Dawn of the robot TA’s: a British columnist proclaims “Teaching Assistant robots will reinvent academia.” He encourages universities to “ask which roles can never be replaced by artificial intelligence.” We tried to answer and got stumped after “RA” and “quarterback.”
Tech blog TheNextWeb argues that classrooms should adopt AI and virtual reality in the classroom to develop “tech literate leaders.” The article notes these technologies would have the added benefit of automating some teacher functions. We know some teachers who would say they’ve dealt with artificial intelligence and unreal environments for years now.
College marketers, take note: The Sourcing Journal reports on the growing trend of marketing via virtual social influencers–artificial composites of the most popular social media paragons. The article cites the example of computer-generated influencer “Lil Miquela,” who “comes prepackaged with a full workup: an ethnicity (Brazilian/Spanish), age (19) and location (Los Angeles).” Somehow this bot influencer has posted four songs on Spotify. The story notes some of her 500,000 followers are confused about this virtual pesona: they have asked her for skincare tips.
In Berkeley, a panel of tech experts recently speculated about how blockchain technology might be incorporated into higher education. One possibility includes maintaining one’s academic credentials on the chain.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced plans to provide four years of tuition and fees to Wisconsin residents, provided the adjusted gross income of their family is $56,000 or less. “Our goal is to ensure that anyone who is admitted can afford to be a Badger,” said UWM Chancellor Rebecca Blank.
A study by the National Science Foundation shows that the number of international undergraduate students studying in the US decreased by 2.2% between 2016-17.
Meanwhile, donations to colleges increased over 6% between 2016-17, though there is uncertainty about how the new tax bill’s higher standard dedcution will affect giving in 2018.
A student advocacy group calculates that textbook prices have increased at a rate four times greater than inflation since 2006. Also, students have less opportunity to recoup costs by selling used editions, as many textbooks now require single-use access codes which provide supplemental online content.
The Los Angeles-based Center for a Competitive Workforce released a whitepaper documenting employment growth of 19.6% in LA’s entertainment industry since 2006. The report mentions that the entertainment industry there has grown four times faster than the region’s general economy, with digital media performing especially well. At the other end of the spectrum, Reno County, Kansas experienced a loss of 800 manufactuing jobs there over a ten year period.
Blue-collar workers are in demand in Mankato, Minnesota as the region prepares for a 2% reduction in the available workforce.
In Tuscaloosa, Florida, the “Worlds of Work” exhibits continue to educate students on job opportunities for high school students.
The New York Post tells the story of a Vietnamese woman who agreed to pay a $1.5 million consulting fee to assist her daughter with enrollment at elite boarding and ivy league schools. New York consulting group The Ivy Coach is suing the woman for failing to pay the full fee for their services. Said the company: “The parents of our students appreciate that it is worth investing to help their children earn admission to an outstanding school when they’d otherwise earn admission only to a pretty good school.”