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Pulse podcast features interview with Ken Hartman, online learning veteran

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 00:00

This month's episode of the Pulse podcast features an interview with Ken Hartman, a veteran of the online learning and currently CEO of Degree Quest.

In the conversation with the Pulse's host, Rodney B. Murray, Hartman -- past president of Drexel Online, amid other roles -- discusses various aspects of online education, including enrollment trends, judging quality, faculty development and the use of data analytics.

The Pulse is Inside Higher Ed's monthly technology podcast. Murray is executive director of the office of academic technology at University of the Sciences.

Find out more, and listen to past Pulse podcasts, here.

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US HE: quality concerns main reason for eschewing pathways

The PIE News - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 10:55

With international recruitment efforts growing at US universities, interest in forging pathway partnerships is growing – but many institutions are still wary of quality standards and giving over control over the admissions process to a third party, research commissioned by NAFSA has revealed.

Adoption of pathway programs in the US has been slower than in competitor markets the UK and Australia, and NAFSA’s research aimed to create a clearer picture of US institutions’ perceptions of these programs.

“By definition, pathway programs are catering to a segment of students who need academic and English preparation help”

As of April 1, 2016, there were only 45 US institutions working with third-party pathway providers – 24 public and 21 private.

And of the 374 US higher education institutions that enrolled more than 500 international students in 2014/15, only 27 – 4% – had a partnership with a private pathway provider as of April 2016.

Of these 27 agreements identified, 17 were institutions that enrolled 10,000 or more students.

The research, which included a survey of 347 NAFSA members working with international students at US universities, shed light on some of the reasons institutions opt not to engage in pathway partnerships.

Just over a third of educators (35%) surveyed gave a preference for developing in-house expertise as one of these reasons, while just over half (52%) said simply their existing intensive English programs are working well.

But the biggest obstacle was a fear of losing academic standards – nearly two thirds (65%) of survey respondents said this was a concern.

Losing control of the admissions processes was also a major reservation for 56% of those who took part in the survey, and contract issues such as cost were a concern for 43%.

“There is a segment of the population which feels concerned about: What does it mean for admissions standards? What does it mean for my academic standards? Would it put the institutional and academic standards at any kind of risk?” noted Rahul Choudaha, principal research and CEO of DrEducation.

The main reason for this, he explained, is that “By definition, pathway programs are catering to a segment of students who need academic and English preparation help.”

“What it means is, you need to reach out to those students who are not already ready [to enrol in a bachelor’s program at a US university].”

Some staff believe that admitting these students may be “compromising some of the established admissions standards, because now they don’t necessarily have to go through the standardised test requirements,” he said.

“That’s where the value proposition of pathway programs is; they are providing that additional training”

However, he argued that enabling universities to reach this cohort of students that need some additional preparation is one of the major arguments for working with a pathway specialist.

“That’s where the value proposition of pathway programs is, because they are providing that one year of additional training, educational experience, cultural experience, so the student is ready to succeed,” he said.

This thinking is reflected in the survey responses when educators were asked to give their reasons for partnering with a third party provider.

The most commonly cited reason for partnering with a third party provider (given by 59% of respondents) was that it enables institutions to access that provider’s recruitment network, followed by the chance to expand their enrolment of undergraduate students (57%).

The positives of partnering also included improving the yield of international enrolment; enhancing the diversity of institutions’ international cohort; and making up for a lack of in-house expertise, educators said.

The report is the second phase of research on pathways commissioned by NAFSA, following its mapping of the sector released last year.

However, the study is “not the final word on this important subject”, it notes, saying that further research is needed on pathway partnerships in order to increase understanding of the impact of pathway programs, including looking at how educators’ concerns over quality correlate with real world outcomes.

The post US HE: quality concerns main reason for eschewing pathways appeared first on The PIE News.

A Mexican vote with big consequences

Economist, North America - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:45

THE wood-panelled walls of Rodrigo Moya Torres’s study are decorated with hunting knives. On his desk lies a pistol; underneath is a rifle. Mr Moya, who wears a black Stetson and monogrammed cowboy boots, grew up on a ranch. But he has spent the past 31 years publishing a weekly newspaper in the town of Ecatepec, just north of Mexico City.

The firearms are for self-defence. The opinion pages of his newspaper, Morelos de Ecatepec, fulminate against corruption at all levels of government. Mr Moya has received death threats; a local politician tried to kidnap him, he says. No politician merits his respect. “They treat people badly and they don’t look after them,” he fumes.

Ecatepec is a violent part of the State of Mexico, which encircles the country’s capital city almost fully and provides a home to many people who work there. Many of its inhabitants seem to share Mr Moya’s contempt for politicians, which suggests that turnout in a...

Latin America’s campus revolution

Economist, North America - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:45

HE LIVES in a house of cardboard and tin in Puente Piedra, a sprawling poor district on Lima’s northern fringe. His mother sells cooked food in the street; his father is a mechanic. Yet César Huamán is studying architecture at a new private university. To pay the fees of $137 a month he works on building sites during the holidays. His parents and six siblings chip in. “We all want to have a professional in the family, even if it’s only one,” says Inés, his mother.

Mr Huamán is part of a revolution in higher education in Latin America. The region has some 20m students, more than double the number at the turn of the century. The gross enrolment rate, meaning the proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds in higher education, surged from 21% in 2000 to 43% in 2013, a faster expansion than in any other region in this period, according to a new report from the World Bank. Many of the new students are, like Mr Huamán, from hard-up families. While students from the poorer half of the population...

The miracle of marabú, Cuba’s wonderful weed

Economist, North America - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:45

From bouquets to briquettes

THE peskiest weed in Cuba sprouts a charming flower. Pink and wispy, with a bushy yellow tail, it looks like a cross between a Chinese lantern and a Muppet. Marabú, as Cubans call the leguminous tree, covers 2m hectares, about 18% of the country’s territory. It spread unchecked during the “special period” of the 1990s, when the Soviet Union stopped subsidising Cuba and farms fell into disuse. Uprooting it is time-consuming and labour-intensive.

Recently, though, Cubans have begun to view marabú as an asset rather than an irritant. Since 2009 Cuba has exported 40,000-80,000 tonnes a year of “artisanal charcoal” made from marabú, which is used for firing up hookahs in the Middle East and pizza ovens in Italy. That could rise after the United States in January approved marabú as the first legal import from Cuba in more than 50 years....

Push for jail terms over university admissions scandal

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 06:28
South Korea's prestigious Ewha Womans University in Seoul - under the spotlight of investigations into a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of the country's former president Park Geun- ...