Video: Have We Really Transformed Higher Education?

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Jennifer Sparrow: Faculty, I think maybe 20 years ago, were more resistant to instructional design help, right? Why would I want you, an instructional designer who doesn't know the subject matter, telling me how to teach? And I think on many campuses, that's changed. There's almost a demand for faculty to think about, you know, I need instructional design services even in my face-to-face course.
Stephanie Bulger: For those early adopters, when they look I believe at online education today, they would say that they know more, they've got more technology tools to bring to bear and that when we do it very well, we do that, their role is a bit different. That they work in a team. It's much more of a collaborative kind of an effort to offer that education in a way that that is successful for students.
Richard Garrett: I think there's evidence of gradual system level gains. For example, the other day I was researching retention trends over time, so the proportion of first year students who are still there in second year, full time, part time and in aggregate they continue to creep up. So all this investment in support services and nudge technologies and all the rest of it, you know it's hard to pinpoint cause and effect but cumulatively you know if we just make some assumptions about what's going on, you know we're not seeing dramatic leaps not surprisingly but given that we're talking y'know 20 million students and a few thousand institutions, to me that's quite impressive to see that steady incremental gain.
MJ Bishop: I think the real evidence that I'm seeing that we're starting to gain some traction is in the level of awareness. The fact that, I think, even four years ago when I started in the Kirwan Center there were still enough lot of faculty that weren't reading the chronicle and the inside hirad and all these other daily rags on a regular basis that we read and know, come to understand the real pressures on higher education. Most faculty don't so you know I think what we're beginning to see as faculty saying okay, I get it now, we've got to change, something's gotta transition here.
Gardner Campbell: What I've seen in higher education is a move away from some of what we were seeing around the dawn of web 2 dot 0, people experimenting in various ways with certain kinds of open pedagogical practices and toward this idea of institutionalizing varied kinds of automated, well-measured and ultimately I think kind of soul-less approaches to degree completion, student success, all these things that sound so great on the surface. What are the things we're trying to optimize in contemporary higher education? Graduation rates? Well, but that's a proxy measure. That doesn't necessarily mean you've learned critical thinking or you've learned to be able to approach a new problem insightfully. It means you got your diploma and if you optimize for getting diplomas inevitably the process is going to be optimized for the process of getting through credit hours. It's not going to be optimized for learning which is messy, which can be uncertain and those are features not bugs.
Patricia O'Sullivan: One thing I've really noticed changing in the last decade is this move from um faculty or even institutions in general being gatekeepers of education to student advocates, um particularly in the public university space. That we're no longer trying to restrict student access to education, that we're becoming advocates. We're really thinking about equity, we're really thinking about expanding access, um we're really trying to find solutions to economic hardship for students.
Joel Smith: Unfortunately I see not a great deal of evidence that higher education is transforming. I see some bold experiments, the kind of things that are being done at Arizona State University for example. I see some new and effective players like the Western Governors University and so I do see change but broad transformation is something from where I sit I don't yet see.
Jill Buban: If we're looking at the underserved post-secondary population, we've seen great strides in this. The team at ASU and Plus research lab is just releasing a study that shows across six different institutions the impact that digital learning has had so I do think that we're making strides. I also think we're transforming the way we look at higher ed. We know that the now majority of people are adult learners not the traditional learner, so I think in looking at how we serve those learners, and looking for connections to the workforce and the workplace and offering those different types of credentials and how we stack them and provide those opportunities for adults, I think we're really kind of reinventing and transforming how we look. It's what the student, I think more so what the student needs, when you're serving that adult population than what the institution thinks the student needs.