Let’s debunk some artificial intelligence myths

The hype, I’m afraid, will not go away anytime soon. Take these three headlines from my newsfeed in the past 24 hours for instance: AI Assistant to Teach Students in Coding Course at Harvard Starting This Fall; UK’s Top Universities Issue 5 Guidelines for Generative AI; AI May Harm More Than Help B-School Students, Study Shows.

The truth, at least according to Ren Wang, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of HiLink, is more mundane. This April, Hilink released an AI lesson planner powered by ChatGPT that they say “revolutionizes the planning process by enabling educators to quickly create comprehensive lesson plans with just a few steps, such as inputting topic, audience, and keywords.”

But how does that work exactly? I asked Ren this and a few other questions about how he sees AI tech affecting the way we teach and learn. Have a listen and scroll down for some edited excerpts.…Read More

AI in Action

Twelve months ago, the acronym AI was a popular but still relatively esoteric topic. Today, the technologies, techniques, hopes, and concerns surrounding artificial intelligence have made it the most consequential subject since the advent of the Internet. Announcements about higher education’s involvement in AI integration are in constant rotation. Here are three from just this week:

edX, a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. announced the launch of its groundbreaking new Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence MicroBootCamp program in partnership with 12 leading universities. The intensive online program is designed to rapidly equip technology professionals with the core skills needed to excel in the dynamic fields of machine learning and AI.

The Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence MicroBootCamp program will initially be offered by 12 university partners including Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, Southern Methodist University, The Ohio State University College of Engineering, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Denver, University of Kansas Jayhawk Global, University of Central Florida, University of New Hampshire Professional Development & Training, University of Richmond, and others. Enrollment is open at edX.org, with the first cohorts starting in July 2023. Prior coding experience in Python is highly recommended.…Read More

Money watch

Seems like COVID-era pronouncements of the death of traditional higher education were premature, at least when it comes to receiving donations from corporate and alumni donors. The recent survey from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) ran the numbers: Voluntary support of U.S. higher education institutions totaled $59.50 billion in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2022. That is an increase of 12.5% —$6.6 billion—over the previous fiscal year. Among the 781 institutions that reported in 2021 and 2022, support increased 11%. Nearly two-thirds of this core group reported their charitable giving totals increased by an average of 25.7%.

2023 reports indicate the spigot has not been turned off. Here are some of the most recent:

The Simons Foundation, a philanthropy working to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences, announced this month a historic $500 million endowment gift to Stony Brook University. The combined largesse of the Simons Foundation and Simons Foundation International — is the largest unrestricted donation to an institution of higher education in U.S. history.…Read More

Collaboration brings cloud solutions to higher education

A flexible path to the cloud designed specifically to help colleges and universities achieve student success

cloud-ellucianAs colleges and universities continue to transform to meet changing student expectations, senior institutional leaders want to help students access advanced, easy-to-use solutions anytime, anywhere.

They also need better and more timely access to institutional and student data through solutions that inform decision-making, amidst a call for increased accountability.

To that end, Ellucian, provider of higher education software and services, announced that the company has further strengthened its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS), including offering many of Ellucian’s higher education solutions as cloud-enabled.…Read More

Why higher ed is still a smart investment

Higher education is not just about money…it’s about empathy


Rising college costs and a challenging economy are continuing to intensify the debate over whether a college degree is still worth the investment, both in time and money.

Traditionally, a bachelor’s degree was seen as a no-brainer for many students: a ticket to a comfortable middle-class lifestyle that typically came with at most a manageable amount of low-interest student loan debt.…Read More

3 ways to bolster competency in higher education

Converting a student’s experience into college credits has proven one of the most complex, oft-discussed issues in higher education

competency-educationCompetency based learning, or CBE, has been pushed by educators and lawmakers who want to increase the number of U.S. degree holders by helping nontraditional students — working adults and military veterans among them — turn their professional experience into college credits.

The focus, these CBE advocates argue, should be on a student’s understanding of a subject, not their time re-learning what they already know.

With competency-based learning — which has gained traction over the past decade — student progress is not necessarily linked to traditional grades, textbook chapters, or even semester time-frames, known as seat time. Competency-based learning is instead based on the mastering of key concepts at a more personalized pace.…Read More

11 net neutrality principles from higher ed you may have missed

Higher education verbalizes why net neutrality is critical to higher education

net-neutrality-principlesThe threat to net neutrality is real, and no, it’s not just about how slow your Netflix movie could stream on a Sunday night. Net neutrality has generated a lot of buzz lately, but higher education wants to make clear—11 principles clear—that net neutrality has the power to radically alter education for better or for worse.

In case you missed it, this past January (2014) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit nixed the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) existing net-neutrality rules. In May, the FCC said it would propose new rules that could permit telecommunications companies to charge extra for high-speed delivery of content.

Those in favor of net neutrality (aka pretty much everyone except telecommunications companies) decried the proposal, saying that the new rules, if unchanged, could prove detrimental to everything from personal online streaming services (Hulu, Netflix, et cetera) to education and the ability to access the internet and its vast amount of resources.…Read More

Unbundling and re-bundling in higher education

Just thinking about how higher education will unbundle won’t be enough


With the explosion of online learning, a disruptive innovation, there has been significant attention paid to the likely unbundling of higher education (see Michael Staton’s AEI piece and this University Ventures Fund piece, for example).

The Clayton Christensen Institute has written unbundling recently. In every industry, the early successful products and services often have an interdependent architecture—meaning that they tend to be proprietary and bundled.…Read More

10 OER resources every educator should know about

These OER repositories and content creators provide higher-ed faculty and students vetted, free learning materials

openresizedAs textbook prices soar, tuition skyrockets, and educators are more pressured than ever to provide innovative courses and lectures packed with multimedia and current materials, the open education movement and its open education resources (OERs) have never been more critical for success than now.

What began in the ‘90s has now evolved into massive national, state, and university repositories that can be accessed by anyone, anytime…and the best part is, almost all OERs are free. What makes these current repositories worth investing time, however, is that thanks to decades of feedback, many are vetted by educators and are organized into highly-accessible repositories.

Many of these OER resources also provide step-by-step guides and OER tools to make multimedia, such as videos and tutorials.…Read More

What does higher-ed look like in 2023?

College could be a very different place when freshmen step foot on university campuses in the fall of 2023. For starters, many students will find that step to be entirely virtual.

Accreditation could change dramatically by 2023.

A seemingly alarmist prediction from Harvard business professor Clayton Christensen gaining traction among some educators states that more than half of universities will be in bankruptcy within 15 years.

Michael Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, recently made a similar prediction, but provided a slightly more optimistic number of 25 percent.…Read More