Techno-News Blog

September 16, 2015

How Digital Equity Can Help Close the Homework Gap

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By Keith R. Krueger, Marie Bjerede, THE Journal

Does educational technology close the achievement gap or widen it? Even in the best-case scenarios, when the potential of digital learning is fulfilled and all student achievement increases, the gap is likely to increase. Why? As Tom Vander Ark points out in his book Getting Smart, when we use ed tech to raise the floor for student achievement, the ceiling is raised even further. Unfortunately, educational technology leaders often see only the best-case scenario. In reality, when the achievement gap increases, sometimes it is because the absolute performance improvements may be limited to select students due to a number of factors.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/09/10/how-digital-equity-can-help-close-the-homework-gap.aspx

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Is E-learning the future?

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by Stephen Chartrand, Brock Press

Despite the stereotype that university students are beer-guzzling spendthrifts, the reality is that most students today have to take on one or two part-time jobs just to make ends meet. When you add up the hours, going to lecture, writing papers, preparing for exams and working part-time it can be incredibly difficult to maintain a flexible and balanced schedule.As Dhirendra Kumar wrote in a white paper for North Carolina State University, “Online methods of education can be a highly effective alternative method of education for the students who are matured, self-disciplined and motivated, well organized and having a high degree of time management skills, but it is an inappropriate learning environment for more dependent learners and has difficulty assuming responsibilities required by the online courses.”

http://www.brockpress.com/2015/09/is-e-learning-the-future/

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MOOCs: Did We Expect Too Much Too Soon?

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by Pranab Chakraborty, ATD

Are MOOCs (massive open online courses) the next big thing in higher education, or merely a distraction that won’t change the current system? Is the MOOC revolution only just starting to change how people learn, or has it already failed? It all depends on who you ask. But the real question is: Did we expect too much too soon?

https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Learning-Technologies-Blog/2015/09/Moocs-Did-We-Expect-Too-Much-Too-Soon

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September 15, 2015

Udacity, Coursera and edX Now Claim Over 24 Million Students

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by EdSurge

Shortly after the “Big Three” MOOC providers launched in 2012, nearly everyone focused on user numbers as a sign of their scale and reach. For anyone still keeping tabs on the numbers race, Udacity, Coursera and edX recently shared new figures. EdX shared it hit the 5 million student mark in August. That same month, Coursera claimed 15 million registered users to accompany news of its latest funding round. And in a recent interview with The Economist, Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun said the company serves “some 4 [million] registered users worldwide, and about 60,000 working on nanodegrees at anyone one time.” He also added that more than 60 percent of Udacity students complete their courses.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-09-08-udacity-coursera-and-edx-now-claim-over-24-million-students

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College data backup in the age of the cloud

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By Ken Stier, University Business

In just three years, enrollment at Lone Star Community College grew by about 50 percent. The six-campus system, located in the north Houston metro area, now has more than 95,000 students and has experienced explosive data growth, as well—from 40 terabytes to 1.6 petabytes. A data collection that big is hard to imagine. But as of April 2011, the entire U.S. Library of Congress had amassed 235 terabytes of data, and a petabyte is more than four times that, according to Michael Chui, a principal at consulting giant McKinsey & Company. The growth prompted IT standardization in the sprawling, decentralized system and an overhaul of Lone Star’s data backup process and technology.

http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/college-data-backup-age-cloud

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Gamifying the Educational Experience

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by Steven Mintz, Inside Higher Ed

Many parents and some psychologists decry videogames as a waste of time – or worse, as actually harmful. Videogames, according to this view, are socially isolating and desensitizing, conveying age-inappropriate images, fostering addictive behavior, creating attention problems, discouraging physical activity, inducing repetitive stress injuries, hypersexualizing men and demeaning women, suppressing emotional responses to aggression and violence, and cultivating feelings of hostility, aggression, and misogyny. However accurate or inaccurate such claims might be, there is no doubt that videogames offer important lessons that can improve teaching and learning.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/gamifying-educational-experience

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September 14, 2015

Future of higher education

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by: Rosebank College, Johannesburg

What does the future of higher education look like? According to Moses Motha, Teaching and Learning Manager at Rosebank College, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education: “The future of higher education is intricately intertwined with the use of technology and online learning.” Technology will be used to integrate teaching and learning both inside and outside the classroom. This technology will be used to engage students by making lectures more interactive, while at the same time allowing lecturers to keep track of whether students understand the material. Technology will also help instructors offer a wide range of learning opportunities and types of information for students.

http://pressoffice.mg.co.za/rosebankcollege/PressRelease.php?StoryID=261124

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Udemy sees 200% rise in revenue, online learning demand increases

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by Natalie Marsh, the Pie News

Online learning platform, Udemy, has seen an increase in revenue of 200% year on year, as the demand for skills-based online learning increases.Udemy, which launched in 2010 in the US, provides free and paid-for online courses tailored for skills-based learning in subjects including language learning, office productivity and IT and software. Courses are created by instructors themselves, who receive all of the revenue, minus the payment fees, if they bring students to their course, or half of the revenue if students were brought in by Udemy. The revenue increase of the platform overall has risen since last year, when it was displaying a growth of 160%.

http://thepienews.com/news/udemy-sees-200-rise-in-revenue-online-learning-demand-increases/

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As textbook prices skyrocket, college students, professors seek alternatives

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BY TREVOR METCALFE, Register-Bee

Danville Community College student Jessica Newman is taking 18 credit hours this fall, with a tuition price tag of about $2,500. When Newman looked for the books for her five classes at the DCC bookstore, she said the cost was just over $1,000. “That’s nearly half of my tuition spent again on textbooks,” Newman said. With college textbook prices rising exponentially during the past several years, local students and teachers say they are seeking alternatives to purchasing new books every semester. According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, textbook priced have risen three times the rate of inflation since 1977.

http://www.godanriver.com/news/danville/as-textbook-prices-skyrocket-college-students-professors-seek-alternatives/article_2ac96ef0-5354-11e5-b787-e726b65ce323.html

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September 13, 2015

District rolls out revamped elementary computer curriculum

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by Margaret Reist, Lincoln Journal

This fall, Lincoln Public Schools is rolling out a revamped elementary computer curriculum that emphasizes computer science — and coding — principles. Kent Steen, LPS computer science curriculum specialist, said the goal is to expose all students to the basics of coding and computer science — including robotics — along with digital literacy and digital media arts. Exposing all students to computer science at a young age, by showing them it’s something they all can do, will help reduce the gender and racial minority gap in such fields, he said.

http://www.macon.com/news/business/technology/article34167813.html

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LinkedIn Open-Sources FeatureFu, A Toolkit For Building Machine Learning Models

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by Frederic Lardinois, TechCrunch

LinkedIn today announced that it is open-sourcing an internal tool called FeatureFu. The FeatureFu toolkit is meant to make it easier for developers to build their machine learning models around statistical modeling and decision engines. The idea here is to take LinkedIn’s knowledge around “feature engineering” and make it accessible to developers outside of the company. In machine learning, feature engineering is basically using your detailed knowledge of the phenomenon you are looking at and then using that to build machine learning models. LinkedIn argues that most large-scale recommendation systems (think LinkedIn’s own tools for suggesting connections on its site) are managed by at least two teams: one that handles the offline modeling and one that takes care of the online feature-serving/model-scoring part of the system.

http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/04/linkedin-open-sources-featurefu-a-toolkit-for-building-machine-learning-models/

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5 Steps for Adopting Virtual Learning for the Government Worker

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BY FRIEDA K. EDGETTE, NATALIE S. MATTHEWS, Government Technology

It’s gotten harder to get government workers the training they need. Online learning can help to fill the gap. GovLoop, an online training and collaboration community that describes itself as “the knowledge network for government,” surveyed its members and found that almost 90 percent of respondents had attended at least one virtual learning event in 2014, up 2 percent from 2013. It’s not hard to see why that number has been growing: Going virtual eliminates geographic, spatial and time constraints, since learners can attend from any convenient location. Webinars and virtual classroom tools such as surveys, whiteboards and text chat facilitate session engagement and appeal to participants’ different learning styles. Archived recordings of sessions allow for on-demand and repeat viewings. And the cost savings related to travel, lodging, and lost time and office productivity are significant.

http://www.govtech.com/internet/Adopting-Virtual-Learning-for-the-Government-Worker.html

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September 12, 2015

@ISSUE: Compelling statistics on distance learning

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by BORIS VILIC, Courier-Post

Over the last decade, we have witnessed tremendous changes in distance learning. For example, in 2014 a record-breaking 5.2 million higher education students enrolled in at least one online course. The number of chief academic officers who consider online education as critical to their institution’s strategy also reached an all-time high (at 70.8 percent). However, despite this tremendous growth and myriad studies examining student learning outcomes in online classes, the question whether “distance learning is making the grade” still reverberates in the halls of the Academy. When engaging in lively discussion about distance education, and rather than solely relying on statistics and research data, I usually try to tell my colleagues personal stories to explain why I believe in distance education.

http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/09/04/issue-compelling-statistics-distance-learning/71722750/

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University of Alberta offers popular ‘Dino 101’ course in app form

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By Emily Mertz, Global News

It first paved the way as a free, online course open to all and now Dino 101 is being offered as an electronic textbook in app form. The University of Alberta will offer Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology, starting Sept. 4, through Coursera. It’s the university’s first foray into the ever-expanding world of open online education. “We’re mindful of our students and the tremendous pressures on them with tuition and the additional costs of education such as textbooks,” said Jonathan Schaeffer, dean of the faculty of science. “We wanted to build something that was fun, engaging and at a price point that added real value to the student learning experience.”

http://globalnews.ca/news/2202782/university-of-alberta-offers-popular-dino-101-course-in-app-form/

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Meet GROOC: McGill’s new online course has a group-learning twist

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by JENNIFER LEWINGTON, The Globe and Mail

First came the MOOCs, referring to massive open online courses that offer free access to higher-education learning through the Internet. Now comes the GROOC: a group-based version of MOOCs developed and delivered by professors at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, including internationally recognized management guru Henry Mintzberg. So far, students from more than 100 countries have signed up for Social Learning for Social Impact, an 11-week online course beginning Sept. 16 with the goal of inspiring global collaboration on sustainable social change.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/business-education/meet-grooc-new-online-course-has-a-group-learning-twist/article26215533/

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September 11, 2015

Penn State launches new program to teach grad students to teach online

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By Hilary Appelman, Penn State

Graduate students traditionally teach the way they were taught. But more and more they are finding themselves teaching in online classrooms, where the old rules don’t necessarily apply. A new Graduate Student Online Teaching Certificate program is being offered to Penn State graduate students for the first time this fall with the goal of improving the quality of instruction online. Larry Boggess, director of online faculty development for Penn State World Campus, had hoped to attract 30 students to the course. So far, more than 350 have enrolled from across Penn State’s colleges and campuses.

http://news.psu.edu/story/367847/2015/09/02/academics/penn-state-launches-new-program-teach-grad-students-teach-online

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EdX Users Cheat Through MOOC-Specific Method, Study Says

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By C. RAMSEY FAHS, Harvard Crimson

Roughly 1 percent of certificates granted by Harvard’s and MIT’s school-specific edX platforms were earned by users engaging in a form of cheating never before possible in traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms, according to a working paper released by researchers from the two schools. The paper—authored by MIT Ph.D. candidate Curtis G. Northcutt, MIT professor Isaac L. Chuang, and HarvardX research committee co-chair Andrew D. Ho—studied a previously unexamined form of cheating known as “copying answers using multiple existences online,” or CAMEO. Users engaging in CAMEO register for a given course with multiple accounts, one of which is designated the “master” account. They then use non-master “harvester” accounts to click through assessments as quickly as possible until the grading tool provides correct answers.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/9/3/cameo-cheating-method-mooc/

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Colleges Struggle to Blend Tech, Teacher-Training Lesson Plans

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by the Hechinger Report

It’s a matter of “re-paradigming,” say faculty and administrators at some of the nation’s top teachers colleges, describing the task they face. They need to get teacher candidates to “re-think” how they use devices that most have grown up with. In essence, instructors must tell their students, “You can’t take that into a school and use it the way you know how to use it,” said Laurie Mullen, former associate dean at Ball State University Teachers College in Muncie, and the newly appointed dean of the College of Education at Towson University in Maryland. Although there are more than 2,100 schools of education nationally, graduating more than 190,000 new teachers annually, there are no national standards for teachers of educators when it comes to integrating educational technology into the curriculum, according to the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, a voluntary national association of teacher preparation programs.

http://www.usnews.com/news/college-of-tomorrow/articles/2015/09/01/teachers-colleges-struggle-to-blend-technology-into-teacher-training-lesson-plans

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September 10, 2015

Enhanced school technology enhances learning

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by the Independent

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) announced Friday that all 173 of the state’s public school districts have met the national goal of 100 kb of Internet bandwidth for each K-12 student. It is believed to be the first state to do so. “This is just another way Kentucky is leading the nation in public education,” Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday said. “Our teachers told us they needed a faster, more reliable system to take advantage of all of the great digital instructional resources and other technology-based education tools and supports that are available. So, I’m glad we were able to meet the need and do what is best for student learning.”

http://www.dailyindependent.com/news/enhanced-school-technology-enhances-learning/article_06dfe47a-50dd-11e5-9070-abd4f63a66fc.html

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Free Online Course Connects Ex-Inmates With The Job Skills They Need

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by Joseph Erbentraut, The Huffington Post

Imagine this scenario: Instead of a judge sentencing an offender to hundreds of hours of community service while behind bars, they are sentenced to hundreds of hours of educational courses — and those courses are offered for free. Such is the vision of Mike Feerick, the founder of Alison, a Galway, Ireland-based provider of online coursework. Earlier this year, the company debuted a new set of courses called the Advanced Diploma in Workforce Re-entry Skills which is specifically designed for formerly incarcerated Americans. The goal, Feerick explained to BBC in July, is to boost ex-inmates’ job skills and academic credentials while simultaneously reducing their risk of reoffending.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/online-course-prison-education-recidivism_55e4cf3ae4b0aec9f3544bd5

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How satellite technology can help close the digital divide

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By Tony Bardo, eSchool News

As high-speed internet service becomes more ubiquitous in American households, some readers might be surprised to find out that a “digital divide” exists in many of our schools. According to a 2014 blog post from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, “Forty-one percent of America’s rural schools couldn’t get a high-speed connection if they tried,”— where a high-speed connection is defined as offering speeds of 10Mbps or higher. Whereas he may have been right that they don’t have it, he was wrong to conclude they couldn’t get it. Indeed, many individuals living in urban areas are typically well served by fiber-optic, cable or DSL providers, unaware that high-quality satellite internet is available virtually everywhere, nationwide, and at affordable prices— no matter where you live, work, or go to school. So the digital divide in fact is a misnomer; it’s really a terrestrial digital divide as the FCC itself has now concluded.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/09/02/satellite-technology-628/

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