Techno-News Blog

June 18, 2019

From badges to performance reviews, here’s how colleges are reinventing the Work-Study job

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By James Paterson, Education Dive

One idea comes from Chicago-based education technology firm Parker Dewey. Its online platform features a directory of short-term micro-internships that give students between five and 40 hours of paid experience in work such as content creation, candidate sourcing, market research and lead generation. “It is a win-win in several ways,” said Jeffrey Moss, Parker Dewey’s founder and CEO. “Companies test out a student interested in their firm and fill a need for handling a short-term project.” For colleges and universities, it promises better job placement and stronger employer relationships.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/from-badges-to-performance-reviews-heres-how-colleges-are-reinventing-the/556098/

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Walmart expands $1 a day degree program

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By Hallie Busta, Education Dive
Walmart announced Tuesday that it is adding more degrees, college partners and a path for high school students to its one-year-old program offering full- and part-time U.S. employees access to a college degree for $1 a day. Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University Global and Wilmington University will join the program, which adds 14 associate degrees, bachelor’s and certificate options in technical fields such as cybersecurity and computer science. Courses are offered through online degree marketplace Guild Education.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/walmart-expands-1-a-day-degree-program/556120/

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Enrollment Declines and College Closures Will Get Worse Before they Get Better

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Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside
Education Dive has been tracking college closures since 2016. Due largely to regulatory pressure, college closures have far and away been led by the for-profit sector. The publication reports that over 100 for-profits closed between 2016 and 2018, while 30 non-profits have shut their doors. In December, however, Fitch Ratings projected these closures to increase in 2019.

https://news.elearninginside.com/public-universities-bank-on-distance-learning-and-emerging-markets-to-offset-enrollment-declines/

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June 17, 2019

Moving From 5% to 85% Completion Rates for Online Courses

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By Amy Ahearn, EdSurge

At Acumen, where I design online courses, we’ve also been offering selective cohort-based programs for the past year that achieve completion rates of 85 percent. That’s a far cry from five years ago, when only 5 percent of the students were finishing the MOOCs I was designing. How have instructional designers collectively moved the needle so dramatically on completion rates? Unsurprisingly, some of the biggest drivers of these improved metrics include making people pay for online programs, increasing the selectivity of courses, and adding program managers and teaching assistants to follow up with learners. However, there are other meaningful interventions that help more students stick with online educational experiences. Here are seven practices for moving completion rates for online courses from 5 to 85 percent:

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2019-06-06-moving-from-5-to-85-completion-rates-for-online-courses

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More than half of online learners want to change careers

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James Paterson, Education Dive
More than half (53%) of college students enrolled online are doing so to change careers, while 18% are preparing for their first professional job, according to an annual survey from online program manager Learning House and Aslanian Market Research. The large majority (84%) of current and past students said their online programs were worth the cost, and 81% of online students said they felt confident they would graduate with the knowledge and skills needed in the job market. Nearly half (47%) of current students said they’d like to return to their alma mater to take additional courses. From 2014 to 2019, the share of undergraduates indicating their online courses were “better” than in-person classes fell from 50% to 39%, while the percentage who indicated they were “about the same” rose from 41% to 50%. More graduate students (52%) ranked online courses as better than in-person classes in 2019 than did in 2014 (43%).

https://www.educationdive.com/news/more-than-half-of-online-learners-want-to-change-careers/556307/

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Smart Glasses: Looking at Education with New Lenses

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Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

While his students work in collaborative groups, Mr. Jacobs reviews recent achievement data for each student. He’s looking to see how students answered questions on each objective for their last curriculum-based assessment, but he’s nowhere near his computer or a printout. Instead, Mr. Jacobs is wearing smart glasses. The data is right in front of his eyes. His glasses also audio- and video-record, display texts messages from parents and colleagues, and allow for Internet navigation.

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/smart-glasses-looking-at-education-with-new-lenses/

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June 16, 2019

What’s the Price of an Online Education?

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Mark Lieberman, Inside Higher Ed

How much students should pay for online programs varies widely from institution to institution.  We’re not breaking any revelatory news in saying that college and university pricing is … less than straightforward. But it can be instructive to examine how institutions make decisions about pricing. Luke Dowden arrived at Alamo last year after eight years at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. There, his bosses expected his online programs to be self-supporting, and cost and price were aggressively monitored. At Alamo, he has pushed to establish a financial model that will inform further pricing decisions.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/06/05/pricing-online-programs-involves-decisions-around-competition

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CONTINUOUS LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION – A CLOSER LOOK

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BY LEO GIOSUÈ, Jerusalem Post

The traditional methods of imparting knowledge to other people are becoming less and less dominant, with the emphasis instead being on online platforms and social media to deliver the necessary information required for learners to succeed. If the education system wants to maintain high demand and a steady influx of learners, they need to change their methods to suit the new landscape. Some areas have chosen to introduce continuous learning into the digital world via the use of tools like micro-credentials. These types of courses and development seminars provide short, concentrated bursts of information and knowledge, which is potentially more suitable for the modern audience.

https://www.jpost.com/Special-Content/Continuous-Learning-in-Higher-Education-A-Closer-Look-591554

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Early-years education online: the rise of the virtual preschool

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BY NEIL SELWYN, the Sector
Legislators in North Carolina in the US recently passed a bill to fund an online preschool program for ‘at risk’ children. This means that children aged three and four years can take their preschool education at home in the form of online ‘kindergarten readiness programs’. Children engage with online games, ‘virtual field-trips’ and other digital learning activities, while parents are sent teachers’ guides and boxes of resources. So, is this merely an instance of a technological ‘innovation’ providing an elegant and efficient ‘solution’ to educational problems? If not, what needs to be done instead? These are important choices, and it’s crucial that we all begin to properly discuss the values and trade-offs implicit in what might otherwise seem to be another inevitable step in the ongoing digitisation of education.

https://thesector.com.au/2019/06/04/early-years-education-online-the-rise-of-the-virtual-preschool/

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June 15, 2019

Survey: Most Students Say Online Learning Is as Good or Better Than Face-to-Face

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By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology
In a survey of 1,500 students who are seriously considering, currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a fully online program, most (86 percent) considered the value of their degree equal to or greater than the cost they paid to take it. Among those who have attended face-to-face and online courses, the majority (85 percent) said that online learning is as good as or better than attending courses on campus. In fact, two-thirds of online college students (67 percent) reported that they’d achieved the original goal that motivated them to enroll in their program; graduate students were more likely than undergraduates to feel that way (76 percent vs. 62 percent).

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2018/06/18/most-students-say-online-learning-is-as-good-or-better-than-face-to-face.aspx

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Survey: Students Choosing Online Programs Closer to Home

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By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology
In spite of the notion that students could conceivably take online courses from an institution anywhere in the world, two-thirds stick close to home — choosing a college or university within 50 miles of where they live. In fact, 44 percent selected a school within 25 miles of their homes. And the share of students enrolling in a school more than 100 miles from home fell from 37 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2019.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/06/04/survey-students-choosing-online-programs-closer-to-home.aspx

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Wharton establishes new online courses at the intersection of finance and technology

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By Jason Yan, Daily Pennsylvanian
Wharton professors will teach ‘fintech’ — a cross between finance and technology — to students around the world in a new online program. Wharton Online released the fintech specialization on Coursera, an online learning platform, on May 30. The program, titled “Fintech: Foundations and Applications of Financial Technology,” contains four courses and covers subjects from cryptocurrency and blockchain to crowdfunding and robo-advising. The courses will each cost a monthly fee of $79 and will be taught by Wharton finance and Penn Law professors.

https://www.thedp.com/article/2019/06/penn-wharton-fintech-finance-online-tech

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June 14, 2019

Leading Without an OPM in the Age of ‘Bigger Is Better’

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Evangeline J. Tsibris Cummings and Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., Inside Higher Ed

Building and managing their own online programs helps institutions transform themselves and prepare for the future, Vin Del Casino and Evie Cummings argue. To survive and prosper in this moment of massive change in higher education and the noise of “mega-universities” and to lead higher education into its next quarter century, it will take great courage, clarity of vision and purpose, and the empowerment and high expectations for impact among our faculty and staff. We must be mindful that while it requires leadership at your university, building an effective and integrated online experience also demands partnership with external stakeholders — state officials, university boards and accrediting agencies — whose focus on student completion and success must be geared toward the long game of a sustainable future.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/views/2019/06/05/universities-can-go-online-without-corporate-partner-even-age

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The 4 Things Every Digital Learning Leader Should Know

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Edward J. Maloney and Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

The answer always depends on the individual asking, but anyone who claims that there is a single route to a career in digital learning has not spent much time with leaders in the profession. A strength of the field is the range of diverse perspectives and training that practitioners bring to the work. Whatever one’s educational background, and independent of the decision to study for a Ph.D., there are a number of areas that everyone working in digital learning should know. These are subjects that neither of us learned anything about in our own traditional Ph.D. programs, but they have proven vital navigating our careers in higher education digital learning.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/technology-and-learning/4-things-every-digital-learning-leader-should-know

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7 Things You Should Know About LTI Advantage

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EDUCAUSE

LTI Advantage is the next generation of the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, which was designed to enable plug-and-play integration of educational applications and tools within an institution’s digital learning environment. LTI Advantage features three extensions that enable faster setup and configuration, improved user functionalities, and more advanced security to protect student data. LTI Advantage improves an institution’s digital learning ecosystem by making it more intuitive for faculty to integrate third-party resources, applications, and tools into a course.

https://library.educause.edu/resources/2019/4/7-things-you-should-know-about-lti-advantage

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June 13, 2019

To Catch a Fake: Machine learning sniffs out its own machine-written propaganda

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Tiernan Ray, ZD Net
The “Era of neural disinformation” is upon us, a future in which machines can generate fake news articles in enormous volume that humans will get suckered into believing is real.  The only hope for society lies with … another machine.  Researchers at Allen Institute and the Paul Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington have tuned the “GPT-2” neural network to create “Grover,” a program that both creates convincing fake articles but also is able to detect those fakes, pointing to a way to combat propaganda.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/to-catch-a-fake-machine-learning-sniffs-out-its-own-machine-written-propaganda/

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Learning Analytics and Campus Instructional Design Teams

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Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

For my money, the most disappointing late arrival to higher ed is actionable data.  Colleges and universities seem to be diverging from the data-driven present of almost every other industry. It is so common to hear that “data is the new oil” that this sentiment has become conventional wisdom. Can you imagine Amazon or Netflix running their businesses as data free?  Name any company with a marketplace advantage, and you will find that the key differentiating factor is most often the smart use of data. Colleges and universities? Not so much.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/learning-analytics-and-campus-instructional-design-teams

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Why does Beijing suddenly care about AI ethics?

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by Will Knight, MIT Technology Review

New guidelines on freedom and privacy protection signal that the Chinese state is open to dialogue about how it uses technology. And while China’s government is widely criticized for using AI as a way to monitor citizens, the newly published guidelines seem remarkably similar to ethical frameworks laid out by Western companies and governments.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613610/why-does-china-suddenly-care-about-ai-ethics-and-privacy/

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June 12, 2019

Learning Crypto and Blockchain is Now Made Easy by an Ivy League University

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Abeer Anwaar, Block Publisher

According to the press release published on May 30, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has officially introduced a new online program focusing on fintech in general, which also includes digital currencies and the distributed ledger technology (DLT). As the acceptance and popularity of cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology increases, the need to study it in more detail also becomes necessary. In light of that necessity, several universities around the globe are offering courses on the new technology. Among them is an Ivy League university from United States, the University of Pennsylvania.

https://blockpublisher.com/learning-crypto-and-blockchain-is-now-made-easy-by-an-ivy-league-university/

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The future of work: Being a cashier is Maryland’s most common occupation, but it’s likely vanishing

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Yvonne Wenger, Baltimore Sun

The number of cashiers in Maryland has grown steadily for decades, and more than 80,000 people work as cashiers in the state’s grocery and department stores, pharmacies and boutiques. An occupation practically as old as the economy, the job employs more people here than any other, according to the U.S. Labor Department. But the job is also among the most likely to be replaced by machines. Many bigger stores already offer the option of self-checkout, shifting the task of scanning and bagging items onto customers who then pay a computer that spits out change and receipts. Economists say many cashiers’ jobs will go away over the next decade, but an estimate on just how many is elusive.

https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-cashier-20190305-story.html

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Criminals learning how to commit card fraud from dark web

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Miles Brignall, the Guardian

Tutorials available online showing how to get details of stolen cards, says tech firm. Want to use stolen credit card details to buy online? There’s a class for that. Card fraud is evolving, with amateur fraudsters able to “enrol” in online “classes” where they can learn how to use stolen card details to buy smaller-value items. That’s the claim from a UK tech firm, which says a new breed of opportunistic fraudster is learning how to commit crime via online tutorials and guides available on the so-called “dark web”. Featurespace, a Cambridge-based artificial intelligence (AI) firm, showed Guardian Money examples and screengrabs of these tutorials, many of which will point people towards specific “carding” sites that sell people’s details.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jun/01/now-there-are-online-classes-in-how-to-use-stolen-cards

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