Kevin Kelly, in his fascinating book The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, gave me a moniker for how I feel on a daily basis in my job: perpetual newbie.
“In this era of ‘becoming,’ everyone becomes a newbie,” Kelly writes. “Worse, we will be newbies forever. That should keep us humble. That bears repeating. All of us — every one of us — will be endless newbies in the future simply trying to keep up. Endless Newbie is the new default for everyone, no matter your age or experience. Now we know: We are, and will remain, perpetual newbies.”
When the top 25 iOS apps are updated on average every 30 days, the most we can expect from ourselves is a continual striving towards mastery, though never achieving it. The lean is what matters here.
With that in mind, here’s a collection of online blogs and resources that help me lean.
As DePaul University’s associate vice president for enrollment management, Jon Boeckenstedt (@jonboeckenstedt) maintains two high protein blogs that are both worthy of lighting up your rss feed reader:
Utilizing open data sets and Tableau, Boeckenstedt routinely analyzes the various folk theories and sacred cows of the broader enrollment management industry. What is most admirable in his approach is 1) the overall air of playfulness with which he approaches his data musings, and 2) that he provides his data sources and interactivity with his visualizations so you can mimic that playfulness and engage with the material directly.
Boeckenstedt also publishes a more long form blog called Admitting Things that tackles many current admissions topics, many of which have gathered national attention in media. More importantly though, Boeckenstedt has a penchant for spotting the vital conversations that do not show up in higher ed media, but should.
This is easily the clearinghouse for the national enrollment management conversation. The “Facts in Brief” section alone is worth the price of admission. ACE is a great source of information to pair with board and institutional C-level briefings.
I’m a big believer in taking the best of many industries and applying it to higher ed, a field desperate for new thinking. The data science team at Capture Higher Ed not only stays in airbnbs wherever we travel, we are also inspired by the innovation and openness of the data science team at the San Fran peer-to-peer travel marketplace.
At the core of our team’s work is solving enrollment management’s longest standing and most intractable problems. There’s a reason these complex problems have persisted. The most obvious is that many of them are naturally tough to begin with.
But, we would be mistaken to ignore the manner with which we have tackled these problems, which has been pocketed and isolated. The innovation and tech landscape of higher education is characterized by corporate tribalism, a hoarding of innovation, and closed development. We have faith in the power of open and honest trial and error and the spreading of data science inquiry tools and methods to this enrollment management field we love.
The airbnb team represents many aspirations of Capture and, hopefully, the higher ed data community as a whole. Airbnb publishes the tools they use and offer honest assessment of the prediction problems they have tackled — the good, bad, and ugly — from publishing Airbnb’s data analysis tools to their assessment of the Net Promoter Score on rebooking.
So what am I talking about when I suggest that enrollment management can benefit from an open source collaborative? Brock Tibert knows. As the vice president of Audience Marketing and Analytics at CollegeWeekLive, Tibert (@BrockTibert) writes a sharing-heavy blog about the maturing space between data science and enrollment management, what he calls “enrollment science.” Tibert represents where the industry is going with his deployment of a host of tools that hold much promise for enrollment management from Tableau, R & Python statistical tool-building all the way to graph databases which may help colleges understand the complexity of their recruitment networks. Oh, and his Shiny application work on NHL play-by-play data is also worth the read.
This blog is maintained by Dr. David Wiley (@opencontent), co-founder and chief academic officer of Lumen Learning, a firm that specializes in leveraging open educational resources and online methodologies to revolutionize education. Lumen and Wiley are advancing important conversations about the development of new models to boldly address affordability in higher education. He and his team deserve a broader audience within the field of enrollment management.
And don’t forget Capture Higher Ed’s very own daily blog, an open window into what the data, marketing and enrollment experts at Capture are thinking about every day. Be sure to sign up for the Weekly Digest (at the top right of this page), which is emailed out every Thursday.
By Thom Golden, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Data Science, Capture Higher Ed