Techno-News Blog

March 31, 2015

10 ways to ensure maximum tech effectiveness at your institution

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By Andrew Barbour, eSchool News

With an abundance of tech solutions and tools, IT must ensure systems support their institutions’ goals effectively and affordably. Here’s how. Just two years ago, higher ed CIOs were scrapping for a seat at the table. Now they’re firmly in the hot seat. In that short span, IT has become so central to campus operations that its performance has a direct impact on the quality of teaching and learning. Furthermore, with the consumerization of IT, faculty and student expectations have risen dramatically, leaving IT little room for error, whether in the wireless network or the LMS interface. To thrive within this cauldron, IT must develop policies and best practices to help it evaluate, implement, and then re-evaluate the systems on campus.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/maximum-tech-effectiveness-569/

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Online college wins over students in Missouri

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by Koran Addo, St. Louis Today

Two years ago, it might have seemed strange when Gov. Jay Nixon starting pushing for Missouri to create its own branch of Western Governors University. After all, WGU is a bit of an oddity. It’s a nonprofit online university that doesn’t use teachers. Students work at their own pace and are assigned course mentors who offer tutoring, advice or pep talks as needed. Students can also skip large sections of the curriculum if they can demonstrate command of the subject. After two years and a state investment of $4 million, WGU-Missouri leaders say the school is doing what it’s supposed to do: providing access to students who don’t fit the mold of a traditional student.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/education/online-college-wins-over-students-in-missouri/article_ab774237-d266-5074-9f32-df7b95369ea1.html

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From Disruptor to Bestie: How Instructors are Learning to Leverage MOOCs

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by Charlie Chung, EdSurge

Only a handful of sessions at SXSWedu this year used “MOOC” in their titles or descriptions, but those four letters were still mentioned quite a bit. It is safe to say, MOOCs have been passed over as the disruptor du jour of higher education. But this is a good thing, because now we can get on with the real work to figure out how to best study, utilize and improve their role in education. Here are a few of the takeaways I gathered about MOOCs during the conference.

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-03-20-from-disruptor-to-bestie-how-instructors-are-learning-to-leverage-moocs

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March 30, 2015

Learning How to Practice Medicine—Virtually

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by Alia Wong, the Atlantic

Soon, an aspiring Physician’s Assistant might be able to complete nearly all this coursework online—and through an Ivy League to boot: Yale. Yale announced earlier this month that it’s partnering with 2U, Inc.—a firm that helps selective nonprofit universities develop virtual degree programs—to launch its online PA initiative. The project is still pending approval by the accrediting commission for PA schools and from various state licensing agencies. But if it gets the green light, it would likely be the country’s first fully online PA degree. (Some programs are considered “hybrid” and entail a combination of on-campus and online coursework.) It would also become Yale’s first fully online master’s program and join the university’s existing on-campus PA program, which was launched in the early 1970s.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/03/learning-how-to-practice-medicinevirtually/388276/

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Why and how communicators should create infographics

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By Tess Pajaron, ragan.com

Visual storytelling captures attention and delivers messages that stick in viewers’ minds. Here are some fundamental approaches, along with tools to streamline the process. Together with the predicted rise of content marketing, it’s likely that during the next couple of years we’ll witness a growing interest in brand infographics. Infographics are a smart content feature. They provide lots of valuable information and tips in a visually inspiring form. How can you create great infographics that will captivate your audience and clearly communicate your message?

http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/49461.aspx

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Report: To Unlock Potential of Ed Tech, Use a ‘Closed-Loop’ Instructional Approach

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By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

A new report from the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group finds skills gaps in language arts, math science, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and curiosity among a range of countries and income levels and suggests that technology could help address the issue. The report argues “that for technology to reach its greatest potential it needs to be better integrated into an instructional system we call the ‘closed loop.’” The closed loop system suggested in the report includes creating learning objectives, developing curricula and instructional strategies, delivering instruction, embedding ongoing assessment, providing appropriate interventions, tracking outcomes and learning, then feeding the results back into creating new learning objectives.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/03/16/report-to-unlock-potential-of-ed-tech-use-a-closed-loop-instructional-approach.aspx

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March 29, 2015

Anyone Can Be a Teacher in This Online School

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By JONAH BROMWICHMARCH, NY Times

Susan Orlean was considering giving up teaching. She had taught courses at New York University and at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College but was finding it difficult to maintain a consistent class schedule while fulfilling her obligations as a staff writer for The New Yorker. “I just started thinking, well, maybe there’s a different way to do this that doesn’t tie me to a physical location,” she said. “And right around that time, Skillshare contacted me.” Skillshare is an online video platform that allows anyone to sign up and teach a class. The company has proved adept at recruiting experts to teach on its website. Aside from Ms. Orlean’s class on creative nonfiction, the website has a class on visual storytelling from the design maven Debbie Millman and a marketing course taught by the entrepreneur Seth Godin. The company allows users to determine the courses they want to teach and take. A thousand courses are available for $10 a month.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/20/education/anyone-can-be-a-teacher-in-this-online-school.html?_r=0

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Local college to let students decide on-the-fly to go to class in-person or online

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by Lauren Hertzler, Philadelphia Business Journal

Peirce College has a new program that takes its historically flexible schedule to the next level. For the past year, the college has been testing a model where students can decide on-the-fly to attend class in person or online. It’s aimed at the students that primarily make up Peirce’s population — the working adults that are often hit with last-minute tasks for a job or for their family. If they can’t make it to class due to a sudden engagement, they can read up on all the lecture notes at a later date and even, in some cases, receive audio feedback on assignments and turn in assignments online. For online students, it allows them the opportunity to go to class for that extra in-person interaction if need be.

http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2015/03/19/on-the-fly-college-class-in-person-or-online.html?page=all

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Does The New ClassDojo Have Mass Mojo?

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By Mitch Fairchild, Edudemic

Using the ClassDojo reward system, I was able to award points to students for good behavior, or deduct points for poor choices. I was also able to let my parents follow the classroom management habits of their children via the app. The students responded positively and ClassDojo gave parents a way of keeping up with their student’s classroom behavior without having to communicate directly with me. Jump ahead to January of 2015. ClassDojo is releasing their newly redesigned app, and it promises to be faster, sleeker, and easier to use. I have to admit, I now teach secondary classes and I don’t use the app for the older students. But my curiosity got the better of me, and I had to check it out for myself. So, being the inquisitive sort, I quickly downloaded the new version and began investigating. After examining this version versus the old version, I observed the following.

http://www.edudemic.com/does-the-new-classdojo-have-mass-mojo/

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March 28, 2015

Masters Level Computer Science From Udacity

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by Sue Gee, i-programmer

Applications for the Fall 2015 admission to Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMS CS) are due before April 17, 2015. But if you don’t want to wait you can follow along for free with Udacity. President Obama visited Georgia Tech last week and pointed to the OMS CS as an example of the kind of innovation needed by the United States to address the rising costs of higher education. This is because, with tuition entirely online, students are charged as little as $6,600, less than one-sixth of the cost of an on-campus equivalent at $45,000.

http://www.i-programmer.info/news/150-training-a-education/8400-udacity-masters.html

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For Online to Really Matter in Education, We Need to Re-Define Competency

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by Ryan Craig, Wired

In a decade, online education may be recognized not for making higher education accessible to anyone with a smartphone—but as the midwife who delivered competency-based learning into the world. Like so many other technology-driven advances, competency-based learning is theoretically possible in a paper-pencil world. Global positioning is, after all, feasible without a handheld GPS. But it’s not nearly as appealing, and a long way from a mass-market product. Competency-based learning turns higher education on its head – starting not with the curriculum, but rather the competencies one should exhibit upon completion (according to, say, employers).

http://www.wired.com/2015/03/online-really-matter-education-need-redefine-competency/

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Instructional Designers by the Numbers

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By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

CNN Money says that being an Instructional Designer is the 38th best job in America. According to CNN Money (2012) there are 217,700 Instructional Designers. Expected job growth over 10 years is 28.3 percent. Payscale.com says that Instructional Designers rate a 5 out of 5 in the “extremely satisfied” category. 70 percent of Instructional Designers have been on the job less than 10 years, 38% less than 4. Women outnumber men 61% to 39% The national average salary for an Instructional Designer is $61,000. The highest paid Instructional Designers are in San Francisco (a 23% wage premium), Washington (22%), Los Angeles (18%) and Seattle (16%). The most senior Instructional Designers, those with 10 to 20 years of experience, have average salaries between $70,000 and $80,000.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/instructional-designers-numbers

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March 27, 2015

New Free Guide Offers Expert Advice for Achieving Competency-Based Ed

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By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

A new report from two organizations that focus on converting schools and districts to the use of blended learning and the competency model lays out a roadmap to help school leaders begin the transformation. “Maximizing Competency Education and Blended Learning: Insights from Experts” from CompetencyWorks and the International Association of K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), culls advice from 23 experts who attended a workshop specifically to discuss “how to accelerate the transformation of districts and schools to personalized, competency-based, blended learning models.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/03/19/new-free-guide-offers-expert-advice-for-achieving-competency-based-ed.aspx

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Building University-Wide IT Accessibility

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by David Raths, Campus Technology

While many higher ed institutions focus mostly on Web accessibility or rely on a disability resources center to serve students in need, Temple University has ramped up its accessibility efforts across the board. Here’s how.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/03/18/building-university-wide-it-accessibility.aspx

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Online Course Provision Grows As Three University of London Colleges Sign Up To Digital Partnership

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by Shannon Greenhalgh, MISCO

The move to online course provision by UK universities is under way, as three University of London colleges, including Goldsmiths, enter a partnership that will enable their students to participate in massive open online courses (MOOCs), Government Computing has reported. The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and St George’s, alongside Goldsmiths, have announced an agreement to offer MOOCs through the FutureLearn platform – joining a network of 51 other higher and specialist education institutions globally which are using the service to offer courses online. FutureLearn (owned by the Open University) has already been adopted by other universities in the UK, with industry experts predicting that MOOCs will play a “complementary” role in higher education.

http://www.misco.co.uk/blog/news/02804/online-course-provision-grows-as-three-university-of-london-colleges-sign-up-to-digital-partnership

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March 26, 2015

Microsoft Launches Free edX Courses Focusing on Cloud, Mobile Technology

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by Hannah Sanchez, iSchool Guide

Microsoft is now offering free online courses on mobile and cloud technology to be taught by its experts. Through a collaboration with online learning platform edX, students can use these courses to improve their skills and gain more employment opportunities. The seven new courses include Introduction to TypeScript, Querying with Transact SQL, Introduction to Boostrap, Programming with C#, Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure, Windows PowerShell Fundamentals, and Introduction to Office 365 APIs. These courses are aimed at beginners and professionals, and will be taught by Microsoft’s Anders Hejlsberg. Some of the courses are completed in six weeks, while others require less.

http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/9455/20150319/microsoft-launches-free-edx-courses-focusing-cloud-mobile-technology.htm

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Britannica® and Merriam-Webster® Announce Free English Learning App and Site for Spanish Speakers

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by Merriam-Webster

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Inc. are pleased to announce the launch of Nglish—a free English language learning app and site designed especially for Spanish speakers. In addition to full bilingual text translation, Nglish offers a unique and tailored learning experience that allows users to learn the words they want to learn, on their own schedule, wherever they are. Nglish includes a comprehensive Spanish-English dictionary with hundreds of thousands of example sentences in English, synonyms, and audio pronunciations by native speakers. Word and sentence translation is available from Spanish to English and English to Spanish. Automatic language detection makes translation fast and easy, with one single search box for both languages.

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/-britannicareg-merriam-websterreg-announce-free-english-learning-app-/2015/03/18/8161241.htm

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From home to Huntsman: Wharton’s online course offerings will draw MBA applicants

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By BRYN FERGUSON, Daily Pennsylvanian

Taking Wharton classes online may not earn Coursera students a degree, but it may draw them to Huntsman Hall. Wharton has recently expanded its offerings of Massive Open Online Courses on Coursera with the introduction of the Business Foundations Specialization. The program combines the introductory business classes that were released in 2013 with a new Capstone Project that users complete after successfully finishing the Foundations classes. The top 50 students will have their application fees to the Wharton MBA program waived and, if accepted into Wharton, the top five students will be granted a $20,000 scholarship. “We are hoping someday we can have sponsors to increase the size of the grant,” said Managing Director of the Innovation Group Don Huesman.

http://www.thedp.com/article/2015/03/wharton-expands-online-course-offerings-on-coursera

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March 25, 2015

Access free online courses with your L.A. County library card

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by Colleen Park, My LA News

Everyone with a Los Angeles County library card now has access to free online video courses teaching business, technology and creative skills, the county’s lead librarian announced Tuesday. The new program, dubbed lynda.com, can be accessed remotely and on mobile devices, allowing users to learn at their own pace. “All you need is a county public library card and PIN to access lynda.com’s vast collection of courses,” County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said. “Our patrons can take an unlimited number of lynda.com classes with 24-7 access on their computer or smartphone.”

http://mynewsla.com/education/2015/03/17/access-free-online-courses-with-your-l-a-county-library-card/

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Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Market 2015-2020

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by MarketWatch

MOOCs appears as a very lucrative and commercially interesting solution for many companies looking to implement effective training programs for employees, MOOCs have the potential to revolutionize the corporate learning industry. Visiongain believes that 2015 will be a pivotal year and one of significant growth for MOOCs market as vendors address demands of higher education providers, schools and organizations. Not only will the MOOCs market flourish across education & learning sector. This growth will also generate additional demand across many industries especially wireless infrastructure, big data and cloud computing. The IT sector will also witness huge growth through widespread implementation of Big Data to derive maximum value from the valuable data collected via MOOCs and Cloud services for the seamless delivery of MOOCs no matter where you are located. As a consequence, Visiongain expects global MOOCs revenue to reach $1.5 billion in 2015.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/massive-open-online-course-mooc-market-2015-2020-meducation-distance-open-e-learning-in-higher-education-enterprise-2015-03-17

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Using Voxer to Streamline School Communication

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by Alejandro Rivera, Edutopia

Voxer is described as a free app that combines the best of voice, text, and photo messages into a high-tech walkie-talkie, creating a powerful, modern, personal and team messaging tool. As the administrative team at Northern Parkway Elementary School in Uniondale, New York, we’ve found that Voxer has served as a simple yet effective way to improve the following administrative practices.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-voxer-streamline-school-communication-alejandro-rivera

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