* For how long is our institutional data kept at third-party host?
Seeing as how the value increases over time because students and alumni are able to connect on all the data they share, we aim to have that data within the application permanently. Under contract of course! We could host on your systems, if it makes you feel more comfortable. However, over the past ten years there have been dramatic advances in server/hosting technology. We recommend using a top of the line host, and we can provide that for you.
* What are the intellectual property (of students) considerations?
At this moment, we have no e-portfolio capabilities. It is worth noting that students are sharing all sorts of data and work on the internet freely.
* How often would our enrollment data be updated at third-party host?
As often as you can support. We take batch exports from older systems, and we’re the market leader in real-time integrations according to the LIS specification by IMS Global.
* Will advertising be served? How?
Seeing as how we are attempting to “license” the application and support, advertising at the moment would be inappropriate. An ad network would have to be student organization driven, and there would have to be a revenue share with both the campus and with publishing student organizations. This is a year or more off, however. Right now, no advertising. We have to be careful, if this is even something we want to pursue.
Currently, a company called Chegg (Netflix for textbooks) is willing to fully sponsor any campus that wants to use our application but doesn’t have the budget. This would mean that each course would have its book list link directly to Chegg. However, this is only at the campus’ request. We’ve also got interest for affiliate programs with CourseSmart and ScanR.
* Is there a difference between a person’s regular Facebook profile and their Schools profile?
The facebook profile is only shared with “friends” on facebook and contains dynamic content of a personal nature. Students don’t necessarily want to “friend” all their classmates and reveal all of that personal information, but through activating their Schools profile they can share campus relevant data such as course memberships and affiliations with organizations, greek life, dorms, and departments. This kind of profile will help to accelerate community between classmates that aren’t yet comfortable with the “facebook friend” designation.
* Can any members of a class get to other classmates regular profiles without being a friend?
Any classmate or person who shares an affiliation can get to the Schools profile with campus relevant information, but not to the Facebook profile.
* How would FERPA exceptions be handled in the application?
This is a great question, and we’ve given this more than considerable thought. We’ve designed our application for various level’s of “opt-in” permissions, so there is no indication that we are not 100% FERPA compliant. So, as far as we know, there are no exceptions.
Instructional and Business Process
* What is our process for choosing which “cool new” tool/service to try or adopt?
We’re interested in this as well. Incidentally, I’ve been writing an article for On the Horizon about disrupting the higher ed products and services market. I’ve been interviewing VCs, and they all think Higher Ed would be a much more desirable market if there a way to speedily get decisions made about purchases. I’d be happy to discuss ideas around this. One thing is for sure, the more the process is streamlined and fast-tracked across campuses the more the market will see innovation.
* What are the implications if instructors participate? What if they do not?
Instructors will see a lot of value in “Facebook as Symbolic Interaction” (title of a presentation Susan Lewis and I are doing at the next New Media Consortium conference in Second Life). However, its certainly not mandatory. If it was, some professors would be less than happy. It’s a tool that has significant value, but we don’t want any top-down mandates for instructor participation.
* Could our institutional participation in Schools somehow help teach students how to best manage their “public face” (online profiles and info)?
I think so. It would automatically mean more prudent choices in profile pic, and would certainly generate discussion on how older generations are using the social web to get an impression on job applications, etc, in addition to the long term ramifications of creating a reputation that gets carried with you even after school. One would hope that the moral of these conversations would be that students should always be putting their best foot forward.
* Should we consider this a student-only tool? Just at first or for how long? Do we let instructors or TA’s in?
If that’s what your campus is comfortable with. It would be of value either way.
These notes were put together by Jill Chiang, Berkeley.
- In an all college survey, only about half the colleges were able to identify an individual responsible for coordinating retention strategies (51.7%) and have established an improvement goal for retention of students from the first to second year (47.2%). Only 33.1% have established a goal for improved degree completion.
- Those specifically responsible for retention (had the term retention, the term enrollment, or the terms student affairs, student services, student development or student success included in the title made up 21.5%, 15.8%, and 19.8% respectively)
- The most, 29.1% included the terms Director, Coordinator, or Executive Director included in the title.
- Institutions are more likely to attribute attrition to students characteristics than they are to attribute attrition to institutional characteristics.
- Institutional characteristics (only 2 factors reported back): amount of financial aid available and student-institution fit
- Student characteristics (13 factors reported back):including lack of motivation to succeed, inadequate financial resources, inadequate preparation for college, and poor study skills
- Retention practices responsible for the greatest contribution to retention:
- First year programs – freshman seminar/university 101 for credit, learning communities, integration of academic advising with first year programs
- Freshman seminar/university 101 for credit: Only offered by 13.1%
- Academic advising – advising interventions with select students, more advising staff, integration of advising with first year transition programs, academic advising centers, and centers that have both academic advising with career and life planning
- Advising intervention with select students: 12.6%
- Learning support: a comprehensive learning assistance center/lab, reading center/lab, supplemental instruction, required remedial/development coursework
- Tutoring program: 13.1%
- Mandated course placement testing program: 10.7%
- Comprehensive learning assistance center/lab: 10.4%
- The remaining practices were cited by less than 10% of all colleges
- First year programs – freshman seminar/university 101 for credit, learning communities, integration of academic advising with first year programs
- The top institutional factors making the greatest contribution to attrition (on a scale of 1 to 5) ranked highest among Financial Aid, Student-Institution Fit, Student Involvement, Social Environment, and Curriculum (least included Personal Counseling Services, Admission Practices/Requirements, Quality of Teaching)
- Student Characteristics making the greatest contribution to student attrition ranked highest in: Lack of Motivation to Succeed (Lack of Educational inspirations and goals), Inadequate Financial Resources, Inadequate Preparation For College-Level Work, and Poor Study Skills. Health Problems and Poor Social Integration were among the lowest.
- Most college integration services were : tutoring programs, academic clubs, instructional use of technology, individual career counseling service, orientation services
- Least were Freshmen Seminar/University 101, Study Groups, Social Skills Course/Program, Community Member Mentoring
- The top program with the Greatest Impact on Retention happened to be the least offered college integration services – Freshman Seminar/University 101
- Recommendations from the ACT:
- Designate a visible individual to coordinate a campus-wide planning team
- Conduct a systematic analysis of the characteristics of your students
- Who are our students?
- What differentiates students who stay from students who leave?
- Look at demographics, academic performance, academic plans, non-academic variables, self-reported needs, student opinions and attitudes
- Focus on the nexus of student characteristics and institutional characteristics
- Carefully review high-impact strategies identified through the survey (first year programs, academic advising, learning support)
- Do not make first to second year retention strategies the sole focus of planning team efforts
- Establish realistic short-term and long-term retention, progression, and completion goals
- Orchestrate the Change Progress
- Composition of the planning team
- Frequent reports to and input from the entire campus community
- Provide proof of concept in support of planning team recommendations
- Implement, Measure, Improve
Recently the problem of student attrition has been presented to me as something our Facebook solution might impact. So, I’ve been digging. By far the best read on this are written by Joseph Cuseo, a professor of Psychology at Marymount College. I’m going to highlight some of his points about retention and brick-and-mortar solutions.
First, it’s a big problem. 25% attrition at four year universities, 50% at two year universities. At some schools, each lost student is tens of thousands of dollars of revenue.
Retention is more cost effective to address than recruitment, it can can cost as little as 1/5 the cost of recruiting a new student. If a school is trying to improve its bottom line, it’s easier to focus on retention.
Advising programs that structure, recruit, train and incentivize outstanding advisors have greater success rates than those that are simply voluntary.
Good advising improves retention by 25% over “poor advising” and 40% over no advising.
Contact with faculty outside the classroom is the single biggest determinant of student satisfaction with their institution.
Here are some recommendations by Joe:
- Provide strong incentives and rewards for advisors to engage in high-quality advisin
- Strengthen advisor orientation, training, and development, and deliver them as essential components of the institution’s faculty/staff development program.
- Faculty are probably least prepared when it comes to academic advising; this can be solved by professional development programs before they enter the programs
- Assess and evaluate the quality of academic advisement.
Maintain advisee-to-advisor ratios that are small enough to enable delivery of personalized advising
- Provide strong incentives for students to meet regularly with their advisors
- Identify highly effective advisors and “front load” them—i.e., position them at the front (start) of the college experience to work with first-year students, particularly first-year students who may be “at risk” for attrition.
- Include advising effectiveness as one criterion for recruiting and selecting new faculty.
Cuseo, Joseph. Fiscal Benefits of Student Retention and First-Year Retention Initiatives
Cuseo, Joseph. Academic Advisement and Student Retention: Empirical Connections & System Interventions
A study recently published by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) revealed the near-embarrassing fact that twenty percent of students enrolled in 4-year institutions and thirty percent of students enrolled in 2-year institutions do not have the basic skills for post-secondary education or employment. Students surveyed could not understand basic computations, nor could they understand basic documents. Students’ crucial knowledge base is still lacking, and this should not be news to any educator.
The cost in real dollars of the failure of our education system is staggering. Right now, I want to bring attention to the most direct cost: remediation at the college level. In a current report, Diploma to Nowhere, by Strong American Schools, students’ educational shortcomings result in up to $2.89 billion spent on remedial courses, mainly in math and English. Fifty percent of 4-year students seventy-five percent of 2-year students could not even test to a proficient level of literacy.
Placement in remedial courses is often shocking to students – 95% of remedial students reported completing most or all their work in high school, and most of these students had high school GPAs of above 3.0 and were enrolled in AP courses. As this signals an urgent need for genuine college preparation in high school, colleges should be preparing to accommodate these students as well.
There are wrong approaches to trying to turn this around. Investing more money into these initiatives proved ineffective ten years ago , and the purse will prove to be the wrong approach today. High schools are currently attempting to require high school exit exams in an attempt to ensure the readiness of their students. However, this issues falls back on the low expectations of their students, as the Center on Education Policy points out that many of the high school exit exams test at a 10th grade level. Elisabeth Barnett points out that high school exit exams and colleges require different things.
Support must come from internal focus and effective innovation at both the high school and college level. High schools must focus on challenging their students through rigorous and higher-order activities while raising their expectations of their students’ academics through difficult work rather than empty rhetoric. Speaking of, I’m working here internally to open source my College Readiness Curriculum, so I’ll speak more on that as it arises.
This problem is getting more and more costly, and I’m only talking about the direct costs. The externalities (sagging skill base in the work force, a culture of ignorance, college dropouts, etc) are far more costly and incalculable. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) in 1995, 35-40% of students in 2-year public institutions had to enroll in remedial courses. Today, that number is 43%. The same students – minorities, low-income students, and first-generation students – still make up the majority of the group. We must absolutely rally around this disappointing news. Innovators in this area please get in touch.
I met up with one of my friends at Facebook yesterday and he told me he and the rest of the company had been celebrating Facebook hitting 100Million users all day. Zuckerberg took everyone out to a lawn in Palo Alto and gave a Jobsian “100M users isn’t just a company, its a movement” type of speech. Here’s an article with Dave Morin tweeting the news.
I post this because there are still some people in Higher Ed or K-12 that think Facebook is a fad, or that Facebook is for kids, or that students will jump ship as soon as adults get on. Facebook’s fastest growing segment in the US is those over 35. Some days they get .5 million new users a day. Facebook will be bigger than Myspace in about a month or two, and it is infinitely more scalable and usable. The site has engagement and retention rates that beats the absolute pants off of any other site on the web. Facebook is not going anywhere. Hands down.