ssinFor those of us that have or have had a teenager in the home, we realize mornings are often like dealing with cold war era Russia. Most of the time there are no words exchanged and that is usually better because when words come out, they are not often productive or positive.

My friend, Dr. Jeff Borden, has been advocating in his presentations for years that research shows middle and high school students should be starting school later based on neurological studies. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics released its first policy statement advocating for later school start times for high school students. “Probably the ideal start time would be 9 o’clock,” the lead author of the study, Judith Owens, said.

Based on a report in the Wall Street Journal, only about 15% of schools in the United States start after 8:30. Why?

I think it is related to two factors – a lack of a desire and motivation on faculty and administration to change and disbelief that what they are currently doing is not the right approach.

See my blogs “Time to Change…..FEAR” and “You’re Killing Me” for more rants on this topic.


Okay, so the title is a bit more of an attention grabber than actually a statement of fact. However, given the latest report from the highly acclaimed and peer-referenced journal, Cosmopolitan, I now have yet another reason to advocate for online education.

sexsurveyfinalCosmo published an infograph depicting the results of a survey of 1,000 college students who were asked about sex on the college campus. Here are some of the highlights:

  • 28% reported being virgins
  • 8% of college women say they have been sexually assaulted by someone associated with the college while only 2% reported the incident to authorities
  • 70% of sexually active students say most hookups end with sexual intercourse
  • 45% describe sex in college as carefree and fun, 44% say it is messy and complicated and 11% reported sex in college as hurtful and damaging.
  • There are other statistics in the infograph that, well you will just need to read yourself!

Remember when sex was safe and online is where the bad stuff happened? It only worries me a bit that my college sophomore daughter is only taking half of her classes online.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Share with me below on on my social networks.

One of the most recognized brands worldwide is Nike, featuring its famous Swoosh logo. The history of the logo is colorful and much insight can be gleaned from its concept and development.

ideasIn the late 60’s, Phil Knight was teaching accounting at Portland State and he approached a college student named Carolyn Davidson to do some graphic design work for him because he heard she needed money to take an oil painting class. They agreed on $2 per hour and their relationship began. After working for several years as a freelance graphics designer for Phil, he asked her in early 1971 to create a new logo for a shoe company he was starting.

She created several logos and presented them. The Swoosh was not immediately accepted and she was asked if she had others. After presenting several other designs it was decided to go with the Swoosh because they needed it immediately and Phil said, “We don’t love it but maybe it will grow on me.”

And the rest is history. The Nike Swoosh is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. And what whopping sum did Carolyn get paid? $35 for the 17.5 hours it took her to create the design options presented to Phil. Pretty good investment.

Where do we look for fresh ideas in higher education? Industry experts, benchmark studies, consultants? Maybe it is time we start looking at the customers we serve for how we should be redesigning higher education. That is only the beginning. Instead of rejecting new ideas because “we have never done it that way,” we need some of Phil’s attitude. I don’t love it but maybe it will grow on me.

We know the many clichés about quitting.

“A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.” – Napoleon Hill

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes habit.” – Vince Lombardi

“A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.” – Richard Nixon

In a recent issue of FastCompany, Jan Bruce argues that it might be okay to quit. She specifically addresses quitting a job if you feel trapped in an endless job with no hope for the future. It is an interesting read that really got me thinking about colleges and universities that refuse to quit.

I quitThis might not be going where you think, but hang with me. I am not talking about the positive side of tenacity but rather the negative. I can name several colleges that should just quit. Not quit programs or athletics, but just quit altogether. Go away.

In my mind, I see a school with enrollments around 600 FTE, buildings with deferred maintenance so high the physical plant will never catch up, faculty and staff turnover rates in the double digits annually because the new hires are not given a clear picture of the desperate financial condition of the school until well after they are hired. Retention rates at these institutions are high and the cost of attendance has well outpaced the students’ ability to pay off their student loan debt if they happen to graduate with a degree that has trained them for a job with a paupers wage. Every year the advancement office desperately tries to raise enough money to balance the budget but they never seem to get ahead. Stop taking student’s money and stop begging donors. Just stop.

Oh, and the schools I have pictured in my head absolutely refuse to be innovative or try new things. Die a proper and honorable death before you are forced to close. Ensure your students have a place to go and the community has a use for your worn out facilities. But, just go.

As more colleges shift to online courses and exams, the potential for cheating grows. But new technology is on the rise that authenticates students’ identities with something that can’t be shared — their bodies.

Authentication: Biometrics

Colleges are using biometric authentication to leap past the days of PINs and passwords

Biometric Signature ID, a Lewisville, Texas, company, has found some success in higher education through its eponymous handwriting and gesture-based security program.

Mark Sarver, CEO of eduKan, a consortium of community colleges that offer online courses and degrees, says the group has been using biometric scanning to authenticate more than 10,000 students over the past three years. He told eCampus News that the technology has proved to be cost-effective and transparent to students.

Read the rest of this article by D. FRANK SMITH, posted June 27, 2014

In Biometrics We Trust? High-Tech Securities Spreading at Colleges


This article was written by me and originally posted on The EvoLLLution

The Promise

Many young men and women signed up for the military with a promise of access to educational benefits during their active duty and when they became veterans.

The Challenge

Having served as a military liaison for several institutions, I understand the complexity and frustration of trying to navigate the multitude of benefits programs when it actually comes time to enroll. Compounding the problem is the inconsistency with which colleges and universities award credit for both military-specific training and prior college courses.

Finding a Solution

military educationThis month, more than 100 stakeholders gathered in Arlington, VA to discuss how to help servicemembers engage and navigate the college application and acceptance process. Giving veterans a jump-start on their college careers and a well-defined path will increase their recruitment, retention and graduation rates.

Much of the information talked about in the education circles, however, never makes it to the veterans who wish to attend college.

Having worked with the Coast Guard and National Guard, I was familiar with a software program many education officers used to capitalize on the SOC agreements and the college credit military members can receive for their professional training to shorten the time to and cost for the degree. What makes this service different is it offers unbiased, institution-agnostic counseling that looks at any previous college credits, military and corporate training and prior learning to provide a list of options for the student based on the degree they seek. This can literally save the student years of college and thousands of dollars in tuition.

You can find out more about this program at www.

Want to know more? Read my complete article on this subject at The EvoLLLution.

Photo by Roy Cox/Courtesy of University of Maryland University College

College students have depended on coffee since the emergence of formal education although I am not sure which one came first. Regardless, you can bet they have been symbiotic partners for decades. This week Starbucks announced a partnership with Arizona State University to allow employees to enroll in online bachelor degree programs.

Starbucks tuition programThis is big for several reasons. One-Starbucks is not limiting tuition reimbursement to classes that are directly applicable to their career as a barista. Two-there is a no repayment provision if the employee leaves Starbucks. For this program, freshman and sophomores will get partial tuition scholarships combined with need-based financial aid from Arizona State. During their junior and senior years, Starbucks will pick up the tab for their entire tuition.

As an educational futurist, I have predicted for a while now that we will start to see more of a melding between corporate training and formal education. The for-profit institutions have been doing this for years and, like most innovations in higher education, the not-for profits and state-funded colleges are slow to join. This is a big step forward for the new education model that relies less on eighteen year olds physically attending a campus but more on the non-traditional students. Yet, most not-for-profit and state funded institutions continue to focus their efforts on competing for the limited traditional student market. They are building new dorms, new football fields, and new cafeterias and investing almost nothing in technology-driven education.

While I don’t see personally the appeal of Starbucks’ coffee, I do applaud this bold move. So, I raise my Tall Blonde, with extra whip and a double shot of espresso to you Starbucks.

Bonus points to Starbucks for letting me order a tall blonde with no judgment! Tell me what you think of this bold move by Starbucks below.

Find out more about this program at the Starbucks website.

Graduation Selfies

The Growing Ban on Graduation Selfies

We all know about selfies, a word that did not exist when I graduated college. Come to think of it, cell phones have come about since I graduated college. During a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee during Christmas last year, I treated my 75 year old father to a facebook posted selfie of the two of us enjoying breakfast at possibly the greatest restaurant in the world… The Pancake Pantry. Dad was not really impressed.

ABC announced a new show titled “Selfie” will premier this fall. A love story of sorts, a love of “likes” by a self-obsessed woman who “After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media ‘followers’ that she ever imagined – but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help her repair her tarnished image.” Not sure how this show can possibly last more than one season.

This year colleges are banning the selfie at graduation. More specifically, they are banning selfies on the podium as soon to be graduates cross the stage for their diploma. Having been involved with the planning and execution of many graduations that were strategically planned, rehearsed and choreographed with military-like precision; an unplanned selfie can throw the entire event into a catastrophic free for all. Not really, but if a significant number of graduates pause for even 10 seconds it can be annoying for the rest of us who are not so narcissistic.

This may be the one event where there are more photos being taken per square foot by proud family and friends as you cross the stage than you could possibly post to your social media page. There is no need for that selfie here.

It could be worse, just think of the problem selfies would have caused when I graduated. Where to store that Polaroid and then the incessant shaking to see if the photo developed before one would leave the stage.

What do you think about this issue? Share with me below or on my social networks.

RetroTV Rabbit Ears

TV with Rabbit Ears

For those of you reading this that don’t remember black and white television broadcasts, you might be thinking the title of this blog is making fun of Grandpa’s ears, the ones attached to his head. Brief lesson for the younger set; prior to cable and satellite television providers, one would purchase an antenna for their television to improve reception of broadcast signals coming across the airwaves. Most antenna sets had a heavy base and two expandable metal rods, giving them the name rabbit ears. So you could watch local broadcast television for free given your proximity to the television towers broadcasting the signal.

Today in the age of cable and satellite television, most people don’t realize television signals are still broadcast over the air. As Netflix and Hulu erode the traditional broadcast base, a company called Aereo is putting the nail in the proverbial major network coffin. Using technology, Aereo captures these over the air broadcasts and them makes them accessible via the internet to its subscribers willing to pay just $8 per month.

As you might imagine, the broadcast networks such as ABC, NBC and CBS are not happy with this service that takes their highly scheduled programming and makes it available anytime a customer wants it and at a fraction of the cost from cable and satellite providers. They are accusing Aereo of copyright infringement. The Copyright Act states that the owner of a creation has the exclusive right to perform the work publicly. Aereo argues that a broadcast via the Internet to a person’s computer is not a public performance; and The Second Circuit court agreed. This case is now before the Supreme Court and their ruling could impact the way we watch TV.

I am thinking about how this could apply to higher education. What if a college simply took lectures captured and distributed via the college website, MOOCs or social media outlets such as YouTube and then packaged them into a degree program for a fraction of the cost? In theory, you could argue that the content comes from an accredited college and that an amalgamation of accredited content should equate to an accredited degree. And no rabbit ears required!

A few years ago, we started a pilot at eduKan to test a new biometric signature password to ensure that the students who used our online learning system, were in fact the student who should be logging. We’ve successfully launched this technology and have used it to build trust with our faculty and staff as well as deter cheating and unauthorized use.

identity theftYesterday’s article, by David Rizzo, entitled “The Next Step in ID Verification” talks about the recent security breaches at banks and how institutions need to up their game and positively identify online users with technology that can identify behavior and gestures that are unique to each individual. They contacted me to find out more about our switch to using biometric signature passwords to build trust and meet requirements to positively identify students who take our online courses.

“We have used signature biometrics for nearly three years with more than 10,000 student users, and it has exceeded our expectations,” said Dr. Mark Sarver, CEO of eduKan, a consortium of community colleges offering online courses and degrees. “It provides an identity-proofing means that is transparent to our students while respecting their privacy. [It] is available anytime and stays cost-effective for the institution.”

                                                                       Dr. Mark Sarver, CEO, eduKan

Click here to read the complete article.

What are you using to secure your online systems? Share with me below or if you have questions, I’d be happy to share more about our cost effective system from Bio-SigID.