Tag Archives: Higher Education

Generation Next: Pew Report on Millennials

How Generation GapMillennial are You? This week the Pew Research Center released a report titled Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next – Confident. Connected. Open to Change. This group conducted a phone survey of 2,020 adults across the U.S. and then compared their responses to questions covering everything from age to tattoos. The respondents were grouped into four generations.

  • Millennials – born after 1980
  • Generation X – born 1965 through 1980
  • Baby Boomers – born 1946 through 1964
  • Silent Generation – born 1928 though 1945

In the context of education Millennials are in high school and college and are young professionals, while Gen Xers are teachers and faculty members at schools and universities. Millenials are also supervised on their jobs by Gen Xers. Millennials are on their way to becoming the most educated generation, but are also perhaps the most affected by the current economic recession in terms of employment.

My focus in graduate school was on millennial college students (their preferences and experiences with technology and career services) so I was interested in reading more. A lot of interesting comparisons are made and some not so surprising. Millennial students are more likely to be involved with social networking sites online, more likely to have piercings, and perhaps less likely to vote Republican.

Participants who thought that their generation was unique in some way were asked to be more specific.  The top five responses for Millennials were: 1) technology use, 2) pop culture, 3) liberal values, 4) smarter/more educated, and 5) clothing/manner of dress. Compare that to GenX where the top five responses were 1) technology, 2) work ethic, 3) conservative values, 4) smarter/more educated, and 5) respectfulness. Some similarities and differences there.

How much do you have in common with the Millennial Generation? The Pew Research Center also posted an online quiz “How Millennial are You” that allows you to compare yourself (characteristics, preferences, etc.) I scored a 65/100.

For more information…

Follow @Pew_Internet, @PewResearch,  #millennials

Additional reading:

photo credit: Joi, Flickr

Marketability of Graduates

I attended the Sloan-C Conference on Online Learning last week and three themes surfaced as I attended sessions and talked with other participants:

ImReady-greenforall.orgPart 3: Marketability of Graduates

Maybe it’s the career counselor in me that tuned in to this theme. In a session on Corporate Partnerships, Phil Ice of APUS posed the question: What is the college experience today? He pointed out that his experience and expectations were different than what you would find today enrolling as a Freshman/First-Year student. I instantly remembered the groan I heard over the phone as I told my parents I had finally declared a major (on the last possible day in my sophomore year at a private liberal arts college). It was Psychology. I think one of them actually said “oh no”. What was I going to do with that? I wasn’t at all sure.

Conversations and presentations addressed the preparation of graduates for the eventual job search.

  • Program and degree advisory panels that include local employers. Why shouldn’t they weigh in on coursework and internship requirements? They are the ones that will eventually receive the resumes from these students and apparently they aren’t as willing to train new employees as they used to be. University as vocational-technical? No, there’s more to it than that, but there is also a practical application side to what students need from the college experience of the early 21st century.
  • Online identities created using web 2.0 and social networking tools. And then marketing oneself professionally by documenting education, experience, and providing examples of work.
  • Vendor/Exhibitor products addressed “helping students reach their career goals”, e-portfolio systems to enhance “career advancement”, and skills and cultural training options offering “virtual business trip” scenarios.

How does online education play into all of this? Are online students different than on-campus students? The market for online students seems to be the working adult who needs to continue education in order to prepare for a career change or advancement while still on-the-job. At least, this is what you see in the commercials. Could the market be changing to include new high school graduates as well? Employability and job stability may be concerns, and motives for enrolling in online education, across the board.

photo credit: greenforall.org, Flickr

Speed and Agility in Higher Education

I attended the Sloan-C Conference on Online Learning last week and three themes surfaced as I attended sessions and talked with other participants:

NeedForSpeed-AmnemonaPart 2: Speed

The opening session with Frank Mayadas started this theme in motion. He stated that those of us involved in the development and delivery of online learning are moving at a frenetic pace and achieving success. That is in spite of the fact that words like “speed and agility are rarely used to describe higher education.”

How fast can we go? How fast should we go?

The concurrent sessions covered issues related to technology and how it allows us to manipulate data at a faster pace that we would ever be able to do on our own. These technologies have the potential to impact how learning takes place and how networked learning changes the way we design and deliver formal courses.  It occurred to me that while technology can make our work easier, it also adds to our to-do lists.

The closing session with Stephen Laster included this statement: “What I did yesterday isn’t good enough for tomorrow.” The speed at which we must move to keep up with the need seems a little daunting. Keeping up with not only what is new, but what is also useful will be a constant challenge as we move forward in the fields of instructional design and instructional technology.

How do we balance careful decision-making and development of effective online courses as our budgets, bottom lines, and student demands push us forward?

photo credit: Amnemona, Flickr