Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How online graduate programs offer degrees at significant savings - PBS

As technology evolves and more online graduate programs become available at a much lower cost, should we reconsider traditional higher education in a classroom setting? Hari Sreenivasan reports on how some students earning master’s degrees at Georgia Tech are paying little or nothing for online courses from a top program. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/online-graduate-programs-offer-degrees-significant-savings/

Cooperating to Serve Students Across Institutional Boundaries: Leveraging Online Ed in New Ways - David Stone, Evolllution

The Pennsylvania State University created an online course cooperative in 2003 to facilitate online course sharing across the campuses and colleges that comprise Penn State. This initiative has grown into a Digital Learning Initiative that aligns with the University’s access and affordability priority. This effort is a partnership between the Commonwealth Campuses, Undergraduate Education, and World Campus to provide students with access to high demand courses, reduce bottlenecks for program progression, and widely provide access to online course content to faculty for use in both residential and online courses. Many of the Penn State colleges have developed courses as part of programs developed for delivery via the World Campus. The online cooperative, now named the Digital Learning Cooperative, is designed for the planned sharing of these courses across locations. Courses that will be shared are offered on the Digital Learning Cooperative (DLC) for other locations to reserve seats for their location. Each location has the option to reserve or offer courses to other campuses. https://evolllution.com/revenue-streams/distance_online_learning/cooperating-to-serve-students-across-institutional-boundaries-leveraging-online-ed-in-new-ways/

Report: Faculty want more OER-here’s why - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

The study, Launching OER Degree Pathways: An Early Snapshot of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative and Emerging Lessons, was released by Achieving the Dream (ATD) and conducted by SRI International and the rpk GROUP. The report indicates that faculty at colleges participating in ATD’s OER Degree Initiative are changing their teaching and that students are at least as or more engaged using OER courses than students in non-OER classrooms. Eighty-four percent of faculty members surveyed said students in the new OER courses had the same or a higher level of engagement with the learning materials as compared to courses they have taught using traditional course materials. Meanwhile, faculty with experience in using open resources who received assistance from technology specialists and librarians in developing their courses were most likely to report changes in their teaching, the report says. https://www.ecampusnews.com/curriculum/report-faculty-oer/

Monday, September 18, 2017

Under the Hood: Learning Design Behind Georgia Tech’s Degrees at Scale - Shabana Figueroa and Yakut Gazi, Evolllution

In our at-scale courses and programs, the role of faculty is different than in our residential programs. In residential programs, faculty own and produce the content as the subject matter experts, deliver the content, engage students in learning, and assess student learning and progress. In a degree program with thousands of students, sometimes 400 to 500 students in a single course, we follow a model that unbundles the traditional faculty role.  Faculty are still content owners and creators as well as the face of the course, but delivery of course content and activities is heavily assisted by the instructional team of teaching assistants and instructional designers. Teaching assistants also facilitate learning, actively participating in course discussion forums, conducting real-time recitation sessions, as well as answering student questions. In addition, the student services team answers students’ program-related questions, providing relief to the instructor and program advisors by responding to tier I-type questions. https://evolllution.com/programming/program_planning/under-the-hood-learning-design-behind-georgia-techs-degrees-at-scale/

College deans predict higher-ed is in for remarkable changes in 10 years - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

Nearly all deans (91 percent) believe there will be an increase in online education programs at their institution in the next decade. Deans were divided on whether faculty members get enough support in teaching courses online–43 percent said faculty are getting shortchanged in how much help they get in rethinking their courses and teaching with technology, while 40 percent said they believe they are getting enough support and 14 percent are neutral. One-third of deans agree online courses are comparable to face-to-face courses, and roughly the same proportion said they disagree. https://www.ecampusnews.com/news/college-deans-changes-10-years/

How adults can compete for 'new-collar' jobs - Kevin Johnson, the Hill

It wasn’t so long ago that people with a high-school diploma, a good work ethic, and a strong body could build solid, middle-class careers in blue-collar jobs like manufacturing and construction. That’s no longer possible. As traditional blue-collar jobs dwindle, another promising category of jobs is growing: jobs that require a baseline of technical skills but not necessarily a four-year degree. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty calls them “new-collar” jobs and cites examples like cloud computing analyst and services delivery specialists. If those titles sound unfamiliar, that’s the point. These roles didn’t exist a short while ago, and workers suited to new-collar jobs will need to retrain to meet employers’ needs. http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/labor/349480-how-adults-can-compete-for-new-collar-jobs

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Freshman Orientations Now Include Online Learning - Cait Etherington, eLearning Inside

Most colleges and universities now have some sort of online orientation. In some cases, it’s a simple required module solely designed to ensure all new students know how to log into the universities learning platform prior to the start of classes. In some cases, the activity is designed to direct students to use a specific part of the university’s online learning platform. In other cases, the university is asking students to complete essential modules (e.g., on sexual assault) to be in compliance with efforts to address chronic on campus problems. Rutgers University in New Jersey requires freshmen to complete three online courses. If they don’t complete the courses, they can’t register for the Spring semester. https://news.elearninginside.com/freshman-orientations-now-include-online-learning/

Digital literacy a key factor for employers, report finds - Shalina Chatlani, Education Dive

Higher ed institutions ought to be prioritizing digital literacy skills revolving around digital savvy, creativity, and complex thinking, as employers increasingly value these qualities in college graduates. The World Economic Forum predicts 35% of the top ten skills employers say they want will change by 2020, and will increasing include to include these competencies, according to a new report from the New Media Consortium.  The report shares digital literacy frameworks from other nations and U.S. schools they consider worth emulating, such as The University of Pennsylvania, which offers students workshops on how to produce and share digital content legally, writes Campus Technology. Most of these frameworks revolve around how to use technology to develop communication, critical thinking, technical, citizenship, and cultural and political awareness.   http://www.educationdive.com/news/digital-literacy-a-key-factor-for-employers-report-finds/504321/

4 Steps for Students to Get Organized for Online Courses - Joe Chapman, US News

Even as thousands of students head back to college campuses nationwide, enrollment in online courses continues to grow. For students starting online courses, it's important to set yourself up for success – particularly if you work full or part time and juggle other family and personal responsibilities. Get a head start by thinking through your personal and online course schedules, organizing your materials and identifying a solid support structure. Here are a few tips to help online students get organized before beginning classes. https://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2017-09-08/4-steps-to-get-organized-for-online-courses

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Nearly a third of U.S. teenagers use technology to cheat - SHARON NOGUCHI, Mercury News

U.S. teenagers think they are savvy about cybersecurity–so much that nearly one-third skirt school safeguards to access banned content and 29 percent admit to using tech devices to cheat in school–but more than twice that many say they know of classmates who have cheated with devices, a survey found. The findings of the survey by the computer security firm McAfee are in proportion with a 2009 survey by Common Sense Media–although the exact extent of cheating, and whether it’s changed over the years, is unknown. https://www.eschoolnews.com/2017/09/07/teenagers-use-electronics-cheat/

New report illustrates challenges part-time students face - Pat Donachie, Education Dive

Higher education institutions are failing to adequately service part-time students, with only about a quarter of such students attaining a degree within the eight years they begin college, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress, with four out of every ten students who enrolled exclusively part-time in their first year not returning for their second. Part of the issue is due to a lack of comprehensive data at the national level, according to Marcella Bombardieri, the author of the report and a senior policy analyst on the postsecondary education team for CAP. She noted that often community college administrators, when asked about what they were doing to assist part-time or transfer students, would respond that “everything” they do is for those student groups, because they often make up the most significant proportion of community college enrollees. http://www.educationdive.com/news/new-report-illustrates-challenges-part-time-students-face/504501/

Gamification: What E-Learning Modules Can Learn from Video Games - Henry Kronk, e-learning inside

When most people start a new job at a fast food restaurant, they might expect to watch a requisite – and boring – training video. But for new cooks at KFC, the initiation process is definitely weirder. As new employees enter on their first day, they are now given an Oculus Rift VR headset to wear. The game they must play is best described as an insane VR escape room where they must correctly progress through the five steps of the KFC cooking process before they can get out. Colonel Sanders himself heckles each employee throughout the process. The new system might sound like a quirky publicity stunt, but KFC claims that it takes players an average of 10 minutes to beat the game, while the previous teaching method took 25 minutes. https://news.elearninginside.com/gamification-e-learning-modules-can-learn-video-games/

Friday, September 15, 2017

Accreditor seeking standardization in Online Education - Ashley A. Smith, Inside Higher Ed

A regional accreditor [HLC] recently denied an Arizona community college’s bid to increase its online degree offerings, with a decision that highlights challenges colleges may face when seeking to expand their online presence. In a peer review report, which Inside Higher Ed obtained, HLC’s reviewers described “strong foundational components critical to online delivery and a clear passion for such delivery.  In particular, the reviewers found a lack of required training for online instruction. “SCC’s contract with the faculty was cited as the reason training could not be mandated. Further authority for reviewing and overseeing online delivery was pushed down to the department level.  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/09/15/accreditor-denies-arizona-community-colleges-bid-expand-online

The 2017 Survey of Admissions Directors: Pressure All Around - Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Only 34 percent of colleges met new student enrollment targets this year by May 1, the traditional date by which most institutions hope to have a class set. That is a key finding of the 2017 Survey of College and University Admissions Directors, released today by Inside Higher Ed, in collaboration with Gallup. The 34 percent figure is down from 37 percent a year ago and 42 percent two years ago. For colleges, public and private, failing to hit that target can be anything from an annoyance to an existential crisis. All but a few elite private colleges are dependent on tuition, and most public colleges are as well (both through tuition and state funds that tend to be distributed based on enrollment.) https://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/2017-survey-admissions-directors-pressure-all-around

Online classes take teaching from stage to screen - Thomas Klassen, Toronto Star

University and college students will soon be back in their classrooms. However, more and more students now study online, rather than in a classroom. This is both positive and worrisome. I know, as earlier this summer I taught my first online university course. Online education is a transformative disruption in teaching and learning. Freed from physical constraints, learning becomes more accessible and teaching techniques more innovative. More than one-quarter of post-secondary students in Canada have registered in at least one online course. https://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2017/09/05/online-classes-take-teaching-from-stage-to-screen.html

Budget committee revives plan to track UW professors' teaching hours - NICO SAVIDGE, Wisconsin State-Journal

Lawmakers on the state’s budget-writing committee have revived a controversial plan to track how much time professors in the University of Wisconsin System spend teaching — five months after they initially rejected the proposal. The budget provision requires the UW System to develop a plan for measuring the teaching hours of faculty and academic staff, and to reward those employees “who teach more than a standard academic workload.” Data on teaching hours would have to be included in reports the System sends to the governor and Legislature, and published on UW’s online “accountability dashboard.” http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/university/budget-committee-revives-plan-to-track-uw-professors-teaching-hours/article_d1108f6b-7a78-5cb4-a30c-69785dbf6180.html

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Coursera’s Online MBAs Could Be Big Business - Adam Lashinsky, Fortune

Coursera and its ilk—Udacity and Minera Project are two examples—are an appropriate topic of conversation on the day after Americans honor those who work. Coursera’s take is that higher education is too expensive and too airy-fairy to meet the needs of today’s students. What’s needed are specific classes that serve the needs of today’s students, like courses on how to code specific software languages and brand-new fields like machine learning and data science. Coursera also is working with individual employers like Google to design classes that employees and developers need to succeed on their platforms.  Coursera sells access to groupings of courses it calls “specializations,” sold as a subscription for $49 a month. It also has created online degrees with prestigious universities, including a $20,000 MBA from the University of Illinois (my alma mater) that Maggioncalda says would cost $118,000 in person. http://fortune.com/2017/09/05/courseras-online-mbas-could-be-big-business/

Report: Student Loan Debt Reaches $1.4 Trillion - Joshua Bolkan, Campus Technology

Student loan debt in the United States has grown 149 percent over the last decade to reach $1.4 trillion, according to a new report from Experian. Over the same period, the average student loan debt per person went up 62 percent. Held by 13.4 percent of Americans, student loan debt is the fastest growing debt segment and the largest non-household debt. But, counter-intuitively, fewer people make late payments on this type of debt than on other loans. In fact, the percentage of late payments on student debt has decreased 10.1 percent since 2009. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/08/29/report-student-loan-debt-reaches-1.4-trillion-late-payments-decline.aspx

Free online professional development courses being offered - Wichita State

Wichita State is offering free online professional development badge courses. Badges are designed for working professionals who want to learn new skills and technologies to keep up with the needs of employers. Any non-degree seeking person can take a course. Wichita State University is offering full scholarships for anyone wanting to enroll in one of 35 undergraduate online professional development badges. Badges are designed for working professionals who want to continue learning new skills and technologies to keep up with the needs of employers. The self-directed online courses allow students to go at their own pace each semester. Anyone who enrolls for one undergraduate-level badge now through Friday, Sept. 15, will have the full cost of the badge covered. http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/stories/story.asp?si=3764

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The one thing higher ed should really invest in to reach millennials and gen Z - GARY KAYYE, eCampus News

Higher education institutions often make the mistake of investing in exorbitantly expensive products they don’t need. If the higher ed market really considered the generation it serves, it would make a better cost-benefit analysis. For example, I use the completely-free Facebook LIVE in all of my classes, while my university has spent thousands of dollars on alternative solutions that are impossible for the average person to use and require an AV tech to launch. My students are familiar with Facebook. They are already on it in their daily lives. It’s free. And, let’s face it, sometimes college students don’t want to get out of bed and get dressed for class. So, Facebook LIVE allows them to never miss a class. As a professor, I am using the technology to adapt to them, instead of having them adapt to me. Remember, I’m the old person in the room, not them. https://www.ecampusnews.com/campus-administration/higher-ed-invest-reach-millennials/

Weigh an Online Course That Uses Adaptive Learning - Brad Fuster, US News

One challenge for me as a professor when teaching introductory classes is assessing what students already know and what they don't, and then presenting course material in a way that is simultaneously helpful and rigorous. An online course that uses adaptive learning technology may be a great fit, especially for older students with previous work experience. But these classes also have limitations.  Adaptive courses, which are gaining popularity and offered mainly at larger online universities, individually adjust each learner's experience in real time based on the student's progress. For example, a three- to five-minute lecture might explain how to solve a mathematical equation. This lecture is followed by a quiz that presents the student with one problem at a time. A computer program assesses how the student answers each question, and then, based on whether they answered correctly, determines the next question. https://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2017-09-01/weigh-an-online-course-that-uses-adaptive-learning