Saturday, August 29, 2015

Campuses transition to the ‘Internet of Things' - Travis Seekins, University Business

Human-to human communications have been the bedrock of our lives. More recently, machine-to-machine streaming has become a dominant and often disruptive dance partner in the communication landscape. And now we are glimpsing a world where human-to-machine links culminate in one seamlessly orchestrated waltz. Imagine smart sensors embedded in the school parking garage, alerting you to a much coveted, and now suddenly available, spot right by your office. Real-time, actionable data will help schools know exactly when to service equipment and achieve savings from the most optimal use of facilities and energy. Smart doors and security cameras will know when to open, shut, lock and monitor movement through a space. The mobile devices flooding campuses today are the first wave of an era of interconnected devices, aptly named the Internet of Things, or IoT. By tapping into the data transmitted by inanimate objects around us, schools can achieve greater revenue and value by moving away from transactional interactions with students, staff, providers and assets.

25 ways to strengthen workforce education - eCampus News

California Community Colleges Task Force on Workforce Education recommends ways to increase competitiveness, job creation: Key recommendations of the task force call on the college system to: • Revise career technical education (CTE) curriculum approval processes to ensure that instructional programs keep pace with industry needs. • Increase the pool of qualified CTE instructors through hiring practices and consider options for meeting minimum qualifications to better integrate experienced industry professionals into instructional programs. • Expand partnerships with employers to increase student work-based learning opportunities such as apprenticeships and internships that provide real workplace experience. • Strengthen students’ career planning, work readiness, employability and technology skills as they build their occupation-specific skills. • Establish a sustained, supplemental funding source to increase community college capacity to create, adapt and maintain quality CTE courses and programs responsive to regional labor market needs.

5 ways to expand federal educational OER - Laura Devaney, eSchool News

In a letter sent earlier this month, a group of ed-tech stakeholders urged the Obama administration to make federally-funded educational materials available as Open Educational Resources (OER). Creating OER, which are free to use, share, and edit, would help increase educators’ access to educational, training, and instructional materials, according to the more than 85 stakeholder organizations that signed the letter. The letter was a response to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s request for suggestions around how to strengthen the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Student loan debt: America's next big crisis - Mitchell D. Weiss, Detroit Free Press

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its latest Report on Household Debt and Credit Developments, and the news isn't good for student-borrowers. As of the second calendar quarter ending June 30, seriously delinquent student loans (which the FRBNY describes as those whose payments are 90 or more days past due), increased to 11.5% of the $1.19 trillion dollars' worth of education loans, versus 11.1% in the first quarter. Before you dismiss four-tenths of one percent as decimal dust, consider this: Although student loans make up only 10% of all consumer debt, the amount of seriously past due student loan payments total nearly one-third of all seriously past-due debt payments. What's more, of the total $1.19 trillion in outstanding education-related loans, only about half that amount is actually in repayment at this time (the balance is deferred because the borrowers are still in school). So instead of 11.5% being seriously delinquent, it's actually twice that amount: 23%.

Who hacked Rutgers? University spending up to $3M to stop next cyber attack - Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance

The identity of the hacker or hackers who crippled Rutgers University computer networks at least four times during the last school year is still a mystery. But Rutgers is spending big money to make sure cyber attackers don't knock the school offline again. The state university has hired three cyber security firms to help protect the school against another attack, according to Rutgers officials and documents obtained through the state's Open Public Records Act.

The Digital Humanities Are Alive and Well and Blooming: Now What? - Nancy L. Maron, EDUCAUSE Review

If the notion for the past decade in digital humanities investment has been to let a thousand flowers bloom, it seems to have worked. Digital creation is no longer just the realm of specialists, IT developers, and librarians who manage collections. Today, with digital humanities (DH) hitting its stride, historians, philosophers, and poets not only are learning how to use tools to conduct analysis for their work; they also are building collections, developing their own tools, and constructing platforms. Major funding may still come from just a few usual suspects, but academic and cultural institutions are carving out and reallocating funds to create and support the digital initiatives. This democratization of digital creation signals an exciting time, and yet it can pose institution-wide challenges as well.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Should I tell my boss I'm getting an online MBA? - Sarah Collins, Crain's Chicago Business Journal

Kate Drane, a senior director at Indiegogo, told her previous employer about her grad school plans in order to get partial tuition reimbursement. A few jobs ago, I found myself surrounded by people with an MBA. A digital strategist with a journalism background, I needed to learn some business buzzwords—and fast. Glomming onto a big name, I chose the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania's series of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, targeted toward first-year business school students. Ultimately, experts say, telling your manager or not will hinge on your experiences with the company—and the manager. “For me, I was lucky that I had a really supportive company,” Drane says. “It was really clear that I had higher aspirations. So I just kept framing it as this is how it will relate to my work.”

Codeacademy: Turning a Profit when Your Product is Free - CHRISTIAN CAMEROTA, Harvard Business School

A good way to build a large user base is to offer something valuable for free. That’s been the strategy so far behind Codecademy. In just a few short years since its inception in 2011, the company has grown into one of the world’s largest online learning platforms, with more than 24 million users. Not only does it teach a skill set (coding) that is increasingly in demand in the job market, but its users are so loyal and engaged that they have provided the bulk of the learning content themselves at no cost. Codecademy’s community, a collection of technological altruists, is its most valuable asset. However, the company is now at a crossroads. It has grown so big and so popular that it must consider monetizing certain aspects of its business to ensure sustained quality and to continue to bolster its content offerings.

6 concerns students have about MOOCs - Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Two research questions were used to guide the authors during their research: 1) What are the common perceptions among college students about the nature of MOOCs; and 2) How do current college students’ perceptions and attitudes toward MOOCs compare with press discussions on MOOCs? Thematic analysis on the qualitative data (the authors asked students to respond to eight open-ended questions about MOOCs) revealed six primary themes concerning MOOC perceptions: Reliability, accessibility, content, learning, communication, and outcomes. The authors state that as the themes identified mirror previously published MOOC commentaries, “pedagogical discussion of MOOCs should move beyond polarized evaluations and incorporate student perspectives in further empirical investigation of MOOCs as a learning environment.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Coursera Pivots to Focus on Job Training - AINSLEY O'CONNELL, Fast Company

Back in 2012, we welcomed the dawn of the massive open online course (MOOC) and its promise to democratize learning with open arms. Stories like that of Christos Porios, a 16-year-old living in Alexandroupoli, Greece, who discovered a Stanford computer science class on online platform Coursera and soon mastered machine learning, captured our collective imagination. The learning experience was new, but the brand-name institutions providing the content were familiar, with universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford leading the way. Fast-forward to 2015, and the dynamics shaping online learning have changed dramatically. The typical student is not a teenage genius, but a mid-career working professional. And the brand names lending credibility are no longer vaunted educational institutions, but rather private companies on the lookout for new talent.

How Coursera Cracked The Chinese Market - Dhawal Shah - Tech Crunch

Coursera announced in July that they crossed 1 million registrations as China became their second largest market, overtaking India. Most U.S. consumer Internet companies have a hard time breaking into China. Cultural differences and the Internet firewall are a huge barrier to entry. Even tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter have pulled out or found themselves on the wrong side of the Chinese firewall. So how did Coursera, a relatively young company, achieve this significant milestone?

'Women Supporting Women Online' - Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Bay Path University is having to adjust downward the number of students it believes will want to study online through its American Women’s College, but university leaders say they see fully online education as one of many endeavors that will help them remain a financially sound women’s college in the future. Bay Path, a private university in Longmeadow, Mass., had hoped to enroll as many as 5,000 adult women in the first five years of the fully online college, which launched in 2013. With roughly 450 students on track to begin studying this fall and a total online enrollment of about 800, the university is less than one-fifth of the way there. “We overestimated the enrollment,” said Carol A. Leary, the university’s president. “But it will get to 4-5,000,” she added. “I can guarantee it, because you’ll have more and more digital natives wanting this kind of education in the future.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

As Coursera Evolves, Colleges Stay On and Investors Buy In - Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Three years ago everyone was talking about Coursera, which had begun partnering with some of the world’s most elite colleges to offer free courses. There was overheated hype, as pundits speculated that it could be a magic bullet to bring down college costs. And there were tough questions, as people wondered what the goal was for partner colleges, and how the Silicon Valley company could make enough revenue on free courses to survive. Today the MOOC hype has dissipated, but the company’s leaders say Coursera has found a way to make money, and that partner colleges have found a clear reason to participate. Those answers, the company announced on Tuesday, were enough to convince investors to give a fresh infusion of $60 million in venture-capital funds. Richard C. Levin, the company’s CEO and former president of Yale University, said in an interview that the new investment would be used to further expand the company’s reach to students outside of the United States, and that it would extend the company’s “runway” to try new experiments.

Survey: Here’s why technology matters to college students - Ron Bethke, eCampus News

Students break down what aspects of technology are most useful to them in the classroom in a new survey. According to the results of a new survey from VitalSource Technologies, college students overwhelmingly agree that technology boosts grades, improves their overall learning experience and alleviates costs. In the fifth annual survey of its kind, 500 currently enrolled college students were polled in order to gauge how much importance they place on the growing role of technology in higher education classrooms.

Candy Crush: is it a model for online courses? - CHRIS HAVERGAL, Times Higher Education

Lecturers who find themselves competing with Candy Crush for their students’ attention may not be fans of the mobile game. But a new paper argues that, far from complaining about the tile-matching puzzle, academics should harness its addictive appeal in order to tackle the problem of poor retention on online courses. Writing in the International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, mother-and-daughter researchers Evangeline and Maria Varonis say that many of the structural features of Candy Crush could be emulated in programme design. These include the way that the game groups content into identifiable, compact modules, allows access to these levels only when previous units have been completed, and provides clear, measurable objectives for the behaviour expected of learners.

What will learning look like in the future? - Duncan Brown and James Cory-Wright, Training Zone

When smartphones and tablets become one: the use of apps to deliver the training of the future suggests that as well as overcoming possible cost barriers, old attitudes and connectivity issues, objections around screen size will also go away. The smartphone screen is too small for training content whether that’s presented as text and graphics or video but the screen size of the smartphone is still unfinished business. It’s on an upward trend and getting closer to the screen size of the smaller tablets - like the ‘phablet’ which is a smartphone with a screen that’s 'an intermediate size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer.' So will the two fully converge and become one to the point where smartphones become the main device for consuming online training? It remains to be seen but at the moment it looks like a distinct possibility and one that may be adopted for just the kind of applications we’ve been examining.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Data, Technology, and the Great Unbundling of Higher Education - Ryan Craig and Allison Williams, EDUCAUSE Review

In other industries, unbundling has driven fundamental change. Over the past decade, sales of recorded music are down 50 percent and continue to fall each year. Digital technology has forced a revolution in a business model that, in the past, relied on bundling the music that consumers wanted (singles) with the music that they didn't want (the rest of the album). Now, in a music industry unbundled by technology, consumers purchase only the products they want. In the television industry, viewers now watch individual shows, thanks to DVRs and Netflix, rather than channels or networks. Once viewers are given a mechanism for paying only for the shows they watch rather than the thousands they don't, cable and satellite TV bills will collapse. Where does this leave the higher education bundle? At present, degrees remain the currency of the labor market. But as currency, they're about as portable as the giant stone coins used on the island of Yap. What if technology could produce a finer currency that would be accepted by consumers and employers alike?

Information Technology: The Accidental Career for Ph.D.s - Joshua B. Gross, Chronicle of Higher Ed

The United States has two major employment dilemmas. On the supply side, American universities produce a well-documented surfeit of Ph.D.s, far in excess of the number of tenure-track job openings. On the demand side, the American information-technology industry is greatly in need of skilled workers. But there has yet to be a move to direct Ph.D.s into IT careers in large numbers. We need to change that, and to encourage Ph.D.s — especially those in the humanities and social sciences — to pursue technology-related careers.

Daphne Kohler on Pervasive Learning Opportunities - Andrew Trounson, the Australian

Reskilling and upskilling will become­ lifelong pursuits in a ­technology-driven future, forcing qualifications to become “bite-sized” with “just-in-time” delivery, according to one of the world’s pioneers in the global phenomena that is free online learning, or Massive Open Online­ Courses. “The role of learning will be pervasive in everyday life,” said Daphne Koller, a Stanford mathematics professor who completed her masters degree at 18, but who switched direction in 2012 to co-found one of the world’s biggest MOOCs, Coursera, in 2012.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

8 state models linking higher ed to careers - Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

The Network of states’ practices are unique in that they offer a standard model of how to create this increasingly needed pipeline. The Pathways to Prosperity Network, an initiative of Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, began three years ago in an effort to help more students enter not only postsecondary education, but full-time jobs that directly help companies fill critical positions. According to the report, only one in three “young people” obtains a four-year degree by age 25—and roughly 30 percent of the job openings projected over the next decade require some education beyond high school, but not necessarily a four-year degree. And according to recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s youth employment rates have plummeted over the last 15 years, declining to their lowest levels since the 1930s.

Tracking Students to Improve Tutoring and Support - David Raths, Campus Technology

At South Mountain Community College, a homegrown Learner Support System gathers data on students' usage of campus resources, streamlining the tutoring process and improving outcomes. With input from several areas of campus, the design team, led by programmer analyst Alan Ziv, created a Web-based application called the Learner Support System (LSS) that tracks students' usage of campus resources as well as key academic details such as with whom a student worked, how long he or she spent with a tutor, what the focus of the tutoring session was and how effective it was perceived to be. The system provides data at the individual student, course and program level to help inform institutional strategic planning and resource development.