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Alternative Credentials on the Rise
Interest is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Will they become viable alternative pathways to well-paying jobs?
Paul Fain August 27, 2020
A growing body of evidence has found strong consumer interest in recent months in skills-based, online credentials that are clearly tied to careers, particularly among adult learners from diverse and lower-income backgrounds, whom four-year colleges often have struggled to attract and graduate.
For years the demographics of higher education have been shifting away from traditional-age, full-paying college students while online education has become more sophisticated and accepted.
That has amplified interest in recent months among employers, students, workers and policy makers in online certificates, industry certifications, apprenticeships, microcredentials, boot camps and even lower-cost online master’s degrees.
Moody’s, the credit ratings firm, on Wednesday said online and nondegree programs are growing at a rapid pace.
Google will fund 100,000 need-based scholarships for the certificates, and said it will consider them the “equivalent of a four-year degree” for related roles.
Google isn’t alone in this push. IBM, Facebook, Salesforce and Microsoft are creating their own short-term, skills-based credentials. Several tech companies also are dropping degree requirements for some jobs, as is the federal government, while the White House, employers and some higher education groups have collaborated on an Ad Council campaign to tout alternatives to the college degree.
One of the most consistent findings in a nationally representative poll conducted by the Strada Education Network’s Center for Consumer Insights over the last five months has been a preference for nondegree and skills training options.
Despite growing skepticism about the value of a college degree, it remains the best ticket to a well-paying job and career. And data have shown that college degrees have been a cushion amid the pandemic and recession.
Experts had long speculated that employer interest in alternative credential pathways would wither when low employment rates went away,…. Yet some big employers, including Amazon, are paying to retrain workers for jobs outside the company as it restructures.
more on badges, microcredentialing in this IMS blog
more on white boards in this IMS blog
For those looking for ways to set podcast assignments : we developed a toolbox to guide students to plan, record and edit a 10-15min episode last year (little did I know I’d be rolling it out in a remote course, but it worked… mostly). Material, prompts and some thoughts on assessment now available on our website :https://blogs.helsinki.fi/podcourse/. Feel free to use it… and let me know how you get on 😉.
more on podcast in this IMS blog
a historic report last week from the nation’s top boss of counterintelligence.
the need for the United States to order the closure of the Chinese government’s consulate in Houston.
metaphor for this aspect of the spy game: a layer cake.
There’s a layer of activity that is visible to all — the actions or comments of public figures, or statements made via official channels.
Then there’s a clandestine layer that is usually visible only to another clandestine service: the work of spies being watched by other spies.
Counterintelligence officials watching Chinese intelligence activities in Houston, for example, knew the consulate was a base for efforts to steal intellectual property or recruit potential agents
And there’s at least a third layer about which the official statements raised questions: the work of spies who are operating without being detected.
The challenges of election security include its incredible breadth — every county in the United States is a potential target — and vast depth, from the prospect of cyberattacks on voter systems, to the theft of information that can then be released to embarrass a target, to the ongoing and messy war on social media over disinformation and political agitation.
Witnesses have told Congress that when Facebook and Twitter made it more difficult to create and use fake accounts to spread disinformation and amplify controversy, Russia and China began to rely more on open channels.
In 2016, Russian influencemongers posed as fake Americans and engaged with them as though they were responding to the same election alongside one another. Russian operatives even used Facebook to organize real-world campaign events across the United States.
But RT’s account on Twitter or China’s foreign ministry representatives aren’t pretending to do anything but serve as voices for Moscow or Beijing.
the offer of a $10 million bounty for information about threats to the election.
more on trolls in this IMS blog
Dos and don’ts on designing for accessibility
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
more on UDL in this IMS blog
the 2020 choice for best laptops to compare:
Students fear for their data privacy after University of California invests in private equity firm
A financial link between a virtual classroom platform and the University of California system is raising eyebrows
Instructure has made it clear through their own language that they view the student data they aggregated as one of their chief assets, although they have also insisted that they do not use that data improperly. My note: “improperly” is relative and requires defining.
Yet an article published in the Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, titled “Transparency and the Marketplace for Student Data,” pointed out that there is “an overall lack of transparency in the student information commercial marketplace and an absence of law to protect student information.” As such, some students at the University of California are concerned that — despite reassurances to the contrary — their institution’s new financial relationship with Thoma Bravo will mean their personal data can be sold or otherwise misused.
The students’ concerns over surveillance and privacy are not unwarranted. Previously, the University of California used military surveillance technology to help quell the grad student strikes at UC Santa Cruz and other campuses
What is better: face shield or face mask?
faculty discussion on the issue can be found here:
If you don’t have FB account and/or more info needed, please contact us.
Here more information:
‘Only those with plastic visors were infected’: Swiss government warns against face shields
July 15, 2020
Face Mask vs Face Shield: Which Is More Effective Against Coronavirus?
Is a Face Shield Better Protection Against the Coronavirus Than a Face Mask?
May 28, 2020
Why Aren’t Face Shields More Popular in California?
June 29, 2020
the HyFlex model for the fall… reflects a rift between administrators and professors, who are raising alarms over the health risks of teaching in person, and about the logistical, technical, and pedagogical complications of the model itself. Search HyFlex on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll come across comments like this one: “Whoever the hell thought of this is a bean counter, not an educator, and an idiot.”
Teaching experts and others familiar with hybrid teaching say that HyFlex can work, but it requires effective technology, careful planning, instructional support, and creative course design.
“If HyFlex is part of the plan, it has to be done with will faculty participation,” says Brian Beatty, an associate professor of instructional technologies at San Francisco State, who created the model. “Otherwise, if it’s top down and the administration is saying, We’re doing this, then the faculty are saying, But why are we doing this?”
Much of what bothers professors about the push for HyFlex is that so many details about its mechanics remain ill defined. And assumptions about its value seem rooted in a particular idea of teaching, one where the professor stands at the front of a classroom and lectures.
“We are the ones holding the bag if this does not work, or if it’s chaos,” says Michelle Miller, a psychology professor at Northern Arizona University and author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively With Technology.
Miller is a fan of the original HyFlex model from San Francisco State, but says that colleges need to be mindful that the conditions under which it’s now being adapted — quickly, at scale, and without giving students much choice — will limit its effectiveness.
To work effectively, she says, hybrid teaching requires a lot of support, such as having teaching assistants help manage the complexities of working simultaneously with two different audiences. Otherwise it risks becoming a “lecture-centric, passive consumption view of learning.” That goes against years of hard work faculty members have been doing to make their classrooms more inclusive, active, and engaged.
To help think through pedagogical challenges, faculty groups are testing out teaching strategies, some departments meet weekly to discuss course design, and a student-leadership team is providing feedback and creating online tools to help their peers learn effectively online. Even so, the process has been challenging and frustrating at times for faculty members. Professors are both looking for templates and wanting to maintain control over their courses, which inevitably creates tension with the administration.
more on hyflex in this IMS blog
Back in the 1960s, an experimental form of teaching made a big splash at colleges. It was called PSI, or the Personalized System of Instruction. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keller_Plan
the case that colleges should do more to professionalize teaching, which might help reduce the number of fads that emerge. But he also acknowledges that there are risks. “If you start creating elaborate bureaucracies to measure and judge [teaching], might you actually depersonalize it? Might you take some of the charisma, idiosyncrasy and serendipity out of it?”