Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Number of students, schools shrinks in higher ed - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

New data from the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics show losses in the higher education sector spurred on by a shrinking number of for-profit schools. The total number of federal aid-eligible institutions dropped 1.5% from 2012-13 to 2014-15, with for-profit institutions dropping 2.6% of their total, all degree-granting institutions. The number of students dropped across undergraduate and graduate institutions by 4.2%, with double-digit losses at two- and four-year for-profits, two-year private nonprofits, and fewer than two-year institutions overall.

Carnegie Mellon To Lead Internet of Things Expedition - Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Google has selected Carnegie Mellon University to lead a multi-university project to create new technology for the Internet of Things (IoT). The Internet of Things involves adding sensors and network connectivity to everyday objects so people and other devices can interact with them. Google funded the Open Web of Things expedition "to encourage universities to explore various aspects of system design that could help enable the Internet of Things," said Maggie Johnson, director of university relations for Google, in a prepared statement. Google will provide Carnegie Mellon with $500,000 to launch the expedition. As part of the project, researchers from Carnegie Mellon will collaborate with colleagues at Cornell, Stanford, University of Illinois, and Google to create GIoTTO, a new platform to support IoT applications.

This Is What Today's Online Learning Content Tells Us About The Future Of School - Jordan Shapiro, Forbes

Today’s children are extremely savvy. They’ve grown up in a world where information was always just a button away. Buttons? Soon, they won’t even need buttons. With Windows 10, they’ll simply say, “hey Cortana.” She’s more like the world’s greatest librarian than a personal assistant. She delivers content on command. In the future, after children have mastered reading, writing, and arithmetic, will more formal schooling still be necessary? Because of the unprecedented access we now have to information, some folks think that online self-directed learning will soon replace traditional education as we know it. They imagine that open, web-based solutions like Khan Academy, Lynda, EdX, and Coursera—perhaps paired with a system of certifications—can address most of society’s education needs. Professors, in a world where information is ubiquitous, could become more like curators than instructors.

How MOOCs helped University of Hong Kong apply e-learning tools on campus - Victor Wang, South China Morning Post

E-learning has taken off since HKU launched its first online course last year, with benefits for on-campus education too. A year after launching its first online course, the University of Hong Kong is not only rapidly expanding its virtual programmes, but also reaping unexpected results for its on-campus teaching in the process. HKUx, a subdivision of the international non-profit MOOC (massive open online course) provider Edx, opened registration for its first course in April 2014, following an invitation from Edx co-founders Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in 2013. HKUx has launched three more MOOCs in the past three months. During the time between the first MOOC, an introductory public health course titled Epidemics, and the latter three, there has been a dramatic shift in the university's approach to the online platform. Professors have realised the applicability of online teaching for their on-campus classes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Training Faculty for Mobile Learning - Toni Fuhrman, Campus Technology

At the University of Central Florida, instructional designers offer faculty ongoing mobile technology training courses. "It's all about planning, and thinking creatively," said Luke Bennett, instructional designer at the University of Central Florida's Center for Distributed Learning. Bennett and his team support about 2,000 faculty members by conducting research and developing online and training courses. Their current training course is called "Mobile Essentials." Mobile devices can expand learning beyond the classroom walls, Bennett explained. "This can happen both outside the classroom and in a traditional classroom space. The mobile device is the medium connecting the classroom experience to the real world of the student. The content learned in the classroom is connected to the outside world."

Developing a $10 Digital Textbook - Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Purdue University is reducing textbook costs with a digital publishing platform that can deliver interactive content to any device. Kyle Bowen, director of education technology at Penn State University and chief technology officer of Skyepack, led the team that developed the platform in his previous role as director of informatics at Purdue. According to Bowen, one of the main drivers of the project was the desire to reduce textbook costs for students. But the team was also driven by the idea that e-textbooks could be more than just a digital manifestation of a traditional textbook, and that technology could deliver instructional material that was non-linear and incorporated media beyond just static text and images — video, embedded course discussions, student feedback, question-and-answer functions and other interactive features.

Uncertainty, concern over future of tenure draw national attention to UW System - Nico Savidge, Wisconsin State Journal

Governor Walker touted the changes in his veto message, saying the 2015-17 budget “modernizes the concept of tenure” by having the UW System write protections into Regents policy, and “reforms shared governance” by giving chancellors greater authority. University officials can now lay off tenured faculty “when such an action is deemed necessary due to a budget or program decision requiring program discontinuance, curtailment, modification or redirection.” Previously, professors could only be laid off in a financial emergency or for serious misconduct. Critics of the budget also say the shared governance changes demote faculty, staff and students, putting them in a “subordinate” role in decision-making.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blackboard unveils LMS redesign - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Blackboard has announced the New Learning Experience at its annual user conference in Washington, D.C., and the new platform, focused on student user experience, unites all of its disparate tools and services in a single place. The platform is being billed as a simplification of Blackboard's existing products, able to follow students from K-12 through higher ed and perhaps even through their post-graduate job searches. With its announcement, the company made its first market offering aligned with the New Learning Experience, including integrated releases of Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate, and the Bb Student App.

Walker budget changes to higher education will undermine the UW System - NICHALOUS POGORELEC, Badger Herald

Gov. Scott Walker’s relationship with higher education has been bad from the get-go. One of his opponents’ main critiques is he dropped out of school at Marquette University and never received a degree. A peek into the language of Walker’s budget shows he’s adamant to maintain his poor relationship with higher education in the state. The 2015-17 biennial budget includes a $250 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System, eliminates current tenure laws and includes major reforms to shared governance. It may be Walker’s history with college education that explains his animosity for academia, but one thing is certain: these cuts will severely undermine Wisconsin’s world-class public university system.

State budget may threaten tenured university professors - WKBT

Wisconsin's new state budget could be putting the future of tenured professors at risk. Under the new budget tenured professors could be let go if the program they are part of is cut. In the past letting a tenured staff member go was only possible if the entire university was in financial trouble. While being tenured doesn't necessarily mean protecting the job of a professor it does protect how they teach their classes. “The controversy is in the fact that some people have said well maybe this would be used as a way to get around the protection of free speech and controversial ideas, I don't think that's what's going to happen, however we are going to see how things unfold case by case,” said UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow.

How online training increases employee engagement - Roz Bahrami, IT Business Canada

Engaged workers matter because they are the loyal ones who will go the extra mile, offer the innovative idea, and work with passion when needed to meet deadlines and keep a company going. Actively disengaged employees can harm a company, acting out their disgruntlement and unhappiness. Companies despair when they think that the price of engagement may be too high an investment for them to offer during tough and competitive times. But it doesn’t have to be. One highly effective way you can change the morale and engagement in your workplace is to offer training as part of your employee development activities. Even with a very small budget, you can offer online courses that send the message you believe and value to your employees as you want to tie your employees to you for the future.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Foreign students denied Canadian work permits because they took online courses - Toronto Star

Foreign graduates from Niagara College who have taken many of their courses online are faced with having to leave Canada early because they’ve been deemed ineligible for post-graduate work permits. With online courses becoming an increasingly mainstream part of higher education, their exclusion from the three-year work permit program for new graduates — meant to retain the talents of the best students coming to Canada — raises questions about how well immigration policy is adapting to evolving technologies. The students in the school’s general arts and sciences program had high hopes of earning Canadian work experience after their study visas expired, given that the school is listed on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s “designated learning institutions list” for the work permit program. “Immigration is not keeping pace with the changes of education,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Ravi Jain, who is representing more than 50 of the affected students.

Experimenting With Open Online Office Hours -Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

A primary reason that we are dipping our toes into open online learning at my institution is to create opportunities for experimentation. There is something that is liberating about free. What we earn from providing zero cost educational opportunities for lifelong learners is the right to try new things, to take some educational risks, and to learn as we go. An example of experimentation and learning that I’ve been watching at my institution is the use of Google Hangouts On Air for open online office hours.

How a policy for credit for prior learning can boost completion rates today - Todd Hitchcock and Mary Beth Lakin, eCampus News

Seventy-five percent of today’s students (mostly adult learners) are juggling some combination of family commitment, job, and education, while commuting to campus, according to Complete College America. Credit for Prior Learning has emerged as an effective pathway to help more learners today, with busy lifestyles, to achieve their higher education goals. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is a term educators use to describe learning that a student acquires outside of a traditional academic environment. This learning may have been attained through work experience, professional development courses, military training or experience, independent study, noncredit courses, volunteer or community service, travel, non-college courses, or seminars, many of which are offered online, such as MOOCs. For too many people today, time is the barrier to college completion.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

How a dashboard can improve the quality of teachers - Andrew Barbour, eCampus News

The University of North Carolina has developed a customizable dashboard to identify problems in how the state trains teachers for its public school system. Faced with an alarming decline in both the number and quality of teachers in the North Carolina public school system, the University of North Carolina has developed a data-driven dashboard to provide immediate visibility into what’s working—and what’s not—in the state’s teacher-preparation programs. Developed in partnership with SAS, the North Carolina-based software giant, the dashboard was a key recommendation of the UNC Board of Governors Subcommittee on Teacher and School Leader Quality.

How do you get tech-resistant teachers to embrace change? - Peter West, eSchool News

Many millions of dollars have been wasted over the years by the well-intentioned, but ad hoc, introduction of technology into education. Eager tech savvy teachers or administrators may jump in feet first, but a significant portion of their colleagues are left struggling along or resisting the change. The results of well-planned, long-term implementations, however, can produce momentum. When even reluctant adopters are given support, training, and time, positive changes can occur. Teachers are similar to other groups in society. They follow the “Diffusion of innovation” graph as proposed by Everett Rogers.

University of Chicago offers free online courses - Sarah Pan, Hyde Park Herald

This week, the University of Chicago (U. of C.) is releasing a free online law course. Anyone can go online and take Randal C. Picker’s seven-week course, self-paced and with no definite start and end date. Learn more about the important relationship between law and technology with the course: “Internet Giants: the Law and Economics of Media Platforms.” Topics include antitrust, copyright and network industries. Although there are no dates for the actual course, Picker and his staff offer a private community for U. of C. alumni; they can be in a separate session of the class, with discussions on the material and exclusive information.

Friday, July 24, 2015

For-Profit Universities: The Shrinking Sector - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

As enrollments tumble at for-profit colleges, the number of proprietary institutions is dwindling, too. Data released by the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics Thursday show that 3,436 for-profit colleges participated in federal financial aid programs in the just-ended academic year, down 2.6 percent, from 3,527 such institutions two years earlier, in the 2012-13 academic year. The number of public colleges dipped by just under 1 percent.

BBC Learning creates online financial personality test - Prolific North

BBC Learning has been working with The Open University and UCL to produce an online personality test, to work out people’s attitude towards money. The interactive iWonder test has been launched as BBC One airs Right on the Money: Live – a new consumer show based at MediaCityUK. “Our BBC iWonder content seeks to explore different perspectives on questions sparked by everyday life, through BBC programmes and current events, and money attitude is something that truly affects everyone. We hope this interactive test alongside Right On The Money: Live will start important conversations and provide practical ideas and advice for people to feel better able to take control of their money,” explained Sinead Rocks, head of BBC Learning.

Brave New World: Students can earn Univ. of Arizona - JULIANNE STANFORD, University of Arizona

Public university latest to join technology trend that continues to grow. Starting this fall, students can earn a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona – without leaving their house. The University of Arizona is set to launch an online undergraduate degree program – joining hundreds of campuses nationwide that already offer the same. More than 200 colleges and universities offer online bachelor’s degrees, according to a ranking by U.S. News and World Report, a trend that shows technology is changing the way in which higher education is facilitated. In fact, University of Arizona is one of the last in-state universities in Arizona to offer undergraduate degrees online.

Penn State offers class on teaching veterans - LORI FALCE, Centre Daily

“At Penn State, and especially with the World Campus, the military population is growing,” said Drew Tatusko, assistant director of faculty development for World Campus, the university’s online arm. The World Campus’s enrollment has the highest concentration of military students across all of Penn State’s locations, with 17.2 percent of the student body being service members. From deployment to training to sudden and unexpected relocation, there are often extenuating circumstances that require adjustments or allowances from instructors. Joan Smeltzer, a Penn State York math instructor, has seen the impact firsthand with her students. She had one who was being deployed, and while she was encouraging and trying to be helpful, he was also insistent that he expected no special treatment.