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'Fisher' in Context: Making Sense of Today's Oral Arguments

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 9, 2015 - 1:55am
How might the Supreme Court's ruling change the college-admissions landscape? Get up to speed with a collection of past Chronicle coverage.
Categories: Higher Education News

What People Want to Know About the Payoff of Different Degrees

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 9, 2015 - 1:55am
An economist who digs through labor-market data explains how his work has found a general audience seeking answers.
Categories: Higher Education News

'It's Like Holding Your Breath': Muslim Campus Leaders Describe a Charged Moment

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 9, 2015 - 1:55am
With many Muslim students fearing for their safety in a contentious political climate, Muslim professors and students say their roles as campus leaders are shifting before their eyes.
Categories: Higher Education News

In Televised Slight, Bates College Eyes a Chance to Court Lisa Simpson

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 3:11pm
"Maybe you can transfer after a couple years … to Bates!" The real-world Bates College, it turns out, would like that very much.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Tennessee Removes 'Poorly Worded' Post on Holiday Parties

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 12:32pm
The move came a week after Republican lawmakers blasted the online message as overly politically correct and "extremist."
Categories: Higher Education News

The Promise of Adaptivity

WCET Frontiers Blog - December 8, 2015 - 12:15pm

WCET seeks to raise awareness on the why, how and what of adaptive learning; to develop a community of faculty, administrators, designers and providers to share promising practices and ideas; and for WCET to be a valuable resource on this important emerging application of technology. To support this, we have selected Niki Bray to serve as our 2015-2016 WCET Fellow on Adaptive Learning. This is her first blog post in a series to come over her time as Fellow about adaptive learning. You can also join her weekly on Thursday nights from 6 – 7pm MT, for #WCETAdaptive twitter chat. Follow her @adaptivechat. Welcome and thanks, Niki!

At this year’s WCET Annual Meeting, Dale Johnson asked the participants in the session to imagine a heterogeneous incoming class, whether it be a freshman class or an adult learner class that’s coming back after years of being out of college, and being able to guide them, understand where they need additional support, and being able to personalize the learning based upon individual needs, such as a learner who needs a video instead of a section of reading – that is the promise of adaptive learning.

I had the opportunity to participate in this session with Dale Johnson, Arizona State University, as well as Thomas Cavanagh, University of Central Florida,  Dror Ben Naim, Smart Sparrow, Nick White, Capella University, and Judith Komar, Colorado Technical University, arguably a panel of the top leaders in adaptive learning. The session was Adaptive Learning as an Applied Innovation: How to Get Started and in this post I summarize Dale’s discussion of how using adaptive learning improves student success. In the future I’ll publish additional posts about the adaptive learning insights from the Annual Meeting.

As an educator we can all agree that students typically fall into one of three categories for each unit of instruction throughout the semester – below the expected level of prior knowledge, at or near the expected level of prior knowledge, and above the expected level of prior knowledge. In Dale Johnson’s opening remarks to this session, he discusses the promise of adaptivity. In his commentary, he shares the fact that Arizona State University has some lecture-based courses with nearly 400 students enrolled in a section. The use of adaptivity, Johnson contends, allows professors in these large size courses to identify who needs help, who is on track, and who needs to be challenged – the key issue behind the concept of differentiation. Using the tools that adaptive systems provide, Johnson suggests, allows the professor to determine precisely what each student needs help with and the best way to help at scale. Now, we can single out students who not only need additional support but also those who can accelerate their learning and move in a more rapid fashion.

Prior to the use of adaptivity, detailed information about student progress, specifically at the granular level, was virtually impossible to determine for even a small number of students much less classes with large enrolments. At best, most professors today do not know how students are progressing until the first exam, which is oftentimes the midterm exam. By this time, it is often too late to provide the additional support students need to improve learning as too much time has passed and likely the class has moved on to other lessons. The adaptive learning systems that are available now give us information that we have never had before and they allow us to know where students are relative to the curriculum and to other students at any moment in time during the duration of the course. Imagine being able to know exactly where students are in their learning and what they are struggling with at any given time. Also imagine immediately knowing what you need to do to be able to help them – thanks to the big data being collected in the background.

A member of the audience posed the question to Johnson about the role of adaptive learning for supplemental instruction. Johnson responded by suggesting that adaptive learning works across the entire spectrum of learning needs, be it earning a credential or earning a credit. Oftentimes, students who are required to take remedial math, for example, have to pay in upwards of $1,500 for the course and they do not get any college credit for taking it. “That’s a tragedy!” Johnson exclaims. He suggests that the use of an adaptive system can eliminate the need for these remedial courses, which a high number of students drop or withdraw, and save students money, too.

On my next Frontiers blog, I’ll share the benefits of adaptive learning.

Niki Bray
WCET Fellow, Adaptive Learning
Instructor|Instructional Designer
School of Health Studies
University of Memphis

University Slashes Thousands of Journal Subscriptions, Spurring Faculty Fears

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 10:52am
Memorial University of Newfoundland says it doesn't have enough money in its budget to maintain the 2,500 subscriptions it will eliminate starting in January.
Categories: Higher Education News

Call for Nominations: Who Are the Top Tech Innovators in Higher Education?

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 10:30am
The Chronicle is seeking suggestions for our annual feature on people trying to solve big problems facing campuses with the help of technology.  
Categories: Higher Education News

Dean Is Placed on Leave Amid Claims She Mishandled Rape Allegation

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 9:53am
The step was taken a few days after a Niagara University student started a petition claiming that Marjean C. McLaughlin had antagonized a female student who said she had been sexually assaulted.
Categories: Higher Education News

With Faculty Diversity on Everyone’s Radar, HBCUs Worry About Losing Scholars

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 1:57am
Leaders of historically black colleges say there’s reason to be concerned about professors being poached by wealthier institutions. But they can make a convincing case for faculty to stay where they are.
Categories: Higher Education News

The Supreme Court Could Fuel Campus Unrest in Ruling on Race in Admissions

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 1:55am
A case involving affirmative action at the University of Texas gives the justices a chance to further limit colleges’ efforts to meet rising student demands for more diversity.
Categories: Higher Education News

‘Sometimes I Cry’: a Ground-Level View of Student Poverty

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 1:55am
Student hunger and homelessness appear more widespread than many campus leaders had realized. Hattie Elmore, director of a program that helps students at a New York college navigate money and housing problems, talks about the issues she confronts daily.
Categories: Higher Education News

Virtual-Reality Lab Explores New Kinds of Immersive Learning

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 8, 2015 - 1:49am
The technology has powerful implications in distance learning. At the University of Maryland, researchers are using it in projects involving health care, public safety, and education.
Categories: Higher Education News

Tenured Professor Draws Fire Over Allegations He Sexually Harassed Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 7, 2015 - 3:37pm
An investigation found that he had violated the University of Akron's sexual-harassment policy, and his colleagues have called for him to be barred from the classroom.
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Maryland's President Calls for Renaming of Stadium Over Racist History

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 7, 2015 - 3:32pm
The facility's name would be changed from Byrd Stadium, which honors a segregationist former president, to Maryland Stadium.
Categories: Higher Education News

Yale Lecturer Whose Email Touched Off Furor Will Stop Teaching

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 7, 2015 - 12:15pm
Erika Christakis said that "the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems."
Categories: Higher Education News

U. of Houston President Is 'Literally Outraged' Over Footage of Guards Beating Students

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 7, 2015 - 11:48am
The university has cut ties with the Contemporary Services Corporation over video that shows security officials restraining and striking students after a football game.
Categories: Higher Education News

Lingering Fallout From the Salaita Case

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 7, 2015 - 7:59am
The university’s reckless action has cast a pall on faculty hiring across academe.
Categories: Higher Education News

What the Supreme Court Will Be Asking as It Revisits Affirmative Action

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 7, 2015 - 1:55am
In hearing a challenge to race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, the justices are likely to focus on applying established limits on such policies, not scrapping them.
Categories: Higher Education News

1968: ‘Deeper Student Unrest’ Tops the Front Page

Chronicle of Higher Education - December 6, 2015 - 5:11pm
A presidential election held in wartime produced rancor on campuses.  
Categories: Higher Education News


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