Techno-News Blog

July 20, 2018

Online STEM Courses Need More Real-World Interactivity

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By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology
What do students want in the learning activities for their online STEM courses? They’d prefer more real-life problems to solve and instructional resources such as simulations, case studies, videos and demonstrations. They’d also like the chance to meet and collaborate with other students as well as teaching assistants online. Finally, they’d appreciate clear and consistent information from instructors about instructions, assignments, assessments, due dates, course pages and office hours. That’s what a research project found when it queried 537 students from 15 online STEM courses within a large, four-year public university in the southeast during spring 2016. A third of the students (36 percent) came from the college of engineering and computer science; other large groups included science majors (14 percent) and those pursuing degrees in the college of health and public affairs (11 percent). The study was done by three researchers from the Center for Distributed Learning at the University of Central Florida.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2018/07/09/online-stem-courses-need-more-real-world-interactivity.aspx

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Five Ways to Build Community in Online Classrooms

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By: Melissa Wehler, Faculty Focus

I was still dealing with the real issues of isolation, fear, and frustration that results in students leaving their online courses. To combat these feelings, professors—myself included—have to deliberately, consistently, and relentlessly work to build student-faculty and student-student relationships in online courses. As educators, we know that building community in the online environment increases the likelihood of student success. Finding ways to concretize something as ephemeral as “a sense of belonging” can be difficult; however, here are five places where you can start.

https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/five-ways-to-build-community-in-online-classrooms/

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Can We Design Online Learning Platforms That Feel More Intimate Than Massive?

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By Amy Ahearn, EdSurge

Most of our energy has been focused on designing physical learning spaces, even as more teaching and learning shifts online. Unfortunately, most massive open online course (MOOC) platforms still feel like drafty lecture halls instead of intimate seminar rooms. The majority of online learning environments are no more than video-hosting platforms with quizzes and a discussion forum. These default features force online instructors to use a style of teaching that feels more like shouting to the masses than engaging in meaningful conversations. This presents a challenge and an opportunity: How can we design online learning environments that achieve scale and intimacy? How do we make digital platforms feel as inviting as well-designed physical classrooms?

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-07-09-can-we-design-online-learning-platforms-that-feel-more-intimate-than-massive

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July 19, 2018

Hackers can purchase government login credentials for cheap on the dark web

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by Kevin Parish, Digital Trends

Among the list of devices, services and networks on the menu are multiple government systems on sale worldwide, including those linked to the United States. The team found connections to a variety of healthcare institutions including medical equipment shops, hospitals, and more. They even found access to security and building automation systems at a major international airport selling for a mere $10. The problem doesn’t just revolve around desktops, laptops, and servers. Internet of Things devices based on Windows Embedded are also on the menu such as point-of-sale systems, kiosks, parking meters, thin client PCs and more. Many are overlooked and not updated, making them a quiet entryway for hackers.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/mcafee-hackers-buy-remote-desktop-access-dark-web/

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A College Prices Its Online Programs 60% Less

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By Mark Lieberman, Inside Higher Ed

Berklee College of Music’s online program, priced at just over a third of tuition for the Massachusetts institution’s face-to-face degree offerings, raised eyebrows when it got off the ground in 2013. Conventional wisdom that online programs require more resources to produce had taken hold, and pricing models that favor online students were few and far between. Five years later, Berklee remains an anomaly in higher ed, as most institutions continue to charge the same or more for online programs as for their face-to-face equivalents. Some arguments hinge on a philosophical belief that online education should be valued equivalently to face-to-face programs, while others emphasize the significant financial burden of designing and launching online courses from scratch.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2018/07/11/berklee-college-music-defies-conventional-wisdom-low-price

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OPMs: Pitfalls and opportunities.

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By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

What do you think of the online program management (OPM) industry? If you are like many higher ed people that I speak with, your answer may not be all that positive. Higher ed people simply don’t like the idea of long contract lock-ins (usually between five and 10 years) and revenue share arrangements that send half to three-quarters of tuition dollars to for-profit companies. Is it possible to be a critical and clear-eyed observer of the OPM industry and still believe that an OPM partnership should be on the table as institutions consider new online programs? I think the answer is yes, as I’ve come to believe that (a) the OPM industry is more complicated and nuanced than we often think, and (b) we need to think about OPM partnerships in a different way.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/blogs/technology-and-learning/5-misconceptions-about-online-program-management

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July 18, 2018

How to start a virtual coding boot camp in five easy steps

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BY MEREDITH HOOVER, eSchool News
We’re building a love for STEM with virtual robotics and coding camps that get students excited; here are 5 steps to get your school going in the right direction. It never ceases to amaze me when I see a middle school student excelling at virtual robot simulations, a seventh grader using computer code to solve a STEM problem, or an eighth-grade robotics team brainstorming ideas and then developing a full-blown operating robot. Even these tiniest victories go a long way, with students getting hands-on with advanced technologies and then taking that experience to college and/or out into the workforce.

How to start a virtual coding boot camp in five easy steps

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5 things every college must know about cloud computing

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BY KEITH RAJECKI, eCampus News

Many universities have been relatively slow to embrace the cloud for a few simple reasons. First, because it’s not always cheap or easy to overhaul IT systems. And second, because cloud represents a fundamental technological change and perceived challenges that many organizations do not feel they have the expertise, bandwidth, or resources to address.

Fortunately, there are ways around these challenges, and it starts by remembering that cloud computing is part of a journey to a modern campus—not the ultimate destination. What’s needed is a strategic approach that combines on-premise services with advanced cloud solutions.

5 things every college must know about cloud computing

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Accreditor clears path for $1.9 billion Strayer-Capella merger

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by Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive
The merger between Capella University’s parent company, Capella Education Company, and Strayer Education Inc., the parent company of Strayer University, has been approved by the Higher Learning Commission and is expected to close on or before Aug. 1. The resulting company will be named Strategic Education Inc., according to a July 9 Security Exchange Commission filing.  The $1.9 billion deal will create one of the largest for-profit companies in the country, serving roughly 80,000 students between them. The two institutions will continue to operate as “independent and separately accredited institutions.”  Strayer shareholders will own 52% of the combined stock and Capella shareholders will own 48%.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/accreditor-clears-path-for-19-billion-strayer-capella-merger/527421/

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July 17, 2018

Lies, Damned Lies and Rankings

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By Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed
Temple reveals that scandal over false information submitted for rankings of its online M.B.A. was much broader than earlier known. Dean, found to have dismantled system for checking accuracy of data, is ousted. Temple University on Monday announced that its business school had submitted false data for years for rankings purposes. The university said that it had asked Moshe Porat, dean of the business school, to resign, saying that he had dismantled the business school’s system for verifying the accuracy of data being submitted for rankings. An outside review found that the employee responsible for preparing the data said he did so at the dean’s direction, although Porat denied this to the outside investigator.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/07/10/temple-ousts-business-dean-after-report-finds-online-mba-program-years-submitted

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Who shoulders most of nation’s ~$1.5 trillion in student debt? Women

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by CBS News
Women owe about $890 billion of the country’s $1.48 trillion student loan debt, nearly double the $490 billion owed by men, placing them at a financial disadvantage as they begin their careers, according to a recently released report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The study, which analyzed data from the U.S. Department Education from the 2015-2016 school year, also found that women graduating with bachelor’s degree owe on average $2,700 more in student loans than men do. Women, who account for 56 percent of enrolled college students, are far more likely than men to graduate owing money — 71 percent for female grads vs. 66 percent for male grads, according to the AAUW.

https://www.universitybusiness.com/news/who-shoulders-most-nations-14-trillion-student-debt-women

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Canvas Catches, and Maybe Passes, Blackboard

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By Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed
Canvas has unseated Blackboard Learn as the leading LMS at U.S. colleges and universities, according to new data from MindWires Consulting. In a blog post on Monday, Michael Feldstein, partner at MindWires Consulting and co-publisher of the e-Literate blog, wrote that Canvas now has 1,218 installations at U.S. institutions, compared with Blackboard’s 1,216. Although the two-figure difference may seem insignificant — and Blackboard and some of its allies say the data don’t accurately reflect the two companies’ relative reach — most analysts agree that Canvas’s ascent, largely at Blackboard’s expense, is noteworthy.

https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2018/07/10/canvas-catches-and-maybe-passes-blackboard-top-learning

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July 16, 2018

A college program that ‘never ends’

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by James Paterson, Education Dive
College that “never ends” may be the future, according to a Washington Post story describing a new University of Michigan program that offers scholarships for students to come back and take courses throughout their lives. It also describes a trend toward other online learning initiatives designed to re-educate or update workers. The program at Michigan’s Ross School of Business offers 42 courses in leadership, marketing, human resources and finance that would normally cost about $10,000 a week. Ross charges the students an up-front subscription fee to access the courses, which officials say are intended to be flexible and change with needs in the workforce and economy. In 2015-16, 40 students signed up for the program, and last year 200 of the university’s 580,000 alumni did.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/a-college-program-that-never-ends/526969/

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For refugees in Kenya, an education in hope

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By Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe
The Kakuma Refugee Camp, 80 miles from anywhere in northwest Kenya, is a world apart, a holding center for thousands dispossessed by war and conflict. Opportunity knocks rarely here, but a once-obscure New Hampshire university has made it the idealistic focus of its global plans. Under a thatched-roof shed at the edge of northwest Kenya, Achayo Loum logs on to her laptop to tackle the day’s assignment: writing a college essay on counterfeiting in the fashion industry. She is one of the first participants in a program at Kakuma that will, when she completes it, make her a graduate of a school she really only knows from website photos: Southern New Hampshire University. Loum’s world has an unlikely visitor.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2018/07/07/education-hope/o7JpxrSdkyxzhQH4YpTYdI/story.html

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Serving and learning: MSL student takes classes while stationed in Kuwait

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by Herald Republican

One of the features that originally drew Mike Thompson to Trine University’s Lou Holtz Master of Science in Leadership program was the flexibility of online classes. That flexibility became very important to Thompson when, halfway through the program, he was called to active duty by the U.S. Army and deployed to Kuwait. A member of the Army and Indiana National Guard for 26 years altogether, Thompson, who holds the rank of staff sergeant, has been able to continue working on his MSL while deployed, completing two classes from Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

http://www.kpcnews.com/heraldrepublican/article_e695d617-724d-53a3-8edb-cd7a337332a3.html

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July 15, 2018

Learning these in-demand skills could add thousands of dollars to your annual salary

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by Carmen Reinicke, CNBC

“New-collar jobs,” positions that require skills but not a bachelor’s degree, are in demand right now, according to ZipRecruiter. When Josh Hannaford saw that IBM used the phrase “no degree, no problem,” advertising for its apprenticeship program, he cried. Then, he applied. “It just blew me away that a company like IBM was recognizing that there was a whole untapped workforce out there and they were going to give us a chance,” said the 21-year-old Hannaford. So-called new-collar jobs, positions that require specific skills but not a bachelor’s degree, are in high demand, according to ZipRecruiter, an online employment marketplace. The skills gap, in which jobs stay vacant for lack of qualified applicants, has given opportunities to people like Hannaford who take the initiative to train for hotly desired skills.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/28/want-to-increase-your-salary-learn-these-key-skills.html

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When we run out of room for data, scientists want to store it in DNA

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by Luke Dormehl, Digital Trends

The reason for this is the unimaginable pace at which we currently produce data. Each day, around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created, courtesy of the 3.7 billion humans who now use the internet. In the last two years alone, a mind-boggling 90 percent of the world’s data has been created. That’s where Park and fellow MIT scientist and co-founder Nathaniel Roquet enter the picture. Their startup Catalog has developed technology they believe could transform data storage as we know it; allowing, or so they claim, the entirety of the world’s data to be comfortably fit into a space the size of a coat closet. Catalog’s solution? By encoding data into DNA. That might sound like the plot of a Michael Crichton novel, but their scalable and affordable solution is serious, and has so far received $9 million in venture funding — along with the support of leading professors from Stanford and Harvard Universities.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/dna-data-catalog-startup/

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The tech industry leads the way in revolutionizing student loan debt

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by JAZZY QUICK, Big Think

With the average student loan borrower owing in the $27,900—$50,000 range, it’s no wonder that national student loan debt in America is at a record high of $1.52 trillion. And to make that statistic worse, STEM-based degree programs are pumping out a considerable portion of the borrowers with debt, due to students taking out massive amounts of loans in order to compete in a saturated job market. A survey shared by CommonBond gave data that depicts how the technology industry might be the most affected the most by student loan debt. Currently, approximately 53% of workers have student loan debts, according to CommonBond, and of those borrows, 65% of them are paying off $50,000 or more in student loans.

https://bigthink.com/jazzy-quick/the-tech-industry-leads-the-way-in-revolutionizing-student-loan-debt

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July 14, 2018

One small college moves online — carefully

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By James Paterson, Education Dive
Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, believes it has skillfully moved some instruction online without sacrificing the small institution’s best qualities that its 2,500 students expect, according to Inside Higher Education. A 25-person task force with representatives from various departments, the faculty and the student body began investigating online learning options about four years ago and made several recommendations tailored to the college to move it into the realm. The group discouraged the development of massive open online courses (MOOCs). As a result, this summer the college is offering 19 courses online with a maximum of 23 students in each, most with a liberal arts focus.

https://www.educationdive.com/news/one-small-college-moves-online-carefully/527152/

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Online learning is helping Louisiana inmates stay out of prison

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by Leigh Guidry, Lafayette Daily Advertiser

About two-thirds of prisoners go back to jail within three years of being released, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But an online learning platform at 15 correctional facilities are helping Louisiana inmates create a new future for themselves.  The state tested Lantern, an educational program for the incarcerated created through a partnership with Ashland University in Ohio, first in the Louisiana Transition Center for Women in Madison Parish.  Kim Barnette, retired state director of correction education in Louisiana, said it was a success in that not only were the women educated, but it also reduced their discipline issues inside the institution. Not only are inmates 43 percent less likely to go back behind bars but they also are more likely to get a job, according to the research.

https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/news/local/education/2018/07/06/online-learning-helping-louisiana-inmates-stay-out-prison/742154002/

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EdX Engineers Are Building a Transferrable Student Records Tool

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by IBL News

edX is building a transferrable student records tool, which will be ready in the next “Ironwood” version of the Open edX platform, scheduled for the first quarter of 2019. Bill De Rusha, an edX engineer, shared some insights about this development on a talk from the 2018 Open edX conference in Montreal. The first implementation of transferrable student records will be available on edx.org in the coming weeks. This software is a need today for learners who want to apply their MicroMasters credentials as transfer credits and share their edX records with partner institutions.

EdX Engineers Are Building a Transferrable Student Records Tool

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