Sunday, April 22, 2018

Online Ed Leaders Agree Top 2 Indicators of Program Quality Are Student Success Rates, Student Evaluations - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

The majority of online education leaders agree that most relied-upon metrics currently in use by online programs are student retention and graduation rates and student course/program evaluations, according to a recent survey from Quality Matters and Eduventures Research. While those two indicators topped the list by far, other quality measures, such as faculty training, summative student assessment, program reputation and external rankings, were less commonly cited by the survey respondents.

Study: Lectures remain a steady, but ineffective, element of STEM education - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Approximately 55% of college classrooms throughout the United States and Canada are using the traditional lecture model to teach science, mathematics and technology, according to a new study published in Science magazine. About 27% of classes had some levels of interactive instruction, such as technology-based question and answer modules, and 18% were described as "student-centered" in a survey of 2000 classrooms.  The study's author says professors have to feel confident in knowing and utilizing new forms of teaching, which may be stunting the implementation of interactive models of instruction. “I think there is a growing awareness and recognition among the STEM professoriate of the benefits of active learning strategies on students’ learning and attitudes toward STEM,” said Marilyne Stains, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Microsoft launches new online training courses for aspiring AI engineers - TOM KRAZIT, GeekWire

A new ten-course seminar for engineers looking to add machine-learning skills to their resumes is now available through the Microsoft Professional Program. The Microsoft Professional Program for AI will be available four times a year and it should take at least a few weeks to complete the training. Developers will be given an introduction to machine-learning principles and taught how to create learning models and data sets, modeled on an internal Microsoft training program. They will be awarded a “a digitally sharable, résumé-worthy credential” after completing a deep learning project at the end of the course, Microsoft said.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Universities must expand reach to stay competitive - Stephanie Kim, Georgetown University

With their distinctive campuses, emphasis on research and scholarship, and singular form of governance, universities are sometime seen as academic sanctuaries, separate from the rest of society. While there is some truth to this notion, colleges, like other institutions, are also products of the society that shaped them—and they exert their own unique influence on society as well. In 2018, with the nation and world more fast-moving and interconnected than ever, the very pressing concerns of society will be the concerns of higher education as well; and those universities that are most able to confront these challenges—by expanding their missions, reaching out to “nontraditional” students, and partnering with other institutions here and abroad—will be the most successful.

Class Central Learner Survey (2017): MOOC Users Highly Educated, Have Experienced Career Benefits - Dhawal Shah, Class Central

We received nearly 2,500 responses to the survey. Overall, we found that Class Central users tend to be highly educated. You are interested in MOOCs for both personal and professional reasons, and many of you have experienced career benefit from MOOCs. On the whole, you aren’t keen to pay for MOOCs, and you are divided over the value of the social and interactive elements of MOOCs. More detailed results from the survey are linked below.

Harvard Division of Continuing Education Relies on Tuition Rather than Endowment Funding - ANNA KURITZKES and CINDY H. ZHANG, Harvard Crimson

Unlike many other schools and programs at Harvard, the Division of Continuing Education has been almost entirely financially self-sufficient in recent years, raising money through tuition and other programming rather than relying heavily on money from the University endowment. The Division of Continuing Education offers online, in-person, and summer courses for part-time and adult students. DCE courses are offered through the Harvard Extension School and Harvard Summer School. Huntington D. Lambert, dean of the Division of Continuing Education, said the division’s programs are largely self-sustaining based on money earned through tuition. “We don't ask for any funding, so we don't get support from the endowment or the University. In fact, we send money back to the faculties,” Lambert said. Harvard has faced budget constraints in recent years in the wake of poor endowment returns and is projected to lose tens of millions annually because of a new endowment tax that Congress passed in December

Friday, April 20, 2018

What is the future of online learning in higher education? - Matthew Lynch, TechEdvocate

With over six million students currently enrolled in online learning programs, there is no future in higher education except in online education. As universities adapt to better serve a growing population of digital learners, there will no doubt continue to be monumental progress made in educating all students, everywhere. Online learning is the future of education–at all levels, but especially in higher education. As the concept of distance learning evolves from cassette tape and telephone learning to high-speed, interactive Internet lessons, more doors are opened for students for whom traditional classroom learning simply does not work. The following trends will likely take hold in the next five years, allowing more students access to high-quality education from any location.

Decline in international college enrollment hurts everyone - Jonathan Green, University Business

U.S. higher education was dealt a serious blow last fall. The expansion of international education that has been a critical financial stimulus for American colleges and universities has experienced an alarming setback. International education in the forms of U.S. students studying abroad and U.S. institutions enrolling students from other countries has been an important area of growth on campuses across the country for the past decade.

It Oversaw For-Profit Colleges That Imploded. Now It Seeks a Comeback. - ERICA L. GREEN, New York Times

The organization at the center of one of the largest fraud scandals in the history of for-profit colleges is planning a comeback. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools was stripped of its powers in December 2016 amid the collapse of two for-profit university chains, where tens of thousands of students were encouraged to take on hundreds of millions in debt based on false promises, including jobs after graduation. Now, that same accrediting council is asking to be reinstated by the Trump administration as a federal gatekeeper for hundreds of degree-granting programs and billions of dollars in federal funds.

New Virginia Law Mandates Creation of OER Guidelines - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technologies

A new Virginia law mandates creation of guidelines for open educational resources at colleges and universities. HB 454 requires the governing boards of public institutions to implement guidelines for the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost OER in their courses offered at such institution. However, while the policies and procedures are required, no instructor would be forced to use OER. The guidelines can also address the use of "low-cost commercially published materials."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

College Wasn’t Designed Around Student Success. Here’s How to Fix It - Bridget Burns, EdSurge

Half of the students who walk through the doors of a college or university leave without a degree. Half. Most of those students are bright and energetic, highly capable students—they may even be extra motivated to succeed because of the hurdles they’ve had to overcome just to get into college. But they lack resources. That’s just what the University Innovation Alliance has been working on for the past three years. The Alliance is a consortium of 11 major public research universities enrolling 400,000 students, 120,000 of whom are low-income.

Amazon's cloud is looking at building a corporate training service - Jordan Novet, CNBC

Amazon already has online training programs for partners to train their employees on how to use AWS offerings. This would be a broader general-purpose service that companies could use to manage all kinds of corporate training and elearning programs. Amazon explored the learning-management field and concluded that none of the available tools were just right for its own workers, and executives decided the company would build its own system, one person familiar with the matter told CNBC. The idea was to build something "commercializable," the person said. It's not clear when the service could become available publicly.

With FCC approval, all systems are go for Starlink global internet - Mark Austin, Digital Trends

Not satisfied with merely ferrying cargo to and from the International Space Station (and putting a red Tesla into orbit around Mars), SpaceX now wants to provide high-speed internet to everyone in the world. SpaceX CEO and flamethrower enthusiast Elon Musk envisions Starlink as a network of thousands of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that will provide broadband internet access to the entire planet. That plan took a big step forward this week when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the company’s request to provide broadband satellite services.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Are campus innovation centers serving all students? - Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Carnegie Mellon, Brown, Connecticut and Iowa State universities, among others, have invested millions of dollars in creating campus innovations centers. Their goal is to attract nontraditional business students to campus for entrepreneurial development, and to create a pipeline of corporate partnership to the campuses, according to a recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Between 2008 and 2016, Carnegie Mellon helped to launch 250 companies mostly comprised of faculty members and staff from the college of engineering and schools of business and computer science. This representation, some say, is a limitation for centers as they largely attract white males from STEM disciplines.  Matthew Mayhew, a professor of educational administration at Ohio State University, said in the article that universities should encourage students who become involved with innovation centers to also align with other campus activities, which helps diversify skill sets necessary for entrepreneurial success. "The central idea is still the same," he said. "Students can actually learn the steps in how to take an idea and roll it out to execution. And those steps aren’t necessarily just about developing a strategic business plan."

Donald Trump Doesn't Understand Community Colleges - ALIA WONG, the Atlantic

During a speech on Thursday, President Trump revealed a striking ignorance of one of the pillars of his country’s educational system. In the course of promoting his infrastructure plan, he, a bit perplexingly, dismissed the country’s community colleges, suggesting he doesn’t know what purpose they serve. “We do not know what a ‘community college’ means,” he told the crowd in an Ohio training facility for construction apprentices, moments after expressing nostalgia for the vocational schools that flourished when he was growing up—schools that offered hands-on training in fields such as welding and cosmetology. He seemed to have a better grasp on these latter schools, analogizing them to the apprenticeship programs he was promoting in his effort to create 400,000 high-paying infrastructure jobs. The implication, as he brushed aside one form of higher education and lauded another, was that he’d like to resuscitate short-term training opportunities and phase out community colleges in the name of workforce development.

GW should institute mid-semester course evaluations to help current students - OPINIONS By GW Hatchet Editorial Board

Currently, the University administers online evaluations at the end of each semester, while some departments elect to do their own paper evaluations. There are a few select professors who do offer individual mid-semester course evaluations, but this is far from the norm. GW should implement mid-semester course evaluations in addition to the ones given to students at the end of each semester to improve classes for current students. Evaluations during each semester would allow students to voice complaints or concerns, whether about a professor’s teaching style or the assignments, at a time where the feedback can be immediately taken into consideration for professors to improve the second half of the semester. This would help students walk away from a course with more knowledge and a more positive experience, benefiting both the students and the professor.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Roving robot lets UCI student attend classes virtually while on bed rest - PRISCELLA VEGA, Los Angeles Times

The robot is self-balancing, with six- to eight-hour battery life. It sells for about $3,000. Members of UCI's class of 2016 used their senior class gift to buy four telepresence robots for the university. Law and political science professor Rick Hasen described the experience with the Double 2 as unusual, but said it helped instill camaraderie in his class. In past years, Hasen said, classes would be recorded and students would watch later and email him with questions. "It wasn't bad, but this was much better," Hasen said.

University of Akron to lift the curtain on new esports program at forum in April - Joey Morona,

University of Akron to lift the curtain on new esports program at forum in April - Joey Morona,  The University of Akron will unveil more details about its new esports program at a forum next month. The purpose of the event is "to discuss how the esports varsity teams and club will function, and how the program will contribute to the greater Akron area through community involvement," a university spokesperson said in a release. Akron's esports -- or competitive video gaming -- program is scheduled to launch this fall with both varsity and club teams. The varsity team will field between 50 to 55 players competing against other universities in games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO, Hearthstone and Rocket League. Like other student-athletes, varsity esports players will be eligible for scholarships.

How Can I Facilitate Online Discussions? - Torria Davis, Visual Design for Online Learning via Tomorrow's Professor

Providing opportunities for asynchronous and synchronous communication between learners in the course is an important part of creating a sense of presence and building a learning community in an online course. Learning to work with others across time and distance is a new skill for many taking online courses. Although learners may use social media to communicate with family and friends who are not in close proximity, they are not always cognizant of how to do this for academic purposes. Therefore the skill of interacting and collaborating with peers online must be taught and purposefully planned by the instructor.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Women in EdTech: Find Out Who Is Bridging the Gender Gap in Overall Workforce & Tech Roles - Cate Etherington, eLearning Inside

By and large, the gender gap in edtech reflects the gender gap in tech. In order words, with few exceptions, women represent less than half the workforce and occupy under 20% of tech roles. On a more promising note, however, most of the edtech companies we reached emphasized that they are aware of the problem and doing everything possible to bridge the gender gap moving forward.

Saudi cybersecurity academy and US firm Coursera sign strategic partnership - Arab News

The Saudi Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence and Programming Academy signed a memorandum of understanding with Coursera Inc., the world’s largest provider of interactive distance training and academic programs. Coursera is a venture-backed, education-focused technology company founded by Stanford professors in California. The Saudi Press Agency reported the agreement was co-signed on behalf of the academy by the Adviser at the Royal Court and President of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity and Programming Saud Al-Qahtani and the Dean of the academy Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Dahlawi.