Minerva: The Intentional University | Getting Smart

I’ve been fascinated with Minerva since it was an idea.  From the New York Times, “Consider one emerging approach, wherein students hop from campus to campus across continents, earning an undergraduate degree in the process. In these programs, they spend the majority of their college years outside the United States and immerse themselves in diverse cultures. Foreign cities are their classrooms.”

The concept, and the foundational principles, are fantastic.  Now, according to this article in Getting Smart (link below) it is the most selective university in the world.   Great to read this recent article and see the fantastic progress.





By Tom Vander Ark – As a venture-based startup, Minerva has developed slowly. As a new form of higher education, progress from concept to enrollment was lightning fast.

Source: Minerva: The Intentional University | Getting Smart

Contradictions in How We Think about Teaching

The discussion began about a year ago – something those of us who teach in higher ed have been aware of for some time.  Having a doctorate in a subject, or being a subject matter expert, does not mean that individual can teach.  Oh, there are many who can be riveting – who have the charisma or natural storytelling techniques that can engage a classroom.  Pedagogy, or the technology of teaching, was not something required while getting a research degree.  Happy to see articles like this.  From Faculty Focus.



It’s perplexing how we are committed to data but unwilling to act on it. How we can love learning, but step away when confronted with pedagogical knowledge.

Source: Contradictions in How We Think about Teaching

Blockchain: Letting students own their credentials 

When we think of blockchain, we usually think of cryptocurrency – or bitcoin.  In fact blockchain is a distributed database, a list of records tracked in order and time stamped called blocks.  Each block links to the previous block.  A peer to peer network with accurate time stamps lets the database manage itself autonomously.   Blockchain networks are very secure by design, and any kind of record can be safely stored in the distributed network.

Bitcoin is not the only place where this is of use, albeit it has the highest profile.  It can be used for medical records or anything else that would benefit from “bits” of a record being distributed for accurate and secure preservation of information.

What does this mean for education?  It can potentially mean a learner profile, digital badging, and a lifelong source of accurate information.  A distributed learner portfolio.   The article below describes how this might look – the many inputs that might go in one cloud based learner portfolio or profile which give us a holistic look at what a learner knows.

This is worthwhile, and definitely worth watching.  The disruption and evolution of credentialing may be here.   Keep an eye on it!


Source: Blockchain: Letting students own their credentials [Schaffhauser]

Top down implementation of social learning doesn’t work 

We can’t force people to participate, and we can’t force them to learn.  We can require that they complete learning – check the box exercises.   Social learning needs buy in at all levels, and will happen naturally if people are given spaces and places to share and collaborate.  Jane’s article (link below) says it well.




Source: Top down implementation of social learning doesn’t work – Modern Workplace Learning Magazine

The Rise of Interconnected Learning

“…how people learn is also becoming more fluid and efficient.”  Yes.


The article below discusses what multi-modal learning looks like – a new definition for blended or hybrid learning.  Learning comes from everywhere, via various modalities, in different spaces and places.  Universities need to embrace this concept because it is happening.  They can adjust to the gap between how learners learn and how they are being taught, or not.  Everywhere is the way people will learn, regardless of what happens in the classroom.  Great article from Getting Smart describes the experience within Higher Ed.



By: Hossein Rahnama. The growing prevalence of interconnected learning means that most colleges and universities will have no choice but to evolve. In this post I discuss what that evolution will look like.

Source: What the Rise of Interconnected Learning Means for Higher Ed

5 Ways To Think, And Act, Like A Digital Technology Leader

When I read the title of this article by Joe McKendrick on the Forbes site, I thought it would be more of what we often see.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  His third “way” to think is particularly important.  This is change management, but education is such a big part of any kind of digital change management.  His suggestion “think like an entrepreneur” is important as well, but stakeholders need to be educated to allow a changemaker that space…

In short, his 5 suggestions:

Think like a chief executive officer

Think like a journalist

Think like an educator

Think like an entrepreneur

Think like a radical

This is an article worth reading.  Link to full text below.


“Think different. Think as if your business depended on it. Challenge all assumptions, even if they favor digital technology. Especially if they favor digital technology.”

Source: 5 Ways To Think, And Act, Like A Digital Technology Leader

Jobs. Learning. “The Forgotten Americans” and The 2016 Election.

How did we get here? Disruptive innovation. We need new focus on adult education..

How did this happen? How many times do we hear this now, and how many answers are we given?

I think we are all in collective shock, though we are also reflecting on ways to come together, to make a positive impact as we move forward.

Yes, it was in many cases what the New York Times calls the Forgotten Americans who wanted a change. I agree, and also add that it was our lack of focus on adults as learners. Not only because it is good for us to be lifelong learners. That is often the privileged view of people who have access, knowledge, and enough time to BE lifelong learners. We’ve overlooked adult learning as a necessity, because relevancy is a necessity.

When should learning happen for the worker who holds 2 jobs to make ends meet and comes home to care for a family? How will they know if there are options available if they DO find the time, and are not intimidated by the thought? Of course there are not too many options, even if the time is there.

The world has been disrupted with new processes, technologies, and entirely new vocations. We hear of shortages of people to fill jobs, and skill gaps we are not addressing with our education system. Young people in high school or college are steered and encouraged to be relevant. Our entrepreneurs’ focus, our DOE’s focus, and most importantly our funding, goes toward education for young people.

I understand why funding and learning initiatives are targeted toward young people. I have children who are now young adults. They are our future. We hear over and over again that by 2020, there will be a shortage of 1.5 million grads for new jobs available (McKinsey.) I have a son who is a coder. Daughters who are data analysts. Ten years ago did we understand what a coder or a data analyst actually was? Little did we know of how business would be conducted today — any business.

“Jobs” as we knew them are not coming back. Are there incentives and ways to get some companies to repatriate? It won’t be easy. If we have much needed infrastructure investment, will it create more jobs? Probably, but will existing workers know how to be a part of the labor involved in these projects? I will climb the ladder of inference and assume that we don’t build roads and bridges the same way we did ten years ago.

I was surprised, when I co-directed a fellowship a few years ago with the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education in NYC, how small a percentage of the city’s education budget goes toward adults. It was approximately 2–3%. That was in New York City. I can only image how that figure translates in places throughout the country where they can barely find funding for K12 schools.

That is the way it has always been. It is easier to get young people to ingest learning. That’s what they do for a living — they go to school, and they learn. Adults? It means more than providing them with learning opportunities that will help them adapt to disruption and change around them. It is about understandable trepidations of adults who have not been in learning environments for decades, and given the opportunity, often they will not consider. The learning environments might need to be mentorships, reverse mentorships, coaching, informal learning — this is a change management challenge. Every person is different, and that needs to be taken into consideration as well.

There are some wonderful community colleges and career and technology schools that can be attended at very low cost. There is online learning, assuming internet access which I realize we should not assume. There is also the very real fear of failure of adults in those environments, and the funding is barely there for skills education itself, let alone the extra requirements needed to encourage and motivate adults. The practitioners need to be able to work with adult learners, and we are rare.

We forget the adults when we talk about education. People who are working now. The largest generation, the baby boomers, has decades of work life ahead of them, given the chance. Given the knowledge. Given the skills. These are the days when anyone with skills can work, regardless of where they live.

Our children are our future, and they must be prepared for our future. Adults are our now, and it is up to us to help them adapt to ambiguity and learn what they need to know now.

Source: Jobs. Learning. “The Forgotten Americans” and The 2016 Election. – Medium

Top 10 Education Technologies that Will Be Dead and Gone in the Next Decade


When I saw the title of this article, I climbed the ladder of inference…oh, I won’t agree with them.  I was surprised that in most cases I do.  Exceptions to technologies that will be “dead and gone”…

  • Laptops.  They may not look like they do today, but I think there will be some form of notebook computing device.
  • Traditional presentation software.  I wish!
  • Printed anything.  I would make an exception for 3D printing. 

The ones that will become important?  Well, many of them are already important, but I couldn’t find one here that I didn’t agree with.

“In our 2016 Teaching with Technology survey, faculty members offered their predictions on what the future holds for technology in teaching — including what hardware and systems will bite the dust over the next 10 years.”

Source: Top 10 Education Technologies that Will Be Dead and Gone in the Next Decade — Campus Technology

Distance Learning and How It Helps You Achieve More

While this article is from the Haitian News, it is a view of how just one country is able to benefit by investment in distance learning.  In the US, we have so many Universities, but how many people can physically access them?  Outside of urban areas or suburbs with Universities, so much more is now possible.  Outside of the US, it is even more the case.  Regardless of how we put down our higher education system because of its problems – and of course they exist – a US Education is still the dream for so many people around the world.  Access to that education online is the fundamental reason we need to take advantage of it.  Education is part of the fabric that defines us in this country.  Here’s hoping we can make it more affordable so that not only others in this country, but people around the world can take advantage of what our “broken” education system affords.  Aspects of the system may be broken, but learning and research that is generated?  Priceless.



“We’re seeing a positive trend of Haitians pursuing better careers and higher educations in recent years. The economy is supporting this new trend.”

Source: Distance Learning and How It Helps You Achieve More | The Haitian Times

Is technology killing the art of conversation? 

This is an ongoing conversation, often discussed by Sherry Turkle (“Alone Together”) and others.  Killing the art of conversation?  Or changing how we interact?  There was a recent article posted on Slate about the Exact Date Telephone Conversations Disappeared which discussed the migration to text and when it happened.  In this article, Steve correctly shares the different types of conversation facilitated by technology.  It seems the big unstated question here is – what do we consider conversation?  I think the most important shift has been from the synchronous to the asynchronous, regardless of modality.  Text, posts, tweets – we don’t have to answer immediately.   We have responses that we can reflect upon (usually) before answering.  How does that change conversation?  In an online discussion, particularly in an online classroom, this is often cited as an advantage to the learner.  I agree.  One who would be reluctant to raise their hand in a classroom would have time to answer a question thoughtfully online.  I would say that technology has changed conversation.  Better?  Worse?  No….just different.

Source: Is technology killing the art of conversation? | Learning with ‘e’s