Friday, June 22, 2018

In the digital age, the standard lecture may not be enough - Shalina Chatlani, Education Dive

For the time being the traditional lecture format still works for higher education, but as "other organizations can create credentials of equal or greater value, universities, as they are currently structured, are in trouble," wrote Steven Murphy, the president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, in a guest post for The Globe and Mail.   Murphy contends that while most institutions are trying to experiment, the industry as a whole is lagging behind with innovation, especially as pressure mounts to improve efficiency and reduce operational costs.  To confront this challenge, Murphy offered three pieces of advice. First, institutions should partner with the private sector "to enhance experiential learning." Second, they should turn risk management into an opportunity for embracing change, where disruptive technological advances can be beneficially leveraged; and, finally, institutions ought to educate administrators and boards of governors on how to prepare for disruption, setting "benchmarks to measure innovation outcomes."

Bootcamps Go To College - Matthew Rascoff, Evolllution

Rather than viewing bootcamps as a threat, higher education should integrate the bootcamp model into the undergraduate experience to prepare graduates with the combinations of knowledge and skills they will need in their careers and lives. While the intensity, flexibility and experiential learning of bootcamps are compelling, those features are complementary to four-year undergraduate education. For most colleges, bootcamps are a sustaining innovation that can be absorbed into the core—not a disruptive innovation that must be developed or acquired and protected on the margins. Bootcamps haven’t undermined the bachelor’s degree, for which the return on investment is an annualized 15 percent per year—performance that would make any Wall Street investor envious.

New free online courses launched to help Syrian refugees continue their education - Future Learn

The first two in a series of twelve new free online courses to assist refugees affected by conflict in the Middle East start on June 18th. The courses are designed for tens of thousands of young people whose education has been interrupted by wars such as that in Syria, helping to prevent a ‘lost generation’ in the region. King’s College London has produced two new free online courses, Basic English 1: Elementary and Basic English 2: Pre-Intermediate so refugees and displaced people in Jordan and Lebanon can learn basic English for everyday situations in order to gain transferable skills and/or help proceed into higher education.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

An Upbeat Higher Ed SOLA+R Conference - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

The one area where higher ed malaise seems largely absent is in the world of online learning. At least that is what I found after hanging out for a few days in DC at the UPCEA powered SOLA+R (Summit for Online Leadership and Administration + Roundtable). I can’t remember when I’ve been with a group of 400+ positive higher ed people. Why were the online learning leaders who gathered at SOLA+R so upbeat? My theory is that, like most everything else in higher ed, the answer comes down to money. Online education has a business model.

Virtual lab to extend reach of science education - Harvard Gazette

“There are many millions of students who, as a result of economic or geographic limitations, simply do not have access to one of the most central aspects of being a scientist, which is working in a laboratory,” said Robert Lue, principal investigator of LabXchange and professor of the practice of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard. “LabXchange addresses this issue with a platform that integrates dynamic experimental simulations with background curriculum and social networking — all created to more effectively expose students of varying backgrounds to the authentic and engaging experience of scientific discovery.” As founding sponsor, Amgen has awarded $6.5 million in grant funding to Harvard to develop, launch, and grow LabXchange. Amgen will be engaged throughout the development, and its scientists with industry experience will play key advisory roles.

Facebook, Google offering tech, career courses - Jean Dimeo, Education Dive

Facebook is partnering with community colleges to share curriculum for digital advertising and media training, skills that a growing number of small business owners and staff say they lack, according to Inside Higher Ed.  Facebook recently announced partnerships with two-year institutions Des Moines Area Community College, Greenville Technical College and Central New Mexico Community College, and more partnerships are expected to be announced this week, Inside Higher Ed reported. Meanwhile, Google announced this week that it partnered with Udacity to offer free career and tech courses to recent graduates and mid-career professionals, according to Tech Crunch. Udacity and Google tested an online course in March; they now will together launch 12 free courses.

Google’s AI Manifesto: Accountability, Privacy, and No Killer Robots - Ryan Whitwam, Extreme Tech

We are still in the very early days of useful artificial intelligence, so there aren’t a lot of specifics in Google’s new guidelines. Google’s general objectives for AI include being socially beneficial, avoiding creating or reinforcing unfair bias, being built and tested for safety, being accountable to people, incorporating privacy design principles, upholding high standards of scientific excellence, and being made available for uses that accord with these principles.

Andrew Ng Is Probably Teaching More Students Than Anyone Else on the Planet. (Without a University Involved.) - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

In fact, three of the 10 most popular courses on Coursera aren’t produced by a college or university at all, but by a company. That company—called—is a unique provider of higher education. It is essentially built on the reputation of its founder, Andrew Ng, who teaches all five of the courses it offers so far. Ng is seen as one of the leading figures in artificial intelligence, having founded and directed the Google Brain project and served as the chief scientist at the Chinese search giant Baidu, as well as having directed the artificial intelligence laboratory at Stanford University. He also happens to be the co-founder of Coursera itself, and it was his Stanford course on machine learning that helped launch the MOOC craze in the first place.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Scepticism over Google plan to replace labs with virtual reality - David Matthews, Times Higher Education

Google and a Danish technology firm claim that they have removed the need for biology students to set foot in a laboratory by creating virtual reality simulations of experiments, clearing the way for the world’s first online-only biology degree. Arizona State is to be first university adopter of new technology, launching fully online biology degrees. The partnership is a sign that VR is beginning to change how the physical sciences are taught, although there is scepticism over whether the technology can entirely replace hands-on lab experience. Announcing the initiative at Google’s I/O developers conference, Jennifer Holland, a programme manager at the company, said that using VR labs, universities “will now be able to truly offer an online biology degree”.

An Inside Look at Online Carding Courses for Cybercriminals - Digital Shadows, Bank Info Security

As customers spend more and more money online each year, the opportunities for fraud increase in parallel; experts project a loss of $24 billion to payment card fraud by the end of 2018. Payment card fraudsters rely on a sophisticated ecosystem and support network that provides a wide range of credit card details, fraud tools and online tutorials. This whitepaper lifts the lid on e-learning credit card fraud courses. These programs coach aspiring criminals to make $12,000 in monthly earnings and point to the increased sophistication of the professional cybercriminal ecosystem as fraudsters seek to up-skill themselves. Think: High-paying job with a degree in cybercrime and membership to Bad Actor Fraternity from Fraudster University.

UC should make changes to its course evaluation process to prevent bias - Daily Bruin Editorial

Evaluations are written into the University of California’s decision-making process when it comes to academic employees. But given the lack of standardization and the heavy presence of bias in conventional course evaluations methods, it’s high time the University changed its policies to use evaluations exclusively for feedback purposes, not for its personnel matters.... A 2014 study found that when online instructors disguised a woman as a man and a man as a woman, the female identity received lower performance reviews. A 2015 study looking at student reviews on the website found that instructors with Asian last names were rated lower on “clarity” and “helpfulness” than instructors with Western names. And in January, former UCLA psychology professor David Jentsch tweeted about an evaluation that complains about not the content of his course or teaching style, but that “It’s disgusting that UCLA allows gay people to teach our courses.” This demonstrates that students don’t see instructors in a vacuum. Identity politics, not to mention other nonacademic factors, can play a role in how they evaluate a course.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

6 Reasons Blended Learning Works - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Research suggests that blended learning is more effective than both face-to-face and online education, according to a new e-book released by the Online Learning Consortium and academic publisher Routledge. Online & Blended Learning: Selections from the Field brings together advice and best practices from a number of scholarly publications related to online and blended learning; topics covered include the basics of the blended model, differences between online and on-campus learning, strategies for teaching with technology, data analysis techniques, policy issues and more.

Ideas for Creating an Effective Syllabus for Online Learning - Danielle Geary, Faculty Focus

Online students need to feel an instructor presence in their classes. Thorough explanations and effective communication help fulfill this need and can transform a mediocre online course into a great one—and it all starts with the syllabus. Structure and communication. That’s what I’ve found to be the keys to an effective online course syllabus. Well, that, and something I call a chapter checklist, to go along with the syllabus. I’ve discovered both to be essential to my asynchronous online foreign language course.

Startup Uses AI and Human Augmentation for Video/Audio Transcription - Dian Schaffhauser, Camapus Technology

A startup based in Israel has raised $11 million to expand the growth of its solution for doing artificial-intelligence-powered transcription. Verbit technology, according to the company, will be helpful to schools in addressing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation. The transcription process for videos and audio recordings typically relies on a combination of approaches: fully automated transcription, which tends to produce partially accurate results, and/or manual transcriptions, which require a much longer turnaround. Verbit has developed Verbatizer, a transcription system that uses a combination of AI technologies for automatic speech recognition algorithms and human-augmented refinement. The corrections made by human transcribers are fed into the Verbit algorithms through machine learning technologies to continuously improve the formulas.

What Do Higher Ed Professional Associations Do? - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Yesterday I wrote about the large number of conferences and convenings competing for the attention of those interested in postsecondary learning innovation. Almost all of these events have a professional organization behind them. In today’s lingo, they are powered by an association, consortium, or company. These professional organizations do much more than put on annual, subject-specific, and regional conferences. A partial list of the functions of higher ed professional organizations - at least in the space of learning innovation and educational technology that I know best - would include...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Are We At Peak Learning Innovation Conference? Thoughts as I head off to SOLA+R. - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

This week I’m heading to the Summit for Online Learning and Administration + Roundtable (SOLA+R), hosted by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Inside Digital Learning has a good preview of the convening. With the proliferation of events that bill themselves under the umbrella of “learning innovation”, how do folks choose where to go?

Imagining A Blockchain University - Tom Vander Ark , Forbes

A couple of Oxford faculty imagine a different kind of university, one that is distributed and democratic. Joshua Broggi, Faculty of Philosophy, is the founder of Woolf Development, a platform startup that aims to leverage distributed ledger technology to remove higher education intermediaries, support decentralized governance structures and ensure the security of data. Blockchain, and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) can address several other problems. First, a distributed ledger eliminates the risk that individuals claim a degree from an institution they did not graduate from. DLT also addresses the risk that an individual earned a credential from an institution that goes out of business. A third benefit of a DLT could be the efficiency of accumulating credits from multiple providers over time. A final benefit is cost savings from automating a number of administrative procedures and reducing overhead.

Harvard Hosts 60-Year Curriculum Symposium - Cait Etherington, eLearning Inside

In a 2017 interview with the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, Dean Hunt Lambert, who leads Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education, emphasized that the 60-year curriculum recognizes that people begin their learning careers in earnest in their teens, continue learning throughout their work years, and even continue their educations during their retirements. Continuing education programs evidently play an integral part in the learning lives of most adults, but this will expand as the need to reskill increases over the coming decades.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Here are 10 top college majors, according to Princeton Review - Ann Marie Barron, SILive

Trying to choose a college major that'll pay off down the road? Computer science, communications and political science top the list, according to the most recent study by the Princeton Review. Research conducted by the college admission services company resulted in a list of the top 10 college majors based on a few different things, including job prospects, alumni salaries and popularity. And while those three topped the list, other majors on it also offer myriad benefits and opportunities, researchers said.

California Universities and CCs Launch Online Course Finder with 10,000 Classes - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

The California State University and California Community Colleges systems have teamed up to launch a new online course finder that will provide students enrolled at either set of institutions access to more than 10,000 online, transferable classes. The program is live in time for students to take summer 2018 classes. "Finish Faster," as it's called, is part of the Online Education Initiative, a collaborative effort among several community colleges in the state to push students to finish their educational goals faster. Besides the online courses, the project incorporates resources to help online students succeed, including counseling, tutoring and access to library services.

What 6 Colleges Learned About Improving Their Online Courses - Chronicle of Higher Ed

“Making Digital Learning Work: Success Strategies From Six Leading Universities and Community Colleges” wades into those waters with a study of three community colleges and three public research universities, all of which have at least 20,000 students, and enroll significant percentages of Pell-eligible students and students who take online classes. The authors crunched a lot of data to determine how digital technologies affect access, student outcomes, and return on investment. First, the good news. Researchers from Arizona State University and the Boston Consulting Group found that online education can boost retention and graduation rates, while saving students time and money. But — and this is a big one — to be successful, colleges need to develop a variety of delivery models to match students’ needs, and make significant investments in things like instructional design and student support services. In other words, don’t expect a series of videotaped lectures to get the job done.