As a member of the professional college and university community, one topic that has been of great interest to me as of late is the future of student assessment. Considering that many students at proprietary institutions come from non-traditional backgrounds, should these students be assessed differently than their more traditional counterparts? What can the education community do to improve academics across the board while finding accurate measures for student achievement at career colleges?
The Higher Education Capacity Gap
During last month’s PCUS gathering, higher education attorney David Harpool put this concept of student assessment into the context of the “megatrends” seen in higher ed today. Harpool began by highlighting the education capacity gap in the United States, which continues to grow as demand for education increases while admission rates at traditional universities remain static.
Earlier this month, the Blackboard team sponsored the 3rd Annual Professional Colleges and Universities Summit (PCUS)
along with our host, Harrison College
. We first began these summits to form a network for our clients across the professional college and university sector. From our perspective, it is critical that stakeholders at proprietary institutions come together to share best practices and communicate about the collective challenges they face, especially within the current regulatory environment and fast-paced changes in learning technology.
Through meetings like this, I firmly believe that we can work together to highlight the great things schools in our sector are doing – and that’s exactly what happened at this year’s PCUS gathering.
Of the many things I learned during the summit, here are some of my top takeaways from PCUS 2012:
- Connections between students matter, even in online learning environments. One school found that being connected to just one other person radically increased their students’ success and retention rates. The more that students participate in course-related social networks, for example, the more likely they are to graduate – and this is especially true for those who enter with multiple risk factors.
Every year, those of us at Blackboard look forward to the opportunity to discuss important topics in learning technology with our colleagues and partners at our BbWorld conference. This year, we are particularly excited for opportunities to connect with those in the professional education sector at BbWorld 2012 in New Orleans.
It’s been a big year for us at Blackboard ProEd, from our partnership with salesforce.com to our expanding role in military training to our growing partnerships with professional colleges and universities. We can’t wait to build on these milestones by attending sessions and meeting other stakeholders. Below is a list of just some of the professional education sessions that will be featured at this year’s BbWorld conference:
When the Federal Government created new educational regulations stating universities must better prepare students for gainful employment, Troy University saw it as a chance to fine-tune its own efforts. With unemployment at record high levels, Troy decided to make internship placement more readily available to all of its students in an effort to help them gain employment after graduation.
Troy already had career centers at each of its four campuses, but an increasing number of students were taking classes online from remote locations without access to the on-campus centers. With roughly half of the student body online, Troy University needed a new solution to help the students find internships prior to graduation. “There was definitely a need for internship placement for the online students,” said Ronnie Creel, director of Education Technology at Troy.
We’re honored to announce that the Blackboard Professional Education team was recently awarded the 2012 Institute for Excellence in Sales & Business Development (IES&BD) Award for Sales & Business Development Training! IES&BD serves to develop excellence in sales and business development across industries, and is generally considered a preeminent group that recognizes excellence in organizational sales and business operations.
For this reason, we are not only honored to have received the award itself, but are also proud of the many ways our solutions drive results in the corporate and sales industries. This is our second IES&BD Excellence Award, following on our 2011 Excellence in Customer Partnering Award. Customer partnering is a form of collaboration that combines Blackboard solutions with the customer’s specific needs to deliver the optimum results in development, integration, and ultimately, outcomes. As a customer-focused and results-driven organization, we were thrilled to have been recognized for our achievements in this area!