Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Apple Watch, wearable technology raising cheating fears at universities - Larissa Garza, Phoenix Business Journal

The Apple Watch is being banned in universities and standardized testing centers worldwide to prevent cheating. The Apple Watch, along with other wearable technology, is forcing a number of universities and colleges to institute bans on the technology to curb potential cheating on exams and tests. While no university in Arizona has instituted such bans on wearable tech, the Chronicle for Higher Education reports that universities in Australia have recently placed restrictions on smart watches. The University of New South Wales also banned wristbands during exams. http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2015/06/23/apple-watch-wearable-technology-raising-cheating.html

Penn State researchers awarded funding for online learning innovations - COIL, Penn State University

Penn State’s Center for Online Innovation in Learning (COIL) has announced it will fund seven new projects through its Research Initiation Grant program. The goal of the grant program is to provide seed money for Penn State researchers to gather preliminary evidence in the hope of pursuing external funding for larger studies that enhance teaching and learning through online innovation. http://news.psu.edu/story/361406/2015/06/25/research/penn-state-researchers-awarded-funding-online-learning-innovations

MU to offer military discount for online classes - ROGER MCKINNEY, Columbia Tribune

The University of Missouri has established a 10 percent tuition discount for online courses available to current military members, veterans and their spouses and children. The discount applies to base tuition for a maximum of 150 hours of undergraduate credits and 75 hours of graduate credits through Mizzou Online. Recipients must be seeking a degree. Those who qualify for the award must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain eligible. The discount was created because many veterans have exhausted their military educational benefits or don’t qualify for full coverage, MU officials said. MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said during a Wednesday news conference that the tuition discount will improve access to higher education. http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/education/mu-to-offer-military-discount-for-online-classes/article_b455cd73-16ea-544d-b9e6-db4218a4f3e8.html

Monday, July 6, 2015

Students' Mobile Learning Practices in Higher Education: A Multi-Year Study - Baiyun Chen, et al; EDUCAUSE Review

Two university-wide surveys about students' mobile technology ownership and learning practices show that mobile device ownership is high and continues to increase among students. Students and instructors need technical, logistical, and pedagogical support for integrating mobile devices and apps in formal and informal learning environments. Continuous support and targeted training resources at the University of Central Florida have produced positive changes in students' mobile learning practices. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/students-mobile-learning-practices-higher-education-multi-year-study

Bringing the Social Back to MOOCs - Todd Bryant, EDUCAUSE Review

Various existing learning environments could scale to MOOC size and benefit learners by adding the social elements now missing, from citizen science to simulations, games, virtual reality, and augmented reality. In a recent report from HarvardX and MITx, participant growth was found to be linear, meaning that while the exponential growth appears to have ended, the user base is growing despite the backlash. Major platforms continue to find support for further course development and expanded partnerships: EdX recently announced a partnership with the Smithsonian and Microsoft to offer additional courses, and Coursera has partnered with Google and Instagram. For MOOCs to be considered valued spaces for learning, they need to adopt aspects of the earlier connectivist MOOCs (cMOOCs) and reintroduce social elements. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/bringing-social-back-moocs

Gainful employment rule upheld by DC judge - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

The for-profit college industry has lost a second round in the battle over the U.S. Department of Education’s gainful employment regulations. The New York Times reports that U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates in the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday that the department has a right to require colleges to prove their graduates make enough to pay back their student loans in order to be eligible for federal student aid dollars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the lawsuit was the highest hurdle preventing implementation of the regulation, but lawmakers still could block the rules by refusing to fund the department's enforcement of them. http://www.educationdive.com/news/gainful-employment-rule-upheld-by-dc-judge/401268/

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Six Trajectories for Digital Technology in Higher Education - Malcolm Brown, EDUCAUSE Review

When we consider the future roles of digital technology in higher education, it is often helpful to think in terms of trajectories rather than predictions. Predictions are remarkably fragile things. Any unforeseen factor will render the prediction false or off-target, and as those variables increase, so too does the likelihood that the prediction will fail. Predictions also tend to be projections of the current and the known, ornamented with something that provides a futuristic hue. In the case of digital technology, given the acceleration of change—enabled by the very things whose course we are trying to predict—the conundrum of predictions may be at its most acute. It is thus more practical to work with trajectories. With a trajectory, we know where something is headed, but we cannot say—or we refrain from guessing—where it will end. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/six-trajectories-digital-technology-higher-education

Report: Ed Sector Target of More Malware Events than any Other - Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

More than a third of all malware events in 2014 occurred within the education sector, according to NTT Com Security's 2015 Global Threat Intelligence Report (GTIR). The report, which analyzed more than 6 billion attacks for trends, points to the rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs. "[C]onnecting large amounts of users to public networks through a variety of devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones), cyber criminals know to target this vulnerable audience segment, resulting in this sector having the most detected malware-related events," according to a news release. "Students and staff use these vulnerable networks to check grades, schedule meetings, log into financial assets and more, opening up their personally identifiable information to criminals." http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/06/23/report-ed-sector-target-of-more-malware-events-than-any-other.aspx

Future of textbooks increasingly looks digital - Lee Shearer, Athens Banner-Herald

Students and teachers in some University of Georgia introductory biology courses experimented with using a free digital textbook instead of expensive paper texts in fall 2013 courses, and liked it. About 86 percent of nearly 700 students surveyed after the courses said their online textbook was as good as or better than a traditional paper textbook. But that experiment was just a fraction of what’s coming, according to Houston Davis, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer of the University System of Georgia. http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/future-digital-textbooks-563/

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Three ways to help online students succeed - Laura Devaney, eCampus News

A recent survey of 28,000 students yielded three specific factors that could influence online academic performance, with many stakeholders saying online student success really depends on effective learning design. Based on the survey results and statistically valid samples, Eduventures issued three recommendatdions to help institutions focus on online student success. 1. Align online courses with objective design standards to improve performance 2. Launch a pre- and post-design quality assurance process to ensure objectives and expectations inform every aspect of the student experience 3. Optimize the use of a learning management system to enhance the student experience http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/online-student-success-382/

Digital Platform Seeks to Match Employers, Job Seekers, and Courses - Meg Bernhard, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Zoë Baird, Markle's president and chief executive, said the main idea is that collaborators will pool their resources to connect job seekers with employers and to offer job seekers the chance to enroll in college programs or classes if their credentials don’t yet meet employers’ needs. Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State, said in an interview on Tuesday that job seekers and employers alike would be able to use the platform as a sort of search engine; they could search for potential employers, and employers could find prospective employees with specific skills their companies needed. If someone seeking a job did not have the skills an employer was looking for, the Rework America Connected platform might connect them to community colleges or universities that could offer them the verifiable credentials or degrees they needed. In short, Ms. Baird said, the platform would "enable people to find the information they need when they need it." http://chronicle.com/article/Digital-Platform-Seeks-to/231107/

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market 2015-2020 - Marketwatch

The MOOC's market is exhibiting great potential to grow exponentially over the next few years. In 2015, the technology is poised to see substantial uptake due to the growing number of connected devices, high enrolment rates in MOOCs, the increasing acceptance of MOOCs based training in enterprises around the globe and the increasing demand for low cost, high quality and globalised education. Consumer devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearable gadgets and eReaders are currently enjoying high adoption rates across the globe. With the ever increasing number of connected devices, MOOCs has the potential to disrupt higher education through widespread uptake of distance learning. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/massive-open-online-course-mooc-market-2015-2020-meducation-distance-open-e-learning-in-higher-education-enterprise-2015-06-22

Friday, July 3, 2015

Scott Walker's test of academic freedom - William G. Bowen, Eugene M. Tobin; Chicago Tribune

In our increasingly partisan and polarized climate, it is harder and harder to achieve the balance needed for shared governance, particularly when the university is buffeted by budget cuts and political agendas. We do not believe, however, that efforts to change governance to keep up with the times should move universities toward “divided” governance, focusing primarily on identifying which issues “belong” to the faculty and which to the regents, administration, students, legislature or executive branch. The transcendent importance of the Wisconsin Idea is the constant reminder that all operations in a university system bear upon one another and rely upon respect for robust academic freedom, and that public higher education exists to serve the needs of the people. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-scott-walker-tenure-university-wisconsin-perspec-0623-20150622-story.html

Senators look to close broadband gap for schools with Digital Learning Equity Act - Sean Buckley, Fierce Telecom

United States Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) have introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 as a way to improve broadband access and close what they call an education gap for all students. A key focus of the act is the recognition that access to a broadband Internet connection is an important enabler for students to get access to new personalized learning options made available through online and blended learning. The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 aims to narrow this growing divide by supporting new methods to ensure students stay connected and extend access to digital learning opportunities when they leave the classroom. http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/senators-look-close-broadband-gap-schools-digital-learning-equity-act/2015-06-22

Virtual Reality Helps Bridge the Gap Between Online and In-person Learning - Noelle Phansalkar, Outer Places

Since the recent surge in virtual reality development, experts from all fields have been eager to study its potential impacts. Most recently, Conrad Tucker, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Design at Penn State, conducted a study to test whether using virtual reality would have a significant impact on online learning. Tucker selected the Oculus Rift for his purposes, undoubtedly due to its relative inexpensiveness and accessibility. He also fitted participants with a haptic glove, which allows the wearer to simulate the feel of virtual objects. The participant sample consisted of 54 undergraduate engineering students who were tasked with assembling a virtual coffee pot from a number of disparate pieces. Half undertook this task with the help of the virtual reality hardware, while the other half used a simple computer program. The results were unsurprising; the mean completion time for the control group was 49.04 seconds, while the mean time for the group using V.R. was 23.21 seconds - less than half the time. http://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/9154/virtual-reality-helps-bridge-the-gap-between-online-and-in-person-learning

Thursday, July 2, 2015

As adjuncts unionize for better wages and benefits, some college costs could rise - RYAN DEROUSSEAU, Hechinger Report

Even as tuition has increased 90 percent at four-year nonprofit private institutions since 2000, the proportion of faculty who are full-time and tenured or tenure-track has dropped from nearly 80 percent in 1969 to about 30 percent today, according to the University of Southern California’s Delphi Project, which tracks this. Half of faculty are part-time, reports the American Association of University Professors, or AAUP, the national faculty union—up from about 30 percent in 1975. These part-time adjuncts earn a median of $2,700 per course and most receive no medical or retirement benefits, according to a survey by the advocacy group the Coalition on the Academic Workforce. That’s less than $22,000 a year if they teach a full schedule of four courses a semester. http://hechingerreport.org/as-adjuncts-unionize-for-better-wages-and-benefits-some-college-costs-could-rise/

I am an adjunct professor who teaches five classes. I earn less than a pet-sitter - Lee Hall the Guardian

My situation is not unique. 76% of instructional staff appointments in US higher education are now not even full-time jobs. Like most university teachers today, I am a low-paid contract worker. Now and then, a friend will ask: “Have you tried dog-walking on the side?” I have. Pet care, I can reveal, takes massive attention, energy and driving time. I’m friends with a full-time, professionally employed pet-sitter who’s done it for years, never topping $26,000 annually and never receiving health or other benefits. The reason I field such questions is that, as an adjunct professor, whether teaching undergraduate or law-school courses, I make much less than a pet-sitter earns. This year I’m teaching five classes (15 credit hours, roughly comparable to the teaching loads of some tenure-track law or business school instructors). At $3,000 per course, I’ll pull in $15,000 for the year. I work year-round, 20 to 30 hours weekly – teaching, developing courses and drafting syllabi, offering academic advice, recommendation letters and course extensions for students who need them. As I write, in late June, my students are wrapping up their final week of the first summer term, and the second summer term will begin next week. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/22/adjunct-professor-earn-less-than-pet-sitter

Boot camp classes may offer a peek at the future of higher ed - Bob Sullivan, CNBC

Udacity has abandoned the idea of giving classes away to huge numbers of people in favor of "nanodegrees"—boot-camp style, short-term programs with a laser-like focus on preparing students for a career. Nanodegree subjects include Web developer, Android developer, iOS developer ... you get the picture. What you don't get is a huge student loan debt. Udacity classes start at $1,200 for a six-month program. "Our form factor, delivery over the Web and mobile, makes it very affordable. And we've decided to do that away from the traditional university system," Makhijani said. The school has also added an Uber-like version of peer reviews, digital age teaching assistants, which lets students grab virtual roving experts and get one-on-one feedback that was sorely missing from initial MOOCs. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102771114

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

E-Portfolios Link Academic Achievements to Career Success - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

When the School of Business at Portland State University launched a brand new online business degree program focused on leadership and management for working professionals, the intent was to experiment with new kinds of learning to enhance students' professional, academic and career development. Looking for a way to link students' academic achievements to career success, the school turned to e-portfolios as a key component in the program. And students will carry those portfolios beyond graduation: In their third year of the three-year program, they will port a version of their e-portfolio content into a career-oriented social sharing site. Here's how Portland State wove e-portfolios into the curriculum from the ground up. http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/06/17/eportfolios-link-academic-achievements-to-career-success.aspx

A new survey shows flipped learning becoming the norm, and Oregon State is at the forefront - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Oregon State uses Kaltura for its video hosting services, tracking usage through a range of techniques offered by the company. Besides short videos obviously meant for flipped classrooms, instructors post longer videos of entire lectures for which Burriel notices a spike in viewing close to midterms or finals as students scramble to review concepts and material. Kaltura’s 2015 State of Video in Education Report, the result of a second annual online survey, included feedback from faculty identifying higher student performance when they make such lectures available. While not surprising, the feedback from 1,200 respondents revealed overwhelming support of video use in education and acknowledgment that it is a powerful tool for improving student learning outcomes and content delivery. Students, of course, have greater comfort with the newer technology, but many faculty are getting on board. http://www.educationdive.com/news/video-driving-education-for-next-generation-of-learners/401046/

Creative Destruction in Teaching (and the Ongoing Relevance of Teachers) - Don Wettrick, Edutopia

More technological tools exist in education today than at any time in history. We have great apps such as Skype and Google Hangouts for collaboration, literally hundreds of educational games for learning, and YouTube videos and blogs for gaining and sharing knowledge. In my class, students are encouraged to use all of these tools to explore their passions and test their ideas. Using technology, they learn independently and in small groups, very often without my guidance. For some educators, the fearful question is: "Could those apps and tools ever replace teachers?" The answer lies in how we define teaching. Or learning. Or innovation. http://www.edutopia.org/blog/creative-destruction-ongoing-relevance-teachers-don-wettrick