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More ideas from the openIDEO Challenge: All are tied together by existing credentialing and business models, but they each address the challenges of learning communities not well-served by traditional residential degree programs. These speculative models were inspired by David Stanley’s EduCause Review article

  • Polymath University: For T-Shaped learners in the 21st-century workplace, Polymath University requires students to major in three distinct areas.  By the same token, faculty members must be capable of teaching in three distinct programs.
  • Nomad University: A kind of competency-based model, the Nomad University has no fixed location (and in some interpretations, no fixed courses). For learnings in the gig economy, this flexible approach to education has some advantages.
  • Interface University: I was struck by this idea of constructing an entire university curriculum around the notion of computational thinking.  There are elements the interface university in Georgia Tech’s computational media degree which combines computing and the humanities in a degree focusing on technology-enabled content.
  • Neo-Liberal Arts College: There is a great deal of discussion about how to bring the liberal arts to science and engineering curricula, but  little effort on the opposite side of that coin.  How would you design the arts and humanities around technology?
  • Ludic University: This is the university of play.  Instead of lecture halls, seminar rooms, and laboratories, this is a university built around design studios. According to Kate Rushton, “this is the university of what-if.”

These are five novel ways to organize post-secondary education.  What problems would these universities solve?  How are they different from current experimental approaches to higher education, and which ones would actually change our system if they were successful?

 

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Kate Rushton contributed a startling idea to the Future of Higher Education Challenge  #FutureHigherEd:  Suppose you were studying Environmental Justice.  You might attend lectures, read some books, pore over a few case studies…or you might want to actually talk to someone who was affected by, say,  the Flint, Michigan water crisis or the events following the Fukushima tsunami:

If I was studying it today, instead of reading about Exxon Valdez or Brent Spa, maybe I could learn from the perspective of the people involved in current issues around the world today e.g. the conflict between the Sami and Britain’s Beowulf Mining over an iron ore mining project in the north of Sweden from the perspective of the Sami, other locals, the Swedish government, Beowulf Mining and shareholders in the company, and buyers of iron ore.

That’s the idea behind the Human Library.  What if we could create a platform that would allow learners to easily host events involving people that would otherwise be difficult to assemble.  In Kate’s terms, “What if we could borrow people instead of books?”  It turns out there is a way to do this on a limited scale. Human Library UK is an international movement to facilitate conversations.

The Human Library is an international equalities movement that challenges prejudice and discrimination through social contact. It uses the language and mechanism of a library to facilitate respectful conversations that can positively change people’s attitudes and behaviours towards members of our communities who are at risk of exclusion and marginalisation.

It’s an idea that applies to many different conversations.  Wouldn’t it be great for computer scientists studying cyber security to assemble key players in the discovery, capture and containment of the Morris Worm, widely believed to be the first broad cyber attack on the Internet? How might a small liberal arts college host a classroom discussion with participants from around the world? The 1981 collapse of a walkway at the Kansas City Hyatt Hotel is often used as a case study for ethics classes, but many of the stakeholders (victims, engineers, construction personnel, government officials) are still living.How about  engaging in a dialog with them?

If this appeals to you, visit the openIDEO Challenge website and add your thoughts.

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Reimagine the Future of Higher Education

Georgia Tech, USA Funds, Global Silicon Valley, Northeastern University, the US Department of Education, and  the international design firm IDEO are partnering to sponsor the OpenIDEO Future of Higher Education Challenge. The global initiative was announced Nov. 15 at the White House by Department of Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell and will run through February 2017.

Read the full news release.

Get involved in the Challenge and share your vision!

The Challenge’s Research Phase is now underway. Share stories and reflections, emotions, perspectives and other personal contributions related to education after high school and throughout one’s lifetime. These contributions can be shared through the OpenIDEO Challenge Portal.

Postsecondary education is one of the best investments a person can make, serving as a gateway to social mobility and economic opportunity. This year, U.S. public high schools recorded a graduation rate of 83.2 percent, the highest number ever in recorded history. As these students transition into the American workforce, they’re likely to have four job changes in less than 10 years. Of those jobs, two billion will disappear by 2030—that’s approximately 50 percent of employment opportunities today. Learners are more diverse, because the country is more diverse.  They are also older, because as old jobs disappear, people return to school. They do not always live and work near a college campus, so access to quality education is not guaranteed.  Even if education is accessible, many find themselves priced out of a learning experience by tuition increases that outpace inflation by a factor of four.

There are dozens of shifts in the academic and economic landscapes happening all at once. Designing an adaptive postsecondary system that supports lifelong learning will be more critical than ever before.

The people and unmet needs behind these numbers inspire a huge opportunity for redesigning the post-secondary learning experience. Traditional colleges and universities, new  providers of education, emerging learning communities, families, students, employers, civic institutions all seem to be poised at a pivotal moment for innovation.  How might we prepare students – of all ages –  for active civic engagement, real-world employment, and career success in an ever transforming economic ecosystem?

With your help during this Future of Higher Education Challenge, maybe we can find a way to work together to design new ways in which we might better support learners to evolve with the needs of tomorrow. Let’s explore ideas that cut across cultures, income levels, and sectors as we envision a system that supports innovative models and empowers a broad set of learners.

Check back as I summarize some of these ideas, and feel free to add your comments and perspectives here and at the OpenIDEO Challenge Site.

Bryan Alexander

Let me share some stories about higher education from this week.  These aren’t technology stories, not futuristic accounts.  Instead each anecdote illustrates the enormous financial pressures squeezing most of American colleges and universities.  None of them are unusually dramatic: no closures in this post, no queen sacrifices.  Just the steady ratcheting up towards crisis.

Item: the University of Massachusetts Boston told 400 adjuncts that they might not be rehired this fall.  That is about one third of the campus instructional staff, and more than half of the non-tenured faculty:

There are 1,271 total full- and part-time faculty, according to university officials. About 775 of those are nontenure track, about 400 of whom have received notices that they might not have jobs in the fall.

Note that this comes after fall classes are already on the books.  See, things are in flux:

Although many adjuncts have already been scheduled for classes…

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL–(Marketwired – May 10, 2016) –  Campus Technology Conference, an higher education technology event produced by LRP Conferences, LLC, an affiliate of LRP Publications, today announced Richard DeMillo, Ph.D., computer scientist, author, and executive director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will be the Opening Keynote presenter for the 23rd annual higher education technology event. Setting the tone for the four-day event being held Aug. 1 – 4, 2016 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, DeMillo’s presentation, A Revolution in Higher Education: Tales From Unlikely Allies, will explore the complex issues confronting contemporary institutions and how unexpected partners are working together to transform higher education.

Source: Campus Technology Reveals Dr. Richard DeMillo to Keynote 2016 Conference

MSR Selingo Demillo

Affordable access to quality higher education has been a cornerstone of American life since the nation’s founding. American higher education is admired around the world as a model of excellence and innovation, but there is a consensus today that higher education in the U.S. is not on a sustainable path. My books Abelard to Apple and Revolution in Higher Education (both from MIT Press) chronicled the events that led to the current state of affairs and describe an optimistic but much changed ecosystem for higher education.

There are no simple solutions to the problems plaguing colleges and universities. A small band of innovators has taken up the challenge, launched a revolution and has started to remake higher education. The result will be a new, more sustainable ecosystem. Technology holds the key to innovation in higher education. I want to describe the world that the innovators are building, using as examples the innovations like the ecosystem pioneered at Georgia Tech, powered by online education, unexpected partnerships, business reinvention and a willingness to disrupt the status quo. What will the University of the 21st Century Look like? It will be very different from the ones we attended.

Join Jeff Selingo, best-selling author of College (un)Bound and There Is Life After College for our on-stage discussion in Redmond at Microsoft Research of what the revolution is all about.

Video courtesy of Microsoft press here.