapdragon XR1 chip, launched in October 2018, is the industry’s first VR/AR-specific processor.


5 ways to create smarter corporate partnerships

When it comes to higher education and corporate partnerships, it’s not a “nice to have;” it is mission-critical for colleges and universities to survive. The job market is evolving so quickly that institutions need a steady stream of information from employers on what they want and need from their workforce so curriculum and learning can reflect those needs.

The key here is “partnership.” Think quality over quantity. Both sides—institutions and employers—are looking for return on investment (ROI), and these five approaches will help universities build impactful relationships with mutual benefits.

Related content: 5 ways for universities to build better corporate partnerships

5 steps for stronger corporate partnerships

1. Identify your internal champions
First and foremost, understand internal champions of the institution. Many faculty members and trustees hold professional external positions and are willing to share the university’s mission and strengths with the outside world. Alumni have a broad reach when it comes to garnering support. LinkedIn is a great tool to easily identify where alumni are employed. The next step is to determine if those companies are recruiting your graduates for meaningful internships or full-time positions. If so, tap the alumni to develop or strengthen a relationship.