Thursday, January 31, 2013

Limiting student choice

I hadn't heard that Tennessee community colleges were moving in this direction.   From Time's article about eliminating double majors.

Should Colleges Ban Double Majors?
The commission’s letter highlights a recommendation made by a task force at the University of Texas at Austin to bar students there from majoring in two subjects unless they can complete all the coursework requirements in four years. A second example cited in the letter details how Tennessee’s state technical schools are giving students fewer choices about which classes they can take to get a particular degree. The technical schools also mandated that students finish their degree within a fixed period of time. With these changes in place, many more students ended up completing degrees and in much less time, which is why the state board of regents has decided to bring the model to Tennessee’s 19 community colleges as well.


Hmmmm.  The "free sample" theory of higher education recruitment.  From The New York Times.

Public Universities to Offer Free Online Classes for Credit
In an unusual arrangement with a commercial company, dozens of public universities plan to offer an introductory online course free and for credit to anyone worldwide, in the hope that those who pass will pay tuition to complete a degree program. 
The universities — including Arizona State, the University of Cincinnati and the University of Arkansas system — will choose which of their existing online courses to convert to a massive open online course, or MOOC, in the new program, called MOOC2Degree. 
The proliferation of free online courses from top universities like Harvard and Stanford over the past year has prompted great interest in online learning. But those courses, so far, have generally not carried credit.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yes, but do they give the state rate?

The 10 Worst Hotels and Motels in America

From InsideTrack's Adult Education Bulletin

The stories below were the most-read InsideTrack Adult Education Bulletin items of 2012. From the rise of MOOCs to shifts in student demographics, this list includes some of the top higher education trends of the past year.

The Great Unbundling of the University
Read the article:

2. Remediation: Higher Education's Bridge to Nowhere
Download the report:

3. The Story of the University of Phoenix
Read the article:

4. 6 adult decisions delayed by the economy
Read the article:

5. Why College May Be Totally Free Within 10 Years
Read the article:

6. Backing Off on State Authorization
Read the article:

7. Enrollment Drops Again In Graduate Programs
Read the article:

8. Old School: College's Most Important Trend is the Rise of the Adult Student
Read the article:

9. Engagement Is Key to Community College Success, Says Author
Read the article:

10. New Front In For-Profit Battle?
Read the article:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Welcome WGU Tennessee

Governor Haslam announces new Tennessee higher education institution.

State of the state address
But even with this progress, we still have a lot of work ahead of us.  Only 32 percent of Tennesseans have earned an associates’ degree or higher.  That’s not good enough.  Our goal is to move the needle so that Tennessee is on track to raise that number to 55 percent by 2025.
Tonight we begin our “drive to 55” – a strategic initiative to have the best trained workforce in America.

To do that, we must improve affordability and access in higher education.  To help us achieve this goal, we’re partnering with Western Governors University to establish “WGU Tennessee.” It is an online, competency-based university that is geared to the 800,000 adult Tennesseans that have some college credit but didn’t graduate with an associate or four-year degree.  The program is unique because of its competency-based curriculum but also because of an emphasis on mentors who guide those adults through the academic process. 

Another fine Tennessee Whiskey

And this one is not distilled in a dry county.  From The Tennessean.

Corsair Distillery's Triple Smoke wins Artisan Whiskey of the Year award
Move over Jack Daniel’s — another Tennessee whiskey company is taking the spotlight. 
Nashville’s own Corsair Distillery won Whisky Advocate Magazine’s Artisan Whiskey of the Year for its Triple Smoke. 
To make that smokey flavor, the company used three factions of malted barley, each smoked by a different fuel. The whiskey also was pot distilled and barreled in new charred oak.

Save the date

CAP/CALL Regional Workshop

Accelerating Time to Degree Completion:
Hybrid/Online and Competency-Based Models

March 6-7, 2013
 Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Conference Facilities
Baton Rouge, LA

Registration will officially open on Friday, January 18th.  To reserve your spot early, please contact Jeannie McCarron at (303)964-5253 or today! 

Visit for updates.


Monday, January 28, 2013

God help me, I do love Top Ten lists

Top Ten Mysteries of the Universe

Elf school

Yes, I said Elf School.  From The Atlas Obscura.  Me, I want to minor in Dobby, the House-Elf.

Álfaskólinn - Elf School
Some Icelanders take their belief in elves very seriously. 
For example, road crews in Iceland will sometimes hire folklore experts to determine if certain boulders are homes to elves, and will divert the road around the boulder if it turns out there are little people living within it. 
This belief in elves doesn't stop with road workers and superstitious locals either. After escaping a car crash unscathed, a member of the Icelandic Parliament had a 30-ton boulder moved near his home because he believed that the local elves inside the boulder used their magic to save him. While there are many Icelanders who pay no mind to the superstitious elf-talk, there is a higher than average number of citizens that are believers. 
With all that said, it's not surprising to see that there's an entire school dedicated learning about these hidden people. Located in the thoroughly modern city of Reykjavik, the school has a full curriculum of study about the 13 types of elves in Iceland. This concentration comes with a set of published textbooks with drawn depictions of these creatures for reference in the classroom, or just in case you encounter one in the wild.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

LIfehacker U

Lifehacker categorizes the various MOOC courses available for spring.  There are courses in computer science and technology, finance and economics, and even cross-disciplinary studies.  Lifelong learning in the 21st Century, although, as I've said before, I still don't understand their business model.

Plan Your Free Online Education at Lifehacker U: Spring Semester 2013
Your education doesn't have to stop once you leave school—freedom from the classroom just means you have more control over what you learn and when you learn it. We've put together a curriculum of some of the best free online classes available on the web this spring for our fourth term of Lifehacker U, our regularly-updating guide to improving your life with free, online college-level classes. Let's get started. 
Orientation: What Is Lifehacker U? 
There's still a chill in the air, but it's not too soon to pick out your classes for when the weather starts to warm again and the trees start to grow leaves again. Bundle up if you go out, but if you stay in with your computer, there are an incredible amount of free, university-level courses that become available on the web every school year, and anyone with a little time and a passion for self-growth can audit, read, and "enroll" in these courses for their own personal benefit. Schools like Yale University, MIT, Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley, and many more are all offering free online classes that you can audit and participate in from the comfort of your office chair, couch, or computing chair-of-choice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mmmmmm . . . pie

Meanwhile, just over the mountains in North Carolina

A.B. Tech brews up a winner.  This article from leaves out the technical part of this community college's name, but let's hope most of it is accurate.

Asheville community college offers beer classes
The perfect courses for plenty of college students, crafting beer. 
Asheville-Buncombe Community College plans to offer a series of classes to support the area’s beverage industry. . . .  
The program would prepare students for the area’s winery, brewery and distillery industries.
School president Hank Dunn says the mission of the community college is to find a local need and meet it. 
The school plans to start the program with two dozen students next fall. The school already offers a certificate on the beer business. A course called Beeronomics” has the longest waiting list of any continuing education class.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Only two days left to submit a proposal

The deadline for proposals is 4 pm (CST), Thursday, January 24, 2013.
Presentation types for 2013 have been condensed to 5 formats: workshops, information sessions, discussions, e-poster sessions, and speed sessions. Click on the following links to learn more details:
Still have unanswered questions? Email Kimary Peterson or call her at 608-265-4159.

Nashville is hot right now

Even The New York Times is taking notice.

Nashville Takes Its Turn in the Spotlight
Portland knows the feeling. Austin had it once, too. So did Dallas. Even Las Vegas enjoyed a brief moment as the nation’s “it” city. 
Here in a city once embarrassed by its Grand Ole Opry roots, a place that sat on the sidelines while its Southern sisters boomed economically, it is hard to find a resident who does not break into the goofy grin of the newly popular when the subject of Nashville’s status comes up. 
Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat in his second term, is the head cheerleader.
“It’s good to be Nashville right now,” he said during a recent tour of his favorite civic sites, the biggest of which is a publicly financed gamble: a new $623 million downtown convention center complex that is the one of the most expensive public projects in Tennessee history. 
The city remains traditionally Southern in its sensibility, but it has taken on the luster of the current. On a Venn diagram, the place where conservative Christians and hipsters overlap would be today’s Nashville. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Are you ready for a new continuing education position?

Everyone knows the best time to find a new job is when you already have one. But are you ready?  CBS News has some warning signs, including the two listed below.

How do you know when to stop?
The same question can be applied to jobs and careers. When have you learned as much in one job, or even in one career, as you can? At what point will you start to wreck what you've created by staying too long? Everyone I have ever interviewed on this topic has told me that they stayed in their job, or profession, for at least one year too long. 
The reason was always the same -- they didn't start looking around until they were miserable. Early warning signs had been ignored, and it took at least a year to find the next opportunity. So what are those early warning signs? See if any of these apply to you. 
Boredom. If nothing at work challenges you, that can be nice for awhile. It's rewarding to do something well and know it. But before too long, you get bored, then frustrated, then angry. When that sense of comfort starts to dawn, run.  
Gossip. If you spend more time thinking about your colleagues than about your work, something is wrong. Office politics aren't just tedious -- getting embroiled in them can ruin your reputation. If you find yourself gossiping, try listening to yourself. You won't like what you hear. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Knoxville and Memphis in the top five

Happiest cities for workers.  Knoxville trails only Dayton, Ohio.  Still, all in all, I'd rather be in Honolulu. By the way, the least happy is Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  From CareerBliss.

Happiest and Unhappiest Cities for Workers
  1. Dayton, Ohio
  2. Knoxville, Tenn.
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Memphis, Tenn.
  5. Pittsburgh, Pa.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Siri struggles to speak Southern

You have to wonder how she does with farn accents.  I've got Siri on my new iPhone but I have put her to work yet. From The Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Apple's Siri has issues with Southern accents
From HAL and Skynet to the Borg and GLaDOS, science fiction long has predicted that mankind and machines will develop a tempestuous relationship in the future. According to some users of Apple's digital personal assistant Siri, however, the misunderstandings have started already.
Siri -- or Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface -- is capable of completing many tasks issued by voice commands, from setting reminders and sending Twitter updates to searching for local movie listings. 
But when it comes to Southern accents, some users say she's about as useless as a football bat and as dumb as a sack of hammers. 
Bless her heart. 
"She doesn't understand me, even when I speak very clearly," writes Michelle Watkins Snow in response to a post on the Times Free Press' Facebook page. "She has tried to say some very vulgar things that I supposedly said. I wish they [had] a Southern Siri." 
If Siri were a human assistant, writes Nancy Garrott Mele, she probably would give her the boot. 
"Siri doesn't comprehend Southern," Mele says. "I pretty much jump for joy when she dials the right number. How you get 'Jack' from a pronunciation of 'Vance' I shall never know." 
According to Apple, there is no quick fix to Siri's linguistic foibles, just time and continued use. On the company's "Siri Frequently Asked Questions" site, Apple reports that the adaptive program incorporates voice recognition algorithms that, over time, help it learn to distinguish between a Southern drawl and a Western twang.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What was the name of your 2012 novel?

Email.  It never stops.  Megan Garber, writing in The Atlantic, tells us we produce a novel's worth.

You Probably Write a Novel's Worth of Email Every Year

So we know that the average worker spends 13 hours a week -- 28 percent of office time -- on email. Which multiplies out to (eek) 650 hours a year. 
But what does that time investment look like as physical -- well, "physical" -- output? How does it amass as words typed and sent and otherwise generated? 
Here's one estimate: 41,638 words. That's per the personal assistant app Cue, which integrates services like contacts, calendars, and especially email -- and which recently released data based on a sampling of its users in 2012. While the average number of email messages each user received last year was (a relatively modest) 5,579 -- and the average number of those messages each user sent was (an also modest) 879 -- the output of words sent was comparatively colossal. To put those 41,638 discrete pieces of communication in perspective, that word count, in the aggregate, is roughly equivalent to a novel that is 166 pages in length. (The industry standard for page length is 250 words per page.) Which makes the average Cue user's email output slightly greater than The Old Man and the Sea (127 pages long), slightly less than The Great Gatsby (182 pages), and just about equal to The Turn of the Screw (165 pages).

Monday, January 14, 2013

I wonder if they have an outreach division?

Call for Proposals

The ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting is a time and place for members to network and learn together as we renew our professional relationships and establish new connections. 

The 2013 conference theme is “We Make a Difference: Practice, Pegagogy, People.”  The conference will be held in Kentucky at the Lexington Convention Center on November 4-6, 2013. 

The 2013 ACHE Annual Conference and Meeting will showcase the many ways continuing higher education makes a difference in the lives of our students, in our institutions, in our communities, as well as across the nation and around the world as we extend lifelong learning opportunities to the broad spectrum of audiences we serve. Conference sessions, keynote presentations, workshops, and roundtables will enlighten, energize, and educate on topics that will help us continue to make a difference. 

The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) will host its annual conference in the same venue during that week, and we are coordinating with AAACE to link our conferences with a day of shared conference programming and events. This collaboration will expand the reach of each conference to serve our members with some shared sessions, expanded networking opportunities, joint social events, and guest access to each association’s exhibit space for a day.  ACHE and AAACE have a natural synergy that builds on our shared goals and interests; linking our two conferences extends the networking andlearning 
opportunities for our members. 


The conference planning committee is pleased to announce the 2013 Call for Proposals. Members and friends of the Association are invited to submit proposals that engage, inspire, inform, and challenge. We seek a variety of proposals to build an exceptional conference program:  
  • Thinking: Research and strategy; creativity and thinking new programs and unique models; innovative concepts; transformative roles and responsibilities; innovation and visionary work in continuing higher education. 
  • Doing: Pragmatic focus on key competencies and critical skills; the practical application of theory; tips, tools, techniques, model-building, and case studies; management strategies; effective learning and teaching tools and environments. 
  • Serving: Access to quality continuing higher education; impactful marketing; student services, advising, and customer service approaches; recruitment and retention. 

Proposals must be submitted via our online submission process at  by Monday, February 4, 2013.  

From the Proposal Space website create an account (requires email address and your name) and select “Start a Proposal.” Search for the ACHE 2013 call, and complete the submission form. You can stop and start your proposal any time before you submit; be sure to save your edits as you go. However, once you submit the proposal, you will not be able to make changes. 

The online submission form asks for a brief overview of the presentation (Session Description) and a more detailed uploaded document (Session Details). 

You will be notified when your proposal has been received.  

If you have any questions or comments about the submission process, please contact Clare Roby at

Review of proposals will begin on February 5, 2013. Presenters will be notified of the results of the review by early March. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Workforce development

Adult education finds a way to improve everybody's lives.  From Time.

Brazilian Prostitutes Learning English Before 2014 World Cup
In advance of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil is getting ready for its close up. And Brazilian prostitutes are getting ready for their own close ups — with a lot of English-speaking tourists.
As the country braces for an influx of soccer fans, according to Reuters, Brazilian prostitutes are signing up for free English classes being offered by a prostitute advocacy group in Belo Horizonte, one of the cities slated to host World Cup matches. “This is important for the dignity of the work, the women need to be able to negotiate a fair price and defend themselves,” Cida Vieira, president of the Minas Gerais state Association of Prostitutes, told Reuters. Prostitution is legal in Brazil and, as with past World Cups, they’re expecting a booming business during the soccer tournaments.

Cost adjusted graduation rates

The Washington Monthly ranks colleges in a new way. The fact that institutions serving high minority populations score well was surprising...

America’s Best-Bang-for-the-Buck Colleges
So this year, the Washington Monthly rankings incorporate a new measure we call the “cost-adjusted graduation rate.” This involves tweaking the calculations the magazine has long used to derive a school’s social mobility score. In the past, we predicted a college’s graduation rate using the median SAT/ACT score of each school and the percentage of its students receiving Pell Grants and then compared it to the actual graduation rate. This year, we made two changes. First, to increase our ability to predict graduation rates, we used additional student and institutional characteristics, such as the percentage of students attending full time and the admit rate. Second, to get at cost-effectiveness, we took the gap between the predicted and actual graduation rate of a school and divided it by the net price of attending that institution. Net price represents the average price that first-time, full-time students pay after subtracting the need-based financial aid they receive.) The aim of our new cost-adjusted graduation rate is to highlight those colleges that use their resources to effectively educate students at a relatively low cost—and to call out those that burn though tuition dollars without much to show for it. 
What did we find? First, that colleges and universities that do well by this measure tend to be public institutions. That’s not a surprise, given that tuition at these schools is kept relatively low by state subsidies (though per-student subsidies have been declining in many states). It also turns out that quite a few minority- serving institutions, such as the University of Texas-El Paso and Elizabeth City State University, score near the top of the list.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Must...check...iPhone....Salon covers a new generation.

Welcome to generation “fidgital”
Remember that horrible date who wouldn’t stop checking their phone during dinner? Remember the not-so-nice word you called them afterwards? Well, the New York Times is here to help. Your companion wasn’t being rude, just figital.
  1. Excessively checking one’s devices. “Victoria grew tired of watching her fidgital fiancé glance at his iPhone every five seconds.” See also: Supdate (food-related status); keybard (a skilled texter).
Lizzie Skurnick might have been joking when she coined the new word, but she’s clearly on to something. A recent study by the University of Maryland’s International Center for Media & the Public Agenda found that smartphone users exhibit actual withdrawal symptoms when forced to abstain from using their devices. The study also found that many subjects felt physical discomfort after not checking their phone for extended periods of time.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A modern day underground railroad

For undocumented immigrants, following in the adult education tradition of Paulo Freire, among others.  I admire these BulldogsFrom Libby Sander, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

In a Secret Classroom in Georgia, Immigrants Learn to Hope

Mr. López, who had been brought to Georgia from Mexico as a toddler, came to resent the fact that his very existence here had become a political issue. He got involved in local groups pushing for greater opportunities for immigrants like him, and for policy changes far beyond the scope of the failed federal legislation. He designed T-shirts that proclaimed "Undocumented Rebellion." And he found comrades: In the two years since the Dream Act's defeat, a highly organized youth movement, grounded in civil disobedience, has emerged, as many young immigrants have become more open about their status. 
Through those circles, Mr. López met a young woman named Georgina Perez, who told him about some professors at the University of Georgia who were teaching college-level courses to young people in his situation. Classes were free, she said. Transportation, books, supplies—everything paid for. She had been going, and with the professors' help, she had applied to Syracuse University. She was about to start her first semester there. 
The free classes met on Sunday afternoons in Athens, Ms. Perez said, not far from the state flagship. The professors called the venture Freedom University. Would he like to give it a try?
"Yeah," he said. "What do I have to lose?"

Monday, January 7, 2013

California looks at adult education

And says it should focus on literacy and workforce development.  At least they're not advocating eliminating it all together. From

Report: Adult education needs overhaul

California's $2.1 billion adult-education system is a disjointed hodgepodge of courses, fees and faculty and should be overhauled to make it consistent and focused statewide, the state Legislative Analyst's Office said in a report released Wednesday. 
The 28-page document termed adult education "a program adrift," and recommended that the Legislature take steps to make it more coherent and accountable to taxpayers and students. 
About 300 adult-education programs serve an estimated 1.5 million people in California, largely provided by local school districts and the state's 112 community colleges. Among the subjects taught: English as a second language, remedial reading, writing and math, high school equivalency, U.S. citizenship, vocational training, effective parenting, fitness classes and enrichment courses for senior citizens such as ceramics. 
That mission is too broad, the legislative analyst said. The purpose should be narrowed to courses that help adults integrate into society and the workforce, and classes such as senior citizen enrichment and fitness classes should be dropped.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

So maybe you're not a people person

Are your people skills holding you back? lists seven warning signs.  I've listed number one.

7 Signs You Have Terrible People Skills

1. Lack of Networking/Self-Promotion Skills 
How do people know how great you are? Encourage people to be in your network by attending the right industry events, reaching out to the right individuals, and engaging them in interesting conversation that brands you as an expert. 
Learn how to subtly, yet effectively, promote your work results, knowledge, and skills by keeping in touch with people who have influence. When you begin to influence people who have influence, you have set yourself up to succeed.