E-learning in an Ebola environment: A practical way forward

October 11th, 2014

by Rashid Dumbuya ESQ, Sierra Express Media

As I resume classes on Monday here in the UK, I am so unhappy and broken in spirit especially when I consider the fact that thousands of students in my country are presently not attending school and formal lectures because of the outbreak of the Ebola virus and its attendant consequences. The entire educational system in Sierra Leone is currently on hold for over 3 months now. But as I sat and ponder over this demagogue, something interesting dropped on my mind and I feel a deep sense of responsibility to share it to all and sundry. QUESTION- Assuming E-learning had been encouraged and prioritized in the University of Sierra Leone, would it have made some positive difference during this challenging period?

http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/?p=70886

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Using Quick Prototyping to Develop Online Courses

October 11th, 2014

By Jessica Falkenthal, Blog UP

Eric Ries, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, popularized the idea of a minimum viable product, also known as quick prototyping. The concept is akin to writing an outline and getting it reviewed by your audience before you do hours of research and build your argument. When you get early feedback, you are able to develop a more effective paper. We named our prototype the “MOOC survivor tool.” While developing a prototype, I learned that there were a few things this approach could offer to the field of online learning. When applied to online learning, the idea is simple: create a prototype in increments and test it with customers to validate its effectiveness with real life users. This allows you to learn about what your users need and want while investing little time in going down unnecessary paths. It is essentially a fast process to nullify or accept your hypotheses and assumptions. The process tells you from an early stage if your idea or hypothesis is useful and worth building. The formula is simple: build, test, learn and repeat.

http://blog.up.co/2014/10/01/using-quick-prototyping-develop-online-courses/

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Assess Students’ Readiness to be Online Learners

October 10th, 2014

by eLearning Industry

Many universities assume that because their students are part of the Facebook and Instagram generation, that they have the skills to be automatically successful online learners. This is a dangerous assumption as the high rates of attrition in online courses and MOOCs (as high as 90 percent in some cases) attest. Education institutions also assume that because students are eager online learners that they will understand and accept the new models of instruction and ways of working online or in blended environments. This is also dangerous assumption. Many students, though they may appear to be eager online learners, will often resist new models of teaching and learning and the increased responsibility they will need to be pushed and supported to learn differently. And many university students will take online courses because of the perception that it is easier, and they will need to be pushed and supported to work harder (especially when they see that an online course often involves more work than a face-to-face course.)

http://elearningindustry.com/helping-online-learners-succeed-part-1

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Report urges support for girls’ leadership roles

October 10th, 2014

By Laura Devaney, eSchool News

Creating a pipeline of girls who are interested in leadership roles in school is essential. Educators are uniquely positions to help girls assume leadership roles and overcome stereotypes both in and out of school, according to a new report from the National Education Association (NEA). Educator support in helping girls take on leadership roles is essential, especially in middle and high school. The report, based on 2014 NEA survey data, recommends several actions to help educators close the leadership gender gap.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/10/02/girls-leadership-roles-549/

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Empowering superintendents in the digital age

October 10th, 2014

By Keith Krueger, eSchool News

Superintendents lead. They are charged with preparing students to be college-, career-, and life-ready, and with enabling a 21st-century learning environment. Increasingly, this means leveraging digital technologies to create personalized learning opportunities. As leaders, superintendents play an essential role as a catalyst for using technology to transform learning. In districts where superintendents have created a clear and compelling vision for technology, positive learning changes are occurring. In districts where the superintendent has abdicated that responsibility, technology is rarely scaled in a systemic manner.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/10/02/cosn-empowering-superintendents-901/

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Feds: Inequalities in Ed Tech Resources ‘Potentially Unlawful Discrimination’

October 9th, 2014

By David Nagel, THE Journal

The United States Department of Education has issued guidance to education leaders calling attention to disparities in educational resources along ethnic and economic lines and characterizing such disparities as “potentially … unlawful discrimination.” The list of those disparities explicitly included quantity and quality of technology-based resources available to students. In a 37-page “Dear Colleague” letter sent Wednesday to schools, districts and state agencies, Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, outlined the various ways in which high-poverty schools and schools serving a large proportion of “students of color” are receiving unequal funding and access to resources, which, according to the latest guidance, is in conflict with federal law. The letter detailed disparities in the quantity and quality of curricular offerings, instructional materials and facilities and focused extensively on access to technology — devices, courseware and infrastructure.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2014/10/02/feds-inequalities-in-ed-tech-resources-potentially-unlawful-discrimination.aspx

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4 keys to survival in a rapidly changing ed-tech market

October 9th, 2014

by Connor Gray, eSchool News

While the quality of higher education in the United States is the envy of the world, colleges and universities are approaching a critical inflection point in the way they do business. Greater competition, lower enrollment numbers, reduced funding, and changing demographics are impacting almost every institution. At the same time, we’re all trying to improve student outcomes (Borders was under no pressure to increase literacy while trying to survive market forces). One of our most successful clients, an early adopter of online and emerging technologies as its model, has seen tremendous growth in its online programs, tripling enrollment year over year. Today, it’s a basic supply-and-demand issue. You may still be able to squeeze out your enrollment numbers by offering online programs, but you may be lowering your prices and digging deeper into a degraded pool of students to hit those numbers. You’re achieving your recruiting goals, but now your revenue and retention rates are shrinking.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/rapidly-changing-market-321/

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How To Bridge the IT Communication Gap

October 9th, 2014

By Michael Hart0, Campus Technology

A little finesse goes a long way in communicating with tech-challenged users — and more important, it can bolster IT’s strategic role across the university.You’ve spent hours on the phone with a user whose problem, you finally discover, is nowhere close to what he has been describing to you. Or you’ve gotten that excited call from a professor who has just learned about “the most amazing technology ever” and wants you to get it for her “immediately.” (Never mind that the technology costs a mint or won’t actually suit her needs!) Every IT professional at a higher education institution has had these experiences. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person team at a small community college or part of a massive IT department at a major university. Failed communication is just one symptom of the chasm that sometimes exists between IT professionals and the faculty, students and administrators they serve.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/09/25/how-to-bridge-the-it-communication-gap.aspx

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iPad Declines as Samsung, Lenovo Tablets Push Forward

October 8th, 2014

By David Nagel, Campus Techology

Shipments of Apple’s iPad have fallen off 13 percent so far this year. Meanwhile, according to a new report, Samsung’s tablet shipments have increased 26 percent in the first half of 2014. According to market research firm ABI Research, Apple and Samsung continued to account for roughly 70 percent of all tablet shipments in the first half of 2014. However, there is a new contender on the block. “The roller coaster ride from the leading two tablet vendors has market watchers looking to other vendors to create sustainable growth,” said ABI Senior Practice Director Jeff Orr, in a statement released to coincide with the report. “All eyes are on Lenovo as it is one of few to demonstrate consistent growth over the past year.”

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/09/30/ipad-declines-as-samsung-lenovo-tablets-push-forward.aspx

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Furthering your education: in class and online

October 8th, 2014

By: Vawn Himmelsback, Toronto Star

More and more professionals are upgrading their skills, and their careers, through a mix of classroom and web-based curriculum. Many adult students are choosing a hybrid education – both online and in the classroom – to accommodate their busy, working lives, and a desire to upgrade or diversify skills. These days, professionals are often required to upgrade their skills to stay relevant or advance their career, but for many adults going back to school full-time isn’t an option. While continuing education has always been an alternative for adult learners, post-secondary institutions are starting to explore hybrid or blended learning options they say offer the best of two worlds: online and in-class learning.

http://www.thestar.com/life/further_education/2014/10/02/furthering_your_education_in_class_and_online.html

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EDUCAUSE 2014: Online Learning Could Fundamentally Change Role of Universities

October 8th, 2014

by D. Frank Smith, EdTech

Higher education institutions are poised for a massive shake-up, not unlike what tech companies experienced in the 1980s during the rise of the PC, said EDUCAUSE’s first general session speaker Clayton Christensen. “Disruption is always a great opportunity before it becomes a threat,” he said. “In the future, I don’t think universities themselves will be nearly as prominent as they have been in the past,” he said. Instead of merely conferring degrees, universities are increasingly offering alternative certifications and accreditations for students seeking a more narrowly focused education. The growth of online learning options plays directly into that, Christensen said. Online higher education institutions are growing, offering a modular educational experience with an open architecture, he said — and “when it becomes modular, then anybody can declare themselves a university.”

http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2014/09/educause-2014-online-learning-could-fundamentally-change-role-universities

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What It Takes to Keep Student Information Safe in the Digital Age

October 7th, 2014
By Gary Langsdale, Evolllution

Security has kept pace with the innovations but security has not kept pace with the sophistication of potential intrusions. They’re moving faster than the innovations themselves. There’s always a willingness to work with the security operations folks to do what you can to make sure that our systems that are online and elsewhere stored externally are secure. The sophistication of the intruders has become exponentially more sophisticated and more frequent as evidenced by some of the breaches in payment systems in retail within the last six months or a year. IT leaders should take a fresh look to make sure everyone is looking at every system they’re planning to update or put into place. I’m very wary of cloud-based solutions for business programs because of their vulnerability as well. It’s up to the IT leaders and the other business leaders within the university to push the vendors very hard on the vendors’ responsibilities to make sure to safeguard the systems and to accept responsibility [when breaches occur].

http://www.evolllution.com/distance_online_learning/audio-takes-student-information-safe-digital-age

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Are you Ready for Online Learning?

October 7th, 2014

by Arthur F. Kirk, Huffington Post

A question that prospective online students often ask us is “how do I know if I’m ready for an online course?” For adult students who may be juggling full-time jobs, families or other obligations the answer almost always involves time commitment. Online classes offer more flexibility, but flexibility does not mean less rigor. In fact, an online degree program can sometimes be more challenging than the traditional classroom. So, how do you know if you are a good candidate for an online class? Consider these 10 tips before enrolling.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-arthur-f-kirk-jr/are-you-ready-for-online-_b_5900886.html

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Crouching Tiger, Mobile University

October 7th, 2014

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Education, at least the sort of education that is worth paying for, is not about consumption. Education is about relationships. Education is about a skilled and experienced educator getting to know individual each learner as an individual. The future will belong to the small seminar and the competency based credential (consumed on a mobile device no doubt). The place-based but impersonal model of teaching (think big lecture classes) will go away. This form of teaching will be replaced by adaptive mobile learning. Good riddance. The future will belong to those institutions wise enough to invest today in quality, in faculty, in small-classes and infrastructure that supports student / educator relationships.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/crouching-tiger-mobile-university

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Proving Grounds for a New Model for Higher Education

October 6th, 2014

by John P. Imlay Jr., Huffington Post, Dean of Computing at Georgia Tech

The key point is that the online nature of the degree is affirmed to be immaterial: the online classes are fully the equivalent of on-campus ones, in terms of both education and credentials, at a fraction of the cost. Having the coursework constitute a Georgia Tech master’s degree is the only way we could have credibly put the Institute’s reputation behind the rigor and quality of our online courses. But now that the point has been made, we expect the next wave of online higher education to include not only additional degrees offered online, but also individual online courses that are treated no differently from their on-campus equivalents. Indeed, students will be able to tailor courses of study to their individual needs. For example, they could begin with a few online courses, then transition to a year or two of on-campus courses before pursuing the last stretch of their degree program online so as to be able to combine it with work experience.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zvi-galil/proving-grounds-for-a-new_b_5899762.html

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Student computer use raises privacy questions

October 6th, 2014

by Lisa Black, Chicago Tribune

School districts moving to “one-to-one” programs, which provide students with computers they can take home, increasingly find their officials navigating new cyber territory, aiming to keep students safe while juggling privacy issues as advances in technology increase their ability to monitor their students’ online work at all hours. In Barrington, District 220 officials field emails sent by “cyber security agents” hired to monitor student activity, alerting them to inappropriate words or suspicious phrases that can indicate such things as sexting or bullying. “There is going to be some difficulty in balancing the rights of student privacy against the legitimate rights of the school to understand how the devices are being used,” said Jacqueline Wernz, a lawyer with the Chicago firm Franczek Radelet. For school districts, she said, “it might be a matter of protecting themselves.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-school-tablets-privacy-met-20140928-story.html#page=1

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Researching And Assessing QualityLow-Cost Online Colleges Dedicated To Student Success

October 6th, 2014

by Affordable Colleges Online

The continued rise in tuition and fees has many students and parents carefully analyzing the cost of college. Does community college make sense for two years? Is the private school worth the extra cash? Finding low-cost opportunities can be the key to more students getting the higher education they deserve. However, every family preparing to take the post-secondary plunge should make sure all college options on the table, especially the most affordable ones, have the proper accreditation. No matter which type of college, accreditation indicates a school has passed certain peer-based assessments and maintains faculty, staff and curricula dedicated to high-quality education. The following page examines low-cost colleges — both traditional and online — and how accreditation ensures that even the least expensive colleges maintain certain quality standards.

http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/cheap-online-colleges/

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A Straightforward Guide To Creative Commons

October 5th, 2014

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Creative Commons licenses allow any internet user to easily understand how they can (and can not) share what they find on the web. The licenses are visual, and if you aren’t sure of what you see on the work you’d like to use, you can refer back to the CC website to see. The handy infographic linked below gives a pretty thorough overview of the licenses and what they mean. Whether you have a personal blog, a class blog, or your students want to use a photo they’ve found in a presentation, this guide will be super handy!

http://www.edudemic.com/guide-creative-commons/

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How To Bridge the IT Communication Gap

October 5th, 2014

By Michael Hart, Campus Technology

A little finesse goes a long way in communicating with tech-challenged users — and more important, it can bolster IT’s strategic role across the university. Failed communication is just one symptom of the chasm that sometimes exists between IT professionals and the faculty, students and administrators they serve. And while it’s tempting to blame the user, the truth is it’s up to IT to find a way to get the right messages across. “You’ve got to go to where people stand,” exhorted Joanna Young, vice president and CIO at Michigan State University. In other words, put yourself in the user’s shoes; listen as much as you talk or fix; and learn how to speak on his terms.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/09/25/how-to-bridge-the-it-communication-gap.aspx

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Wikipedia grows up on college campuses

October 5th, 2014

by Bruce Maiman, eCampus News

A trusted bromide in academia is that you become a better student when you become a teacher. Gradually and informally, educators who repeatedly warned students to avoid Wikipedia like the plague began making it part of their course curriculum, assigning students to contribute content, either by writing original Wikipedia articles or editing existing ones. Since the program’s launch in 2010, nearly 10,000 students in some 500 classes have contributed 44,000 printed pages of content, editing thousands of existing articles and creating 1,900 new ones, all of it overseen by academics while students get credit. Participating schools run the gamut from Ivy League to community college. The California contingent includes Berkeley, Davis and San Francisco, the California Maritime Academy and Pomona College.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/wikipedia-grows-college-campuses/

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New tech offers virtual field trip to an aquarium tank

October 4th, 2014

By Cynthia Sewell, eSchool News

A Boise, Idaho, company is taking armchair adventuring and learning to a new level by letting anyone on the internet take command of a remotely operated underwater vehicle. The LiveDiver device from Reach-In is now installed at the Aquarium of Boise. By logging into the aquarium’s website, users can control a small mini-submarine in the shark and fish tank to get a diver’s perspective of the marine life.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/09/29/virtual-trip-aquarium-090/

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