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Reports

  • Future of MIT Education

    Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education

    MIT's study reflects the collaborative efforts of faculty, students, and staff of the Institute. It offers a series of recommendations as to how MIT can continue to transform education for future generations of learners. These recommendations given below lay the groundwork for MIT to refine and realize the vision for the future of education at MIT, and to respond to the aspirations of the world for lifelong learning. They represent opportunities to promote educational connections across the Institute, transform pedagogy through bold but thoughtful experimentation, extend MIT’s impact to the world, broaden access to high-quality education, and improve affordability for future generations of learners.

  • Universities must encourage bold experimentation in the campus. They must promote conversations across the campus, about curriculum, technology, policy, and more generally about teaching.
  • Experiments are needed to learn about both the positive and negative aspects of pedagogical and curricular innovations.
  • Greater flexibility is needed in the core undergraduate curriculum.
  • Expansion is needed in the use of diverse pedagogies such as project-based and blended learning models.
  • Modularity must be introduced into the curriculum, and the effectiveness of doing so understood. High enrolment rates and low completion rates of MOOCs point to students' needs for modularity, for learning a specific topic or idea in a subject. Instead of classes, semesters and courses, small modules can be offered to students, both online and offline. These modules can be reused across departments and institutions.
  • A study of new approaches to the assessment of students is needed. Accreditation will be revolutionized. Universities must move forward to consider the types of certifications that can be supported through MOOCs, and develop pricing methodologies and revenue-sharing arrangements for agreed-upon certifications. Clearly, employees look for competencies rather than degrees. The trend of badges, or recognition for a smaller module of learning, is an accepted trend.
  • The summer can be used for experimentation with pedagogies such as intensive face-to-face interactions, blended learning models, modularity, project-based learning, and peer-based learning in collaboration with faculty. Students can earn credits for the summer classes.
  • An ecosystem must be created that promotes educational connections across the Institute and builds a culture of inter-School synergy. Doing so will help provide contextualization to students, and preserve the value of different perspectives while reinforcing connections and relevance. Better connections will help improve learning.
  • Student communities need to be created. Online learning can result in isolation, whereas building learning communities leverages the power of ICT while avoiding isolation.
  • Students' communication skills need to be improved, even those who study STEM. Online and blended learning can be used for this purpose.
  • Students will gain valuable contextualization for their learning experience if they have the opportunity to work on serious issues that challenge society, in a guided way so that an intellectual component is integrated with the work.
  • Students must have improved access to advanced graduate classes to enable their research. Improved access relates to timeliness: Students need to be able to learn subject matter on demand when needed to support their research progress. There could be collaboration with peer institutions to give students access to what is not available within their own institution.
  • There can be greater collaboration between institutions and online platforms such as EdX and MITx. These MOOC courses can become the foundation courses in other colleges.
  • More meetups and social networking groups can be created around MITx to create a lasting learning community.
  • The residential education model need not be threatened, but rather strengthened by revolutionary changes in ICT. New online tools can enrich the interactions between faculty and students by maximizing time for hands-on learning, making the role of the instructor more important than ever.
  • Universities could develop a “Wikipedia-like” knowledge base that gathers the best community resources to share ideas and best practices. There must be engagement between the university and the world community.
  • The impact of gaming in engaging students is only beginning to be understood. There is an increased acceptance of game-based learning. Universities need to study how game-based learning can be applied to existing classes, and incorporate game-based techniques into some residential MIT classes.
  • University education must become more accessible and affordable. Technology licensing and venture funding are some revenue options for the university.
  • The physical infrastructure of the university can be more efficiently and creatively used. They can be “sandbox” spaces, informal gathering spaces, meeting and conference spaces.
  • University education can and must extend beyond the boundaries of the campus, and create opportunities to harness the knowledge of a global community to address the world’s great challenges. Students must be educated to make meaningful and lasting contributions to the world.
  • Imagining the future of the university

    @Stanford Project's Stanford 2025 report

    Stanford University conducted a study to find what changes are starting to happen in the in-person, physical learning environment, given the revolutionary changes due to ICT. The project included three classes, a series of workshops and the development of tools to support individuals who share the goal of experimenting towards a future Stanford. The project team synthesized and built on the ideas and research, and came up with the following themes that will be part of the future of the university.

    Axis Flip
    In university education, the criteria for graduation will change from knowledge within a particular discipline to skill development. Instead of departments based on subjects, competency hubs will be arranged. There will be more collaboration between departments, faculty and students. Instead of resumes and transcripts, skill-prints will convey a broader picture of capacities and potential.

    Purpose Learning
    Many students select majors, and focus their studies around set requirements. Later, they work in fields unrelated to their majors. They defer work on social issues until later in life. This will change, and students will declare missions and couple their disciplinary pursuit with the purpose that fuels it. These missions will guide their careers.
    “I’m a biology major or computer scientist” will be replaced by “I’m learning human biology to eliminate world hunger” or “I’m learning Computer Science and Political Science to rebuild how citizens engage with their governments.”
    The university will set up Impact Labs around the world in which faculty and students tackle global challenges through immersion. Countries will vie to set up these labs, they will recognize that the Impact Lab will result in a positive impact in the long-term on that society’s human capital development.
    This will accelerate both the students' personal sense of meaning and the outward global impact. It will take on issues such as poverty, health, infrastructure, renewable energy, global governance, and artistic and cultural achievement.

    Paced Education
    Universities will abolish the class year and embrace adaptive learning. Instead of structured, 4-year courses of study, there will be three phases of varied lengths, providing personalized, adaptive, calibrated learning. Instead of lecture halls, new spaces will be created for reflection and professor-student learning. There will be micro courses.
    The old model: Prepare, apply, cram, conform, get through, graduate, then search, will be replaced. Progress will no longer be based on the calendar year, universities will adopt Paced education. Focus will be on personal growth and the ability to adapt to a variety of environments, in other words, on the process of becoming.
    Calibration will offer short (one day to one week), immersive, introductory experiences designed by faculty and practitioners, so students experience a wide range of subject areas, learning models, and career trajectories. Students will remain in Calibration mode for varying lengths of time depending on personal readiness 6 - 18 months. Such bite-size introductions and experimental offerings help professors identify and nurture those who are best suited to their domains of expertise.
    Elevation, the next phase will takes students deep into a content area with a singular focus. In this phase, intellectual rigor is paramount.
    Activation phase follows. After learning how to acquire deep expertise, students will translate their knowledge to real-world applications.

    Open Loop University
    Rather than four years of college education, students need a lifetime of learning opportunities. On enrolling, students will get six years of access to residential learning opportunities to distribute across their lives as they see fit. Knowledge will be obtained across classrooms and practical settings. Adults can return regularly to the campus to recalibrate their careers, reconnect with the community and enrich other students' knowledge.

  • Not all students intend to complete a MOOC

    MOOC critics are concerned about low overall completion rates, but these rates are typically evaluated without accounting for student intentions. A study by Justin Reich of Harvard University found that, on average among survey respondents, 22 percent of students who intended to complete a course earned a certificate, compared with 6 percent of students who intended to browse a course. Efforts to personalize MOOCs based on self-reported intentions should be conducted with care: many students who do not intend to complete a MOOC do so, and most who do intend to complete a MOOC are not successful. This study, based on survey and log data from nine HarvardX courses, investigates how completion and attrition rates differ based on students' self-reported intentions about course participation.

  • Leadership in Higher Education

    A study by Shay Leslie Davis of Pepperdine University.

    Administrators and teachers need positive leadership qualities to build relationships with students and colleagues and better understand how to effectively lead when working with collegiate populations. Learning communities push team building and relationships, as well as encourage individuals to collectively work towards a common goal. Transformational leadership brings teams together to co-construct, learn and reflect on visions and goals. Being clear on the vision at hand, collaborating with their team and reflecting on the value of outcome are all elements essential for a leader in guiding their organization through changing times. Interpersonal communication, creative thinking and technology are other strengths that need to be considered. Interviewing those who work in the university system, the authors identified these effective leadership qualities and characteristics: Vision and Cooperation, Leading by Example, Observing and Reflecting, Building Relationships, Facilitating and Empowering, Humor and Happiness.

  • MOOC to raise the scale and quality of Indian Higher Education

    A report by Prof. B N Jain et al. for the Federation Of India Chamber Of Commerce & Industry.
    The Indian education system remains constrained by the lack of infrastructure, faculty shortage and quality, and cannot support the needs of its large, distributed and diverse audience. MOOCs have the potential to play a transformative role, as they address the issues on Quality, Affordability, Scalability, Inclusion and Employability. The report recommends a Blended MOOC model using MOOC & SPOC to access quality content in the online platform and incorporate face to face instructor support at various physical centers across the country. This format will overcome the problem of faculty shortages that is considered to be the main reason for the inferior quality of education. The Indian education sector has grown from 8.4M students in the year 2000 to 28M in 2012 and is expected to grow to 50M by year 2030. More than brick and mortar infrastructure, online platforms and ICT tools take education to millions of students, offering the opportunity to learn from leading faculty at elite institutions.

  • MIT's strategies to transform education

    A report by the Institute-wide Task Force on the Future of MIT Education.

    The MIT community finds new ways to lower the barriers to access education without compromising quality and values. It recommends creating new spaces for students by simultaneously transforming its pedagogy and extending its impact to the world. MIT explores mechanisms to test proficiency for awarding transfer credit for edX classes. In an effort to merge MIT and MITx courses, pilot programs are introduced that encourage residential students to leave campus and gain real-world experience by interacting with MITx learners and MITx learners are given the opportunity to visit the MIT campus. MIT plans to partner with other universities and organizations to build financially sustainable "micro-institutions" that would provide certification for professional and executive education courses. MITx has developed the concept of XSeries, in which a student earns a certificate for passing a series of courses in a specific subject. While encouraging thorough understanding of a concept, courses are also split into smaller modules. An effective mechanism to curate the contents would allow students and educators to identify and utilize the modules that best meet their needs.

  • Remedial Education - Gateway or Barrier to Higher Education

    A Brookings report by Bridget Terry Long.

    Students, who do not pass academic placement tests or demonstrate sufficient readiness for postsecondary study, are placed into remedial or developmental courses. While the aim of remedial courses is to provide academically underprepared students with the skills they need to succeed in college and in the labor market, being placed into the courses also has important implications for a student's higher-education prospects. Students are forced to pay college-level prices for high school-level courses. Longer time spent in remedial courses, with no credits for the postsecondary degree does not encourage students to persist and graduate from college. Only 10 percent of students assigned to the lowest levels of math remediation complete a college-level math course.
    This report offers three key recommendations for better addressing the academic preparation problem with the hope of improving rates of college success.

    1. Improve placement in college remediation classes. Improving how students' academic preparation levels are assessed is the first step in better tailoring supports for their needs. Better assessment is also necessary to reduce the number of students who are incorrectly placed into remediation due an opaque process or bad testing day.

    2. Provide better college remediation services. By using technology, support services, and innovative pedagogies, remediation programs could do a much better and faster job in helping to prepare students for future success with college level material. Combining basic skill attainment with college-level coursework and using learning technology are better practices to address students' academic needs.

    3. Adopt measures to prevent the need for remediation. Students are encouraged to take college readiness assessments in high school so that they can use this early information to make better course selections and avoid remediation altogether. Working to better align curricula and strengthen links between K–12 and higher education could also improve the likelihood that students are academically prepared for college.

  • Empowering Women through Education

    The report, Education transforms lives is commissioned by UNESCO in 2013.

    Educating girls can save millions of lives, as educated women are better informed about diseases and aware of hygiene and nutrition. A mother, who knows the adverse effects of malnutrition, will ensure that her children receive the best nutrients to help them prevent or fight off ill health. Basic education improves the lives of millions by providing a secure job and guarding against poverty. Girls and young women who are educated have greater awareness of their rights, and greater confidence and freedom to overcome discrimination. Ensuring that girls stay in school is one of the most effective ways of averting child marriage and early birth.
    • Primary education to women has achieved 66% reduction in mothers dying during childbirth.
    • 2.1 million children under 5 were saved between 1990 and 2009 because of improvements in girls' education.
    • In sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 70% of the world's HIV infections, 91% of literate women know that HIV is not transmitted by sharing food, compared with 72% of those who are not literate.
    • In Honduras, the chances of children being stunted – short for their age – is 54% if they are born to mothers with less than primary education, falling to 33% for those born to mothers with primary education, and to 10% if they are born to mothers with at least secondary education.
    • In Pakistan, working women with good literacy skills earn 95% more than women with weak literacy skills.
    • In Angola, the fertility rate of a woman with no education is 7.8 children, compared 2.5 children for a woman with secondary education.
    • In Ethiopia, 32% of girls with less than primary education were married before the age of 15, compared with less than 9% of those with secondary education.

  • A Guide to Quality in Online Learning

    A report by the Academic Partnerships (AP), USA

    The Quality Matters Program, based in the USA, has established national benchmarks for online courses and provided rubrics to measure various aspects of quality. Ensuring that faculty and students have knowledge on services and processes of the course, increases the efficiency of the learning process. Availability of adequate assistance for facilitation of learning, seamless integration of technology and multimedia applications are essential in online education. Examination or assessment security and authenticity is an important consideration in quality online learning. Institutional quality assurance structures and processes are important, but they should not be followed as an exercise in compliance for accountability, but as a process of learning and self-improvement that really improves quality. Quality enhancement will take place only when the lessons from evaluation are reflected in the next offering of the course.

  • The role of companies in education

    A report by the Shared Value Initiative.

    The private sector can play a greater role in improving education at large scale, when they are in the pursuit of shared value. Companies can increase profitability and strengthen long-term competitiveness by identifying and addressing the challenges in education. The market for educational products and services is predicted to grow by nearly 50 percent from $4.4 trillion in 2012 to $6.2 trillion by 2017. The basis of competition in educational products and services is shifting to favor companies that create the greatest value for society, turning their R&D departments into laboratories for improving educational outcomes for citizens. Technology and education companies are beginning to compete based on the success of the students they serve. Companies that face a lack of skilled workers can create shared value by engaging with education systems to foster the diverse skills that the labor market demands and that are essential for the development of human potential. Companies can reduce the skills gap in a large scale by building regional collaborative with education institutions, governments and nonprofits. In Latin America, this type of collaboration formed the New Employment Opportunities (NEO) Initiative, when Walmart, Caterpillar, Microsoft, CEMEX, and McDonalds joined with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to train one million youth and the Caribbean by 2022. By launching large-scale training programs NEO will solve the dual crises of unemployment and shortage of skilled workers.

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