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Synthesis 2013

Dartmouth Strategic Planning

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Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity

“While rigorously researched models are lacking, the review of the available literature suggested nine applications of online learning that are seen as possible pathways to improved productivity: 1) Broadening access in ways that dramatically reduce the cost of providing access to quality educational resources and experiences, particularly for students in remote locations or other situations where challenges such as low student enrollments make the traditional school model impractical; 2) Engaging students in active learning with instructional materials and access to a wealth of resources that can facilitate the adoption of research-based principles and best practices from the learning sciences, an application that might improve student outcomes without substantially increasing costs; 3) Individualizing and differentiating instruction based on student performance on diagnostic assessments and preferred pace of learning, thereby improving the efficiency with which students move through a learning progression; 4) Personalizing learning by building on student interests, which can result in increased student motivation, time on task and ultimately better learning outcomes; 5) Making better use of teacher and student time by automating routine tasks and enabling teacher time to focus on high-value activities; 6) Increasing the rate of student learning by increasing motivation and helping students grasp concepts and demonstrate competency more efficiently; 7) Reducing school-based facilities costs by leveraging home and community spaces in addition to traditional school buildings; 8) Reducing salary costs by transferring some educational activities to computers, by increasing teacher-student ratios or by otherwise redesigning processes that allow for more effective use of teacher time; and 9) Realizing opportunities for economies of scale through reuse of materials and their large-scale distribution.” "Understanding the Implications of Online Learning..." Dept. of Ed., Office of Ed. Technology, January 2012. Read article »

Community Colleges Struggle to Train Workers With Limited Funds

Community college directors report budgetary and political pressure to provide "quick fix" training without academic credit, rather than the long-term workforce development programs needed for fields such as allied health, engineering, and information technology. Supiano, Beckie, "Community Colleges Struggle to Train Workers With Limited Funds", Chronicle of Higher Education, December 21, Read article »

Like Ivies, Berkeley Adds Aid to Draw Middle-Class Students

To maintain economic diversity, UC Berkeley will offer support to families earning up to $140,000 a year. Family contribution will be limited to 15% of income. UC Berkeley is reputed to be the first large public institution to extend aid beyond merit scholarships for top students and aid to "poor" families. Median, Jennifer, "Like Ivies, Berkeley Adds Aid to Draw Middle-Class Students", New York Times online, December 14, 2011. Read article »

Questions of Quality

A draft study from Harvard shows that for-profit colleges are currently not as good as other types of colleges in areas such as employment outcomes, student satisfaction with academic offerings, debt levels and loan default rates, even after controlling for observable differences in populations who have attended different types of colleges. The draft study is available at http://www.frbatlanta.org/documents/news/conferences/11employment_education_demming.pdf Fain, Paul, "Questions of Quality", Inside Higher Ed, December 7, 2011. Read article »

The Obama Invite List

A list of those invited to meet with President Obama regarding college costs and productivity – representing state university systems and public colleges. "The Obama Invite List", Inside Higher Ed, December 5, 2011. Read article »

At White House Meeting on Affordability, a Call for Urgency, Innovation, and Leadership

"The take-away message from President Obama's private meeting with higher-education leaders on Monday was threefold: There needs to be a new sense of urgency on college affordability, there won't be a one-size-fits-all solution as policies will have to affect all sectors of higher education, and the country needs innovations and cost-management from colleges and leadership from state legislatures." Eaton, Collin, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 5, 2011 Read article »

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We want to scour the world to try to find those things that strike us as truly forward-looking. President Jim Yong Kim

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