Blog & News
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
– Arthur Ashe
We invite you to join us Friday, April 10 for our first ever Live Friday 5! Dr. Ghazala Hashmi will share her insights and advice on working from home. Please join us from 12:00-12:30PM (Eastern) by registering here. We look forward to having you join us live next week.
As the week has unfolded, we see the continued impact of Covid-19 on institutions of higher education as schools look to shift online for summer and potentially fall semesters, and consider the financial ramifications. WCET has an updated website which includes relevant policy changes. Education Dive is continuing to update its resources on Covid-19’s impact on our field. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed who is providing up-to-date reporting.
This week Education Dive examines the abrupt impact of Covid-19 on state funding of higher education. At the beginning of March, experts anticipated modest increases to budgets and potentially new efforts to make tuition free for more students. However, as the nation shifts towards a potential recession and state tax revenues decline, states will have fewer dollars to fund higher education programming. Experts caution that it is too soon to fully understand the impact to college budgets.
Inside Higher Ed reports this week on the question on many minds: will the fall semester be online, too, or will life have returned to “normal” by then? Multiple universities shared the concerns and considerations as they ponder plans for the fall 2020 semester. “Colleges may not end up teaching virtually this fall. But one way or the other, they need to prepare for a future "where we need at the drop of a hat to switch modalities," be it from another pandemic (or one that recurs) or something else” shared Flower Darby of Northern Arizona University.
Faculty and students are reporting cases of Zoombombing: live classes being held in the web conferencing platform Zoom being hacked. Classes are being disrupted by disturbing images or crude submissions to the chat. The "bombs" typically “take the form of racist vitriol or pornographic content shared with the group by an unwelcome user.” Insider Higher Ed reports this week on this disturbing trend. Teaching or hosting student meetings in Zoom? Refer to these helpful directions to better secure your Zoom sessions.
8.4 million: Total number of Zoom-meeting minutes the University of Texas at Austin hosted on March 31. 252,720: Number of unique participants. (Source: Chronicle of Higher Education)
April 3, 2020
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
– Jimmy Dean
Please know we are thinking of you as you continue to adjust to working, helping students, and living during the Covid-19 pandemic. We are focused on providing resources to support our faculty, staff and students during this time.
As the week has unfolded, we see the continued shifts as institutions examine pass/fail grading for the spring semester and consider partial reimbursement for room and board. Education Dive is continuing to update its resources on Covid-19’s impact on our field. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting this week as well as Inside Higher Ed who is providing up-to-date reporting.
The Hechinger Report discusses this week the impact of school closings on college students across the nation. In addition to handling the rapid transition to learning online, students are grappling with the uncertainty of what the future will bring. Research projects have been interrupted, job fairs and internships as well as other critical job networking activities have been called off.
Inside Higher Ed reports this week on privacy-related concerns as institutions rapidly transition to online learning. A first point of concern for privacy experts is ensuring technology platforms do not violate the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Metadata is another area of concern. If institutions are using new technology resources to address the shift online, they need to make sure new contracts are compliant and protect student privacy under the law.
There was much coverage this week across news sources about Covid-19’s impact on college admissions. The Chronicle reports this week on a survey by Art & Science Group. The survey of prospective college students found that “one in six high-school seniors who expected to attend a four-year college full time now think that they will choose a different path this fall.” The majority of students surveyed cited concerns about the ability to attend a first-choice college and reported that a campus “closer to home” was now a more realistic option for them. Education Dive shares that more institutions are considering test-optional admissions processes alleviating the burden of SAT and ACT testing during the coronavirus pandemic .
“While we know there is always flux this time of year as students are getting their admissions notifications, it surprised us that more weren’t expecting to enroll at their first choice.” - Craig Goebel, principle in the Art & Science Group
March 27, 2020
“Every noble work is at first impossible.”
- Thomas Carlyle
Please know we are thinking of you all as you move into a space of great uncertainty -shifting classes online, supporting students who are swiftly moving out of residence halls, suddenly caring for your own children who are home from college or K-12 schools. We are here to support you as you do an amazing job holding it all together. We hope in the midst of the uncertainty, you’re able to carve out a space to care for yourself so you can continue to do your work of caring for others.
As the week has unfolded, we see more institutions moving their learning online and cancelling or delaying major events like graduation. The Chronicle continues its extensive reporting including institutions adopting pass/fail grades in response to Covid-19 and the financial impact to higher education. Inside Higher Ed is also providing up-to-date reporting and shares that some colleges are dropping SAT & ACT requirements in light of testing cancellations due to Covid-19. WCET has links to all of the major federal resources regarding Covid-19 response as well as recommendations for shifting to online learning.
“I implore each of our students to comply with this directive. You can do your part to help de-densify the campus and make it safer.” Cornell’s President, Ms. Marsha Pollack, to students on their decision to shift to online learning and close campus.
Much discussion this week in various news sources about how Covid-19 will impact both the undergraduate and graduate admissions processes. Inside Higher Ed reports on an EAB survey of admissions professionals. 87% “worry that future visits to the campus by potential students will decline” with 67% reporting they will shift to virtual admissions events. One of the biggest concerns of admissions officials is the impact of travel restrictions on international enrollments.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed this week report on the concern that the coronavirus crisis poses a very significant threat and may impact the long-term survival ofHistorically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). HBCUs – and other minority serving institutions (MSIs) – are working to keep underrepresented students safe on tight budgets. Leaders of HBCUs are strongly advocating for additional federal funding for their institutions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
March 20, 2020
“As long as you give it a little bit of time, soap will do its job.”
- The Palli Thoradarson
Covid-19 responses and updates continue to fill our news feeds this week as institutions address study abroad programs, and colleges and universities begin shifting classes online. The Chronicle offers guidance on quickly moving classes online and continues to update on Covid-19’s impact on colleges and universities. WCET also provides resources for addressing Covid-19. NPR reports this week on 6 ways universities are responding to Covid-19 including supporting international students.
The Department of Education offers guidance regarding Federal Financial Aid compliance. Specifically, recommendations cover students who are unable to finish or start a scheduled study abroad due to coronavirus and students who cannot attend class due to quarantine or illness. Additional guidance addresses students who fall below 12 credit hour minimum due to internship or class cancellation as a result of Covid-19. The Department of Education provides options and flexibility with regards to moving education online including: approval to offer distance education on a temporary basis, permitting accrediting agencies to wave distance education review requirements andre-examining residential requirements.
March 13, 2020
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
- Malala Yousafzai
Much discussion this week across higher education news sources about the coronavirus (Covid-19), and its potential impact on colleges and universities. Inside Higher Ed reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that colleges “consider canceling upcoming foreign exchange programs and asking current program participants to return to their home countries.” Several academic conferences have been postponed or cancelled, and institutions are moving quickly to plan for potential shut downs. Organizations like The Online Learning Consortium and WCET are providing resources and guidance regarding transitioning coursework online should Covid-19 cause temporary campus shut downs. The Chronicle of Higher Education is tracking the most recent updates in Covid-19 and its impact on higher education.
Some good news to report this week regarding college completion rates. According to data released by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, most states continued to increase their six-year completion rates. Across the United States, six-year completion rates reached 60% which is the highest rate NSCRC has reported since it began collecting data eight years ago. Community colleges, many of which are embracing efforts like guided pathways, saw significant gains with 33 states showing increased completion rates at two-year institutions. Overall community colleges had completion rates of nearly 41% for those students who began their studies in 2013.
According to a Higher Learning Advocates policy brief, in the fall of 2017, 24% of students were parents, 37% were older than 25 and 49% were financially independent. Close to 40% of students were part-time.
March 6, 2020
1 - OER Efforts At Community Colleges: Paying Off?
2 - Helping Schools Use Technology With Intention
3 - North Carolina Seeks to Enroll More Adult Learners
4 - College Enrollment Trends: Concerning News Continues
5 - Positive Impacts of Early College Programs