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Student Experience Lab

Page history last edited by Shelley 14 years, 11 months ago

Student Experience Lab:

recommended reading/viewing


(Who else is collecting primary source student voices?)


Notes related to the BIF project, which is described here:





Created by Cultural Anthropology students of Michael Wesch (Kansas State) in 2007; more behind-the-scenes info here.


Project Tomorrow's Speak Up survey: http://tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_your_data.html

SUITABILITY (who should go? who gets to go?)


The dominant thought-way: "Everyone should go. Anyone can go."



  • secondary preparation in the US is inequitous
  • many students who could benefit from a college education face significant barriers (notably high-stakes tests, costs) (Just this year I had a student come to me with his first SAT scores in hand and say, "Ms. Krause, I don't think I'm going to college.")
  • attempts (mostly piecemeal) to address questions of equality of opportunity and access:  http://www.outreach20.com/Resources
  • questions of how to assess students, teachers, schools (value-added?)
  • four year residential college is not for everyone - what about trades, associate degrees, apprenticeships?
  • increasing numbers of parents are no longer willing to keep their interaction/involvement with their student's secondary school to "bake sales & two teacher conferences per year" (e.g. see http://themorechild.com/) More parent pushback info here: http://www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2009/05/parentsblogaboutschools.html
  • more students/families are beginning to question the "standard path" (go directly to a four-year college, go straight through)... witness the expansion of gap year fairs in the US in 2009, the success of Maya Frost's book, The New Global Student (went to its 2nd printing approximately five weeks after going to press)


FIT (which post-secondary institution?)


The dominant thought-way: "Go to the best school you can." (Best is defined primarily by reputation and selectivity; input, not outcome.)


Who helps students begin to navigate this choice (if they feel they have a choice)?


Recommenders (see also this article on growing tech advances in recommendations):


In-school counselors

Private counselors

Commercial guide books - Fiske, Barron's, Peterson's, etc.



Searchable databases (notably, the CollegeBoard's Matchmaker site, which students are familiar with because of SAT signup), US News & World Report rankings, Princeton Review's Counselor-O-Matic, tons more here, including some with more subjective, student-generated content.

Publicly available data: NCES (federal data, all schools), VSAN (select public schools),  U-CAN (select private schools)

Sporadically available data (Common Data Sets, National Survey of Student Engagement)



Once students get to college, what are the biggest factors affecting student retention? (See "Foundational Dimensions")

Are there post-secondary institutions that have dramatically improved their retention and/or graduation rates over the past decade? What do they say?

What data should we be using to evaluate colleges, and where can we get it?


VALUE (is it worth it?)


The dominant thought-way: "Go, no matter what the cost."



Students and families are expected to take on more and more debt. (See "Big Increases in Private Loan Borrowing") More families are starting to question this. I see more upper class families sending students to public post-secondary institutions as a "value play." And first-generation college families wondering if there's anything they can do to make college a realistic goal for their children.


How much student debt is too much? (NYT)


What is a Master's degree worth?  (NYT)


THE POINT (why do students attend college?)


The dominant thought-way: "To prepare for a career and/or a lifetime of learning. The gateway to adulthood. Connections."



Are colleges and universities preparing students for the world that will be, or the world that was?


KnowledgeWorks Foundation "2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning"


The Future of Learning Institutions in A Digital Age



Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge



QUESTIONS for students going forward:


About students' college search process:

At what point in your life did attending college become a goal (or stop being a goal)?

Who helped you in your search process? (What was the student:counselor ratio at your high school?)

What other resources were helpful?

What were the things you wish someone had told you?

What did you do differently from other students you knew?

For students who are in college:

What was your transition to college like? (See Foundations of Excellence in the First Year of College)

How do you feel about your college choice now?

How strongly identified with "your" school are you? Can you imagine yourself donating and/or attending alumni functions after you graduate?  

For students who left or changed schools:

Talk about the factors that led to that change. (See "Transferring Colleges, Studying Chinese")

For students who took a gap year, either before or during school: 

How did you come to that decision?

For students who are graduating or have graduated from college: 

What are some of your biggest learning "takeaways" from your college years?

If you were charged with founding a new college, what would that school look like?

What were your expectations or hopes about college? Do you feel your college met them?

What was your transition to "the real world" (or grad school) like? 

What would you tell someone about to embark on their college experience (advice, tips, warnings)?

Going forward...learning based on customization?


Chris Dede: Disrupting the Traditional Classroom from Education Week on Vimeo.


What skills can we teach today that will last beyond the latest technology? What's flowing through the wires is more important than the wires. Alan November: #NECC09

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