Saturday, April 30, 2016

Don't Dismiss Georgia Tech's $6,600 Online Master's Degree - WILLIAM FENTON, PC Magazine

I'm not about to let my ideological reservations foreclose my curiosity, especially given that so many Online Master of Science Computer Science students praise the program. A $6,600 master's degree in computer science with a 55 percent acceptance rate and no GRE entrance exam? It's a seductive proposition for an undergraduate, to be sure. Since the Georgia Institute of Technology announced its Online Master of Science Computer Science degree—OMS CS, for short—in May 2013, the program has elicited wonder, enthusiasm, and trepidation. When you consider the age of students, the OMS CS program is older (33-34 years old) and more educated (more than 700 applicants have advanced degrees and more than 120 hold Ph.D. or terminal degrees). In this sense, the Georgia Tech online master's program is more in line with ventures such as General Assembly, which enable professionals to advance skills and training.

Employers, insurers see promise in self-directed online therapy - Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune

Employers and a large health insurer are considering a new way of reaching people with social anxiety and depression. Many who suffer from social anxiety, depression and other mental health problems won’t seek help from a therapist. However, they may find a sense of community in online discussion groups and “anxiety blogs,” said Dale Cook, the chief executive and co-founder of Learn to Live, a Minneapolis-based start-up. The company sells access to online courses for people struggling with mental health issues, and touts its strategies for engaging with sufferers. “They’re looking for online resources because they don’t want to tell anyone, or they don’t have time to go” for face-to-face therapy, Cook said in an interview. “We’re able to identify places where sufferers go to commiserate and suffer together and say: Have you found anything that works?”

Expand access to high-speed broadband across the state - Russ Feingold, USA Today Network Wisconsin

Internet access at home is bad. Not just annoyingly slow, but truly bad enough that students can’t complete their schoolwork. So what do students do? Late into the evening, they head to the now-closed library parking lot and sit in their cars to get the Wi-Fi signal. It’s almost hard to believe. But it’s far too common. Just this week, I heard the same thing from students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's regional campus in Oconto Falls. Nearly a million Wisconsinites may lack adequate Internet access — access critical for education and commerce in areas outside of larger cities. FCC estimates claim more than half of rural Wisconsinites lack access to broadband. This must change. Rural Wisconsinites deserve the same level of Internet access as those in cities like Madison and Green Bay. How do we make that a reality?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sign of the Times: World Campus Certificate in Online Teaching Popularity - Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Penn State U's World Campus plans further changes to its faculty development efforts after an online teaching certificate program became a surprise hit among graduate students. Pennsylvania State University is rethinking how it trains future faculty members after doctoral students flocked to a crash course in online teaching. The university had hoped its free, noncredit certificate program, which launched in September, would attract about 30 students interested in developing their online teaching skills. Instead, the program beat that target by a factor of ten. Laurence B. Boggess, director of faculty development for Penn State World Campus, the institution’s online degree and certificate division, said the interest in the program suggests this generation of graduate students sees online teaching experience as a core skill as they enter the job market.

IBM, Coursera Team Up on IoT Developer Course - Darryl K. Taft. eWeek

IBM and Coursera next month will begin teaching a new online course for developers to learn how to create applications for the Internet of things. Starting next month, Coursera, the education platform that forms partnerships with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses online, is teaming up with IBM to develop an online course to teach programming for the Internet of things (IoT). The new course, "A developer's guide to the Internet of Things (IoT)," is aimed at providing instruction on how to build IoT applications and will cost $79. Although it is an entry-level course, the assignments use both the Python and JavaScript programming languages, so basic skills in these languages are required.

Adaptive engineering course opens up engineering fundamentals to all - eCampus News

The University of New South Wales Australia and adaptive learning provider Smart Sparrow have unveiled what they call the world’s first-ever open adaptive engineering course designed to unlock access to high-quality courses for learners of all backgrounds. The course, Through Engineers’ Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design, was developed by Professor Gangadhara Prusty and Robin Ford, a retired Associate Professor, both from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing at UNSW. It is the first Engineering MOOC to leverage Adaptive Technology. Adaptive Tutorials built on the Smart Sparrow platform have been incorporated to engage students with real-life simulations and personalised course materials, addressing the low completion rates in MOOCs and high failure rates in introductory engineering.

University of Colorado contemplates 3-year, fully online degree programs - SARAH KUTA, DAILY CAMERA

The University of Colorado is asking its faculty and staff to get creative and develop new, fully online degree programs to launch in the fall of 2018. The CU system is calling for online degree program proposals until July 15, with grants being awarded by Sept. 30. CU hopes to select three winning grant proposals and award each team $200,000 for course development. Faculty selected for the grant will receive a $15,000 stipend, with staff members receiving a $5,000 stipend to support the logistics of course development. Students must be able to complete the degree completely online and in three calendar years, though they won’t be required to work within that time frame.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fading Affordability - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

College affordability has declined in 45 states since 2008, with low- and middle-income students in particular feeling the pinch, new study finds. Overall college affordability has worsened in 45 U.S. states since 2008, creating a significant financial burden for students of modest economic means. That’s the top-line finding in a new, state-by-state study by researchers from the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development, and the Higher Education Policy Institute. The report defines affordability as reasonable estimates of the total educational expenses for students and families in each state, calculated as a percentage of family income. Educational expenses include tuition and costs of living, minus all grant-based financial aid from federal and state governments and institutions.

Bellevue U approaches online learning with liberal arts classroom model - Tara GarcĂ­a Mathewson, Education Dive

Bellevue University in Nebraska takes a liberal arts approach to online education, focusing on small class sizes and high-touch faculty who provide oversight and guidance to students, and, in turn, improve retention. According to eCampus News, the school requires faculty to take a course about online teaching strategies before leading their first classes, and they are then monitored by senior faculty and deans; a performance-based approach to student progress avoids automation of some competency-based programs. While programs map curricula and outline outcomes and performance skills students must master, it is a combination of tests and other assessments, like video presentations, that allow students to prove their skill — and while the programs are largely self-paced, students must meet major milestones to stay largely in step with one another.

Udacity Debuts In China, Launches In-Person Group Tutoring - Kathleen Chaykowski ,FORBES

After launching in India last year, Udacity has made its way to China. The Mountain View, Calif-based online education company, cofounded about four years ago by Google GOOGL -5.53% X founder and Stanford University research professor Sebastian Thrun, is opening offices in China and making more than 100 of its free online courses available to anyone in China under the domain name, the company said this week. On Wednesday, the company also announced it is launching its first in-person, instructor-led study sessions for students in its “Nanodegree” programs, which cover topics from iOS and Android development to machine learning and require students to complete a series of projects.

More UK adults taking online courses - Anthony Spadafora, Beta News

Adults in the UK are turning to online learning platforms in order to stay competitive in their fields and to learn new skills, despite their increasingly busy schedules. Coursera, which offers online courses from some of the top universities worldwide, has noticed that the number of new users registering for its educational platform has increased by 50 percent over the course of the past 12 months. In the UK, the company has over half a million users that are registered for a variety of courses. Coursera has noted that of those currently studying, 30 percent are using their smartphones to access their courses, which illustrates the flexibility of studying online.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Georgia Tech's Next Steps - Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Georgia Tech's online master's program in computer science -- a much-watched attempt to apply the MOOC model to for-credit programs -- may not be the big revenue generator the institute projected it would be, but administrators deem it a success and plan to expand it. “We will start another program,” Georgia Tech President G. P. Peterson said during a recent interview with Inside Higher Ed. “We’re very pleased with the success of the program, and we’re looking to expand it into other areas.” “I couldn’t be happier with where we are,” said Charles L. Isbell Jr., a senior associate dean and professor in the College of Computing. “When I say that the program is successful, I mean it by the financial measures -- we’ve got tons of students -- but to me the big success is we’ve been able to take a bunch of people who are already clearly qualified and the vast majority of whom would never have been able to get an advanced degree from a great place because they were not mobile. Now they can.”

Online Vs. Traditional: Which is the Better Platform? - Stefanie Schmude, ULoop

Picture this. Two friends go out to eat for lunch; friend number one discusses the hard work of being a college student and juggling class schedules with work. Friend two discusses the same struggles, but whether or not they are going to attend their American Literature class on the couch or in bed. With the rising popularity of online courses, students are starting to think about not only where they want to go, what they want to do career wise, but how they are going to receive that education: online or traditional. Personally, I have done schooling in both mediums and I don’t find either one to be better than the other. I prefer one to the other because one option (online) works best for me. But there are pros and cons to each one, and to look at those, I took the Rasmussen College model, which broke it down into four simple categories.

Berkeley chancellor, Stanford president kick off online-learning summit - Public Affairs, UC Berkeley

Online courses may not have overwhelmed undergraduate education in a disruptive “tsunami,” as once predicted. But teaching and learning technology is “going to change the landscape of everything we do,” UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks told an audience at Stanford University on Friday. Dirks made that prediction in conversation with Stanford president John Hennessy, kicking off the fourth annual “learning summit,” held this year on the Stanford campus. “We’ve seen that online resources can be very important,” Dirks said. “But at the same time they don’t substitute for being there” – for personal contact with faculty or the sense of community that residential undergraduate institutions provide. So far, he added, MOOCs have been “most spectacularly successful for students who have graduated.” Hennessy concurred, observing that massive open online courses (MOOCs) have gotten their greatest traction among professionals already working in their field. Berkeley chancellor, Stanford president kick off online-learning summit - Public Affairs, UC Berkeley

4 Values That EdTech Leaders Should Champion - Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

What is the space for championing learning technologies to support learning, if our edtech leaders put their energies behind empowering and support educators? Is it really the place of edtech leadership to stray from our narrow technological lanes - championing and supporting values and practices that never mention technologies? Increasingly, the actions of our most impactful and effective campus technology leaders will be those that align most closely with our educators. Our best edtech leaders are fluent across domains of learning, postsecondary leadership, and technology. They need to speak the language of educators and campus leaders (including the language of finance, marketing, budgeting, and innovation) - as well as be expert in the world of educational technologies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

ASU's Global Freshman Academy Taps Adaptive Software for Math Students - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Arizona State University's online Global Freshman Academy (GFA) is rolling out adaptive software to help tens of thousands of students work through its College Algebra & Problem Solving course. The GFA program, delivered via massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX, will be the first to utilize McGraw-Hill Education's ALEKS adaptive learning product in a MOOC format. "To date, more than 17,800 students from 186 countries have registered for the College Algebra & Problem Solving course using the ALEKS program, which will provide students with individualized learning and instruct them on the topics they are most ready to learn," according to a press release from McGraw-Hill Education.

Higher Ed Needs Major Disruption - Froma Harrop, Real Clear Politics

Happily, there exists an alternative to four bankrupting years on campus. There's almost no learning, be it liberal arts or STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), that can't be had free -- or close to it -- online. MOOCs (massive open online courses) are perfectly suited to disrupt the campus model. As suggested above, expense isn't the only thing powering this revolution. It's the sense that the people running the universities have lost their minds. Either that or they'll say almost anything to get protesting students off their backs. (In doing so, they're also softly egging the students on to say absurd things that could haunt them when prospective employers Google their names.)

Udacity Brings Its Nanodegree Programs to China - Leena Rao, Fortune

Similar to the Indian expansion, Udacity has localized many of its most popular nanodegree certifications to China, including courses in iOS, Android, and machine learning development. Udacity has a local team in China that is providing in-person reviews and coaching in Mandarin. Udacity said it is working with Chinese e-commerce giant, and ride-sharing company Didi Kuadi to build customized courses for students. Udacity previously partnered with Google to create coursework targeted at Indian students.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monitoring the Gatekeepers - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

The Obama administration continues to turn up pressure on accreditors, promising in new letter to measure the agencies against their peers and urging more focus on student achievement and troubled colleges. On Friday, the administration told accreditors to focus more on enforcing standards that measure student achievement and to consider additional scrutiny for colleges with significant problems. The new guidance from the U.S. Department of Education is the latest in a series of attempts by the White House to encourage accreditors to tighten up in their role as gatekeepers for federal financial aid. A group of 24 U.S. Senate Democrats also weighed in on accreditation on Friday. In a letter to the department, the senators said accreditors too often allow colleges with “shockingly poor performance” to retain their accreditation.

Sebastian Thrun Steps Down As Udacity's CEO - Leena Rao, Fortune

Udacity’s founder Sebastian Thrun is stepping down as chief executive officer, the company announced on Friday. Vishal Makhijani, the company’s chief operating officer, will be Udacity’s new CEO. Thrun, who will remain as president and chairman of Udacity, said that he will continue to work full-time at Udacity, but he will take on a role focused on what he is passionate about—innovation. Thrun added that he has taken inspiration from his former employer when restructuring his role at Udacity. “While at Google, I was impressed with the way Larry and Sergey organized Google. Eric [Schmidt] was the CEO, but Larry and Sergey enjoyed the freedom of focusing on innovating within the company,” he said.

Online degrees could make universities redundant, historian warns - Richard Adams, the Guardian

Oxford, along with all other universities, faces an “uncomfortable future” unless it embraces online degrees and draws up plans for raising billions of pounds to go private, according to the university’s new official history. The book, to be launched by Oxford University Press this week, says new technology has the potential to make universities such as Oxford “redundant” and that it is “only a matter of time” before virtual learning transforms higher education. Laurence Brockliss, the historian and author, argues that Oxford itself should offer undergraduate degrees via online learning, and in doing so could solve the controversies it faces over student access. “I would like Oxford to pilot something, and say we are going to offer 1,000 18-year-olds online courses in different subjects, to experiment and see how it works and how it can be improved,” Brockliss said.