Collected Recent Posts Here


Link to Homepage


Arrowleaf Balsamroot




  • Most recent Issue of the AAC&U Peer Review devoted to Writing, e.g., one article:  “How Writing Contributes to Learning: New Findings from a National Study and Their Local Application”  (good ammo for talking to Deans, etc.)   (all articles accessible from this page)


  • Arguments for bilingual language instruction  “….bilingual education doesn’t just teach language skills, but helps students develop self-awareness and cognitive skills as well as the cultural competencies necessary for success in the real world”. Looks slightly slanted-commercial interests.   Gylhjtimp!(Vulcan slang.)


  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, the president of the New America Foundation (and a Princeton professor) writes in a recent issue of the Atlantic:



  • Related:  I posted last time info on the New America Survey Varying Degrees:  How America Perceives Higher Education  (sometimes, not so good)

 Lengthy but informative video, including panels





  • (Highly recommended) New America Survey:  Varying Degrees: How America Perceives Higher Education  (sometimes, not so good)

Lengthy but informative video, including panels


  1. AI — Teaching Machines to Replace Yourself!:  (How dumb can you get) 
  1. Purdue buys (primarily online) Kaplan University: (32000 students thrown into package deal) 

One motive:  Expand access to adult learners:  “….36 million working adults in America who are over the age of 25 with some college credits but no degree, 750,000 of whom are in Indiana. Another 56 million Americans over 25 have no college under their belt…”

Chronicle’s take

  1. To finish Community College – go full time:  (as much as possible)
  2. Germany – a look at their policy of free tuition for foreign students: (strong motives for keeping it) 
  3. A very hard look at the B.A. vs. Targeted Credentials – as said before, this is not going to go away
  4. Advice on how to engage students:  (serve pizza)


 Recommended:  200 Art Books from Guggenheim:  (many are oldies but goodies)



Artificial Intelligence and Education (…bulldozer?)

Related:  Will AI Replace Teachers?  (you, maybe, but clearly not me!!)

 Discussing student demands in large classes (“…No Homework!”) 

Western Governors University experiences and tactics proctoring exams (WGU is all online, stressing Competency) (they run ~30,000 assessments/month)

Comments on cheating (mostly online):  one approach: use lots of quizzes instead of tests

U.S. News ranking of online colleges (have to pick a program; e.g., Bachelor’s Degree)  – creative clicking will get you through this


NYT article on Predictive Analytics in Ed (recommended) 

·         Interview with Gregory Wolniak (Director of the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes at NYU Steinhardt; co-author of How College Affects Students, on Impact of Higher Ed on future income.  Looked at a number of factors

·         There’s more to it than $$:  Commentary

 ·         Humanities Research:  “…..We need systematic, coordinated institutional efforts to chart a viable future for the humanities in the 21st century, argues Robert Frodeman”. 

·         Use of Robots and AI is increasing and will have more and more impact on individuals and society.  Education will not be sheltered from these changes.  I have been trying somewhat sporadically to keep us informed on what functionality (e.g., driving you to and from work) and impact (e.g., you no longer know where you live) these advancements will have.

 ·         Critique of Physicists and DYI Humanities (…hey, why not!)

Extra:  Here is an interesting discussion of the possible interweaving of robots and employment (can beep-beep grade papers?):


  article  — Shouldn’t we be MAKING the darn things???



·         Essay opposing “Design Thinking” meetings (correct link)

                         Wiki on Design Thinking  (not sure what it was)

Some folks emailed me defending DT.  Whatever works.  Meetings in general:  I personally go with James Brown’s maxim: “Kill them and leave..”  (the leave part).

·         A look at the demand for on-campus mental health services for students (rapid response very important)

·         Simple ways to improve retention in online courses:  (e.g., a pre-course exercise)

·         Another look at “Jobs-Jobs-Jobs” and Education   I’m getting dizzy   (Chronicle-locked off campus)

·         Interview with author (    ) on MOOCs   (one pass the hype, could be useful)


  • 1.      What’s up with MOOCs including financing issues?? (“Build a Wall!”  = a paywall)  Interesting statistics –e.g., University players, popular courses, growth.

    2.      A look at the role of academia in addressing “Fake News” and other erroneous material; it raises fundamental questions about freedom of expression, journalism responsibilities, developing reader skills in detecting false information, role of prejudice, etc.   May rankle, but very important we respond. 

    3.      Related:  A Brit looks at the need for teaching critical literacy   

    4.      Crash Course in Ed Trends (quickly learn the buzzwords) 

    5.      Rising FEES out of hand (students angry)    [“…..But your tuition is frozen….!”]

    6.      Book on Advising:   Beyond Foundations: Developing as a Master Academic Advisor

     (Wiley/Jossey-Bass), edited by Thomas Grites, assistant provost at Stockton University; Marsha Miller, assistant director of resources and services at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA); and Julie Givans Vollar, research and planning strategist at Maricopa Community Colleges

    Q & A with T. Grites


  •   Physicist/University President (Miami University) interview:  Role of Liberal Arts in the “Miami Plan”:  (No Equations)

·         Pictorial History of Computers in Ed (well, sort of) – you’ll laugh! ……but in 50 years, kids will howl over images of your iPad.  Take a look    (Chronicle  — locked off campus) 

·         Chronicle Vitae:   Essay with ideas for writing and planning(might want to take a look at Scivener – for Mac) 

·         (a)  Go for the bucks, (b) “follow your bliss” (attrib. Joseph Campbell), …(c) or both?  A look at curricula/career choices 

·         More on Bucks  – Words of Chairwoman Janet Yellen (Federal Reserve):  Go to College

·         Student SUCCESS (everybody’s doing it)

 ·         (My hands shake as I write this):  MIT develops an algorithm that predicts “success” of young academic researchers.  includes discussion of pros and cons    


FYI:  Speaking of algorithms, challenges to self-driving cars:  (Recommendation:  you might want to cut back on your jaywalking!)


1.      Importance of Liberal Arts:  essay by Anant Agarwal (CEO of edX) on “…The Power of Soft Skills” (e.g., readin’ and writin’)   [FYI:  Agarwal is an EE]

 My question from the past – is it not time for an in-depth discussion at MOST publich universities on strengthening the ties between liberal arts and “the rest of us” to reexamine what we are putting out the door??  (What are our priorities?  Potential changes.  Who should be doing what?)

2.      Only slightly related (very narrow concerns) – small business rant on lack of skills in employees:   (the skills gap)

3.      Interview with the new Gates Foundation Deputy Director in Higher Education   Heather Hiles

4.      Profhacker (Chronicle):   Description of “The Digital Polarization Initiative” — opportunity and tool for instructors interested in addressing issues such as Fake News and other very destructive practices on the internet Strongly recommended.

Definitely involves raising the bar on critical thinking).

5.      Hard look at U.S. College/University Career Services  (conclusion: needs improvements)         Based on this report:   (Gallup/Purdue Index)

6.      Case for Learning Foreign Languages (partly business requirements)

 7.      Mentoring young people – what’s most effective?

Finally:  Help me out here – I don’t Tweet – Why not just write an essay?


Heads Up – This is a very good “tutorial” (write-up) on preparing good online videos

Declining numbers of high school graduates (over the next two decades)

A number of institutions struggling to meet enrollment goals:  small colleges in particular

 SUCCESS issues for older students:  often, tough road

 Surfers abilities to Discern Online Information Credibility (not so good)

 Essay on academic involvement in online education (potential and reality)  needs some tweaking

 Very short video on AI in Education (I am not a robot – we’ll actually….)  may have to endure an ad

 6 year high schools — This is brief part of a letter to Donald Trump from the Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM (Ginny Rometty) written after the election:

 Creating “New Collar” Jobs

 “Getting a job at today’s IBM does not always require a college degree; at some of our centers in the United States, as many as one third of employees have less than a four-year degree. What matters most is relevant skills, sometimes obtained through vocational training. In addition, we are creating and hiring to fill “new collar” jobs – entirely new roles in areas such as cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence and cognitive business.

 You’ve spoken about the importance of vocational education, and we agree. IBM has championed a new educational model for the United States – six-year public high schools that combine traditional education with the best of community colleges, mentoring, and real-world job experience. The first of these schools opened with IBM’s support 5 years ago in New York; we have hired some of the first graduates. There will soon be 100 such schools across the country. With your support, we could do much more. Let’s work together to scale up this approach of vocational training, creating a national corps of skilled workers trained to take the “new collar” IT jobs that are in demand here in America.”

Letter here:  IBM CEO  Ginny Rometty


1.      Chronicle articles on improving instruction (locked off campus):

The Personal Lecture

Encouraging Active Learning

 5 Ways to Shake Up the Lecture 

2.      A look at the current “Push for Completion”

3.      International Flipped Learning Innovation Center:  “….to support collaboration and innovation” 

4.      UW  and Amazon team up on AI:  emphasis on voice communication

5.      Institutions Jumping on Wagon (Data Analytics)

 6.      Library of Congress – adds access to historical maps and charts


1.       Student expectations of institutional use of Personalized Big Data (“…..get me a date”)

2.       Short interview with author (Christopher Newfield) of  The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them.

                        Argues against ‘privatization’.

 3.       Another look at the importance of the liberal arts     

 [TD:   Isn’t it time for STEM and Humanities faculty to talk??—perhaps about STEAM?? and/or STREAM???]  Yes!

4.       Skills vs. the B.A.:  Linkedln’s CEO (self-promoting, maybe)

5.       Update on Udacity, e.g., their Blitz program (targets training)

6.       Coursera Fees:  encourages binging

7.       Welcome to AI – you must try this!!  

Hit “Let’s Draw” and it will give you tell you what to draw (e.g., a whale) and try to guess what it is.  You can use your mouse.



1.      What ‘Bama (and others) are doing:  (primarily about recruiting)

 2.      How Georgia State is using Big Data to increase graduation rates:   “Hey you!—Crack the books!”

 3.      Recommended –could be a freight train coming:   Pearson globs onto Watson (IBM comes with the deal) to do “AI-Ed”.   We’re talking Adaptive Learning here (dear to my heart)

 4.      Trademarking Degrees (& Credentials):  NanoDegree; MicroDegree; MicroMasters Degree – we could offer a FemtoDegree – it’s a lot smaller:  “if you enroll, it’s yours!

   5.   Chronicle 50 Year Anniversary – asks academics a bunch of questions about higher ed:  (opinions found here)

–Locked off Campus






1.      Georgia Tech moving carefully and systematically on online offerings and hybrid degrees (online off-campus + on-campus):  (“I’m a ramblin’ wreck…”)

2.      Princeton explores modifying Foreign Language requirements —upgrade 

3.      Confronting the increasing faculty workload  — Valparaiso University’s approach:  Holistic Departmental Model

4.      A look at higher ed spending in 12 states (Wash. and UW included):    mostly cuts

5.      “Full Florida”  (CC related)  — Making Remedial Courses optional: mostly opinion

6.      More on Learning Spaces   e.g., a Mall



1.      Artificial Intelligence:  A Watson Based Question “Answerer”  –  it can’t replace me, …. can it??

(in the  Chronicle – locked off campus)

2.      Ode to liberal arts colleges in small towns (..we’ve got the small town part)

 3.      Higher Ed Business Models (or lack thereof) 

4.      Go to college – you’ll live longer.

5.      Addressing the “boy problem”

6.      Hard-nosed but quite insightful   — interview with Director ofGeorgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce   Recommended

7.      Oregon State’s perspective on their ed innovation initiatives   = EvoLLLution  (still working on spelling)

8.      Challenges of the Internet of Things  (how do I talk to my ankle shackle?)

(in the  Chronicle – locked off campus)


Blackboard Study on how BB is actually used:  course content

In the Halloween spirit — scary trends in higher ed:  Boo!

Review of book on results of a study — “….Authors discuss book that seeks to counter the narrative about how higher ed prepares students for careers. They say college must be more than job training, and that term “liberal arts” is misunderstood….   beyond skills gap

Related — Response to statements like:   “….Governor Patrick McCroy of North Carolina suggested basing funding on post-graduate employment rather than enrollment, or, as he put it rather crudely, “It’s not based on butts in seats but on how many of those butts can get jobs……”   need for humanities

Comprehensive polling of faculty opinions (kind of a grumpy bunch)

MIT prof (Sherry Turkle – author of  “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age”)  discusses balancing technology and how we communicate with students.  (Email Not)

Rankings – alternatives to U.S. News and World Report “swimsuit edition  

 Remote Piano Master Classes  “Have you considered selling auto insurance??”


1.      Interview with Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, a spinoff of the British Open University (includes a podcast of interview:  13.5 minutes); topic: Opportunities in Online Ed and MOOCs

2.      Interview with the president of Stevens Institute of Technology (includes a video) – of most interest to STEM people but it includes this strong statement:     Stevens

“…And yet, at the same time, we give them a very strong and very balanced exposure to liberal arts, to ethics, to philosophy, to the values of our democracy. And as a result, we believe the educational experience that they receive makes them a good human being, ready to get out of the university and contribute to society. I think this balanced approach is something that would prove useful for higher-education institutions all over the country.”

 3.      SUCCESS – A how-to manual complete with trumpet choir  EDUCAUSE

 4.      Summaries of several talks at (THE) World Academic Summit:  includes several US speakers

 5.      Pearson (the publisher) has put out a report on attitudes about use of technology in higher ed:  M aybe ok.   Summary    Has link to full report.

 6.      PTECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) gets students an Associate’s Degree before high school graduation.   Colorado

                        Links to more examples.


1.      Chronicle Booklet on Competency Based Learning

2.      Interview regarding Western Governors University (they stress online, competency based education):  we continue to watch

3.      SUCCESS – advice on administrating technology 

4.      Georgia Tech offers inexpensive Master’s Degree in Computer Science  (a few of you better check this out)  Good Deal

5.      Whitepaper on Open Ed Resources (Cengage study):   on upswing

6.      Dealing with Millennia Faculty Members:  (no spankings!) 

7.      Short (positive) blurb on Teaching Observations:  describes Vanderbilt’s program 

8.      Boise State’s Innovation Center (e.g., how to start up a startup):   “…a catalyst for change”


1.      IBM Watson takes on 3rd grade Math:  (fancy calculator??)  (Seriously, I asked IBM take on senior level physics two years ago and they declined – I guess they were not ready)

Article is a description of “Teacher Advisor – a program that uses artificial-intelligence technology to answer questions from educators and help them build personalized lesson plans.” 

2.      Musings on “Innovation” in higher ed; uses ASU and a small 2 yr college (Deep Springs College) as examples:  how do you know innovation when you see it

3.      Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education report examines statistics involving undergrad enrollment (contains link to report)  

Just one quote from article:    “……Many high school graduates are unprepared for college; half must take remedial classes. Remedial classes don’t always work, though — just 28 percent of two-year college students who took these courses actually earned a degree in 8.5 years.”

4.      A look at Remedial Education specifically including costs to students (Center for American Progress)    Seems useful

 5.      STEM and Humanities – Need Both    Opinion from Scientific American

 6.      Getting certified in Flipping:  Pancakes? 

7.      For the hardcore – IT Outsourcing at Universities:   the good and the bad


Blackboard Study on how BB is actually used:  course content

In the Halloween spirit — scary trends in higher ed:  Boo!

Review of book on results of a study — “….Authors discuss book that seeks to counter the narrative about how higher ed prepares students for careers. They say college must be more than job training, and that term “liberal arts” is misunderstood….   beyond skills gap

Related — Response to statements like:   “….Governor Patrick McCroy of North Carolina suggested basing funding on post-graduate employment rather than enrollment, or, as he put it rather crudely, “It’s not based on butts in seats but on how many of those butts can get jobs……”   need for humanities

Comprehensive polling of faculty opinions (kind of a grumpy bunch)

MIT prof (Sherry Turkle – author of  “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age”)  discusses balancing technology and how we communicate with students.  (Email Not)

Rankings – alternatives to U.S. News and World Report “swimsuit edition  


Remote Piano Master Classes  “Have you considered selling auto insurance??”


Nobel in Lit:  “It ain’t me Babe…..” 

1.      Campus Techology’s 2016 Teaching with Technology Survey shows Flipping and Blending in higher ed is going strong:  flipped 55 %

2.      Recommended:  Higher Ed rankings with different criteria – e.g., Engagement, Resources (same old – same old), Outcome, Environment

3.      UM “Next Step” Initiative – “The initiative, which comes as the university prepares to celebrate its bicentennial in 2017, is being billed as a “next step” by President Mark Schlissel for Michigan to play a leading role in shaping the future for public research universities”   “Go Blue!”  or, as they say at Michigan State,  “Go Blow!” 

4.  FlexSpace  AN OPEN REPOSITORY OF LEARNING SPACE DESIGN”       (who needs an architect)

Speaking of our rising Digital Classroom Building – go look at it quick; the exterior color is absolutely magnificent.  I just hope they don’t cover it up with those ugly red bricks.  I asked some of the workers to not lay any bricks and they said “Riiiit!” which I took to mean they won’t.

5.      Pew Study on issues dealing with the need for education and training of the workforce:  (trying to keep up)

6.      Wash. Post Opinion piece on balance (e.g., Welding vs. Proust)

7.      Balancing Pedagogy and Assessment in Competency-Based Education”   EducauseReview 

8.      App for those who get lost in the library    (or can’t find where you left your Ark)



1.      Recommended for Online Bunch:  Harvard and Berkeley – two independent approaches to strengthen interactivity in Business School Onlines  (Live Lectures; Student Hot Seats)

2.      Review of a provocative talk by Stephen Downs (co-“inventor” of MOOCs) discussing what innovation in ed really looks like and what should be our focus:  MOOCs alone are not innovative 

3.      Problems in solving higher ed costs:  “It’s the Colleges, Stupid!”

Prediction (mine):  I think we will be forced to adopt/increase competency based learning, bootcamps, and distance learning courses/degrees-primarily to remain competitive.

Related position (mine):  Appropriate (whatever that means) Liberal Arts needs to be part of any type of degree program-for lots of reasons.

4.      Summer school for Type A high school students:  “I’ll bite your head off!”

5.      “Sherpas” (guides) for undergraduates:  “…one of the highest predictors of a student’s success in college is having the phone number of a trusted mentor”

(NOTE:  Chronicle – locked; available on most campuses) 


  1. What’s Happenin’ in Lecture Capture: candid camera 

“…..’We are seeing an uptick in both use of lecture capture, need for lecture capture, and also video content creation by faculty outside the lecture hall,’ said John Harford, manager of Collaboration Technology and Digital Education at Yale.”

  1. Carnegie Mellon (here we go again!) launches 3D Printing Initiative: which coordinate system?
  1. Some Higher Ed tactics to attract more applicants – not so laudable
  1. Independent Non-Profit Boot Camp:  Turing     (Chronicle article locked to non-subscribers – can often view on campus) 
  1. Rapidly rising job market:  contract work in “Virtual Education”    Free Lance Ed

 Examples:   …virtual teacher, program educator, curriculum writer/developer, tutor, program manager/coordinator positions for organizations like museums and summer camps 


Mind Boggle:  Play Chicken with this Chinese Straddling Bus



1.       USC Bootcamp for returning veterans – prep for college 

Attention SUCCESS folks:  Old Idea – providing something similar for our incoming students lacking preparation BUT STILL WERE ACCEPTED. 

Here is where Data Analytics is necessary to identify ill-prepared students before they get here.  We or perhaps others have done something like a Bootcamp in the past. 

2.      Speaking of DATA – a description of highly targeted use of data in higher ed using “Self Service Analytics”  (UW – Boo Hiss — is at the forefront):  Data

3.      A challenge to how we bestow stamps of achievement – academics aren’t going to like this 

4.      Quality Matters-Raising the bar on online course:  facilitators

5.      Online Personalization issues:  (To Student:  “Wake UP!”)

6.      A look at some non-traditional paths to learning something:   (e.g., some skills)

7.      Jedi Mind Tricks – 14 suggestions to get students working and stop whining:  (well, ….reduce whining)


Kind of boring, but for the hardcore:  IT leaders discuss what they should be doing (and “digital trends”)  IT priorities



1.      Dick Pratt sent this in – Report on Competency Based Ed:  CBE

2.      ASU President (during visit down-under) outlines what they are doing  (Lots) 

3.      (More) Emotional Intelligence of our students (not so good)

4.      Survey on use/perception of Open Ended Resources (mostly texts)

5.      U. Mass Amhurst  —  Installs (LOTS OF) Solar:  will save money

6.      A 3D Printer in every pot:  (maybe on every desk)  –sales booming.   Somewhere I read about 3D printers printing 3D printers!  This could get out of hand.


Mind Boggle:  A use for your crop of dandelions:  one person’s flower is actually a weed  (got it backwards? – also, how do you weed the weeds?) 


1.      New Hampshire:   Professional Development for K-12 Teachers   E-Learning for Educators  

2.      High School as College Prep?  Not so useful (includes AP courses) – strongly encourage you to look at this

[Before we raise our noses high into the air – What are we putting out?  What are we trying to put out??] 

3.      Another write up on need for liberal arts in high tech commerce:  seeing beyond gizmos

    (citing the upcoming report “Reclaiming the value of liberal arts for the 21st century” from the Education Advisory Board, a Washington-based research and consulting firm) 

4.      Study looks at possible influences on cheating (online courses in computer science;  FYI: some connections to ZyBooks – still may be of general interest)  Surprise – eBook Design matters

5.      Opinion:  Soul Searching — Sociology   What are the Questions?

6.      Problems with Dual Enrollment (letting high school students take online courses for college credit):  “No students in my class!”

             Chronicle article Locked – can view with subscription (available on some campuses)

For Administrators – may have some interesting ideas related to Student Services:    Learning from Grocery Stores      Chronicle article Locked – can view with subscription (available on some campuses)


FYI:  Infographic on Employment:   IQ and Emotional IQ  (suggests working on the latter)


  1. Trying to objectively evaluate Ed Tech Tools: HOW?
  1. Survey: online students – 50% prefer to stay with online 5th year study:  “Online College Students 2016: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” 
  1. Many universities are opening up Code Boot Camps: “Hello World!”
  1. Primer on Competency Based Education (an eBook – sponsored by a commercial outfit D2L; seems informative): describes what is happening


1.      Seven Universities get funds for Adaptive Learning:   AL

                         “… adopt, implement and scale use of adaptive courseware in high-enrollment, blended learning courses in multiple departments and programs to improve student success….” 

2.      (One) List of Top Master’s Degree Programs in Educational Technology:  (Apply Soon)

3.      California 22nd State to allow Community Colleges to grant 4 year degrees

4.      Liberal Arts Colleges focus on challenges– Research Universities share some of their issues and strategies (E.g., Perceived Value of LA; Tuition; Demographics)

5.      SUCCESS    Discussion of ‘Degree Planning Tools’

6.      Robbie Melton is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Emerging Mobile IoT (Internet of Things) Technologies for the Tennessee Board of Regents – this is a short video talking (a little) about the potential of IoT in education:   video     (by searching you can easily find lots of her longer talks on Youtube).

Why it might be important?  IoT will serve/plague us for many years to come.

7.      A look at proposed changes and reactions at Vassar:   (teaching loads, grad requirements, implications)



1.      Are MOOCs forever?   A discussion with Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera.  This is the complete text from a Chronicle podcast called “ReLearning” (will return in the Fall).  Among other podcasts, I listen to it while I exercise.  Dulls the pain.  The audio of the podcast is available here also:  MOOCs

2.      EdSurge look at Virtual Reality – you can view some (VR comes in 2D and, more often, in 3D with the glasses – shown is 2D)  VR – hype?? 

Opinion:  Educational VR development is still limited, often for K-12.  It is primarily gee-whiz oriented.  Serious material (is) will be things like surgery (PLEASE actually do it a few times before cutting me open!).  Also, most of this will be commercially driven.

ally developed.  Otherwise consider 24 hour days (all my drawings of dinosaurs are currently stick figures).

3.      Another Edsurge – ‘Gotta have it’:  an ASU Designer (Chief Design Officer! at EdPlus talks about the importance of Design in higher ed

Steven Bell, Temple U.  “……Everything colleges and universities do is a product of design, be it the curriculum, the campus, or all the programming that supports the institution.” 

[Don’t we all do this one way or another (e.g., blindly)?  We are our own CDO.  In 4th grade (as CDO) I “designed” a paper Mache goose – when I made it it came out looking like a duck.] 

4.      For Serious Success Warriors – Third round of papers from Lumina “….New papers show how institutions can align programs and finances to support student success”. 

Links to Rounds One and Two are also given.


  1. Virtual Reality – when should higher ed jump in? (My reality is already virtual)
  1. Related – putting VR and Ed=Tech into perspective (some reactions to above and more)
  1. Another argument for a STEM-Liberal Arts marriage (“I STEM, take you, Liberal Arts to be my …..”) –  jobs oriented.
  1. Missing university president found in laundromat playing Pokémon Go (just kidding; it was a vice-president) higher ed stories

    A more general higher ed opinion :  Essay

  1. New book on the origins of “The Wisconsin Way” (short discussion with author)


1.      NYU testing online lectures in Shanghai   New York University in Shanghai

2.      “American Intellectualism”  — maybe a bad year to release this book

3.      Humanities Laboratories (aimed at Grad level but seems applicable to UG level):  No test tubes to wash 

4.      Alternative Credentials (read quickly:  “bad chus!”)   Everybody’s giving them.

5.      For hardcore administrators – extensive report (by Hanover Research) on academic program development (one finding:  institutions are focusing primarily on new programs)

6.      Student facial expressions measured while you talk:  are you awake?


1.      Another take (in the WP) on should you go to college/university?:   Yes, if it’s my college/university.

2.      Companies with tuition assists for employees asking (AGAIN)   “where’s the beef?”

3.      History Degrees without (U.S.) History at top institutions?   Interview question:  “…Discuss USexit and Related Piece of Paper – think fireworks…” 

4.      Math without Math (well, sort of):  Michigan State drops algebra requirement 

5.      Highly Recommended:  Discussion of the decline in “Cultural Literacy” (includes inspection of READING and college prep issues):   Downer of the Day

6.      VR freight train comin’ through:   VR in Ed

Think of “Fantastic Voyage”,  The Movie – had to find it with Google – really tiny submarine inside blood vessels:   Blurb on movie


1.      Use of non-traditional learning pathways growing:  (gap year; online for targeted learning; hard skill learning)   Harvard says – no problem

2.      Financial impact on students graduating in 5, 6 years:   NYT Article says go for four

3.      Global oriented report implies industrial pressure on universities to put out ‘robots’ (students with wrenches for hands??):   skip the Shakespeare   

            Only vaguely related:   Charlie Chaplin:

 4.      Related:  An excellent discussion (video) with Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust on:  Do we Need to Rescue the Humanities?  (Answer:  Yes!)      

(held at Aspen Ideals Festival)

5.      Please tell me this is not important – Top 40 Institutions in use of social media (showed engagement, impact and responsiveness):    “When’s the game start?”

6.     Some opinions on Competency Based Learning Assessment:  Where’s the Beef?

I’m serious here:   What if (and only if) the Humanities were forced or chose to move to some sort of Competency Based Learning; what would they want students to be able to do and how would they measure it? 

For me, one skill – just the first question – would be:  To effectively and transparently (without deception) argue in support of an idea/concept/opinion etc.   Just a thought.  Happy to post any replies. 


  1. Experiments on online exercises; to peek or not to peek – how hard do students try to solve problems on own?

2. Learning in the workplace:   Forbes says necessary

3. Study says majority of hires are college graduates:  Go to college  

4. Start of a series on role of neuroscience in education:  Cookies on Lower Shelf

5. Infographics from Adobe –Creative Candidates Get Hired  Light Bulb

6. Made me ask, how do you teach creativity?  Not being very creative, I Googled around – lots of stuff; here is just one

Implied – Start Young!: Build a Better Light Bulb




1.      Almost all if not ALL of us value a liberal education.  Here’s an essay in the Atlantic on the need for more breadth in the undergraduate Business Degree:   Let’s get down to business!           (This echoes what the private sector is calling for in many categories, high tech included) 

2.      Wearables going crazy (In Education:  “Wristband, help me get through this exam!”) Wearables

3.      Illume Learning providing a free (at least currently) “Walmart” (my term) of teaching resources:  (ok, ….“”)

It actually looks useful.  Might want to view the intro video.

Examples given:

·                   25 million text, trade and scholarly books;

·                   Tens of thousands of case studies;

·                   Articles from 12,645 academic journals;

·                   Millions of articles from 65 leading newspapers and 140 magazines;

·                   Hundreds of thousands of syllabi, reading lists and lecture slide presentations; and

·                   Tens of thousands of tutorials from Khan Academy, simulations, problem sets, videos and course notes. 

4.      Badges (and Certificates) are big at higher ed institutions: “I don’t need no….badges!” 


1.      NYT Essay (one of many I mentioned earlier (entire set):  Alternatives to College (“….What we need are job-training institutions on par with academic institutions as prestigious and rigorous as the Ivy League to attract students interested in pursuing skilled jobs critical for the economy that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree.”)  Alternatives

2.      One more for the road:  Essay on the use of learning technologies  

3.      Interesting (commercial) package to find concept links:  “…Yewno for Education, a service to be offered in academic and research libraries to help users find connections among concepts.  Yewno

4.      Cornell students research collaborative virtual reality learning game:  Crystalize  (their professor created the game)

5.      Community college presidents TEACH to relate to students: (should be required at all institutions!)


Yesterday’s NYT had an incredible set of essays on Higher Ed.  Here are links to the whole package

 (For non-scribers, you can read some number of articles/month for free (I think it’s 10)).

 Here are some of the essays:

 Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Ed:  Making the Most of Ed Tech

President of Oberlin   — more wisdom:     Higher Ed at a Crossroads

 Harvard Prof of American Legal History:  Need more than STEM

 Yale Prof, School of Medicine: Emotional State of Students-some not so good

 Former New York City School Chancellor:   More Low Income Students Need a Path


Author of There is Life After CollegeAlternatives to College



1.      Still studying – screen reading vs. paper:  (I think it is partly age – pass me my book)   (Chronicle  — locked off campus)

2.      More on Open Educational Resources:  OER

3.      A view of New Englander on “training” vs. “education”  (with some adjustments, author says we can provide both)

4.      Book Review of The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most, an optimistic review of well-functioning undergraduate programs (looks useful for finding ideas for improvement, real improvement)  

5.      Behavioral Interventions help retain students:  BI    (Chronicle  — locked off campus) 

6.      Elon Musk et. al. supporting working on a Robot designed to do household chores (adaptive learning is in there somewhere):  (“…do the dishes!”)


For the Hardcore (e.g., those into serious AI, Deep Learning):

This will be down in an open source fashion via OpenAI

It’s Gym:  OpenAI Gym    

Blog:   OpenAI Blog  

Current Technical Goals:  Technical Goals

7.      A collection of papers on higher ed issues and funding;  from the University of Virginia Miller Center – aimed primarily at administrators: higher ed issues and funding  

Addressing these questions: 

First, how do we realign incentives and retarget existing public funding to make the entire system more efficient and to increase graduation rates for students generally and students of color and from low-income families in particular?

Second, what are the new, innovative models to deliver postsecondary education that can both lower the cost and increase the productivity of the entire system?

Third, what options do federal and state governments and the private sector have for increasing funding for higher education?



1.      National Academy Report (free download or online viewing– upper right): 

Academy Report on Quality in undergrad education: 

Quality in the Undergraduate Experience: What Is It? How Is It Measured? Who Decides? Summary of a Workshop

2.      Got empty seats in your class?  Contact ALEX  (not ALEKS)  — Harvard student startup; just getting off the ground

3.      Smithsonian launches online toolkit providing access to resources (museums, etc.)        Learning Lab

(“…..Teachers can use trusted, authentic resources and interactive tools to make lessons more relevant and compelling to students while meeting curriculum standards and fostering higher-order thinking skills.”)

 4.      Podcast:  Coursera’s President, Daphne Koller, talks about the present Coursera and “where we are heading”  (we being higher ed)

Study to look at where entry levels get skills like: collaboration, communication, problem solving and self-regulated learning   (what do you do if you don’t have any of these?)  Skills

5.      Ted-Ed talks —  4-15 minutes of fun learning:   great for your students’ (or your) subway rides  

    this one is great:  (I’m working on my fouetté)


1.     How to use voice typing in Google Docs: The voice-typing feature of Google Docs is useful for students who want to capture their ideas, Sean Williams writes. In this blog post, he offers several tips that can help students use the technology tool. SmartBrief/Education

I tried Google Docs Voice Typing in German (it will do several languages)  –  It said  back:  “Ich verstehe dich einfach nicht.”  Which I think means “you sound like a whale”.  

2.      Cal schools to get $$ increases:   IF  

3.      Personalized Learning e.g., helping entering students – a more general application of adaptive learning (AL)  focussed on Online.

4.      Commercial deal   McGraw Hill and ZogoTech going strong on sophisticated student data analysis for retention/success

5.      3D Printing – rapid growth_________________

·         Inside Higher Ed features a Provost’s love of bees


1.      Essay on academic finances (including big $$$$ for administrators), issues involving curricula:  Glut

2.      2014 guide to improving academic writing – Stephen Pinker, Harvard:     practice practice practice 

3.      BIG Community College project developing/using Open Education Resources (OER) [e.g. open text books]  Funding $ 9.8 M

4.      UNC Faculty Development “Institute” aimed at online-blended course development:   WSU – How about a 1 Week “Camp” somewhere near Mt. Rainier??)

5.      Rutgers MakerSpace – Big Time: (MakerSpace par excellence)

6.      Some impressive examples of Virtual Reality based learning:  Dive Dive Dive!

From SlashDot:

“ …..A user on Reddit forum who goes by the alias FiletOfFish1066 (referred to as Mr. Fish hereafter) has been let go by his company after it was discovered that Mr. Fish hadn’t actually done anything for six years.

Umm, well he did something, but nothing new and productive, his Bay Area-based firm says, which paid him $95,000 (avg) each of these years. When he first got his software testing quality assurance job, he spent eight months automating all of the programming tasks.

With all of his tasks fully automated by a computer, he was able to literally sit back and do whatever he wanted. Mr. Fish is pretty despondent in tone after he posted about getting fired from his job.

He’s upset because he has completely forgotten how to code, having relegated all that work to the computer, and now possesses no marketable skills.

But, he also is not stressed financially, having saved up $200,000 during his 6-year long ‘career’.”

 I’m aiming for 10 years.      I can vouch for the loss of marketable skills.      Unfortunately, I haven’t saved a dime.) 


Michael Highfill sent this in:

1.       IES support given to U. Florida for Center to improve Personalized and Virtual Learning using Learning Analytics:    Learning Analytics

(buzz buzz) Virtual Learning = basically, the online components (if used) of a course.  

$$$$$:     “…IES funds Research and Development Centers to advance practical solutions to important education challenges in the United States. The centers develop, test, and disseminate new approaches that improve teaching and learning in a critical area. In addition, Centers provide national leadership and outreach within their topic areas.”

2.      U. Maryland schools use of Learning (and Predictive) Analytics – article gives insight into important issues (e.g., privacy)  Maryland

3.      Teenagers want science classes to be more hands-on 

I’ve got to tell you a story – In the first lab of our high school physics class at Kalamazoo Central High School many of us were excited and raring to go.  A friend of mine was clearly on a high.  He had brought with him a recently constructed “HeathKit” (an old electronics kit maker) volt-ohm meter (VOM), I think to show off.  Just as our teacher (Mr. Mesick) was starting to explain our first experiment (probably how to use a meter stick), my friend plugged in his VOM, there was this huge bang and sparks flying all over + clouds of smoke.  This triggered another explosion – our teacher yelling at my friend:  “you idiot!!” (that was in the day when you were allowed to called an idiot an “idiot”).  No meter stick measurements could possibly match the near simultaneous meltdowns of a Heathkit and Mr. Mesick.

4.      Use of web and writing skills:  I kant right!   

5.      (Literature people – please read) — Essay on benefits from reading (books) – bibleotherapy       I’m looking for my Hermann Hesse. 


1.      Recommended:  A WP breakdown of US post secondary student characteristics – very clearly presented

2.      SUNY-Buffalo and U. Virginia revamping General Education degrees (there goes basket-weaving):  GE degree 

“…. A survey this year by the AAC&U found that general-education redesign has grown as a priority on college campuses since 2008, with two in three academic officers reporting that general education is receiving greater attention at their institution.”

3.      Classroom Wearables increasing rapidly (turning over in bed problematic):  wearables – issues


4.      Class of 2015 doing fairly well in job market:  (promotions to manager at McDonald’s increase dramatically – just kidding)  2015 grads 

5.      Essay on “The Consolations of an Occupied Mind” by David Devries, Cornell.    (Chronicle – Locked off campus)

Quoting Lucas Stanczyk, of MIT:  “The most important reason to improve education is not to make children fit for tomorrow’s job market. Nor is it to make them capable of voting well and serving on a jury. It is to help people escape a life of vapid consumerism by giving them capacities to appreciate richer pursuits and to produce their own complex meanings.”

6.      Helpful hints to decrease eye strain from doing what you are now doing (staring at this screen!):  eye strain



  1. An OER system SUNY is putting together for its campuses (~465K enrollment): SUNY

Primarily to save students money, Open Educational Resources (OER) are hot.   Lots of definitions around for OER – here is one:

The Wikieducator OER Handbook:

The term “Open Educational Resource(s)” (OER) refers to educational resources (lesson plans, quizzes, syllabi, instructional modules, simulations, etc.) that are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing.

  1. Salary Compression – University of Washington:  discussion and plans  targeting SC:   Compressed in Seattle
  1. Liberal Arts Majors — Employment Recommendation: add a proficiency

“…..The company (Burning Glass – online job marketing outfit) identified skills in eight fields, and then found an additional 863,000 entry-level jobs for graduates with skills in one or more of these fields.”

Graphic Summary

  1. Views of ed company CEO on trends (again, jobs related) (in Forbes)
  1. A look at Use of Clickers and Just-In-Time Teaching JITT

 One version of JITT:  In one form or another you get some feedback on misconceptions, etc. and cleaverly respond JIT with the clarification needed to trigger correct thinking.  When we just can’t miss those 3 pointers, we all do it.  (is it a hoop or a ring??)


  1. Stackable Credentials — somewhat like a portfolio  (useful for non-traditional students)
  1. Pearson expands ties to 30 more institutions – use of their digital course materials (issue: homebrew vs. commercial products)
  1. NYT article analyzes problems of disadvantaged students making it to graduation. Reality of Graduation Rates

(to save you time – the graphs show that schools that have the least % of student bodies on Pell Grants have the highest graduation rates and vice versa; the bottom line is that students on Pell grants are having trouble making it through – limited resources still the major issue)  

  1. Colorado State Univ is partnering with Cognii to use Artificial Intelligence / Adaptive Learning in online Psychology Courses. AI 

From article:   “….“When you interact with Siri on the iPhone, you ask the question … and it comes back with an answer,” he said. “Here, Cognii asks the question to the student, the student has to answer the question, and then Cognii gathers to what extent they are accurate and how they can improve their answer.”

Light Stuff:

Analysis of PowerPoint presentation strategies, e.g.  p charts

Trigger Warnings – this is a Mathematician’s Joke  AND involves doughnuts     (this guy should get out a little bit more)



1.    REQUEST:  Please invite colleagues – friends – students who might want to join the list.  Have them send me an email and I’ll add them.

2. Retention and grad rates– talk to the dropouts (San Jose State):  npr-education

 3. Breaks increase memorizing (we want more than memorization but you have to start somewhere) lecture content:   go shoot some hoops 

4. There’s a spy in your class  ” Bond.  James Bond. ”   

5. Webinar on assessing competency based learning (we have said before:  love it or hate it, we need to deal with it).  It has a commercial sponsor but comes from Inside Higher Ed; usually objective:  CBL 

6. Virtual Reality (game market) is booming – what are the implications for higher ed? My opinion – now/near future niche applications like surgical procedures will be the focus :  VR

 7.  You said gaming?  Tips on gamifying a course:   (forty love)


  1. More on Grit – (Harvard study says practicing 10,000 hours may not be so important; my violin playing is not improving): True Grit?
  1. Do you have to march in a Boot Camp? Sound Off!….

 I have periodically posted links to the Chronicle’s ReLearning series (here is the link:  ReLearning)   (subscribers only)

The latest (top of the list) explores Georgetown’s efforts in Re-bundling (Unbundling is breaking courses into smaller courses;  take introductory physics and break it into shorter courses in mechanics, sound, heat, electricity&magnetism, light).  GT is exploring integration formats that still includes some structure.

  1. U Akron discontinues use of Coaches in their “Success” efforts: pink slips

Another look:  more on pink slips   (sidebar has more including student reaction)

  1. UCLA students working on app for hushing foghorns at meetings (to replace “will you please shut up?”)


  1. Highly recommended:   Steve Hines sent me this great webpage summarizing John Cohin’s recent visit with videos of his two talks embedded:  John Cohin
  1. Maker Spaces – Interview with MIT’s Mitch Resnick. Discusses role of Making in Education  Making    (primarily for K-12 but still relevant)
  1. Series on “Small Changes in Teaching” (as opposed to throw everything out and start anew);

Posts so far:

“……In this series, James M. Lang explores ideas on everyday classroom learning.”

  1. Competency Based Education – will not go away – WGU & Wiley start new journal: “JCBE”

                  (WGU  Western Governors University – The Full Monty of CBE) 

  1. Take a quick look at Mars: NASA Pic


 1.  There’s an ongoing debate on the need for Algebra in the pre-college curriculum driven by a recent (controversial) book by Andrew Hacker   “The Math Myth”

Interview with Hacker:  Algebra  – who needs it

     One of many rebuttals: YOU need Algebra

(I’m totally neutral — of course you need algebra!)

2. Very impressive discussion on the importance of the Liberal Arts:  (1. Quit looking at your cellphone all the time)

3. Short essay asking:  Are you a student of higher education?  

4. Last minute:  Inside Higher Ed webinar on Innovation in Teaching:

Teaching is crucial to the mission of every college and university – even if the degree programs, students, faculty members and institutional missions vary widely. Whether trying to teach first-year composition or advanced science, faculty members are pushing themselves and their students. Below are some of the topics to be discussed on the webinar:

  • Why some universities are giving STEM education more attention.
  • How certain traits of undergraduate education are linked to success in life.
  • Why some universities are getting rid of 8 a.m. classes.
  • The debate between quality vs. quantity of writing assignments.
  •  Tuesday, May 24 at 2:00 PM ET.     Register here:   register

5. Atlantic Article examines STEM aptitude testing and comparisons  (women do well)

6. Interview with ASU President Michael Crow on Innovation, Retention, Tenure, and Demands on Higher Ed:  ASU Pres


Highly recommended:

Steve Hines sent me this great webpage summarizing John Cohin’s visit with videos of his two talks embedded:  John Cohin

1.  Advancements in use of computers in education depend critically on advanced knowledge of human-computer interactions.  U. Michigan has launched two programs through edX in their Series (read: ‘hot topics’) entitled: 

(a)  User Experience Design   and  (b) User Experience Research

 Here is a description (along with another program in Corporate Financial Analysis)   UM_Xseries

Links to each of these Series:  User Experience Research XSeries, the User Experience Design Series,  and the Corporate Financial Analysis XSeries.

2.  U. Denver:  STEM for Grownups:     provided by the Silicon STEM Academy

3.  University of the People (non-profit) offers tuition-free Health Studies Degree  (UoPeople — this place has clout)                                    Only a few degree programs but clearly ambitious.

4.  Northwestern launches Digital Learning website:  Digital Learning

Direct Link (very snazzy! — recommend you look at it):  Snazzy

5.  Answer to having not enough to do – “Differentiated Instruction” 


Mark Cuban, Vocal Ed Tech Investor – critic of higher ed:  Loud

Dynamic Changes in Ed vs. Nostalgia for Tradition:  Nostalgia

ON:  Digital Badging:      (I don’t need no…)

More Interactive Videos:   Action!

Inside Higher Ed Free Webinar on Critical Role of General Education-Wed. May 11th, 11 am our time:   General Ed

[Will ask for registration and sharing info with some commercial concern]


From Inside Higher Ed

New Compilation on Innovation in Teaching

“Inside Higher Ed is pleased to release today “Innovation in Teaching,” our latest print-on-demand compilation of articles. This compilation is free, and you may download a copy here. And you may sign up here for a free webinar on Tuesday, May 24, at 2 p.m. Eastern about the themes of the booklet.”

Should everyone go to college? (Chronicle of Higher Ed — locked; viewable on some campuses)  “Success can only go so far

A campus with a farm related work program (also locked;viewable on some campuses):  What Does Work Add to the Learning Environment? 

Study on community college transfers to 4 year institutions:  many do well

Benefits of a Gap Year:    I need one.       (Malia is taking one)

More on MakerSpaces   Hands on Learning

IBM Shows Watson coupled to Robot —   Dancing with the Stars

Link to Homepage

(Oldies but goodies; fairly recent HERE)


REALLY OLD (we’re talking ancient) OLDIES:    

Digital Related Learning Archive


Author: tomdickinson

Tom (J. T. or J. Thomas) Dickinson received his B.A. degree in physics from Western Michigan University in 1963, and his PhD degree in chemical physics from the University of Michigan in 1968. He went directly to Washington State University where he is now the Paul A. Anderson Professor of Physics and the Boeing Professor of Science and Mathematics Education. Dickinson's research has been in the general areas of materials physics, materials chemistry, and surface science. Recent research has focused on: a) laser-ablation and laser desorption mechanisms in inorganic dielectric crystals and polymers; b) the applications of lasers in materials and chemical analysis; c) use of scanning tunneling microscopy and atomic force microscopy to study nano-tribology and tribochemistry of wear, laser surface modification, and deformation physics; d) the review, development, and implementation of innovations in higher ed learning with emphasis on e-Learning (the inclusion of online formats) and the blended/flipped classroom. Dickinson is author or co-author of over 353 technical articles and book chapters. He has presented numerous invited talks on areas of materials physics and chemistry, including 16 Gordon Conference talks. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Vacuum Society, the Materials Research Society, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has chaired and co-chaired a number of international meetings dealing with fracture, tribology, and laser-materials interactions, including three Gordon Conferences. At WSU, Dickinson has received the Distinguished Faculty Address Award, the President's Faculty Excellence Award in Research, the College of Sciences Distinguished Research Faculty Award, the Westinghouse Faculty Award in Materials Science, the Thomas Lutz Teaching Excellence Award, the Marian E. Smith Faculty Achievement Award, the Paul A. Anderson Professor of Physics, the Boeing Professorship, the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, as well as being named Regents Professor at WSU. He was awarded the WSU Eminent Professor award and has received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Western Michigan University. He is a member of the WSU Teaching Academy where he is focusing on improving the WSU Undergraduate Research experience. He has lead efforts in increasing and supporting undergraduate research at WSU as well as examination and productive use of e-Learning and other innovations in undergraduate instruction.

5 thoughts on “Collected Recent Posts Here”

  1. I’ve been browsing on-line more than 3 hours as
    of late, yet I by no means found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s lovely worth sufficient for me. In my
    view, if all web owners and bloggers made excellent content material as you did,
    the internet will likely be much more useful than ever before.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s