metaCAMPUS MOOA White Paper – Available in April, 2014.

Bellevue, WA – 3/26/2014

On the heels of its recent success with submitting its first Small Business Innovation Research grant, provided through the US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, metaCAMPUS hopes to accelerate its progress toward developing the first globally marketable MOOA solution by designing and delivering its new corporate landing page, international affiliate pages, and the founding of its non-profit arm, the metaCAMPUS Policy Institute for competency based learning advocacy.

We will also be providing a public white paper for those people who might be interested in doing some light reading. The white paper will be a revised version of the metaCAMPUS SBIR grant submission, and will discuss the unique market opportunity to develop the metaCAMPUS MOOA network.

If you or someone you know has an interest in our grant submission, please fill out the form below or contact us by emailing info@metacampus.com:

metaCAMPUS, Experience API & Assessment Based Learning via Standards of Competency

Bellevue, WA  – 2/3/2014

To all you football fans, Go Hawks! Now on to things that are more important…

When we came into 2014, online education seemed to be on a precipice. MOOCs seemed to have some momentum.

Coursera had just announced a global expansion of its curriculum providers. Some basic business models  evolved. Coursera began to make revenue from its “verified certificates” and grew to over $1 million in annual sales. The future seemed bright when the accrediting bodies seemed at a phase where they were coming to understand competency based education, assessment and continuous improvement (which are much needed core competency knowledge bases to be learned from the private and “for-profit” sector). What happened to all that noise? Are we further along, falling behind? The truth is, no one really knows how to measure education except by budgets or by profits. And so it goes…

The tightening noose of venture capital began to have its sway on young MOOC companies in the transition to 2014. Other than “sequenced certificates” the year stayed mostly quiet for MITx, which followed after Coursera once it had showed verified certificates to be a viable business model; but probably the greatest shocker was: Sebastian Thrun announcing  the departure of Udacity from higher education.

The “god father of online education” could it be that you are frustrated with the system?  Is corporate training and professional development truly the path to follow? Would you follow the way of your local community college CE & Extended Studies department? The battle there is even more difficult – you compete with budget from the academics… who eat up fat contracts from legacy ERP’s that aren’t compatible with the web, with no basis in embracing the web, being open and available for web services etc. So what of corporate and customized training departments? How are they supposed to compete, or are they a dying breed?

The truth is, online education is still missing one big piece. How to differentiate itself when it comes to quality against the brick-and-mortar institution. How does a public online education business create a culture of continuous improvement for itself and in the broader context of the  higher education academy? Does that mean you accept standards? IACEE Standardized Score Cards? Is an international body part of the solution?

One thing seems clear. If we were to implement a common model and framework across all institutions to be able to accept and share tokens of branded worth that could cross reference the student learning outcomes to the curriculum of other such sources we would be closer to solving for the complicated technological challenges of articulation and transfer of students across State  and intra-State lines, as well as streamline a variety of other data driven, value adding capabilities like accreditation review, program review & assessment, etc.

In order to accomplish this, you would need to:

1. Define standards for competency in a mix of programs,

2. Define specific student learning outcomes you might be able to tie an assessment to,

3. Index the student learning outcomes against the courses and programs within an institution,

4. Index this against all institutions within a State,

5. Index multiple States.

6. Tie Student Learning Outcomes to tokens that can be synced with a unique Student ID

7. Allow the Student to be able accept those tokens into their own Store or Backpack

8. Students can Share Outcomes from their Store or Backpack to other sources.

Please use the contact form below for more information:

metaCAMPUS launches Admin Gateway Management Service

Bellevue, WA – January 19, 2014

metaCAMPUS launches its soon to be administrative gateway service for access to verified student competency data into development. admin.metacampus.com will use Windows Azure active directory technology to create a single-sign-on interface to seamlessly connect with institutional and corporate single sign-on implementations.

metaCAMPUS LLP is excited to announce this new addition to its growing suite of nimble, web-based, service applications.

metaCAMPUS sets up Student Account & Mobile App Services

Bellevue, WA January, 18, 2014

metaCAMPUS LLP leverages Windows Azure, Visual Studio 2013 environment to place metaCAMPUS Student Account and metaCAMPUS mobile applications into development. In the future these can be found at:

http://student.metacampus.com

http://mobile.metacampus.com

metaCAMPUS, MOOC’s and the transition to MOOA’s

While MOOC’s have taken the educational discourse of the United States by storm over the last several years and most significantly in recent months, many still consider them to be an outlier to the core educational infrastructure. While we can say now with a fair amount of confidence that MOOC’s are not going away, there is a coming period of transition to the development of a mature MOOC business model and a period of transition to acceptance of MOOC’s as part of a new normal in higher education.

Katy Murphy’s recent article for the Oakland Tribune puts the “pulse of the industry” into perspective very well; as the California State University System, recently unveiled a ‘radical’ new plan for online courses approving 30 online courses for credit across its institutions. Of course we have to leave it up to Jerry Brown to save the day…

“CSU’s new cross-campus course option is just the kind of experiment Gov. Jerry Brown has been prodding California’s public colleges and universities to try, arguing that smart use of technology could help more students get into and through college. It was funded from $17 million in state money originally earmarked for online education, Uhlenkamp said.”

The article is indicative that this is the beginning of a transition for cutting through some of the traditional bureaucratic structures that exist within our national academy, invariably leading to public waste and mismanagement. As a nation the United States spends the most per capita on our education systems out of all the 22 OECD countries, yet we don’t nearly get the same return on investment as countries like Japan or Germany which rank much higher in educational outcomes and student success (particularly in STEM). There are figures floating around that only between 45 and 55 percent of our national education budget ends up directly impacting student learning.

The internet has always been called “the great equalizer” and our academies need to start leveraging it for administration. A big part of the reason why only half the funding gets down to the student is because we don’t. Our infrastructure, meaning our IT and bureaucratic support systems simply is not set up to track and gauge the effectiveness of instruction and the learning outcomes of our students, yet the market, including corporations, government agencies and other would be employers is desperately asking for this kind of approach.

Further, the technology that we do have, is based on legacy, server-based technologies that offer limited interaction with the web, and fail to take advantage of the huge economies of scale that are available.

So while MOOC’s still have a way to go, the environment seems to be right for the onset of MOOA’s or massively open online systems for administration, and that means the use and implementation of new technologies, as well as a foundational focus on student success and outcome based measures of effectiveness.

This is exactly what the metaCAMPUS SIS and IWD web-based solutions are designed to achieve. You can find more about this topic in the metaCAMPUS post on “Technology and the Foundations of Governance in Higher Education”, by contacting the metaCAMPUS team at info@metacampus.com or by completing the form below.

We look forward to hearing from you.

What is metaCAMPUS?

metaCAMPUS is a collaboration that began in November of 2012 as a result of several organizations getting together and rallying around a common cause and belief; that through our joint efforts, we could revolutionize the way our country approaches the academic experience and how people gain value from the credentials they strive for in the lifelong learning process.

metaCAMPUS is a collaboration that began in November of 2012

The immediate result of our dialogue was the revolutionary notion that the academic process is a workflow that is conceived in the curricular processes of an institution, and grows into to the establishment of learning outcomes and competency based objectives defined to specific curricular sets, that then are packaged and delivered to the student. There are many statistics being passed around about the growing “crisis in education”, and there are many external forces acting on the system. One of those statistics is that only 19% of today’s college students fit within the traditional 18-22 year old student demographic.

Only 19% of today’s college students are between 18 and 22 years old

The majority of students in college are working adults. They are parents, often juggling two jobs and a family, trying to get ahead. These are people searching for a way to retrain for their second, third or fourth career in the new economy; and each of the parts of the academic process, from curriculum, to delivery need to change to meet changing demands of our society and the demographic of people attending our national academy.

The mission of metaCAMPUS is to promote, develop and support corporate, academic and government technology partnerships

Given each of our core competencies, we found ourselves in a unique position to be able to effect drastic change upon the marketplace and the industry. So we came up with the metaCAMPUS model; which represents the metamorphosis that our institutions need in order to adapt and survive in the 21st century economy.

In many ways the academy is going the way of the music industry or the newspaper industry before it. Brick and mortar schools aren’t going away soon; but in the future, they will fade into the background while more nimble, accountability driven organizations take their place on what people think to be the cutting edge and on the world stage of higher education. Our local community colleges, liberal arts schools, or religious colleges will face being drowned out of the market in the same way we lost the voice of the local papers and private record labels; but with the right strategy, the right digital strategy, they will still have their place and will continue to provide great service to our society.

The mission of metaCAMPUS is to promote, develop and support corporate, academic and government technology partnerships in the time of this great transition to a digital academic era. In many ways this transition has already begun; and we are seeing the start of that with the MOOC movement. metaCAMPUS exists to level the playing field in our nation’s academy and to provide a guiding light in uncertain times.We accomplish this through direct collaboration with academic, corporate and government stakeholders in understanding their needs and providing solutions that are tailored to the specific challenges we see being faced by these groups.

The first of these challenges is in understanding the appropriate infrastructure to support competency based learning. The second is to understand the training and employment needs of corporations and to share this data across relevant organizations like the department of labor and academic institutions to then be able to develop relevant curriculum programs designed around the needs of the workforce. The third is to be able to reach and engage students online about these programs and to provide an interface by which they would be able to share their learning data across these different stakeholder groups in a verified, certifiable way.

The metaCAMPUS suite of solutions is designed to accomplish each of these goals; and our team would be happy to share more about what our partner organizations are doing to promote and develop our unique corporate, academic and government partnerships that will make the metamorphosis of higher education a reality.

Contact our team below for more information regarding metaCAMPUS projects.

Technology and the Foundations of Governance in Higher Education

By George Artem for  metaCAMPUS – with a reference to the “Soul” of Higher Education.

Recent articles and heated discussions in academic circles have perpetuated a common perception about a growing crisis in American higher education. Evidenced by the wunderkind pace of the MOOC Movement, our industry is facing disruptive innovation the likes of which it has never seen before. In a book titled “The Idea of the Digital University, Ancient Traditions, Disruptive Technologies and the Battle for the Soul of Higher Education,” author Dr. Frank McCluskey excellently documents the rapid and unprecedented changes in traditional classrooms and institutions.

A quake of external forces is shaking the age-old foundations of the University, and the hallowed ground of academia has evolved into what we might now call the “higher education business.”  This article synopsizes the transformational trends of our diverse national academy and attributes them to several major forces affecting what many now refer to as the higher education business:

1)      The growth of a professional management class within institutions raised by the growing complexity of institutional operations and a trend away from faculty governance;

2)       Increasingly digital classrooms, team based review and assessment of instructional delivery; and

3)      The rising cost of higher education, growth and proliferation of alternatives and overall competitiveness of the bachelor’s degree.

As a result, three distinctive models of institutional governance have emerged – the Teacher-Centered Model, the Bureaucracy-Centered Model and the Learning-Centered model. In totality, the goals of an academy are to break new ground for the development of knowledge through research, to insure academic freedom for its faculty, and to illuminate a brighter future for its constituents. Each of the governance models above effect the ability of an institution to fulfill each of these goals and provide the right value mix for its diverse stakeholders.

Evolving models of governance in higher education

The Teacher-Centered (T) model of governance, a model under which most American universities were established, has been the standard since faculty guilds were first introduced to the world through the very first universities.  In the T model, faculty are in control of institutional operations; each department chair has the last word when it comes to questions or decisions related to their area of expertise, and the professoriate is free to teach their students with little oversight or interference from administration. While the main advantage of the T model is its inherent ability to preserve academic freedom for faculty, the drawbacks are related to the faculty’s effectiveness in certifying the competency of their students and in defining specific, measurable learning outcomes based on the needs of the community they serve.

With the advent of the digital classroom, the T model is eroding. New tools made available to us by the digital revolution enable institutions to gather data about the efficacy of professors lectures, assignments and the overall competency of their constituents in any given student learning objectives. Professors no longer lecture behind closed doors in lecture halls, accountable only to the students in attendance. The new technology increases transparency, and the potential for mass scrutiny.

In the Bureaucracy-Centered (B) model of Governance, management principles and “operational efficiencies” are favored over the more conservative, faculty-centric, approach. While there is still a structural hierarchy within academic departments, and departmental chairs remain important to the institution’s mission, faculty needs are often secondary to the institution’s objectives and administrative mandates related to scheduling, registration, and accounting. We often find this kind of model at community colleges or community college systems that are governed by a district or other parent entity. Here, the business managers define the mission and direction of the institution – ergo the term “higher education business.” While the goals of a B model institution are to be efficient and grow top and bottom lines, the bureaucracy is often self-serving, quantifies enrollment and pays less attention to measured student learning outcomes. The digital revolution provides tools to measure these things, but the bureaucracy often does not understand what needs to be measured.  As a result, the B model is often driven by a “feed the machine” mentality.

The Learning-Centered (L) model of governance, on the other hand, presents a compromise of both the B and T models.  The L model is fostered through the collaboration of faculty and management groups, making the goals of the students the central focus of the institution while also maintaining the academy’s other core responsibilities to academic freedom and research.  In an institution governed by the L model, academic freedoms are maintained; the professoriate is open to the review and assessment of its lectures and teaching methods based off relevant data.  Additionally, the costs are corralled, and the value of the education is assured through a system of constant improvement that can be based off empirical, competency-based evidence of performance.

The role of technology in Teacher, Bureaucracy and Learning centered models of governance

So while we know about the tools that have been implemented to support higher education in the last quarter century, during the growth of the B model, we don’t yet know what kind of tools might be used to support the still evolving L model, nor have we ascertained the role technology should play in these kinds of student-centered institutions.

We do know that B model technology grew out of the complex business and operational requirements of the academy. The use simple of operational abstractions of systems like Six Sigma, or JIT (Just In Time) management, which equate classrooms to widgets on complex assembly lines, have missed the mark completely when it comes to assessing the efficacy of faculty and their responsibility to their students. Technology vendors developed a plethora of software modules to support a fundamentally flawed workflow that links student records with financial aid, bursar, registration and scheduling functions, such that it forgets about tracking or connecting with the goals and outcomes expected by the student.  B model technology, the modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, feeds the machine.

Where B model technology lacks insight is in a broader understanding of the institutional process and the diverse goals of any given institution. Here, the main point is that L model technology needs to be flexible in a way that will allow institutions to embrace the forces driving the digital transformation in higher education. Additionally, L technology needs to be cost effective, and needs to support the workflow related to the student-centric goals of the institution. This workflow starts with the faculty process of assignment and approval of curriculum and accreditation, where student-learning objectives are defined, while scheduling, registration and financial functions remain distinctly separate from or secondary to this essential process.

Tracking student achievement and progression towards degrees should be the central tenant of any educational institution, while adapting to and even facilitating the divergence of educational models should be of primary concern when applying technological infrastructure. Fortunately, with the emergence of new technology supporting the transformation of modern education models, even age-old academic institutions can seamlessly adapt to modern trends while adhering to high academic standards and improving student outcomes.

To take advantage of the modern technology and remain competitive in the ever-changing business of education, institutions must be willing to let go of antiquated systems of governance, embrace the advent of global connectivity and adapt to increasing demand for accessible, transparent and effective educational offerings. Doing so will change the perception of crisis to one of opportunity that will ultimately shape the future of education.