Wednesday, August 27, 2014

3 ways online courses could become more like iTunes - Denny Carter, eCampus News

Thanks to MIT, modularization could soon be an oft-repeated phrase in online education. Members of the MIT task force, who were asked to examine ways a college education could become more accessible, more affordable, and more effective, pointed to the concept of “modularization” as a key to improving the traditional web-based class model and the nontraditional massive open online course (MOOC). The task force suggested breaking courses into modules — or learning units meant to be studied in sequence but separately. This approach would mimic a person’s ability to purchase bits and pieces of an artist’s music from Apple iTunes, they said.

Is this the “dark horse” of online education? - Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

It’s a perfect storm of economic factors and available technology that’s making competency-cased online education the real disruptive innovation for colleges and universities, say Michelle Weise, senior research fellow of Higher Education for the Clayton Christensen Institute, and Clayton Christensen, co-founder of the Institute and the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. “Workforce training, competency-based learning, and online learning are clearly not new phenomena,” explains Weise. “But online competency-based education is revolutionary because it marks the critical convergence of multiple vectors: the right learning model, the right technologies, the right customers, and the right business model.”

Which massive online courses are women taking? - Denny Carter, eCampus News

Coursera recently sought to answer that question, drilling down into enrollment data to see which classes, exactly, women were taking on the popular Coursera platform. Food and nutrition topped the list of Coursera classes women prefer, with more than 60 percent of enrollees in those classes identifying as female. Teacher professional development ranked second with almost 60 percent female enrollment. Medicine, arts, and health and society came in a close third with more than 50 percent female enrollment. But again, it was STEM courses and related fields that saw low levels of female enrollment and participation, according to Coursera’s findings.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8 tips for creating video in online learning - Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

To use or not to use faculty and admin created video in online learning has been a hot topic of debate in higher education, for many reasons. However, thanks to new research on video’s efficacy, best practices compiled over the last five years, and abundant technology resources, successfully creating and using video for online learning has never been easier to execute. According to a new report about instructor-generated video on student satisfaction in online classes, recently published in the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, instructor-generated video (when created through YouTube) can have a positive and moderate influence on student satisfaction with, and engagement in, online courses.

Remote Learning: The Lay of the Land - Andrew Binstock, Dr. Dobb's

If I were obliged to choose industries that are susceptible to significant disruption in the next few years, I would have to point to education as being the most obvious and most important. In a generation and a half, education has gone from being an expense that most families bore manageably or with some difficulty to an extraordinary cost that can plunge students and their parents into deep, long-lasting debt. Rather than being the path of upward mobility that it was for generations, education has evolved into the principal barrier between the wealthy and the rest of us. Education costs have risen far faster than inflation and can be accommodated mostly by parents who begin saving towards the expense the day their child is born. The current model cannot continue along its present trajectory. It is ripe for disruption, particularly in the programming field where developers are always partially self-taught and demonstrated skill, rather than coursework completion, is the defining hiring criterion.

Online Learning and Digital Books - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Tomorrow’s student may prefer mobile learning over stationary learning.
Tomorrow’s higher ed student may decide that paying for a traditional campus based residential experience makes about as much sense as paying for a new hardcover book.
Tomorrow’s student may find the lecture format as attractive as digital book enthusiasts finds the hardcover.
Are existing higher ed institutions (the incumbents) moving fast enough today to be ready for tomorrow’s learner?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Diverse Conversations: Is Higher Education Worth It? - Matthew Lynch, Huffington Post

Speaking with Yvonne Tocquigny who is CEO of Tocquigny, a company that specializes in brand management and development for colleges and universities. "Online learning and MOOCS will provide innovative ways for schools to cut costs by curbing the cost of labor (the #1 cost for most schools) and amortizing their investment in the best teachers. This will have to be balanced with the need to continue to convince students that the value of an online course from their school is somehow superior to that of a less expensive institution. Many people believe that in a few years, one will be able to acquire online learning through Amazon. So schools will have to do more over time to define the value of a degree from their particular school. They will have to become more efficient at attracting the right students to their school."

8 Myths About MOOCs - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Last week Josh Kim is in Cambridge for a Hewlett Foundation sponsored invited participant workshop on Learning With MOOCs. The timing of the gathering coincides with Dartmouth, his institution, working on developing DartmouthX open online courses on the edX platform. Spending a couple of days immersed in all thing open online learning prompted this post of eight ways in which many misunderstand MOOCs.

Distance Learning Meets Students' Needs - Melissa Gute, Northwest Arkansas Online

Use of NorthWest Arkansas Community College's distance learning program continues grow in a time when overall enrollment has been less than optimal, Kate Burkes, director of distance learning, told the college's board of trustees Monday. Burkes gave an update about the school's distance learning program at the board meeting Monday afternoon. "The growth in distance learning across the nation has been phenomenal the last 20, 25 years," said Steve Gates, senior vice president for learning and provost. "NWACC's story is no exception." Distance learning has become a huge part of the college's delivery system, he said. The program provides expanded access for students, Burkes said.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Real-life business experience over the internet - Tim Dodd, Financial Review

A key feature of Intersective’s Practera platform was that it let ­students “engage with real companies and real company issues”, Professor Wailes said. “Students go on to the ­platform, they get involved in brainstorming and discussion, then they form teams and work through business plans,” he said. “It has the potential to allow us to bring real world experiential learning into the online domain. Our students get to learn by doing.” The two new initiatives are in pilot form and, if successful, will become a permanent part of the master of ­business and technology degree in 2015.

Can Universities Use Data to Fix What Ails the Lecture? - Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed

Colleges that are largely online, like the University of Phoenix and Southern New Hampshire University’s College of Online and Continuing Education, sit atop vast deposits of data describing students’ interactions with instructors, peers, readings, and quizzes. Those data can be mined for insights about teaching techniques that are not working and concepts that students are failing to grasp. They also can be used to design software that adapts on the fly to the needs of individual students, an approach that many advocates see as online education’s trump card against traditional instruction.

MOOCs Are No Longer A Cultural Export Of The West - Jessica Lieber, Fast Company

A much wider array of nations are now become MOOC adopters and providers. On edX, a non-profit founded at MIT and Harvard in May 2012, a total of 1.2 million students from non-Western nations have signed up, and now non-English language courses are offered from universities in 20 countries, including as India, Mexico, France, and Hong Kong. Using edX’s open-source codebase, 12 Chinese institutions launched their own platform, XuetangX, which Agarwal says has already signed up some 300,000 users since last year. When the Queen Rania Foundation in Jordan opened up a similar portal, Edraak, to provide Arabic language content from three Middle Eastern schools, it adapted the edX code base so it could display text from right to left. Currently there are almost a dozen other countries working to launch their own versions of edX, according to Agarwal.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Is an associate’s degree the new bachelor’s degree? - Catey Hill, MarketWatch

More parents are sending their children to two-year colleges, but will this negatively impact their children’s future earning power? According to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College” study released this week, enrollment in two-year public colleges has skyrocketed in just the past four years: In 2010, 23% of families reported having children enrolled in a two-year public colleges, but this year, those numbers had ballooned to 34%. Meanwhile, enrollment in four-year public schools has slumped from 52% in 2010 to just 41% in 2014. “This is one of the ways families are keeping their spending down,” says Sarah Ducich, co-author of the Sallie Mae study.

Black Hat: Google Glass Can Steal Your Passcodes - Tom Simonite, Technology Review

Criticism of Google Glass has often focused on the way its camera makes surreptitious video recording too easy. Now researchers have shown that footage captured by the face-mounted camera could also pose a security threat.Software developed by the researchers can automatically recover the passcodes of people recorded on video as they type in their credentials, even when the screen itself is not visible to the camera. The attack works by watching the movement of the fingers to work out what keys they are touching. It also works on footage from camcorders, webcams, and smartphones, but Glass offers perhaps the subtlest way to stage it. The work suggests that “shoulder surfing”—stealing passwords or other data by watching someone at a computer—could become more of a threat as digital cameras and powerful image processing software become more common.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Learning Lessons: Net Neutrality and the Future of Online Education - McNeal Maddox, ClickZ

The end of net neutrality would inevitably lead to online education providers paying more to deliver video course content - which would mean an increase in operating costs that would be bundled into millions of students' fees. The increased cost would stifle enrollments at a critical moment in the growth of the online education sector. A requirement to pay ISPs for increased bandwidth to stream video to millions of students is an added expense that many online schools may not be willing to pay. Brands like Udemy, Khan Academy, Udacity, Codecademy, and General Assembly have already made significant investments in process and infrastructure to deliver streaming video course content.

Extension offers online course for board members of non profits - Curt Wohleber, Democrat News

University of Missouri Extension is offering online training for board members of nonprofit organizations. “Serving on a board is a little different from volunteering for an event or activity,” says Connie Mefford, associate extension professional and community development specialist in Benton County. “I think many people don’t understand their legal responsibility.” While board members can bring valuable skills and knowledge, they might not be ready to deal with issues such as conflicts of interest, maintaining minutes and other required documents, compensation of paid employees, and proper handling of grants, donations and other income, Mefford said.

Twitter enhances teacher education - La Trobe University, Australia

La Trobe University pre-service teachers are taking to Twitter to learn skills that will make them better teachers once they enter the classroom. Dr Narelle Lemon, Senior Lecturer in Teacher Education has researched ways for her Graduate Diploma of Education (Primary) students to explore and extend their knowledge of arts education through their use of social media. Over a three year period 550 La Trobe pre-service teachers logged into Twitter and created online galleries to share artwork and reflect on their learning. 'As the group created the online galleries each individual was encouraged, through the maximum 140 character construction of a tweet, to carefully think about the content they could share associated to their learning experiences.' This is a highly desirable skill in the environments they will work in when they enter the workforce.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First-Ever Alumni Coursera Course - Alyssa D’Alconzo, Frankly Penn

500 lucky UPenn alumni will join Stephanie McCurry from Penn’s history department for a four-week online version of her “History of the Slave South” course. Beginning October 6, view fascinating lectures, engage, and learn with Dr. McCurry and other intellectually curious alumni through interactive discussion forums and a screen side chat. McCurry is a specialist in 19th-century American history. Her class, taught annually in College Hall 200, is consistently popular with undergraduates and this online version is sure to fill quickly.

The new honor code: Testing under online eye - Jennifer Brown, Gainesville Times

When Gainesville college student Rachel Henderson learned a test for her online class was administered 20 miles away in Dahlonega, she opted instead to use a fee-based mobile proctoring service called ProctorU. The result, she said, was “pretty easy and kind of strange.” The service allows students to take their tests from any computer that has a webcam and meets minimum system requirements. It also allows a proctor to view students over the webcam and access student computers remotely. Students pay a fee of $15 or more using their credit cards, and then take the test online while a proctor watches them work and monitors activity on their computers using remote access screen-sharing software. “It was really convenient not to have to drive to Dahlonega from Gainesville,” said Henderson, a senior at the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus, “but it felt really strange to have them watching you the whole time.” Still, Henderson said she’d use the service again in the same situation because of its ease and convenience.

Three Myths about Hybrid and Online College Courses - Janet Michello, Evolllution

There are a number of misconceptions facing online and hybrid education programming, but if done right, the classes can be rewarding and meaningful both for educators and students. As many educators recognize, hybrid and online courses are increasing in higher learning institutions. Yet in spite of this, lack of encouragement among some professors and administrators for this type of instruction means the supply is not necessarily keeping up with the demand. Some colleges are reluctant to increase the number of online and hybrid courses because of misconceptions about their utility. Why such restrictions and, in many cases, lack of support for this type of instruction? In discussing this with some college faculty, there seem to be three dominant misconceptions about online or hybrid instruction.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Future Of Higher Education Depends On Innovation - Henry Doss, Forbes

The fact is that we are in the midst of an increasingly rapid transformation in education, across dimensions of purpose, content, pedagogy and methodologies. Technology, social change and the decades-long trend of ever-increasing cost have left us with many unanswered questions, multiple challenges and, of course, the need to be highly innovative in an educational culture that tends to be wary of change. Rick Beyer, managing partner of Miles Howland Education Partners says: "I think higher education is at the beginning stage of a long-term deflationary trend for tuition prices. Actually, I don’t just think that, I’m pretty certain of that. Already we are seeing many institutions faced with two simultaneous events: declining enrollment and price deflation driven by alternative paths to education. Those institutions that are not prepared for this, that aren’t willing to be on the forefront of innovative practices, will find themselves in very difficult circumstances."