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Penn AHEAD faculty and staff made a strong presence at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). They presented their research and participated in roundtables and symposia on topics as diverse as university-community partnerships, higher education globalization, organizational culture, and graduate student development. AHEAD made an impact through social media, as well, live-tweeting individual sessions and many of they keynote speakers. The highlight of the event was certainly having our own Laura Perna’s outstanding scholarship recognized by being named an AERA Fellow.

Philadelphia, PA, February 27, 2014 — Helping more people get a postsecondary education is a national challenge that many large states are failing to accomplish because these states have no plan for improvement, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE). The unique and wide-ranging study takes more than ten years' of often fragmented state higher education data, augmented by extensive interviews with state policymakers, and synthesizes a series of policy recommendations relevant to all states.

The Office of the Provost has selected Penn GSE’s Dr. Laura Perna as a 2014 Penn Fellow. Penn Fellows are recognized as up-and-coming leaders in Penn’s distinguished faculty, and over the next year, they will work to develop cross-university networks, think strategically about higher education and the future of Penn, and build leadership capacity across the University. Dr. Perna, a nationally renowned expert on access, choice, and equity in higher education, is a member of GSE’s Higher Education Division.

​American adults have fallen behind their international peers in reading, math and problem-solving skills just as the economy demands more technologically adept workers, according to a November 2013 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report. A new issue brief from ACE examines those results in the context of the “learning economy” and what actions might be taken collectively by higher education institutions, policymakers, adult educators and others to address this challenge.

Emerging data from a new AHEAD study show that massive open online courses (MOOCs) have relatively few active users, that user “engagement” falls off dramatically—especially after the first 1-2 weeks of a course—and that few users persist to the course end. Laura Perna and Alan Ruby presented the findings at the MOOC Research Initiative Conference in Texas in December.

AHEAD's new study on the lifecycle of MOOCs users was recently featured on the homepage of The New York Times. The study found that "on average, only about half of those who registered for a course ever viewed a lecture, and only about 4 percent completed the courses."