Friday, April 24, 2015

Drop Out Rates: Should Traditional and Online Schools Have Their Own Rates?

Dropout rates are a primary concern for universities and governments that want to create accountability in higher education. How dropout rates are defined has a large impact on the future success of schools and may influence those that will be around in the future. Some have argued that the timetables and lack of understanding put online schools at a disadvantage under definitions more in tune with the needs of traditional schools.

How Drop Out Rates are Defined

The way in which dropout rates are set can make a large difference in the final rate. For example, if a dropout rate is by course level it will have one value while if it is calculated over a year, or two years, will have another. If calculated over longer periods of times the rates may capture students who bounce in and out of classes but have not given up on their education. When a student drops is confusing.

The government requires the numbers to be calculated each year. These numbers create a rate that is compared with other universities to determine the schools' value. What they don't compare is the background and demographics of the students attending different types of schools and it impacts short-term retention. Some students don't have the full freedom or support to attend college all the way throughout without working.

Different Numbers for Online and Traditional Universities

A study conducted in Spain found that dropout rates would better reflect what is going on if there were a separate definition for online universities (Grau-Valldosera& Minguillon, J. (2014). They believe that the online method of learning is very different from brick-n-mortar institutions and having the same definition doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Students in the online world come from a different background that makes the virtual educational process different than traditional universities. Trying to force online schools into brick-n-mortar models is unfair. As traditional schools move more into online education, they may find similar inaccuracies in reporting.

Online Students are Unique

Students in the online world are more transient and will sometimes attend a few classes and then disappear for a couple of classes before returning. The measurement should be different as those engaged in traditional schooling may never return to an institution once they leave as larger barriers to reentry exist.

There is also another problem related to the preparedness of students. Up to 1/3 of students who enter college are not prepared for higher education through their standard high school education (McMahon, 2015). If online education is serving students with multiple interests and under-served demographics the numbers may be indicative of the challenges in their student populations.

As online schools become more prominent, the very nature and face of education will likely change to incorporate new methods of school evaluation. At present traditional schools are defining the dropout rates leaning heavily in their favor and may not reflect what is occurring in online schools. Coming to a stable definition that reflects both mediums is necessary for an accurate and fair assessment of school quality.

Grau-Valldosera, J. & Minguillion, J. (2014). Rethinking dropout in online higher education: the case of Universitat Oberta De Catalunya, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15 (1).

McMahon, M. (2015). Underprepared college students. Research Starters, Education.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Sharing Economy Opens a Debate with San Diego Housing Rentals

It isn’t hard to find examples how new technology is disrupting traditional methods of conducting business when these examples are right in your backyard. Homeowners are renting their beach abodes for extra money but putting pressure on local communities that lack parking and resources. Recent meetings with The Smart Growth and Land Use Committee offers opportunities to take public testimony and listen to reports to get a better grasp of how the sharing economy works. 

The problem is not yet a huge one but certainly could get bigger in the future as the sharing economy grows. Getting a handle on it now makes sense. There are around 1,800 registered owners of rental properties but 3,100 properties available for rent (as cited by Fox 5). This means that officials are unaware of how many people are renting homes and whether or not they are complying with regulations.

These rental arrangements are growing in other areas beyond the posh beach communities. Trendy neighborhoods such as East Village, Little Italy and South Park also have their own short-term rental options (as cited by 10 News). It is likely that other communities may have an interest in getting their houses on the market as well.

San Diego is a vacation destination and certainly will have more incentives for homeowners to engage in short-term renting while year round residents feel overwhelmed by the fluctuating traffic. San Diego should not rush to come to grips looming issues in order to set the right tone for other popular resort cities across the country.

As new technology changes the market government must catch up and implement new rules, regulations, and processes to ensure public interest is protected. As government adjusts and changes to meet these new demands government will likely adjust local ordinance, laws, and processes to better manage the situation. The same process will occur throughout the country in other major cities. 

The problems experience in San Diego are not unique as all governments must come to new ways of handling changing trends. There are many legal challenges associated with house renting in the sharing economy and how U.S. policymakers can regulate micro-entreprenuers (Burnette, 2015). These processes will be worked out over time but will come with some turmoil.

At present it is important to hear both sides of the argument and available data to ensure that a solid grasp of the situation is at hand. The changes, legislation and solutions should fit within San Diego’s long-term strategic plan. It is often beneficial to see what other cities and states are doing and adjust those policies to what works best locally. Keeping information available and the public informed of changes is beneficial for community based compliance.

Burnett, J. (2015). When people become businesses. Capitol Ideas, 28 (2). 

Crowds expected at council hearing on vacation rentals (April 22, 2015). Retrieved
San Diego City Council to debate divisive vacation rental issue (April 22, 2015). Retrieved


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Intuition and Scientific Advancement Among the Gifted Population

Giftedness is a trait that comes with high intensity, motivation, love of learning and emotional sensitivities that make a person highly functional in the environment. Many countries have gifted enrichment programs to ensure that such individuals can fully contribute to the development of society. The U.S. has not fully developed their programs. Understanding the power of giftedness and their intuition that leads to career success is important in fostering their abilities for the benefit of everyone. 

Science has moved beyond the definition of giftedness and is working on better ways to select and categories giftedness for better development (Porath, 2013). Intuition is one of those gifted traits that lead to higher mastery of the environment and scientific innovation through perceiving differences within the environment. That perception matched with the rigor of scientific logic encourages new discoveries.

Intuition can be extremely powerful and can culminate in all types of useful conclusions that would have taken years with the normal investigative process.  Intuition is seen as a cognitive style that has been described as the “sixth sense” where the unconscious recognizes patterns and solutions to those patterns before the conscious mind is aware (Pearson, 2013). Such processes can be used to make accurate decisions and investigated for clarity afterwards. 

Intuition is so powerful it can do things science cannot yet explain fully. For example, intuition can lead to health choices that put cancer in remission, picking a better deck of cards for better results, and selecting items behind screens without seeing anything that would tip a person off. According to Dr. Turner book Radical Remission the body picks up on environmental cues unconsciously and makes conclusions that manifest themselves in physiological responses (Turner, 2014). 

Gifted individuals have powerful senses of intuition and logic that can lead them to unique AND innovative methods of solving problems.  According to studies on highly intelligent and creative people, gifted individuals often display a preference for either rationality or intuition (Karwowski, 2008). The style they rely on will impact how they understand and approach their world. 

Intuition among the gifted is an interesting and often unexplored trait where their biological and psychological preference matches to create unique powers of understanding and reasoning. The same skill that allows them to find new discoveries in their respective fields also leaves many unable to follow their train of thought. Gifted individuals are considered relatively rare among the population and ensuring they have the social, legal, and intellectual support/protection is important for advancing society. 

Karwowski, M. (2008). Giftedness and Intuition. Gifted and Talented International, 23 (1).
Pearson, H. (2013). Science and intuition: do both have a place in clinical decision making? British Journal of Nursing, 22 (4). 

Porath, M. (2013). The gifted personality: what are we searching for and why? Talent Development & Excellence, 5 (2). 

Turner, K. (2014). The science behind intuition. Psychology Today. Retrieved