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Education Technology Focus: MOOC University & the Online Consortium

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello

I’ve recently returned from the Education Innovation Summit 2013, hosted by Arizona State University (ASU) and GSV Advisers (and, of which, DLA Piper is a very proud sponsor).  I will have more on the conference — and suggest you read this piece from the folks at University Ventures — but suffice to say, it is one of my favorite conferences of the year.  I always return home energized, knowing that we can educate our students and that technology will help us educate them better, more efficiently and at lower cost.

For me, however, my week began and ended with two articles that not only bookended my attendance at the conference, but served as a bookends for the conference, defining, in part, the challenges faced by the industry and why the work is so important.

The first article, “Why some small colleges are in big trouble: Money is tight. Competition is brutal. Are some Massachusetts schools on the road to ruin?” is an interesting and depressing read.  It explores the issues facing private liberal arts colleges in Massachusetts, New England and elsewhere that have closed their doors or are failing financially.  In essence, these tuition-dependent colleges are seeing fewer applicants and, because they are forced to discount tuition more deeply than in the past to attract students from this smaller pool of applicants, their business model is becoming unsustainable.

Unfortunately, the number of institutions with unsustainable business models is increasing.  As explored in “The Financially Sustainable University,” a study conducted by Bain & Company, unless an institution has the pricing power of an elite university, or possesses a strong, well-managed endowment to absorb reductions in enrollment, that institution is likely on a path to failure. This is a crucial problem for higher education.  The nation needs the capacity these institutions provide.  If we are to meet the President’s 2020 Goal, we need institutions that will provide post-secondary training.  Letting them fail — and then requiring them to become re-accredited, re-licensed and re-approved for Title IV — doesn’t make much sense.  In addition, it is important to have many different types of institutions.  While public research colleges may be the right home for some, a private liberal arts education may be the place for others to grow and become productive.  We have an interest in the preservation of these types of models as well.

The Bain report notes, “In addition to growing debt, administrative and student services costs are growing faster than instructional costs. And fixed costs and overhead consume a growing share of the pie.”  Considering this, it seems natural for institutions to leverage subcontracting to produce these administrative and student services at a lower cost.  While ancillary functions, such as financial aid administration and provision of student services, could be provided by third parties, regulatory provisions and accreditor standards typically require functions that are central to the core academic mission of the institution must remain under the direct and exclusive control of the institution and could not be delegated to and performed by other parties. A good example of this would be Arizona State University, which contracts with Pearson to support ASU’s online students.  Under that agreement, ASU faculty designs and teaches every online course as well as establishes and enforces all instructional and academic policies.  In turn, Pearson provides a learning management system for delivery of the courses, and various tools to report on and analyze student performance trends.

Even if institutions realize savings on the costs for providing administrative and student services, however, the cost of providing instruction is still the lion’s share of any institution’s budget.  While this is as it should be – this is, after all, why students go to institutions in the first place – if there were efficiencies to be realized in the area of instruction, it might have the greatest overall impact on the finances of institutions.

One possible solution would be to utilize Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to provide lecture instruction at an institution.  Continue Reading

DLA Piper Sponsors Education Innovation Summit 2013

Posted in Education Technology, Uncategorized

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

We are pleased once again to be the exclusive law firm sponsor for the Education Innovation Summit 2013 taking place April 15-17 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  In its fourth year, this event, a collaborative effort between Arizona State University and GSV Advisors, has become perhaps the leading education technology conference in the country.  This year’s event will include more than 170 presenting companies as well as hundreds of other education industry thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and educators focused on driving a K-12 and higher education revolution through innovation. The blue chip roster of keynote speakers and panelists includes DLA Piper partner and Chairman Emeritus Sen. George J. Mitchell.  The conference website includes a preliminary agenda and description of panels, which will be updated as the event gets closer.

Joining me (Phoenix office) and Dennis Cariello (New  York office) at the Summit will be a number of our colleagues who actively practice in the education, technology and venture sectors , including Itai Nevo (Boston office), Jeff Lehrer (Northern Virginia office), Beni Surpin (San Diego office), Jay Smith (Baltimore), and Ian Westberg from DLA Piper’s Venture Pipeline unit. If you are attending, we will look forward to seeing you there.

MOOCs: Still a Ways to Go

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

While massive open online courses (MOOCs) continue to garner attention as a concept with the potential to disrupt higher education, including being named in this report as a top 12 emerging technology, an interesting article on InsiderHigherEd yesterday chronicled the failings of a MOOC offered through Coursera by the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Apparently the course, which ironically focused on teaching “online learning pedagogy, online course design, privacy and  copyright issues, online assessments, managing an online class, web tools and  Learning Management Systems,” itself launched with a poorly thought out design, including spreadsheet-based discussion forums that could not adquately handle the volume in a course that had over 40,000 registered students.   After encountering numerous glitches that could not be remedied quickly, the instructor shut the course down after a week.  As a number of comentators noted, such as here and here, the incident highlights some of the key differences between MOOCs and traditional online courses, including the fact that problems that in a traditional online course would affect a relatively small pool of students will , in a MOOC, be played out in front of an audience of thousands.  The continuing development of MOOCs will be interesting to follow.

College Credit for MOOCs?

Posted in Accreditor News, Education Technology, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

Yesterday’s Chronicle of Higher Education carried an interesting story regarding the possibility that MOOCs may soon be eligible for college credit.

MOOCs are massive open online courses that the general public can register for and take for free.  Offered by companies such as edX (a non-profit, joint venture of Harvard and MIT), Coursera and Udacity, the popularity of MOOCs has exploded over the past year and they have provided consistent fodder for discussions regarding the future of higher education (while not discussing MOOCs specifically, this recent article nicely summarized three competing viewpoints on the future of higher education, including one that holds that online technology will drive higher education costs to zero in the next ten years).

One of the issues with MOOCs is whether students could ever receive credit as part of a degree program for having taken them.  The Chronicle story notes that the American Council on Education will be undertaking a study to determine whether it should include certain courses offered by Coursera in its College Credit Recommendation Service (which generally certifies non-traditional training courses for college credit).  According to the article:

 The review process by the council will be “similar to the way regional accreditation works,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE. Professors will look at the content, teaching methods, “evidence of student engagement,” and other elements of MOOC’s to see if they appear equivalent to that taught by an accredited college, she added.

Among the issues ACE will look at will include how student identity is authenticated and how exams are proctered to limit opportunities for cheating.

There is some evidence that colleges, particularly those that regularly accept transfer credits, will view MOOCs in a similar fashion.  Others expect that MOOCs will eventually be accepted by all schools.  As Josh Jarrett, deputy director for postsecondary success at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation notes in the article, ”MOOC’s may be the next generation of AP courses” and provide high school students with a way to get a jump on college.

If MOOCs do achieve credit status, that will go a long way toward solving another issue with MOOCs, which is  how to monetize them.   One path forward in this regard has been shown by Straighterline, a company that, for low membership and per course fees, provides hundreds of online courses that transfer for full credit at accepted colleges.

This is an area in which companies will continue to innovate and, with the continuing increase in higher education costs and related debt levels, changes to the traditional structure of higher education seem more likely than ever.

 

Getting Our Arms Around Advances in Ed Tech

Posted in Education Technology, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

 

This article on the tech website GigaOm addresses an interesting issue.  We have all read about, and in some cases experienced, the significant uptick in the number of companies focused on education technology and related investment activity.   How do administrators and educators, in a time of budget cuts and limited bandwidth, decide which of these technologies actually work and should be invested in?  The article highlights a proposal from the Hamilton Project, an economic policy think tank, to create a Consumer Reports-style evaluator of new learning technologies that would assess the available products and report the results to the public.

As the authors,  Profs. Aaron Chatterji of Duke University and Benjamin Jones of Northwestern University, note in the abstract of the report, even though technology is a strength of the U.S., it has to date had limited impact in improving K-12 educational outcomes because there is not yet a reliable system for tracking the effectiveness of educational technologies and this, in turn, inhibits schools from investing and innovators from creating.  The authors propose to establish a third party rating organization, modeled after Consumer Reports, that would evaluate available education technologies using students and educators in selected districts and then publish the results on online.   This would then allow schools to make better informed decisions based on the hands-on experience of peers.  It is an interesting proposal that merits consideration.

 

Subscribe to the Education Industry Reporter

Posted in Accreditor News, Education Technology, Higher Education News, International News, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello
David P. Lewis

We launched DLA Piper’s Education Industry Reporter about six months ago.  Our goal, which has largely been successful, has been to produce a legal blog “plus” – a site that includes regular, original content written by the attorneys in DLA Piper’s Education Group, as well as updated news feeds regarding current issues affecting the education industry, a calendar of industry events, and links to other education sector resources.  We have received many compliments on the site, as well as suggestions for improvements that we are considering and working on.

For a complete explanation of the features of the site, go here.  For now, just a quick reminder.  If you want to read new posts on the site but prefer not to have to navigate to the site each time to check for new content, simply enter your email address in the orange box on the right entitled “Subscribe to this Blog via RSS or by Email.”  By subscribing, you will receive a single, early-morning email containing just those new entries (if any) posted the day before (if no new entries have been posted, then no email).

Again, we hope you enjoy the site.

 

How the JOBS Act Eases Access to Capital

Posted in Education Technology, Financial Issues, Securities Issues

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

Yesterday, my colleagues and I in the DLA Piper Phoenix office filed one of the first IPOs in the country utilizing the new “IPO on-ramp” provisions of the JOBS Act that was signed into law on April 5.  As our client can attest, the law can provide material benefits to companies seeking to raise capital or go public (including the many great companies attending the ASU Education Innovation Conference on April 16-18) and is a welcome development.

For those interested in learning more about the new law, I invite you join us for a webinar covering key aspects of the JOBS Act.  This complimentary, one-hour webinar will take place at 9:00a.m. (Pacific time) on Wednesday, April 18 and will cover the key provisions of the law.  You can register here.

Note that all registered persons will receive an email with information on how to access a recording of the webinar, so, if you are interested but cannot attend the live version, you should register anyway in order to receive the recording information.

 

 

DLA Piper to Sponsor ASU’s Education Innovation Summit

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

We are pleased to be the exclusive law firm sponsor for Arizona State University’s Education Innovation Summit taking place April 16-18 in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of the leading education technology conferences in the country, the Education Innovation Summit brings together nearly 100 education and education-focused technology companies and hundreds of other education industry thought leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and educators focused on driving a K-12 and higher education revolution through innovation. The keynote speakers include Michael Milken (Chairman of The Milken Institute), Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix), and Jeb Bush (former Governor of Florida and founder and chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education). Other top sponsors of the event, along with DLA Piper, include GSV Advisors (ASU’s partner in the conference), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Academic Partnerships, Pearson, Scholastic, Apollo Group, and ABS Capital Partners, among others.  Please see the conference website for a complete list of the sponsorsparticipating companiesagenda, and panels.

Joining me (Phoenix office) and Dennis Cariello (New  York office) at the Summit will be a number of our colleagues who actively practice in the education, technology and venture sectors , including Itai Nevo (Boston office), Beni Surpin (San Diego office), Brad Gersich (East Palo Alto office), and Ian Westberg from DLA Piper’s Venture Pipeline unit. Several of us will also be serving as judges in the conference’s business competition. If you are attending, we will look forward to seeing you there.

More on DIY U & EdTech

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello

If you couldn’t tell by yesterday’s post, I really enjoy thinking about DIY U and, in general, creating customizable education models.  Like open source textbooks, but students can pick classes and professors rather than chapters.

So, I couldn’t help but note two articles today on the topic.  First, Johns Hopkins’ School of Education and the Education Industry Association announced that they are collaborating on the “Joint Center for Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”  As the announcement explains, “the partnership looks to facilitate relationships between EIA member companies and the School, integrate for-profit programs, products and concepts more deeply into the education sector, and create joint research and education programs.”  As JHU School of Education Dean David W. Andrews said:

Forming this strategic partnership with EIA will help the for-profit and not-for-profit education sectors learn from each other, and better enable us to work together for the betterment of all aspects of education.

The other comes from The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s excellent series on “12 Tech Innovators Who are Transforming Campuses“.  While there are a number of the “usual”, and well-deserved suspects on the list — Robert Mendenhall of Western Governor’s University, Burck Smith of StraighterLine to name two — I wanted to highlight the story about Salman Khan of the Khan Academy.  The Kahn Academy hosts a library of 2,200 YouTube videos on numerous educational topics ranging from calculus to astronomy to civics and art history.  The Academy – which is free – incorporates lectures and exercises that, encourage experimentation but require mastery of the concepts before allowing the student to move on.  Obviously this can greatly aid the DIY degree concept.  As The Chronicle notes, the other advance is the fundamental transformation of the lecture by putting it within an adaptive learning model.  And, as with other adaptive learning models, there are sophisticated analytic that teachers and professors (it works with K-12 and higher education) can look at to see how students are doing with each concept.  I encourage you to look at the TED video on the Kahn Academy.  And, as Mr. Kahn says in his video on Polynomial Approximation of Functions, “if this does not blow your mind, then you have no emotion.”

Facilitating a DIY Education

Posted in Accreditor News, Department of Education, Education Technology, Financial Aid (Loans & Grants), Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, News from the Hill

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello

Anya Kamenetz’s DIY U: Edpunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education has been the source of debate since is was published in 2010.  As Academically Adrift caused the community to look at issues of quality, DIY U has caused the community to look at the use of open education and the necessity of linking the learning aspect of education with credentialing.  You may recall, at the US-India Higher Education Conference last November, Sam Pitroda, the Adviser to the Indian Prime Minister on Public Information, Infrastructure & Innovations, raised similar concerns, “question[ing] the need for diplomas and certificates and endors[ing] a model where students can take courses from different universities as part of learning.”  Last week, Bob Shireman, the former Deputy Undersecretary of Education at the US Department of Education, suggested that the California Student Aid Commission “develop ideas for ways the state could encourage methods of credentialing for learning outside of the traditional colleges.”   Even today, Campus Technology has an interesting discussion among three open source learning leaders about DIY U and how it might work.

On the other side, you have regulatory hurdles that present serious obstacles to decoupling learning from credentialing.   Federal laws and regulations mandate, for example, the accreditation of institutions, rather than of programs, making DIY degrees difficult to navigate – and more so given complex transfer credit rules.  Then you have commentatorsstates, and the Obama Administration trying to reward students and institutions based on success measures like graduation rates.  Coming full circle, even some accreditors are considering incorporating graduation-proficiency assessments.

Although there can and will always be a place for brick and mortar institutions, it would be surprising if higher education could stave off DIY degrees.  The advent of online education has allowed students to pursue more and more student-centric educational options.  It is only a short step from taking classes at times and places of a student’s choosing to having a student demand to be taught by specific professors or designing the elements of their personal education.  Such models can have great value.  If sufficiently rigorous, it seems likely that students will be more engaged in their education and, presumably, get more from their classes.

Of course, so long as education policy and regulation forces students to work within specific institutions — either as a quality control (via accreditation) or to protect the government’s investment in student aid (via success metrics) — students will not be able to effectively design their education or, at least, will face significant hurdles to doing so.  Degree-seeking students taking courses at multiple institutions would be at the mercy of, what is often, Byzantine credit transfer policies.  Further, as students move from school to school, the government will be less able to track success — however defined — and thus student aid could be at risk.

One solution would be, as Mr. Shireman suggests, for states to develop competency tests that could provide the sought-after credential.  Such an idea has merit as far as it goes.  Students could theoretically take classes from a variety of sources and achieve the desired degree.  While there are practical issues that complicate this proposal — would each major have its own test? — there may be ways to incorporate this idea for certain disciplines.

Another solution would be for schools to create uniform transfer of credit policies, perhaps for schools with the same accreditors.

Perhaps another would be to create an institution that exists to, in essence, pass judgment on courses from various formats to determine if such courses are worth of credit towards a degree.   Such an institution would confer the degree and, in the process, act as an “accreditor” of sorts, for individual courses.  Of course, with necessary changes, you could create such an accreditor — similar to the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service.

While there are more ideas to be explored in the future – massive online consortia, perhaps? -  the DIY degree is likely to be a feature of higher education from some time.  With Higher Education Act re-authorization around the corner, lawmakers will hopefully be looking at ways to foster this concept rather then destroy such innovation through burdensome regulations.

Senate HELP Committee Hearing Tomorrow on “Innovations in College Affordability”

Posted in Department of Education, Education Technology, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, News from the Hill

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello
With all the focus on college costs in the State of the Union address, the Senate Committee on Health Education labor and Pensions is holding a hearing on “Innovations in College Affordability.”  The hearing will start at 10:20 AM in room 430 of the Dirksen Senate Office building.  The first panel will feature Martha Kanter, the Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.  The second panel will have four speakers:

It will be interesting to see where this goes.  Clearly, Dr. Mendenhall can speak to the topic of scale in online education as a way to decrease costs.  I am interested to hear about how to keep costs down in traditional trade school programs, or in a non-online environment.  Anyway, streaming video will no doubt be available.

Two Views on Education Technology in 2012

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

In our practice, we have noticed many investors focusing more and more on education technology companies, in  part due to greater receptivity by regulators, administrators and educators at both the K-12 and higher ed levels to the uses of technology and the Internet to advance and transform education in an era of declining public investment and changing student needs.   This article from Digital Trends lauds edtech as a “hot” area for 2012 investment activities and highlights a few companies of note.  Taking a different perspective, this article from Whiteboard Advisors identifies a number of trends related to education technology that it expects to gather momentum in 2012.  It also points out the upcoming challenges that the edtech industry is likely to face, and the need for informed responses, as skeptics/opponents begin to broaden their targets beyond for-profit institutions and start to question the claims around the effectiveness, quality, and appropriateness of online and blended learning models at all levels.  As Whiteboard Advisors notes:

Charter schools went through a similar phase right after their initial wave of support and had to step up by providing examples of model charter school laws that focused on quality as much as growth.  The online and blended learning community will need to do the same in 2012.

Like Whiteboard Advisors, if this challenge materializes, we hope that the industry is ready with solid answers that can demonstrate the quality of their products and services and their successful outcomes and that it can forge  a relationship with policymakers and regulators that allows for the continued use of technology in advancing education and educational opportunities.

Welcome to the Education Industry Reporter

Posted in Accreditor News, Education Technology, Higher Education News, International News, K-12 News, News from the Hill

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello
David P. Lewis

Welcome and thank you for coming to DLA Piper’s Education Industry Reporter.  We hope that Education Industry Reporter will serve as a one-stop site for education news and analysis.  The site includes both regular, original content written by the attorneys in DLA Piper’s Education Group, as well as continually updated current news feeds and content from dozens of other sources regarding issues affecting the education industry.  Our goal is to combine ”big picture” features with analysis of thorny regulatory issues that will be interesting to industry participants - executives and technicians alike.

Education Industry Reporter is a work in progress, and we expect the site to evolve over time as we receive feedback from clients, friends and other users of the site.  So, if you have any comments – good or bad, praise or blame – please contact us.  To be a success, this site needs to be useful, and our readers will define what is useful. 

We and our colleagues prepared a fair amount of content before going live with the site, so we hope that you will take the time to review some of our past posts in addition to returning to the site in the future to read new posts and obtain up-to-date news about the industry.   Please keep reading for a brief description of the current features of the site. Continue Reading

Court Rules in Favor of Rennaissance Learning in Takeover Battle with Plato Learning

Posted in Case Notes, Education Technology, Litigation News, Mergers & Acquisitions

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

An interesting takeover battle has erupted over the past two months involving Renaissance Learning, Inc. (Nasdaq: RLRN), a publicly traded provider of technology-based school improvement and student assessment programs for K-12 schools which is 69% owned by co-founders Terrance and Judith Paul, together with affiliates and members of their family, and Plato Learning, Inc., a privately held provider of online learning solutions that is backed by private equity firms Thoma Bravo and HarbourVest Partners.

On August 15, 2011, Renaissance announced that it had entered into a merger agreement with an affiliate of private equity firm Permira Advisers, LLC.  Under the terms of the merger agreement, Permira agreed to pay $14.85 in cash for all outstanding shares of Rennaisance.  The following week, on August 24, 2011, Plato made an unsolicited, but non-binding. proposal to acquire the outstanding shares of Renaissance for $15.50 per share in cash.  Based on its Board of Directors’ determination that the Plato offer could reasonably be expected to lead to a “superior proposal” under the terms of the Permira merger agreement, Renaissance entered into a confidentiality agreement with Plato and agreed to provide information to and conduct negotiations with Plato for the purpose of allowing Plato to make a definitive offer.  In the meantime, Rennaissance continued to move forward in its preparations for  the stockholder vote on the Permira agreement, scheduled for October 17, 2011. Continue Reading

Education Firms Release K-12 Education Technology Market Map

Posted in Education Technology, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

NewSchools Venture Fund is a nonprofit, venture philanthropy firm that raises philanthropic capital from individual and institutional investors which it uses to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education.

In collaboration with the Innosight Institute and Education Elements, and with the support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, NewSchools has released an interactive K-12 Education Technology Market Map.  The map divides the education technology market into four sectors – Curricula, Instructional Systems, Data Systems and Talent Management – and then, within each sector, multiple core areas such as assessment tools, data systems, online instruction, games, professional development, and performance systems.  Clicking on a particular core area will bring up the names and profiles of the various companies currently providing products and services within that area.

According to Michael B. Horn, the Innosight Institute’s Executive Director of Education, the map has implications for where capital should be invested in today’s edtech market to achieve the goal of transforming “today’s monolithic system into a student-centric one powered by digital learning.”

In particular:

Our analysis suggests that foundations should focus on creating smarter demand through a variety of tactics, but should largely avoid investing in and picking winners on the supply side of the market. Some rich areas to help create smarter demand include:

  • Proof Points: Create more examples of exemplar blended-learning school models, such as Carpe Diem’s schools and Rocketship Education.
  • Policy: Support the move toward a competency-based learning system that moves beyond input-focused metrics–around such things as seat time and student-teacher ratios–and instead incentivizes a focus on outcomes by allowing funding to follow the student down to the course level and paying for student growth in outcomes.
  • Public Relations: Educating the general public, media, and parents around the potential of digital learning.
  • Build capacity: Help educate school leaders, states, and districts, for example, to know what questions to ask as they implement online and blended learning. Supporting basic infrastructure needs can be critical as well.
  • Research: Support research to learn more about what creates high-quality models that deliver real outcomes for students in this space.

The EdTech Map is a great resource for those who follow the edtech market.

US-India Higher Education Conference – First Panel Thoughts

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy, International News

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello

There were lots of interesting points from the first panel, and I encourage everyone to watch (this link to the web cast should also lead to an archive of the video). 

Much of the discussion centered on the need for better information exchanges.  Yale President Richard Levin led off the panel and focused on the need for better India studies programs and improving the U.S. understanding of Indian history, politics, religion, art.  He also encouraged an exchange of best practices on a host of issues including those related to postsecondary institutions (on how universities work, university governance, fundraising, faculty hiring, etc.) as well as best practices concerning political systems, public health, and the environment.

Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal echoed these themes when discussing online learning.  He said (quoting from memory) “My problem with distance education is you have to manage the distance.  You do not have effective distance education if you do not reference the context of the problems the student faces.”  This is a more concrete application of what President Levin said – only through knowing India locally can you provide education to Indians that is “focused on solving local problems.”  This echoed a similar theme sounded by Dr. Narendra Jadhav, a Member, of the Planning Commission of India, who noted there were “limits to scaling”, and that you need a judicious use of online and on ground education. Continue Reading

Could “Moneyball” Principles Be Applied to Higher Education?

Posted in Athletics, Education Technology, Higher Education Policy

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

University Ventures is a fund that makes venture and growth investments in the education sector.  The partners of University Ventures – Ryan Craig, David Figuli, Daniel Pianko, and Greg Rosenthal – have 50+ years of collective experience as dealmakers in the sector.  Periodically, the firm publishes engaging essays on different topics affecting the industry.  Their most recent essay – “Moneycollege” by partner Ryan Craig -  considers whether the types of analytical innovations and data drive analysis that Billy Beane brought to baseball could have application in the higher education field.  According to Craig:

Like baseball 10 years ago, higher education is focused on what’s easy to measure. For baseball it may have been body parts, batting averages and the numbers on the radar gun. For higher education, it’s the 3Rs: research, rankings and real estate. Each of these areas is easily quantified or judged: research citations or number of publications in Nature and Science; U.S. News ranking (or colleges choose from a plethora of new entrants to the ranking game, including the international ranking by Shanghai Jiao Tong University); and in terms of real estate, how much has been spent on a new building and how stately, innovative and generally impressive it appears. Continue Reading

National Center on Education Statistics Issues Report on Online Learning

Posted in Department of Education, Education Technology, Higher Education News, Higher Education Policy

CONTRIBUTED BY
Dennis Cariello

Today, the National Center on Education Statistics (NCES) issued “Learning at a Distance: Undergraduate Enrollment in Distance Education Courses and Degree Programs“, a report examining the prevalence of online programs used by students in the 2007-08 cohort and comparing usage in that cohort with the 1999-2000 cohort and the 2003-04 cohort.

As found in the 2010 Sloan Consortium Report on online learning (“Class Differences: Online Education in the United States, 2010″), the NCES report finds that participation in online course and programs is increasing:

From 2000 to 2008, the percentage of undergraduates enrolled in at least one distance education class expanded from 8 percent to 20 percent, and the percentage enrolled in a distance education degree program increased from 2 percent to 4 percent.

The report also found that students studying computer science and business were more likely to have taken a distance education class (27 percent and 24 percent, respectively, vs. 20 percent) or be enrolled in a distance education degree programs (8 percent and 6 percent, respectively, vs. 4 percent).

Somewhat surprisingly, participation in a distance education course was most common among undergraduates attending public 2-year colleges (22 percent  enrolled).  Participation in a distance education degree program, however, was most common among undergraduates attending for-profit institutions (12 percent enrolled).  Distance education also proved to be more popular among older undergraduates and those with a dependent, a spouse, or full-time employment, as well as for students with mobility disabilities.

Providence Equity Partners Completes Acquisition Of Blackboard

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

Blackboard Inc. (BBBB) on Tuesday announced the completion of its acquisition by an investor group led by affiliates of private equity firm Providence Equity Partners in an all-cash deal valued at about $1.64 billion in enterprise value, plus the assumption of about $136 million in debt.

McGraw-Hill Education Acquires Tegrity

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

McGraw-Hill Education, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MHP), today announced that it had acquired Tegrity, Inc., a privately held company that provides a fully searchable digital video recorder for the classroom that enables colleges and universities to automatically record every class and students to review the content on an interactive basis with classmates and instructors.  The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Edusoft acquired by Educational Testing Service

Posted in Education Technology, Higher Education News, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

Educational Testing Service, the world’s leading organization for English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) assessments and research and producer of the the TOEFL® and TOEIC® English tests, announced that it has acquired Edusoft, the global pioneer in technology-assisted English language solutions.

Cambium Learning Group, Inc. to Acquire Class.com

Posted in Education Technology, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

Cambium Learning Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ABCD), a leading educational company focused primarily on serving the needs of at-risk and special student populations, announced September 22, 2011 that it had signed a definitive agreement to purchase the assets of Class.com, an industry-leading provider of online learning solutions, for approximately $4.5 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in October 2011, and is subject to the approval of Class.com shareholders.

PEARSON ACQUIRES CONNECTIONS EDUCATION

Posted in Education Technology, K-12 News

CONTRIBUTED BY
David P. Lewis

Pearson PLC, a leading learning company, announced that it had acquired Connections Education from an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P. for $400 million in cash.  Through its Connections Academy business, the company operates online or ‘virtual’ public schools in 21 states in the US-serving more than 40,000 students.