Growing enrollments, shrinking budgets and unprecedented diversity in student populations are just a few of the challenges community colleges around the country are facing today. And there are no signs that the situation will change anytime soon.
The American Association of Community Colleges estimates that U.S. enrollment in two-year colleges increased 17 percent from 2007 to 2009, from 6.8 million students to 8 million. Anecdotal evidence says this trend will continue.
During an economic downturn, community colleges feel an even greater strain with enrollment. People go back to school to learn new skills or get certificates or degrees that help their careers. Many must learn new jobs because their previous ones have gone away. While it’s good to have more students, the growth has been so rapid that it has put pressure on the institutions. How do they handle more students every semester? How do they grow despite less funding from federal, state and county governments?
“Because community colleges are growing so fast, and because they’re relatively new as institutions, they don’t have
the infrastructure that the big universities have. And yet they are being asked to do more,” said John Halpin, Vice President of SLED Strategy and Programs at the Center for Digital Education (CDE), a national research and advisory institute focused on IT
policy and best practices in education.
A New Course Community colleges now have a terrific opportunity to evolve thanks to technology, Halpin said. Numerous technologies — wireless, broadband, cloud computing and others — have greatly matured in recent years. They’ve been proven in the real world, and they’ve become more efficient and less expensive.
At community colleges, whether it’s for teaching and learning or for financial aid or other back-end systems, technology is making a huge impact on productivity. Students are learning in exciting new ways. E-mentoring, e-advising, online tutoring and even educational gaming are effectively engaging students and enhancing the educational experience. Professors are incorporating audio/video content to deliver learning in a manner that grabs the student’s interest. Schools are processing incoming students more efficiently and less expensively by putting administrative functions, such as application, orientation and registration, online.
Online learning, or e-learning, is booming. “Students value distance learning,” said Wilton Agatstein, Senior Fellow with the CDE. “It is very convenient for them, as they can learn from any place and at any time. Schools value distance learning because they can serve more students and a larger student demographic without having to build new classrooms and campuses. Distance learning serves everyone well, which is why its adoption is accelerating.”
Technology expectations are sky high. Students step onto campus expecting to incorporate their own communications tools — phones, music players, e-book readers, laptops/netbooks and other devices — into the learning experience. They want wireless access from any point on campus. And they want the ability to connect to school resources even when off campus.
Teachers and staff want the best technology too, because the right tools help everyone.
In 2007 one of the key conclusions from the synthesis report 'Sharing eLearning Content'1 (SELC)was that, while evidence may exist in support of it, the business case for an institution to share learning materials has not been sufficiently well articulated in the UK. In fact, the issue highlighted is rather broader. There is evidence that would support a range of business cases, such as those for:
. lecturers sharing learning materials;
. lecturers using and attributing others’ materials;
. institutions putting in place policies whereby learning materials are well managed, so that they can be shared appropriately and reused over time;
. the UK tertiary education sector as a whole putting in place arrangements in support of sharing learning materials.
This report aims to articulate the advantages and imperatives for sharing learning resources using evidence from the UK and elsewhere. This JISC funded study has also identified a number of compelling business cases and has developed a set of variations as a result of studying a range of business models. It highlights some interesting trends as many of the existing business models have reached a level of maturity and are currently under review.
The issue of the “boy gap” or “boy crisis” in education has been the subject ofincreasing attention across a number of OECD countries. The issue has also captured the attention of the Canadian media. As the Globe and Mail recently emphasized in their six-part series on ‘failing boys’:
“data suggests that boys, as a group, rank behind girls by nearly every measure of scholastic achievement. They earn lower grades overall in elementary school and high school. They trail in reading and writing, and 30 per cent of them land in the bottom quarter of standardized tests, compared with 19 per cent of girls. Boys are also more likely to be picked out for behavioural problems, more likely to repeat a grade and to drop out of school altogether”. (Globe and Mail, October 15, 2010)
Given the importance of this issue and the need to better understand the situation in boys' education, this report draws on material and data from a review of websites, research reports and relevant data sources, as well as informal consultations with some official and expert sources, to scope out four main questions:
1. What is the situation regarding education and training participation and
results for boys and men throughout the OECD, including post-secondary
education and trades?
2. Are there policies and practices in place to attenuate unfavourable trends?
3. What are Canadian jurisdictions doing?
4. What do we know about the success and failure of various models OECDwide
with a focus on Germany, the United States, Australia and the United
It should be noted that there is a substantial disconnect between public policy commentary on issues in the “developed” and “non-developed” worlds. In the latter, priority attention continues to be centred on the barriers and obstacles faced by females in education and the labour market. Access to education in all its forms is still significantly more available to males in such countries. The UN Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) is focused on ensuring that a gender equity
and equality perspective is brought to bear within the broad context of the UN’s Education for All (EFA) initiative, and is reflected in the Global Monitoring Reports issued by the EFA.
In is also the case that attention within OECD countries continues to be paid to the traditional barriers faced by women in many areas of education and
employment. A “question scan” done by CCL for the British Columbia Ministry of
Advanced Education only a few years ago identified a number of studies and
reports on the issue of gender in PSE access; all of them focused on the
question of female participation and access, none on the “boy crisis”.
It is also the case that attention in several OECD jurisdictions has shifted in some circles in the past number of years to the phenomenon of a substantial shortfall of the percentage of males, compared to females, who complete secondary schooling, and who are enrolled in and graduate from PSE. The implications of this “boy gap” are increasingly being pondered in such countries as Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The statistical picture in terms of this gender gap, as
shown in literacy rates, school achievement in literacy, and participation and success in university studies, has been quite clear in such jurisdictions for two decades and more; the implications of this gap, however, are not at all a matter of consensus. Nor are the public policy and program responses either clear or consistent.
Question 1: What is the situation for boys and men throughout the OECD,
including PSE and the trades?
The purpose of this section is to present general statistics on performance and participation in education and training for both boys/young men and girls/young women across OECD countries. The data have been selected to provide a preliminary overview that can be used to direct further research and analysis.
Given the parameters of this project, it is not possible to complete a comprehensive survey of data. For the purposes of this paper, the focus is on Australia, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, using a limited number of variables.
This first section focuses entirely on statistics and trends. It becomes obvious early in any consideration of this issue that its complexity and multifaceted nature present challenges. For clarity, the findings below are presented by educational sector.
1. Overview—general trends over time The relationship between education and skill development has been a well explored topic over the last decade, with many countries concluding that highly skilled and educated citizens are essential to meet the challenges of globalization and the knowledge economy. In an effort to help understand the complex network and inter-relationship of factors that influence individuals to participate and succeed in education and training, researchers have undertaken detailed research on educational outcomes and the influences on motivation, participation and completion of education.
Over the last couple of decades there has been increasing emphasis on maximizing the participation of under-represented groups such as immigrants, women and other minorities in education. Along the way, an interesting trend has emerged that is now clearly illustrated by the statistics—the statistics indicate that, overall, girls and women tend to do better in school environments, outperforming males. This is evident in both the secondary- and higher-education sectors. Research shows that girls/young women and boys/young men have distinctly different experiences in the various educational sectors.
For many years, gender-related research in the K–12 sector was focused on dropout rates in secondary schools. These rates were usually significantly higher for boys than girls, a trend which held across OECD countries.
The OECD PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), designed to explore “the educational performance and attitudes of adolescent males and females”, provides data to answer questions related to why female and male students perform differently. Ironically, one of the main rationales for PISA was to determine why females appeared disinterested in, and tended to be less successful in, mathematics and the physical sciences. However, PISA findings that demonstrated that boys had difficulty in the area of reading spurred further research into literacy among boys and, eventually, the design of specific
interventions to address related issues.
Statistical evidence about gender differences among young boys and girls is quite detailed. The OECD report, “Equally Prepared for Life?”, provides a summary of gender issues from early childhood based on results from PISA,
PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and other statistics that are gathered regularly.
Some of the main findings across OECD countries include1:
• Gender differences appear at early stages of education but they are small.
Females show better performance in reading in primary schools.
• Females showed significantly higher reading achievement than males in all (except two) countries by Grade 4. (2004 data)
• At Grade 4, the results for mathematics and science were mixed. Males had significantly higher scores for math in 12 countries while females had significantly higher scores in eight countries. In science, the scores for males and females were somewhat similar in more than half the countries
• By Grade 8, on average, females had higher achievement than males in mathematics, although there were country variations. (2007) The same was true for science.
• Although PISA 2006 showed no significant differences between males and females in the overall performance in science, females were better identifying scientific issues while males were better at explaining phenomena scientifically.
- In the PISA 2009 reading assessment, girls outperform boys in every participating country by an average, among OECD countries, of 39 PISA score points—equivalent to more than half a proficiency level or one year
- On average across OECD countries, boys outperform girls in mathematics by 12 score points while gender differences in science performance tend to be small, both in absolute terms and when compared with the large 1 OECD, “Equally Prepared for Life?” 2009, pp. 3; 10–12;16–19; 2–24 and 27.
In June 2008, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) released a Request for Proposals (RFP-006) offering funding for Ontario universities and colleges to evaluate existing programs or services intended to promote access, retention and educational quality among postsecondary students. Brock University was successful in their proposal to evaluate two services offered through the Student Development Centre’s Learning Skills Services:
1. the Online Writing Skills Workshop (OWSW) (later known as Essay-Zone (EZ), an online writing course designed and operated by Learning Skills Services; and 2. the learning skills workshops and one-on-one/drop-in services offered by Learning Skills Services. The evaluation of the Online Writing Skills Workshop was completed in fall 2010 with the assistance of Higher Education Strategy Associates (HESA), formerly Education Policy Institute (EPI) Canada. This report, published separately by the HEQCO, is based on the evaluation of other learning skills services, including workshops on critical thinking, math, science and essay writing skills (see Appendix A), as well as the individualized assistance provided through the one-on-one/drop-in service. In evaluating these services, we have sought to answer two broad questions. First, are the services offered being delivered effectively and what improvements can be made? Second, what effect do the identified learning skills services have on academic outcomes? The responses to these questions will be presented in two parts: first, a formative evaluation of program delivery and second, a summative evaluation focusing on student outcomes.
The formative evaluation will examine the delivery and image of the learning skills services. Using student survey and focus group data, we will evaluate the perceived efficacy of the services among participants, participants’ satisfaction with aspects of the services and the success of overall communication about the services, as well as recommending changes. The evaluation of communications will examine how students learn about services offered and why students decide not to enroll in the services.
The summative evaluation focuses primarily on the impact of the learning skills services provided. Two measures of academic success will be examined: academic performance (i.e., marks) and student retention. The administrative data concerning three cohorts of students will be used to determine whether participants in learning skills workshops and other learning skills services experience greater academic performance and higher levels of retention compared to other students. In addition, we will examine whether certain categories of services are more effective and whether frequency of service use affects outcomes. As the learning skills workshops and other services are very limited interventions requiring little time of students,strong results were not expected; however, even minor improvements would be impressive given the relatively small time investment required of students.
The overall goal of the present study was to examine the employment experience of postsecondary graduates with learning disabilities (LD) in the province of Ontario. More specifically, employment success, job satisfaction, impact of LD within a job setting and experience with employment transition services during postsecondary education were examined. Utilizing a uniform and current definition of LD (LDAO, 2001), this study surveyed graduates from 20 of Ontario’s colleges and universities to capture their employment experiences. The research was conducted through Ontario’s two Assessment and Resource Centres (ARCs), which collectively provide comprehensive psycho-educational assessments for students enrolled in Ontario’s postsecondary institutions. The pool of participants for the study included graduates of postsecondary institutions who had received a diagnosis of LD from these centres between the years 2004/05 and 2007/08 and who had entered the labour market.
Key Findings from the Study
• Findings regarding the employment status of graduates with LD from Ontario’s colleges and universities showed that since graduation, 69.1% of the sample reported being employed on either a full-time or a part-time basis, while 16.4% reported being
unemployed. In addition, 10.9% indicated that they had returned to school, and 3.6% reported their occupational status as that of homemaker. The main findings regarding the impact of LD in the workplace centred on strategies to manage the impact of LD on these individuals, disclosure of their learning disabilities and the consequences of disclosure:
1. Low-profile, low-technology strategies such as time management and support from friends and family were favoured over highly visible or high-technology strategies such as assistive technology and self-advocacy.
2. The majority of respondents (71.9%) indicated that their LD impacted their performance in the workplace, yet the majority (62%) also chose not to disclose their LD in this setting.
3. The reasons for not disclosing were cited as fear of being judged, embarrassment and a belief that the LD did not impact job duties.
4. Gender, age, type of institution and job satisfaction were related with selfdisclosure in the workplace, with females, older students, college students (relative to university) and those indicating lower levels of job satisfaction being more likely to disclose their disability.
• Regarding job satisfaction, the sample reported being satisfied with their current employment, as 70.8% of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with eight different aspects of job satisfaction. Differences in salary level, strategies used on the job to reduce LD impact and self-disclosure of LD occurred relative to job atisfaction. Job satisfaction and salary levels were higher for individuals who used more strategies
4 – Employment Experience of Ontario’s Postsecondary Graduates with Learning Disabilities on the job to reduce LD impact but not for those who engaged in more self-disclosure about their disability.
• Similar to the general Ontario college population, career services were not used to a great degree by this group of students. Work experiences such as co-op placements and job search training were accessed by approximately one-quarter of survey respondents.
• Focus interviews conducted post survey highlighted respondents’ sensitivity to their information-processing-speed problems and the extra time required to complete tasks relative to the time taken by coworkers. Comments regarding self-disclosure in the workplace tended to be negative, while comments pertaining to job satisfaction were typically positive. The respondents emphasized the valuable role played by disability services offices on various college and university campuses.
• For the most part, students with LD graduating from Ontario’s colleges and universities are obtaining employment that they find satisfying.
• LD continues its impact in the lives of these students, with the majority of them stating that such traits as slower speed of information processing, spelling and reading impede their performance on the job.
• LD graduates in the workplace often choose not to disclose their disability, primarily citing reasons of judgment and embarrassment as preventing them from making the
• This group of graduates with LD accessed the career services offered on the campuses of Ontario’s colleges and universities infrequently but at a rate similar to that of their nondisabled peers.
• The present study highlights areas very much in need of further exploration, including factors underlying the disconnect between stated LD impact on the job and unwillingness to disclose a disability in the workplace. The limited use of career services is a new and surprising finding. In addition, the preference for low-technology strategies over technological accommodations in the workplace is in need of further analysis.
Unable to cope with the transition from secondary school to postsecondary school or the new pressures of first year, a number of students at Ontario’s universities and colleges withdraw before they graduate. What leads them to leave is still under discussion. One possibility is that they lack what are called emotional and social competencies that are often linked to academic success and retention.
Emotional Intelligence Interventions to Increase Student Success was a project undertaken at Fleming College that aimed to improve the emotional and social competencies of first semester students through the modification of a Technology Career Essential course.
Nova Scotia’s university system has long been an essential contributor to the social, economic, and cultural development of the province. This report describes and assesses the current state of that system in the context of emerging financial and demographic challenges in the province, and in relation to wider trends in post-secondary education (PSE) regionally, nationally, and internationally. The evidence clearly confirms that the environment in which Nova Scotia’s eleven universities now operate is changing significantly. The report calls for expanded collaboration among the universities, and between them and the government, to develop and implement new policy approaches to address emerging challenges.
When building an online program, there are certain big questions that need to be answered. Among them are: What kind of program you want it to be – high tech or low tech? Professor intensive or adjunct driven? Blended learning or fully online? What kind of technology will be used to deliver course content? What about opportunities for collaboration? Indeed, even though distance learning is no longer in its infancy, and there are a whole discipline-full of best practices learned by those who blazed the trail before you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the questions and the possibilities of what you want your program to look like today and five years from now. We created this special report to suggest some responses to the big questions about distance education: About pedagogy, technology, philosophy and administration of distance learning programs. In this report, you will find concise, informative articles on distance education administration and policy that have appeared in Distance Education Report. Titles include:
• Seeing Where the Distance Education Opportunities Lie
• Dumb is Smart: Learning from Our Worst Practices
• Building a Distance Education Program: Key Questions to Answer
• Eight Steps to On-Campus/Online Parity
• Creating a Business Continuity Plan for Your Distance Education Program
• Integrating Distance Education Programs into the Institution
• Solving the Problems of Faculty Ownership with Online Courses
The mass of program and policy issues confronting distance education administrators grows every day. We hope this special report will help you conceptualize, manage and grow the distance education program at your school.
The primary objectives of this paper were to determine whether there are significant gaps in Ontario’s postsecondary education system with respect to education and research activities, with particular attention to activities connoted by the term “polytechnic”, and if so, to consider how to address such gaps. In response to the first part of our task, we identified three major gaps in Ontario’s postsecondary education system: a free standing, degree-granting, primarily teaching-oriented institution that concentrates on undergraduate education; an open university that would expand accessibility and enable Learners to combine credits from different institutions and different types of learning experiences; and effective pathways for students who start their postsecondary education in a college to attain a baccalaureate degree and be able, if they are so
inclined, to continue on to graduate study.
We did not find compelling evidence that there is a shortage of opportunity for polytechnic education in
Ontario. Presently students are able to draw upon Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of
Technology (UOIT), a modest but growing number of joint university-college programs, and baccalaureate and diploma programs of the colleges. In addition, many students create a polytechnic experience for themselves through transfer from a university to a college or from a college to a university, though more needs to be done to improve opportunities of the latter type.
Also, we think that there are some other good reasons for not designating some colleges as polytechnic institutions. The term polytechnic is fraught with ambiguity, and thus adding a new sector of postsecondary institutions with that name could be more confusing than helpful for prospective students. The institutions in British Columbia and Alberta that use the term polytechnic, either formally or informally, have since their founding been formally differentiated from other college sector institutions in their province and have a history of specialization in technology-based programming. No college sector institutions in Ontario have had a differentiated role like the institutes of technology in British Columbia and Alberta. We are aware also that five
colleges in Ontario have been seeking the polytechnic designation. In regard to both labour market needs and practices in other North American jurisdictions, it is hard to see a justification for adding that many polytechnic institutions to the provincial postsecondary education system, especially when four of them would be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We appreciate that many colleges across Canada, including in Ontario, have made valuable contributions to industry through their applied research activities. Our impression is that the expertise and interaction with industry that fosters these contributions is largely situational and contextual related to the existence of particular faculty in particular programs and institutions.
Accordingly, we do not believe that designating some colleges as polytechnics is necessary to maintain or enhance the capability of the college sector to make such contributions.
While we do not believe that there are compelling arguments for designating some colleges as polytechnics, we are mindful of the contribution that could be made by enabling at least a few colleges to have a more substantial and broader role in offering baccalaureate programs if they are able to demonstrate that they meet the conditions required for such activity. Based upon our examination of the issues outlined above, we review a number of possible policy options to address the predicted demand for increased access to university degree programs in the GTA including: 1)
creating satellite campuses of existing universities; 2) creating new universities that are of the same type as existing universities; 3) creating new universities of a new type focusing on undergraduate study and with a limited role in research; 4) providing selected colleges with a new substantial role in baccalaureate programming; 5) providing colleges with a greater role in transfer programs in basic university subjects, such as arts and science; and 6) creating an open university. We review each of these options and discuss factors that should be considered by government.
The transformative trends of the past 50 years that have led to a sharp decline in marriage and a rise of new family forms have been shaped by attitudes and behaviors that differ by class, age and race, according to a new Pew Research Center nationwide survey complemented by an analysis of demographic and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. A new ―marriage gap‖ in the United States is increasingly aligned with a growing income gap. Marriage, while declining among all groups, remains the norm for adults with a college education and good income but is now markedly less prevalent among those on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder. The survey finds that those in this less-advantaged group are as likely as others to want to marry, but they place a higher premium on economic security as a condition for marriage. This is a bar that many may not meet.
The survey also finds striking differences by generation. In 1960, two-thirds (68%) of all twenty-somethings were married. In 2008, just 26% were. How many of today’s youth will eventually marry is an open question. For now, the survey finds that the young are much more inclined than their elders to view cohabitation without marriage and other new family forms — such as same sex marriage and interracial marriage — in a positive light. Even as marriage shrinks, family— in all its emerging varieties — remains resilient. The survey finds that Americans have an expansive definition of what constitutes a family. And the vast majority of adults consider their own family to be the most important, most satisfying element of their lives.
Here is a summary of the key findings of the report:
 The Class-Based Decline in Marriage. About half (52%) of all adults in this country were married in 2008; back in 1960, seven-in-ten (72%) were. This decline has occurred along class lines. In 2008, there was a 16 percentage point gap in marriage rates between college graduates (64%) and those with a high school diploma or less (48%). In 1960, this gap had been just four percentage points (76% vs. 72%). The survey finds that those with a high school diploma or less are just as likely as those with a college degree to say they want to marry. But they place a higher premium than college graduates (38% versus 21%) on financial stability as a very important reason to marry.
. Is Marriage Becoming Obsolete? Nearly four-in-ten survey respondents (39%) say that it is; in 1978 when Time magazine posed this question to registered voters, just 28% agreed. Those most likely to agree include those who are a part of the phenomenon (62% of cohabiting parents) as well as those most likely to be troubled by it (42% of self-described conservatives). Despite these growing uncertainties, Americans are more upbeat about the future of marriage and family (67% say they are optimistic) than about the future of the country’s educational system (50% optimistic), its economic system (46% optimistic) or its morals and ethics (41% optimistic).
. An Ambivalent Public. The public’s response to changing marital norms and family forms reflects a mix of acceptance and unease. On the troubled side of the ledger: Seven-in-ten (69%) say the trend toward more single women having children is bad for society, and 61% say that a child needs both a mother and father to grow up happily. On the more accepting side, only a minority say the trends toward more cohabitation without marriage (43%), more unmarried couples raising children (43%), more gay couples raising children (43%) and more people of different races marrying (14%) are bad for society. Relatively few say any of these trends are good for society, but many say they make little difference.
. Group Differences. Where people stand on the various changes in marriage and family life depends to some degree on who they are and how they live. The young are more accepting than the old of the emerging arrangements; the secular are more accepting than the religious; liberals are more accepting than conservatives; the unmarried are more accepting than the married; and, in most cases, blacks are more accepting than whites. The net result of all these group differences is a nearly even three-way split among the full public. A third (34%) say the growing variety of family arrangements is a good thing; 29% say it is a bad thing and 32% say it makes little or no difference.
. The Resilience of Families. The decline of marriage has not knocked family life off its pedestal. Three-quarters of all adults (76%) say their family is the most important element of their life; 75% say they are ―very satisfied‖ with their family life, and more than eight-in-ten say the family they live in now is as close as (45%) or closer than (40%) the family in which they grew up. However, on all of these questions, married adults give more positive responses than do unmarried adults.
. The Definition of Family. By emphatic margins, the public does not see marriage as the only path to family formation. Fully 86% say a single parent and child constitute a family; nearly as many (80%) say an unmarried couple living together with a child is a family; and 63% say a gay or lesbian couple raising a child is a family. The presence of children clearly matters in these definitions. If a cohabiting couple has no children, a majority of the public says they are not a family. Marriage matters, too. If a childless couple is married, 88% consider them to be a family.
. The Ties that Bind. In response to a question about whom they would assist with money or care giving in a time of need, Americans express a greater sense of obligation toward relatives—including relatives by way of fractured marriages– than toward best friends. The ranking of relatives aligns in a predictable hierarchy. More survey respondents express an obligation to help out a parent (83% would feel very obligated) or grown child (77%) than say the same about a stepparent (55%) or a step or half sibling (43%). But when asked about one’s best friend, just 39% say they would feel a similar sense of obligation.
. Changing Spousal Roles. In the past 50 years, women have reached near parity with men as a share of the workforce and have begun to outpace men in educational attainment. About six-in-ten wives work today, nearly double the share in 1960. There’s an unresolved tension in the public’s response to these changes. More than six-in-ten (62%) survey respondents endorse the modern marriage in which the husband and wife both work and both take care of the household and children; this is up from 48% in 1977. Even so, the public hasn’t entirely discarded the traditional male breadwinner template for marriage. Some 67% of survey respondents say that in order to be ready for marriage, it’s very important for a man to be able to support his family financially; just 33% say the same about a woman.
. The Rise of Cohabitation. As marriage has declined, cohabitation (or living together as unmarried partners) has become more widespread, nearly doubling since 1990, according to the Census Bureau. In the Pew Research survey, 44% of all adults (and more than half of all adults ages 30 to 49) say they have cohabited at some point in their lives. Among those who have done so, about two-thirds (64%) say they thought of this living arrangement as a step toward marriage.
. The Impact on Children. The share of births to unmarried women has risen dramatically over the past half century, from 5% in 1960 to 41% in 2008. There are notable differences by race: Among black women giving birth in 2008, 72% were unmarried. This compares with 53% of Hispanic women giving birth and 29% of white women. Overall, the share of children raised by a single parent is not as high as the share born to an unwed mother, but it too has risen sharply — to 25% in 2008, up from 9% in 1960. The public believes children of single parents face more challenges than other children — 38% say ―a lot more‖ challenges and another 40% say ―a few more‖ challenges. Survey respondents see even more challenges for children of gay and lesbian couples (51% say they face a lot more challenges) and children of divorce (42% say they face a lot more challenges).
. In Marriage, Love Trumps Money. Far more married adults say that love (93%), making a lifelong commitment (87%) and companionship (81%) are very important reasons to get married than say the same about having children (59%) or financial stability (31%). Unmarried adults order these items the same way. However, when asked if they agree that there is ―only one true love‖ for every person, fewer than three-in-ten (28%) survey respondents say, I do.
So much of what determines the overall success or failure of a course takes place well in advance of the first day of class. It’s the thoughtful contemplation of your vision for the course — from what you want your students to learn, to selecting the instructional activities, assignments, and materials that will fuel that learning, to determining how you will measure learning outcomes.
Course Design and Development Ideas That Work examines this multifaceted issue from a variety of fronts to bring you proven course design alternatives implemented in courses of varying sizes and disciplines. Featuring 12 articles pulled from the pages of The Teaching Professor, the report will inspire you to rethink some components of your course.
For example, in the article titled A Large Course with a Small Course Option, we learn about an innovative course design for a large 300-level course. Essentially, the instructor created two options: in one, students attend lectures and take four exams. In the second option, students are responsible for those same lectures and exams, but they also participate in small group discussions and complete a set of writing assignments. The second option was most valued by students who are not very good test-takers or who have a keen interest in the subject.
In the article The Placement of Those Steppingstones, the University of Richmond’s Joe Ben Hoyle compares the placement of steppingstones in a koi pond to the educational processes teachers use to help their students get from point A to point B. Hoyle theorizes that “education stumbles when either the learning points are not sequenced in a clearly logical order or they are not placed at a proper distance from each other.”
Other articles in Course Design and Development Ideas That Work include:
• A Course Redesign that Contributed to Student Success • Pairing vs. Small Groups: A Model for Analytical Collaboration • How Blended Learning Works
• Should Students Have a Role in Setting Course Goals?
• In-Class Writing: A Technique That Promotes Learning and Diagnoses Misconceptions
If you’re looking to update an existing course, this report will give you sound strategies to consider.
WHAT IS THE COMPOSITE LEARNING INDEX?
A product of the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), the Composite
Learning Index (CLI) is Canada’s annual measure of progress in lifelong learning. It is based on a combination of statistical indicators that reflect the many ways Canadians learn, whether in school, in the home, at work or within the community.
The only index of its kind in the world, the CLI is an unprecedented measurement tool that expresses how learning in all aspects of life is critical to the success of individuals, communities and the country as a whole. On an individual level, Canadians stand to benefit from lifelong learning through higher wages, better job prospects, improved health and more fulfilling lives.
Accordingly, Canada stands to gain through a more resilient economy and stronger bonds within and between communities.
Although most Canadians are aware of the potential benefits of lifelong learning, until CCL launched the CLI in 2006 there was no way of measuring how Canadians were performing across the full spectrum of learning. To reflect this broad perspective, the CLI uses a wide range of learning indicators to generate numeric scores for more than 4,500 communities across Canada. A high CLI score means that a particular city, town or rural community possesses the kinds of learning conditions that foster social and economic well-being. A low CLI score means that a community is under-performing in certain aspects that are key to lifelong learning.
It is important to note that these scores are not meant to single out “winners” and “losers,” but rather to help Canadians understand the state of lifelong learning in their communities and to encourage them to think of concrete ways that they can improve on these conditions. With new results published on CCL’s website every spring, the CLI is an objective and reliable measurement tool that can help communities make the best possible decisions about learning—decisions that will strengthen
social ties, bolster the economy and hopefully improve people’s lives.
Explore the effects of lifelong learning
The structure of the Composite Learning Index echoes the interconnectedness and complexity of lifelong learning in the community. To help understand this relationship, CCL developed the CLI Simulator, an online tool that allows individuals to adjust and compare a selection of indicators and witness the effects those decisions can have on a community.
The reasons why students need to be involved and engaged when they attend college are well established. Engagement can be the difference between completing a degree and dropping out.
Research has sought to identify what makes student involvement more likely. Factors like student-faculty interaction, active and collaborative learning experiences, involvement in extracurricular activities, and living on campus have all been shown to make a difference. Not surprisingly, faculty play a critical role in student engagement … from the obvious: facilitating
discussions in the classroom; to the often overlooked: maximizing those brief encounters we have with students outside of class. This special report features 15 articles that provide perspectives and advice for keeping students actively engaged in learning activities while fostering more meaningful interactions between students and faculty members, and among the students themselves.
For example, in “Student Engagement: Trade-offs and Payoffs” author E Shelley Reid, associate professor at George Mason University, talks about how to craft engagement-focused questions rather than knowledge questions, and explains her willingness to take chances in ceding some control over students’ learning.
In “The Truly Participatory Seminar” authors Sarah M. Leupen and Edward H. Burtt, Jr., of Ohio Wesleyan University, outline their solution for ensuring all students in their upper division seminar course participate in discussion at some level.
In “Reminders for Improving Classroom Discussion” Roben Torosyan, associate director of the Center for Academic Excellence at Fairfield University, offers very specific advice on balancing student voices, reframing discussions, and probing below the surface of group discussions. And finally, in “Living for the Light Bulb” authors Aaron J. Nurick and David H. Carhart of Bentley College provide tips on setting the stage for that delightful time in class “when the student’s entire body says ‘Aha! Now I see it!’” Who wouldn’t like to see more light bulbs going on more often? One of the most challenging tasks instructors face is keeping students engaged. Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom will help you meet that challenge while ensuring your classroom is a positive and productive learning environment.
The iconic image of the Baby Boom generation is a 1960s-era snapshot of an exuberant, long-haired, rebellious young adult. That portrait wasn’t entirely accurate even then, but it’s hopelessly out of date now. This famously huge cohort of Americans finds itself in a funk as it approaches old age. On January 1, 2011, the oldest Baby Boomers will turn 65. Every day for the next 19 years, about 10,000 more will cross that threshold. By 2030, when all Baby Boomers will have turned 65, fully 18% of the nation’s population will be at least that age, according to Pew Research Center population projections. Today, just 13% of Americans are ages 65 and older.
Perched on the front stoop of old age, Baby Boomers are more downbeat than other age groups about the trajectory of their own lives and about the direction of the nation as a whole.
Some of this pessimism is related to life cycle – for most people, middle age is the most demanding and stressful time of life. 1 Some of the gloominess, however, appears to be particular to Boomers, who bounded onto the national stage in the 1960s with high hopes for remaking society, but who’ve spent most of their adulthood trailing other age cohorts in overall life satisfaction.
At the moment, the Baby Boomers are pretty glum. Fully 80% say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today, compared with 60% of those ages 18 to 29 (Millennials); 69% of those ages 30 to 45 (Generation Xers) and 76% of those 65 and older (the Silent and Greatest Generations), according to a Pew Research Center survey taken earlier this month.
In recent years, there has been a great and growing interest in measuring educational quality in the Ontario postsecondary education sector (PSE). Colleges and universities are interested in quality measures for academic planning purposes. Reliable indicators would allow them to identify effective educational practices as well as areas for improvement and to develop strategies in the hopes of improving educational experiences for students. The government is interested for accountability reasons. Quality has become an increasingly prominent focus of the McGuinty government, which seeks not only to increase the number of PSE graduates in the province but also to ensure the quality of degrees being awarded. Robust quality measures could be used to monitor individual institutional performance and to address issues at the sector level. Reliable and comparable provincial-level quality indicators could provide answers to questions such as how the Ontario PSE system is doing compared to other jurisdictions. The problem, however, is that educational quality cannot be easily defined, measured or assessed. Traditional quality indicators consist of two types: input measures (e.g., student-faculty ratio, class size, operating revenue per student) and outcome measures (e.g., retention rate, graduation rate, employment rate). Many researchers have argued that the focus on input measures and the oversimplified use of output measures may create a misleading picture of the quality of PSE in Ontario. Using input measures as quality indicators ignores the substantial differences in the effectiveness with which
institutions use available resources. Using output measures as quality indicators ignores the fact that universities differ from one another in terms of mission, size, location and student composition.
This study investigates the validity, within an Ontario college, of the U.S.-based Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) benchmarks of effective educational practices, formally referred to as the Model of Effective Educational Practices (MEEP). MEEP factors include active and collaborative learning; student effort, academic challenge, studentfaculty
interaction, and support for learners. The validity of CCSSE was explored for this study through analysis of the model fit of MEEP and analysis of its correlations and capacity to predict five academic outcomes based on a sample of Ontario students that completed CCSSE during the Winter 2009 semester. Results of the analyses reveal that MEEP exhibits good model fit and that three of the five benchmarks were consistently correlated with the five selected academic outcomes (self-reported GPA, semester GPA, cumulative GPA, cumulative credit completion ratio, and percentage of courses completed with a grade of 70 per cent or higher). After controlling for subject characteristics, two of the five benchmarks, active and collaborative learning and academic challenge were identified as predictors of most of the academic outcomes.
Over the past few decades, Canadaâ€™s labour requirements have changed drasticallyâ€”from a need for physical labourers to a need for knowledge workersâ€”as a result of changes in economic and social conditions that have included advances in information and communication technologies, globalization of economic activity and shifting demographics. Consequently, employers and firms are increasingly seeking skilled workers with a more sophisticated array of capabilities. Of recent concern, the current global recession has led to the deterioration of labour-market conditions in Canada and worldwide, profoundly affectingâ€”through increased vulnerability to unemploymentâ€”the economic and social well-being of families and communities across Canada. Canadaâ€™s economic strength, as in other countries, depends on its ability to develop a skilled and flexible workforce, capable of adapting to continuous change. While Canadaâ€™s formal education is of a high standard, it alone cannot provide the conditions needed to secure the development of Canadaâ€™s talentâ€”its human infrastructure*â€”which is a necessary element of our countryâ€™s future prosperity. Against this backdrop, Securing Prosperity through Canadaâ€™s Human Infrastructure, CCLâ€™s secondâ€ report on the state of adult learning and workplace training in Canada, demonstrates that investments in human infrastructureâ€”both in times of economic uncertainty and relative prosperityâ€”are critical to securing a strong economy and greater social equity.
The Getting Online (GO) Project, funded by the federal (Canadian) Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES, formerly the National Literacy Secretariat), commenced in May 2007. The project was to assess the potential in Canada of technology-based professional development (PD) for literacy instructors and coordinators working actively with adults, a group chronically under-funded for PD, but eager to communicate with each other and to acquire more preparation in their jobs. The projectâ€™s fi rst
phase addressed the need for current information on literacy workersâ€™ general experiences with online PD and related technologies, and their resulting attitudes toward this mode of learning. (In phase 2 of the GO Project, pilot training modules on the use of online tools and strategies were developed and pilot tested with literacy workers, as suggested by the survey results. More detailed information on the project is available from the website shown above.)
This research uses the Youth in Transition Survey, Reading Cohort to compare participation in postsecondary education (PSE)in Ontario to other Canadian regions. We begin by presenting access rates by region, which reveals some substantial differences. University participation rates in Ontario are in about the middle of the pack, while college rates are relatively high. We then undertake an econometric analysis, which reveals that the effects of parental income are quite strong in the Atlantic provinces but much weaker elsewhere, including within Ontario. We also find that the relationship between high school grades and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test scores (measures of academic performance and ability differ by region and are generally strongest in Ontario. From this perspective,Ontario would appear to have a relatively â€œmeritocraticâ€ system, where those who are more qualified are more likely to go to university and where attendance rates are less affected by family income. Interestingly, the effects of parental education, which are generally much stronger than those of family income, are similar across regions. Understanding the reasons underlying these patterns might warrant further investigation.
This research was funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), which also provided useful feedback throughout the project, but the authors retain all responsibility for the paper and opinions expressed therein. This work is based on earlier research carried out for the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation through the MESA project.
Remember how you felt during your first semester of teaching? Excited? Nervous? A little over-whelmed? At times you even might have wondered how the school could give you a job with so much responsibility and so little training. Now you're a seasoned educator making the move from faculty to dministration. And guess what? Youâ€™re excited, nervous, and a little overwhelmed. And, once again, you wonder how the school could give you a job with so much responsibility and so little training. Inadequate preparation, unrealistic expectations, and increased workload can create undue stress on faculty members making the transition to department chair or other levels of administration. This special report features 14 articles from Academic Leader newsletter that address many of the challenges faced by new leaders, from establishing a leadership style to redefining relationships with former peers. Here are some of the articles you will find in Academic Leadership Development: How to Make a Smooth Transition from Faculty to Administrator:
. look Before You Leap: Transitions from Faculty to Administration
. Translating Teaching Skills to Leadership Roles
. The First 1,000 Steps: Walking the Road from Academic to Administrator
. Why New Department Chairs Need Coaching
. 10 Recommendations toward Effective Leadership
This report will help new administrators navigate the potential minefields and find their voice when it comes to leading effectively. It also may remind experienced leaders what it was like that first year in hopes that they might reach out to help make someone elseâ€™s transition a little easier.