Monday, April 21, 2014

What Recruiters Need to Know About EdTech--and the Expanding Talent Pool - ADAM VACCARO, INC

Fresh takes on education aren't just about disrupting an ancient industry or helping people grow their skill set. Most of the focus on innovations in education--MOOCs, for starters, but also less formal online learning communities like Codecademy or Lynda--tend to focus on two things: the looming disruption of traditional education and the opportunity for just about anybody to sharpen their skills. A sometimes overlooked element of the industry, however, is the access it affords employers and recruiters to the skills of the broader talent pool. That's the driving force behind recruiting Aquent's MOOC program, Aquent Gymnasium. The recruiting company launched the program in 2012 with a business model that puts companies at the center of the movement.

Online students can't help being sociable - Sean Coughlan, BBC

It was a revolution moving higher education from bricks to clicks… and now it's started to go back to bricks again. Online university providers, which offered people the chance to study from home, are turning full circle by creating a network of learning centres where students can meet and study together. Instead of demolishing the dusty old classrooms of academia, the online university revolution is responsible for opening some new ones. Coursera, a major California-based provider of online courses, is creating an international network of "learning hubs", where students can follow these virtual courses in real-life, bricks and mortar settings. And there are thousands of meet-ups in cafes and libraries where students get together to talk about their online courses.

Truths about what today’s young workers want - Ashridge Business School (UK)

Millennials are focused on achieving through personal networks and technology, having a good work-life balance and getting high levels of support from their managers. They don’t want to be tied to an organization, a timetable or a hierarchy, and they’d rather avoid the stress they see their senior leaders shouldering. They may lack some of their predecessors’ relationship, communication and analysis skills, but they’re confident in their abilities to run business in a new way. The Millennial Compass also reveals how common these trends are – or aren’t – around the world. Does a 25-year-old working for a company in Beijing feel the same way about work as his or her counterpart in London, Sao Paulo or Atlanta? A total of 1,293 Millennial employees from Brazil, China, France, India, the UK and the USA responded to the survey. The study found that what’s important to them in their working lives varies somewhat by country, but several key findings emerged.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Right Model for Live Online Classes - James W. Pennebaker and Sam Gosling, Inside Higher Ed

In 2012, we started teaching our Introductory Psychology course as a live online course. It was like a MOOC but was broadcast to 1,000 students who saw it in real time. One challenge of building a SMOC (a synchronous massive online class) was how to define the nature of the relationship we would have with students. The choice was to teach the class as a regular stand-up lecture or to try something more akin to a TV show.

Shrinking as a Strategy - Ry Rivard, Inside Higher Ed

After surveying the fate of small private liberal arts colleges, Saint Michael's College in Vermont is now planning ahead for enrollment declines, inexpensive online classes for credit and debt-averse students and families. College officials say they now have a way to keep the college sustainable by making it smaller. Even though enrollment is steady and there’s been a budget surplus each of the past six years, Saint Michael’s is planning to enroll 10 to 15 percent fewer students over the next three to four years and, in turn, employ about 10 percent fewer faculty and staff members. Saint Michael’s is also adding a summer online program for students from elsewhere that will start to rely on content from online courses to help lower costs. The summer program could eventually help students graduate in three years. “It’s pretty clear that you have to get some productivity out of small liberal arts colleges or else they are simply going to price themselves out of existence,” Neuhauser said.

Many Students Could Save $50,000 on College—But Aren’t - Brad Tuttle, Time

Completing the degree in three years can save money, but few students are taking advantage of the option. Colleges say that students should be extremely cautious in their pursuit of an accelerated degree. By speeding along through college, students increase the chances that they could pick the wrong major because they’re so hell-bent on graduating. They could also be shortchanged, the argument goes, on developing all-important life skills students are supposed to hone in college, such as critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. Certainly, another factor holding back the three-year degree from becoming a larger trend is some level of disinterest among students. Not all that many students are eager to kill themselves by overloading on courses each semester. They may rather prefer to squeeze every moment of fun they can out of college—to, in fact, “screw around and have a great time” with their friends, as Wesleyan’s Roth put it. Making oneself miserable by rushing through college makes particularly little sense when you’ll graduate into a fairly lackluster jobs market.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

An E-Portfolio With No Limits - David Raths, Campus Technology

Students at the University of Mary Washington build their academic identities on their own personal Web domain. As many universities look to certifications, badges and e-portfolios as vehicles to allow students to demonstrate their achievements and skills, another movement has begun to surface on campus: a personal web domain for each student. At the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), this academic year has seen the evolution of a blogging platform used by faculty and staff into a Web-hosting space where students can use an array of tools to build their own academic identities, with no limits. And the idea is catching on: Since UMW started its project, Davidson College (NC) has received a Mellon Grant to work on digital curriculum, including individual student domains, and Emory University (GA) is piloting the student domain concept in a writing program.

Employers like MOOCs — if they know what one is - Jake New, Editor, eCampus News

Employers are fans of massive open online courses (MOOCs), according to a new study by researchers at Duke University and RTI International. But many first had to have the concept explained to them. “We were interested in exploring how employers viewed MOOCs in terms of whether they would make a difference in hiring decisions or how they might be used for recruiting talent,” said Laura Horn, the RTI’s site principal investigator. The study, funded by the Gates Foundation, was based on a survey of more than 100 human resource professionals from North Carolina employers. About 70 percent of the respondents had never heard of a MOOC before. Once they had a working definition, however, the majority of participants said they were receptive to using MOOCs in hiring decisions. They especially liked the idea of using MOOCs for professional development training.

Can Online Teaching Improve Face to Face Instruction? - Michael L. Rodgers and Mary Harriet Talbut, Tomorrow's Professor

In general, online courses require greater planning, more extensive resources, more formalized communication, and more detailed organization than do face to face courses. But, the work that goes into creating an online course, and the insights forthcoming from comparison of online and face to face versions of the course, can make the face to face course better in many ways.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Obama Counsels Students on Options to a 4-Year Degree - Chris Good, ABC

It would be a cultural shift, but the Obama administration is hoping to change the perception of two- and four-year universities and what is needed for success. Through two new skills-training programs, utilizing grant money announced in 2010, the administration is encouraging a competition to foster courses developed by industry at the community college level and an apprentice job scholarship program. President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden appeared at a community college in Pittsburgh this week to announce $500 million in grant funding for community college job-training programs and $100 million in funding for apprenticeship grants.

Whoa. Education Is A 7 Trillion Dollar Industry - Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Education is a huge industry. It touches nearly everyone out there, so it should be. But often times when we think of ‘big industries’ we think of things like banking, cars, or consumer electronics. Well did you know exactly how big of an industry education is? And just how rapidly and how much the industry is changing because of new technologies? The handy infographic linked below, from Knewton and Column Five Media takes a look at some of these questions and more. Learn how digital education is poised to transform the way teachers teach and how students learn.

College-Readiness Not Keeping Up In California - Associated Press

Fewer than 4 in 10 California high school students are completing the requirements to be eligible for the state’s public universities, fueling worries of a shortage of college-educated workers when the value of a bachelor’s degree has never been higher. To meet entrance requirements, high school students must complete 15 classes with a grade of C or better, including foreign language, lab science, intermediate algebra, and visual or performing arts. At the current rate, educators and policy experts say, far too few students are finishing high school with the minimum coursework needed even to apply to a University of California or California State University campus. Once students who drop out or do not finish high school in four years are removed from the equation, the proportion of public high school graduates who met the UC and CSU entrance criteria in 2012 drops to 30 percent statewide, 20 percent for Latinos and 18 percent for African-Americans, Rogers said.

Taught by the web: tomorrow's doctors are being educated online - Harry Slater, the Guardian

Online communities can be great resources and a means of communication to assist medical students and junior doctors. The internet can make studying to be a doctor easier, if you know where to access the right resources. More importantly, the internet is effectively addressing the flaws of traditional offline learning. Online learning adds variety, too. Medical students from all over the country who are taught in different ways can exchange methods. Similarly, it's an opportunity to share clinical experience that some students – because of the way their course works – won't always be familiar with. For example, you may have only a little GP contact and then, in your third year, be sent straight to work on wards. Sophie adds that there is the opportunity for follow-up when the scenario finishes. "There's a chance to say 'this is what you should have been thinking' and 'here's where you could have saved the situation.'" Afterwards, tweets from the discussion are grouped together using Storify and depending on the case, additional notes are provided.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Udacity Will No Longer Offer Free Certificates - Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Udacity hopes the certificates it offers to people who complete its massive open online courses are worth something. Now the company plans to charge students accordingly. “Discontinuing the ‘free’ certificates has been one of the most difficult decisions we’ve made,” wrote Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s founder, in a blog post about the policy change. So far Udacity has given students who complete a MOOC the option of downloading a free certificate. But lately the company has been designing courses that combine the promise of instructional rigor with premium services to create tuition-based offerings. Those “full” courses cost $150 per month and include contact with human coaches, project-based assignments, and job-placement services.

Online at Community Colleges - Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Online enrollment continued to grow at community colleges in 2013, even as many two-year institutions saw overall enrollment stagnate or drop, according to a report released Sunday by the Instructional Technology Council. The council released its annual report on online education at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges, with which it is affiliated. In 2013, the 142 distance education officials who responded to the survey reported that their online enrollments were up by 5.2 percent over the previous year. That increase is smaller than those of the three previous years, going back chronologically, 6.5 percent, 8.2 percent, and 9 percent. But those increases came in years in which community colleges were reporting increases in both in-person and online enrollments, which is no longer the case this year.

How Digital Learning Devices Are Being Used In Education - Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Classrooms going digital bring both the good and the bad. Smaller mounds of paperwork and easy document storage (no more ‘dog ate my homework!’ or equally ridiculous excuses) fall on the good side of things. The necessity of teaching things like digital citizenship, the plethora of distractions online or the expense of digital devices might fall on the other side of things. But all of this is moot if your students don’t have access to the digital devices you’d like to employ in your classroom. The handy infographic below takes a look at the current state of access, and some examples of different options to improve access.

MOOCs: the Next Evolution in (corporate) E-Learning? - Gary Kranz, Workforce

Industry observers believe MOOCs will follow an adoption path similar to that of e-learning, which likewise germinated within universities before being embraced by corporations. “There could be a huge demand for MOOCs as the corporate content market gets consolidated. If companies are able to get low-cost to free learning content through a MOOC, they’ll be interested,” said Josh Bersin, president of research firm Bersin by Deloitte. Hall doesn’t speculate on when MOOCs might go mainstream. His focus is on the videos that should enable Marek Bros. to boost its bottom line. “It gives us a better idea of what our market share is and what it should be, which helps us change behavior to improve results,” Hall said. Which is what learning is all about.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Innovation, online learning helping adults go back to school - Austen Smith, Ann Arbor Journal

As the work force in Michigan has evolved since the manufacturing and housing crash in 2008, more adults are finding their way back to the classroom and they’re finding more flexibility in learning. The average age of students at Washtenaw Community College has been driven upwards to around 27 in recent years as the college has seen more enrollment from adult students than tradtional students coming from high school. President Dr. Rose Bellenaca says WCC is the perfect place for adults retraining in a new field. “This is the absolute best place you can retrain,” says Bellanca. “We’re an economic driver for the region. We work hand in hand with business and industry, we are able to train for a variety of jobs...this is the best place to learn for an adult.”

New trend: Students enrolling with no intention of graduating - eCampus News

A student at Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California, Kevin Floerke, 26, already graduated in 2010 from UCLA, where he majored in archaeology. This time, however, unlike many other people in his field, he’s not interested in getting yet another degree. He’s just trying to master a set of techniques and technologies that will help him verify the details he finds while doing fieldwork. “I’m really there to learn the program itself and be able to use it in a professional setting,” he said. Floerke, who leads tours for the National Geographic Society, is part of a group of students known as “skill builders,” who are using conventional colleges in an unconventional way: not to obtain degrees, but simply to learn specific kinds of expertise without spending time or money on courses they don’t think they need.

Five Biometric Alternatives To The Password - CNN Wire

There are many things that make you special: Your sense of humor, your dance moves, your personal style, the shape of your ear. That’s right, your ear. The password has had its moment, but those hard-to-remember strings of number and letters are increasingly insecure and clumsy to manage. The next wave in computer security will be biometric authentication, the futuristic practice of using unique behavioral and biological traits such as fingerprints, gait and yes, even ear shape to confirm your identity. You might already have the necessary equipment to detect some of these your pocket.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

1 million students to get free textbooks - Jaccii Barmer, eCampus News

This fall, over 1 million students will have access to the free textbook, Principles of Economics, provided by OpenStax College. Founded in 2012, OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization developed by Rice University and supported by numerous foundations, which provides free textbooks and learning materials. The organization has produced six textbooks that have been downloaded over 480,000 times, estimating students have saved about $8 million. The organization, which has been adopted by hundreds of educational institutions, works with educators to write and peer-review each textbook.