Techno-News Blog

October 8, 2019

The Impact of At-Scale and Mega-U Degrees

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Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed

In the near term, it appears that at-scale programs will be launched in popular, broad degree areas; the same for most mega-universities. That leaves more highly specialized, emerging market, just-in-time degree and certificate programs that meet the needs for newly forged career paths. Such programs will find an audience that is not yet large enough for the bigger institutions to consider offering at scale. In order to take on these emerging online program areas, the small and medium-size institutions must be in close touch with business and industry. They must anticipate the emergence and growth in new fields. They must be nimble and decisive to move ahead with these new programs.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/online-trending-now/impact-scale-and-mega-u-degrees

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Quantum computer bests all conventional computers in first claim of ‘supremacy’

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By Adrian Cho, Science Magazine

Gil voices another worry long held by many the field: That after all the hype surrounding quantum supremacy, quantum computing may experience a letdown like the one that plagued the field of artificial intelligence from the 1970s until the current decade, when technology finally caught up with aspirations. However, Google researchers appear to be optimistic. In the leaked paper, the 76 authors conclude: “We are only one creative algorithm away from valuable near-term applications.”

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/09/quantum-computer-bests-all-conventional-computers-first-claim-supremacy

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Google’s quantum bet on the future of AI—and what it means for humanity

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Katrina Brooker, Fast Company

Hartmut Neven, who leads Google’s quantum team, presented the lab’s advances during Google’s Quantum Spring Symposium in May, describing the increases in processing power as double exponential. Within computer science circles, this growth rate for quantum computing has been dubbed Neven’s law, a nod to Moore’s law, which posits that “classical” computing advances by doubling the number of transistors that can fit on a chip every 18 months.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90396213/google-quantum-supremacy-future-ai-humanity

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October 7, 2019

For Effective Edtech Platforms, Listen to Users

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Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Edtech has not reached its full potential. The number one essential rule of product development is to make sure you build something that people want and to avoid building something that people don’t want. As Hacker Noon puts it, the number one reason products fail is “…people go from an idea on the back of a napkin to writing detailed functional requirements, without asking whether people truly want the product in the first place.”

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/for-effective-edtech-platforms-listen-to-users/

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We all have a lot to learn from nontraditional learners

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Mari Cini, Education Dive

About three in four undergraduate college students are what policy experts refer to as “nontraditional” learners. These are students who attend college later in life, go to school part-time, work full-time while enrolled or are raising children while earning a degree.  They can teach all of us about the importance, and the increasing necessity, of evolving our education-to-career pathways. Here are three things we can — and must — learn from so-called nontraditional students:

https://www.educationdive.com/news/we-all-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-nontraditional-learners/563063/

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Choosing Employers Over College for More Education

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By Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

Roughly half of American adults without a college degree (46 percent) said they need additional education to advance in their careers, according to new survey data from the Strada Education Network and Gallup. Employers were the first-choice providers for this group, with 33 percent saying they are most likely to participate in additional education and training from employers. Community colleges were next (23 percent), followed by trade schools or programs (21 percent), and traditional four-year colleges (17 percent).

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2019/09/23/choosing-employers-over-college-more-education

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October 6, 2019

A.I. 101: What is artificial intelligence and where is it going?

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Melissa Hellmann, Seattle Times

In reality, artificial intelligence (AI) technology is quickly permeating every aspect of our lives. From Amazon’s voice-activated Alexa to writing technology that helps managers craft job postings, AI is in our hearts, homes and workplaces. And it’s only going to become a bigger part of our lives: Experts call the rise of AI the driving force behind the fourth industrial revolution.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/technology/ai-101-what-is-artificial-intelligence-and-where-is-it-going/

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Innovative Teaching Approaches: Virtual Reality

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Study International

As universities play a crucial role in moulding tomorrow’s talents, the application of technology can help universities stay ahead of the curve by not only supporting educators’ teaching and promoting creative enquiry, but also enhancing learning through exposure to advanced technology, making learning more satisfying and engaging than cases of passive classroom learning. Advances in AR, VR and simulation have opened the floodgates to digital internships, virtual labs, simulated industrial operations and novel approaches to collaborative and experiential learning. For example, while unorthodox, digital internships serve as a useful platform for students who are unable to engage in a ‘real-time’ internship due to personal constraints, such as family commitments. VR has been dubbed a revolutionary tool that provides students with an immersive learning experience, transporting them to a new environment without ever leaving the classroom.

https://www.studyinternational.com/news/innovative-teaching-approaches-virtual-reality-university-classroom/

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Communicating science online increases interest, engagement and access to funds

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Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, the Conversation

Scientists are active on social media, discussing everything from methods to the latest developments in research. They even use social media to raise funds. Scientists sometimes provide mentoring online and have conversations with more junior researchers about their careers. Social networking tools also provide a space to build both social and professional networks, allowing scientists to develop new collaborations. Dismissing online science communication as trivial to the intellectual work of scientists would be a mistaken position.

https://theconversation.com/communicating-science-online-increases-interest-engagement-and-access-to-funds-122102

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October 5, 2019

New study: Towards a do-it-yourself learning style

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Financial Express
This was revealed by Pearson’s Global Learner Survey, the findings of which were released last week: DIY mindset is reshaping education: When they have to retrain for work, 42% of learners in the US and 50% in China and India taught themselves using internet. Digital and virtual learning are new normal: Globally, 76% people believe college students will be taking online courses within 10 years, and 78% Indians believe students today have the benefit of using technology to support their learning. Lifelong learning is the new reality: Globally, there is wide agreement that people need to keep learning throughout their career to stay up-to-date in their careers—today, 60% of Indians believe that the world is shifting to a model where people participate in education over a lifetime.

https://www.financialexpress.com/education-2/new-study-towards-a-do-it-yourself-learning-style/1714218/

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Swiss University Fights Fake Diplomas with Blockchain Technology

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Joeri Cant, CoinTelegraph

According to a CNN Money Switzerland interview from Sept. 19, the University of St. Gallen has announced that it is introducing a blockchain-based pilot project to verify the authenticity of its degrees in a matter of seconds rather than several days. The university’s CIO Harald Rotter said: “I saw that it could be necessary and it could be a valid use case to transfer or to make easier to validate our diplomas based on a digital process on blockchain.” The University of St. Gallen has chosen to partner with Swiss blockchain startup BlockFactory and will use its certification solution to create immutable diplomas that are registered on the Ethereum blockchain.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/swiss-university-fights-fake-diplomas-with-blockchain-technology/amp

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Google researchers have reportedly achieved “quantum supremacy”

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MIT Technology Review

According to a report in the Financial Times, a team of researchers from Google led by John Martinis have demonstrated quantum supremacy for the first time. This is the point at which a quantum computer is shown to be capable of performing a task that’s beyond the reach of even the most powerful conventional supercomputer. According to the Financial Times report, the paper said that Google’s quantum processor was able to perform a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced supercomputer, known as Summit, around 10,000 years.

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614416/google-researchers-have-reportedly-achieved-quantum-supremacy/

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October 4, 2019

Can Artificial Intelligence Predict Student Engagement?

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Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Artificial intelligence is having a huge impact on education, transforming the sector in many positive ways and its impact is growing. In fact, the artificial intelligence sector in the U.S. education market is expected to grow 47.5% between 2017 and 2021 according to the latest market research report by Technavio. Artificial intelligence is changing how teachers are doing their jobs and how students are learning and studying. AI makes personalized learning possible, can assist teachers with curriculum adaptationand streamline administrative tasks. Now, scientists are trying to find out if the technology can be leveraged to measure student engagement.

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/can-artificial-intelligence-predict-student-engagement/

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Student Debt and the Class of 2018

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Institute for College Access and Success

Student Debt and the Class of 2018 is TICAS’ fourteenth annual report on the student loan debt of recent graduates from four-year colleges, documenting changes and variation in student debt across states and colleges. Unless otherwise noted, the figures in this report are only for public and nonprofit colleges because virtually no for-profit colleges report what their graduates owe. Nationally, about two in three (65%) college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt, the same share as the Class of 2017. Borrowers from the Class of 2018 owed an average of $29,200, a 2 percent increase from the average of $28,650 in 2017.

https://ticas.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/classof2018.pdf

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Report probes colleges’ online recruitment strategies

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Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive
A new study from InsideTrack reveals the outreach strategies several big online players in higher education use to recruit prospective students to their programs.  Colleges reached out to prospective students an average of 16 times, according to an analysis of 20 institutions. Most sent emails and made phone calls, while only four schools sent text messages.  Eleven schools touted the “flexibility of their online programs” during their first “meeting” with prospects, while eight spoke of their “high level of support” and seven of their accelerated schedule options.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/report-probes-colleges-online-recruitment-strategies/563320/

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October 3, 2019

How Can We Use Chatbots in Education?

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Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

The term ‘chatbot’ may not be a universally recognized term yet, but that has not stopped chatbots from embedding themselves in our digital worlds. Anyone who has a digital voice assistant in their home or classroom has a chatbot, and many of the websites we access regularly use text-based chatbots for at least part of the interaction. In the classroom, chatbots can be used for simple tasks like checking the weather or playing background music. As artificial intelligence continues to make inroads in education, the potential uses for chatbots in education grow.

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/how-can-we-use-chatbots-in-education/

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Student Debt Levels Rise, but More Slowly

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By Elin Johnson, Inside Higher Ed

Last year’s bachelor’s degree graduates had $29,200 in cumulative student debt, 2 percent more than their peers the year before. That represents a slight slowing in the rate of borrowing, as the average debt level for borrowers rose at a steady average of 4 percent a year between 1996 and 2012 and slowed after that between 2012 and 2016 before reaching the 2 percent it rests at now.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/09/20/report-shows-growth-student-debt-slowing

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Arizona State University Develops the First Adaptive-Learning Degree in Science

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IBL News

Arizona State University (ASU) announced last week that it has developed the world’s first adaptive-learning biology degree, adjusting to its students’ needs in real-time. “We are moving away from mass production to mass personalization,” said Dale Johnson, director of adaptive-learning initiatives with EdPlus at ASU. “We used to teach everyone the same thing at the same time. Now, we’re connecting the right student to the right lesson. We are changing the structure of higher education from static to dynamic,” he added.

https://iblnews.org/asu-transforms-undergraduate-science-education-developing-the-first-adaptive-learning-degree/

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October 2, 2019

IBM’s new 53-qubit quantum computer is the most powerful machine you can use

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MIT Technology Review
BM’s new computer, due to launch next month, will boast 53 quantum bits, or qubits, the elements that are the secret to quantum machines’ power (see our explainer for a description of qubits and the phenomena that make quantum computers so powerful). Google has a 72-qubit device, but it hasn’t let outsiders run programs on it; IBM’s machine, on the other hand, will be accessible via the cloud. Behind the scenes, there’s a race on to demonstrate quantum supremacy. That’s the point at which a quantum computer can perform a task beyond the reach of even the most powerful conventional supercomputer. Google is rumored to be the closest to achieving this milestone—but hitting it won’t mean the machines will be ready for mainstream use. The task is likely to be a very narrow one, and plenty more work will be needed to create quantum computers capable of tackling a wide range of problems.

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/614346/ibms-new-53-qubit-quantum-computer-is-the-most-powerful-machine-you-can-use/

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Cyberwar Is Here: Are You Ready?

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Chloe Albanesius Icon, PC Mag
The US government now has the authority to unleash on its enemies some of the most powerful cyber weapons at its disposal. But what do our adversaries have planned for us? Financial organizations are a top target of ransomware campaigns; of those networks hit by ransomware file encryption in North America between January and June 2019, 38 percent were in the finance and insurance sector, followed by education at 37 percent, according to security firm Vectra. Government systems were third at 9 percent; NotPetya ransomware, for example, is thought to be the work of Russia, which wanted to disrupt Ukrainian industries and government sectors but eventually hit industries around the world, resulting in US sanctions.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/370753/cyberwar-is-here-are-you-ready

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What are Digital Credentials and What Do They Mean for Education?

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Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate
Digital credentials can be found in a variety of places. In educational games, a learner may get a badge after reaching a certain level or mastering a certain skill within the game. In the workforce, a digital badge certifies that a person has taken a professional development course and demonstrated mastery of a set of related skills. In higher education, universities are using digital credentials to give students a head start in acquiring skills for their future careers.  Because of the way they connect the workplace with education, digital credentials are poised to have a profound impact on the way students plan their futures both in and outside of the classroom.

https://www.thetechedvocate.org/what-are-digital-credentials-and-what-do-they-mean-for-education/

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