Articles about Education, 2012-2013

Education in the World    17 October 2013

The OECD and 25.7 Wall St. have released reports about education in the OECD countries and the world.  In the list of the countries with the greatest number of college and university graduates, the United States ranks fifth, while Russia is first.  Ironically, the US expends much more than Russia per student.  The reports are at http://www.oecd.org/edu/eag2013%20%28eng%29--FINAL%2020%20June%202013.pdf and http://247wallst.com/special-report/2013/10/15/the-most-educated-countries-in-the-world-2/.

The Case for Free University Tuition    8 August 2013

Robert Samuels of the University Council-American Federation of Teachers has written Why Public Education Should Be Free (Rutgers University Press, 2013) and has penned a summary of his argument in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He contends that a redeployment of current financial resources will make free tuition possible at state institutions and could help American education reach the level of other advanced countries. Read more at http://chronicle.com/article/For-Public-Colleges-the-Best/140623/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en.

Drivers of Online Education: Administrators and Politicians    25 July 2013

Professors long have realized that there are benefits to online education, including the flexible scheduling for both the instructor and the students.  Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of students and instructors also recognize that the online environment has major drawbacks.  I long have been an advocate of limiting the number of online courses one can apply toward a major and toward the total number of credits needed for graduation.  Such an approach, however, never would succeed at most institutions because administrators and politicians, in the case of state institutions, would object.  Although they claim that online courses make education more accessible and affordable for students, the reality is that they are less expensive than traditional courses in classrooms.  Despite their rhetoric, administrators and politicians are more concerned about the bottom line than pedagogy.  They see online courses as requiring fewer classrooms, saving on utilities and support staff, and possibly reducing the need for other expensive facilities, such as labs and libraries.  The most telling sign that online courses are potential money savers, if not money makers, is that administrators are great advocates of enticing professors to create an online course for a substantial one-time fee and then have adjuncts service the course in the future.  Fortunately, most professors and departments have resisted this approach, although my evidence is anecdotal.

Rob Jenkins, an English professor at Georgia Perimeter College, has written an article that is long overdue, even though it likely will get little attention.  In "Who Is Driving the Online Locomotive?" Jenkins critically examined the possible drivers of the online education trend, including MOOCs, and concluded that while students, professors, and employers see an important role for online courses, it is the administrators and politicians who are their greatest advocates.  Jenkins's article appears in the 24 July 2013 online edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education and is available at http://chronicle.com/article/Who-Is-Driving-the-Online/140505/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=enR.

The Flipped History Classroom    22 July 2013

Jennifer Ebbeler explained the difficulties she encountered when flipping her Early Rome history class and the means she used to overcome them in "'Introduction to Ancient Rome,' the Flipped Version" that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education on 22 July 2013 and is available at http://chronicle.com/article/Introduction-to-Ancient/140475/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en.  She warned that having students read the lectures on their own and coming to class for discussions resulted in few students doing the required work.  As a result, she required quizzes the keep the students current with the material.  She also noted that more work is necessary to plan the discussions for each class period, but she concluded that more students mastered the material.

Inexpensive Colleges Can Prove Costly    16 February 2013

Dalton State in Georgia along with Indian River State College and Edison State College in Florida are tied for the record of having the greatest number of student loan defaults after graduation.  The difficulty is that students from these institutions have a more difficult time finding employment.  They also happen to be among the institutions with the least expensive tuition.  The article analyzing the situation is at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/high-cost-cheap-college-134909001.html.  Its author claims that poor support for students at these institutions may be at fault, but it also is likely that their faculty members have high teaching loads and large classes and that their teaching assignments go beyond their qualifications.

The High Cost of College Education    23 May 2012

Two articles in the online version of NPR consider the amount of debt students accumulate.  Read them at http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/04/18/150909686/what-america-owes-in-student-loans and http://www.npr.org/2012/04/25/150882741/negotiating-the-college-funding-labyrinth?ft=3&f=1001&sc=nl&cc=nh-20120425.

Report on the Future of Community Colleges    23 May 2012

The American Association of Community Colleges has released a report titled "Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation's Future" that describes the difficulties facing community colleges and the potential solutions.  The following is from the executive summary of the report:

Despite these historic successes, and amidst serious contemporary challenges, community colleges need to be redesigned for new times. What we find today are student success rates that are unacceptably low, employment preparation that is inadequately connected to job market needs, and disconnects in transitions between high schools, community colleges, and baccalaureate institutions. Community colleges, historically underfunded, also have been financed in ways that encourage enrollment growth, though frequently without adequately supporting that growth, and largely without incentives for promoting student success. These conditions hinder middle-class students and have a devastating effect on low-income students and students of color, those often in greatest need of what community colleges have to offer.

The full text of the report is available at http://www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/21stcenturyreport/21stCenturyReport.pdf.