Monday, June 25, 2018

_Most Students Say Online Learning Is as Good or Better Than Face-to-Face - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

In a survey of 1,500 students who are seriously considering, currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a fully online program, most (86 percent) considered the value of their degree equal to or greater than the cost they paid to take it. Among those who have attended face-to-face and online courses, the majority (85 percent) said that online learning is as good as or better than attending courses on campus. In fact, two-thirds of online college students (67 percent) reported that they'd achieved the original goal that motivated them to enroll in their program; graduate students were more likely than undergraduates to feel that way (76 percent vs. 62 percent). The survey was conducted by Learning House, a company that manages online programs for colleges and universities, and Aslanian Market Research, a research arm of EducationDynamics, which performs student prospecting and enrollment management.

Pearson Releases Study on Demand-Driven Education - Joe Deegan & Nathan Martin, Pearson

Key points include: 1. develop and measure the specific skills that will be most in demand, especially interpersonal skills and complex thinking; 2. utilize dynamic and work-based pedagogy to grow learners’ competencies, while also preparing educators to embrace new forms of teaching and learning; 3. respond to the needs of the labor markets to ensure continuous alignment; 4. create flexible and adaptive pathways to allow learners to rapidly convert learning to earning; and 5. support changes that make the entire education landscape function better, enabling traditional and alternative providers to participate in creating the future of education alongside industry.

Bill Gates wants everyone to take this free online course because it explains origin and future of humans - Shweta Ganjoo, India Today

We all know that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is an avid reader. Over the years the business manganate has shared numerous book recommendations on his blog. The list of his recommended books include Walter Isaacson's Leonardo Da Vinci, Kate Bowler's Everything Happens For A Reason and Neal Stephenson's Sebeneves among others. And now Gates in his blog has listed another recommendation. But this time it's not a book but an online course. Gates, in a recent post on his blog, recommended an course online titled "Big History" by an Australian historian Christian David. Interestingly, unlike most online courses this one is absolutely free. "As the creator of Big History- my favorite course of all time- David is well-suited to write about how we came to be," he wrote in his blog praising the author.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

An Inside Look at Why Accreditation Works - Robert Ubell, Inside Higher Ed

Describing his service on a voluntary visiting team, Bob Ubell defends regional accreditation as a form of “deliberative democracy” and urges us not to hand it over to a federal education police force.  In response to a recent signal that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may be exploring alternatives to our present higher education accreditation practices, let’s take a look at what it’s like to be on the inside of a regional accrediting team.

Free MOOCs Face the Music - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

In its quest to find a sustainable business model, online course provider edX will test charging users for access to previously free content. Observers say the move was inevitable. Massive open online courses got a little less open with edX's recent announcement that it is introducing support fees for some of its MOOCs. Midway through an innocuous-looking blog post, Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX, said the nonprofit would be “moving away from our current model of offering virtually everything for free.” On May 3, edX began testing the introduction of a “modest support fee” that will “enable edX and partners to continue to invest in our global learning platform.” Adam Medrox, edX COO and president, said in an interview that the support fee was just one option being explored to ensure the long-term sustainability of the MOOC provider.

eLearning for Refugees: Three Programs Making a Difference - Cate Ethington, eLearning Inside

On June 20th, the United Nations will mark World Refugee Day. According to the United Nations, over 65 million people worldwide are now living as refugees. Millions of these refugees are children under 18 and many more are people in their late teens to mid-twenties who, under other conditions, would be enrolled in university. To address the growing need for flexible forms of education, eLearning continues to be brought to refugee camps around the world. As we prepare for World Refugee Day 2018, eLearning Inside News takes a look at just some of the organizations currently engaged in offering eLearning for refugees.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

​Affordable Learning Exchange works to increase access by reducing costly course material: Goal is to save OSU students $10 million by 2020 - Chris Booker, the Ohio State University

The Ohio State University is working to move textbooks off the shelves and online to make learning more affordable and accessible to students. An update on the university’s Affordable Learning Exchange program was presented to the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee at the June Board of Trustees session on Thursday. The program works with Ohio State faculty to find or develop high-quality, open and affordable alternatives to conventional, high-cost textbooks. “A focus has been placed on the cost of textbooks. We talk about the cost of tuition and fees. We talk about housing and dining. We talk about the other costs of school as well,” Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron said. “Sometimes it’s that last dollar that makes a difference if a student is successful or not.”

Here’s How Higher Education Dies - ADAM HARRIS, the Atlantic

Futurist Bryan Alexander says the industry may have nowhere to go but down. What does the slide look like? In the spring of 2013, there were 19,105,651 students enrolled in higher ed; this spring, there were 17,839,330, according to recently released data from the National Center for Education Statistics. That represents a roughly 7-percent decrease—and is driven largely by declining enrollments in the for-profit and community-college sectors, as well as stagnant enrollments among four-year non-profit public and private institutions. And the trend of declining enrollment in higher education is likely to continue, he argues, for a couple of reasons, but most notably, a declining birth rate means that there will be fewer 18-year-olds entering academe, and there are fewer international and immigrant students to fill those seats. Why is the dip in enrollment such a big deal? Well, quite plainly, the business model for a lot of colleges is dependent on enrollment.

More than 100 for-profit institutions closed during past year, according to federal data - Autumn A. Arnett, Educaton Dive

The number of for-profit and career colleges in the higher education landscape declined dramatically in the last four years, with the rate of decrease increasing from year to year, with more than 100 institutions closing between the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Education. Nonprofit public and private institutions, however, remained relatively stable, with 20 closing in each sector during the same period, according to reporting from Inside Higher Ed. It is perhaps the data around credentials awarded that is most damning for for-profits: From 2012-13 to 2016-17, the number of higher ed credentials conferred across the board rose by 1.2%, but the for-profits awarded 29.2% fewer credentials — 518,956 versus 367,529.

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.