Peter Smith, an Education Visionary and Global Academic Leader has created a dynamic and insightful series on Using IT to Increase Educational Effectiveness. An insightful series from a seasoned education innovator.
Peter P. Smith’s career in and out of higher education has not followed the straight and narrow. Amid forays into politics (as a member of Congress and Lieutenant Governor of Vermont) and international affairs (Assistant Director General of UNESCO), Smith has been a higher education innovator, helping to found the statewide Community College of Vermont in 1970 and serving for 10 years as founding president of California State University’s Monterey Bay campus, beginning in 1995. In those jobs and his current one, as senior vice president for academic strategies and development at Kaplan Higher Education, Smith has pushed existing colleges and universities to better serve the adults and other students who have been least well served by traditional higher education. In his new book, Harnessing America’s Wasted Talent: A New Ecology of Learning (Jossey-Bass) reach deeper into its population than it historically has to produce a sufficient number of educated and skilled workers, and that the thousands of current colleges cannot do that job.
Using IT to Increase Educational Effectiveness Series
- Course level Assessments – is one of our answers to this emerging need at Kaplan. CLA measures student learning and informs our continuous academic improvement process with processes that have been developed to identify and assess learning outcomes. CLA measures student mastery of stated course level learning outcomes in an objective way. It is criterion-referenced, not norm-referenced.
- Curricular Matrixing– As students progress through their programs of study, their progress on achieving these outcomes is monitored. CLAs provide feedback to students, faculty, and administration about specific knowledge and skills acquired by a student during the course of his or her education. We use this feedback to improve the quality of our courses and to support our faculty’s ability to improve the proportion of students who achieve proficiency and mastery.
- Personalized Services – is an online teacher-led or self-paced diagnostic program. Using a portfolio development approach with an independent third-party evaluation of credit claimed, KNEXT provides a comprehensive assessment of learning gleaned from prior life experience. Enrolled students are actively encouraged to make use of all prior learning – degrees and certificates earned, past college experience, professional seminars, and applicable work and life experience.
- The Frog and the Scorpion – Will you let me ride on your head as you cross this river?” asks the scorpion. “But why, Mr. Scorpion, should I trust that you won’t sting me when we get to the other side?” asked the frog. “Because”, said the scorpion, I give you my word and also, if there are threats en route, I can scare them away, assuring your safe passage”.
- When the Tide Goes out – I have heard it said that …”it is only when the tide goes out that you see who isn’t wearing a bathing suit”. And the current economic situation with downward pressure on Pell grants, dropping state appropriations, sagging endowments for those lucky enough to have them, and massive unemployment certainly qualifies as “the tide going out”. Here’s what the “no bathing suit” picture looks like.
- Higher Education is being Called to the Table – while expanding opportunity to previously un-served populations. There are fairly simple, and practical ways to do just that, including the California Completion Coalition that I proposed in an earlier blog. The interesting thing is that using the strengths of technology and social networking, we can, together, offer cost-effective solutions to this problem that leave the publicly financed institutions filled to capacity while assuring that other students have the opportunity to access and graduate from college as well.
Peter P. Smith at Kaplan Graduation
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