Blogging @ CNM

Central New Mexico Community College


Are Too Many Students Being Forced Into Remediation?

A recent story in Education Week delved into some research studies that are pointing to a common conclusion – far too many students are unnecessarily being diverted into remedial classes.

The studies are suggesting that placement-test scores alone are not enough to determine whether a student should be required to take developmental education courses. The story offers some interesting options to supplement placement-test scores, such as looking more closely at high school transcripts or allowing students into credit classes while supporting them with tutoring.

It’s an interesting story on a topic that has gotten a lot of national and statewide attention. Please read the story in Education Week and let’s have a discussion about it.


Are We the Reason for New Mexico’s Economic Woes? Forbes Says So

Hey CNM!

Did you know that you live in an economic “Death Spiral State?” That’s what Forbes magazine says about New Mexico. Our state’s economy is burning to ashes, ready to collapse into what Forbes calls a “Fiscal Hellhole.” Know why? Too many takers… Not enough makers, the magazine says.

Do you know what Forbes considers you, as an employee of a state-funded college? What they consider us? “Takers.” In other words, we’re the ones digging the fiscal hellhole.

From Forbes: “Two factors determine whether a state makes this elite list of fiscal hellholes (which includes NM and 10 other states). The first is whether it has more takers than makers. A taker is someone who draws money from the government, as an employee, pensioner or welfare recipient. A maker is someone gainfully employed in the private sector.”

Interesting how they define a public employee as somebody who “draws money from the government,” and someone in the private sector as “gainfully employed.” But we’ve heard this kind of divisive thinking a lot in recent years, if we’ve been listening.

There’s no question – New Mexico and the Albuquerque-metro area are highly dependent on agencies and institutions that are funded by federal or state dollars, like Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos National Labs, CNM, UNM, Kirtland Air Force Base, etc.

But we also know that a lot of private-sector jobs are spawned from places like Sandia and Los Alamos, and that institutions like CNM and UNM prepare students to become the leaders and the backbone of the private-sector economy. Don’t we educate and help empower the so-called “makers?”

Here’s a link to the Forbes story. If you have trouble accessing it in Internet Explorer, try it in a different browser like Firefox or Safari.

So what’s your take on being labeled a “taker?” Are you offended? Or do they have a point – is New Mexico doomed to be a fiscal hellhole because we have too many “takers” and not enough “makers?”  Should we be listening to these kinds of assertions? Or just dismissing them as nonsense?

I really want to hear what you have to think. Please leave a comment.


Some Colleges Go ‘MOOC’

Hello CNM!

Thanks for stopping by… I’m wondering how many of you have heard of MOOCs? If you hadn’t yet, you have now. And you will hear a lot more about them in the very near future.

It stands for Massive Open Online Courses, and it’s the latest craze in online higher education. Many think it will inevitably revolutionize higher education as we know it, for the better. Some think it’s a fad, or worse, an ominous threat to the pillars of education.

The basic idea behind MOOCs right now is making an online class open to anybody who wants to sign up free of charge, and with no credit awarded. One MOOC at the University of Virginia this term has 42,000 students! And some of the most elite institutions in the country – Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among many others – are leading the charge for MOOCs. It’s a way to expand their brand and provide their most talented professors a worldwide stage and rock-star status.

For students, MOOCs can give them a taste of a particular discipline before starting to invest in a degree. Or they can simply brush up on anything they fancy, like, say… American Revolutionary War history by sitting in on lectures from their couch with Harvard’s most distinguished history professor. Or they can learn Spanish or take a math class or a political science class at a community college, free. If they like what they see and learn, the idea goes, they might be more likely to register for credit courses and pursue a degree at your college.

Some colleges are already rushing to set up pilots that offer credit to students who have taken MOOCs.

It’s a fascinating topic. And it very well might revolutionize the direction of higher education, soon.

If this is the first you’ve heard about MOOCs, or you want to hear what’s being said around the country about them, below is just a few stories I’ve found interesting on the topic.

So, what’s your take on MOOCs? A natural evolutionary step for higher education? Or a dangerous dash into an educational quagmire? Or somewhere in between?

“Instruction for Masses Knocks Down Campus Walls” — New York Times

“Irrational Exuberance Over MOOCs” – The Washington Post

“Into the Future with MOOCs” – Chronicle of Higher Education, commentary

“Don’t Panic Amid Predictions of Higher Ed’s Demise” – Inside Higher Ed, faculty column

Georgia State U. to Grant Course Credit for MOOCs – Chronicle of Higher Education

“MOOCs and Tablet Computing Are Top Tech Trends in Horizon Report” – Chronicle of Higher Education

“What Campus Leaders Need to Know About MOOCs” – Educause

“Massive Open Online Classes Raise Questions About Future of Education” – NBC Nightly News