Keep the Change: Making e-Learning Work

 Go Lean Commentary

Here’s how to make money in the Stock Market:

Buy low and sell high.

Here’s a stock tip:

Any company that develops-deploys computer software for e-Learning:

These companies are all the rage now, as they provide software-systems to facilitate online education for Tertiary (college) students down to Primary students. Welcome to the …

… no wait, we have been here all the while … waiting for “you” to arrive. See the priority-focus from Page 127 of the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean:

10 Big Ideas … in the Caribbean Region  # 9: e-Learning – Versus – Studying Abroad
The Caribbean has tried the Study Abroad model, the result: a “brain drain” where our best students leave and may never return for residence, employment or investments, (only family visits). The new approach is to keep the talent here in the Caribbean, educate them here and notice the positive efforts on societal institutions.

In the Caribbean, this was always our BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal – that we would terminate the strategy of sending our children off to college to only then watch them “never come back”.  🙁

Imagine depositing money in the bank, for a rainy day fund; when it rains we go to take the money and the expected interest.

But, there is no bank …

… the investment did pay-off; interest revenue did accrue, but not for us.

This is the sad reality … for the Caribbean … and many other Failing-States around the world.

Thanks to the Coronavirus – COVID-19 crisis, the world is coming to the e-Learning party. It is April 2020 and the world is locked-down, sheltering-in-place. The majority of people in society have avoided gathering and all but essential contact for people – other than their immediate household – in order to “flatten the curve”. Schools are not essential: not primary, not secondary and not tertiary schools.

Students out side a closed college

Education is essential; school (building, library, administration, etc.) is not.

We can only say that now … that e-Learning options (above) are real and viable.

COVID-19 is here today in April 2020; how about for Fall 2020?

We do not know … what we do not know? See the Appendix below.

But we can “hedge our bets”, mitigate the risks, by doubling-down on e-Learning. This changed environment has been forced on us – uninvited – by the invisible enemy of the Coronavirus; but we can Keep the Change and invite these new tools and techniques. This is not just our opinion alone. See this portrayal in the news articles and VIDEO’s here:

Title: Students are weary of online classes, but colleges can’t say whether they’ll open in Fall 2020
By: Chris Quintana, USA Today

College students threatened to revolt if universities put another semester of classes online to avoid spreading the coronavirus – but that’s increasingly what campus leaders are considering doing.

For Ryan Sessoms, a marketing student at the University of North Florida, the transition to online classes has been rocky. The thought of paying the same amount of tuition for another semester of lackluster classes is a nonstarter. It’s harder to find the motivation to complete his assignments, he said, when not surrounded by his peers.

“Fall is my last semester as well,” said Sessoms, 24. “All my hard work I have put in, I’d prefer to walk across the stage and wrap up some last-minute connections on campus as well.

“If it’s going to be online at the same tuition price, then I’ll just wait for the spring semester.”

Grayce Marquis, 20, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, told USA TODAY she was joking when she tweeted about skipping the fall semester after the college’s chancellor raised the possibility of putting fall classes online. Still, she said, another semester of online learning would be heartbreaking for her.

The college experience, she said, had been fantastic, thanks to her friends, professors, sports and extracurricular activities on campus. Going online stripped that away, she said, and her days are now defined by her individual effort.

“Perhaps I am still learning and fulfilling my areas of study,” she said. “But every part of what I love about college has been taken away.”

She said the university could make life easier on students by discounting tuition or increasing scholarships.

The problem: Many colleges are in financial crisis. They need students, with their tuition and housing payments, as much as students need them.

The reality is no one knows what the fall semester will look like, said Terry Hartle, a senior vice president for the American Council on Education, a national trade group of universities.

“The coronavirus will determine when colleges and universities can reopen,” he said. “All colleges and universities want to open normally, but no college knows if it can.”

That’s bad news for universities. As the economic impact of the coronavirus continues mostly unabated, many have canceled their summer classes and other activities, such as alumni gatherings or camps that generate revenue.

They’re scrambling to make up for lost money. The University of Cincinnati ended its men’s soccer program, and St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, announced last week it was cutting men’s and women’s golf and tennis, along with men’s soccer.

Friday, the University of Arizona announced it would furlough employees and may lay some off. The chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System recommended the closure of three campuses.

The financial trouble started when colleges started issuing refunds for housing costs after sending students home and buying licenses and equipment to put courses online.  Some students demand refunds for tuition.

If social distancing requires colleges to keep students at home for another semester, the fallout could remake America’s higher education system, upending everything from students’ degree attainment to the economies of college towns.

What does fall hold? No one can know
News of universities suggesting another online semester spread rapidly and, at times, incorrectly. Boston University was one of the first institutions to announce that in the “unlikely event” its students couldn’t return to campus, in-person instruction would resume in 2021. Many interpreted that as a declaration that the fall semester would not happen. (The university added a note to clarify its statement.)

Universities around the country are having the same conversation, including Harvard, the University of Arizona, the University of South Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California-San Diego, to name a few. The truth is few colleges have definitive plans.

In a survey of college officials, a little more than half of 210 respondents said their colleges are talking about the possibility of putting the fall semester entirely online, according to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.  A slimmer 5% of colleges have committed to online classes for the fall semester.

The fall semester may seem far out, but for higher education, it’s basically here, said Wendy Kilgore, director of research at the association. In many cases, the fall class schedule has been built, and universities are opening class registration.

“They have to have the plans in place for course delivery,” she said. “That’s why these deliberations are happening right now.”

Even if colleges don’t go completely online, they could choose a solution that embraces more online learning. In the survey, two-thirds of colleges considered offering more online courses compared with the previous fall semester, and 57% talked about reducing the number of in-person courses for the same time frame.

A handful of colleges considered delaying the start of the fall semester or shortening it.

Utah State University’s president told students and employees classes might be smaller, and she expects “people will come back on campus but not in large, free-moving ways that we used to have,” according to The Herald Journal

Changes are already in place at Beloit College in Wisconsin. The semester will start later than normal, and students will not take a traditional four-course semester, said Eric Boynton, provost and dean of the college.

Instead, the semester will be split in half: Students will take two more intensive courses in the first seven weeks and two more after that.

The goal, Boynton said, is to minimize disruption should the college need to pivot to online learning again suddenly. The threat of the virus might make in-person classes impossible for the first set of courses that start in September, but by late October, the start of the second session, the safety concerns might have abated. If the college has to pivot to online learning, only two of a student’s classes would be affected at any given time, rather than four.

“What we wanted was some kind of decisive step,” Boynton said. “What we wanted was some kind of ability to call something certain in the midst of this uncertainty.”

The altered semester is just one part of Beloit’s plan. The college is locking the price of tuition for current students, lowering the cost of tuition for students from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and starting a two-year-long mentoring program for new students.

Not all colleges will be able to follow Beloit’s model. It’s a smaller institution that can move more quickly than larger institutions.

Even with hybrid solutions, some colleges may have to fight to survive, said Hartle, the vice president with the American Council for Education.

The most at-risk: those that were struggling financially before the disruptions of the coronavirus. Some private liberal arts colleges and regional universities that had declining enrollment and budget shortfalls may experience especially steep challenges. In some parts of the country, the population of traditional college-age students is declining.

Higher education has received some help from the federal government. As part of the CARES Act stimulus, colleges received $14 billion. Roughly $6.3 billion must go to students, but Hartle said he hopes Congress will consider providing more aid to higher education. After all, he said, the field employs 4 million people.

Another wild card: During a recession, colleges often see an increase in enrollment. In the fall of 2009, college enrollment climbed by 1 million students, Hartle said. It’s unclear if that would be the case if colleges can’t operate as they normally have. Will families be nervous about students attending universities far from home? Or will some students take a gap year while waiting for the threat of the virus to wither?

“There’s simply no precedent for this,” Hartle said.

Some students try to find a bright side to online classes. Hannah Druss, 19, at Binghamton University said she is eating healthier and sleeping more.

It’s nice, she said, being able to complete her coursework while staying indoors. Reaching professors can be challenging, as is coordinating group work, given that everyone is juggling different life circumstances.

What gives her the most anxiety is the lack of clarity for what the fall semester will bring. Online or in person, she just wants answers.

“I would rather be told sooner rather than later,” she said. “I would prefer it to be in person, but only if it’s safe to do so, which is highly unlikely.”

Contributing: Ethan Bakuli of The Burlington Free Press in Vermont, Steve Berkowitz of USA TODAY, Rachel Leingang of The Arizona Republic, Dave Clark of The Cincinnati Enquirer and Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman. 

Education coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation does not provide editorial input.


Source: Posted April 19, 2020; retrieved April 24, 2020 from:


VIDEO 1 – College students face challenges with online classes  –

College teachers and students discuss some of the challenges they face as their classes move online for the foreseeable future. – Jasper Colt, USA Today.


VIDEO 2 – Coronavirus puts small colleges in a tough spot –

College presidents discuss the financial challenges they will face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jasper Colt, USA Today.

In case you missed it in the foregoing article, this is not a discussion about Public Health or Public Safety. No, this is a discussion about economics and Caribbean students are a commodity. Consider these highlights:

The thought of paying the same amount of tuition for another semester of lackluster classes is a nonstarter.

… the university could make life easier on students by discounting tuition or increasing scholarships. The problem: Many colleges are in financial crisis. They need students, with their tuition and housing payments, as much as students need them.

… That’s bad news for universities. As the economic impact of the coronavirus continues mostly unabated, many have canceled their summer classes and other activities, such as alumni gatherings or camps that generate revenue.

… the University of Arizona announced it would furlough employees and may lay some off. The chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges System recommended the closure of three campuses. The financial trouble started when colleges started issuing refunds for housing costs after sending students home and buying licenses and equipment to put courses online.  Some students demand refunds for tuition.

Reggae Music Icon Bob Marley died in 1981 with no fore-knowledge of the Coronavirus-COVID-19, but the lyrics to his song ”Pimpers Paradise” speaks truth for Caribbean tertiary students, past and present:

You’re just a stock on the shelf.

The Go Lean book had originally asserted that e-Learning may be the answer for all the ills in the Caribbean education landscape. The book further states (Page 127) that “electronic commerce industries – Internet Communications Technology (ICT) – can be a great equalizer in economic battles of global trade [179]”. This is how and why we Keep the Change!

This is the continuation of the theme for this April 2020 Teaching Series from the movement behind the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean. Every month, we present a collection of blog-commentaries on a consistent subject germane to Caribbean life; this month we considered the actuality of this Coronavirus crisis. There have been changes in society, in our environment, in the workplace and in the educational institution; some changes that are good, some bad and some really ugly. This is entry 3-of-5 for this Keep the Change series. The full catalog for this month’s series is listed as follows:

  1. Keep the Change – Lower Carbon Consumption abating Climate Change
  2. Keep the Change – Working From Home & the Call Center Model
  3. Keep the Change – Schools – Primary to Tertiary – making e-Learning work
  4. Keep the Change – Basic Needs: Cannot just consume; we must produce as well
  5. Keep the Change – Mono-Industrial Economy: ‘All eggs in 1 basket’

Don’t get it twisted, this Coronavirus-COVID-19 threat means death and devastation for many: seniors, active-adults, and the young; even the economic engines have faltered. There are no Ands, Ifs or Buts, we cannot just ‘bury our heads in the sands”, change has come; we must change in response. Many of the changes that we have always wanted to make to reform and transform the Caribbean can now be engaged.

Yes, we can … Keep the Change and limit our college matriculation to local or remote options.

This is not a new discussion for the Go Lean movement. We had long contemplated the challenges-opportunities of tertiary education for Caribbean stakeholders. In fact, the movement identified these related issues:

  • Exploring Medical School Opportunities … as Economic Engines
    The reality is that Medical Schools average over $300,000 in tuition for a 4-year education; ($60,000/yr). Imagine 3,000 students. That’s a lot of economic opportunity; that’s $180 million annually added to a community’s GDP just based on tuition. Imagine too, room-and-board, extra-curricular activities and spending by visitors to the campus and students.
    Economics = supply and demand dynamics; fulfilling the outstanding demand for some financial remuneration.

    Since 29 of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean boast a majority Black population, it should be a natural assimilation to invite Black American students to Caribbean campuses.
    By the way, this is being done already! There are medical colleges and universities operating in Caribbean communities right now that do a good job of providing the needed educational training and experience (internships). … Some schools have an impressive track record of success with testing and examinations on medical boards. Many alumni get residency in the US as International Medical Graduates.
  • Future Focused – College, Caribbean Style
    College is good!
    College is bad!
    This has been the conclusion of the movement behind the book Go Lean…Caribbean from the beginning of our campaign to elevate Caribbean society. According to the book (Page 258), this bitter-sweet assessment is due to the fact that tertiary education in the Caribbean is:
    Good for the individual (micro) – every additional year of schooling they increase their earnings by about 10%.
    Good for the community (macro) – evidence of higher GDP growth in countries where the population has completed more years of schooling.
    Bad for Brain Drain – if a person emigrates, all the micro and macro benefits transfer to the new country.

    Can tertiary education be delivered better for the Caribbean without the travel/relocation?
    Absolutely! We can study in the region, lowering the risks of abandoning the homeland.

    A focus on the future for college education must also consider “cyber reality” and/or the Internet. This consideration is embedded in the Go Lean roadmap. In fact, the book presents the good stewardship so that Internet & Communications Technologies (ICT) can be a great equalizing element for leveling the playing field in competition with the rest of the world.
    Can tertiary education be delivered over the internet?
    Absolutely! We can study here, without leaving; the future is now!
    There are many offerings and options.
  • Managing the ‘Strong versus the Weak’ – Lower Ed.
    Who is more abominable? The fool who loses out on his new found fortune or the shrewd person that schemes to take advantage of that fool? (It should be noted in this case that the fortune is only rights and credits; every American citizen qualify for a need-based Student Loan from the federal government – that loan is non-dischargeable).

    So imagine that one who exploits the “fool”! Imagine, if instead of an individual, it is a “system”, a government program, that does the exploiting. This is the actuality of Student Loan financing for Private, For-Profit Schools and Colleges in the US.
    This is truly abominable; and yet this is the United States of America.

    Who really is the fool in these scenarios? The person being abused by the American eco-system or the ones abandoning home to join that society. The premise in the Go Lean book and subsequent blog-commentaries is that the people of the Caribbean can more easily “proper where planted” in their homeland than to emigrate to the American foreign shores for relief. It is foolish to think that America cares about “us”, when they undoubtedly do not care about the “weak” in their own society.
    We need more education in our region; because we need economic growth. Economists have established the relationship between economic growth and education:

      “For individuals this means that for every additional year of schooling they increase their earnings by about 10%.

    A lot of Caribbean students do matriculate in American colleges and universities. But this commentary is hereby declaring that we must assuredly look beyond the American model to fulfill our educational needs. According to the book [Lower Ed – The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy by Dr. Tressie McMillan-Cottom and the related AUDIO Podcast], only a fool would invest in American For-Profit private educational institutions.

The points of reforming and transforming the Caribbean eco-systems for tertiary education have been further elaborated upon in many other previous blog-commentaries; consider this sample: Caribbean Unity? Ross University Saga Model of a University Facilitating Economic Opportunity Future for Educating Our Youth: “Cyber reality” and the Internet Bahamas Welcomes the New University For-Profit Education – Plenty of Profit; Little Education A Lesson in Economic Fallacies – Student Loans As Investments Caribbean loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain Is a Traditional 4-year Degree a Terrible Investment? Yes for Caribbean.

Going to college … in the US this Fall/Autumn?

What will that experience be like?

( See Appendix below for an announcement on the plans for one sample college, the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. Frankly, this could be the expectation for any university in North America and/or Europe).

Will the on-campus experience be worth the expense and the hassle this year? Will you get the comradery, atmosphere or direct side-by-side instruction-coaching-teambuilding while the restrictions of Social Distancing remain in place. Perhaps it will be better to just continue the e-Learning exercises for now … or the foresee-able future.

Keep the Change; save the aggravation; save the excessive costs.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste!

Let’s not lose out on this opportunity to reform and transform tertiary educational practices in the Caribbean. Let’s encourage all stakeholders to pursue these strategies, tactics and implementation.

Education and Economics go hand-in-hand. This is how we will make our homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play. We urge all Caribbean people – students and their sponsoring parents –  to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap.  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 11 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – University Of Oklahoma To Reopen All Campuses This Fall

The interim president of the University of Oklahoma said students will return to campus by the fall semester of 2020.

Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. said students can return to “in-person educational operations on all three campuses by this fall.” He also said that will include “traditional instruction and residential life.”

The following [excerpt] is [from] the full statement from OU:

After careful deliberation, our intention is to return to in-person educational operations on all three campuses by this fall, offering traditional instruction and residential life. We are doing everything we can to make that realistic and safe. We are acutely aware of the certain challenges COVID-19 will present as we pursue this goal and are planning to address the issues proactively and creatively. We are prepared to adapt instructional and housing models as appropriate to protect our community and still offer the life-changing in-person OU experience. Flexibility will be a guiding principle as we navigate the coming months, and we will ensure that our students, faculty, and staff are presented with appropriate options to return to our campuses, keeping their safety top of mind.

Source: Posted-retrieved April 24, 2020 from:

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