Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Is innovation severely lacking in online education? - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

A new survey tracks online education's growth, along with technology innovations. Online education programs are seeing steady growth, though lower tuition and the use of innovative technologies and tools seem to be lagging, according to the Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE). CHLOE is a new survey of chief online officers at community colleges and four-year public and private nonprofit institutions and focuses on the management of online education as it becomes more mainstream at U.S. institutions. The emergence of the chief online officer position at many institutions is strong evidence that online education is becoming more mainstream, and the CHLOE survey draws upon feedback from 104 chief online officer responses to inform its report on current online education trends, including resource allocation, emerging tools, instructional innovations, and more.

How Boundaries Between Colleges and Companies Will Continue to Blur - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

Some employers are starting to focus more energy on offering educational benefits to their employees, while colleges are struggling to respond to the growing interest by students in helping them land a job. A new center at Northeastern University sits at the intersection of these two areas—called the Center for the Future of Higher Education and Talent Strategy. Its director, Sean Gallagher, thinks it’s time for college leaders and employers to sit down and collaborate, even as he stresses that colleges need to assert their broader educational goals (such as preparing people to continue learning beyond just the skills of today). EdSurge sat down with Gallagher during the ASU+GSV Summit in May to learn about why he predicts that when it comes to education, the line between colleges and companies will continue to blur.

OER Pioneer OpenStax Launches Personalized Learning Tool for 3 Courses - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

The Rice University non-profit that has released almost two-dozen free textbooks into academia is beta-testing a new personalized learning system that works with its materials. OpenStax, which stated that it provides open educational resources to a million students each year, has been developing OpenStax Tutor for three years. The new service will be available this fall for three courses: college physics, biology and sociology. The tutoring service, which is available online, uses web-based OpenStax textbooks to deliver content, simulations, videos, "spaced" practice questions and instant feedback.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Effective Teaching Online - Sharon O'Malley, Inside Higher Ed

Four authors of books about online course development offer guidelines for engaging learners in distance education courses. Inside Digital Learning asked for their expert advice on how instructors and their institutions can excel in virtual course instruction. The authors agreed that the online classroom is different enough from the traditional one that faculty members and adjuncts need to create courses for digital delivery that are substantially different from those they teach on campus. And they said teaching online requires an even keener focus on student engagement than the face-to-face model does.

Road-Tripping for OER - Jennifer Goodman, Inside Higher Ed

A math professor takes his ideas for open educational materials to campuses across Georgia to try to help save students millions of dollars. It makes sense that the College of Coastal Georgia math professor and OER advocate German Vargas relies on open educational materials to help reduce textbook and material costs for courses like calculus and trigonometry. But he’s equally passionate about the importance of open materials for courses in economics, philosophy and sociology – and not just for his college’s students. Vargas, who has been assistant vice president for academic student engagement at Coastal Georgia since October 2015, is meeting with instructors and department heads at colleges across Georgia to share his message that OER makes sense in every discipline.

Enhancing Student Experience and Success through Technology - Monique Snowden, Evolllution

Many institutions are embracing immersive technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to meet students’ learning needs and expectations, particularly those who are digital natives. AR and VR, respectively, bring digital content into students’ physical locations or transport students to virtual spaces where they can interact in digitally constructed environments. As a former chief enrollment officer, I am captivated by the use of immersive technologies to enhance the recruitment process by enabling prospective students to attain a sense of what their collegiate experience might be like at a particular institution.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Online learners say these social perks are program musts - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

A new survey reveals that fully-online students identified interaction with instructors, classmates as paramount to their learning experience. The research, compiled from a survey of 1,500 students who are seriously considering, currently enrolled in or have recently graduated from a fully online program aims to help higher-ed leaders and policymakers better understand both the traits of online college students and what they’re looking for in their educational experience. The Online College Students 2017: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences report, from The Learning House, Inc. and Aslanian Market Research, shows that online students are seeking interaction with their classmates and course instructors. In fact, more than half of survey respondents said interaction with the academic community is important.

How to Help Faculty Build Online Courses - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Before 2015, faculty at the University of Arizona who wanted to teach online didn't have much in the way of formal support for building their online courses. There were no established processes or requirements. For some faculty, that was the end of the onboarding experience. "That's all you got," said Angela Gunder, associate director of the Office of Digital Learning (ODL). "You [were] now an online instructor." Instructional designers assumed that meant a more structured approach with "benchmarks" and "steps," but Melody Buckner, director of ODL, had a different idea: focusing on faculty. Buckner decreed, "[Instructional designers are] going to listen to faculty about how they teach, how their students prefer to learn and the unique challenges they face in the classroom," as Gunder recalled. "The faculty are going to drive the process, with the instructional designer there to support and facilitate production."

Carnegie Mellon professor: Better tech enables higher-quality online courses - Pat Donachie, Education Dive

Carnegie Mellon University Professor Bob Monroe discussed in a recent interview with Education Dive how the largely-held perception that Massive Open Online Classes would replace the traditional college lecture was largely overblown. The result, of the introduction of MOOCs into the higher ed landscape has been subtler, with it becoming increasingly clear that online learning opportunities offer an “evolution” of classroom instruction which allows faculty members to create a unique classroom experience via an online platform. Monroe said many higher ed institutions are also incorporating more focused learning opportunities into shortened programs, and online instruction is opening the door for class discussions to go deeper as they unfold over the course of days, rather than be confined to a classroom schedule.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why Professors Shouldn't Ban Smartphones - Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

As smartphones have become more common, educators have struggled with the question of what to do with smartphones in the classroom. For K-12 educators, the answer has been to ban smartphones from the classroom completely. College professors have also banned smartphones in increasing numbers. But now there’s some evidence to suggest that banning smartphones in the college classroom isn’t such a good idea. A study conducted by researchers in Singapore found that undergraduate students who were allowed to keep their phones with them actually scored better on tasks that measured their cognitive functioning. Even when they weren’t allowed to use their phones, students who were allowed to keep their phones in their pockets performed better than students whose phones were confiscated.

Unfair — and Unfixable? The Simple Truth About Salaries - Knowledge@Wharton

The system often in place today, he says, lines up like this: “Salaries that don’t support a middle-class lifestyle, management gets rewarded for serving shareholders, and everyone is miserable.” Part of the reason firms haven’t been able to develop a better way of setting salary is that it’s really difficult, says Wharton management professor Adam Cobb. “You could make the case that this is the biggest HR challenge in most organizations: How do you pay people fairly, in a way that’s motivating and encouraging the right kinds of behaviors? Because it’s a moving target. We are human beings, and our perception of these things changes over time. What you think is fair and equitable might not be what I think is fair and equitable.”

Microsoft wants all of rural America to get high-speed broadband - JON BRODKIN - Ars Technica

Microsoft wants to connect two million rural Americans to high-speed wireless broadband by 2022, and it will get started with 12 pilot projects over the next year. The company is also offering free access to its intellectual property to help the rest of rural America get connected. Microsoft isn't planning to become an Internet service provider itself. Instead, the company will "invest in partnerships with telecommunications companies" building wireless networks using TV "white spaces" spectrum, Microsoft President Brad Smith wrote in a blog post yesterday. "We and our partners will have at least 12 projects up and running in 12 states in the next 12 months." The 12 states are Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Expanding your employment options: Learning opportunities for over 50s - Emma Brook, Virtual College

Online training courses provide people of all ages with access to learning new skills and areas of knowledge, which, in turn, helps to expand their employment options. Across the UK, there are thousands of people aged over 50 and under the state pension age that are out of work, either due to early retirement or because of the struggle to find work. Life begins at 50, right? So why are so many over 50s out of work? Although laws seek to protect us from discrimination of any type - whether this is based on age, gender or race - older job seekers are more likely to experience long-term unemployment than any other age group. However, in today’s world, being over 50 means very little when you have the right skill set. And with new tools and technology easily at the ready, there’s no stopping the older workforce.

A conversation with Yale University Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller - Coursera Blog

Robert Shiller, who won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, is the instructor of Financial Markets, one of the most popular courses on Coursera. Broadly, I think that the internet age is a fundamental revolution in our society, and I want to see it work. I think that the kind of education that used to be reserved for a few people at elite colleges should be shared around the world, and I’m happy to be a part of that. In terms of my course specifically, after I received the Nobel Prize, I had the opportunity to think about my role as an academic and what I could do to support others in the field. I realized that the Coursera platform could help me reach thousands of learners and give back to the community by sharing my knowledge. So, in February 2014, I partnered with administrators at Yale to launch the Coursera Financial Markets course.

This Is What A University Of The Future Looks Like - Nick Morrison, Forbes

Coventry University is to offer 50 wholly online degrees over the next five years, in one of the most significant steps yet in the development of a new model of higher education. If successful, it could herald the long-awaited disruption of the degree market away from the traditional campus approach and towards an entirely online experience. ‘Higher education is not limited by the physical or geographical boundaries that it once was, and we believe online learning has a huge role to play in the future of undergraduate and postgraduate scholarship,’ said Ian Dunn, Coventry’s deputy vice-chancellor for student experience.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Universities and colleges struggle to stem big drops in enrollment - Jon Marcus, Hechinger Report

How dramatic is the falloff? There were just over 18 million students enrolled in higher education nationally in the semester just ended — 2.4 million fewer than there were in the fall of 2011, the most recent peak, the National Student Clearinghouse reports. “That’s unprecedented in the history of as long as data has been kept on higher education,” said Kevin Crockett, senior executive at the enrollment-management consulting firm Ruffalo Noel Levitz. There’s no upswing likely until 2023, and even then the recovery will be slow, projects the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. When it comes, it will be comprised largely of low-income, first-generation-in-college racial and ethnic minorities. These are the kinds of students institutions have generally proven poor at enrolling, and who will arrive with a far greater need for financial aid and expensive support.

The Future Of Our Economy Rests On Innovating Our Higher Education System - Jeb Bush and Joe Lonsdale, Forbes

Today, there are more than 5.5 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. labor market, up from 3.2 million just five years ago. It’s not due to a lack of workers aspiring for better jobs, but a lack of workers qualified for the very positions employers need filled. America is facing a skills gap that only continues to grow as innovation outpaces our education system. A recent study by McKinsey and Company found that nearly half of today’s jobs could be automated using current technology, a challenge on par with the industrial revolutions of the 19th century. When it comes to improving higher education today, one major obstacle is government bureaucracy. Our government has long set up insidious funding structures that saddle Americans with astronomical student loans, poor educational outcomes and little applicable, real life experience.

'I don't know how to lead for equity, that was not part of my program' - Autumn Arnett, Education Dive

Equity took center stage in the day two conversations at the Education Commission of the States National Forum on Education Policy Thursday. One resonant statement reflected how principal preparation programs didn't include equity components, meaning that now leaders are struggling to approach their work through an equity lens. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education President Joe Garcia — who shared with the audience that his school counselors never once mentioned to him the idea of his going to college— said working harder to close achievement gaps from early education on through to higher ed is everyone’s work. “It’s not just an issue of racial justice — although that’s important — it’s a question of our economic sustainability” as a nation, Garcia said. Professional development is perhaps the single most important aspect of the equity conversation.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ted Mitchell, Obama Ed Under Secretary, Is ACE's Next President - Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

The next leader of the American Council on Education will be Ted Mitchell, who in January wrapped up an eventful and influential stint as the top higher education official in the Obama administration’s Education Department. He will replace Molly Broad, ACE's first woman leader, who will retire in October after a nine-year tenure. Many in higher education and beyond view Mitchell as an accessible and pragmatic straight shooter. Previous occupations for Mitchell include president of Occidental College; history professor; administrator at the University of California, Los Angeles; president of the California State Board of Higher Education; and CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit group with roots in the charter school movement.

MIT Professor Gives A Dire Warning to the U.S. About Funding Science - Dom Galeon, Futurism

In a video shared by Bill Gates, Broad Institute director Eric Lander warns that the decline of support for private and public research sectors could lead to the U.S. falling behind as a global leader in research and innovation. They say there’s no alternative to hard work, but most researchers probably wouldn’t turn down the opportunity for more collaborative research that’s well-funded. That’s the philosophy behind what the Broad Institute at MIT calls the Miracle Machine. The Miracle Machine produces amazing advances in science and technology as a result of federal support an funding for the public and private sectors of the research community. However, as a video narrated by Broad Institute director Eric Lander explains, one of America’s greatest assets is “falling into disrepair.”

5 Steps to Check if an Online Program Is Accredited - Jordan Friedman, US News

Prospective online students should research whether employers in their industry prefer online degrees with certain programmatic accreditation. When it comes to pursuing an online degree, it's important to select a legitimate program offering marketable credentials. A key indicator of legitimacy, experts say, is accreditation. Though it's voluntary, accreditation has several benefits and typically validates a program to other colleges and universities as well as employers. While it's generally safe to assume that online programs at reputable universities are accredited, experts say it doesn't hurt to double check. For those earning a degree from a lesser-known online school, researching accreditation is particularly important given the prevalence of scams on the internet.