The Most Innovative Universities (according to the US News)

Screenshot 2015-09-29 14.00.14

In spring 2015, U.S. News asked top college officials to identify institutions in their Best Colleges ranking category that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. I am glad to see most of them are engineering schools! Review the list here.

Pres. Obama’s Plan to Lower Cost of College

President Obama announced the proposal on August 22 2013. Basically, the proposal aims at making colleges and universities more accountable and affordable by rating them, and, linking federal aid to educational outcomes. Ratings of would be based on tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend.

It would have been awesome if the ratings included learning outcomes assessments and alignment with regional/national economic development (industry) needs!

Three California Universities Awarded Grant to Spur Innovation

From the ASEE newsletter – Three universities – the University of California, Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and Stanford University – will work together to promote and commercialized innovative ideas. The NSF money will help the schools develop new ideas and get them quickly to market.

San Francisco Business Times

Teaching and Measuring ‘Global Learning’

Living up to its name, Florida International University’s is requiring all students to take 2 courses aimed at these outcomes related to global learning:

  • Global perspective: the ability to view the world from multiple perspectives
  • Global awareness: knowledge of the interconnectedness of issues, trends, and systems
  • Global engagement: willingness to address local, global, international, and intercultural issues

The article also discusses ways the university plans to measure these. Worth reading.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

Defining “internationalization” (CHE)

For some regions/countries it means synchronizing countries’ university-degree systems and internationalizing the curriculum. For others it means the bringing in foreign students and sending students overseas, and, the recruitment of foreign faculty. According to the author of this article in the US internationalization means studying abroad and the establishment of high-profile branch campuses; and in Britain, the international focus has been centered on the recruitment of overseas students (now increasingly turning to business and research links).

What is your definition?

Read the article at

Do You Know What are MOOCs and How They Can Affect Higher Education?

I have to be honest… when an HP colleague with tremendous knowledge and experience in higher education and teaching/learning mentioned the word ‘MOOC’ I did not know what he was talking about. So, humbly I asked. He said, what is revolutionzing higher education now. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses, a form of distance education that is offered free of charge or at very low fees. These courses started only a couple of years ago (you may have heard about them through my blog posts or the media). MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard and Purdue courses are some universities offering MOOCs.  More recently, a number of MOOC-type projects have emerged independently, such as Coursera (a for profit spinn-off from Stanford), Udacity (a private educational organization), edX (a not for profit spinn-off of MIT and Harvard). The prominence of these projects’ founders, contributing institutions, and financial investment helped MOOCs gain significant public attention in 2012.

So, what does this mean for higher education? To me, it means, for one, that higher education programmatic and business models have started to change (finally, after hundreds of years!). The most important stakeholder in higher education, the learner, wants a learner-centric education using technology. It also means that higher education will be serving more than a handful of students,  finally enhancing its role in society by making it more accessible to thousands, millions, not to benefit themselves.

Yet, there are many unanswered questions regarding this new emerging model: How will students develop the skill (not the knowledge) necessary for the job they will undertake? How will these courses be accredited by the home institution? How will student learning be assessed? Can all courses be offered this way?  Can whole degrees be completed with MOOCs? What will the role of faculty be? Universities? Experiential learning? How will research be done? How will industry value the new learning models and its outcomes?….

I don’t think MOOCs will go away, so stay tune for more developments and the answer to these issues!

American and German Universities Benchmark Each Other

CHE – American-German Universities and Austerity Nov 12-2012Very interesting read, as both countries excel at developing excellent talent to move their economies… But confirms that the traditional higher education model is bound to evolve sooner than later due to high costs (as highlighted in this article) in addition to the need for accessibility and the availability of technologies.