March 2020 - Student basic needs, online learning, and the education technology landscape

March 26, 2020
  • Crime Reporting and Disclosure
  • Online and Distance Learning
  • Research
  • Community Colleges
  • covid-19
  • Data
  • Need analysis
  • Salary
  • Technology
  • value of degree


Welp, we are living in interesting times at the moment. Many (most?) of you are now likely working from home at least part of the time and for the foreseeable near-term future. As one who has done so for 10 years now, it does take a bit of getting used to. It is especially hard not letting myself slip into answering emails and working from 6 a.m. to after 9 p.m. just because I have my phone readily available and linked to my Gmail account. However, it can also be very productive to have focused time to get work done. If you want a laugh, watch this video on conference calls in “real life”. I laughed out loud because it is SO true. Take care everyone.


AACRAO Research Update

In the interest of gaining an understanding of institutional grading, transfer and transcript practices impacted by COVID-19, we will deploy at least one short survey the next couple of weeks to all our primary contacts. Your participation is appreciated. In addition, the research projects in the hopper have all been impacted in one way or another with the current situation. We have pushed back report release dates, moved sessions to webinars and paused survey collections. Updates include:

  • Chief Enrollment Management Career Profile Survey: data collection is paused and will resume at a later date, to be determined.  

  • Change Management in Higher Education Report: release date will now coincide with the webinar on April 29th instead of early April as originally planned.

  • The Prior Learning Assessment Institutional Practice and Student Experience Report is in its final stages of editing, and WICHE will publish a list of all of the reports later this spring, date TBD.  

Future projects are in the works with ACE and ITHAKA S+R on the topic of lost transfer credits and stranded credits.  Further details of each project will be announced as we finalize them. 

Student Basic Needs: Institutional Services and Awareness - March 2020 60-Second Survey Results

AACRAO partnered with The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University on the March 2020 survey, which recently released the results of the 5th annual #RealCollege survey of students’ experiences with food and housing insecurity; it demonstrates widespread food and housing insecurity at more than 400 colleges and universities using data from more than 330,000 students.

The results of the AACRAO survey help expand the understanding of the scope of services available at institutions of higher education to help students meet their basic needs around food and housing.

Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice Webinar

The Hope Center had more than 400 participants in their webinar “Meeting Student’s Basic Needs and Keeping them Enrolled During COVID-19.” The webinar is available for free here.

New Policy Brief on Community College Bachelor’s Degrees

A update from the Education Commission of the States examines recent state policy changes, arguments for and against community college bachelor’s degrees, and offers policy guidance. Key points include:

  • 23 states now allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees.

  • Florida and Washington have the most aggressive programs in this area.

New Report on Campus Responses to Sex Offenders

The U.S. Department of Justice has released a new blog post from their Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) on how campuses share and respond to information about sex offenders. It looked at how more than 150 campuses shared information about students that violated campus sexual conduct policies and registered sex offenders on campus. 

Survey Examines Earning Gains from Master’s Degrees

A survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and posted by IHE found large salary differentials for graduates with a master’s degree compared to those with a bachelor’s degree.

New Brief Suggests Colleges May Be Pushed to Using AI and Data Analytics

A brief in Education Dive discusses the technology aspects of a report from Educause. It suggests that institutions will increasingly have to rely on these technologies in a more competitive enrollment environment. This may include areas such as AI-enabled language translation, identifying prospective students and using chatbots to answer student questions. The report identifies the following emerging technology areas as most impactful:

  • Adaptive Learning

  • AI/Machine Learning

  • Analytics for Student Success

  • Elevation of Instructional Design, Learning Engineering, and UX Design

  • Open Educational Resources

  • XR (AR, VR, MR, Haptic) Technologies

Online Learners Tend to Enroll Close to Home, Survey Suggests

Education Dive outlines a new study from the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA), which found that online students tend to choose institutions close to where they live. Data was collected from 1,960 institutions (see Figure 4 from the report below). Public institutions had the majority (79.8%) of in-state online enrollments, with the rest spread between private nonprofit institutions and for-profit institutions.

New Education Technology Landscape Report Released

Encoura has released its 2019 Higher Education Technology Landscape  report. It examines technology trends and categorizes technology into market segments. Their analysis also shows the main drivers of market trends. Some market segments have increased their numbers of products, notably Productivity and Collaboration Solutions and Career Readiness Solutions. Other market segments have decreased, with Social Recruitment and Engagement Solutions and e-Portfolio Solutions experiencing the largest decrease.

New Paper Examines Career-Relevant Instruction

A paper published by the American Council on Education (ACE) explores the rationale and methods for enhancing career-relevant learning in a traditional liberal arts education. It looks at what students need to learn and the role of faculty in making that happen. It also examines the ways in which institutions can support this type of teaching and learning.


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