Friday Odds and Ends
TPS and fed policy updates, courseware articles vs headlines, and LMS usage of AI
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Well, I have to admit that with the persistent heat wave in Arizona and ridiculous air travel problems, it looks like I made a good decision to drive early to Colorado for InstructureCon next week (and to visit my daughters). Temporarily at least, I am leading an #OccupyKeystone movement to see if we can get InstructureCon back here next year. The ~70 degree weather is quite pleasant to boot. [Full-page audio link]
Federal Policy Updates
Phil - I so miss the third-party servicer (TPS) guidance.
Well, I have good news for you. I’ve heard from two independent sources (including this mention) recently that the revised TPS guidance to likely to come out in August or early September. As a reminder, the TPS Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) came out in February and would have effective added regulations and reporting requirements on nearly all of the EdTech industry. After massive pushback, the Department of Education (ED) promised to change the guidance to remove the foreign-ownership clause and changed the effective date to be at least six months after the release of revised guidance.
That revised guidance is likely to occur this summer, meaning that it (in whatever form it comes) will be effective as soon as March 2024. I would expect the new guidance to have a similar approach but focus on recruitment and marketing services.
Also remember that 2U filed a lawsuit against ED over the TPS guidance, with that lawsuit put on hold until the new guidance comes out. I would expect the 2U lawsuit to kick into gear again by September.
Inside Higher Ed, by the way, had a good article describing how the Supreme Court loss by the Biden Administration over student debt forgiveness has quickly shifted into regulatory activity to attempt to get the same result through Negotiated Rule Making processes (known as Neg Reg), based on the Higher Education Act. That article has a nice summary of the Neg Reg process:
The key thrust of the article, however, is that pushing student loan forgiveness into Neg Reg will alter ED’s plans - as a minimum due to personnel constraints - on TPS, Bundled Services Exception, Gainful Employment, Financial Transparency, and many of the other regulatory actions that are in process. And activists appear to be concerned about the scope.
Expect to see more analysis here at On EdTech as these issues increase in intensity.
Courseware: Articles vs. Headlines
Taylor Swaak at the Chronicle of Higher Education has a three-part series on digital courseware that is worth reading. The first article focuses on how some teachers use courseware as a replacement for instruction (course in a box) even if that is not the intent by the publishers creating courseware.
The second article raises the question about whether institutions should shift all of the cost of courseware onto students.
The third article looks at data privacy issues, including some specific assignment questions and Google Analytics data sharing that at least raises the question of appropriate usage of data.
I am all for exploring tricky subjects in education, and Swaak’s articles are exemplary in setting context and presenting different sides of arguments. The whole series is worth reading. With one exception.
The article headlines and imagery, which I assume were chosen by the Chronicle and not the author based on industry practice, are designed to inflame emotions and take a side. Consider the first one:
Come on - are the extra clicks you get from that setup worth the loss of credibility? How many people skip most of the article and will just remember the scary headlines and imagery? We need better, and these headlines should match the tone of the articles.
Generative AI in LMS Land
The D2L Fusion and Anthology (which owns Blackboard) Together users conferences are complete, and InstructureCon is scheduled for next week. At the first two conferences, there was a lot of emphasis on generative AI tools. D2L’s announcements:
Like Blackboard, D2L also based their work on an initial responsibility framework, or set of principles. We’ll see how next week goes, but I think both D2L and Blackboard did a good job with their commitments / framework as well as not over-promising in the way that Chegg did with CheggMate.
We’ll provide summary analysis of all three of these LMS conferences in early August.
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