Tag Archives: education

Relevancy in Higher Education

I was recently at the University of Washington in Seattle marveling at the 1800s architecture that still graces much of the campus. Many of the colleges on the West Coast were established in the mid-to-late 1800s; University of Washington in 1861, Berkeley in 1868, University of Oregon in 1876 and Stanford in 1885. The West was young and states were trying to establish an economic and academic base. This was in the early days of trains in the West, long before automobiles, connected electricity, or even the hint of modern computers. Students were eager to make their mark on the world in engineering, economics, the arts and other areas.

As I soaked in the 19th century architecture I pondered whether higher education is staying relevant to our current needs. Are we preparing students to lead and innovate, or are we stuck using 150-year-old educational paradigms? Part of this blog post is a personal exploration as to how I can improve my teaching, but it is also a call to action for those seeking relevancy in our world. I hope you will contribute insights and comments as we strive to improve education.

Modern Education

I am currently teaching the AIM innovation course and I continue to be amazed at the workplace complexities facing my students, structurally, organizationally, and culturally. It’s a miracle to me that any innovation emerges at all given the barriers they face. To combat this I try to present simple, sound models they can tailor to fit their needs and hopefully cut through that complexity on their way to an elegant solution. Part of my job is to teach sound principles, then watch as students extend and apply those principles to their own situations. I have to be flexible enough to recognize that we are trying to solve real problems, not just following rigid academic exercises.

Industry Partnerships

I believe that to maintain relevancy we need to form closer partnerships between universities and employers. It seems disingenuous to grant degrees to students without preparing them for life in the workplace. Many employers have extensive onboarding programs just to prepare new employees to adjust to their workplace. I think those onboarding programs could somehow be integrated into the academic curriculum so new graduates could start contributing right away. How would we know what was needed in such a transition program? The simplest answer is to ask employers what specific technical, social, and cognitive skills they require of their employees. Are we covering those areas in our curriculum, or are there gaps? Are we staying relevant to the needs of those who will employ our students? Are we rigid in our curriculum, or are we willing to add in a corporate, governmental, or non-profit component that could be co-taught by practitioners? Are we really preparing our students to tackle today’s complex social, political and technical issues?

Thoughts

It is important that we stay flexible in our teaching, stay current on workplace needs, and bring employers behind these 150-year-old walls to build strong partnerships. I think this is what 21st century relevancy looks like. What are your ideas? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Trends in Higher Education 2017

It seems like here in the U.S., higher education is being attacked for being too liberal or not liberal enough or not providing enough instruction in technical, hands-on skills. The new presidential administration will have some influence on the debate through what areas of education it funds. I believe that colleges and universities need to clearly articulate their value proposition. How does our school add value to students? What do we offer that differentiates us from our competitors? How can we better serve our current and prospective students? These are the same questions a business poses when trying to grow and thrive. In this blog I will highlight trends I think will have an impact on how we answer those questions.

Personalization

A 2015 article in EdSurge News defines personalized learning as “technology-assisted differentiated instruction.” The article made a valid point that we are in the business of educating real people and not just a generalization of students. This means tailoring curriculum to current students and their needs. Do you cater to first time students or returning students that have several years of industry experience? It does not make sense to apply the same model to all students. Personalization is particularly difficult when you have a mix of new and returning students, but technology makes it possible to create multiple tracks of the same course so that the outcomes are the same but the paths vary to suit the needs of the students.

High Velocity Learning

Businesses are increasingly asking employees to be more flexible and move faster. The United States Navy recently introduced what they call high velocity learning which means being nimble, flexible and faster at processing change. Educators should adopt the same mindset. This may mean an accelerated program for those who have already proven competencies or modifying the way we test for competencies. This goes right along with personalization and is a hot topic as tuition continues to rise and the length of time spent in college is extended. It is important to review our curriculum to make sure it is relevant, necessary, and promotes our value proposition.

Thoughts

I think in the future higher education will need to be more responsive and flexible and technology will be used to create dynamic curriculum that caters to individual needs. Just as important is an honest review of offered courses to ensure they still prepare students for the future. These are just some of the ways that educators can serve students. Do you have other ideas that will align education offerings with current needs? Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

STEAM: Adding Arts to STEM Education

I have written in the past about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for young people. I am a big advocate of STEM learning and participate in events when possible. I think it is important for everyone to be grounded in the sciences and math to be able to work in our increasingly complex world. It is nice to know how to use an app or a particular software but it is even better to know how it works, especially when it mysteriously fails and you need to try to fix it.

Lately, I have been seeing the term STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. In other words, arts inserted into STEM. To be honest, I was skeptical when I first started seeing this term because it felt like the arts were jumping on a bandwagon they were not supposed to be part of. In this post I will explore the origins of STEM and how we got from STEM to STEAM and the value of adding arts education.

Origins of STEM

The Russian satellite Sputnik launch in 1957 started a rivalry with America for technical superiority on earth and in space. America thought that it should be first in terms of smart scientists and mathematicians. The U.S. developed plans to place a man on the moon and in July, 1969, realized that vision and regained superiority in the space race. Growing up in the 1960s, we all wanted to be astronauts and we studied the necessary disciplines to get us into space. Science and math were fundamental. Computer development in the ‘80s and ‘90s kept technical subjects in the forefront. Programming, math, and electronics were important and exciting.

The National Science Foundation coined the term STEM in 2001 to refer to a renewed emphasis in teaching technical disciplines. Surveys showed that American education was slipping compared to other countries and we were losing that superiority we fought so hard to gain in the 1960s. STEM renewed the emphasis on science education in order to stay on top.

STEM to STEAM

The Rhode Island School of Design championed the term STEAM in an attempt to include art and design with the traditional STEM subjects. They are working to promote this transition with educational institutions around the country. A recent article in the Tech Edvocate did a good job of advocating for this move. Traditional STEM subjects are analytical or left-brained by nature whereas art and design and creativity and spatial awareness all come from the right hemisphere of the brain. In order to create a holistic or whole brained approach to teaching STEM subjects, we need to call on our powers of analysis and visualization. This makes sense to me. A recent conversation with school-age youth brought up the same points. Instead of arts trying to tag along with STEM, this is a way to actively incorporate other methods of learning into technical subjects.

Thoughts

If we are deliberate and thoughtful about adding art, design, and visualization exercises into traditional STEM curriculum, then I think it can be a plus for the student. It will help them navigate both hemispheres of the brain in order to turn out a more creative product. What are your thoughts? Is STEAM a good idea or will it detract from the STEM emphasis.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Education Trends in 2017

Image of a student walking a road labeled 2017 with a question mark on the horizon.I try to follow higher education trends to make sure I know what is coming and can gear my teaching appropriately. This blog highlights some of the strategies and technologies I think will emerge in 2017. We will see in 12 months if I was right.

Improved Distance Education

I think technologies that create a shared classroom experience will improve distance education in 2017. Students will increasingly enroll in distance education,  so it is important that we improve the virtual classroom.

Immersive virtual reality is growing in popularity. I was one of the first to try out HP’s Halo telepresence system, now a Polycom product. Each of the teleconference rooms were physically identical, right down to the wall coloring and furniture. The idea is that you see your colleagues across the country or the world on the bank of monitors in front of you and feel like they are just on the other side of the table. It is a good idea and it works great but is expensive to purchase and maintain. Imagine if you could take this same technology into distance education using virtual reality. You could hold debates, work on shared projects, and hopefully improve the overall education experience to the point where it approximates an in-person experience. A September article from the Center for Digital Education highlights some of the specific developments in this area. The experience won’t change overnight but it is an important tool to improve distance education and an area that I will be monitoring.

Industry Partnerships

I believe that we need to do a better job of matching curriculum with skills needed in the workplace. In ancient Greece, students attended Plato’s Academy to learn thinking skills and become philosophers. Today we also need to equip students with applied skills they can use to further the mission of an employer. Rather than guessing what skills employers need, it is important to form partnerships and allow input into curriculum design. This could also lead to more internship opportunities where students could practice newly-learned skills. A strong partnership will help schools meet the needs of industry.

Standardized Certification System

Particularly in information technology and information management, there are a large number of available professional certificates. They range from security to advanced networking to systems administration. As an employer, how do I know whether a new or current employee presenting these certifications can really do the job? How do I know whether organizations offering these certifications are legitimate? Author Matthew Meyer, in a 2016 article, argued for a national certification system. This would be a certification system for certifiers, if you will. With the rising popularity of certificates this is an idea whose time has come because it would add some legitimacy to a certificate and assure quality and rigor to an employer. As I write this however, the American Commission for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is fighting for its survival in the courts after the federal government cut off student aid for people attending those certified colleges. It could take several revisions to work out an appropriate certification body similar to the current regional accreditors for non-profit universities.

Political Changes

The political climate in the United States changed with the election and that could mean a shift in direction for post-secondary education. There could be more focus on vocational education, research, or toward non-degreed education such as skills-based certifications. The government influences the direction and emphasis on higher education through federal funds and guaranteed student loans. I believe that there will be a split emphasis on advanced research and skills-based education as we focus on current and anticipated workforce needs.

Thoughts

There is a lot changing in higher education and it’s an exciting time to work in this field.

What changes are you seeing in education? Are we taking advantage of technology and ideas on improving learning? Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Making 2017 the Best Year Yet

Image of exuberant person with raised arm forming the 1 in 2017.Our calendar was introduced in 1582 but was not widely adopted throughout Europe and beyond until the eighteenth century. Even now we have complex rules to align our timekeeping with the natural passing of seasons. Calendars are a human construct, but they do provide us with a beginning and end of days, weeks, months, and years. January 1, the official start of the western new year, is a chance to shed the old and consider fresh starts. I challenge you to finally start those things that will make you happier and more successful in 2017.

Health

A new year is a great opportunity to change health habits. They don’t have to be big changes like the traditional resolutions that many people don’t keep; small changes practiced consistently add up to big changes. Good health is essential for concentration and clear thinking. My goal in 2017 is to train more on my bicycle to prepare for long rides. I generally get to the last few miles of an organized ride and wish I had trained more because I feel like I am done before the ride is over. This is the year that I finish strong. A fresh commitment to train coupled with small changes in my routine will make a big difference.

Learning

Perhaps 2017 is the year to sign up for that class you have been meaning to take or get that certification, or maybe even start or complete an undergraduate or graduate program. Our AIM students are an incredible group who consistently balance school, family, and work. I know it is not easy, but at some point they committed to that new direction to enhance their lives and their careers. That commitment will not only aid them in the future, but may give them insights to help them in their current jobs.

I am challenging myself in 2017 to teach better than ever. That means I will need to prepare more, just as in cycling, and to expand my knowledge through training and research. I challenge you to find time for your own new direction in learning.

Choices

I believe that we all have choices in how we live and what we do to improve ourselves. We can put off making changes for another day or week or year, or we can choose to start today. We can either react to the world around us, or we can change our environment and ourselves. The opportunity, responsibility, and choice lies with us. I am responsible for the change I want to see in my world.

Thoughts

These are not necessarily new ideas and perhaps I have read too many self-help books over the years, but I do believe that whether it is January 1 or July 15 it’s always a good time to take that first step. Take stock of where you want to be in the future and take the first small step towards that goal. Let me know what steps you are going to take in 2017 to make this your best year yet.

 

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Robots Among Us

Road sign: Robots Ahead.I grew up watching robots on television, among them B9 from “Lost In Space” and Rosie the Robot from “The Jetsons.” I thought such humanoid robots were already in use or at least were just around the corner. Such was the power of television working on a young mind. Here we are decades later and while we have utilized industrial robots for many years, the development of a humanoid robot is still in its infancy. What exactly do humanoid robots look like now and how close are they to the ideal Rosie? More importantly, how will we react to these machines as they come close to replicating or surpassing human capabilities?

From NAO to Pepper

Aldebaran, a French company that is now a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, first created the NAO robot in 2006. This humanoid robot was designed to educate students at different levels. In primary education, they work well with young learners and even learners with disabilities. They can help teach simple skills, such as counting or the ABCs, and are encouraging without judging. NAO can be used with secondary and even university students to introduce programming and robotics. This is a very real way to get feedback on successful coding and motion engineering projects. Working with this robot could stimulate the visual, auditory, tactile, and even kinesthetic learner.

Pepper, also from Aldebaran, is billed as the “robot that understands your emotions.” Pepper has multiple microphones and high definition cameras in order to make sense of its surroundings, plus an array of sensors and fine motors. It is programmed to perceive and analyze emotions and to get to know a person. It has been used to work with children and adults with autism to help them develop coping mechanisms and understand their own emotions when working through problems. It also comes with a built in tablet so that it can convey its own emotions. It has a wireless internet connection so it could be a Siri or Alexa substitute, providing information in android form instead of a smartphone or speaker. Pepper has motion sensors and collision detection systems so it could be programmed to vacuum the house or walk the dog. Just remember to dress it in a raincoat before it goes out.

Human-Robot Interaction

The Aldebaran machines are cute and they promote social interaction but there still seems to be a general angst towards functional robots, particularly those that take on humanoid form. A recent Discover magazine article speculated that the stigma stems from science fiction stories, or even the old “Terminator” movie series, about robots that suddenly take on very dark and dangerous human thought. Another concern is that robots will take over our jobs as opposed to simply assisting us with difficult and dangerous tasks. Some industrial robots have already done just that and there is fear that it will continue. Google reportedly has decided to sell its 2013 Boston Dynamics acquisition, partly due to social reaction to their humanoid robot development. There appears to be a very fine line between cute, helpful robots and threatening robots.

Thoughts

I would love to hear your thoughts on humanoid robots. Can we overcome our fears and social stigmas to welcome them into our environment, or have we created an artificial intelligence that is too close to human thought and emotion? I think we need to face the challenges, real or perceived, before we can move on and figure out how to improve our own productivity and human existence. Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Opening the Walls of Academia

Open book in a field.I am just finishing the second in a series of three open courses in computational statistics and machine learning. I wrote earlier about various forms of education delivery but I want to concentrate this week on what is becoming known as open education or open learning. This type of learning goes beyond the traditional university structure to bring knowledge to many more students through nontraditional means.

The Walls of Academia

Aristotle founded the Peripatetic school in the Greek Lyceum in 335 BCE to teach principles of math, philosophy, and rhetoric. A peripatetic school is a strolling school. It is thought that Aristotle walked the grounds discussing philosophy and other subjects with his students. There was a gymnasium for exercise, but learning for the most part took place in the open among the trees.

I get the sense that we are slowly returning to the early days of the lyceum, if only figuratively. We are opening the walls of academia to allow for learning beyond the traditional campus and sharing our expertise and wisdom with a larger audience. The physical campus will continue to be relevant, but successful universities will embrace education beyond the classroom. We have had traditional Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for several years, but consider these other developments.

Beyond the Walls

The Open University was founded in 1969 in the UK to provide postsecondary education to more UK citizens. This nonprofit school was built on the principles that there would be no formal entry requirements and education would be provided on campuses and through nontraditional delivery. They started out teaching some courses through television programs and now reach a worldwide audience. There are campuses outside of London, in Northern Ireland, The Republic of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland and serve students outside of the UK through their OpenLearn arm, MOOCs, and YouTube lectures.

Open Curriculum

MIT Open Courseware is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. This is free and open to the world through a Creative Commons license. Anyone can watch recorded lectures, read lecture notes, and access the full syllabus complete with readings and required texts. I am working through an introductory quantum physics course right now, which is fantastic. Students can get an introduction to a topic or fill gaps in their knowledge and university instructors can gain insights to help freshen their course. The introductory freshman level courses could also be valuable to high school teachers of advanced classes. High school students can use them to get a feel for university courses and also to advance their high school knowledge. This site has a number of corporate sponsors whose employees could benefit from new skills learned in the courses as well.

Thoughts

These are just a couple of examples of how education and knowledge are moving beyond the walls of traditional colleges and universities. More people than ever have access to higher education thanks to technology and enlightened thinking from the institutions. This can only benefit us as individuals and as a society if we are willing to take advantage of these opportunities. My challenge to you this week is this: if you are not already engaged in full time or part time studies, find a topic that interests you and explore the many resources that are open. Let me know what you find and what you learned.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Automotive Education of Tomorrow: Car or Computer?

Man uses a laptop computer to examine a car engine.Automobiles are becoming more reliable but are much more complicated to diagnose and repair when they do fail. With the introduction of hybrid, electric, semiautonomous, and autonomous vehicles, computer science and networking skills will be just as important to a technician as the traditional mechanical training. Let’s explore the training required to care for these high-tech vehicles.

Car or Computer?

My son is an automotive technician specializing in a high-end brand. My background in computer and information systems and his in automotive repair are starting to converge and we find ourselves talking about shared interests like networks, fiber optics, downloading patches, and diagnosing computer failures. In a Los Angeles Times article, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, remarked “We really designed the Model S to be a very sophisticated computer on wheels. Tesla is a software company as much as it is a hardware company.” Teslas are designed to be upgraded and gain new features through wireless patch updates. In other words, they can evolve. Are new vehicles more car or computer?

Chips for the Road

Chip makers such as Intel, Xylinx, and On Semiconductor have ventured into automotive applications to supply the industry with controllers for lighting, infotainment systems, on-board computers, and sensors. These partners are using their expertise to help drive the industry’s advances.

New Sensor Technology

Technology company Nvidia announced earlier this month that they have developed the “Deep Learning Car Computer” which will provide sensors and processors to power a semiautonomous vehicle. The computer, which they claim has the processing power of 8 teraflops, or the equivalent of 150 Macbook Pros, sits in a package the size of a tablet. The system is designed to provide a 360-degree view of the terrain and landscape around a vehicle and respond faster than a human when it detects any hazards such as a large animal, pedestrian, or ball rolling into the road followed by a child. Deep learning means that the computer is continuously adding to its knowledge and detection capabilities. Nvidia is partnering with Volvo to put 100 semiautonomous vehicles on the road in Sweden in 2017. Again, who will be repairing such vehicles? Yesterday’s mechanic or tomorrow’s technician/computer science major? What does that education look like?

Education

I am starting to see more bachelor degree programs in automotive technology. These often combine courses in physics, electronics, computer systems, and drive train and engine repair. I still think there is an unfilled niche for the type of training in automotive engineering that would be a hybrid for systems designers and repairmen. Such an approach would enable the specialists to cross back and forth as their career ambitions change. It would also provide a more holistic view of design and repair and hopefully promote design for reparability.

Thoughts

In 10 years, whether we are driving cars or they are driving us, they will still need to be repaired. A technician will need to be well-versed in hardware, software, and networking. Troubleshooting will be much more complex as we deal with multiple interconnected computer systems. Just as I advise my son to keep up on the latest technologies, I would encourage anyone to look to the future as they make their educational plans.

Are the days of the shade tree mechanic gone? What kind of education do you think it will take to repair the vehicles being introduced now? Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Clearing the Decks in the New Year

Ship sailing through rough seas from perspective of the deck.Clear The Decks

I recently came across the term “clear the decks” and it sums up well my thoughts as I begin a new year. Clear the decks is a nautical term used to warn the sailing crew to remove or secure all loose objects that might get in the way of the guns or injure the crew. It is a way of saying prepare for battle or prepare for a new adventure. The new year represents new opportunities, so why not clear the deck of anything that might get in the way? Here are some ways that I will prepare for the future.

Clearing Stuff

I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years and occasionally I need to reduce. Last year I sold one of my motorcycles and one of my bicycles. I was surprised that getting rid of some of my stuff gave me a new perspective and fresh energy for new projects, not to mention creating room in my garage. I am also trying to clear out papers and books that I no longer need or read. Being free of this unneeded material lets me focus on things that are important to me. I still have more stuff to reduce in 2016 but this was a good beginning.

Fresh Thinking

Sometimes new learning can give me a spark to start new projects or complete old ones. I recently began a new MOOC on statistical thinking for data science. This is the first of a series of three courses which I chose to expand my thinking on some of my work. Since it is applied learning, I am gleaning new ideas that I can use immediately. Whether it is a short course such as this series of MOOCs or something as extensive as pursuing a new degree, education is a great way to clear the decks and may lead you in a new direction.

New Relationships

Another way to jump start the new year is to evaluate your network to determine who can help you in your upcoming adventures and whom you can help in return. A purposeful evaluation of your network will help you determine how you can make progress on the things that matter to you. Is it time to find a mentor? Do you need to let go of old relationships that hold you back? Conversely, is there someone out there who needs your experience and expertise?

Thoughts

Our calendar is handed down from ancient Caesers and popes and provides no magic when we turn the page to a new day or month or year. The magic and each beginning comes from us. It comes from our planning to make the next day and the next year even better than the last. One way we can do that is to clear the deck of anything holding us back as we get ready for the next journey.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Trends In Higher Education: Certificates and Customization

Woman works with laptop, paper and pen.I recently leafed through a course catalog of the local community college and was surprised by the breadth of certification courses. These classes lead to a professional certificate in fields such as psychology, information technology, construction, and mechanical systems. Programs may consist of one course or many courses and are taken in addition to, or in lieu of, a traditional degree program. This is specialized instruction that leads to a specific skill. These certificates show a current or potential employer that you have mastered that skill and are ready to hit the ground running. I think that certificates will become an important tool to differentiate job seekers, so I set out to find out how popular and diverse these programs are.

Certificates vs. MOOCs

Certifications can be taken at the community college, undergraduate, or even graduate level. They often lead to licensure, as in the case of specialty teaching or nursing, or may serve as preparation for taking a certification test, such as those in information technology or engineering. The programs may stand alone without an accompanying degree, or they may be taken in conjunction with an undergraduate or graduate degree. For example, law students may study technology or business to enhance their skills by broadening the experiences. In the same vein, medical students may study bioinformatics to understand and conduct genetic analysis as part of their practice. These are examples of certifications that might give job seekers an edge over other candidates.

Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, are generally free and do not lead to licensure or certification. Some MOOC courses offer either option and can lead to a certificate for a fee. While these certificates are not generally recognized in the workplace, that could change in the future.

Options Beyond Certificates

Some universities are modifying their traditional degree requirements to meet the changing needs of students. Many students are returning to school or are enrolling later in life after already establishing a career. These students may need more flexibility in the course schedule or in the completion time. Some universities such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute are layering traditional degree programs with experience-based specialties. The college offers a one year master’s of management degree for young graduates, who then have the option of returning after at least two years of industry experience to add an MBA. Offering degrees in stages serves the young graduates looking for management education and returning students looking to add to their previous investment. The key to certificates or specialty degree programs is flexibility and availability of relevant curriculum.

Other schools are moving towards interdisciplinary studies degrees. This may be a combination of business, communications and information management such as the UO AIM Program, or a traditional management, engineering, health care, or law degree that allows students to explore adjacent paths in cyber security or business analytics or telemedicine. Whether these paths lead to a certificate or a degree, they all provide students with particular skills that are needed in the workplace.

Thoughts

Certificate and customizable degree programs allow students to combine the value of a traditional curriculum while gaining the specialized skills that are in demand. I think that this customization will only increase in the future as students seek innovative educational experiences. Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.