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Creating Dialogue for Innovation Between Institutions and Industry

In November, several colleagues and I met with a group of graduate students in the humanities who were interested in exploring careers outside of academia. Our conversation spanned a number of topics related to these students’ academic and career goals, as well as Ithaka S+R’s research. One theme that emerged from this conversation was that these students were far more receptive to teaching with technology than many more-established academics are, though they still maintained a healthy skepticism. Perhaps this should not have surprised me. The students with whom we spoke are, for lack of a better word, “digital natives” who…


Leading the Way in Learning Analytics
Four Considerations

Earlier this week my Ithaka S+R colleagues and I published “Student Data in the Digital Era: An Overview of Current Practices,” in which we review how institutions of higher education are currently using student data, and some of the practical and ethical challenges they face in doing so. As we conducted research for this report, part of our Responsible Use of Student Data in Higher Education project with Stanford University, we heard recurring concerns about the growing role of for-profit vendors in learning analytics. These third-party vendors, the argument goes, operate without the ethical obligations to students that institutions have,…


Developing a Research Agenda for Ed-Tech

Last week, the Jefferson Education Accelerator, an ed-tech incubator at University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, announced its plans to launch a large-scale project to research the “barriers that keep companies and their customers from conducting and using efficacy research when creating or buying ed-tech products.” In a Chronicle article announcing the project, Bart Epstein, CEO and managing director of Jefferson Education Accelerator, explains there exists little research that explores the efficacy of ed-tech tools in a rigorous manner. Much of what does exist is funded by companies, and, if conducted by an outside party, is often completed as…


Higher Ed Themes of SXSWedu

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend SXSWedu, an education conference in Austin, Texas, focused on cutting edge practices and technology. I spent most of my time in Austin attending higher education panels and exhibits, and came away feeling that three major themes dominated this gathering of those at the vanguard of the field. The continually advancing field of student data analytics Several well-attended panels focused on how digital information about students and their behaviors could be used to optimize educational experiences and outcomes. It was apparent from these conversations how quickly the field is moving. There is…


Overcoming Institutional Barriers to Innovation
Lessons from Ithaka S+R’s Case Studies

Last week, Ithaka S+R released a report on the findings of its first Higher Ed Insights survey. The survey collected the opinions of 96 higher education experts on the state of undergraduate education, and ways to make it more effective and affordable. One of the most interesting findings was that a high percentage of respondents identified institutional culture or structures as the most substantial barriers to innovation. While this finding struck me as interesting, it did not surprise me. In the work I’ve done on Ithaka S+R’s case study series of educational transformation, real progress in institutional innovation only came…