CBEs GET DEGREES: More than 500 colleges and universities are offering competency-based education (CBE) programs, which measure students’ progress in terms of skill mastery regardless of how long or where they study. These tracks in fields like business administration and criminal justice are largely only available to students who are “college-ready.” A new report from Jobs for the Future suggests CBE could be a viable option for adult learners who need remedial education in math and/or literacy before they can begin college-level work.
“If designed with the needs of a broader range of learners in mind, CBE could be an important piece of the national movement to increase educational access, equity, and credential attainment,” the report says. Over the next year JFF will release two more reports exploring how CBE programs might help more underprepared college students move closer toward graduation.
The pace of implementation for CBE programs at higher-ed institutions remains gradual, according to a study from Ellucian, Eduventures and the American Council on Education published this week.
BECOME A MEDIA MAVEN: The array of professional development websites out there seems to go on and on, but if you’re looking for one that’ll help expand your media literacy skills, here’s an option: KQED’s Teach site. The free platform was just launched a few weeks ago, and it’s got courses covering social media strategy, storytelling with video, and blogging. You might just be able to bring those new skills into the classroom this fall.
EVERFI, a digital learning platform that offers products for all levels of education, has raised $40 million in a round led by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's Bezos Expeditions, Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt's Tomorrow Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. Advance Publications, Rethink Impact and Silicon Valley Bank also participated. The Washington, DC-based company plans to use the funding to expand its suite of products, especially in to corporate learning and training. The funding comes just after Everfi's acquisition of LawRoom and subsidiary CampusClarity.
Everfi focuses its efforts on "Financial Education, Digital Citizenship, STEM Career Readiness, Diversity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Character Education, and Health and Wellness," according to its press release on the funding. Founded in 2008, Everfi claims to have certified more than 14 million customers in "critical skills that life and work demand," as the company describes its content areas.
DIDYA CATCH IT? Last night at the Democratic National Convention, former presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced a proposal to make public university educations free for families making salaries that total to less than $125K by 2021. (Ready for another stat? Approximately 83% of families in the United States fall into that category, Sanders said.) States would be required to make some amount of contribution in order for their universities to receive federal funding to support the plan.
HOT OER NOT? Open Educational Resources (OER) are easing into public consciousness according to the most recent report from the Babson Survey Research Group. This year 25 percent of higher education faculty report knowing about OER, up from 20 percent last year.
According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a funder of the research, OER “are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”
Of the 3,000 nationally representative faculty members, 5.3 percent reported using open textbooks in their courses, though that number is around 10 percent for large, introductory courses. Faculty report low rates of satisfaction around the price of textbooks, while also citing textbook costs as a chief reason for using or not using a textbook. Many faculty report an interest in the benefits of OER resources, but cite the lack of a common, trustworthy catalogue as a barrier to find available resources.
The report comes after a flurry of OER coverage, including the growth of OER on community college campuses, the launch of Amazon Inspire and the introduction of public funding for zero-textbook-cost degrees from the state of California.