Phil Hill, Jeanette Wiseman, Kevin Kelly and guests discuss the rapidly changing world of higher education. What impact with COVID-19 have on Fall 2020 term? What should we expect with online and hybrid models?
Episode 20: A Retrospective Look Forward
In this episode, Phil Hill, Jeanette Wiseman, and Kevin Kelly look back at 2020, identifying lessons learned, and look forward to 2021. Are there positive developments to expect?
* Phil Hill* Jeanette Wiseman* Kevin Kelly
Phil: Welcome to the last COVID Transitions podcast episode of the year. It’s been a very interesting year for us and I have enjoyed exploring the podcast area and working with you two. I’m Phil Hill and I’m here with Kevin Kelly and Jeanette Wiseman.
I guess the good news for listeners of the podcast, thanks to the pandemic, there is going to be more in 2021. Turns out this is not just a 2020 subject. The bad news is this is going to go at least until 2021, not the podcast, but the pandemic that we need to worry about. It’s great to talk to you two. Are you guys looking forward to the holidays?
Kevin and Jeanette: Yes.
With the year end, I wanted to do not quite one of the typical blog post year-in-review top 10. We’re not going to do that. I think it would be worthwhile that if we take a look back [00:01:00] at the year 2020, Covid and how it’s affected primarily higher education, but also K-12, and what we think we’re going to be looking for in 2021. What should we expect? This is somewhat of a retrospective look ahead podcast episode.
Let me get started with the question of as we look back at the full year, all the data we’ve reviewed about learning, about how to adapt, about enrollment, everything that we’ve covered and looked at. Let’s start with this. What strikes you as the biggest negative impact of COVID-19 on education, in general? We’ll start out negative because the pandemic is negative. Jeanette, if you just have to look back and say what’s the most negative thing, impact of Covid, what would you say it is?
Jeanette: I would say that the leaving behind [00:02:00] of students of need, either from an economic standpoint, from students of color, any child that had any kind of learning disability or challenge were not really served at all during the Covid transition to online, or not served as well I think.
Phil: One thing I would add to that is it seems to be a little bit different between K-12 and higher ed. In K-12, we’re getting much more of a learning loss type of view. That even if they’re in school underrepresented groups are having learning loss. Whereas in higher ed, it’s not quite as clear. It almost seems to be as much enrollment or I can’t participate in class at all. I don’t know if there’s a precise way to do it, but it seems like it varies depending on which level the students are on, how big the impact is.
Kevin: I would say that’s only [00:03:00] because the K-12 environment does formal testing and regular intervals. That’s something that you can gauge that learning loss pretty easily, whereas higher ed needs to wait for the end of term grades to come in. In the next couple of weeks we will actually be able to tell. The research that I’m doing with different community colleges and universities, we are collecting that data for the same issue that Jeanette raised, is the one that I would pick that equity issues that have been amplified by the pandemic are the the biggest takeaway for 2020.
With the oxymoron that you presented, a retrospective look ahead, Phil, we really need to think about how do we address those more comprehensively. We’ve already got the Cal State system talking ab...
Episode 19: The Covid Slide
In this episode, Phil Hill, Jeanette Wiseman, and Kevin Kelly discuss recent studies looking at student learning in K-12 during the pandemic.
* Phil Hill* Jeanette Wiseman* Kevin Kelly
* Reasons for Skepticism in K-12 Student Learning Report
Phil: Welcome to COVID Transitions, the podcast where we discuss the transition that higher education and even K-12 is going through due to the pandemic this year. I’m Phil Hill and again, I’m here with Kevin Kelly and Jeanette Wiseman. It’s great to talk to you guys yet again. Another somewhat difficult subject as we look at K-12 learning loss.
How are you guys doing? Jeanette?
Jeanette: Doing OK. You know, hanging in there.
Phil: You got the kids partially quiet for the podcast.
Jeanette: We’ll see.
Phil: Kevin, you’re all set up now that we got the repairman gone?
Kevin: He has done his work. He’s done it well. I’m ready to go.
Phil: Ok, great. Well, the topic we wanted to cover today is that we’re starting to see a lot of data roll in, particularly the K-12 level, looking at learning itself. How much are students not learning compared to what they would [00:01:00] have been expected to learn in a normal circumstance? Some people call this a learning loss or COVID slide. It’s basically saying how are students performing from a learning perspective compared to, say, last year or what we would have expected to do?
Initially we talked about doing this podcast because The Washington Post reported on data from the Fairfax County public schools, talking how across the board for middle school and high school, the number of F’s that students were getting for the first quarter were going up significantly. Then we also had some initial data from Illuminate, which they provide some assessment and data platforms as a vendor. They were looking at some of the data and what is the learning loss relative to the annual monthly growth they would have expected. Both of these [00:02:00] reported pretty significant learning losses, and that’s how we wanted to cover the podcast.
Since that time, we’ve had new data come in. In particular NWEA, which is another assessment company, they put out a report looking at 4.4 million students. Unfortunately, there is a pretty big caveat in what they presented. What was reported is the fact of yes, we’re seeing significant learning losses for math, particularly in the middle grades, and that we certainly have differences with different ethnic groups or English language learners. It also got reported that reading really hasn’t suffered significantly. I found that was a pretty flawed analysis that you can’t ignore or just tack on the caveat, but really called into question how serious is the learning loss?
We’ll put these in the show notes, by the way. [00:03:00]We also have a new report from Renaissance Learning Software Vendor that includes some assessment where they’re looking at learning, and they have a pretty comprehensive report. They’re showing significant losses as well. Then McKinsey, the management consulting firm, put out a report that largely relies on NWEA data.
The point is we’re getting a lot of new data looking at the learning loss.
Episode 18: Can’t Get Co(vid) Satisfaction
In this episode, Phil Hill, Jeanette Wiseman, and Kevin Kelly discuss signals we’re seeing and hearing about how the Spring 2021 term is likely to play out, including student survey results on whether courses are improving enough to keep them engaged and enrolled.
* Phil Hill* Jeanette Wiseman* Kevin Kelly
* Comparing Spring and Fall 2020 Results From Top Hat’s COVID-19 Student Surveys (Kevin, writing at PhilOnEdTech)
Phil: Welcome to COVID Transitions, where we discuss how higher education is adapting and managing the transition coming from the pandemic. In a lot of our episodes and the original set up for this podcast, we were thinking of it more as we moved into the fall term and what was going to be happening there. Now that we’re deep into November, it’s quite clear that spring 2021 is going to be another COVID term, if you will, definitely not in the new normal, but continuing transition that we’ll be in. Today, that’s what we want to cover. Just trying to say, hey, let’s look ahead harder into what are we likely to see in the spring? What lessons are we already learning and what does that indicate that we should look at going forward?
As always, I’m Phil Hill and I’m with Kevin Kelly and Jeanette Wisemen. Thanks for joining us again today. Let [00:01:00] me start with you, Kevin. This week you wrote a post where you looked at the Top Hat surveys and it gave somewhat of a longitudinal study. We’re starting to get better ideas of what’s changing. What are you seeing that’s happening in terms of higher education, adapting over time? What do you think that’s going to mean for the spring?
Kevin: I’m not sure if there is a lot that’s changing. I think the changes are slightly incremental. Students are still feeling anxious. They’re still not feeling connected with their fellow students. They’re still not happy with the online learning experience, for the most part. This echoes what we see in other surveys, like the Every Learner Everywhere Students Speak 20/20 report that came out and other information.
I think what’s most instructive is the questions around things like whether students are likely to return to their current school next term, which had a 10 percent drop of the people who selected the highly likely option on [00:02:00] the on the form. That dovetails a little bit with some of the metrics we’re seeing with enrollment figures and things like that. It’ll be interesting for sure to see how spring pans out. Student perspectives on the learning experience don’t seem to have improved a ton, but there’s more to dig into there and that’ll be my next post.
Phil: If they haven’t changed a ton, but is it positive movement that you’re seeing or negative? What movement have you seen so far or is it in the noise?
Kevin: Students are three percent less worried about completing their courses this term, but they’re two percent more worried about passing them. They’re not worried about finishing the course, but they are worried about passing it. Those numbers are not insignificant. There are like 35, 40 percent of the students have those worries. Getting into the thinking about how [00:03:00] are we supporting these students?
Again, these questions were for students. They weren’t asking the things like Every Learner Everywhe...
Episode 17: Deeper Look at Fall Enrollment Data
In this episode, Phil Hill, Jeanette Wiseman, and Kevin Kelly discuss National Student Clearinghouse data on Fall 2020 higher education enrollment. It’s not pretty.
* Phil Hill* Jeanette Wiseman* Kevin Kelly
* The Complexities of Online Education and Fall 2020 Enrollment Data (PhilOnEdTech)* America Will Sacrifice Anything for the College Experience (The Atlantic)
Phil: Welcome to COVID Transitions, where we discuss higher education as we deal with the pandemic and look what it’s doing with our enrollment and operations. In particular, now that we’re deep into the fall, we want to purposely go beyond just saying what’s going to happen and start looking at real results of the fall and also start looking ahead to what this means for the spring term and beyond. I’m here, as usual, with Kevin Kelly and Jeanette Wiseman. It’s great to talk to both of you.
Jeanette: Good morning.
Phil: To set up the discussion, I had written a blog post. It was looking at the National Student Clearinghouse data. Essentially, they put out a second look at the enrollment in the fall 2020 for U.S. higher education. On one hand, it’s slightly worse than the first estimate.
Now that we have more data in, the total undergraduate enrollment looks to be down four percent compared to a year ago, [00:01:00] which is not the greatest. That headline sort of hides some very troubling data that we wanted to discuss today and some significance that we need to think about. In particular, I’ll call out two just to get started.
The big one is that first time student enrollment is down 16 percent across the board, and for community colleges, it’s down 23 percent. At the same time, community college enrollment overall is down nine point four percent compared to a year prior. They were already worse than before, but now it looks to be much worse. In particular, first time student change has got to have some major repercussions going forward. We’ll get started with that, but there are definitely other observations we want to add in.
Let’s just start with this. How concerned should higher education institutions [00:02:00] be, particularly around the first time student drop and the community college enrollment drops? Kevin, how concerned are you?
Kevin: Well, I think that the person you quoted from Inside Higher Ed, the community college dean, gets it right. He talks it’s more about affordability, underlying income and wealth than it is about the tuition. I think the lower the tuition, especially the City College of San Francisco is seeing that even free tuition, is still not really enough because those people who are possibly needing to work or having challenges or other priorities they need to focus on. It’s a function of things more than tuition. I think he gets it right.
Phil: Just to add to this from a data perspective, because at the same time that the low cost community college has gone down even more, the for-profit enrollments have gone up and [00:03:00] private non-profit. Basically some of the more expensive options have actually increased somewhat. Jeanette, same question for you. Are you surprised? Are you concerned? How do you look at this drop?
Episode 16: Reality Over Possibility
In this episode, Phil Hill, Jeanette Wiseman, and Kevin Kelly discuss anecdotal information on how the Fall 2020 term is going for students in particular. In a word, disappointing. We need to hear what they are saying and focus on the reality of current courses.
* Phil Hill* Jeanette Wiseman* Kevin Kelly
* EdSurge Pandemic Diaries* UCF TopCast episode* Scholarly Teacher website* South Phoenix Oral History project
Phil: Welcome to COVID Transitions, where we discuss higher education as we adapt to the COVID pandemic and what it actually means to colleges and universities today. I’m here again with Kevin Kelly and Jeanette Wiseman.
We’re going to be looking at now that we’re into the fall term, a couple of weeks for the semester-based schools and about to start for most of the quarter-based schools, were already getting firsthand reports back from the field, if you will.
This is a little bit different. We created a page on the MindWires site to capture student surveys because we think it’s important to get student input on what’s happening here. Instead of taking a survey approach, it seems more appropriate to hear some more firsthand stories and attempt to get some empathy for what people are going through. Students, faculty, and also support staff.
There’s a series [00:01:00] of resources that have been valuable, certainly to us, that we’d like to discuss. The EdSurge, they have a podcast series that is doing student diaries. They call it Pandemic Campus Diaries, where they’re talking to faculty and students, and they’re giving audio diaries of what’s actually happening in the classroom. Kevin has a colleague who started the Scholarly Teacher and that has some student essays that we’d like to discuss. From the support staff side, the TopCast podcast that comes out of the University of Central Florida with Kelvin Thompson and Tom Cavanagh, that had a fascinating episode recently looking at messaging and what they’re having to go through to communicate to internal and external stakeholders.
What we wanted to talk about today is what are we actually hearing from people on what classes [00:02:00] and life is like this fall during the pandemic. Welcome, Kevin and Jeanette. It’s great to have you guys, as always. Kevin, to get started. I hope you’re enjoying the blue skies that we’re finally having in California.
Kevin: I won’t sing the song, but I am enjoying this.
Phil: After weeks of smoke from the fires, it’s actually nice to have normal type of weather. Jeanette, how are things in New Mexico for you?
Jeanette: They’re fantastic. I just picked up my bushel of freshly roasted green chiles from Lemitar, which is an even better place to go than Hatch. My entire house smells wonderful. Looking forward to chile peeling later today.
Kevin: I am green with envy.
Jeanette: Yes, it’s the house smells amazing right now, so really excited for that.
Phil: Yeah. The fall is the best time. When I used to live in Albuquerque, my favorite time there was [00:03:00] the fall. Unfortunately,
Episode 15C: Rubric’s Cube – Stephanie Moore and Jesse Stommel Interviews
Earlier this month Phil asked a question on Twitter about the growing usage of (and pushback against) faculty training based on the Quality Matters Course Design Rubric. That question led to a rich discussion – both pro and con – on the usage of the QM rubric in the attempt to improve online teaching in Fall 2020. The QM staff requested that we help with an alternate forum for them to address some of the issues raised online.
This is the third in a special series of podcast episodes on an important topic as we try to migrate from emergency remote teaching to purposely-designed quality online education. Link to Jesse’s blog post on the subject.
* 15A: Introduction of topic* 15B: Interview with Bethany Simunich and Brendy Boyd from Quality Matters* 15C: Interviews with Stephanie Moore and Jesse Stommel
Phil: Welcome to COVID Transitions, where we discuss the transition that higher education has gone through and is going through due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m Phil Hill, and in this episode, I interview Stephanie Moore and Jesse Stommel to get a deeper discussion on the critical perspective of how Quality Matters and its course design rubric are being used in schools, particularly the spring and summer.
I’m here with Stephanie Moore, recently of the University of Virginia, but on her way to a new post with the University of New Mexico. A collaborator: I got the chance to co-write an article with Stephanie early on about the Covid transition. So it’s great to meet with you in person. Actually, I think this is the most live that we’ve met before, so it’s good to virtually meet, Stephanie.
Stephanie: That’s right. Good to meet you, too.
Phil: So were you surprised to see how much commentary came out, and [00:01:00] what was your impression of it?
Stephanie: Yeah, I have to admit, I was, too. I mean, in some ways, I guess I should say yes and no. You know, I know how faculty feel about quality matters, and it’s really a mixed bag. I think most of the folks who I know, who I would describe as seasoned educators who have a very clear sense of what they like to do in their classroom, they know themselves as educators. They know what they want to do. Those tend to be the folks who are more frustrated with it and feel like it binds them more than it supports them. Whereas there are faculty, especially those who are very new to online and typically those who are really new instructors like newly hired teachers, they tend to like Quality Matters more, in part because they feel like it gives them ideas and scaffolding and tools that they’re [00:02:00] just not familiar with anymore. So I think you get a mix of reactions that hinges largely on people’s experience and their comfort level with instruction and especially their comfort level and experience with teaching online as well.
Phil: And as usual, as with your writing, you just packed a lot into that space. I wouldn’t mind unpacking a little bit. First of all: what is it? “Frustrated with it”, and what does that mean in terms of Quality Matters? Within Quality Matters, the rubric versus all of the services of Quality Matters, but then also Quality Matters versus how institutions are applying it. So can you get that down a little bit?
Stephanie: I think the best way to maybe tackle it is to talk about how we had a conversation about it occurring when I ...
A MUST for Instructors
All instructional faculty need to get plugged into this right now!
Great topical series-- as faculty member prepping myself and colleagues for fall instruction, I appreciate their perspective, synthesis of current thinking and models, and also transcript in case I don't have time to listen to it all.
The MindWires gang has great insights into ed tech and ed innovation based on work with educators, learners, institutions and vendors. Great to get their perspectives on this massive challenge.