Poolside Reads: Top Higher Ed Stories in 2023 — So Far


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For professors and students, summer break has arrived! (Not so much, though, for parents figuring out child care.) We couldn’t let too much of this special season pass without bringing you an EdSurge summer reading list.

It’s more than a little partial, because every single recommendation is a story of ours, published so far in 2023. However, to bring a bit of balance, we based our selection on which higher ed stories have been most popular with you, our dear readers.

Dip your feet in the nearest pool and scroll on through:

In School, Girls Rule. Where Does That Leave Boys?

Women now earn the majority of college degrees. It’s a big indicator that, since the 1970s, “the gender reversal in education has been astonishingly swift,” writes author Richard V. Reeves in his 2022 book “Of Boys and Men.”

But while that’s a great sign for women, who are no longer being held back so much from academic success, the trend suggests something more troubling for men.

EdSurge sat down with Reeves to learn more about his research on this topic. As he told us, “the paths for young men in particular are less prescribed than they used to be. And so it means that individual agency is even more important than it was. And right now there’s just a big gender gap in that.”

Does ‘Flipped Learning’ Work? A New Analysis Dives Into the Research

Flipped learning had a big moment during the pandemic, when many professors decided it made a lot of sense to ask students to watch recorded lecture videos on their own, then use class time for active learning.

But does this model of instruction actually work?

Find out why recent research concluded that “the current levels of enthusiasm for flipped learning are not commensurate with and far exceed the vast variability of scientific evidence in its favor” — and why some fans of flipped learning are unmoved.

What Will ChatGPT Mean for Teaching?

If you’ve managed to avoid being drawn into a lengthy conversation about generative AI and want to catch up before the next academic year starts, this podcast episode is a good place to start. Hear from educators and parents who have used the chatbot and experienced surprising results.

“Now that we have this tool and we’re talking about it, now it’s time to figure it out. It’s the next step,” says Shelly Ruff, a former fifth grade teacher who found out her teenage son has used ChatGPT to write his essays.

The Realities of Working as a College Adjunct Professor

In this personal essay, an adjunct professor describes what her days are like teaching freshman English courses online through a minority-serving university. The gig comes with low pay, unpredictable course loads, and only occasionally health insurance.

Yet the education work that the author performs is essential, she writes: “For many students, freshman courses are their first experience of a college education. Adjuncts teach the required core classes that set the foundation for their college career success.”

What If We Measured Learning Through Skills Gained, Not Time Spent in the Classroom?

For more than 100 years, high schools and colleges have relied on the same stalwart tool to measure teaching and learning: the clock. That’s because earning credit toward a diploma or degree typically requires students to spend a minimum number of hours receiving instruction in the classroom.

Now, the institution that developed the time-based standard more than a century ago is shaking things up. Out? Time. In? Skills.

“Learning is happening everywhere and not just in six-hour time increments for nine months of the year,” says Timothy Knowles, president of the Carnegie Foundation.

But what would it really take to measure skills rather than credit hours?

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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