Essay 4

Standard

Higher Education Evolving:

MOOCs, Alternative Routes, Interdisciplinary Degrees

Josh Birdwell

Oklahoma State University

Abstract

Higher education is either going to adapt or be left behind by the evolving world outside its’ walls. Three areas are key focuses on achieve a modern education. First, universities must recognize the impact online learning and MOOCs are having on students. They then must be able to utilize a platform to capture this learning. With more application based alternatives, universities need to incorporate hands on learning and more apprenticeship style course work. Lastly, the business world is constantly transforming. This calls for a young business man/woman to have a wider array of expertise and knowledge. Interdisciplinary degrees can help account for this rapid change and adaption. Degrees should be looser and more tied into passions and interests. With all three of these combined strategies, higher education will position itself to lead next generations to be successful in what ever line of work they so chose. Tuition is rising so high this is the least we should expect from universities. Students need to be the focus as higher education is not an industry but a business for students not for a profit. Revenue streams should not on the plate but how are our students once they enter the business world. They should want them to be prepared and ready to pivot at any point.

 

 

Higher Education Evolving: MOOCs, Alternative Routes, Interdisciplinary Degrees

With an ever changing technology landscape, higher education for the most part manages to stay stagnate. Outside of the perpetually boring PowerPoint dominated lectures, learning takes on a butterfly form through platforms such as Skill Share or Code School. These websites provide an engaging learning experience by learning by doing. Motivation for note taking and being shoved information down the throat has decreased because of the self paced environment created outside the classroom. No longer is the price like hiked up gas prices during spring break but, more near a deal on Amazon with free shipping. A time will come when universities will be undercut by the price of online learning becoming know as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).

Alternative routes are becoming more and more normal to see. There is quite a bit of controversy around these “drop out” or “stop out” programs that are popping up around the United States. Many wonder if these are only for the top percentile. Students are able to learn a whole mixture of things on the world wide web.

Knowledge online takes the form of an all you can eat buffet line with little to no cost to get in the door. However, those same students go to one restaurant where they are spoon fed a specific type of food. Every once and a while, they are allowed to take a bite of a side dish but no matter what they are required to finish the main dish. Some students stay there a couple years longer just because they wanted to taste other food or decided to eat what the person next to them was eating. We need to allow for better structured interdisciplinary degrees and encourage students to expand. High ed is evolving in the face of both technology and diverse professional fields.

The spark that light the fire was one online course on Artificial Intelligence by a Stanford Professor. Before this course, he would teach a couple hundred students and that would be the extent of his impact. Signed up for this online course was over 160,000 students in 190 countries – from India and South Korea to New Zealand and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Of course, every one did not finish the course but those who did gained so much from it. A crazy fact was that there were perfect scores in the course and not a single one came from a student at Stanford. Sebastian Thurn, the professor, said that he had made a bigger wave with this one course then his entire teaching career combined. (Leckart) Little did everyone know that Mooc ventures would begin sprouting up.

Now Coursera, Udacity, and edX are among some of the leaders in the mooc sector. It began with people taking course work to beef up their skill set or resume. After a while, people wanted college credit for the work they were doing. Udacity offers courses for credit now and others are beginning to change to a more structured course to offer credit. This shakes the higher education landscape by completely undercutting other institutions. A computer science course by M.I.T. or an average state college is a decision students will soon have to make. The MIT course will be cheaper and better. However, we are not yet to the point where we can add this course into the core of the degree plan at the local college.

A craze for many is that these courses is bringing education to those who prior had little or no access to this quality of learning. This I believe could potentially be a game changer for those who can not afford college or do not have access to courses like these. Personally, online learning has forever shaped my life. I am tuning out the critics who argue that it will not work or that MOOCs are evil. Coding courses have help mold my programming skills. In interviews, I find myself talking about what I learned on Code School and Udacity not about the college class I have paid all this money to attend. My projects and GitHub account are full of shining examples of what I have learned for a sheer fraction of the price I pay Oklahoma State University. I have been able to signal my skill set so well I have been offered full time positions from start ups. A tug of war exists inside of me. One side wants to pay attention to my college course work. While, the other side desires to learn what skills I need for my upcoming internship. My desire is that some how these two worlds will collide and I can benefit in both areas at the same time.

A focus that can occur right now is how to better develop the existing online courses offered by colleges right now. Better communities need to be created for online course work. Collaborative space on campus needs renovation before we get another practice field for football. I could care less if the flowers are changed every week when we do not have innovative spaces to work on online courses together. Simpler solution would be to flip classrooms. However, we need to make sure that the professors are trained properly before they are allowed to try this out. Flipping a classroom can be extremely powerful especially in a math or physics course. Students would be able to complete their homework in class and work together with other students.

Hertz from Edutoipa touches on even if flipping the classroom does not work every as educators we need to be reflecting on our approaches to teaching. She has a great point in that we need to have teachers “reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they’ve always done things..” (Hertz). I stand with her on the point that we need to be always challenging and making sure the methods work best for the students. In high school, I was able to explain and teach others and this helped me to better learn it myself. Some of these courses, I feel so alone even though there are 300 students taking the course.

The next step is to get rid of D2L. Changing the background and adding notifications is not going to make it a desirable product. One of the problems is the lack luster platform we are engaging the content on. This summer, I will be working for a company called NextThought. They have created a revolutionary platform for the University of Oklahoma, Janux. Stansbury states Janux will be a “scalable model for higher education institutions across the country, effectively customizing a solution so as to make the courses as face-to-face as possible.” I agree with the face that Janux is pushing the bounds of standard online course platforms.

With platforms such as Janux, online learning within the colleges will be transformed. E-Books allow students to highlight and create notes on their textbooks. This system is centered around social learning which is one downfall for many of these types of classes. Stansbury acknowledges social interaction as one of the seven distinct ways Janux is revolutionizing online learning. From her observations, she see a features similar to popular social media websitesa. My stance is that it is important to meet these students where they are as far as communication. Once these steps are taken, universities can better address their current online curriculum before they look past their own struggles to students taking courses on Udacity for credit.

Now moving on to online courses outside the institution that the student is enrolled in. A huge question is how will courses from Coursera transfer to Oklahoma State University. Something as simple as a Calculus course could be completely different than the one offered here. One option could be to have a 3rd party that a student could pay to evaluate courses and create a plan for them to take courses from other providers online that will easily line up with their degree. A fee could be paid to the university if a student wanted to take a course online from another university. These courses that transfer need to be more than a special elective or side course. They need to be able to transfer as the meat and core of a degree. This will receive a lot of resistance fast because it will blur the identity of the degree received from that university.

Beauty to me comes from a degree that is comprised of classes from OSU, MIT, Stanford, University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon. A day will come when a degree will be almost Frankensteinish and have courses stitched from numerous universities. This is far off however, I am hoping that we move in that direction where we are learning from the best professors. No longer will a students future be defined by that one class who is only taught by a horrible research professor but that student can opt to take the course from Michigan instead. This will hold professors accountable because they will be competing against other professors to keep their students taking their classes. Most of this could me dreaming but I believe some action will have to be taken by the Presidents of Universities sooner or later.

MOOCs are still laking in four areas before they will be considered for any of the above notions. These areas are the 4 C’s: Community, Completion, College Credit, and Credibility. As much as people want to believe, online learning can be lonely even with some of the discussion boards. In the future, there will be public places where groups form to take a course together. Already, people are grouping up in various cities however, most of the time this is in San Francisco or Chicago not Oklahoma City. Social learning will play a big part in the success of MOOCs.

Students right now hardly ever finish the courses they have started. Sadly, I contribute to some of that percentage because college happens. Creators of these websites will need to improve how they engage the students and how completion is approached. There a couple of methods that can be used such as gamification or better rewards. One of those awards can be college credit towards completion of a course. Slowly and surely, college credit is becoming a reality. It is only a matter of time before more colleges accept certain “basic general education courses”. Udacity offers courses such as College Algebra that are accepted.

For this to continue, there needs to be an entity that holds the credibility of these MOOCs as its highest priority. Advancements will only occur when the integrity of these courses in place. Standards will need to be in place because right now there are countless websites that are offering courses. A possibility could be verified and approved courses from a company that checks to make sure that the professor is in fact teaching it and that the standards met the cut. MOOCs have a long hard road ahead of them but if they survive higher ed will be forever changed as we know it.

With all of this self-directed learning, alternative routes to college have made a large surge to become a viable option to not attending college. Right now, these have been the talk around many news sites and blogs. There is controversy over the importance of going to college and not dropping out. Dropping out to many is preserved to the Mark Zukerbergs or Steve Jobs. One organization’s goal is for every student to at least ask the question if higher education is the road for them. Uncollege is the name of the organization making strides in bring this question to the for front of student’s minds everywhere. It can only help to pounder truly why attending college is the right decision or not. Many students go to college as an innate next step with out even thinking about the implications. Walking around campus, sometimes I feel as if I am surrounded by zombies that are not cognitively aware of their decision to go to college. Most will realize junior and senior year that hey I am going to be in the business wold soon and I have no clue what I want to do. Colleges are sucking the money out of these students and creating the largest student loan debt we have ever seen.

Alternative routes are preaching on the outrageous tuition cost that colleges demand for students with little or no guarantee of a job after graduating. Oklahoma State is a prime example with our computer science department. They are not accredited, have no advisor, or senior capstone course. This has to say something to its students about their concern for the undergraduates graduating.

Entrepreneurship has become a bit of a fad and is spreading like a disease. Students are dropping like flys out of top universities some even Ivy leaguers. The best place to learn business is to run a business. Hands on experience will out perform reading a textbook on it any day. One argument that those who “drop or stop out” is that school will be there when they are done. Let’s say they completely fail and fall flat on their face the school is not going any where. Sometimes these markets are open at the right time and huge success can happen. Snapchat came out of a simple project for class and lead to a business worth billions by Facebook’s standard.

This begs the question do you need to go to college to do want you want to accomplish. Students need to stare in the face the finished product they want from their college experience and ask if it can be obtained elsewhere for the same outcome. Asking these questions will allow students to better appreciate why they are in college and take more advantage of their time spent in school. Peter Thiel challenged students to ask if college was providing them what they need to execute their ideas and passions.

Thus, the Thiel Fellowship was born. 100,000 dollars is used to help fund these students ideas. However, many are quick to say that this solution is for the top percentile and will not work for others. I think the single most misdirected bit of philanthropy in this decade is Peter Thiel’s special program to bribe people to drop out of college,” said former Harvard President Larry Summers (Ferenstien). Since it is early on it most of the cohorts it is hard to say what the full effect of this program will have on these young adults. Ferenstien would agree with me on this statement as he close out his TechCrunch article saying “the criticism, in the end, may be premature.” Another route is Enstitute which believes in 21st century apprenticeships. They want to place students in high rising startups under the wing of a stellar co-founder or CEO. I applied and got all the way until the 6th round. However, at the last possible moment they shut down the entire application round because of restructuring. Now they have “relaunched” and are shortening the time span. I have some friends that were fellows in the first class and have mixed feelings about Enstitute.

For Computer Science majors, there is a craze around developer camps. Recently, they have come under investigation for standards and curriculum. Two of the more popular ones are Dev Bootcamp and Hack Reactor. I applied and was accepted into Hack Reactor as well. The process was extensive and rigorous. I was unable to fork up the nearly 17,000 tuition asking price. Some nights I find myself asking if money was not an issue would I take that leap of faith. I struggle with if I am ready to jump full into an alternative path because I speak out about the downfalls of college. This is an inner struggle that continues today. Stokes speaks on the need to fill this gap between graduates and readiness for the business world. We come out of college and some students do not have the skills they need to be successful.

Uncollege offers a Gap Year to help students learn about themselves and see where they want to go. As more of these routes arise, questions are being pointed towards higher education and the standards are rising. Minerva Project is an entire school option that is going to challenge higher ed. They have some interesting insights on how they will change higher education.

The response of higher ed institutions to all of these alternative routes will be so pivotal. One action that they will need to avoid is to simply ignore that anything is taking place. Tuition will hopefully go down because of these other programs rising. Another important opinion is that of the business world and seeing how they accept those without a college degree. This will define the alternative route paths on weather or not students can receive jobs afterwards.

With all of the learning outside the classroom, degrees are becoming more and more restrictive. Having the Internet on hand, endlessly diverse knowledge is at the finger tips of students. Switching to a one track mind set is difficult when passions are overlapping in various majors. For me, I love education, entrepreneurship, and computer science. It is a penalty for me to take education courses and stray away from my degree sheet. University studies is not very attractive to employers and is not associated with prestige coming from Oklahoma State University.

However at Stanford, we could mix and create our own degrees and it would look amazing once we graduated. We could craft something beautiful that incorporated our passions and academic into one cohesive outcome. I want there to be an educational technology program that is not just a master program but also an undergraduate program. Writing curriculum is a skill that I would love to gain however, that has nothing to do with a BS in Computer Science. Students need to be better well rounded now because trends come and go. People are replaced quickly and we need to be able to adapt. No longer can we place all of our eggs in one basket and expect to be safe from unemployment.

Creating our own degrees gives us ownerships of our education. When we own our education, things begin to change because we are in charge and decide our fate. A single class no longer defines our future. We are able to pivot on how we are changing as we grow and change in college. State Universities will need to address how to allow for degree creation programs that ensure quality of the degree and the completeness of the student. This whole plan includes the above points of incorporating online courses from other universities.

A end picture is alternative routes working directly in line with colleges. Being able to complete course on Code School and Coursera for credit towards my degree. In the future, degrees could step away from being completely from one university. Degrees will be a beautiful master piece of dappling of each university that the student wanted to learn from. A day where my self-directed learning world mets my academic world is one where I would be extremely delighted to be in higher ed. A company helping guide this institutionless degree is called Degreed. They store all of the life long learning that takes place and display it in a central place.

Signaling is a huge conflict to all of this because at the end of the day we bounce our decisions off of what signal this will send. Once we have companies other than Google stepping out and saying that they look past just a GPA. Then we will have a time where students are willing to step out side the confines of the classroom and expand their learning to the depths of the Internet. We would all be able to showcase our learning on degreed to potential employers.

Weather not any of this is true, higher ed is evolving regardless if it takes action or sits idly. Soon there will be a overturning of the tables where a huge shift happens and the landscape is completely changed. OU is taking a step towards the future in investing in Janux. They understand the importance of online learning to the future of education. Being from Oklahoma, I am slow to see many students here even aware of the alternative routes that are at there disposal. Partially because many of the companies here would yet recognize this as a viable option to a college degree while in places like San Francisco this is completely fine. High Education will changed soon and we will be able to see that come to fruition.

 

References

Ferenstein, G. (2014, April 25). Why Google doesn’t care about college degrees, in 5 quotes. VentureBeat. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/25/why-google-doesnt-care-about-college-degrees-in-5-quotes/

Ferenstein, G. (2013, October 10). Thiel Fellows Program Is “Most Misdirected Piece Of Philanthropy,” Says Larry Summers | TechCrunch.TechCrunch. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/10/thiel-fellows-program-is-most-misdirected-piece-of-philanthropy-says-larry-summers/

Hertz, M. B. (2012, July 10). The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con.Edutopia. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz

Leckart, S. (0012, March 20). The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever. Wired.com. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.wired.com/2012/03/ff_aiclass/all/1

Stansbury, M. (2014, April 2). 7 features of a next-gen online learning platform. eCampus News. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/online-learning-platform-957/2/

Stokes, P. (2014, April 4). Work Ready or Not. . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/04/04/addressing-mismatch-between-colleges-and-job-market-essay#sthash.tJeOtkrx.dpbs

 

 

Essay 3

Standard

Higher Education Evolving:

MOOCs, Alternative Routes, Interdisciplinary Degrees

Josh Birdwell

Oklahoma State University

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

Higher education is either going to adapt or be left behind by the evolving world outside its’ walls. Three areas are key focuses on achieve a modern education. First, universities must recognize the impact online learning and MOOCs are having on students. They then must be able to utilize a platform to capture this learning. With more application based alternatives, universities need to incorporate hands on learning and more apprenticeship style course work. Lastly, the business world is constantly transforming. This calls for a young business man/woman to have a wider array of expertise and knowledge. Interdisciplinary degrees can help account for this rapid change and adaption. Degrees should be looser and more tied into passions and interests. With all three of these combined strategies, higher education will position itself to lead next generations to be successful in what ever line of work they so chose. Tuition is rising so high this is the least we should expect from universities. Students need to be the focus as higher education is not an industry but a business for students not for a profit. Revenue streams should not on the plate but how are our students once they enter the business world. They should want them to be prepared and ready to pivot at any point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher Education Evolving: MOOCs, Alternative Routes, Interdisciplinary Degrees

With an ever changing technology landscape, higher education for the most part manages to stay stagnate. Outside of the perpetually boring PowerPoint dominated lectures, learning takes on a butterfly form through platforms such as Skill Share or Code School. These websites provide an engaging learning experience by learning by doing. Motivation for note taking and being shoved information down the throat has decreased because of the self paced environment created outside the classroom. No longer is the price like hiked up gas prices during spring break but, more near a deal on Amazon with free shipping. A time will come when universities will be undercut by the price of online learning becoming know as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS).

Alternative routes are becoming more and more normal to see. There is quite a bit of controversy around these “drop out” or “stop out” programs that are popping up around the United States. Many wonder if these are only for the top percentile. Students are able to learn a whole mixture of things on the world wide web.

Knowledge online takes the form of an all you can eat buffet line with little to no cost to get in the door. However, those same students go to one restaurant where they are spoon fed a specific type of food. Every once and a while, they are allowed to take a bite of a side dish but no matter what they are required to finish the main dish. Some students stay there a couple years longer just because they wanted to taste other food or decided to eat what the person next to them was eating. We need to allow for better structured interdisciplinary degrees and encourage students to expand. High ed is evolving in the face of both technology and diverse professional fields.

The spark that light the fire was one online course on Artificial Intelligence by a Stanford Professor. Before this course, he would teach a couple hundred students and that would be the extent of his impact. Signed up for this online course was over 160,000 students in 190 countries – from India and South Korea to New Zealand and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Of course, every one did not finish the course but those who did gained so much from it. A crazy fact was that there were perfect scores in the course and not a single one came from a student at Stanford. Sebastian Thurn, the professor, said that he had made a bigger wave with this one course then his entire teaching career combined. (Leckart) Little did everyone know that Mooc ventures would begin sprouting up.

Now Coursera, Udacity, and edX are among some of the leaders in the mooc sector. It began with people taking course work to beef up their skill set or resume. After a while, people wanted college credit for the work they were doing. Udacity offers courses for credit now and others are beginning to change to a more structured course to offer credit. This shakes the higher education landscape by completely undercutting other institutions. A computer science course by M.I.T. or an average state college is a decision students will soon have to make. The MIT course will be cheaper and better. However, we are not yet to the point where we can add this course into the core of the degree plan at the local college.

A craze for many is that these courses is bringing education to those who prior had little or no access to this quality of learning. This I believe could potentially be a game changer for those who can not afford college or do not have access to courses like these. Personally, online learning has forever shaped my life. I am tuning out the critics who argue that it will not work or that MOOCs are evil. Coding courses have help mold my programming skills. In interviews, I find myself talking about what I learned on Code School and Udacity not about the college class I have paid all this money to attend. My projects and GitHub account are full of shining examples of what I have learned for a sheer fraction of the price I pay Oklahoma State University. I have been able to signal my skill set so well I have been offered full time positions from start ups. A tug of war exists inside of me. One side wants to pay attention to my college course work. While, the other side desires to learn what skills I need for my upcoming internship. My desire is that some how these two worlds will collide and I can benefit in both areas at the same time.

A focus that can occur right now is how to better develop the existing online courses offered by colleges right now. Better communities need to be created for online course work. Collaborative space on campus needs renovation before we get another practice field for football. I could care less if the flowers are changed every week when we do not have innovative spaces to work on online courses together. Simpler solution would be to flip classrooms. However, we need to make sure that the professors are trained properly before they are allowed to try this out. Flipping a classroom can be extremely powerful especially in a math or physics course. Students would be able to complete their homework in class and work together with other students.

Hertz from Edutoipa touches on even if flipping the classroom does not work every as educators we need to be reflecting on our approaches to teaching. She has a great point in that we need to have teachers “reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they’ve always done things..” (Hertz). I stand with her on the point that we need to be always challenging and making sure the methods work best for the students. In high school, I was able to explain and teach others and this helped me to better learn it myself. Some of these courses, I feel so alone even though there are 300 students taking the course.

The next step is to get rid of D2L. Changing the background and adding notifications is not going to make it a desirable product. One of the problems is the lack luster platform we are engaging the content on. This summer, I will be working for a company called NextThought. They have created a revolutionary platform for the University of Oklahoma, Janux. Stansbury states Janux will be a “scalable model for higher education institutions across the country, effectively customizing a solution so as to make the courses as face-to-face as possible.” I agree with the face that Janux is pushing the bounds of standard online course platforms.

With platforms such as Janux, online learning within the colleges will be transformed. E-Books allow students to highlight and create notes on their textbooks. This system is centered around social learning which is one downfall for many of these types of classes. Stansbury acknowledges social interaction as one of the seven distinct ways Janux is revolutionizing online learning. From her observations, she see a features similar to popular social media websitesa. My stance is that it is important to meet these students where they are as far as communication. Once these steps are taken, universities can better address their current online curriculum before they look past their own struggles to students taking courses on Udacity for credit.

Now moving on to online courses outside the institution that the student is enrolled in. A huge question is how will courses from Coursera transfer to Oklahoma State University. Something as simple as a Calculus course could be completely different than the one offered here. One option could be to have a 3rd party that a student could pay to evaluate courses and create a plan for them to take courses from other providers online that will easily line up with their degree. A fee could be paid to the university if a student wanted to take a course online from another university. These courses that transfer need to be more than a special elective or side course. They need to be able to transfer as the meat and core of a degree. This will receive a lot of resistance fast because it will blur the identity of the degree received from that university.

Beauty to me comes from a degree that is comprised of classes from OSU, MIT, Stanford, University of Michigan, and Carnegie Mellon. A day will come when a degree will be almost Frankensteinish and have courses stitched from numerous universities. This is far off however, I am hoping that we move in that direction where we are learning from the best professors. No longer will a students future be defined by that one class who is only taught by a horrible research professor but that student can opt to take the course from Michigan instead. This will hold professors accountable because they will be competing against other professors to keep their students taking their classes. Most of this could me dreaming but I believe some action will have to be taken by the Presidents of Universities sooner or later.

MOOCs are still laking in four areas before they will be considered for any of the above notions. These areas are the 4 C’s: Community, Completion, College Credit, and Credibility. As much as people want to believe, online learning can be lonely even with some of the discussion boards. In the future, there will be public places where groups form to take a course together. Already, people are grouping up in various cities however, most of the time this is in San Francisco or Chicago not Oklahoma City. Social learning will play a big part in the success of MOOCs.

Students right now hardly ever finish the courses they have started. Sadly, I contribute to some of that percentage because college happens. Creators of these websites will need to improve how they engage the students and how completion is approached. There a couple of methods that can be used such as gamification or better rewards. One of those awards can be college credit towards completion of a course. Slowly and surely, college credit is becoming a reality. It is only a matter of time before more colleges accept certain “basic general education courses”. Udacity offers courses such as College Algebra that are accepted.

For this to continue, there needs to be an entity that holds the credibility of these MOOCs as its highest priority. Advancements will only occur when the integrity of these courses in place. Standards will need to be in place because right now there are countless websites that are offering courses. A possibility could be verified and approved courses from a company that checks to make sure that the professor is in fact teaching it and that the standards met the cut. MOOCs have a long hard road ahead of them but if they survive higher ed will be forever changed as we know it.

With all of this self-directed learning, alternative routes to college have made a large surge to become a viable option to not attending college. Right now, these have been the talk around many news sites and blogs. There is controversy over the importance of going to college and not dropping out. Dropping out to many is preserved to the Mark Zukerbergs or Steve Jobs. One organization’s goal is for every student to at least ask the question if higher education is the road for them. Uncollege is the name of the organization making strides in bring this question to the for front of student’s minds everywhere. It can only help to pounder truly why attending college is the right decision or not. Many students go to college as an innate next step with out even thinking about the implications. Walking around campus, sometimes I feel as if I am surrounded by zombies that are not cognitively aware of their decision to go to college. Most will realize junior and senior year that hey I am going to be in the business wold soon and I have no clue what I want to do. Colleges are sucking the money out of these students and creating the largest student loan debt we have ever seen.

Alternative routes are preaching on the outrageous tuition cost that colleges demand for students with little or no guarantee of a job after graduating. Oklahoma State is a prime example with our computer science department. They are not accredited, have no advisor, or senior capstone course. This has to say something to its students about their concern for the undergraduates graduating.

Entrepreneurship has become a bit of a fad and is spreading like a disease. Students are dropping like flys out of top universities some even Ivy leaguers. The best place to learn business is to run a business. Hands on experience will out perform reading a textbook on it any day. One argument that those who “drop or stop out” is that school will be there when they are done. Let’s say they completely fail and fall flat on their face the school is not going any where. Sometimes these markets are open at the right time and huge success can happen. Snapchat came out of a simple project for class and lead to a business worth billions by Facebook’s standard.

This begs the question do you need to go to college to do want you want to accomplish. Students need to stare in the face the finished product they want from their college experience and ask if it can be obtained elsewhere for the same outcome. Asking these questions will allow students to better appreciate why they are in college and take more advantage of their time spent in school. Peter Thiel challenged students to ask if college was providing them what they need to execute their ideas and passions.

Thus, the Thiel Fellowship was born. 100,000 dollars is used to help fund these students ideas. However, many are quick to say that this solution is for the top percentile and will not work for others. I think the single most misdirected bit of philanthropy in this decade is Peter Thiel’s special program to bribe people to drop out of college,” said former Harvard President Larry Summers (Ferenstien). Since it is early on it most of the cohorts it is hard to say what the full effect of this program will have on these young adults. Ferenstien would agree with me on this statement as he close out his TechCrunch article saying “the criticism, in the end, may be premature.” Another route is Enstitute which believes in 21st century apprenticeships. They want to place students in high rising startups under the wing of a stellar co-founder or CEO. I applied and got all the way until the 6th round. However, at the last possible moment they shut down the entire application round because of restructuring. Now they have “relaunched” and are shortening the time span. I have some friends that were fellows in the first class and have mixed feelings about Enstitute.

For Computer Science majors, there is a craze around developer camps. Recently, they have come under investigation for standards and curriculum. Two of the more popular ones are Dev Bootcamp and Hack Reactor. I applied and was accepted into Hack Reactor as well. The process was extensive and rigorous. I was unable to fork up the nearly 17,000 tuition asking price. Some nights I find myself asking if money was not an issue would I take that leap of faith. I struggle with if I am ready to jump full into an alternative path because I speak out about the downfalls of college. This is an inner struggle that continues today. Stokes speaks on the need to fill this gap between graduates and readiness for the business world. We come out of college and some students do not have the skills they need to be successful.

Uncollege offers a Gap Year to help students learn about themselves and see where they want to go. As more of these routes arise, questions are being pointed towards higher education and the standards are rising. Minerva Project is an entire school option that is going to challenge higher ed. They have some interesting insights on how they will change higher education.

The response of higher ed institutions to all of these alternative routes will be so pivotal. One action that they will need to avoid is to simply ignore that anything is taking place. Tuition will hopefully go down because of these other programs rising. Another important opinion is that of the business world and seeing how they accept those without a college degree. This will define the alternative route paths on weather or not students can receive jobs afterwards.

With all of the learning outside the classroom, degrees are becoming more and more restrictive. Having the Internet on hand, endlessly diverse knowledge is at the finger tips of students. Switching to a one track mind set is difficult when passions are overlapping in various majors. For me, I love education, entrepreneurship, and computer science. It is a penalty for me to take education courses and stray away from my degree sheet. University studies is not very attractive to employers and is not associated with prestige coming from Oklahoma State University.

However at Stanford, we could mix and create our own degrees and it would look amazing once we graduated. We could craft something beautiful that incorporated our passions and academic into one cohesive outcome. I want there to be an educational technology program that is not just a master program but also an undergraduate program. Writing curriculum is a skill that I would love to gain however, that has nothing to do with a BS in Computer Science. Students need to be better well rounded now because trends come and go. People are replaced quickly and we need to be able to adapt. No longer can we place all of our eggs in one basket and expect to be safe from unemployment.

Creating our own degrees gives us ownerships of our education. When we own our education, things begin to change because we are in charge and decide our fate. A single class no longer defines our future. We are able to pivot on how we are changing as we grow and change in college. State Universities will need to address how to allow for degree creation programs that ensure quality of the degree and the completeness of the student. This whole plan includes the above points of incorporating online courses from other universities.

A end picture is alternative routes working directly in line with colleges. Being able to complete course on Code School and Coursera for credit towards my degree. In the future, degrees could step away from being completely from one university. Degrees will be a beautiful master piece of dappling of each university that the student wanted to learn from. A day where my self-directed learning world mets my academic world is one where I would be extremely delighted to be in higher ed. A company helping guide this institutionless degree is called Degreed. They store all of the life long learning that takes place and display it in a central place.

Signaling is a huge conflict to all of this because at the end of the day we bounce our decisions off of what signal this will send. Once we have companies other than Google stepping out and saying that they look past just a GPA. Then we will have a time where students are willing to step out side the confines of the classroom and expand their learning to the depths of the Internet. We would all be able to showcase our learning on degreed to potential employers.

Weather not any of this is true, higher ed is evolving regardless if it takes action or sits idly. Soon there will be a overturning of the tables where a huge shift happens and the landscape is completely changed. OU is taking a step towards the future in investing in Janux. They understand the importance of online learning to the future of education. Being from Oklahoma, I am slow to see many students here even aware of the alternative routes that are at there disposal. Partially because many of the companies here would yet recognize this as a viable option to a college degree while in places like San Francisco this is completely fine. High Education will changed soon and we will be able to see that come to fruition.

 

References

Ferenstein, G. (2014, April 25). Why Google doesn’t care about college degrees, in 5 quotes. VentureBeat. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://venturebeat.com/2014/04/25/why-google-doesnt-care-about-college-degrees-in-5-quotes/

Ferenstein, G. (2013, October 10). Thiel Fellows Program Is “Most Misdirected Piece Of Philanthropy,” Says Larry Summers | TechCrunch.TechCrunch. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/10/thiel-fellows-program-is-most-misdirected-piece-of-philanthropy-says-larry-summers/

Hertz, M. B. (2012, July 10). The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con.Edutopia. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/flipped-classroom-pro-and-con-mary-beth-hertz

Leckart, S. (0012, March 20). The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever. Wired.com. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.wired.com/2012/03/ff_aiclass/all/1

Stansbury, M. (2014, April 2). 7 features of a next-gen online learning platform. eCampus News. Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/online-learning-platform-957/2/

Stokes, P. (2014, April 4). Work Ready or Not. . Retrieved April 30, 2014, from http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/04/04/addressing-mismatch-between-colleges-and-job-market-essay#sthash.tJeOtkrx.dpbs

 

 

Essay 2

Standard

What is a College Education?

In today’s society, is it relevant for everyone and worth the cost?

Joshua Birdwell

Oklahoma State University

What is a College Education?

In today’s society, most students take the next step after high school and attend college. A growing problem is accruing many students do not know why they are even in college. “We use [the expression a college education] as if that were a well-defined clearly identifiable phenomenon and there probably was a time when it was but I think we’ve moved beyond that time” (David Rey). Exactly, what does a college education give us any more? I fear that students will attempt to enter the workforce with nothing more than a degree in hand. Through research, it is shown that soft skills are extremely important and left out in the college experience. With each person, college can be defined a bit differently. One thing holds true is that the community and connections forged on campus are priceless in life. We need to better understand the knowledge acquisition that occurs while in college and understand how that will help translate into actionable skills in the work field.

Information is accessible and free so the simple act of knowing is no longer as valuable. It is more about what we do with that information. Companies are looking to see if we can act on our knowledge. To be successful in the global market, we need to understand where college is short handing us and exactly what it is providing. We should constantly ask if the cost equation is balanced for the quality of education equals the pay. There are more and more cases where college is not the correct path. We have more entrepreneurs dropping out to start companies and other students quiting because they are self-taught. Education is going through a revolution with self directed learning and people are able to learn to program through these methods. It is important to understand the reason of why we chose to enter college so that we can take advantage of every resource provided. How do you define a college education?

References

Naomi, S. R. (2011, Jun 05). What’s a college education really worth? not enough. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/870221979? Accountid=411

In her article “What’s a college education really worth? Not enough,” Naomi Schaefer Riley observes the growing separation between college graduates preparation and corporate hiring standards. According to Naomi, “executives at U.S. Companies routinely complain about the lack of reading, writing and math skills in the recent graduates they hire.” She asserts “employers may decide that there are better ways to get high schools students ready for careers” (S. R.). Students are lost within the purpose of higher ed that administration and professors define and employers expect. Top tier undergraduates now have other options to accomplish their goals through programs such as Thiel Fellowship. Going forward, we are setting a precedence that brilliant students can obtain creditability outside an university walls. Naomi warns about the dangers of the median student simply acquiring a degree and graduating. Questions are raised on how higher education can alter its general education requirements to increase the value of the education. Naomi emphasizes the effects of “grade inflation and lack of a serious core curriculum.” By focusing on major course, one can get by in any high-price university. Naomi’s point is that “colleges and universities have allowed their value to slip by letting students call this an undergraduate education.” She goes on to explain a hypothetical situation where students “show their Sat scores to companies”(S.R.). They then are evaluated and hired to an apprenticeship program. Through this process, companies would put together some courses for them to take along the way she explains.

Thwing, C. F. (1890, Jul 03). WHAT IS A COLLEGE EDUCATION GOOD FOR? The Independent …Devoted to the Consideration of Politics, Social and Economic Tendencies, History, Literature, and the Arts (1848-1921), 42, 12. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/90423836?accountid=4117

“What is a college education good for?”, a scholarly journal article, is geared towards those within the higher ed sector. The article is structured as a guide to how college should enlighten the student. Charles argues that college is not only a place to mature and learn but to strength your faith as well. He believes that college shapes us for the future. In support of this argument, he points out that college abolishes self-conceit, builds character, and “fosters an intelligent and strong Christian faith.” For example, through going deep into learning and having life decisions pushes towards seeking great advice to understand the life ahead. Charles’s claim that college allows for a person to develop and grow in his faith is different approach in that it involves religion in the bi-product of a college education; however, personally being religious I see the strength in this and am experiencing it. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I believed college helped develop worldly things, I now think even more it develops you further than what you have gained as far as concrete knowledge. This article will be useful for showing how college is place to change your inner self because we are fooling ourselves if we think we will come out the same as we went in to college. There are aspects within this article that are not just religious such as character and how we are altered by the freedom that is gained by learning from the past.

Weaver II, Richard L. (2002, June 12). What you don’t get out of a college education: Personal success skills necessary to exceed in school and in life. (2003). Vital Speeches of the Day, 69(19), 604. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/221474330? Accountid=4117

“What You Don’t Get Out Of A College Education,” a scholarly journal article, is intended for future and current college students. The article states aspects that are left out of a college degree and how to fill those voids. Richard argues that there certain skills that you don’t get out of college. He emphasizes though that we have control and can leave college with these skills. In support of this argument, he points out that control, expectations, self-discipline, and responsibility are all “personal success skills necessary to exceed in school and in life”. For example, he “found mastering course work incredibly easy, once [he] decided [his] expectation was growth, development, and change”. Richard’s claim that simply gliding through classes alone will not prepare us for the world is convincing in that he shows how each separate skill correlates to getting the maximum growth out of his time in college. His action statement calls us to “begin right now to use the system to get every bit of knowledge out of it that you can”. Having to pay for a college education, we should take advantage to grow and learn even outside the confinement of our degree plan. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I knew that doing homework alone would not be enough, I am now about to better pin point the areas in which are needed to be a well rounded person. This article will be useful for helping shape what a college degree is by telling us what is absent from it because now we better understand the bare minimum that constitutes a college education.

Delbanco, Andrew. (2012).”What Is College for?.”Continuing Higher Education Review76: 11- 19. Eric. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.

“What is College For?,” a scholarly journal article, is intended for the Americans on the economics of going to college. The article layouts out two main economic points for the stance in support of higher ed. Andrew argues that “college is good for the economic competitiveness of the individuals who constitute the nation.” Also, that the more people with a college degree betters the economic health of the nation. In pursuit of this argument, he points out that a college education raises one’s earnings and is need in the competitive job market today. For example, “one authority claims that those who hold a BA degree earn roughly 60 percent more, on average, over their lifetime than those who do not”. He presents other arguments for the importance of college. One of those being a political one because of the importance of having educated citizenry. There is a third case that is seldomly mentioned. An elderly alumnus told Andrew, College “taught [him] how to enjoy life”. His meaning behind this was that “college had opened his senses as well as his mind to experiences that would otherwise be foreclosed for him”. Andrew’s claim that college is more than a next step and holds greater meaning is convincing in that we are exposed and grow in college as we become prepared to compete in the global market; however, this helps define economical reasoning behind college past a national benefit and more on how it impacts the individual. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I believed that a college education was helpfully financially and in shaping us, I now think that this is ever so true as America is falling behind other nations. This article will be useful for providing economical, political, and abstract supports for why college is beneficial and what it provides because of the main three points that are expanded on in this article.

Friedman, Thomas. “How to Get a Job at Google.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/opinion/sunday/friedman-how-to-get-a-job-at- google.html>.

“How to Get a Job at Google,” a newspaper article from The New York Times is intended for students entering the workforce soon. This article layouts out the criteria that Google pays attention to when hiring. Thomas argues that a “degree is not a proxy for your ability to do any job”. GPA is no longer the deciding factor at tech-based companies but the soft skills are highly valued with candidates. In support of this argument, he points out that in an interview with Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Vice President of people operations, Lazlo layouts five hiring attributes: coding ability, learning ability, leadership, humility and ownership. For example, Lalzo adds “Too many colleges don’t deliver on what they promise. You generate a ton of debt, you don’t learn the most useful things for your life. It’s [just] a extended adolescence.” Thomas’ claim that companies are looking deeper than the GPA a college degree provides is convincing in that the world is changing and information is cheap; however, the ability to learn and lead are extremely valuable but college emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I believed that other skills held higher value than GPA, I now am supported by an executive at Google that the companies are changing what they value. This article will be useful for brining out the urgency that colleges need to bring more than knowledge to the table because students are hurting from not being ready to go against other candidates.

Ray, David. “What is a college education? .” YouTube. TEDxOU, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oNZ-IDDhxc>.

“What is a College Education,” a TEDx OU talk, is intended for college students who need to be aware of why they are in college and what they are receiving. This talk is organized to bring us to a point that we understand we can not idly go through our college experience. David argues that since we are recovering from job losses that are not being replaced by high skilled jobs it is never been so urgent to define a college education and work harder will in school. In pursuit of this objective, he points out that there are four changes political,economic, social, and cultural that are helping define a college education. For example, culturally we have changed to where students do not work as hard and “when they graduate who are not as skilled as they should be.” David’s claim that as students we must define a college education is convincing in that we are still in a job crisis and college has turned into a factory; however, this talk gives us four areas to focus on what influences the perception of a college degree and helps be a prompt for my question. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I believed students could drift and go into an unmotivated state, I now think our economy hurts students like this and information is cheap meaning we need to capture what and why we are paying for when in college. This article will be useful for it shows that even a college professor understand that maybe a college degree is not right for everyone and he is challenging the definition because “the business of the university isn’t business its education.”

 Beaky, L. A. (2010). A college education? or diminished expectations? Academe, 96(3), 19-21,3. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/365973118?accountid=4117

A College Education? Or Diminished Expectations?,” a scholarly journal, is intended for those in higher ed positions. The article is organized to revel the harm that a top down approach on a design of a college. Lenore argues that “community colleges are more than engines for economic prosperity.” One her main points on the development of the community college was “don’t they deserve more than a strict pathway that pushes them to declare a major at entrance and marches them straight through their courses to a diploma and a job.” In pursuit of this argument, she points out that CUNY students, faculty members or New York City benefit from the process Matt Goldstein, the chancellor, has decided on by bringing a top down approach to the table. She thinks “its defining features will be a narrow, utilitarian curriculum and statistics-driven surveillance of both faculty and students.” For example, “students will be graded not just by their teachers but by teams that will include faculty members who did not actually teach the student being evaluated.” Lenore’s claim that community college should be more than a means to an end is convincing in that the world is changing rapidly and learning towards a specific job is not wise; however, this article helps bring out that when colleges are changing the structure students and faculty should be included in the circle. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I believed administration would seek others besides those on the same level, I now think college’s each have their own objective of what their schooling provides and at CUNY it is a straight to a job. This article will be useful for helping show that college should not be a track to a job because we need to be learning timeless skills that can helps us adapt and change to the world.

Green, John . “Is College Worth It?.”YouTube. VlogBrothers, 21 Aug. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_N7MAr98CI>.

“Is College Worth it?,” a YouTube video by author John Green, is intended for college students. The video is organized to give support for the importance of college. John argues that college is worth the cost. “Education gave [him] perspective and context.” “Weather you are studying electrical engineering or poetry college is not finally about maximizing income but its about becoming a better and more informed observer of the universe.” In support of this objective, he points out that we are fortunate to learn and focus on the opportunity of “maximizing passion and fulfillment in [our] life both professional and personally”. For example, we are “in a world where about half of humans live on less 2 dollars & 50 cents a day the opportunity to learn and study in a formal and dedicated way is still a gift even if it has become a very expensive one.” John’s claim that college is worth the opportunity cost is convincing in that it gives us freedom to be our true selves and gives us the chance to go after the career we want; however, this is important in understanding if the opportunity cost is always in favor of college. Whereas prior to encountering this source, I believed college was a next step, I now think we all need to take a step back and appreciate what we have in front of us. This article will be useful for understanding that college is a privilege because not everyone can go and it allows us to be given new opportunities.

Essay 1

Standard

Tomorrow’s Super Hero: Technology

Secondary education faces many lasting, debilitating problems that can be remedied with the integration of technology. Personalized learning has been a topic of discussion, with some saying that there can no longer be a “one size fits all” education model. Another problem centers on the financial inequality of schools, especially where technology is concerned. Technology liberates students and teachers from geographical, financial, and physical boundaries. It can take the idea of collaboration to new heights by including the teacher, student, and parent. With the advent of a tech-based society, there is always an influx of new tools to learn; providing teachers with workshops and training sessions will encourage classrooms to thrive in changing times. Through ground-breaking technological advances in personalized learning and curriculum, equalizing education despite underfunding, collaboration, and teacher training, technology has ensured its presence in the forefront of the field of education.

Right away in “The Promise of EdTech”, Tom Vander Ark says that a main benefit of e-tools is that they allow for customization. (Getting Smart) Customization is vital because of the different learning styles of students. At home, they have the ability to learn any way they please from videos to text to hands on activities. Growing up, I would be ahead of most of the students in math, but would be forced to remain at the pace of the majority of the students. The confines of many traditional pedagogical methods limit gifted students to the speed and material that best serves the majority. While this utilitarianism approach seems to be logical, it in fact hurts two important groups of students: the accelerated and the struggling. By using a tool like Khan Academy’s math software, we would have been able to have a personalized track. In the traditional setting, gifted students grow restless after quickly completing a task, while struggling students grow frustrated at being unable to keep up. Sal Khan, the creator of Khan Academy, explained that in many cases, students that had been lagging behind only struggled with one or two topics. After they had mastered it, their learning rate increased greatly. These students would sometimes surpass the rest of the class.

With customization, students are given the reins to their own educational journey. Just as a kid feels ownership of a painting he created in art class, so too can he feel ownership of his journey of learning math. Schools could more readily step away from memorizing math formulas and step toward understanding the importance of the topic when technology is utilized properly by educators. Paulo Freire says that “only by learning the significance could they know how to memorize it, to fix it.” (284)

Personalizing the curriculum will benefit students of all styles of learning. Within the Common Core, there can be flexibility into the pace and style of learning in which students engage. Stephen Davies, in his writing of “The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894,” showed that just as cars rectified the growing problem of horse manure in roads, so too can technology fix problems within schools. (378) Through the freeing power of technology, schools that would not have been able to offer personalized learning are able to.

Impoverished schools do not have to be held down by lack of funds. Technology can provide access to a world of possibilities. Automobiles took the focus away from stables, manure removal, and having to take care of the horses so can technology take the focus away from geographical location, lack of funding, and other limiting factors. iPad grants give the opportunity for these schools to be free of recurring costs.  Students can discover and explore the vast world of the internet. Technology can break the chains of the imprisonment lack of funding bring. From “The Promise of Edtech”, “It changes everything when anyone can learn anything almost anywhere.” (Tom Vander Ark)  

Teachers and administration need to be aware of accessible grants and technology related funding. Programs are out there to place iPads in schools. Once technology arrives, this does not mean that it will automatically alleviate all of the problems. However, technology needs to be brought in with care and much thought. Solid policy and implementation for the near technology should be followed to provide the best chance for successful integration.  School districts must have the internet capacity and infrastructure to support all the devices that will be added into the cycle. I.T. staff must meet the demand of the problems that will arise from the increase of computers. A holistic approach is an absolute must for whoever decides to focus tight funds they have towards technology. New connections and collaboration will come about because of this decisions and everyone will benefit.

There are cases where schools can not come up with the funding to get computers or iPads in the classrooms. In this situation, the educators of the district should spend time raising awareness of local vocational schools or community centers. In high school, I went to a title one school. We had computers and some technology but many of the teachers did not know to effectively use it. It wasn’t till late sophomore year I learned about a Pre-Enigneering Academy that I could attend for free. This opportunity changed my life. In Oklahoma, various vo-techs are spread in strategic spots to allow for low income school students to attend. We would hope that schools would be able to finds a mean to provide for their students.

Being connected today gives students and teachers access to the world. No longer do students have to work alone or teachers have to create lesson plans alone, nor do parents not get to engage further with more insight into their child’s’ education. With in the workplace, collaboration is a key and vital part of being an asset a company. Students should and need to have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow peers in their local community and across the world. Our world is becoming smaller and smaller because of technology. Back in 1859, communication took a lot longer than a text message sent today.

As Project Based Learning spreads further and into more schools, collaboration is main pillar in creating the best environment for this learning to excel. Students are not the only people who need to be better connected. Parents and teacher communication can be boosted through technology. Some parents can not make it to a parent teacher conference or talk to the teacher because of scheduling conflicts. Companies like Edmodo are eliminating these problems through an educational Facebook. Teachers, students, parents all have avenues to communicate with each other in a safe setting. Chats, discussion boards, groups are a few of the features that encourage this open and safe communication.

Teacher to teacher communication and collaboration can not be pushed to the side or neglected. Sharing of lesson plans and curriculum through things such as the Smart Board and iPads can give the teacher more time. Time is everything when nurturing these students. He or she will spend less time planning and creating lesson plans. In turn, they will spend their time engaging and developing deeper relationships with their students. There are countless ways that technology can help shape the way the teacher goes about their daily jobs. He or she can be connected to other excellent teachers through the US.

This tremendous addition of technology brings a huge responsibility to train and equip every teacher in the district. Workshops are essential to teaching them how to use the technology and how to integrate it into the classroom. Technology can only go so far and the teachers will need to feel confident in using it. Districts need to come together to form teacher training and workshops to make sure that the technology does not get utilized incorrectly. Teacher’s becoming masters of the technology is one of the most important parts for this process to have the correct and best impact in the classroom.

In education there are crises that have arisen that demand a solution. Technology can be a main part of the solution to these crises. Even though technology is not the answer to everything it can be for these problems addressed. Our horse-manure problems in secondary education are going to be fought with innovative technology just as it was back in 1859. “The Promise of Edtech” gives a backbone for the top three benefits of this transition. Customization, motivation, and equalization being these key benefits directly hit the heart of the problems. The future of education is bright with its relationships with technology. New heights of learning and engagement will be accomplished as technology continues to address secondary education’s problems.


Works Cited

Freire, Paulo.(2012) “The Importance of the Act of Reading.” Academic Universe: Research and Writing at Oklahoma State University. 2nd ed. Ed. Richard Frohock, Sisk, Jessica Glover, Joshua Cross, James Brubaker, Jean Alger, Jessica Fokken, Kerry Jones, Kimberly Dyer-Fisher, and Ron Brooks. Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil Publishing, 2009. 281-286. Print.

Davies, Stephen.(2012) The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894. Academic Universe: Research and Writing at Oklahoma State University. 2nd ed. Ed. Richard Frohock, Karen Sisk, Jessica Glover, Joshua Cross, James Brubaker, Jean Alger, Jessica Fokken, Kerry Jones, Kimberly Dyer-Fisher, and Ron Brooks. Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil Publishing, 2009. 281-286. Print.
Vander Ark, Tom. “The Promise of EdTech: Customization, Motivation, & Equalization.” Getting Smart. N.p., 4 Jan. 2014. Web. 31 Jan. 2014.

BP16

Standard

Uncollege

Uncollege is about helping people weigh and understand the alternatives to college. The website provides amazing resources for self-directed learning! Each week they send out a newsletter outlining articles about higher ed alternatives. One possible tweak to the website would be tips or guidance for those in college. That way those students could get the most out of their time in college. A story tab explains everything about Uncollege. It helps the visitor understand their mission and understand what they do.

Another big part of the website is the Gap Year tab. Gap Year is a program where students can participate either after high school or anytime during or after college. It takes the fellows on an adventurous journey as they travel and gain skills from internships, and more. This is one of the innovative paths being forged as an alternative to college.

Uncollege has many ways for you to contribute or join in on the movement. I was blessed with the opportunity to fly to San Francisco to attend a Hackademic. This is a weekend where you met 13 others who are passionate about self-directed learning. Through out the weekend, you will hear from speaks and be a part of various activities.

The blog and resources page is extremely valuable. The resource page as mentioned above is full of incredible links for you to find places to learn. Each week they update their blog with insightful posts on helping students better understanding unschooling and self-directed learning.

Uncollege attempts to have you ask yourself why you are in college and know what path is best for you.

BP14

Standard

At first, I was going with what I was comfortable with an area that I had past knowledge. Quickly, I would realize that this would only take me so far. In the beginning, I will be honest I was leaning on past experience and articles that I had read. Yet without structure and knowledge of academic writing, I was just another blogger talking about the issues in higher ed. Summarizing and analyzing the authors work is one tool that I would improve to help me better convey my own thoughts. By learning how to construct arguments and support statements, I was able to voice my own opinion on the matter. Our textbooks in this class are books I will not sell back for extra cash but books I will reference later in my academic career. This is more than a general education course. This course is vital to becoming an academic and contributing productively to an area of interest. Now as I read other journals, I can see the structure and technique they used to craft their article. We took a deep look at successfully using sources and not simply going through the motions. In highschool, I feel that if you had any sources at all then that was perfectly fine. We now have better understanding on how to correctly utilize these sources. Another tidbit, our library is an amazing resource with access to so much content someone could write about anything. Looking back now on the semester, I wish I could have invested even more time to improve than I did. All in all, I will walk away understanding truly what it means to write an academic journal article.