Saturday, June 24, 2017

Going cross-curricular helps students develop solutions to real-world problems - Linda Jacobson, Education Dive

Throughout rural Southern India, agricultural development is getting a boost from a line of irrigation and sprinkler products that was first developed far away in Minnesota. Called MyRain, the company was launched in 2012 by a business graduate and engineering graduate at the University of Minnesota (UMN) who were each participating in a social entrepreneurship program. Part of UMN’s Institute on the Environment (IonE), the program, Acara, demonstrates how faculty members and students from different disciplines are working together to find solutions to the world’s problems. “Real-world problems never sit in a discipline,” says Jessica Hellmann, the director of IonE, adding that the traditional university model of being organized into colleges and schools is a “great way of getting a basic education, but [they] are crappy at problem solving.”

Apple Just Unveiled A Breakthrough Artificial Intelligence System - Futurism

Siri intelligence will automatically display information that is relevant to you on the face of the watch using advanced machine learning technologies that improve and “learn” over time. Ultimately, this means that the more you interact with the watch, the smarter it gets. The Mac will be called “High Sierra,” and he outlined that Safari will rank in as the world’s fastest desktop browser with High Sierra. Safari will also be able to block all autoplays on videos, and it will have “intelligent tracking prevention,” which is machine learning tech that allows it to identify trackers and, thus, protect your privacy. Just 7 inches tall, the HomePod is the first major Apple hardware product that has been unveiled since the Apple Watch.

3D printer capabilities form the future of higher ed - Brian Nadel, University Business

3D printing may be new to many higher education administrators, but for students it’s already old hat, as they were likely introduced to it in middle or high school. “3D Printing has changed dramatically over the past couple of years,” says Jesse Roitenberg, national education manager at Stratasys, a provider and consultant for 3D printers. “There are more low-cost options, which has led to elementary and middle schools purchasing, which has led to the high schools, colleges and universities having to step up their game.” Technology consultant Terry Wohlers estimates the industry saw over $6 billion in sales in 2016 and is growing at 17 percent a year. Colorado-based Wohler Associates, his marketing and analysis firm, tracks 113 higher ed programs that offer 3D printing.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Connecting students to the institution through mentors boosts success - Pat Donachie, Education Dive

Western Governors University saw a 10% increase in graduation rates in just two years, while George Mason University saw a 15% jump after both universities zeroed in on the idea of connecting students with mentors, according to eCampus News. Western Governors University, an online institution, used Salesforce’s Communities tech to offer students and mentors the means to establish and maintain connections, allowing the free flow of advice and student access to additional content, videos and FAQs. George Mason University lets students sign up for counseling appointments and name a subject of discussion, which allows staff to be better prepared for the appointment, and educators used software to track students who needed assistance because they were academically at-risk.

Centralia College Instructors Develop App to Help Students Succeed - The Chronicle

Two Centralia College instructors have created a cellphone app that gives students a visual representation of their skills, allows them to see exactly how they’re doing in a class and informs them what they need to work on to improve their grades. Alisha Williams, an English instructor, and Gordon Gul, a computer science instructor, recently won the 2017 Connie Broughton Leadership and Innovation in eLearning Award from the Washington State eLearning Council for their app, according to a press release from the college. “We wanted to help students focus more on achieving the course outcomes, so we decided to link the things they are learning to the grades they are earning,” Gul said. “We needed a way to show students the correlation between their skills performance and their score on an assignment or quiz.” This resulted in an interactive app called Grade Outcomes Assessment Learning Strategy, or GOALS, that uses the Canvas online learning platform to access course information to create a color-coded, interactive chart.

Steve Hargadon Wants Tech — and Individuals — to Revolutionize Education - Richard Chang, Campus Technology

The Learning Revolution is an attempt to bridge the conversations on learning. I’m surprised at how we lost the ability to have those deep conversations. The whole concept of shifting from command and control to agency. Going from a read/write medium to user-produced content. We take those things for granted now. We’re not under the control of books by monolithic organizations. There’s the ability for individuals to contribute, and re-shape at a grassroots level. Social media plays a part in that. [Teachers] could get their professional development from other teachers. They have access to other teachers all over the country and the world. The free flow of information on the web — the ability to take control of their own learning. Khan Academy is a good example.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Udacity offers photographers the chance to be Virtual Reality pioneers - British Journal of Photography

Virtual Reality is predicted to be worth £108bn by 2021. To a large extent, the emergent technology is rooted in basic photography skills. Udacity’s six-month long VR nanodegree offers students a certified qualification that, according to the company, is more rigorous and recognised for its practical usefulness than many other VR qualifications but without being as intensive and time-consuming as a full-time university degree. “People want to develop specific skills that allow them to land a job or start a company. Udacity teaches those skills in a highly focused manner and helps filter students directly into a great job at top-tier companies,” says Matt Sonic, the lead instructor on Udacity’s Virtual Reality nanodegree. “It’s like a university, but built by industry.”

Penn State aims to create research opportunities for online students - Penn State

In an effort to create more research opportunities for Penn State World Campus students, Penn State is offering a new professional development course to encourage faculty to work with online students. The course, “Conducting Research with Your Online Students,” which starts June 11, was offered for the first time this spring. “The aim of the course is to give faculty the confidence that they can translate their face-to-face research into an online environment,” said Brian Redmond, the lead faculty member for organizational leadership at Penn State World Campus who helped create the course. Redmond said the ultimate goal is to create publishable research opportunities for students and faculty. “We want to translate Penn State’s reputation for research into the online world,” he said.

The best online learning gets personal - JOHN PEMBROKE, CUES

Last month, a group of people got together to learn. The presenter shared her expertise about the topic. The participants broke out into small groups to tackle learning exercises. The speaker visited each breakout group to facilitate discussion. Attendees gave the session high marks, noting comments like “great speaker” and “the class and resources were very user friendly and easy to follow.” Many said they’d recommend the program to a friend. It all sounds familiar, right? But here’s the twist: All of this learning was hosted online. The session was “Women in Leadership: Finding Your Voice,” offered through CUES Elite Access™: Virtual Classroom. And it was quite different from what many of us think of as online learning—very unlike the “click for more graphics and text” courses or the webinars of the past.

MOOCs Moving On, Moving Up - Cathy Sandeen, Inside Higher Ed

With some exceptions noted, MOOCs are mainly a technology business, focused on providing a return on investment (even for nonprofits like edX) by targeting the large nondegree professional development and technology training market. Though the MOOC experiment over the past five years has resulted in many positives, this era also reminds us that when it comes to degree attainment, there really is no magic bullet. The hard, in-the-trenches work of helping the students of today get and remain focused, learn, and stick it out to degree completion remains the province of mainstream higher education -- MOOCs or no MOOCs.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Students’ Rising Expectations Pose Challenge to Online Programs - Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Ed

A new survey of students’ attitudes toward online education highlights their rising expectations of colleges in a market that is growing increasingly competitive. The students expect fast answers to their questions about financial aid and whether their credits will transfer; they expect to search for courses on their mobile devices and the chance to take the courses themselves on those devices too; and they expect access to colleges’ career-assistance services.

One Size Does Not Fit All - Wayne D’Orio, Inside Higher Ed

With residential enrollments down and online student enrollments up, many private nonprofit and public colleges and universities are expanding their distance education courses and programs. Still, even though online classes have existed for 20-plus years, administrators, faculty members and staff are frequently tripped up by what seems like a basic question: How many students should be in an online class? Examining how both experienced institutions and newcomers to online learning set class sizes shows this task is much more art than science. “The big question we all want to solve in terms of course size is: How do we increase capacity and access without diminishing academics,” said Luke Dowden, the director of the office of distance learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which went from offering 13 online courses in 2010 to 191 in 2017.

3 Costs Online Education Saves Students - Darwin Green, US News

When I went back to college as a bill-paying, responsible and supportive member of a family, I became aware of financial considerations I hadn't paid much attention to as a teenager. I knew enrolling in an online bachelor's program would require me to pay different fees than a traditional college would, but I couldn't attend school on a physical campus given my status as a stay-at-home father. When comparing the costs of my different options, I realized I could avoid unnecessary costs by applying to an online college. Here are some costs that traditional students often must pay but that can be avoided by pursuing an online degree. Pursuing a degree online eliminates room and board fees and money spent commuting to campus.

What next for blockchain? - McKinsey&Company

Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger. It allows for the permanent and immutable transparent recording of data, essentially, and transactions specifically. That can be used to exchange any number of things that have value, whether that’s an actual item [or something else]. It could be tea leaves making their way to the final tea maker. Or it could be me sending you a payment person to person without the need for intermediaries. I think of Bitcoin as being the entry point to a digital future where everything of value can and likely will be exchanged in digital format. Central banks will look to the Bitcoin experience to build central-bank-backed digital assets.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What’s now and next in analytics, AI, and automation - McKinsey Global Institute Executive Briefing

Innovations in digitization, analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation are creating performance and productivity opportunities for business and the economy, even as they reshape employment and the future of work. Rapid technological advances in digitization and data and analytics have been reshaping the business landscape, supercharging performance, and enabling the emergence of new business innovations and new forms of competition. At the same time, the technology itself continues to evolve, bringing new waves of advances in robotics, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), and especially machine learning. Together they amount to a step change in technical capabilities that could have profound implications for business, for the economy, and more broadly, for society.

Experts Say AI Has a 50% Chance of Beating All Human Intelligence Within 45 Years - Karla Lant, Futurism

Researcher Katja Grace at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and a team surveyed 1,634 of the leading artificial intelligence researchers. 352 of the experts responded, and the team then calculated median responses. The experts predicted that within the next decade, AI will outperform humans in tasks like driving trucks (by 2027), translating languages (by 2024), and writing high school essays (by 2026). The consensus was that other tasks such as writing a bestseller (2049) or carrying out surgeries (2053) wouldn’t be quite so imminent. Interestingly, the experts (who answered in 2015) predicted that AI would not surpass humans at Go until 2027 — yet that’s already happened.

What are augmented reality apps, and how can they be used for marketing? - Rebecca Sentance, ClickZ

Over the past couple of years, augmented reality has emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the hottest topics in marketing. Historically, it has always been mentioned in the same breath as virtual reality (the two are usually referred to collectively as “AR and VR”), but next to virtual reality’s almost mystical potential, it was sort of the awkward cousin that no-one quite knew what to do with. But while VR is still finding its footing in the consumer market, AR has been launched into the limelight. With the viral success of Pok√©mon Go in 2016, everyone was suddenly talking about the possibilities of AR; and it now looks like it might be the next big trend in social media, with first Facebook and now Instagram showcasing innovative new uses of AR.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How Blockchains Can Transform Colleges in a Networked World - Richard DeMillo, Evolllution

With rising third-party costs for colleges and universities as well as students’ “less traditional” educational trajectories (jumping between traditional university coursework, online and employer certifications, and other new alternatives to the “course unit”), it seems that the American system of transcripts is due for a digital overhaul. That’s where blockchains come in. Blockchain technology borrows from the infrastructure that was invented to enable cryptocurrencies like BitCoin™ to function independent of central authorities. What if universities ditched the traditional, musty transcript in favor of a single, secure, global, distributed “registrar” to record all educational achievements? Utilizing blockchain technology, it is now possible to create a decentralized transcript.

Does your campus have a strong video culture? Here’s why it should - ROB LIPPS, eCampus News

A recent study from Wainhouse Research revealed the ability to capture lectures as video for student access is a key success factor in increased retention and graduation. From lecture capture to flipped classrooms to streaming education, video technology is a key driver of advancements in higher education. But what drives the successful use of video on campus? How do you facilitate a campus-wide shift to leveraging video strategically? More importantly, how do you instill a strong video culture on your campus?

5 ways to use predictive analytics in an ethical manner - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

Institutions are increasingly turning to predictive analytics to help determine if students will enroll, and if so, whether or not they’ll need support to stay on track for graduation. But this data use begs the question–are decision-makers using the data ethically? The pressure to recruit and retain students grows daily in higher education, where institutions strive to ensure students earn diplomas. Predictive analytics–analyzing past student data to predict various things about current and prospective students–can help institutions meed enrollment and financial goals, according to a new policy paper from New America. Because without ethical practices, the use of student data could end up hurting students’ academic progress instead of helping it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Higher ed stepping in to fill cybersecurity gaps - Pat Donachie, Education Dive

In recent weeks, a pervasive ransomware attack affected systems throughout the world, causing chaos in National Health System hospitals in Great Britain and continuing to cripple hundreds of thousands of computers. The increase in cyberattacks has led to an increase in demand for qualified cybersecurity employees in government and private industry. Colleges and universities throughout the country are responding by offering degrees, certificates and tutorials in the burgeoning field. Texas A&M University at College Station recently instituted a minor degree program, while other institutions continue to find increased support and interest in cybersecurity degrees.