Monday, February 18, 2019

Report from Learning House and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Reveals Training and Development of Faculty Teaching Online Is Inconsistent - AASCU / LearningHouse

“Today, online and hybrid courses comprise 38 percent of the courses offered at AASCU institutions, and despite an overall decline in higher education enrollment, the number of online students continues to increase,” said Dr. George Mehaffy, Vice President for Academic Leadership and Change of AASCU. “To meet this demand, institutions are rapidly developing and deploying online courses, but the level of faculty support varies widely, ultimately impacting the quality of both the faculty and student experience.” This report explores the overall landscape of online learning and is focused on five key findings.

Making it easier to discover datasets - Google releases Google Dataset Search Engine! - Natasha Noy, Google Blog

In today's world, scientists in many disciplines and a growing number of journalists live and breathe data. There are many thousands of data repositories on the web, providing access to millions of datasets; and local and national governments around the world publish their data as well. To enable easy access to this data, we launched Dataset Search, so that scientists, data journalists, data geeks, or anyone else can find the data required for their work and their stories, or simply to satisfy their intellectual curiosity.

The AI research agenda for the next 20 years is being made now - KHARI JOHNSON, Venture Beat

  • Integration of key AI systems
  • Better understanding of human intelligence and emotion
  • Training robots to learn by example 
  • How people interact with AI systems 
Recommendations are still being gathered and refined but include:

  •  An open national AI platform 
  • Broaden AI education in high schools and colleges 
  • Create contextually intelligent AI that act as a lifelong assistant

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Colleges vary widely in reliance on state support, report says - James Paterson, Education Dive

Although state aid to higher education increased for most states in fiscal year 2019, public universities vary widely in their dependence on state funding and thus their ability to respond to future cuts, a recent Moody's Investors Service analyst report suggested. Three states — Hawaii, Arkansas and Illinois — rely on state support for more than 40% of their public higher ed funds. Meanwhile, Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania round out the bottom, with less than 10% of their funds coming from the state. The Moody's report suggests concerns around state funding will remain a "high-profile policy issue" for many states. While an improving economy might make state legislators more generous toward higher ed funding, an economic downturn could weaken support.

Did A Robot Write This? How AI Is Impacting Journalism - Nicole Martin, Forbes

How do you know I am really a human writing this article and not a robot? Several major publications are picking up machine learning tools for content. So, what does artificial intelligence mean for the future of journalists? According to Matt Carlson, author of “The Robotic Reporter”, the algorithm converts data into narrative news text in real-time. Many of these being financially focused news stories since the data is calculated and released frequently. Which is why should be no surprise that Bloomberg news is one of the first adoptors of this automated content. Their program, Cyborg, churned out thousands of articles last year that took financial reports and turned them into news stories like a business reporter.  [ed note:  How will this apply to students writing research papers?]

Don't Fear AI: 16 Ways To 'Future-Proof' Yourself As A Professional - Forbes Coaches Council

Many companies are leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning today, and the impact of these technologies is only expected to increase. While this is great for businesses looking to improve their performance, many employees worry that robots will take over their jobs within the next few years. While AI may certainly change certain types of jobs, they will never fully replace human workers—you just need to know how to maintain and sell your skills. Forbes Coaches Council members shared tips for “future proofing” yourself for an AI-driven working world.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Could Congress Pass a New Higher-Education Law Before 2020? - Eric Kelderman, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican of Tennessee, confirmed on Monday that he hopes to get the Higher Education Act reauthorized within the next year. Doing so could cement his legacy as a bipartisan dealmaker as chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Speaking in a panel discussion at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, and later on the floor of the Senate, the former college president and U.S. secretary of education laid out three broad strokes of a proposed bill. At the top of Alexander's list is his long-term goal of simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by paring the number of questions a student must answer from 108 to 25 or fewer.

Report: Colleges must offer digital credentials to stay relevant - Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive

Colleges that offer online programs should grow their digital credential options in order to stay competitive, according to a new report from the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). Credentials are an increasingly popular option for learners, prompting traditional colleges and alternative education providers to increase their offerings to claim a stake in the growing market. Colleges that don't follow suit could lose out to "nontraditional and tech-savvy organizations" that are dipping into "universities' traditional spheres of influence," ICDE warns. Traditional transcripts don't adequately convey a student’s skills, whereas credentials indicate if an applicant has the required competencies for a job, the working group argues. Credentials will eventually make transcripts irrelevant, they predict, and better align learning outcomes with workplace needs.

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab and Chegg Partner to Make World-Class Writing Education Tools More Accessible -Purdue University

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) and Chegg, Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), today announced an exclusive agreement to integrate Chegg’s Writing tools with Purdue University’s OWL content to support students on-demand whenever and wherever they need it. This partnership furthers both groups’ shared goal to help students worldwide become better writers. “This underscores the huge opportunity for traditional education institutions and technology innovators to work together to harness the power of subject matter expertise, premium content, intelligent software and the 24/7 access the internet provides,” said Nathan Schultz, President, Learning Services at Chegg.

Friday, February 15, 2019

If taught well, online law school courses can pass the test, experts say

BY STEPHANIE FRANCIS WARD, ABA Journal The skills for teaching online law school courses are not unlike those needed for the practice of law. Both require concise writing, well-organized outlines and the ability to speak without appearing that you’re reading from a script, says Ellen Murphy, assistant dean of instructional technologies and design at Wake Forest University School of Law. And despite the stereotypes about online offerings being low-quality, Murphy says that when the courses are done well, students and professors may have a better connection than they would with in-person classes. With online learning, she adds, “you can’t hide in the back row.”

Are three-year degree programs the answer? - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

A three-year bachelor’s degree may help students dodge some of the increasingly burdensome debt associated with higher education–that is, if the programs can get off the ground. At least 32 institutions offer programs that help students graduate in three years, and more colleges and universities are expected to follow suit. Many of these three-year degree programs have existed for more than 10 years, notes Paul Weinstein Jr., a senior fellow of the Progressive Policy Institute and director of the Graduate Program in Public Management at Johns Hopkins University, in a report detailing the trend toward three-year bachelor’s degrees. “American college students are facing a triple whammy–out-of-control college costs, record levels of student debt, and declining real earnings for college graduates,” Weinstein contends in the report, yet lawmakers haven’t taken any real action to remedy the issue.

Ironwood, The Last Open edX Version, To Be Released This February - IBL News

Big news for Open edX’s developers: Ironwood, the 2019 version of this learning platform, will be released on February. The first release candidate, Ironwood.1rc1, was just made available this week. “Our goal is to release Ironwood in two weeks. In order to do that, I need to hear back from you about how testing is going,” Ned Batchelder, Software Architect at edX announced on Google Groups.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Lifelong Learning For The 100-Year Life - Jeffrey S. Russell, Evolllution

In this new world, described in The 100-Year Lifeby Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, most of us won’t have the luxury of sticking with what we learned in college during our teens and 20s. Most of us won’t be able to stop working in our 50s, either, as my father and grandfather did. With careers lasting longer, people will have to continually update their knowledge and learn new skills. After reading The 100-Year Life—recommended to me by Vice Provost Rovy Branon of University of Washington Educational Outreach—I realized that the implications for higher education are profound. To accommodate longer lives, we’ll need to develop academic programs that stretch from childhood into old age. This will require creativity in how we deliver courses, with an emphasis on flexibility and personalization. It will also require creativity in how we provide credentials, from degrees to certificates to digital badges.

Midwest instructors move classes online during polar vortex - Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive

When a polar vortex swept through the Midwest last week and triggered wind chills as low as 66 degrees below zero, University of Michigan professor Perry Samson thought it was too good of a teaching opportunity to pass up. Samson, an atmospheric sciences professor, teaches a course called "extreme weather." In it, he covers topics such as hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning, as well as how a changing climate can alter the frequency and intensity of such events. The week the polar vortex hit, he was scheduled to lecture about heat waves. Inaccurate student data can have major consequences for credit reporting for not only your organization, but also your students. Get up to speed on new standards and how to meet them with this playbook. Even if students were willing to chance frostbite in the record-breaking cold to get to his class, the university had made the rare call to close the campus. So instead, Samson took the class online. Other instructors at closed campuses across the Midwest kept their students on track through the deep freeze by bringing their classes online.

Emerging Technologies Need Diversity: Innovative Women in AI / Blockchain to Follow in 2019 - Sandra Ponce de Leon, Forbes

Besides being a hot topic these days, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain have received a reputation for being especially male-dominated in an already bro-saturated tech world. However, the buzz around artificial intelligence and cryptography isn’t without merit, as these technologies are much more than just one more thing to be mansplained.  With such diverse and far-reaching applications, it is clear that a diversity of perspectives will be necessary to create effective and sustainable solutions. I interviewed some of the most innovative female voices in AI and blockchain to better understand their struggle to ensure that this technology benefits everyone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

5 ways innovation is inspiring higher ed - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

It’s no wonder institutions are focused on innovation–as students demand more from their schools, institutions must be ready to meet those expectations with new mentalities and a willingness to think and act outside the box. Some schools are rethinking the way they use technologies and are turning to students for inspiration, while others are turning the idea of the traditional campus on its head and are aiming for a complete conceptual redesign. Whatever the action, most higher-ed leaders know they have to be willing to embrace change in order to remain relevant and retain students. Here’s a look at 6 different examples of institutional innovation.

Delivering Tech Enabled Learning Opportunities to Refugees - Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

It’s hard to imagine a more challenging teaching situation than the one facing those tasked with educating refugees. Usually, by the time a refugee child makes it to the United States, he or she has experienced unspeakable trauma, lengthy disruptions to daily life, and much uncertainty. The student is unlikely to know English or to be familiar with the American educational system and wider culture. This daunting task of providing the best possible education to refugee children can be met with the help of some edtech tools.

As jobs grow hard to fill, businesses join the drive to push rural residents toward college - Matt Krupnick, Hechinger Report

Educators and policymakers started raising alarms about low levels of college-going among people in places like this after frustration from rural Americans over limited opportunities and incomes spilled over into national politics in 2016. Now growing demand for college-trained workers has brought a powerful new voice to the chorus: businesses desperate to fill increasingly complex jobs at a time of almost nonexistent unemployment. With worker shortages hitting industries nationwide, their companies — and many states’ economies — depend on it. The high school grads least likely in America to go to college? Rural ones

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Foreign Students Sour on America, Jeopardizing a $39 Billion Industry - Nick Leibrer, Bloomberg

New foreign student enrollment in the U.S. dropped by 6.6 percent in the 2017-18 academic year, double the previous year’s rate of decline, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). While the total number of international students in the U.S. grew slightly, the drop in new enrollees is the biggest since 9/11, said Rachel Banks, public policy director at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The decline seems to be continuing this year, she said.

What makes an online course great? - Amy Miele, Smart Brief

Creating a high quality online course is not an easy task. Focusing on key elements is essential to providing students with engaging and effective educational experiences. It is important to have meaningful activities, stellar resources and quality assessments.  The three pillars of student learning. Content is what students learn. Instruction is how students learn. Evaluation is how students are assessed. Here’s how these three pillars translate into the online learning environment.

An obsession with computer vision shows the lopsided nature of the AI boom - Will Knight, MIT Technology Review

A new report on global AI patents and publications has offered an interesting snapshot of the current boom—including the uneven way it is being commercialized. The report (pdf) from the World Intellectual Property Organization shows that since the field of AI was established in the 1950s, 340,000 AI-related inventions have been patented and over 1.6 million scientific papers published. Around 49% of all AI patents relate to computer vision, and that number is growing 24% year on year. What it means: Together, deep learning and computer vision stand to have a huge impact in many commercial areas: medical imaging, autonomous driving, and surveillance, for instance. But the figures show that AI isn’t transforming every industry.