Sunday, November 29, 2020

For many international students, time zone differences lead to unhealthy sleep habits - Megan McCallister, Daily Bruin

International students’ abnormal sleep schedules may have short and long-term health consequences, a UCLA neurologist said. Students living far from Pacific Standard Time have had to stay up at odd hours of the day to take classes remotely. Alon Avidan, the director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center and a neurology professor, said people put themselves at risk for a number of health issues if they are not awake during the day. They may face complications with hormone control, blood sugar control and immune system impairment, Avidan added.

From Painfully Slow to Lightning Fast: SpaceX's Starlink Makes Rural Internet Usable - Michael Kan, PC Mag

About two weeks ago, SpaceX began sending the first invites for Starlink’s public beta, which costs $99 a month plus a $499 one-time fee for the equipment. Now that the system is finally serving actual consumers, we've been wondering, does it actually meet the hype? To find out, we interviewed four beta testers, and all described Starlink as a game changer, particularly for rural internet users who have limited access to fast fiber-optic networks common in urban areas. Imagine getting a package in the mail that can suddenly elevate your home internet to 100Mbps and higher.

A moment to address digital poverty and embed HE equity - Graeme Atherton, University World News

Much of the focus regarding the impact of COVID-19 on higher education globally has been on the future viability of the present model of the university. The nature of teaching, learning, research and the student experience is open to question. This should also, however, be a moment for equity. In partnership with the Sutton Trust in the United Kingdom, we have undertaken a survey of education experts and government representatives from 45 countries, covering every continent, which aims to assess in more detail the impact of COVID-19 on access and success in higher education for those from low-income and other marginalised groups and the responses by universities and policy-makers.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The online vs. in-person learning debate is missing the point - Todd Zipper, University Business

It is clear the experiences surrounding the emergency remote learning that took place in the spring have left many people mistaking what true, purposeful online learning looks like. Unfortunately, so much about online learning has been shrouded in controversy, mired in politics and driven by generations of thinking around what education should look like based on the traditional in-classroom model. This, compounded with what thousands of students experienced in the spring, has left many learning institutions, parents and students alike frustrated, viewing “online learning” (in a broad, often misinterpreted sense) as something of a last resort, even amid the pandemic. While we can clear up misconceptions about what true online learning entails, and showcase its effectiveness, the in-person versus online learning debate is still missing the point.

Here’s why online learning is sticking around - JUDITH ALTSCHULER CAHN, eCampus News

Education has become virtual, and educators should accept that online learning is a permanent part of learning in today's economy. Online learning as a modality of teaching and learning has been thrust upon education and can no longer be considered an emerging reality. It is here. The COVID-19 virus disruption has completely changed the way education operates. Until now, in many organizations across the country and globe, online courses and programs have been managed as a separate entity. The current reality has shifted education and distance learning into an integral part of the education system.

Digital education should be a sustainable development goal - Maina Waruru, University World News

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) wants access to digital education to be included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve equity in access to education, including tertiary learning. The ACU study revealed a huge digital divide between the Global North and the Global South, informed by a lack of digital infrastructure, devices and data. It revealed that 83% of respondents from high-income countries had access to broadband, while 63% of those from upper middle-income countries, and 38% drawn from lower middle-income countries could access the same. It got worse in low-income countries, many from Africa, where only 19% of the interviewees said they had access to broadband.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Joe Biden is President Elect – What Does that Mean for Higher Education Policy? - Jordan DiMaggio, UPCEA Policy Matters

Joe Biden is President Elect - What Does that Mean for Higher Education Policy? President-Elect Joe Biden will become the next President of the United States of America in January, so what does that mean for our field? For one, Jill Biden (who some of you will remember was a Keynote Speaker at the 2015 UPCEA Annual Conference) will be the most accomplished educator the Office of the First Lady has ever seen. Dr. Biden has said she plans to continue to teach, which would mark the only time a First Lady has continued full time work while serving in that role. Dr. Biden currently teaches at Northern Virginia Community College and wrote her dissertation on student retention at a community college.

Coursera and edX are two popular online learning platforms — here's how they compare in terms of price and programs offered - Julia Pugachevsky, Business Insider

Popular e-learning platforms edX and Coursera both offer free courses through top universities, as well as certificates and online degree programs for a fraction of the cost of traditional school.  Each lets users audit at least some classes for free, pay to earn certificates to put on LinkedIn or your resume, and complete longer certificate programs that can be used as cheaper college credits to work towards a full degree.  Linked below is a comparison of the two platforms, including course offerings, program types, and pricing.

Just How Dishonest Are Most Students? Many are tempted to cheat, but honor codes are surprisingly effective in curbing the problem. - Christian B. Miller, Wake Forest Philosophy Professor; NY Times

In a widely cited study, Nina Mazar at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University and her colleagues had one group of students take a 20-problem test where they would be paid 50 cents per correct answer. It was a hard test — students averaged only 3.4 correct answers. A second group of students took the same test, but they graded their own work and reported their “scores” with no questions asked. The average in this group was 6.1 correct answers, suggesting some cheating. The third and most interesting group, though, began by signing an honor code and then took the test, followed by grading their own work. The result? An honorable 3.1 correct answers. Cheating was eliminated at the group level. Signing the honor code did the job.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Speedy Future of Delivering Online Learning: 5G-10G Confusion and Potential - Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed

As we continue to advance online services to distant students, bandwidth becomes ever more important. Virtual laboratories are beginning to take advantage of virtual reality, augmented reality and an assortment of associated technologies that rely on highly sophisticated networking. How are you preparing to integrate these new potentials into the delivery of your curriculum? Is your institution equipped to incorporate the high-bandwidth, low-latency technology into the delivery of simulations and laboratories at a distance?

How About Replacing the In-Person Experience? - Tom Mitchell and Maxwell Bigman, Tomorrow's Professor

We borrowed the concept from the human-computer interaction world. “Beyond being there” is the notion that, rather than trying to replicate in-person experiences with technology, it’s using the technology to allow for opportunities that aren’t possible in — and in many ways are preferable to — the traditional in-person classroom setup. And so that’s been our lens. There are tools, specifically designed for education, like polling apps, question-and-answer applications, group messaging applications, plus reading apps that help the students to annotate and share thoughts, for instance, that can help in a way that’s not like the in-person classroom.

Educational technology is coming of age during the pandemic: Nowhere more so than in India - the Economist

EDTECH HAS never quite fulfilled its promise to galvanise poorly performing school systems. Past investments in educational technology often failed because of badly specified hardware and clunky software, which put off potential users. But as with much else, the closures forced on the world by the covid-19 pandemic has put pressure on schools, parents and pupils to embrace innovation.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Collaboration and Partnership: Top IT Issues, 2021 - Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE Review

Members of the 2020–2021 EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel share their advice and ideas on how multiple institutions can collaborate or partner to make better progress on addressing the 2021 Top IT issues. Cross-institutional partnerships and consortia exert a major influence over IT strategy at 40 percent of higher education institutions.1 When the members of the 2020–2021 EDUCAUSE IT Issues Panel were asked how multiple institutions can collaborate or partner to make better progress on addressing each of the 2021 Top IT Issues, they were full of ideas (more than 65).

College Students With Learning Disabilities Are Asking For More Support. Will They Get It? - Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge

In some cases, the change interfered with the coping strategies students use to learn. But in other instances, institutions seized the unusual opportunity to encourage professors to redesign courses to be more accessible to people with varied needs. More than two-thirds of colleges saw additional students apply for academic accommodations during the spring 2020 semester, according to a national survey of 212 colleges that shifted to remote instruction because of the pandemic.

Richard Mayer Has Spent Decades On Educational Research. Here are His Pandemic Teaching Tips. - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

Research shows that a professor’s attitude matters. So when filming educational videos, instructors should make sure they’re upbeat. “People learn better from a more positive instructor that has a more positive voice and more positive gestures than from someone who has a more negative emotional tone,” says Mayer. “How the instructor behaves has a very big effect on learning.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Active Engagement Improves Online Instruction During COVID-19 - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

According to the results, when an instructor had prior online teaching experience, student scores were significantly higher overall. Students in classes with peer interactions earned scores that were similar to those earned by students in other classes and incrementally higher when the material was taught remotely. The use of polling didn't seem to have any "significant effect" on student outcomes in the pandemic.

Improving the student experience means ‘meeting our students where they are’ - Dennis Pierce, eCampus News

As CIO of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Raymond Lefebvre sees a key function of his job as “providing enhanced experiences using innovative technologies and approaches.” In today’s hyper-competitive higher-education landscape, the ability to recruit and retain students and faculty is critical — and providing a seamless, high-quality campus experience is fundamental to meeting this goal. “Educational institutions that strategically and effectively respond to the needs of students, faculty, and staff … will survive and thrive,” Lefebvre observes. Consumers have become accustomed to ordering food, scheduling a ride, and requesting other services instantly from the palm of their hand — and they’re coming to expect the same level of convenience from their experience both on and off campus.

Hosting Class 'Afterparties' on Zoom -- and Other New Ways to Reach Students - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

Professors are still struggling to adapt to the new realities of teaching during a pandemic. And even experts who focus on improving instruction are having to get creative to find approaches that work. That’s the case for Bonni Stachowiak, dean of teaching and learning at Vanguard University and host of the long-running Teaching In Higher Education podcast. She’s also an EdSurge columnist, and she joined us last week for a live online forum to give tips on teaching during the pandemic, as part of our monthly EdSurge Live series. Listen to the conversation using the player on this page, or read a partial transcript below, lightly edited for clarity.

Monday, November 23, 2020

How Blockchain Can Streamline Recordkeeping at Universities - Chelsea Toczauer, Online Universities

There is also the consideration of whether blockchain technology could, in turn, further accelerate a transition to alternative college business models as a result of the continued persistence of the pandemic as vaccine development and rollout remains in testing. The big difference with blockchain dissemination of credentials is the student owns it, Ray Schroeder explains. “You of course can’t change what the university puts on related to your grades and classes—that’s written in stone and will be included in their documentation,” he notes. “But let’s say that you intern at a newspaper or a radio or television station someplace. You can write that in and link it to that employer for the internship.

Spring break 2021 on the chopping block in New York - CBS News

First colleges cancelled fall break, now spring break is on the chopping block, writes Carolyn Gusoff for CBS News, as many universities in New York are altering the spring calendar to discourage travel and the chances of COVID-19 spread. Among them is Hofstra University. “We felt building in a break where students leave and travel increased the chances they will be somewhere of a super spreader state,” said Dr Herman Berliner, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Hofstra. “And for safety concerns the spring break really needed to go.” In its place, five separate mental health or catch up days off – never on a Friday or Monday – in order to discourage unsafe travel that could bring COVID to campus.

Majority of Students in Germany Satisfied With Transition to Online Learning - ERUDERA COLLEGE NEWS

A study conducted by the German Center for University and Science Research (DZHW) has revealed that most of the students in Germany are satisfied switching to digital semester amid the Corona pandemic. According to the study, 86 per cent of students did not face any challenges at all while using the online courses, whereas 78 per cent of them claimed they had enough technical equipment to pursue lessons remotely, Erudera College News reports. Among others, 66 per cent of students said they have embraced the flexibility that came with this way of learning and two-thirds of them also expressed satisfaction over the way exams have been organized or held so far.