Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Giving a Voice to Thoughts: New MIT Technology has Important Implications for Education - Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Education: Digital Learning

MIT, once again, has taken a huge step toward further embedding technology into our lives. In this case, it is giving voice to thoughts, speech to the speechless and opening the door to telepathy. The technology, named “AlterEgo,” generates digital signals to unvoiced thoughts. One wears a tiny, spare, flexible frame that contains between 4 and 16 tiny electrodes to pick up non-vocalized speech – such as when one reads text or deliberately thinks articulated thoughts. It transforms these brain pulses into digital transmissions. What are the potential implications for teaching and learning? As with most technologies, there are both the good aspects and the challenging.

Stackable degrees could be the future of higher education, experts say - Shalina Chatlani, Education Dive

The alternative credential market is growing and the pace will not slow down, higher education experts said during a Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board briefing last week about the Higher Education Act. One of the panelists, Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governors University, said that around "two-thirds of jobs are going to require some postsecondary credential, while only about 42% of adults currently have any postsecondary credential of any sort."  Van Ton-Quinlivan, vice chancellor of the California Community Colleges, added to these sentiments during the briefing, noting that she has seen the demand for "booster shot" credentials in the workplace especially as new technologies continue to be introduce. "As we begin to see the economy shift in that direction,' she said, "people will be building up portfolios and reputations that are beyond how we treat credentials in the current day."

State of the Commons - Creative Commons

The past few years have been transformative for Creative Commons. In 2015, we set out with an ambitious new strategy to nurture a vibrant, usable Commons powered by collaboration and gratitude. Our ambition is fueled by our technology projects and an energetic and productive global community. Each of CC’s initiatives works in support of this goal, unleashing the potential of the Commons through the work of our committed global communities. In 2017, we hosted our largest Global Summit yet, organized by our community and supported by new sponsors and donors. With your guidance, we redesigned the Creative Commons Global Network in a massive, collaborative, international process, and we built new online infrastructure to support this unprecedented expansion of the movement for sharing. Our new engineering team shipped the CC Search beta and established new partnerships to expand our reach. We launched an exciting certification program, meeting demand for the course from librarians and educators around the world. We fought against the TPP and for copyright reform in Europe, and helped national governments adopt open education policies.

Free textbooks? Federal government is on track with a pilot program. - Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, Washington Post

Open-source textbooks have emerged as a cost-effective solution for cash-strapped college students. They can download the material free or print copies for a nominal price. (Scott Anderson/NewsTribune via AP) The federal government’s first major investment in the free use of textbooks remains on track, Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said Monday in a letter examining a pilot program by the Education Department. Congress designated $5 million in the fiscal 2018 budget to support the creation or expansion of open-educational resources: peer-reviewed academic material released under an intellectual property license that permits free use. The money is an outgrowth of legislation Durbin introduced in the fall.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Focusing on the Finish Line - Ashley A. Smith, Inside Higher Ed

A new analysis from Civitas Learning shows that many students are dropping out of their colleges despite having earned the majority of the credits they need for their degrees. Civitas found that on average nearly one in five students who leave college without a degree complete 75 percent or more of the credit threshold for a degree before leaving. And one in 10 dropouts has reached at least 90 percent of the credit threshold. The analysis is based on data from 30 two-year and 23 four-year universities that use Civitas student success tools and represent more than 300,000 degree-seeking students.

2018’s Cities with the Most & Least Student Debt - WalletHub

Student-loan debts are more unsustainable in some places than others. WalletHub therefore compared the median student-loan balance against the median earnings of adults aged 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree in each of 2,515 U.S. cities to determine where Americans are most overleveraged on their college-related debts. Read on for our findings, expert advice from a panel of researchers and a full description of our methodology.

The Politics of Data Privacy in a Post-Cambridge Analytica World - Knowledge@Wharton

In the weeks following the eruption of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, the world’s biggest social network has been experiencing what is arguably its biggest PR crisis ever. But the lasting legacy of the scandal is not headlines linking Cambridge Analytica with the Trump campaign or Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election; rather, it is the politicization of privacy that will surely intensify as the public becomes more aware of how firms monetize their personal data, writes Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett in this opinion piece.

Enrollment Declines Steepest in Midwest and Northeast - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Overall college enrollments continue to slide, according to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit that tracks 97 percent of students who attend degree-granting institutions that are eligible to receive federal financial aid. This spring the center found a decline of more than 275,000 students, or 1.8 percent, compared to the previous spring. The decrease follows six straight years where fewer students attended college in the U.S. Enrollments went down in 34 states this spring, the center said. Six of the 10 states with the largest declines are in the Midwest or Northeast (see below).

Monday, May 21, 2018

Don’t know the graduate next to you? One-third of students take at least one class online. - Jeffrey J. Selingo, Washington Post

Two decades ago, when I was a student in a part-time master’s degree program at Johns Hopkins University, I would hurry from my office twice a week to make class, hoping like many of my classmates for a few minutes to grab coffee and a bite to eat before settling in for the 2 1/2-hour seminars.  Next week, when I address the graduating class of the same school, most of them will probably be meeting face to face for the first time at commencement: Seventy percent of this year’s graduates earned their master’s degrees online.

It's time to break silos, look at education as a continuum, leaders say - Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

A recent Gallup poll revealed that only about one in four adults believe that students who graduate from high school this year are prepared for college or a career, and Lone Star Community College Chancellor Stephen Head agrees. “I really don’t care what your background is, most students are not prepared for college — they’re just not," Head said to a crowd assembled last month in Washington, D.C. for a Communities In Schools event. "Grades are one thing, but emotionally, they’re just not ready. They need the background of social help behind the scenes … They don’t even know what they don’t know.” “They need job skills," he added. "We help them with that, but they need to know how to show up on time, how to handle conflict resolution, how to [succeed]."

Connecticut calls its new Cybersecurity Action Plan a 'call to arms' - Colin Wood, StateScoop

A document published this week by Connecticut officials represents one of the strongest cybersecurity plans undertaken by any state. The 41-page document, called simply the Cybersecurity Action Plan, highlights a need for increased security, more cross-sector collaboration, and heightened academic focus to help fill a cybersecurity workforce gap. The plan builds on a cybersecurity strategy proposal last year that called for Connecticut to implement dozens of new programs and policies affecting government offices, law enforcement, higher education and local businesses.

Poll: Americans look to colleges for research innovation - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

A new study from the University of Chicago's Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation shows that a majority of Americans look to colleges and universities to drive the nation's innovation imperatives. According to the survey, 71% of the respondents believe higher education to be a bigger factor in innovation than corporations or government, but they also said that the U.S. is behind other countries in research and development. With a sample size of 1,086 adults representing all 50 states, 61% of participants said that universities play “about the same role they have always played” in the future of innovation, but only 25% said that institutions are “leading the charge more than ever before.”

Sunday, May 20, 2018

It's time to break silos, look at education as a continuum, leaders say - Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

A recent Gallup poll revealed that only about one in four adults believe that students who graduate from high school this year are prepared for college or a career, and Lone Star Community College Chancellor Stephen Head agrees. “I really don’t care what your background is, most students are not prepared for college — they’re just not," Head said to a crowd assembled last month in Washington, D.C. for a Communities In Schools event. "Grades are one thing, but emotionally, they’re just not ready. They need the background of social help behind the scenes … They don’t even know what they don’t know.” “They need job skills," he added. "We help them with that, but they need to know how to show up on time, how to handle conflict resolution, how to [succeed]."

Reducing 'distance' is key to online learner success - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Faculty members from the University of Central Florida wrote in Evolllution about the strategies to building engagement for online students. Citing common factors leading to "transactional distance" for students, such as a lack of feedback or unresponsiveness from admissions officers or instructors, poor course design or detachment from campus life, the authors say that building student confidence begins with the school's readiness to answer questions and to provide support for the online learning process.  Transactional distance is defined as space felt between a faculty member and a student in the learning process, which is exacerbated in distance learning platforms where students are not able to enhance their learning with in-class dialog, in-person exchange, or lack of exposure to campus culture. This distance, the writers say, can lead to students feeling isolated, unsupported and usually precedes a student withdrawing from a course. They suggest using online coaches to encourage students to completion.

Online education comparable to traditional learning, but still has flaws - Gloria Knott, Arizona Sonora News

Melissa Wuellner, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska Kearney and a former faculty member at South Dakota State, studied natural resources courses online and face-to-face and found that online students spent more time on their classwork than the face-to-face students. She also found that grades in both online and face-to-face classes of the same course, which offered the same type of assignments, were comparable. “Mostly what we found was that students do about the same in both environments,” Wuellner said. Although research shows that academic rigor and grades are similar in both environments, online education still has its flaws — just as face-to-face classes do.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Pilot Linking Degrees and Earnings Gets First Try at U Texas - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

The first-year median earnings for an undergraduate who received his or her degree in health and physical education/fitness at the University of Texas at Austin is $39,441. The median debt for that individual is $24,306. After 10 years, the earnings reach $70,262. For an undergraduate who majored in computer and information sciences, the median income for year one is $85,334; the median debt is $27,644. By the tenth year the CS major would have a median income of $117,418. That's the kind of detailed information that prospective students and their families would find helpful in sorting through college choices.

Why One Professor Prefers Electronic Ink Over Fancy Tablets - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A professor of electrical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University uses Sony's Digital Paper device for e-textbooks, lecture notes, grading and more. There is no app store where people can acquire new uses for it. The interface is dim. And the stylus has to be recharged just like the device itself. Yet, at least one instructor wouldn't give up his Sony Digital Paper, even for the most tricked-out iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface. But then Akhan Almagambetov isn't like most people. This assistant professor in electrical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott campus disavows PowerPoints, has been known to rip up textbooks and is highly protective of his eyes.

10 free online courses to shape the future of the education - Christian Guijosa , Observatory of Education/Innovation

Experts describe a future educational ecosystem in which students have new technological devices; classes happen in virtual and augmented reality classrooms; there are increased distance learning interactions; educational programs teach soft skills; among other characteristics still unexplored. On the other hand, automation and AI are expected to create new jobs that would demand specialized skills. How to face the educational challenge imposed by this rapid technological evolution? Teachers need to adapt and prepare continuously to achieve the success of the new educational programs. For this reason, we share ten free courses of educational tools so that you add skills and competencies to your professional career and begin to shape the future of education.

Friday, May 18, 2018

7 Roles for Artificial Intelligence in Education - Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Artificial Intelligence is no longer just contained in science fiction films. It is a part of our everyday lives and in our classrooms. As we use tools like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, we are just beginning to see the possibilities of AI in education. And, we should expect to see more. The Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector 2017-2021 report suggests that experts expect AI in education to grow by “47.50% during the period 2017-2021.” With the expected growth of AI in education, here is a glimpse into some of the roles it will play in the classroom.

Illinois public universities can’t get past the lingering effects of state budget crisis - Rich Miller, Chicago Sun Times

Eastern Illinois University’s legislative liaison Katie Anselment had some strong words for legislators during an Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee hearing last week. Anselment testified against a bill that would create a pilot program to allow a Downstate community college to offer nursing bachelor’s degrees. And then, later in her testimony, Anselment had a mic-drop moment: “At a time when public universities are being admonished to up our enrollments despite declining numbers of high school graduates, to identify and implement more efficiencies in our operations, to focus on what we do best and to consider eliminating duplicative offerings, this bill sets the stage for opening up 48 new taxpayer-funded competitors in a state that has recently proven unable to reliably support the nine universities it already has.”

Are Etextbooks Affordable Now? In a bid to gain market share, publishers have slashed the cost of digital textbooks - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

New print textbooks can still cost students hundreds of dollars, but the cost of etextbooks is falling fast, according to data from etextbook distribution platforms VitalSource and RedShelf -- both of which work with all major publishers. Since 2016, the average price of etextbooks on VitalSource has fallen by 31 percent, from $56.36 in 2016 to $38.65 in 2018. Some areas, such as mathematics, have seen more drastic change, said VitalSource. In 2016, the average math etextbook cost $79. Now it’s $39 -- a decrease of almost 50 percent. RedShelf confirmed a similar price drop. In 2015, the average etextbook cost $53.11, the company said. Now it’s $39.24.