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Articles: Classroom

It’s been a surprise to see how eager many college trustees, foundation officers, and government officials are now for the same freedom students and faculty members enjoy on campus to try out new ideas. Many have become enamored with the idea of “disruptive innovation,” drawn from Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997). Arguing that incremental change is often inadequate when organizations face altered circumstances, he asserts that disruptive innovation is the best way to re-position an organization. His main examples relate to hard disk drives and excavators.

At Rollins College (Fla.), we’re always looking for new ways to enhance student learning experiences. A signature feature of liberal arts schools is the intimacy and strength of engagement in the classroom. With this philosophy, you might assume that virtual classrooms don’t have a place at Rollins. But technology’s role in higher education isn’t synonymous just with distance learning and online courses. Technology is a tool that can enrich the liberal arts learning experience and make it more meaningful.

Physical bookstores are in decline, and the signs of this are everywhere. Border’s demise was the most prominent recent example but countless small independent bookstores around the country are experiencing the same fate.

Indiana University sees an opportunity to capitalize on the growing market for nonprofit workers with a formal School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Officials say nonprofits already account for 9 percent of U.S. wages and salaries, and are expected to grow as government and corporation philanthropy declines.

According to one recent study, nonprofit organizations with revenues of more than $250,000 will hire up to 640,000 more executives by 2016.

When President Obama set the goal of increasing the percentage of the population that has some postsecondary education, the assumed focus was on two- and four-year degrees. A new report, “Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees,” from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce makes the argument that certificates should not be overlooked.

Now that we have all waved our classes of 2012 on their way with pomp and circumstance—and hopefully with sunny graduation days—it’s only natural to turn our attention to the classes of ’13, ’14, and ’15. But to read the headlines of the past few months, there’s still plenty to worry about concerning the graduates who are just entering the workforce and for whom the forecast is considerably cloudy.

While the systems can be programmed to take multiple locations into account, in some cases, campus culture prevents satellite locations from being leveraged. Students and faculty might not want to travel to a branch campus, especially if gas prices or parking are going to add to the challenge.

Gone are the days of standing in long lines waiting to register as an ever-expanding list of closed classes crawls by on a CCTV monitor.

Modern students expect to register online, probably from home, and at any hour of the day.

Building a livable schedule is hard enough for a residential student. It’s even more difficult for community college students who contend with work and family commitments, as well as a commute to campus.

Enter student-facing scheduling software to make life easier.

Through careful scheduling, leaders at Howard Community College have ensured more classes are offered throughout the day so that buildings don't stand empty.

A hallmark of community colleges is being nimble enough in their class offerings to respond quickly to the changing needs of their students. Additional faculty can be hired to teach the new courses, but classroom space is often a fixed resource that isn’t so easily added. “We would not turn down a new classroom building,” says Tony Honeycutt, provost of Somerset Community College (Ky.) with a laugh, “but we can meet our needs for classroom space through better scheduling.”

Imagine a learning environment where students can’t hear the professor—or the emergency notifications as part of a safety situation. The basic need of clear audio solutions in higher education impacts so much more than meets the eye.

Officials at Manchester Community College and across the state are working to increase the number of graduates in STEM fields such as biology.

Students, residents, and employers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) field graduates in New Hampshire will be hearing a whole lot more about these areas of study in coming years. Representatives from the University System of New Hampshire and the Community College System of New Hampshire signed a letter of commitment last month that lays out steps to meet a big goal: increase STEM-educated graduates by 50 percent by 2020, and then double that number by 2025. Currently, the two systems graduate about 1,120 students in these areas.

Plagiarism is a widespread problem, and with anytime, anywhere internet access, it only seems to get worse. As part of a study published last summer by The Pew Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than half of 1,055 college presidents surveyed said they had seen a rise in plagiarism in the last 10 years. (Just 2 percent thought that it had decreased.)

Harvard President Drew Faust (left) and MIT President Susan Hockfield announce edX.

At the beginning of the 21st century, MIT began a bold, pioneering experiment in bringing higher learning to the masses. Originally intended for students traveling abroad to keep up with their studies, the OpenCourseWare Project enabled anyone to access the OCW site and read course materials from more than 2,000 MIT classes. While there was no interaction with faculty and no grades or credit given for doing any of the work, it opened the door to a variety of possibilities for online learning.

As college acceptance letters began popping up in mailboxes across the country this year, incoming students were left once again with the daunting task of choosing the right school. While cost has always been a consideration, more students than ever before are now considering it as a key factor—not only in terms of which school to attend, but whether they go to college at all.