Digital Learning in 'Inside Higher Ed' This Week

Among the topics: a conceptual model for higher ed quality and equity; AI brain drain; federal reports on STEM and skilled workers; the spread of chatbots.

September 11, 2019

Inside Higher Ed published several articles this week of potential interest to readers of "Inside Digital Learning." They include:

  • Lumina Foundation has pulled together a group of regulators, college leaders and workforce experts to develop a starting point for a new model for advancing quality and equity in postsecondary education. The 20-member task force, which released a report on their conceptual model today, hopes it will start a broad conversation across higher education, with implications for lawmakers and regulators.
  • The National Science Board released a report Monday calling for, among other things, a cultural re-evaluation of America's "skilled technical workforce" -- people who use science and technology skills in their jobs, but don't possess a bachelor's degree. The federal report suggests that the shortage may be in part due to students lacking encouragement to pursue technical careers from parents and guidance counselors, and an overall culture that values bachelor's degrees.
  • The National Science Board has released an annual report, "Higher Education in Science and Engineering," which contains a wide array of data about the state of STEM education on American college and university campuses. It includes a section on online learning.
  • The artificial intelligence industry boom is draining academe of AI experts and professors, at the expense of graduates' start-ups, according to a new working paper. More than 150 professors have left North American universities since 2004, along with 60-some professors taking on industry jobs while continuing to teach part-time. The field of deep learning is most impacted.
  • More and more colleges are deploying virtual assistants or chatbots to communicate with students on all aspects of college life, creating a virtual "one-stop-shop" for student queries. Colleges initially were deploying this technology only in specific areas, such as financial aid, IT services or the library. Now institutions are looking to deploy chatbots with much broader capability. For the companies that make this computer software that conducts text or voice-based conversations, this changing usage on campus marks a significant shift.



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