Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Internet of Things for Educators and Learners - Dina Kurzweil and Sean Baker, EDUCAUSE Review

Given the phenomenal growth of connected devices in the Internet of Things, the issue of how higher education supports educators with the IoT in learning environments becomes a key consideration in teaching and learning. An educational environment explicitly focused on supporting learning with the IoT could be extremely beneficial; we call it the Educators' and Learners' Internet of Things, or ELIoT. What we have to decide is whether we will prepare, through the design of distributed, adaptive systems and methodologies, to give the ELIoT a warm welcome in higher education while managing the accompanying serious considerations.

Institutional badging emerges as new resume booster - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Illinois State University's badging program allows students to more creatively showcase volunteerism, technical training and skill development to potential employers and graduate schools. Officials use a third-party vendor, Credly, to administer the badges from criteria established by academic executives. The Lumina Foundation provided $2.5 million in seed funding to the badging company, a sign of support for the growing credentialing industry and its value to employers.

Online learning: 3 components of a great user experience - Tess Taylor, HR Dive

The way in which learners encounter course content within a learning management system is just as important as what's being presented. This is referred to as the user experience or UX. There are 3 major components of UX that need to be in place to ensure learners are getting the most from online training, including: design, communication, and measurement. The UX is, "a quantitative and qualitative measure, because it examines both the platform’s functions, and the user’s perception of them," says Rajlakshmi Saikia, assistant vice president of corporate L&D at Genpact, who also contributes to ATD. Learning content that's well-designed includes the ability for users to easily login to the learning management system, access their courses, and find the information they need. The other components of great UX include a system for managing user progress and gathering feedback from learners. There should always be support to orient users to the LMS as well as a help guide for troubleshooting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

State budget woes a factor in 2 U Illinois professors' departures - Julie Wurth, News-Gazette

Thomas Overbye makes one thing clear: he loves the University of Illinois. He's spent the better part of his career at Illinois — 25 years — as a top professor in the highly ranked Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Like his UI colleagues, he's turned down overtures every year from competing universities. Until last summer. Then there was the uncertainty about education funding and pensions in the UI — even as Texas A&M offered financial incentives to lure him south. "There's a lot of uncertainty here in Illinois, a general feeling on campus that as faculty we don't feel the University of Illinois is that well-supported by the state. The feeling I get in Texas is that the Texas universities are well-supported by the state," Overbye said.

Do Illinois' public colleges pay off for students? - GREG HINZ, Crain's Chicago Business

What Third Way did is crunch federal data on things such as tuition, six-year graduation rates, average cost after aid and the percentage of students getting federal Pell Grants to give a composite score to each of the 535 four-year institutes of higher education it examined. Ranked highest, 22nd of 535 schools, is U of I. The average cost—after grants—is a relatively modest $9,801 a year, but the school sports an 84 percent 6-year completion rate. And 77 percent of grads earn at least $25,000 a year six years after enrollment. At 45th, is U I C. Not too far behind are Illinois State and U of I at Springfield, ranked 66th and 115th, respectively. Above the national average are Western, Northern and Eastern Illinois universities, plus Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. They rank 215th to 229th.

How Employers View Online, For-Profit Bachelor's Degrees - Jordan Friedman, US News

Recruiters say the negative perception of undergraduate for-profit education that some employers have held in recent years may be starting to shift, and not all are skeptical. "Although I think that still somewhat of a stigma might exist against the for-profit universities, given the current state of the job market today and the low unemployment rates, employers are starting to get really creative and are definitely placing more value on this type of degree than they had in the past, and are much more willing to extend an offer to these applicants," says Amy Glaser, senior vice president of Adecco Staffing, a worldwide employment agency. Employer views also vary depending on the program, Glaser says, and an applicant's undergraduate education is just one part of the hiring decision.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The State of Virtual Reality in Education - Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education

Until recently, the expensive price tag for virtual reality technology has limited its use in education. Full immersion into an alternate reality has been expensive for schools and universities to dive into — that is, until the last 12 months: Virtual reality is attracting educators who want to give students hands-on experiences with a lot of different tools. This type of technology immerses students into a different world full of sites and sounds, whether it's a simulation of the cockpit of an airplane, a human body or Paris. More expensive immersion setups turn an entire room into a world with 360-degree interactive displays, while others use headsets or insert phones into a viewer that covers the users' eyes. About nine major companies are vying for control of this space, said Brad Waid, an education futurist.

Penn State Explores AI in Teaching - Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

Faculty members at Pennsylvania State University are exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to provide immersive opportunities for student teachers. The team is developing AI-driven virtual classrooms, where pre-service teachers can practice student engagement techniques. Ann Clements, an associate professor and graduate program chair for music education at the School of Music, is leading the effort and working with members of Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) at Penn State to develop the AI classroom prototype, known as First Class. The device uses Microsoft Kinect, a motion-sensing input device, and utilizes rows of virtual students in a classrooms.

Quality and Noncollege Learning - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday revealed the eight winning applications for an experiment that will free up federal financial aid for noncollege job training, including offerings by coding boot camps, online course providers and General Electric. In addition to the alternative providers, each of the eight partnerships (see chart below) features a traditional college or university and a third party that will monitor the academic quality and results of the job training, serving as a sort of alternative accreditor, although regional accrediting agencies still will need to approve the programs.

Worldwide Revenues for AR and VR to Increase $156.8 Billion by 2020 - Richard Chang, Campus Technology

Worldwide revenues for the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) markets are expected to grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020, according to research done by the International Data Corp. (IDC). The $156.8 billion increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 181.3 percent over the 2015-20 forecast period. IDC’s new spending guide expands on previous AR/VR forecasts by offering greater detail of revenues by technology, industry and geography, the Massachusetts-based market research company said in a news release. “For many years, augmented and virtual reality were the stuff of science fiction,” said Chris Chute, vice president of customer insights and analysis at IDC, in a prepared statement. “Now with powerful smartphones powering inexpensive VR headsets, the consumer market is primed for new paid and user generated content-driven experiences.”

Monday, August 22, 2016

New report lists the rising expectations for quality online education leadership - Merris Stansbury, eCampus News

As online learning evolves from amateur experimentation to a mainstream professional entity on campus, new standards for quality online learning leadership are emerging in order to not only sustain these distance programs, but ensure they meet the growing demands of 21st-century academe. The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) has released a report detailing seven hallmarks of excellence in online leadership. These standards of excellence for online learning leadership are an attempt to articulate those features and principles that will create opportunities for students that “far exceed anything already achieved in higher education, take pedagogy to a new level, and demonstrate the capacity of universities to be an even more vital force in our society,” notes the report. Hallmarks range from advocacy to entrepreneurial initiatives and much more.

Breaking the 'Iron Triangle' - Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro experiment with a model for course redesign they say can increase access and quality and lower costs. Quality, cost, access -- pick two. That’s the traditional view of higher education’s “iron triangle” -- that trying to adjust for one of the three main factors of a college education will influence the other two. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is the latest institution to challenge that axiom. Over the last two academic years, the university has been involved in a project where faculty members redesigned four courses according to design principles they named CRAFT (the acronym is short for Create and curate content, Replace lectures with Active, and Flipped, Team-based learning). The project targeted general education requirements and courses with high rates of students withdrawing or earning a D, F or an incomplete.

U of Michigan AI Studies Receives $22 Million from Toyota - Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and autonomous piloting at the University of Michigan (U-M) are receiving a financial push to accelerate research. The Toyota Research Institute (TRI), Toyota’s R&D organization, is committing $22 million over the next four years for research collaborations with U-M faculty and students. TRI CEO Gill Pratt made the announcement last week in an address to the university’s faculty. “Toyota has long enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the University of Michigan, and we are excited to expand our collective efforts to address complex mobility challenges through artificial intelligence,” Pratt said. U-M will use the $22 million commitment to conduct research in the areas of enhanced driving safety, partner robotics and indoor mobility, autonomous driving and student learning and diversity.

Popular MITx philosophy MOOC introduces instructor grading - MIT Office of Digital Learning

If one of the core philosophies of online learning is to democratize education, then a new verified certificate option for a philosophy course on MITx on edX — the massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by the Institute — brings the concept full circle. Starting Aug. 29, Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness will enable students to obtain a verified ID certificate and have their work graded and commented upon by professional philosophers. Learners from any background, anywhere in the world, can pursue the certificate option to add credibility and value to the accomplishment of completing the course. “This is a big deal — the first MITx humanities course to offer students the chance to write a paper and have it carefully reviewed by instructors,” says Caspar Hare, who will be running the popular MOOC for the third time. “Listening to lectures and reading books is great, but philosophy is all about taking complex ideas and organizing them in a simple way.”

Sunday, August 21, 2016

More States Start Funding Colleges Based on Outcomes - Sophie Quinton, Pew Charitable Trust

Under a new state law, Rhode Island’s public colleges won’t get additional state funding simply for enrolling more students. They will have to prove that they’re making progress on goals such as increasing graduation rates. Over 30 states now partially—or in Tennessee’s case, almost completely—fund higher education based on metrics such as graduation rates, course completions and the share of low-income students enrolled. States have applied these formulas only to two-year colleges, only to four-year colleges, or to all their public institutions. It’s not yet clear whether such funding incentives will lead to progress on the goals lawmakers have identified. Some critics worry that outcomes-based funding models will just pressure colleges to become more selective in admissions, for example.

How to increase MOOC completion rates - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

St. George's University has increased the pass rate of students in its public health massive open online course by more than 500%, and nearly 10 times the national completion rate for similar distance learning modules. The course uses flipped classroom models, peer review and industrial infusion to make lessons more engaging and enriched for students. The model follows a similar approach taken by Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley in its graduate business courses.

Underground university: Bay Area teachers beam secret online classes to Iran - Katy Murphy, Mercury News

Banned from college in Iran because of her Baha'i faith, Niknaz Aftahi risked everything to learn, studying architecture at a storied underground university that moved from living room to living room, at times meeting at her family's home in Tehran. Now in the Bay Area, with a master's degree and architecture job, Aftahi is repaying her debt of gratitude, offering the same hope to the next generation of Baha'i students. She is part of a growing network of mostly Baha'i faculty locally and around the world who teach and mentor the students from afar, for free. "Just the fact that I feel like I'm contributing a little bit brings me a lot of satisfaction and happiness," she said. "Some of my students are such good designers and when I teach them, I really want to do my best because I feel like I'm the only resource they have."

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Edtech is the next fintech - David Bainbridge, EdSurge

The founding fathers of fintech recognized this expectation and took the traditional concepts of financial services, added a pinch of innovation and a touch of technology and watched the future of banking change forever. So what’s next? While the fintech bubble shows no signs of popping just yet, it has begun to show signs of the speed wobbles as turbulent motions of the current global economic climate tests its stability. This presents a window of opportunity for investors trying to spot, catch and ride the wave of the next “fintech.” Enter edtech — 2017’s big, untapped and safe investor opportunity.

10 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Start Developing Online Training Courses - Christopher Pappas, Litmos

Planning and research are vital to the success of your online training program. You should learn as much as possible about the background of your online learners, the goals that must be achieved, as well as the performance gaps that need to be filled if you want to develop a succinct and successful online training course for your organization. Here are 10 questions that will help you narrow the scope of your online training program and ensure that all of the key takeaways are included.

How EdTech And Artificial Intelligence Help Transform Higher Education And Online Learning - Kristine Walker, Parent Herald

In an era where modern technology has become a valuable influence in the lives of humans, it's safe to assume that technology will be able to enhance the learning experience of educators and students, especially in higher education and online learning. As experts combined education technology (EdTech) and artificial intelligence (AI), a powerful tool to potentially transform education has been born.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Daphne Koller Bids Farewell to Coursera, Hello to Calico - Andrew Rikard, edSurge

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller has ridden the MOOC craze as the company’s CEO and later president. Now Koller is returning to her background in machine-learning research. Yesterday, Koller announced she’s leaving the company to join Calico, a Google-funded research and development company that focuses on slowing aging and counteracting age‑related diseases. “It is time for me to turn to another critical challenge—the development of machine learning and its application to improving human health,” Koller wrote in an Aug. 17 blog post. “This field has been a passion of mine since 2001, when I first started working on it at Stanford.” At Calico, Koller will serve as the company’s chief computing officer, leading teams developing new computational methods for analyzing biological data sets.