Future Learning Needs Discovery Group Members
Camille Barchers, Graduate Representative, School of City & Regional Planning
Craig Forest, School of Mechanical Engineering
Joe Le Doux, School of Biomedical Engineering, GT/Emory
Lew Lefton, College of Sciences
Colin Potts, Office of Undergraduate Education
The evolving academic experience of learners is discussed under four broad headings:
- Required skills of future graduates,
- The mindsets of future learners,
- The motivations of future learners, and
- Future learning pathways.
It is well documented that the skills needed by future learners extend past traditional discipline-specific topics and include tangible attributes such as adaptability, complex communication and social skills, non-routine problem finding and solving, self-management, and systems thinking.
Further, there is a need for future professionals in technical fields to develop an understanding of the principles of business and management, globalization, leadership, the role of technical professionals in public policy, and data analytics.
Complementing the need to develop these skills is the need to develop intrapersonal competences that involve the capacity to manage one’s behavior and emotions to achieve one’s goals, which are called mindsets.
The key identified mindsets needed by future learners are: grit and the growth mindset; the belonging, inclusive, and global mindsets; and the entrepreneurial and maker mindsets. Mindsets can be intentionally cultivated, and we speculate that these mindsets will be best developed in the context of communities of practice that are student-owned and faculty-supported.
Georgia Tech’s role is to motivate students to learn how to learn, and then provide them with opportunities to learn what they want to learn. We know that people are motivated to perform when they have competence, autonomy, community, and a sense of purpose.
However, as public attitudes toward higher education evolve from a “public good” philosophy to a “personal investment” philosophy, the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators is shifting toward extrinsic goals.
Our great challenge will therefore be to create “safe spaces” for academic risk-taking and crucibles for resilience in a population of students who have grown up in a grade-focused educational milieu in which failure is not a learning experience, but a personal rebuke.
After identifying and articulating the skills, mindsets, and motivators needed by future learners, major questions remain regarding how to deliver relevant transformative experiences for learners — experiences that may need to transcend traditional categories of degree programs, majors, minors, and other credentials.
Future learners will need to design their education, not let their education happen to them. Georgia Tech is at a crossroads with respect to such diverse, learner-centered pathways, and several dichotomies or tensions could be resolved in different ways to construct alternative experiences and credentials.
The report provides an open-ended discussion of these issues:
- A platform model of educational services versus a pipeline model,
- The role of human resources and the tenure process in helping students grow and learn,
- Continuous versus punctuated student experiences, and
- The form and nature of student/institution touchpoints.
Future Learner Needs
People learn and transform over time in a variety of ways. The essence of formal higher education is to emphasize transformative experiences that develop knowledge, skills, and mindsets.
The manner in which higher education delivers these transformative experiences is constantly evolving. Trends in recent years include embedding instruction to develop professional skills (such as technical writing) in the curriculum, developing new majors in expanding fields such as biomedical engineering or environmental engineering, and highlighting the value of cocurricular experiences such as participation in maker spaces, internships, competition design teams, and study abroad.
Projecting forward, in addition to disciplinary knowledge and skills, students will be expected to exhibit “21st century skills” (National Research Council, 2010) at the time of graduation and to develop mindsets that prepare them for a world outside campus. There is a growing consensus that it is the role of the modern university to prepare students broadly.
The future is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (Bennett and LeMoine, 2014), and students and knowledge are continuously evolving in unexpected ways.
Further, the form and nature of the transformative experiences in higher education are not static. Thus, the academic experience of learners is discussed here under four broad headings that capture the areas in which unforeseen changes are likely to occur: required skills of future graduates, the mindsets of future learners, the motivations of future learners, and future learning pathways.
Based on our review of these trends, we believe that to maintain both rigor and relevance of higher education, we must create situations for learning that require students to be both autonomous and highly motivated in their learning, and we must consider education as something that happens outside the classroom and the traditional boundaries of credit-bearing coursework just as much as within them.
A number of recent studies have attempted to define the skills needed by technical professionals in the 21st century.
“Skills” in this context refer to the attributes that learners possess and are typically well aligned with employer desires and individual career aspirations. Since they are often tangible attributes, it is generally possible to measure the attainment of skills. The National Research Council (2010) defined five critical skills to develop in science education:
- Adaptability — the ability to deal with uncertain, new, and rapidly changing conditions. The National Academy of Engineering (2004) similarly describes this skill as possessing dynamism, agility, resilience, and flexibility.
- Complex Communication and Social Skills — the ability to distill complex ideas via words, sounds, and images to build a shared understanding. This includes the ability to work effectively in teams and collaborations (National Research Council, 2012).
- Non-Routine Problem Solving — the ability to apply strong analytical capabilities and technical knowledge to reach a solution to problems, including attributes such as creativity, practical ingenuity, and reflection on whether the problem-solving strategy is working. Dan Pink, speaking on the podcast Transforming Higher Education with David Goldberg, took this one step further to argue that students need to learn to be problem finders, not solely problem solvers.
- Self-Management/Self-Development — the ability to act with autonomy, self-motivation, and self-monitoring. Specifics aspects of this skill include developing a strong work ethic and positive core self-evaluation (National Research Council, 2012). This includes the capacity to learn, which is the ability to continuously learn and seek required knowledge and skills throughout one’s career (National Academy of Engineering, 2004).
- Systems Thinking — the ability to view the “big picture” perspective through abstract understanding of how different elements of a process interact.
In addition to these core attributes, National Academy of Engineering (2004), Galloway (2008), and National Research Council (2012) identify the critical need for professionals in technical fields to gain an understanding of these topics:
- Principles of Business and Management — the ability to integrate financial and operational issues into the technical workplace, including developing the desire and aptitude for entrepreneurship.
- Globalization — the ability to understand that the world’s economy has become tightly linked to advances in technology (Galloway, 2008).
- Leadership — the ability to understand and apply the principles of leadership, including responsibility, assertive communication, self-presentation, and social influence with others (National Research Council, 2012).
- The Role of Technical Professionals in Public Policy — the ability to influence complex choices that affect physical, human, and political infrastructures at community, regional, and national scales (National Academy of Engineering, 2004).
- Data Analytics — the ability to analyze data, make sense of it, and explain its significance.
Although these two lists of skills were developed with STEM education in mind, they are very general skills that should prepare college students for citizenship no matter what their major or concentration is. They apply at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Few if any of these skills are the sole responsibility of a single academic discipline, so their incorporation into the curriculum is problematic.
Universities with a bottom-up curricular governance process, such as Georgia Tech — where school-level curricular decisions percolate up to the college and then institutional level — cannot easily introduce Institute-wide reforms in cases where those reforms involve inherently transdisciplinary content or content not normally prioritized by a school’s academic identity.
The preferred method for accomplishing widespread reform in those cases where top-down leadership is unfeasible is to introduce local pilots whose influence (if they are perceived to be successful) then permeates across organizational boundaries. This approach has the virtue of fostering agile and local innovation.
Unfortunately, it can also lead to inconsistencies in content and quality, redundancies between similar but different approaches, and local marginalization by faculty who regard such efforts as window dressing or “not invented here.”
After reviewing the “T-shaped” movement, the Degree Qualification Profile (DQP) developed by the Lumina Foundation, and the shadow transcript systems developed by several universities (e.g. George Mason, Auburn, Maryland, Pittsburgh), there appears to be widespread consensus about the need to teach or cultivate “essential skills” but little agreement about how or where or by whom. This is a significant challenge, but it affords an opportunity to Georgia Tech.
We have a Leadership minor; there is a profusion of efforts on campus to teach and support technical communication and teamwork across the engineering, computing, and business curricula; and we have several programs such as SLS, VIP, Create-X, and Grand Challenges that all cultivate these skills.
The National Research Council (2012) identified three broad domains of competence: cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal. Cognitive competencies have been the most extensively studied, and they show the strongest correlations with desired educational, career, and health outcomes.
They are the ones most associated with traditional and innovative pedagogical practices. Interpersonal competencies align with the skills outlined in the preceding section. The intrapersonal competencies involve the capacity to manage one’s behavior and emotions to achieve one’s goals.
They are similar to mindsets (Dweck, 2007), although the term “mindset” may convey the false idea that these skills are set in stone in early childhood. In fact, mindsets are context dependent and can be developed (Dweck, 2015). They are more difficult to articulate and assess than tangible skills, but practices that cultivate these mindsets in future students are greatly needed.
We identify three mindsets that are especially pertinent to future learners’ needs. They are:grit (i.e., growth mindset), 2) intellectual openness (i.e., inclusive and belonging mindsets), and 3) self-direction and initiative (i.e., entrepreneurial and maker mindsets).
- Grit and the Growth Mindset: Duckworth et al. (2007) describe grit as perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. It is hypothesized that three mechanisms underlie grit: 1) deliberate practice aimed at targeted performance improvements, 2) an optimistic explanatory style that appeals to global and stable conditions, and 3) a growth mindset or belief in self-improvement as opposed to fixed intelligence.
- The Belonging, Inclusive, and Global Mindsets: Yeager and Dweck (2012) define the belonging mindset as a belief that when thrown into an environment with other people, those people belong. Learning environments that promote the belonging mindset among negatively stereotyped students can narrow achievement gaps and encourage students to further pursue disciplines in which they are under-represented. People with an inclusive mindset value and seek those with different backgrounds, skills, and perspectives because they know that diverse teams produce better results. People with a global mindset are inclusive, are open to exchanging ideas and concepts across borders, are sensitive to cultural diversity, and are able to operate cross-functionally and cross-culturally around the world (Marquardt and Berger, 2000).
- The Entrepreneurial and Maker Mindsets: Two of the key dimensions of an entrepreneurial mindset are affective traits and thinking patterns (Wheadon and Duval-Couetil, 2014). Entrepreneurs have a curiosity about how things work (and how to make them better) and possess a desire to create something new that has value to others. Rather than deciding on a rigid goal and planning how to reach it, entrepreneurs focus on what can be done now with the resources, networks, connections, and desires that they already possess. This is in accordance with Sarasvathy’s (2001) Theory of Effectuation, which posits that entrepreneurs prefer to focus on their means-at-hand rather than set a goal and predict what will be needed to accomplish it. The maker mindset is similar to the entrepreneurial mindset. Dougherty (2012) defines the maker mindset as a can-do attitude that can be summarized as, “What can you do with what you know?”
Mindset theories can be powerful when implemented correctly (Yeager and Dweck, 2012). They can lift grades and motivation, particularly among struggling students, and they can reduce racial, gender, and social class achievement gaps.
It’s important to explore the question of whether mindsets can be intentionally cultivated. Researchers are just beginning to explore the psychological antecedents of grit and other mindsets, which may someday generate concrete recommendations and interventions for educators who want to foster them.
The National Research Council (2012) concluded that intrapersonal competencies can be taught, but only if they are taught within the context of a specific topic area or discipline. Rattan et al. (2015) argue that policymakers need to advocate, prioritize, and implement programs that develop students’ mindsets in educational settings.
Another important question is how educational programs can encourage achieving an appropriate balance in the use of these mindsets. Grit is not the same as irrational inflexibility, nor should the entrepreneurial and maker mindsets lead to mindless tinkering.
We speculate that these mindsets will be best developed in the context of communities of practice that are student-owned and faculty-supported.
A community of practice is a group of people who share a craft or learning interest. Communities of practice can develop and evolve naturally due to the members’ common interest in a particular domain, or they can be created deliberately with the goal of gaining knowledge related to a specific field. It is through the process of sharing information and experiences with the group that the members learn from each other, and have an opportunity to develop themselves personally and professionally.
The self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 2008) of motivation suggests that students would be highly engaged and motivated in these learning environments since they would have high levels of all three dimensions of motivation: autonomy, support, and community.
Motivation of Future Learners
Learners will take advantage of new learning opportunities only if they are motivated to do so. Simply delivering or reducing the cost of content is not sufficient:
“Simply having information easily available — even right in front of the potential student — doesn’t educate anyone. Today, for under $10, any 18-year-old can buy a good used calculus textbook from an online seller and — in theory — work their way through it, learning what Isaac Newton worked so hard to develop. But real 18-year-olds won’t do that.
Similarly, online lectures, even excellent ones, will too often go unwatched, or if watched will not be studied. That’s because the fundamental problem in American higher education is no longer the availability of content, but rather the availability of motivation.” (Chambliss and Takacs, 2014; p. 173)
Furthermore, learners may receive this impetus from intrinsic or extrinsic motivators. As public attitudes toward higher education have evolved from a “public good” philosophy (viz. academic learning is a worthwhile pursuit in its own right and benefits the public through a diffuse elevation of public discourse and readiness to solve significant challenges) to a “personal investment” philosophy (viz. education is an investment by the learner designed to enhance his or her individual future career success), the balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators is shifting toward extrinsic goals (Twenge and Donnelly, 2016).
Extrinsic Motivation – Career Relevance: Students today are deeply concerned about their ability to succeed or even survive in a precarious post-graduation career environment.
Many have seen their parents and neighbors laid off, as employers have downsized through a series of recessions, and secure jobs have not returned afterward. They are enjoined by the media to fend for themselves, brand themselves, and create “a startup of you” (Hoffman and Casnocha, 2012). Thus, an important extrinsic motivator for current students is that what they are expected to learn has demonstrable relevance to their careers.
This does not mean that students are solely motivated by immediately valuable job skills. However, it does mean that institutes of higher education can no longer rely on nebulous promises that what they teach will be valuable in the future. Some level of post-secondary education is now required for gainful employment in most business sectors, and this ratcheting up of qualifications means that the proportion of the population needing to attend higher education will likely continue to rise.
Public per capita support for the costs of higher education is unlikely to match this growing need. As a result, we do not anticipate a significant change to students’ extrinsic, career-related motivations over a reasonable planning horizon.
This reality creates an opportunity and a challenge for universities: a new contract of career-readiness and career-agility needs to be struck with future learners that avoids the Scylla of vocational training, and its fixation with starting salaries, and the Charybdis of the traditional liberal arts ideal, in which students develop critical thinking skills as generalists while lacking specific career-relevant expertise.
Intrinsic Motivation – Personal Significance: According to self-determination theory (SDT), extrinsic motivation leads to effective and sustained performance improvements only if it is integrated with intrinsic motivations, and this is best accomplished by supporting the autonomy of the learner (Deci and Ryan, 2008).
What motivates students to learn intrinsically is highly individual, but it is governed in part by the zeitgeist of their formative years. This insight lies behind stereotypes about generational characteristics and the differences between Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials. Strauss and Howe’s (1997) summary of 450 years of colonial and U.S. history identifies repeating cycles of public mood and attitudes toward education and its purpose.
Each cycle contains four generations that average about 20 years in length and which are associated with the events of the central birth years of that generation and the events occurring as the generation enters college and early adulthood. Events around the birth years affect their parents’ attitudes toward child rearing and K-12 education.
In the case of Millennials, these include the growing acceptability of divorce, AIDS, and publicity surrounding child abductions, which led to a rejection of permissiveness and increased coddling of children (Howe and Strauss, 2007). Coming-of-age events influence the emerging adults’ worldview as they begin several decades of productive work, leadership, and social influence.
For Millennials, these include 9/11, political gridlock in Washington, and the Great Recession. These events have led to a strong emphasis on civic mindedness, idealism, and harmony in working relationships, coupled with a cynicism toward the traditional levers of political power and a need for self-authorship in preference to reliance on authority.
These trends are consistent with recent growth in significant community engagement projects, such as Georgia Tech’s Quality Enhancement Plan — “Serve-Learn-Sustain” — and student interest in “grand challenges” (http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/).
Survey results about student attitudes bear out these observations. For example, in Universum’s most recent annual (2016) survey of the desirable traits that college graduates seek from an employer, the highest attribute was “a sense of purpose.” What today’s students are seeking more than anything is a sense that what they learn connects to a significant outwardly directed civic agenda.
As a result, projects and programs that address community engagement, interpersonal empathy, and global understanding will become more important at Georgia Tech, and remain so, as students expect academic experiences to appeal to a sense of other-focused personal meaning and social agency.
At the same time, our students are more driven than the average student in the U.S. population by a desire for innovative “coolness” (“a sense of purpose” was the 10th-ranked attribute in the Universum survey among Georgia Tech students, whereas “innovation” was at the top of their list). We therefore forecast Georgia Tech students being more motivated by creativity, curiosity, and entrepreneurship than their peers elsewhere.
Our great challenge will be to create safe spaces for academic risk-taking and crucibles for resilience in a population of students who have grown up in a grade-focused educational milieu in which failure is not a learning experience but a personal rebuke.
If we take the birth years of the Millennials to be 1982-2000, they have been entering college as freshmen from the millennium to the present. Going forward, their attitudes will be strong intrinsic motivators for undergraduates into the next decade, and a significant influence on graduate students for about 15 years. We predict the intrinsic motivators described above, which have been growing in evidence in our student body for the past five years, will continue throughout the implementation period of CNE ideation projects.
After identifying the skills and mindsets needed by future learners, major questions remain regarding how to deliver relevant transformative experiences for learners. At the highest level, colleges and universities operate on a pipeline model: high-school students are recruited, they matriculate, choose a major, eventually graduate, go to graduate school and repeat the undergraduate experience but with some modifications, and then enter the workforce and become alumni.
There is some merit to a simple pipeline model, “create[ing] value by controlling a linear series of activities — the classic value-chain model. Inputs at one end of the chain... undergo a series of steps that transform them into an output that’s worth more: the finished product” (Van Alstyne et al. 2016, Choudary et al. 2016).
Performance targets (throughput, quality at various stages) are easy to set and not too difficult to measure. The danger is that when every possible program is shoehorned into a similar idealized template, a program’s desirable properties may become correlated with suboptimal outcome measures that receive more attention.
For example, the co-op program at Georgia Tech benefits students in many ways, but it delays graduation relative to non-co-op students by two semesters. Georgia Tech’s four-year graduation figures are, for this reason (and others), less impressive than peer institutions where co-ops are not offered.
Furthermore, at each of the levels in the pipeline there exist alternative models that muddy the picture. For example, degrees in the U.S. have a four-tier structure (associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral), but this belies many hybrid schemes such as the 2+3 associate/bachelor’s RETP or the B.S./M.S. degrees offered between Georgia Tech and Emory University.
There are also loose pathways such as the B.S./M.A.T. And the linearity of the pathway metaphor also breaks down with schemes like the co-op or other “sandwich” programs, in which students take a term or year-long “sabbatical” in industry; or the gap-year movement, which involves a year-long service project (usually) between high school and college.
Furthermore, the master’s degree exists in at least four distinct flavors: the coursework master’s (“B.S. heavy”), research master’s (“Ph.D. lite”), the terminal master’s (e.g., M.F.A.), and the professional master’s with differential tuition and non-standard schedules and residency requirements (e.g., Ex. M.B.A.). There also exists a veritable menagerie of minors and certificate programs, with the inconsistent definitions and intended applications of these terms.
With such a profusion of existing programs and relationships, most of which already exist at Georgia Tech, there is ample room for further experimentation as long as we are not held to one-size-fits-all targets.
The standard pathway to graduation has allowed Georgia Tech to develop a reputation of rigorous study and job preparedness among our graduates (both B.S. and graduate degrees), yet external forces and internal demands suggest that Georgia Tech may benefit from providing alternative pathways to graduation for its students (Seymour and Hewitt 1996, Watkins and Mazur in 2013).
There exists an opportunity to articulate more clearly the critical “touchpoints” where the student’s experience and the institution’s programs intersect. These include the choice and changes of major, election of second major or minor, etc.
Moving away from traditional models, some critics of higher education have argued that credentialing is too dependent on the Carnegie Unit and the 19th century agrarian calendar.
Instead of courses and credit hours, they advocate for students receiving credit for demonstrated competencies, however acquired, including pre-matriculation work experience.
Instead of the coarse-grained, all-or-nothing course grade, they advocate for students collecting competency-based micro-credentials, or “badges.”
Instead of semesters, registration deadlines, and drop dates, they advocate students having access to just-in-time resources, courses that last for “minimesters” or non-standard periods, or courses that have a non-uniform commitment (e.g., instead of three hours a week for fifteen weeks, one hour a week for a few weeks, followed by an intense project, followed by a conference).
All of these ideas are pregnant with possibilities, but come with huge logistical complications (e.g., room and time scheduling, financial aid and immigration status validation, housing, faculty workload calculation, credential record keeping, etc.). Above all, for a University System of Georgia (USG) member institution, there is the specter of transferability of credits into and out of Georgia Tech, when sibling institutions all have a traditional pipeline model.
Future learners will continue to demand the rigor and reputation that Georgia Tech offers, as evidenced by increasing numbers of applicants (Bailey, 2016).
Data reveal that the pool of highly qualified candidates for undergraduate and graduate enrollment is also becoming more diverse (Hoxby and Avery, 2013; see also the section in this report on demographics). In addition, research has identified ongoing challenges to maintaining student engagement in the classroom and throughout the college experience (Catalano and Catalano, 1999; Kuh et al., 2008).
Many institutions of higher learning are renewing a focus on student support beyond advising to accommodate an increasingly diverse group of students that demonstrate interests that sometimes are better suited to extra- and cocurricular activities.
These trends indicate that the universities that will best support their students in the future are those that will focus on engaging students inside and outside the classroom and allow students more flexibility coupled with more support. Similarly, graduate students and faculty might also take different pathways to receiving graduate degrees or being granted tenure.
Future learners also may demand more personalized experiences in their education (Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2007; DeMillo, 2011). While most of them may start at the same point, their pathways might differ substantially.
During the 2009-2012 strategic planning process, Georgia Tech investigated an individualized degree, the X-Degree, in which the disciplinary major was replaced by a student-initiated theme.
To graduate, students would amass thematically related credits, with the degree’s coherence being assured by the student and a faculty advisor co-curating it together. The projected costs to do this with required quality proved too high, and the degree was not implemented. However, the idea of thematic clusters of courses, as opposed to academic subdisciplines, already exists in the BSCS, BSCM, and BSLMC threads (DeMillo, 2011) and Honors Program and SLS pathways.
In those cases, the choices are not invented by students and individual to them; they are predefined (like majors) and selected by cohorts of students. There are potential avenues for implementing thematic concentrations elsewhere.
Starting points will be determined by a variety of factors including age, experience, and interest, and milestones along the differing pathways may be curricular (e.g., courses, competency-based exams), cocurricular (e.g., internships, co-ops, study abroad experiences, community service, and participation in maker spaces), or extracurricular (e.g., the three-minute thesis).
Ending points may also differ among degrees, badges, or capstone certifications. Allowing this type of flexibility and personalization means ensuring that there are a variety of different pathways from starting to ending points.
Thus, Georgia Tech is at a crossroads with respect to pathways, and several dichotomies or tensions could be resolved in different ways to construct alternative student experiences and credentials:
Is Georgia Tech more like a platform than a manufacturing plant operating under the pipeline metaphor?
- Rather than serving as a pipeline where high school students enter and degreed students leave, with faculty (and facilities) providing a service to these “customers” on their relatively fixed path, could we provide a platform where learners and educators (not necessarily all Georgia Tech faculty) come together to achieve their goals? An example of this is the Stanford Crowd Course initiative (http://crowdcourse.stanford.edu/).
Should our HR and promotion and tenure processes aim at consistency and uniformity or portfolio flexibility?
- Faculty pathways are typically restricted to a rigid pipeline, too. Enter as assistant professor (after B.S., Ph.D., and post-doc), get tenure and associate professor title, then promotion to full professor. In order to capture a broader set of talents in our instructional workforce (curriculum development, pedagogical initiatives, exploration of technology as a learning tool, etc.), faculty also need different pathways, entry and exit points, etc. Is this where instructional designers fit in?
Should the default student experience be continuous or punctuated?
- In the workforce of the future, flexibility and the ability to seize opportunities are important (e.g., gig economy). Many students want to begin their Georgia Tech experience earlier (e.g., grades 11-12). Can Georgia Tech provide rigorous STEM content further back into K-12? Can students leave without a full degree but still with a meaningful portfolio of micro-credentials? Can you leave for co-ops, jobs, startups, or gap years in the middle and still come back? Can we credential such experiences so students are encouraged to do them and not feel like they are abandoning their degree temporarily (and therefore never come back)?
- As we improve access and affordability, we will also find students who are less academically prepared entering Georgia Tech (reference Caitlin Dooley's talk at one of the Brown Bags which shows the correlation between socioeconomic status and academic achievement). Such students may need more time to complete Georgia Tech degrees. Are there different levels of certification they could acquire? And how can students loop back in after leaving the “midstream” pathway? Are there pathways that don’t end in degrees?
Are the student/institution touchpoints few, occasional, and coarse-grained or many, frequent, and fine-grained?
- In order to preserve our reputation, we need to maintain rigor and excellence. If students are taking pathways through Georgia Tech that don’t look like traditional degree programs, we still need to ensure that the quality of their educational experience is the best. That includes good advising, facilities, and content.
- Some students appreciate the prescribed curriculum leading to an established degree, and we don’t want to allow complete freedom (i.e., not “make-up-a-degree”).
- We can identify popular majors/programs/pathways since more students will demand them. This creates a bottleneck (oversubscribed courses). In the old model, we might grow that program with more faculty hires to teach more students. However, that creates issues when demand shifts. Perhaps we can identify a “mass transit” pathway such as a micro-degree in the high-demand field or a certification/rigorous experience that we allow into our educational platform but we don’t have to deliver as direct instruction. This relates to agility in curriculum matters as well as the form and value of certifications.
- One of the things the Georgia Tech platform could provide is not only advising on their next steps and progress to degree, but also mentoring and directing in and out of different areas of study as they work toward a self-identified goal.
Association of American Colleges and Universities (2007) College Learning for the New Global Century: A Report from the National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America’s Promise. Association of American Colleges and Universities Press.
Bailey, K. (2016) Tech Admit Rate Drops to 25 Percent. http://www.news.gatech.edu/2016/03/12/tech-admit-rate-drops-25-percent
Bennett, N., & G.J. Lemoine (2014) What VUCA really means for you. Harvard Business Review, January-February Issue.
Catalano, G.D., and K. Catalano (1999) Transformation: From teacher-centered to student-centered engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education 88: 59-64.
Chambliss, D.F., and C.G. Takacs (2014) How College Works. Harvard University Press.
Choudary, S.P., M.W. Van Alstyne, and G.G. Parker (2016) Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy--And How to Make Them Work for You. W.W. Norton and Company.
Deci, E.L. and R.M. Ryan (2008) Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development, and health. Canadian Psychology 49: 182-185.
DeMillo, R.A. (2011) Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities. The MIT Press.
Dougherty, D. (2012) The maker movement. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization 7.
Duckworth, A.L., C. Peterson, M.D. Matthews, and D.R. Kelly (2007) Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92: 1087–1101.
Dweck, C. (2007) Mindsets: The new psychology of success. Ballantine Books.
Dweck, C. (2015) Carol Dweck Revisits the “Growth Mindset.” Education Week. September 23, 2015.
Galloway, P.D. (2008) The 21st Century Engineer: A Proposal for Engineering Education Reform. ASCE Press.
Hoffman, R. and B. Casnocha (2012) The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career. Crown Business Press.
Howe, N., and W. Strauss (2007) Millennials Go to College. LifeCourse Associates.
Hoxby, C., and C. Avery (2013) The missing “one-offs”: The hidden supply of high-achieving, low-income students. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2013. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Projects/BPEA/Spring-2013/2013a_hoxby.pdf
Kuh, G.D., T.M. Cruce, R. Shoup, J. Kinzie, R.M. Gonyea (2008) Unmasking the effects of student engagement on first-year college grades and persistence. The Journal of Higher Education 79: 540-563.
Marquardt, M.J., and N.O. Berger (2000) Global Leaders for the 21st Century. State University of New York Press.
National Academy of Engineering (2004) The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/10999
National Academy of Engineering (2008) Grand Challenges for Engineering. The National Academies Press.
National Research Council (2010) Exploring the Intersection of Science Education and 21st Century Skills: A Workshop Summary. The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/12771
National Research Council (2012) Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. The National Academies Press. doi:10.17226/13398
Rattan, A., K. Savani, D. Chugh, and C.S. Dweck (2015) Leveraging mindsets to promote academic achievement: Policy recommendations. Perspectives on Psychological Science: A Journal of the Association for Psychological Science 10: 721–726.
Sarasvathy, S.D. (2001) Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of Management Review 26: 243-263.
Seymour, E., and N.M. Hewitt (1996) Talking about leaving: Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Westview Press.
Strauss, W., and N. Howe (1997) The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy - What the Cycles of History Tell Us about America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny. Broadway Books.
Twenge, J.M. and K. Donnelly (2016) Generational differences in American students’ reasons for going to college, 1971-2014: The rise of extrinsic motives, Journal of Social Psychology 17: 1-10. doi 10.1080/00224545.2016.1152214.
Van Alstyne, M.W., G.G. Parker, and S.P. Choudary (2016) Pipelines, platforms, and the new rules of strategy. Harvard Business Review, April Issue.
Watkins, J. and E. Mazur (2013) Retaining students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors. J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 42: 36-41.
Wheadon, J. and N. Duval-Couetil (2014) Business plan development activity as a pedagogical tool in entrepreneurship education. Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship.
Yeager, D.S. and C.S. Dweck (2012) Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist 47: 302–314.