Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Distance Learning Conspiracy - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

The truth is finally out. Distance learning is a plot. Don’t believe it? Read the excellent WCET Distance Education Price and Cost Report. The key in decoding the meaning of this report is to think about the meaning of its findings beyond online learning. Ask yourself - what does distance education mean for residential education? The answer - and the conspiracy that I’ve been a part of for going on two decades - is that distance learning is actually plot to smuggle instructional designer and learning science into higher education.

Elite colleges bet big on micro-degree programs - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Several colleges and universities are now offering micro degree programs in the hopes of attracting professionals interested in career development while selling full graduate degree programs in the process, NPR reported yesterday. MIT, Columbia University and the University of Michigan are just a few of the high research institutions attracting students through these online programs, which offer advanced credentialing in engineering, business and computer science for a fraction of tuition costs that can exceed $60,000 a year for full degrees. The programs, which have the same rigorous admission standards as traditional offerings, can present a challenge to some students who enroll without prior experience in the disciplines.

These Top Schools Are Offering Big Savings On Master's Degrees, But There's A Catch - KIRK CARAPEZZA, NPR

There's an experiment underway at a few top universities around the world to make some master's degrees out there more affordable. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, says the class of 2018 can get a master's degree in supply chain management with tens of thousands in savings. The university's normal price runs upwards of $67,000 for the current academic year. But it's not as simple as sending in a coupon with your tuition bill. There are big hurdles for students, and clear benefits for the universities.

A Guide to Picking a Learning Management System: The Right Questions to Ask - Mary Jo Madda, EdSurge

As University of Central Florida’s Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning, Tom Cavanagh, wrote in an article for EDUCAUSE, “every institute has a unique set of instructional and infrastructure circumstances to consider when deciding on an LMS,” but at the same time, “all institutions face certain common requirements”—whether a small charter school, a private university or a large public school district. Thus, garnered from conversations with both K-12 and higher education administrators, the following checklist provides a starting point for any educator interested in prepping for the inevitable task of choosing an LMS for the 2017-2018 school year. (And for some additional help, each educator has offered rationales for why those checklist items should be included.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ransomware: Should you pay up? - Stephanie Condon, ZD Net

The use of ransomware has spiked in recent years: Roughly A high percentage of spam emails in 2016 contained ransomware, according to a recent IBM Security study. Part of the reason is simply that it works: Nearly 70 percent of business victims surveyed by IBM said they paid hackers to recover data. The incentives of hackers are straightforward -- they're looking for a big payday -- but it's less clear whether their victims should cooperate. "It's very simple in my mind," said Michael Duff, the CISO for Stanford University, on a ransomware panel at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Monday. "If you're not able to reconstitute a system in the timeframe you need, and you need it up and running, pay the ransom." Neil Jenkins, of the Homeland Security Department's Enterprise Performance Management Office (EPMO), said that, "From the US government perspective, we definitely discourage the payment of ransom.""From a national perspective... paying ransom encourages the business model," he said. "The reason this has become such a popular thing to do is they're actually making money off of this."

Infected Vending Machines And Light Bulbs DDoS A University - Lee Mathews, Forbes

IoT devices have become a favorite weapon of cybercriminals. Their generally substandard security -- and the sheer numbers of connected devices -- make them an enticing target. We've seen what a massive IoT botnet is capable of doing, but even a relatively small one can cause a significant amount of trouble. Infected Vending Machines And LightA few thousand infected IoT devices can cut a university off from the Internet, according to an incident that the Verizon RISK (Research, Investigations, Solutions and Knowledge) team was asked to assist with. All the attacker had to do was re-program the devices so they would periodically try to connect to seafood-related websites. By training around 5,000 devices to send DNS queries simultaneously (for those who aren't familiar, DNS is what allows your computer to turn a name like into an IP address that it can connect to). In this particular case, those devices included everything from drink vending machines to street lamps.

Coursera’s New Strategy Takes Inspiration From Netflix—and LinkedIn - Jeffrey R. Young & Sydney Johnson, EdSurge

Coursera is quietly testing elements of a new strategy, with the goal of moving from a platform for courses to a broader career-building service. It’s part of a continued evolution of MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. Two Stanford University professors founded Coursera about five years ago, amid a wave of hype that free online courses could one day replace residential undergraduate colleges. That never happened, and since then companies like Coursera have been trying to find their niche—and a sustainable business model.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What educators can learn about effective teaching from a Harvard prof - ALAN NOVEMBER, Campus Technology

Harvard professor David Malan has managed to pull off a neat trick: His Computer Science 50 course is the most popular course at both Harvard and Yale. By examining his success, we can learn some important lessons about effective teaching. CS50 assumes no prior knowledge or skill in computer programming, yet it’s extremely demanding. Despite its rigor, CS50 regularly attracts thousands of students each year. While some aspire to become software engineers, others enroll just to experience the course. Why is Professor Malan’s course so popular, even with students who don’t plan a career in computer science—and even though it requires a lot of work? Here are three keys to Malan’s effective teaching that I think all schools everywhere should apply, from K-12 schools to colleges and universities.

7 Tips for Listing MOOCs on Your Résumé - David Weldon, Campus Technology

Georgia Tech first began offering MOOCs in 2011 and has since increased its investment in the program. Last year the school put its most difficult degree program — the master's degree in information technology — online, at a cost to the student of $6,700. In order to be accepted into the MOOC program, a student had to meet the full criteria of being a Georgia Tech student. And the institution worked hard to make sure that online students would receive an education that is on par with their campus counterparts. So, once students have gone through such a high-quality program, how do they use their MOOC experience to best advantage? Sham Mustafa, CEO and founder of Correlation One, has some thoughts. His company provides matchmaking services, focused on connecting employers with highly skilled data scientists. Those data scientists are heavily represented in the first waves of MOOC students.

Online Learning Technologies to Boost the Global Medical Education Market Through 2021 - Technavio, Business Wire

Global medical education market to grow at a CAGR of close to 17% during the period 2017-2021. Medical professionals are increasingly imparting education through online methodologies, largely replacing traditional physical classrooms. Universities and healthcare organizations are providing online medical education courses. Online methods such as flipped classrooms and blended learning offer myriad benefits to both students and teachers. These benefits vary from access features to course materials, online assessment facilities. It also has varied synchronous as well as asynchronous communication means such as webcasts and video conferencing. “Online learning technologies are becoming largely popular in emerging nations such as Kenya and China wherein most students do not have access to qualified teachers,” says Jhansi.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Synthesis and Reactions to the 2017 NMC Horizon Report - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Trying to convince non-edtech academics to read and engage with this report. You don’t have time to read a 56 page report. Almost nothing that I could say could convince you to download, print, and devote a solid hour to the 2017 NMC Horizon Report. But maybe I can convince you to read the Executive Summary (2 pages, including graphics). This will take 5 minutes tops. Maybe less. I don’t need to persuade my edtech tribe about the merits of the Horizon Report. We love this stuff. A 56 page mirror on our thinking is too short. The Horizon Report is assembled from feedback from "78 education and technology experts” using a "modified Delphi process”. My goal is to that all of you edtech skeptics should put eyes to the NMC Report. You just might be surprised. [the report can be downloaded here:]

Reprogramming the Digital Workforce With Online Education - Insights, Samsung Government

Today’s workforce faces a greater range of threats to their livelihoods than ever before. Many jobs will come under threat in the next decade from trends such as globalization, automation and robotics. However, the growing digital workforce doesn’t necessarily mean the end for today’s workers. With the abundance of education and training classes now available online, employees can stay ahead of the game and safeguard their futures by developing new skills and talents, making them indispensable to their employers. Education has long been seen as something which you do at the start of your career, jamming as much training as possible into the early part of your life, before moving into the world of work. However, with today’s digital workforce and the trend of continuing education gaining pace, employees — and employers — are beginning to see the benefits of upgrading skills while on the job.

B9lab Offers Blockchain Online Course for CTOs - Chain-Finance

B9lab has announced the launch of its online course for CTOs, covering blockchain technology and decentralised infrastructure. Elias Haase, co-founder of B9lab, said: “Blockchain has the potential to change the way companies, customers and authorities interact in many industries. Companies, and especially CTOs, need to understand the nature of the technology to understand and plan for the potential impact on their business.” It covers the protocols Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger among several others. Beyond the technological landscape the material also goes into change management and future trends, both socially and technologically. The certificates are verified through the Ethereum Network, showcasing one of the current successful uses of the technology. The certificates have been integrated into LinkedIn and anyone can click through to see the unique B9lab verification and certification.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

4 Reasons Online Learning Works Well for Working Adults - Marian Stoltz-Loike, US News

Online education is transforming the way students learn. One 2016 survey found that online undergraduate students are an average of 29 years old and online graduate students are an average of 33, reflecting both the popularity and effectiveness of online programs to help adults meet educational and career goals. Online education is well-suited to older students often balancing education with work, family and other obligations.

Disability compliance may emerge as key issue for higher ed - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Federal officials have completed amending a section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which could create new standards of compliance for colleges and universities in their website and IT management duties. The updates include new standards for access of telecommunications equipment, operating systems, screen and sound magnification and access points for websites. The new rules are scheduled to take effect in January 2018, but some observers question if the new administration will be active in forcing timely compliance.

Will You Graduate? Ask Big Data - JOSEPH B. TREASTERFEB, NY Times

At Georgia State’s nursing school, the faculty used to believe that students who got a poor grade in “Conceptual Foundations of Nursing” probably wouldn’t go on to graduation. So they were surprised, after an analysis of student records stretching back a decade, to discover what really made a difference for nursing students: their performance in introductory math. “You could get a C or an A in that first nursing class and still be successful,” said Timothy M. Renick, the vice provost. “But if you got a low grade in your math courses, by the time you were in your junior and senior years, you were doing very poorly.” The analysis showed that fewer than 10 percent of nursing students with a C in math graduated, compared with about 80 percent of students with at least a B+. Algebra and statistics, it seems, were providing an essential foundation for later classes in biology, microbiology, physiology and pharmacology.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Harvard rolls out adaptive tech for MOOC offerings - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Harvard University has announced a partnership with TutorGen to pilot adaptive technology in its Super Earth astrology and biology hybrid MOOC curriculum, an advancement the school says could re-imagine how online education is delivered and assessed. The technology uses algorithms to measure student response and interactivity with homework assignments, and based upon this response, produces reports on learner comfort and capacity to master content while customizing the order in which certain problems or equations are presented. Students who learned within the experimental adaptive model had higher gains than students who learned through traditional models of course delivery.

How to Build a Production Studio for Online Courses - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

At the College of Business at the University of Illinois, video operations don't come in one size. Here's how the institution is handling studio setup for MOOCs, online courses, guest speakers and more. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Business's video production studio (photo courtesy of UIUC) When the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign began running massive open online courses through Coursera, the institution quickly realized that the real power of those free courses was to introduce a world of prospective students to its campus programs — including the iMBA, its new online master's degree in business. The Digital Media team within the College of Business has played an important role in helping the college's production capabilities grow in quality and quantity. Now that team faces what may be its biggest challenge ever: accommodating up to 3,000 students in any particular online course.

UW class on how to spot fake data goes viral within hours - Katherine Long, Seattle Times

Two University of Washington professors are taking aim at BS in a provocatively named new course they hope to teach this spring. The professors would like to push the course materials online — teaching it as a MOOC, for example, a freely available course taught over the web. When it came to picking a title for the course they will teach this spring, University of Washington professors Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West decided to abandon academic stodginess and get edgy. Their new course title? “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.” Bergstrom and West figured using a minor profanity was a surefire way to draw attention to the course. And sure enough — within hours of unveiling a wickedly funny webpage they created for the proposed class, and announcing it via Twitter, the BS course went viral. The webpage went live at midnight, and “we woke up the next morning and it was over the whole planet,” West said.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Online Education Costs More, Not Less - Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

The survey, conducted by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), found that most colleges charge students the same or more to study online. The higher prices -- what students pay -- are connected to higher production costs, the survey found. Researchers asked respondents to think about 21 components of an online course, such as faculty development, instructional design and student assessment, and how the cost of those components compares to a similar face-to-face course. Virtually every administrator surveyed said online courses are more expensive to produce. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, according to Russell Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut, the authors of the study. Producing an online course means licensing software, engaging instructional designers, training faculty members and offering around-the-clock student support, among other added costs, they point out in the report.

6 Ways to Sample an Online Degree Program - Jordan Friedman, US News

For prospective online students, sampling an online degree program is key to determine whether the format is right for them and choose a program based on structure and flexibility, many experts say. These opportunities are often available on a program's website or by contacting an admissions or enrollment counselor. "I think sometimes, perceptions of students don't necessarily align with the actual reality of what a program is," says Vickie Cook, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois—Springfield. Online learning requires self-motivation and the ability to communicate with peers and instructors from a distance, experts say. And each program is created differently. Here are six ways prospective online students might sample online degree programs, depending on what's available at different schools.