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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 10/23/20

We hope you were able to join us for our Friday 5 Live when our student panelists from August updated us on their fall semester experiences.  We look forward to November 6 when Dr. Tom Tobin will talk with us about the future of online learning as we kick off National Distance Learning Week.  We are now podcasting Friday 5 Lives so you can more easily share this resource with colleagues!  



Student Profile

Student Name and College: Ersa, Pace University

Major: Political Science & Economics Double Major - Class of 2022

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

What has been your biggest challenge this semester thus far?

For me, the largest challenge this semester has been staying motivated throughout the semester. It can be so difficult to keep myself motivated and make sure I get up everyday and join my zoom classes, especially when my “office space” is 2 feet away from my bed. It can sometimes feel very difficult to separate my work space from my “relaxing” space, which is why I try my best to go to different spaces around campus to study or do my classes! It helps get me motivated to get ready in the mornings, and gives me the opportunity to even see some new faces around campus!

Share one thing you wish your faculty knew about your experience this fall.

Professors need to know that students are not working from home, students are wherever they can be to do the best that they can do during a global pandemic, international recession, and time of uncertainty. I just wish professors were more mindful of the language that they use regarding online schooling and the outside work that students have. Just because we are not physically in the classroom does not mean that students do not have just as much or even more work to do, including watching children, cooking dinner, or other responsibilities that might not be present during more traditional semesters. Avoid using language such as “since we don’t have anything better to do” or “because I know we are all bored at home” especially in relation to assigning more “busy work” or work not on the syllabus.

What has been the resource you’ve found the most helpful this semester?

With a lot of resources at Pace only being offered online this semester, I have found that the most helpful resource has been my personal support system of peers. Being online can be an extremely  lonely experience, and I have found that having a close circle of people that are always available, even if it's just for a quick laugh on the days that my laptop doesn’t really want to work, can make all the difference. I could never imagine transitioning to virtual learning without my friends by my side — both virtually and in person. This access to a group of individuals with shared experiences, successes and frustrations helps keep me motivated, caffeinated, and always on my toes. Oh, and of course the local ice cream shop helps too!



Colleges, major businesses and industry groups are challenging new rules announced two weeks ago that would “narrow the eligibility requirements for H-1B skilled worker visas” while increasing the wages employers would have to pay H-1B visa holders. Lawsuits have been filed in both the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by multiple universities.  Ken Cuccinelli, with the Department for Homeland Security, said he expects these new rules will cut petitions for H-1B visas by one-third.  There is great concern that these restrictions “will cause hospitals, universities, and employers of all shapes to lose their enormous investments in this skilled-workforce.”


$120 billion:  Amount of new federal support higher education leaders are requesting of top congressional leaders



This week Education Dive examines the growing importance of online program managers (OPMs) to colleges and universities who are looking to expand online offerings and capture new enrollments. Schools signed 51 new contracts with OPMs in the last six months. Most OPM contracts involve revenue-sharing.  However, federal legislators are questioning whether these contracts are lawful.  Critics of OPMs attest they are increasing the price of education. Industry experts maintain that OPMs offer an attractive option for colleges needing to move online quickly.



Institutions like the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, and Georgetown University have announced pass/fail grade options for the fall semester. The Ohio State University is allowing pass/fail grades for general education courses this semester. Nationwide students are demanding institutions provide grading policies that mirror those established in the spring semester.  Students maintain that they face the same challenges this semester during pandemic learning: lack of technology, access to reliable Wi-Fi, and the demands of caring for younger siblings or children who are learning from home.


Follow our Friday 5 Live podcast available now on your favorite podcasting app!


EdSurge examines the undergraduate experience this fall semester amid increasing concerns about enrollment dips as well as students who are simply not participating in online learning experiences.  Trillia Hargrove, a student at City College of San Francisco, expressed the concerns she has for her classmates: “I worry that people are going to increasingly give up, not because of their own abilities or lack of motivation even. It’s the fact that they have all of these responsibilities [like watching kids who are at home with remote school] that are taking priority over their education.” Students report being exhausted from the experience of online learning while also being unsure of the future.  These trends are concerning for college administrators and faculty.
Author: Meg Foster
October 23, 2020
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