DIM-EPISODE: DAVID PAULDINE (FORMER DEVRY CEO)
Working your way up the ladder, and staying within the same company while doing so, is an admirable feat. But, what is more admirable is recognizing the importance of your organization in the bigger picture. For David Pauldine, his time at DeVry was not just about the educational infrastructure but about meeting the needs of the ever-changing student. As part of a system that has revolutionized the way we think of higher education, Pauldine has been able to look at the bigger picture and forecast what trends will be coming to the forefront.
Whether it is through the development of a connected classroom – using video technology to connect students from across the country – or advancement of MOOCs – massive open online content courses, the traditional classroom is making way for an opportunity for tailored education is the norm. Whether it is traditional education, boot camps, or moocs, the focus is on what the students desired outcomes are, their learning styles, and creating a user-centered experience that brings back the love of learning.
A major factor in the advancement of education is the increased role that experiential learning is playing on the educational system. Whether you are an 8th grader who has a love of technology, a high school student who wants to follow a trade, or are looking to change careers in mid-life, providing the hands-on learning experiences are gaining in popularity and in practicality. Meeting the student where they are at in terms of the type of learner and providing opportunities that creating lasting impressions are the future of education.
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David Pauldine - BIO
David J. Pauldine is President of DeVry University and Executive Vice President of DeVry Education Group.
As one of the largest degree-granting higher education systems in North America, DeVry University provides high-quality, career-oriented associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in technology, science, business and the arts. Approximately 60,000 students are enrolled at its more than 90 locations in 26 states and Canada, as well as through DeVry University’s online delivery and through its Keller Graduate School of Management. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org. DeVry University, a part of the DeVry Education Group (NYSE: DV), is based in Downers Grove, Ill. For more information about DeVry University, visit www.devry.edu.
Pauldine has been president of DeVry University since 2006. As chief executive of the university, Pauldine is responsible for establishing strategic direction and fulfilling of DeVry’s purpose: to empower its students to achieve their educational and career goals. Reporting to him are the chief operating officer, chief academic officer/provost, chief marketing officer, VP finance, VP enrollment management, VP strategy, and VP human resources for the university.
As Executive Vice President, Pauldine also has responsibility for The Carrington College Group – a collection of 16 institutions offering certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in allied health professions. Carrington Colleges serve 7500 students and are located in the Western U.S. The president of the Carrington College Group reports into Mr. Pauldine.
Pauldine has invested 35 years in private sector high education. His career started at DeVry where he held a variety of positions from 1979 to 1988. In 1989, he joined Education Management Corporation (EDMC) where he had a 16-year career, primarily in education leadership positions. He was president of The Art Institutes system of schools from 2000 to 2005. While at EDMC, he also was chief marketing officer and college president of the Seattle and Fort Lauderdale campuses. Pauldine returned to DeVry in 2005.
Jim: So today we have David Pauldine who is the exiting President of DeVry University and Executive Vice President of DeVry education group as one of the largest degree granting higher education systems in North American DeVry University provides high quality career oriented associate bachelors and master degrees programs in technology, science, business and the arts. Approximately 60,000 students are enrolled at its more than 90 locations in 26 states and Canada. I like how Canada is treated like a suburb.
David: Got to help our friends in the north.
Jim: That’s right. As well as through DeVry University’s online delivery and through its Keller Graduate School of Management. DeVry University is accredited by the higher learning commission of the north central association. DeVry University a part of the DeVry education group is based in Downers Grove, Illinois my home town. For more information about DeVry University and we will get to this later on you can go to Devry.edu. Thanks for being with us.
David: It is my pleasure good morning.
Jim: Dean Tobias co-hosting today as well. So we wanted to kind of jump into your early decision making process and how you might have ended up here.
David: So I am an old school type of guy and I am one of those types of folks that has worked as the chief chef and bottle washer and worked my way up. There are not too many of those anymore in my peer set. I started in 1979 I was a young guy right out of college, went to work for DeVry down in Texas and here 35 years later I am fortunate to be the President of the institution and in between I did a number of jobs. I worked my way from the low end to the middle end to the high end. So it has been a labor of love.
Jim: That is kind of where I was going to go. Is kind of a bit of love driving that? Did you have intentions of rising?
David: No good question. You get into something you like it and then you do good at it and you put your focus, your life’s work on it, and then it leads to the next thing and the next thing I never would have if you said to me are you going to spend your life career in higher education I would have said no. Just took advantage of opportunities as they came along.
Jim: What is the passion, is it how people are changing, the effect learning has on someone’s life?
David: I always say we are not selling alcohol tobacco or firearms.
Jim: That is a good start.
Dean: Oh am I in the wrong interview?
Jim: I think so we got to be in the other room.
David: We are changing people’s lives and there is very little that I can think of out there that brings that same satisfaction. Quick story in 1984 I was working with a gentleman at the DeVry Chicago campus. He was the most successful admissions person that the university ever had. By that I mean he brought more students into the campus than anybody else. He was 70 something years old. He is on the back end. Dan Koch was his name. He was related to Mayor Ed Koch in New York anyway Dan how do you do it man, every day you come to work 2-300 students a year come in through your efforts how do you do it, he was Jewish, he said next to the temple I believe there is no greater gift I can give then the gift of an education and so I come to work every day knowing I am helping change lives and I hit a soft pillow at night. So it is the nature of our profession that has kept me going.
Dean: Full disclosure, I know Dave from way back, back in the 80s. Can we say that?
Dean: The 1980s not the 1880s but I have watched him kind of develop in his career. It has been amazing. Very passionate very focused and he has really brought a commercial grade attitude to DeVry and I go back to Keller graduate school I was getting my MBA and they asked me to be on the advisory board and I remember Dennis Keller coming into a meeting one night saying we are thinking of buying DeVry University from [05:05.1] and everybody’s jaws just dropped, obviously the deal is already done. So I am just curious how that went because Keller was a very entrepreneurial experiential learning practitioner based program and here they bought goliath and can you tell us a little bit about the cultural shifts you went through?
David: I was there that year and I remember Dennis walked into a room and we were all [05:29.5] employees and the rumors were flying around and we were all skeptical and he walked up to the podium and he said to me, to us what is the most classic line a person could ever say right then. I said I know there is a lot of rumors out there about you know this organization being sold. Let me ask you one question would you rather work for someone that wants to sell you or somebody that wants to buy you.
Dean: Exactly, I love it, touch down.
David: But to your point, culture is really what is unique about DeVry and the Keller Graduate School of Management. Practical pragmatic no air about it is very Midwest lunch bucket crowd no perks, nothing fancy. I mean my office is not much bigger than this. We are all pretty simple.
Dean: This is pretty small. My lunch bucket is bigger than this.
David: That is it. So the whole idea is just to provide a good return on the graduate’s education investment and if you do that everything else takes care of itself.
Dean: At some point in there you went public. What was that like?
David: Yeah we were the first, 1991 and now here we are today I think there are 14 or 15 that have followed suit. I think all it does is gives the general public and investors an opportunity to participate in supporting the mission of our institution that is the way I look at it.
Jim: Do you see any pressure add that changes the behavior sometimes the concern is this kind of quarterly horizon that sort of thing for profit or what have you. Has that affected in any way?
David: Sure that is a common question I am asked. There are two types of organizations. Those that yield to that and those that don’t. That is part of the reason why I stayed at DeVry so long is it is very important to us not to focus on the quarter but focus on the long term because our motto is quality leads to growth and if there is quality being exhibited on a day to day basis eventually you get growth and long term investors understand that. They are not looking at just the next quarter and we tend to attract the long term investor.
Jim: That is fantastic. Dean is asking kind of about the purchase activity and about going public and so forth. Can you characterize the either the business environment or the education environment and in maybe the 80s and then the 90s and then the odds that might have triggered those moves or how would you characterized hat?
David: Yeah so I started in 1979 so I have seen 5 or 6 decades and what hasn’t changed is the core mission of providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to get ahead in their life to provide them as I said a good return in education and investment. What has changed is the technology naturally the manner in which we need to compete there is much more competition. Online was a huge sea change in the whole industry in the late 1990s and now we could talk about this alternative forms of education such ad competency based education boot camps, moocs (?) things of that nature are also disrupting the traditional model right now.
Dean: How do you feel about experiential learning? One of the classes I teach at Kellogg, I don’t like to be in a classroom that much so we are not there. So every night we are at a different corporate headquarters in Chicago and the students love it. they are part time MBA students so they are in their 30s they are not like little kids and what I am really noticed is the companies really enjoy it as well. Do you think that is, am I onto something there or do you think that is just a piece of education that…
David: You are. The key sentence you said there is that the students love it and any time I hear the students love it to me that rings a bell and the fact that they are not confined to a traditional classroom I lecture you take notes you study you take a test that is Socratic method has worked for years and it can still work but that which somebody does is more important than that which somebody knows and experiential learning is measuring what they are doing not necessarily what they know.
Dean: It was a lot of doing in this class. It is less of a think tank and more of a do tank to use an overused term these days but I just find that you know the online and the mooc stuff is a little disconnected with the classroom, do you think that is, is it can it really survive on its own or does it have to be a component of the face to face?
David: I look at it and it is like a 3 act play. Act 1 is competency based education and that traditional colleges and universities are signing onto it and for those that don’t know what it is in a sentence it is you earn academic credit not based on your seat time but how quickly you learn things. So I can learn something in 2 weeks, you can learn it in 22 weeks. It doesn’t matter we both get credit.
Dean: It might take me a year but go ahead.
David: Well that is because you are teaching you are not just learning and that is the least disruptive. Then in the middle I would say are the boot camps where it is more of an additive incremental finishing school type concept where somebody that possess a base set of skills can add a layer to that and then furthest to the right act 3 are the moocs, the massive open online content courses where it is the furthest away from a traditional lecture classroom based instruction or way to earn credits. The downside of the moocs is that very few people finished. Many start, very few finish. Here is the key to the whole thing though. I think the minute corporate America decides it is no longer critical, necessary, essential vogue to have a traditional college degree and instead all we really care about is do you know your stuff or don’t you and by the way the chief talent officer at google has made that statement. I don’t care where you went to college, I don’t care about your GPA I want to know if you could apply what you learned so that if you never graduated high school I don’t care just show me. The minute corporate America as a critical mass takes that stand and they no longer higher on your collegic pedigree that whole model gets tipped upside down.
Dean: Google can say that because they are kind of a bank they can get away with a lot of things that others cant. So we are in Chicago here and Jim and I kind of dance in the entrepreneurial communities as well as the major corporations and most of the major corporations are ways away from that. Especially the banks to mention a few obsessed with degrees and MBAs but eventually the gig is going to shift and the question I have is how does it I just think that most people mid-level managers in these large corporations are missing out on some skill development. So there is an issue there and the other issue is I think these millennials don’t realy want to work for these major corporations. So there is these big corporations have a gap. They have an issue. So I was wondering if you could touch on one of your favorite topics, chunky learning. How do people acquire some skills along the way to actually improve where they are without having to go back for a degree for instance? So boot camps that sounded good to me.
David: I think the first part of what you said is right on in that the reason this hasn’t taken hold yet is that old guys like me are still in charge and we are stuck in our old traditional models and I am not really referring to myself but you know the men and women that are doing the hiring as those retire as part of the baby boom generation and the next crop comes up you will see much more receptivity to these ideas. With regard to chunky learning the concept makes perfect sense in that first of all there is some question about the return on the education investment. College costs have gone way up. I saw a bumper sticker the other day it said it has gotten to the point where if you can afford to go to college…you don’t need to.
So the point here is people are saying well wait a minute Bill Gates didn’t go to college and Steve Jobs and all this you hear all these things the important thing is do I know can I demonstrate that I know what is necessary to be a contributing member of the work force and boot camps moocs and competency base for example I think are excellent alternative pathways.
Dean: One of the things that Jim and I have been working on is kind of helping companies increase their digital DNA so let’s go back and pick on those mid-level managers that maybe did go to school in the 80s and 90s feeling that they are not well equipped. So we are seeing a trend there to kind of upgrade that level of thinking whether it is in a design thinking program so that you are doing it at ADMCI or…
Jim: Cross training them basically and it seems to me that a lot of the boot camps and other even moocs the brands are kind of promising one thing but delivering something else that is still valuable but maybe misplaced promise. As those brand expectations kind of sort themselves out and maybe experience based learning and so forth starts to become more prominent how does an organization like DeVry or other more traditional organizations transform its brand or its expectations to somebody like the CTO of google to say you know what it is not just the label is on this that you came from Stanford or what have you but it is that there are proven work ready people coming out of this program.
David: It is by listening to guys like you. I am blessed to be in a room with 2 perfect examples. To my right is Dean when I look in the dictionary under the word entrepreneur I see your picture you know a very well highly regarded alum of Kellogg Graduate School of Management, to my right, Jim Jacoby who is a very responsible person leading new forms of learning in the way of a boot camp. The guy on my left has to teach the guy on my right how to translate things. So what Dean is looking for is the everyday worker to be able to communicate in effective ways. So the IT guy and the artist can get into a room together and they can talk well together they get confused and speaking a common language having that adequately translated releases all types of power and initiative in an organization. So you Jim are teaching folks how to do that so that guys like Dean can get more success accomplished because of a workforce that is talking a common language.
Dean: Especially me because at the intersection of big corporation and startups you want to talk about the most uncomfortable discussion it is like a bad marriage sometimes.
Jim: I barely know who they are and they are jealous of what the other has.
Dean: And your design thinking program I think really helps there. One example I guess I will just say it JP Morgan Chase we were there for a meeting and she stopped Jim in his tracks as oh my god we really need this, I just have to tell you we have 5 generations working in this company. 5. So I stopped in my tracks and I said you have prewar people and the millennials in the room didn’t know what the war was but I said World War 2 and she said actually we have people in their 70s they don’t have to retire so they still want to be here and so she exaggerated the issue of this common language just within the building.
Jim: Trans generational language which we never thought of.
Dean: But Dave is pointing out something even bigger. It is like how can you communicate outside of your company to all these different levels of especially in this day and age when you are really not doing doing most of the work in house anymore. You are partnering with other companies. It is an issue. I think there are billions being lost in most companies.
Jim: That is where I was going to kind of go. I would love for the conversation to shift a little bit to and we don’t have to get crazy about it but it is a little bit more of a crisis then I think people are aware that there isn’t this language in business yet and it is so crucial.
David: I think it is the outside in versus the inside out model. The inside out model of how that is we the faculty for example control that which is taught in the classrooms and we know best. The outside in says well wait a minute we have got to listen to those in industry and allow what they tell us to influence what we teach it the classroom. That is a critical first step to the process.
Jim: Or elements of traditional education that you think are standing in the way of some of the evolution that needs to happen things that get pointed at often are things like 10 year and what have you.
David: Yeah it is true. I am, we are all proud.
Dean: You don’t have to be polite here.
David: We are all proud carriers of a traditional college degree and I wouldn’t change a thing it did me well but we all know change moves slowly in academia and that is going to be a the detriment of the ability to evolve and compete moving forward.
Jim: I am conflicted because you have to have some sense of standard. You have to have some sense of continuity. So I want that but at the same time I want business to be able to react with the skill sets that need to transform in the business. So it is a tough problem. It is much harder than people realize I think.
David: Yes and I think most people are aware there is a Harvard professor Clary Christianson who has put forth this disruptive innovation model and basically his thesis is that technology is driving the marginal cost of education down to zero and whether it will get to zero or not it is hard to say although there are many “free” online education programs out there the way they drive the revenue is they sell advertising in the margins space of the core shell but anyway because of that disruption somebody everybody has to pay attention if you are in the upper right box you are an ivy league institution you will be the last to be impacted but you will be impacted. So you have got longer time to figure it out but a small liberal arts private institution in the Midwest is running as fast as they can to adapt and if they don’t they will be extinct.
David: They are definitely under attack and the big guys are feeling it too. I mean even at Kellogg they are hiring more entrepreneurs to be adjunct professors knowing as Jim said you need a mix especially if you are a research based organization. You need some tenure but boy not for skills development that is needed in demand here right now. You need to be talking to the right people in the room.
Jim: Doesn’t it beg what education is though. I mean if it is a race to a zero cost I would start to argue that that is a commodity race and that is not necessarily education. If Dean is taking people out metaphorically to sit under the tree and that is where education really happens out in the world isn’t it starting to redefine or help us to understand better the real value of education?
Dean: Under the tree it sounds like an I am Plato or something.
David: Yeah no question about it.
Jim: It is not just facts and figures it is not chapters from books. It is the fact that Dean will be there. It is the fact that I will be there. That I have experience in business and can share that.
David: Yes and that it is, I believe in applications based learning. Learn by doing. It is not just to me it is theory plus application equal knowledge. If it is could you learn how to crack an egg by reading about it in a book. Well you could but until you put the egg in your hand it is just not the same. Now if you only put the egg in your hand that is not as good as reading about it and doing it. You need both. You have to have the theory then the application and that is what guys like you I think are bringing to the game.
Dean: So the next trend is maybe mooc camps.
David: Could be where the B and C come together.
Dean: We try to invent acronyms on this show.
Jim: It is also becoming clearer to me. I have had teams go through some of the programs that we have and they say at the end of it that was really fantastic what is next and it is turning out that what is next is the same thing over again. It is like sports. You have done it once but that is just one drill so to speak. It is muscle memory it is natural ability it is training yourself to become responsive with this knowledge and so you can learn and in this case design thinking sort of walking through it then you can kind of scrimmage it and then you can play it and then you can compete. Are you seeing anything like that in education programs where it is not just a 101, 201 kind of progression of bookish learning but it is practice almost?
David: Yeah when I started in the 70s and 80s I remember walking into the campus and a typical scenario would be the instructor says guys and it was it was 99.9% guys here is what we are going to do. I am going to lecture for an hour and I want you to take notes, go outside and smoke a cigarette which they did and then I will meet you in the lab and when you come back into the lab we are going to apply what I just taught you in the classroom. Well now 30 years later many of our students are business students and you say well wait a minute that worked for technology, electronics, computer design but how are you going to do this in a business setting. Well field trips, case studies, team projects, internships things of this nature is learned by doing. I think that is the nexus of it here is we have to get away from just the theory base and apply that every chance we get.
Dean: Come back to the lab. I like that. Maybe you should bring lab coats back too. We used to wear those white coats.
Jim: Yeah there is a great program a small one in the city actually we had him on Raman Chadha who has the Junto institute at their graduation they hand out leather smocks kind of in celebrating the Benjamin franklin kind of ethos of getting together and doing the doing in order to learn.
David: There is a billionaire I think his name is [23:06.8] I don’t know exactly his name he created a program or the challenges I will give you $100,000 if you don’t go to college and he is looking for advanced high school students and the objective is to show that they can get a good job, get ahead of life, take the $100,000 and invest it and it will be economically further ahead. They owe no money in their college loans. They have made money and the $100,000 that were put down had grown to some other bigger number and he brings them into a program. Now I mean that is a little radical and off the shelf but it is symbolic of what is going on out there.
Jim: It is a great way to look at it. I like that.
Dean: We see that at 1871 and incubators in Silicon Valley it is easier for kids to just jump right out of it some of them even starting in high school now. Oh my gosh some of them in the 8th grade actually kind of getting addicted to and I am not sure if it scales very well. I am pretty tough on higher Ed needing to transform but there is a scale issue here with I don’t think there are too many guys that are going to give out 100 grand to 100,000 people.
Jim: Maybe it goes back earlier in the supply chain to the high schools and so forth. There is a book that had a big effect on me by Mathew Crawford called Shop Classes Soul Craft and he is really arguing for working with your hands in order to be happy which I think is a great thing to argue for but really what he is to me is saying is there was a shift in the 80s and 90s in high schools in particular where shop classes were replaced by computer labs and that kind of connectivity to the community this kind of sense of a craft being one path for a career has really been disconnected and is self-serving. I would argue that there is an evolution of craftsmanship that can be kind of engendered in the earlier years that can then be carried forward by higher education.
David: I had the pleasure in the early 90s to go to the Netherlands and Germany on a trade mission with the mayor of Seattle at the time and what we learned is that in Europe or at least in certain parts of Europe what you just said is extremely vogue and appropriate that kids in the 10th, 11th grade sort of ear mark I am going to go left or I am going to go right. Both are honorable paths and the one path which takes you to an apprenticeship type form of learning is highly regarded and there is no second guessing and off you go and you become a contributing member of your society that way.
Jim: Mike Rowe from dirty jobs he has this real beef with the posters that were in high school kind of counselor classes work smart not hard and to your point when you just said both paths are honorable he would argue and I would kind of go with him. Working hard is actually more honorable there is more joy and beauty in that even then trying to find the easier path or the more efficient or smarter move around.
David: I think the World War 2 generation that Dean spoke of would stand up and say amen to what you just said.
Jim: But there is a hunger to return to that. I mean we are seeing the younger people coming through our programs are they have no, we have been offering online programs for almost 2 years now and virtually no interest. They want to come and be face to face in the lab working with somebody who has done this before and they see the value in that.
David: But there is a shift going on because without I had woodshop and my school is mostly and didn’t do that well in the mechanical shops. I would take the car apart and I couldn’t figure out how to get it back together. I was really good at wood and I have all my fingers, some kids don’t and then I transferred that to my kids because we have always had a workshop in the garage. Major power tools and so one of my sons he is good both at digital as well as craftsmanship actually building real things and he is like an anomaly in this most of the crowd I see how.
Jim: He is because he 3D printed a skateboard right or components for it and it is so necessary. We have this internet of things roaring around the corner nobody is really talking about it but we all know, some of us know it is roaring right over there and 3D printing and all these other things are going to just instantly emerge digital and physical and craft and insight in ways we are just not ready for.
David: To that point I think I mentioned this to you once before. We were out as Cisco not too long ago we were talking to the chief operating officer and he was talking about the internet and things and the bottom line was he believed that there are zero people out there with the skill set today to go to work in that environment and I said what do you mean there are all types of IT grads this that and he said no no you don’t get it he said we need somebody who is a synthesizer that can take all the many aspects of the internet of things and fluidly work across that entire continuum and he pointed to me and he said so if you guys are smart at DeVry you are going to develop a program that will enable a graduate to come out for people like me as Cisco to hire and a lot of it I think Jim is the kind of stuff that you are doing. Would you agree with that?
Jim: Yep I would agree and try not to shine the light on myself but yeah I think there was a brief moment in other generations for instance kind of picking on the 50s and 60s generation where guys could work on cars right and they were good with metal they were good with gaskets and they were good with engines they were good with paint.
Jim: Lots of bondo and that metaphor carries for the internet of things. It is going to be a wide range of materials and these kind of synthesizers who can pull those things together for valuable experiences, valuable outcomes, redefining how you have kind of designed the world around you. It is going to be incredibly valuable. What do you see over the next 5-10 years for educational institutions what is the challenge they have in front of them?
David: Your term right now it is a stark as survival for many I read in the chronical part of education every other week about cash balances and balance sheets of traditional institutions starting to get little crusty. They are running out of cash.
Dean: I have been on a couple foundation boards painfully raising money. Is that partly a business model issue it is like it is, every time I talk to a CEO of institution it is butts in seats and that is the way they think. Maybe success should be different then. Gee we used to have 10,000 students we have to have either the same or more. Why is it a volume thing all the time, infrastructure and bigger bigger.
David: Good point. I think part of it is and we teach this in a Keller class I am sure. Lesson number one thou shalt have revenue greater then expenses and when the revenue of student body starts to shrink a bit how quick and how smart can an institution take cost out and perhaps what you are seeing.
Dean: Not very.
David: That is it because we are kind of stuck in the traditional way of doing things and he who she who is slow in adjusting their cost to match their enrollment is the one that gets caught first in this profitability question or lack of income.
Jim: But isn’t it like newspapers or other industries where they convoluted their value and to me the newspaper industry became more about shipping and logistics then it was about creating news or finding “truth” and to me education is as much of a real estate conundrum as it is education conundrum and that is vastly simplifying it but…
David: Especially for the for profit ones because they are typically leasing buildings where as someone like at NIU they pretty much own it they are just not getting big enough checks from the state anymore.
Jim: Exactly which is another influence right because that is sort of a potentially a false indictor of financial success or changes the definition of financial success at least.
David: Yeah and it is a little early to say this because we don’t have the research but I think those institutions that see moocs, badges, boot camps, competency based as friend not foe are the ones that will survive. The ones that are resisting are seeing those innovations is foe are probably going to lose and those that find a way to work with not against those alternatives will be the ones that make it.
Jim: There has been a strange sense of observed sort of panic also on the more traditional side which is holy cow here comes the mooc lets throw everything out and become all digital. That seems to be a dangerous move as well. It seems to me the traditional institutions need to just kind of be calm and understand what is coming to them so that they don’t over endorse or over absorb as well.
David: Yeah that could happen. Every once in a while you read somebody that is saying gee what is going to really disrupt is movement back to and I think you said this face to face instruction we all fell in love with online and it went real big time it is growing like a weed. It is possible who knows that the next generation might say no I don’t want that I want tactile I want face to face.
Dean: Or miss that component.
David: Yeah and so here is an example of how we are bringing those two together is what we call connected classroom. So if I have 8 students in Chicago and 6 in New York and 3 in Cleveland we wouldn’t run any of those classes because the cost of doing so is prohibited so we would ask all those students to take an online course and one day I was asking a bunch of students what do you like about DeVry what do you not like and one of them said well what I don’t like is that I sign up for a class and then you cancel is and I explain well because we didn’t have enough students and the learning is not as robust and I said but you have 2 options, 1 is you can take the course online or 2 you can wait until it comes up next session and take it in a classroom. He said well Mr. Pauldine there is a third option and I said what is that he said I can go somewhere else. That really hit me and so a year later we created this connected classroom where we used video and now I can run the class in Cleveland, Chicago and New York with one instructor and the video is good grade now a days and the students say look I skype, I FaceTime, it is no big deal. As long as I can see that instructor and she can see me and we can hear each other I would rather drive into the school sit in my favorite seat and look at them on a video monitor in another city then I would take this class online. That is the bridge between onsite and online I think is the video technology.
Dean: I am visualizing people throwing airplanes in the remote classroom. Like Mr. Cotter alienated half the audience they don’t know who Welcome Back Cotter is.
Jim: There is a component that I have heard from some of the DeVry staff which is this domestic study abroad am I saying that right which I just think is so neat. You look at the size of the United States I mean why wouldn’t you consider going to another city as kind of study abroad just as you might Europe for instance.
David: It is cool to say you went to Europe but is it necessary. I mean sometimes it is cost prohibited and I am not sure you always gain as much as you should I mean if you are an art history major yeah but technology why wouldn’t you go out to silicon valley and do it there.
Jim: Right and this particular team is started to concept the sense of let’s do this kind of national level virtual live video kind of learning experience and then as sort of a cap stone to that class everybody converges in one city for 4 or 5 days and knowing that that is kind of coming at you there is this added level of intensity that I think that helps the learning process.
David: So then the next step is beyond learning it would be services. So let’s say I am up at night it is midnight and I want to talk to somebody about my financial aid as a student. If I could do a FaceTime chat or a skype chat eyeball to eyeball because we have a late night call center service center and just add that video capability we think that adds an additional layer of service. When we were out at Cisco they were showing us this oblong phone booth so it was more left to right then up and down that they sold to the country of France and what happens is French citizens go home they get on their desktop they go to a website and they sign in for a 15 minute appointment in that phone booth if you will. They go to the street corner and they enter a 4 digit pin the door opens up and they get in and a monitor pops out and there is a civil service worker who then spends 15 minutes with them answering questions about their social security type benefits then it times out the door opens up and the next citizen walks in and what they found is that the citizens of France feel much closer to their government because they can go eyeball to eyeball with them versus trying to call and get stuck in a phone tree in a push button voicemail message system and so forth. So I think the service aspect of videos will be as important as the classroom experience.
Jim: It seems to keep coming back to the human connection.
Dean: Cisco has tried that, they have tried telepresence what they are finding now is that since it is so distributed with skype and just little mobile devices that people aren’t going to pay for big infrastructure like a studio like this that it needs to be distributed and therefore it is actually a lower quality. It is getting it to the masses and scaling it is what the industry seems to be going through. I hope we can replace some not lose the personal learning because just sitting here listening to a story that you just told I think I am going to remember that more than whatever Jim said because I don’t… it is just talking and you told us a story. If I had heard that on the radio so radio video live there is different ways that people learn and listen and I think the coolest thing about let’s just call it a mooc for now is what you said is people can learn at their own pace which is a problem with their institution still. It is like you will do this you will take the test even in my classes I still have to give them a grade right where as the google example or mooc it is like how quickly have you acquired this knowledge Google really wants to know what is your IQ otherwise I am not even going to interview you but in your example I like the if someone could take 2 weeks and just get it like that and somebody else is going to be, Jim is going to be a little more methodical about it and really dig into the history of it and how it got there. Do you see DeVry getting to a point where things can be more situational by student?
David: Yes that is a good phrase. Here would be an example of that. Right now an online student at DeVry really can’t take any part of an onsite class which seems so silo oriented. So let’s say I am on a business trip I am sitting in a Starbucks I got my tablet there and I say you know this accounting class that I am taking online I could use some help. So they go to a website and they see right then and there that there is an accounting class going on in Saint Louis and they are up in Seattle. They could just log onto the class and then be connected to it by way of a video feed and basically say for the next 45 minutes I am going to sort of sit in on this onsite class taking place in Saint Louis and just see if I can shore up some areas that I am a little tight in. that would be a great way to blend and mix the onsite and the online.
Dean: Either live or recorded.
David: Or recorded that would be even better.
Dean: I like that that is a good start.
Jim: There is almost a metaphor of an operating theatre in a sense. There are those who are actually doing the work and learning hands on and then those in the gallery who are still learning but through observation so less of an intense experience.
Dean: But back to your point Jim about high schools and even junior high just being able to, what you just said is profound it is like hey if I could just take some kids and let them tap into any class going on in the world it could make them choose door number 1 or door number 2 or door number 3 or say I don’t want to be a tech guy in silicon valley there is not enough soul there I really want to be in Saint Louis and do craftsmanship because they can see these apprenticeship typ0e of things live or in your case an actual class. It seems like that would scale to right because that is your big issue is any big institutions how do you… how about the user experience side of it you know when you start developing all of this you kind of getting visionary in this space of making sure students have the right experience. What have you learned in the last year there?
David: We have learned that we are not as good as we think we are and we had a firm come in and take a look at our student experience and one of the things that we learned is that we in our online presence we have asked them to put their name address phone number 6 or 7 times through the cycle or the lack of a single sign on capability or his name moved from one web screen to the other the art interface is different it is not a common family like some of those basic mistakes that you make because you got good hardworking men and women who have a silo project they do a great job with their silo project but it is not integrated with the 2 or 3 others down the way. Simple mistake we caught it that is the good news and now we are attempting to work through that and fix it but man that user experience is critical particularly today as we all know.
Dean: And your connected classroom idea being able to tap into it that will probably appeal to certain groups. I find it situational. It is like you got to it is hard to design for everyone and to your defense Dave you guys have acquired companies too so you end up with a lot of desperate systems just like our bank example they have hundreds of systems and there is a big trend there now that what we have noticed out in the open consumer companies is that there customers have better apps to you know use their services then their employees do. So it is a similar metaphorically it is like companies are looking at wow our user experience is so, we spent all this time on the customer we have to now work on our employees and I think schools have both problems. I haven’t seen one university yet that has a good user experience especially digitally.
David: It is fortunate that we are playing in a space that is not traditionally well known for user experience. I waited in line an awful lot as I am sure you guys did in college. Here is one…
Dean: The longer you waited the better the class was supposed to be.
David: It was supposed to be.
Dean: I was told.
David: We have been doing a lot of work with the US Olympic committee and I was meeting with some of our Olympian students and one of them was telling me she is an alpine skier and she was on her way to Sochi for the games and the coach had them stop in the Swiss alps for a little tune-up before the Sochi games and she is a college student and it was coming up on the end of a term and she had a final paper that was due. So she emailed her instructor from a hotel room somewhere in Switzerland and said hey you know I am in the Olympics and I am running a little behind I have got a lot of training could I get an extension and like a good Keller instructor says no. I don’t care if you are in the Olympics.
Dean: What Olympics?
David: Right. So she was working on her paper and all of a sudden the internet connection in the hotel room weirded out and she was nervous it is like 11 o’clock she has got an hour until midnight. Goes up to the top floor takes her mobile out and was able to get a connection and actually thumb typed the rest of her paper using we have a core shell that allows that and anyway her point was she hits submit it got in and she said I thanked DeVry because the user experience was made possible while clumsy your mobile, I can do academic homework on my mobile if I have to. It is a silly example but…
Dean: It sounds like an extreme example. It brings up the Robin Williams RV trip flashback. He did the same thing. A whole PowerPoint presentation but you bring up I think what is critical every one of those students has a mobile device in the classroom and some schools tell them to turn it off others are saying feel free to turn it on if that is what you are actually using to remember or learn or dig into and so it seems like mobile in education is just a huge…
Jim: We are seeing it as people tweet out or otherwise during a class topics that they are learning and so forth they are actually building their network and then we will retweet it and help them connect to other folks in our network and it is professional development happening live kind of as you are doing the learning too.
Dean: Especially professional students who have a lot of people that work and so you know they are traveling they are not in class and they can actually watch the video right on there, you know smart phones aren’t getting smaller they are getting larger so the percentage of video viewing is going to the roof.
David: There was an article in The Chronicle not too long ago where a college instructor somewhere he was accused of encouraging students to cheat and when they looked into it it was actually not that at all. This guy was so innovative he said every test I give you is open book but it is not book I want you to demonstrate that you can get on the internet get on your cell phone whatever and find the answer to my question and if you google it and you can get the answer that is good enough for me because as the world goes on it is not even what you know it is can you access what you know.
Jim: It makes sense. Can you synthesize it? So as people are kind of looking out for you over the next few years where will we find you?
Dean: Yeah what is next?
David: Well I would like to stay connected with guys like you. This is great. This is a way to stay sharp. So I want to be involved whether it is on a board or in some advisory capacity. I have got a few things cooking there. I would like to get out on speakers tour and circuit or however you say it. There are a few topics that I am passionate about which I feel qualified to speak on and dabble in a little bit of real estate. It is something I find fun.
Jim: Any twitter blog kind of things we could kind of check in with you?
David: I would love to initiate one so stay tuned.