Friday, October 24, 2014

How Southern New Hampshire U Develops 650-Plus Online Courses Per Year - David Raths, Campus Technology

Kerri Bedrosian, director of eLearning project management for SNHU's College of Online and Continuing Education characterizes SNHU's course development model as "one-to-many." "We have an internal team that designs the course, from the outcome to the critical path for summative assessment, all the formative assessment around it, choosing the learning resource, text or e-text, discussions and lectures or overviews," she said. "All that is designed in-house and built by our production team into Blackboard, our LMS. That becomes our one course model — our master course — and we then copy that out depending on how many sections are needed for that term. The instructor receives a fully completed course. It is great for us because we can ensure a lot of consistency across our sections."

Brandman U. Gets Green Light for Direct Assessment - Inside Higher Ed

Brandman University this week announced that the U.S. Department of Education had approved its application to offer federal financial aid for an emerging form of competency-based education. The university is the fourth institution to get the nod from the department for "direct assessment" degrees, which are decoupled from the credit-hour standard.

Coursera Expands Its MOOC Certificate Program - Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed

Coursera, the online education company, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding a program that awards special certificates to students who pass multiple MOOCs. The company unveiled the program, called Specializations, earlier this year. The idea was to create certificates that, while not supplanting traditional degrees, carry more weight than a certificate of completion from a single massive open online course. The program, which requires learners to take Coursera’s fee-based “Signature Track” courses, apparently has been a success: The company is adding 18 new Specializations—mostly practical, in-demand fields like project management, cloud computing, and data mining. Students who complete the sequences can expect to pay $100 to $300, depending on the number of courses, according to a spokeswoman.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

From Gamification to Touch Interfaces: Designing for 21st Century Learners - Jeff D. Borden, EDUCAUSE Review Online

The proven efficacy of games in helping students learn has yet to fully surmount skeptical attitudes among educators, but the motivational aspects of games are enticing, as are the futuristic apps and cross-cultural connections that new devices make possible. Anyone who has read Carol Dweck's Mindset would tell you that learning via intrinsic motivation trumps external motivation — always. Well-constructed games seem to provide just that. And what about a safe place to fail? What is the penalty for failure in school? How many chances do students typically receive? How many faculty members still see failure as a "weeding out" of the weak or unmotivated? Games can offer many lessons for educators.

Using Technology to Engage the Nontraditional Student - Philip Regier, EDUCAUSE Review Online

Higher education needs to focus on the success of nontraditional students, those who fail to graduate during their first engagement in college, by leveraging new technology solutions that better align with students' life challenges, pace, and other unique characteristics. In the 21st century, it is imperative that higher education institutions be focused on the success of nontraditional students. We know that colleges and universities can assist these students by leveraging new processes and new technology solutions that better align with their life challenges, pace, and other unique characteristics. We have the ability to create a rich, increasingly personalized, and flexible learning experience at scale. And we can predict that these tools will ensure that returning students are given every chance to succeed and will result in more students who graduate, a higher- and better-educated citizenry, and less income/intellectual inequality.

How will the Internet of Everything change education by 2018? - Cisco, ZD Net

As we all know, technology is evolving rapidly. It has, and will continue to, profoundly change our lives in the years to come. What kind of positive changes can we expect to see rising out of the Internet of Everything (IoE) by 2018? For example, IoE is changing the ways in which students with disabilities are able to learn. Technology is being put to use in schools in Australia, with sensors changing the ways students learn sign language. Elsewhere sensors are being used to improve learning for students with ADHD by monitoring brain activity and providing rewards for improved learning. This process perfectly captures how a connection between the four pillars of IoE - people, process, data and things – is already influencing. Though currently, physical attendance is the norm; by 2018 we could expect to see tuition taking place through any device, anywhere. Through IoE, the linear knowledge-sharing dialogue between teacher and student can evolve into something entirely within the student’s control. They will be able to learn at their own pace, focusing more on what they perceive as relevant to them. This, in turn, could lower the price of education with students customising a course of learning that is specific to their needs, paying only for what they want rather than a ‘one size fits all model’.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cathy Davidson's Big Idea, Tall Order - Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Cathy Davidson’s newest idea, the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, might just be her biggest yet. This summer, she was lured away from Duke by the Graduate Center to do something truly unique, on a grand scale: foster interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching and learning across the CUNY system, in a way that inspires reinvestment in public higher education. Davidson loved Duke, but the chance to do something bold that could trickle down into a system as big as CUNY, with some 250,000 students, was something she couldn’t pass up – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she said in an interview.

In person online: the human touch - JUDITH BOWMAN, Oxford University Press Blog

We can create the human touch by establishing an online presence – a sense of really being there and being together for the course. To be perceived as real in the online classroom we need to project ourselves socially and emotionally, and find ways to let our individual personality shine through whatever communications media we’re using. We can look to our own face-to-face teaching style for ways to humanize an online course. What do we do in a face-to-face classroom to make ourselves more approachable? We talk with students as they arrive for class, spice up lectures with touches of humor and relevant personal stories, treat discussions as conversations, and sometimes depart from what we planned so we can follow more promising asides.

A New Department Marks the Rise of a Discipline: ‘Computational Media’ - Rebecca Koenig, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Pixar movies, interactive video games, smartphone applications—all are forms of computational media, the marriage of computer science to the arts and humanities. Signaling a deeper investment in that fast-growing if slippery field, the University of California at Santa Cruz announced the creation on Monday of what it called the first computational-media department ever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Bit of College Can Be Worse Than None at All Racking Up Debt - MELISSA KORN , Wall Street Journal

Those students may find themselves doubly damned: cut out of consideration for professional-track jobs, and starting their careers years behind their peers who entered the workforce with just high-school diplomas. Many have student loans to boot. And both groups struggle to cobble together a living in their 20s. College dropouts have a lower unemployment rate than those with no college credits—12.1% versus 15.5%, respectively, for 20- to 29-year-olds—but they work almost exactly the same number of hours a week and weeks a year, according to a Drexel University Center for Labor Markets and Policy analysis of Current Population Survey data. On wages, too, young workers with some college have little advantage. There has been little or no difference in wages among 20- to 24-year-olds who graduated high school and those who completed some college but aren’t enrolled anymore. In 2011, wages for college dropouts were even lower, according to the Current Population Survey.

Blended Learning as Transformational Institutional Learning - Kim VanDerLinden, Tomorrow's Professor

The research about the effectiveness of blended learning provides a powerful jolt for campus members. Of note, a recent Inside Higher Education (2013) survey of faculty attitudes toward technology found large amounts of skepticism among faculty members about the quality of online learning. This finding of high levels of skepticism, taken out of context, raises more questions than answers. What specifically are faculty members skeptical about - the learning outcomes, the pedagogical approaches, and student engagement in online activities? And if faculty members are the instructional designers in most instances, does that mean they are skeptical about their own work as novices or the work of their colleagues? The results become clearer when we keep in mind that most faculty members who were surveyed do not actually teach online. Moreover, the survey revealed that appreciation of the quality of online courses grows with instructors' experiences teaching online.

8 Billion Mobile Devices by 2019, but Can Batteries and Chargers Keep Pace? - David Nagel, THE Journal

The installed base of mobile devices is expected to hit 8 billion worldwide by 2019, according to a new forecast. But can the technologies that power these devices keep pace with this growth? According to ABI Research, which produces market reports and forecasts for the technology sector, there are, at present, about 10 "untethered," rechargeable (i.e., mobile) devices per house in "advanced markets." And this figure is only going to increase. Despite that, both power storage and charging technologies aren't keeping pace at all. "The opportunity is enormous.... The growth in wearables driven by the likes of Samsung and now Apple will increase this number further, along with the Internet of Things, and even electric cars.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Publishers Win Reversal of Court Ruling That Favored ‘E-Reserves’ at Georgia State U. - Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Ed

How much copyrighted material can professors make available to students in online course reserves before they exceed the boundaries of educational fair use? That’s the essential question at the heart of a long-running copyright-infringement lawsuit that has pitted three academic publishers against Georgia State University. The answer matters not just to the parties to the case, Cambridge University Press et al. v. Carl V. Patton et al., but publishers, librarians, and professors at many other institutions. It’s already been more than six years since Cambridge, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications sued Georgia State for copyright infringement. And the latest round of legal action guarantees that the case will drag on a while longer before it produces a reliably precedent-setting answer, if it does.

Learning about art via smartphone - Meg McConahey, Press Democrat

College students who are more comfortable browsing the web than stacks of books can now research the artworks on display in Santa Rosa Junior College’s Doyle Library simply by pointing their phones at them. The new Art Talk uses smart phone technology to make fine art accessible to a new generation of what writer Marc Prensky dubbed “digital natives,” students who never knew a world without home computers and the Internet. SRJC librarians Alicia Virtue and Loretta Esparza created the online gallery to better engage students with the library’s extensive collection of fine art, all done by current or former faculty members.

University budget reform under pressure - SIMONA CHIOSE, The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s efforts to cut duplication in the university sector are moving so slowly that observers question whether schools will be able to address budget constraints, concerns about educational quality and accountability for student outcomes. Ontario signed agreements with its 44 postsecondary institutions in August that set each school’s goals until the spring of 2017 – what is supposed to be the first step in changing how universities are funded. Rather than increasing budgets based on growth in enrolment, new formulas will take into account the specific strengths of each institution. But interviews with senior university administrators involved in the talks that led to the deals reveal that most schools did not have to compromise on any of the goals set out in earlier drafts.

US News to release global college rankings - Keith Button, Education Dive

U.S. News and World Report is planning its first "Best Global Universities" rankings, to be released Oct. 28. The rankings will list the magazine’s opinion of which universities are the best globally, as well as for 11 specific countries, four regions, and 21 academic areas. The rankings will include U.S. universities and will focus on academic research and overall reputation.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

U of Chicago: 3 Challenges Creating Massive Open Online Courses - Tony Dreier, Streaming Media

Video in education has moved beyond simply capturing classes and letting students review online. Video is truly changing the way institutions are delivering education. Progressive institutions are delivering “Global Classrooms” where students—and even multiple professors—are located in classrooms around the globe. At the other extreme, institutions are delivering education to mass audiences through online video. Multiple business models are being developed, including charging for classes, providing them for free, and even offering Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Hear about the challenges and successes from those who are experimenting with these new business models.

E-learning in an Ebola environment: A practical way forward - Rashid Dumbuya ESQ, Sierra Express Media

As I resume classes on Monday here in the UK, I am so unhappy and broken in spirit especially when I consider the fact that thousands of students in my country are presently not attending school and formal lectures because of the outbreak of the Ebola virus and its attendant consequences. The entire educational system in Sierra Leone is currently on hold for over 3 months now. But as I sat and ponder over this demagogue, something interesting dropped on my mind and I feel a deep sense of responsibility to share it to all and sundry. QUESTION- Assuming E-learning had been encouraged and prioritized in the University of Sierra Leone, would it have made some positive difference during this challenging period?

The must-know changes in distance education policy - Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

A lot has changed in online learning practices in just a few short years—and accreditation policy is no exception. Did you know that when offering online courses, collaboration options for students are a requirement? Or that faculty participation in designing the implementation of an online learning program is mandatory? These are just a glimpse of some of the most recent (within the last two years) updates to distance education policy standards set forth by regional and national accrediting organizations in the U.S.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Google Glass Gives Learners a New Point of View - John Pulley, Campus Technology

What if a paramedic student could view a delicate medical procedure directly through the eyes of his instructor, and then apply that experience to his own practice? A new pilot program at State University of New York Cobleskill will allow students to do just that, using Google Glass to provide first-person point-of-view video capture and replay in an academic laboratory. According to SUNY Cobbleskill CIO Jim Dutcher, the pilot seeks to enhance the delivery of experiential learning in support of traditional modes of instruction in two programs: paramedic training and animal hoof health.

Now You Can Learn About Ed-Tech for Free from the School That's Revolutionized It - Lauren Landry, Bostinno

Massive open online course platform edX launched a class last Wednesday, called "Design and Development of Educational Technology." Three members of MIT's Education Arcade are spearheading the course, including Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterwell and Judy Perry, director, creative director and a research member, respectively. Together, the trio will help lifelong learners discover how other students learn, so they can better understand what it takes to create effective educational technologies. MIT's Education Arcade is focused on developing novel technologies that bridge the gap between learning and fun, like using online gaming to teach science and math. The lab is only one of several moves MIT has made, however, to highlight its dedication to the future of education.