Friday, February 12, 2016

UC-Berkeley deals with backlash from secret monitoring - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

The University of California System is taking heat from faculty at UC Berkeley after a faculty member on the campus IT committee sent an email to his colleagues explaining the extent of a new computer network monitoring system. The Daily Bruin reports the new system was installed following an attack on UCLA Health in July 2015 and kept quiet until last week, secretly monitoring and possibly recording all traffic into and out of the campus network. While the university has said it is not reading faculty emails, privacy concerns have been raised, as well as concerns that the system acted without regard to proper shared governance procedures.

In Israel, War Is No Excuse for Not Doing Your Homework - Judy Maltz, Haartz

In a forecast published last week, the Israeli army addressed the probability of an all-out confrontation with Hamas or Hezbollah sometime soon. Its conclusions were not particularly heartening. But whether or not Israel finds itself embroiled in another large-scale military operation in the near future, the country’s educational system intends to be prepared. At schools throughout the country this week, students participated in online learning drills designed to keep them on track with their studies in the event of war or any other national crisis that might keep them homebound.

Pearson to leave the LMS market within 2-3 years - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Pearson has announced it will phase out support for its learning management system Learning Studio in the coming years, following a similar announcement last fall about OpenClass, which will leave the educational testing and services giant without an LMS in its portfolio. Inside Higher Ed reports Pearson believes it can create the greatest value for its customers by investing in course materials and other products that directly impact students and faculty, leaving the crowded LMS market behind.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gallup to give US News rankings more competition - Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Gallup announced Thursday it has developed a certification process for colleges based on their efforts to improve the “well-being” of students and faculty. The certification process could take up to three years and is akin to the process builders go through to get LEED certification for environmentally friendly designs, offering a more results-based evaluation of colleges than U.S. News has offered for more than 20 years.

Universities look to cybersecurity partnerships - Laura Devaney, eCampus News

Teaming up with industry cybersecurity providers, universities are hoping to produce more highly-skilled cybersecurity professionals. As the information technology industry grows, cybersecurity careers are projected to grow along with it–leading to an increased need for students to pursue cybersecurity at the higher-ed level. National defense leaders and experts at the fourth annual Cybersecurity Summit in October revealed that in 2014, cybersecurity crimes cost the U.S. more than $1 trillion in damage

6 influential technologies on the higher ed horizon - Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Annual Horizon Report details short-and long-term technologies, trends that will impact higher education in the next 5 years. The rise of robots is no longer science fiction; and any institution interested in remaining relevant in the next five years should start advancing “cultures of innovation.” These are just two of the revelations part of the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s (ELI) 2016 Higher Education Edition of the annual Horizon Report.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Discouraging Cheating in Online Tests - Megan Hamilton, MATC

In online courses, where a student completes a test off-campus without instructor supervision, online tests must be considered as open-book tests because students often have access to a wide variety of information resources. Furthermore, students with a mobile device would still be able to take pictures of the test questions as displayed on the computer monitor. Faculty concerned about cheating in online testing are encouraged to consider these countermeasures when creating their tests in Blackboard.

UI to departments: Get ready for more budget cuts - Julie Wurth, News Gazette

After absorbing budget cuts this year of $20 million or more, University of Illinois academic departments are drawing up plans for more cost-cutting in 2016-17. With no state budget in place halfway through the fiscal year, colleges and other academic units at the Urbana campus are now being asked to prepare three different fiscal scenarios for next year: cuts of 3 percent, 5 percent and 7 percent.

Report: Wearable Devices To Top $28 Billion in Sales in 2016 - Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

Wearable electronic device sales will increase 18.4 percent year over year to hit 274.6 million shipments in 2016, according to a new forecast from market research firm Gartner. Of the $28.7 billion the company predicts sales of the devices will generate in revenue, $11.5 billion will come from smartwatches alone. "From 2015 through 2017, smartwatch adoption will have 48 percent growth largely due to Apple popularizing wearables as a lifestyle trend.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Student Course Evaluations Are Biased Against Female Professors, Study Says - Marie Solis, identities.mic

After a semester of pop quizzes, all-nighters and 12-page research papers, college students have only one card to play against their professors: the course evaluation. While students may think they're dealing evenly, a new study shows most are harder on their female instructors. French economist Anne Boring led the study which resulted in two sets of results: one for French students and another for American students. According to NPR, male French students gave their male professors higher ratings overall after being randomly assigned male and female instructors across a range of different courses. In the study with American students, Boring and her colleagues built in an extra control: Students would never meet their professor. Instead, they took an online course in which they were only told their instructor's name. Half of the male professors who participated in the study were given female names.

Pricing Revolution: Texas Expands Its Affordable Bachelor's Degree Program - Tom Lindsay, Forbes

In his 2011 State of the State Address, then-Texas-Governor Rick Perry issued a bully-pulpit challenge to the Lone Star State’s public universities. He asked them to create bachelor’s degree programs that cost no more than $10,000 in tuition, fees, and books. He also asked that ten percent of Texas public university degrees awarded reach this price point. How would it be accomplished? Perry advised schools to reduce costs through offering some classes online as well as through awarding course credits based on competencies acquired outside the classroom, such as during military service and/or previous employment.

FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces Computer Science For All Initiative - the White House

President Obama is unveiling his plan to give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science (CS) in school. We’ve made real progress in education -- over the past seven years, 49 States and Washington, D.C. have raised expectations by adopting higher standards to prepare all students for success in college and careers.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Low Income, High Graduation Rate - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Two new studies suggest many colleges may be too quick to write off low-income students and community college transfers. Money and extra support change the equation, at least for some. College completion rates have stagnated, and lower-income students in particular face long odds of getting to graduation. Two new studies, however, show that low-income students can graduate at high rates when they receive financial and academic supports from external groups. The research looked at success rates for students who were participants in the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and, separately, in the Dell Scholars program. Graduation rates were substantially better for both groups than for their peers.

There’s a lot we’re not learning when we try to learn online - Amy X. Wang, Quartz

Online learning, in 2016, is no longer the cautious experiment it once was. Universities all over the world are warming up to the idea of internet-based degree programs, while free online education—popularly offered in the form of massive open online courses, or MOOCs—remains a booming area. There are obvious benefits: Online courses are accessible to anyone with a computer, (usually) cheaper than a brick-and-mortar education, and can be helpful to those who are in the middle of their careers or have other full-time commitments. But e-learning is still lacking in certain key areas. One of its drawbacks is a heavy skew toward certain subjects—a problem that results not from uneven offerings, but from a lopsided modern mindset about the role of education, and the inherent pitfalls of trying to learn from the internet in the first place.

Book Review: 'Your Online College Course Survival Guide' by Jacqueline Myers - the Examiner

In her eBook, Jacqueline Myers nails the top 10 success strategies for distance learning in a way that students can understand and implement immediately. As promised, the book is written for college students of all types by a legitimate online college educator. Students get the core strategies of successful online learning, all in one easy-to-read guide. To make implementation of the strategies even easier, action step checklists have been included at the end of each chapter.

Build More Collaboration into Your Online Class -Travis Grandy, Inside Higher Ed

As I build my course in preparation for this summer, one of the challenges I anticipate is how I can create similar kinds of active learning experiences for students without the benefit of in-person meetings. This started my thought process about ways to foreground collaboration in an online class. Today, my post will discuss some approaches to designing online activities that promote active learning and team-building skills. Although I'll focus on some example activities intended for an online class, they can also be adapted for blended classes as well. What follows are a few activities that I’ll be working to adapt for my online class. Hopefully they’ll give you some ideas too!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rutgers Online - RU Online Conference Recap

The Rutgers Online Conference #RUOnline attracted some 300 attendees from the region to discover and discuss new approaches and trends in online learning. Co-sponsored by UPCEA, the conference featured national speakers. A summary recap video for Rutgers Online Learning Conference Mid-Atlantic Region 2016 is now available online.

Fresh Perspectives on Alternative Credentials - Richard Garrett, Eduventures

Sticker price may be soaring but net price, what students actually pay, is more modest and stable. The wage premium that comes with a degree has never been higher, calming fears about student debt. Still, it’s hard to feel good about these three data points: Graduation Rates. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, the six-year undergraduate completion rate is a mere 55%—and it’s declining. Employability. In 2012, the OECD ran its first international survey of adult skills. Only 8-16% of U.S. adults achieved literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving proficiency at a level judged to be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, yet 34% had such a degree. Premium. Yes, the degree wage premium is higher than ever, 95% for those with a bachelor’s degree and 136% for those with a master’s degree when compared to high school graduates.

Move Your Labs Online - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

As more classes go online, schools need a workable approach for giving students access to high-demand software. Virtual desktops provide the answer. Virtualized desktops now provide an experience for students comparable to walking into that physical computer lab. But approaches differ. In IU's case, the technologists have integrated components developed internally and externally to create a virtual desktop solution with "zero logistical overhead," as David Goodrum, director of teaching and learning technologies, put it. Capella, on the other hand, has outsourced the work to a service provider that specializes in delivering virtual environments for just about any purpose.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

4 paths to gain buy-in for analytics projects - Georgia Mariani, eCampus News

Higher education analytics leaders speak out on building support. Have you ever had a great idea for an analytics project only to see it end up in approval purgatory? Or maybe you’ve had some initial successes with analytics and you’re ready to expand a program, but are struggling with new funding? I talked to four analytics leaders in higher education to get their advice on how to gain buy-in for analytics projects.

Can students' online posts guide instructor intervention? - Laura Devaney, eCampusNews

A partnership between two universities seeks to predict where students will struggle academically to help better inform instructor strategies. A method of analyzing what students post in academic forums, and using those posts to help instructors identify where students are struggling most with reading materials, could help improve learning and instruction. Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and MIT are using a new method to analyze students’ online academic forum posts to predict questions so teachers can intervene.