Digital Learning in 'Inside Higher Ed' This Week

Among the topics: competency-based education spreads slowly; Gates encourages cross-institutional collaboration; OER as survival strategy.

January 30, 2019

Inside Higher Ed published numerous articles of interest to readers of "Inside Digital Learning" in the last week. They include:

  • A broad new survey showed that competency-based education has spread slower than many expected, particularly given hype in recent years about its approach. Yet the study on the emerging form of postsecondary education -- which emphasizes what students know and can do, tends to be more focused on employer needs, and often features elements of personalization and self-pacing for students -- found continued interest from colleges, expanding experimentation with mostly small degree programs and plenty of optimism about competency-based education’s promise. The survey was co-led by American Institutes for Research and Eduventures and received funding from Lumina Foundation and Ellucian, a software and higher education services company.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation this week announced a major new grant program in postsecondary education, aimed at identifying 10 "intermediaries for scale" to work intensively with colleges and universities to improve student success, particularly for low-income and first-generation students, students of color, and working adults. The selected organizations, or groups of organizations, will provide connections and guidance to colleges and universities to support them "through the process of comprehensive change" related to student success and completion, focused on things like "strengthening advising, tapping the power of digital learning and redesigning remedial education," the foundation said in a written statement.
  • In a post on his “Confessions of a Community College Dean” blog, Matt Reed discusses the use of open educational resources as an "institutional survival strategy," a "rare win-win" that can keep total cost of attendance flat or even lower it.
  • A study published by Ithaka S+R sheds new light on where university libraries buy print and digital books, what they’re buying, and how much they spend. It shows, among other things, that Amazon does play a significant role in library acquisitions, but perhaps not as big a role as some suspected.



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