Techno-News Blog

October 7, 2017

Data can improve both student outcomes and faculty performance

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by Shalina Chatlani, Education Dive

 

In response to a realization that students weren’t performing well in class, Pierce College has collected data on course-completion for every instructor, allowing more than 95% of full time faculty to see how students from various backgrounds are performing in their classes over the last three years.  To get instructor buy-in to the data dashboards, Pierce administrators have been engaging in conversations with faculty on specific ways the data can be used to improve teaching — and as a result, the college has added dozens of dashboards to show what types of innovative instructional approaches have positive impacts, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.  The institution has also invested in professional development around the data, offering a $2,000 increase in salary to faculty for using it — with the result of increasing salaries by more than $300,000 since 2012.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/data-can-improve-both-student-outcomes-and-faculty-performance/506421/

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How Blockchains Could Set IoT Free

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By Joel Hans, RT Insights

By creating some standards by which to structure blockchain-based IoT deployment, consortiums like this one seek to lower the barrier of entry to those who want a secure, easily-deployable blockchain experience. The Trusted IoT Alliance aims to publish open source code under some coordinated standards and reference architecture that even non-members could take advantage of. And they already have a common API that allows them to register transactions on both Hyperledger and Ethereum blockchains.

https://www.rtinsights.com/how-blockchains-could-set-iot-free/

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October 6, 2017

Libraries help promote lifelong learning

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By Jessica Watts, Sudbury Star

What does lifelong learning mean to you? Some people I know were so happy to close their last textbook and write their final exam at university or college that they never wanted to take a ‘class’ ever again, while others look for opportunities to take part in workshops and seminars every chance they get. I would think most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Lifelong learning is defined as learning that is pursued throughout our lives that can include formal and informal opportunities. It might be done to foster improvement of knowledge and skills and for reasons that relate to both personal interest and employment needs. The Greater Sudbury Public Library has many lifelong learning opportunities available for people of all ages and interests. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a book, but these days there are also many ways to get inspired and foster continuous self-development online.

http://www.thesudburystar.com/2017/10/01/watts-libraries-help-promote-lifelong-learning

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Higher Ed Needs a Re-Think to Train Tomorrow’s Workforce

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by Anant Agarwal, OZY

The ways in which the nature of work is changing beyond our control necessitate a more flexible education system, with “students” no longer being defined just as 18-to-22-year-olds on college campuses. In this era of Netflix subscriptions and Blue Apron dinner deliveries, it’s high time we embrace an education system that’s flexible, accessible and affordable, whether it’s by streaming classes onto our laptops at home or by hitting the pavement to get to class.

http://www.ozy.com/pov/higher-education-needs-a-rethink-to-train-tomorrows-workforce/81004

 

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Georgia State Backed Up Analytics With Support System

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by Jamaal Abdul-Alim, Diverse Ed

In short, the predictive analytics system at GSU is one that triggers an alert to advisers when students exhibit any one of the 800 risk factors that could derail the student’s academic success. Those risk factors can range from getting a mediocre grade in a prerequisite for one’s major to dropping a course mid-semester. “What we’ve found is the real challenge is not coming up with the data,” Renick said. “But once you have all these thousands of risk factors identified, do you have a system to take those alerts, put them into action and have mediation so that students can be helped?” The investment in 42 academic advisors resulted in an additional yearly cost of $2 million, but more than paid for itself because the increased retention rate meant more revenue for the school, Renick said.

http://diverseeducation.com/article/102425/

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October 5, 2017

The 10 Gold Standards of Ensuring Online Course Quality

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by Eduvation
Online courses represent some of the most accessible and potentially comprehensive learning available. Whether they come in the form of free online courses or classes from a university, online learning is extremely popular. However, online classes are meant to be more than assignments and reading without interaction; they need to be personal. Taking these steps can greatly enhance your e-Learning solutions and lead to a better online course.

http://www.focuseduvation.com/10-gold-standards-ensuring-online-course-quality/

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Innovation wins against antiquated ideas of how higher education should work and how college students should learn

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by Scott Pulsipher, Hechinger Report
An argument in favor of competency education:  The Education Department’s inspector general on Sept. 22 recommended that the department seek the return of more than $700 million in federal financial aid from the Western Governors University, citing concerns of the role of faculty at the large online university. The inspector general also said the school should be ineligible to receive any more federal aid payments. A response from Western Governors’ president follows:
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has wisely noted that to innovate, you have to be willing to be misunderstood, often for long periods of time. The release of the Office of Inspector General’s audit report is a strong reminder of just how true that is.

http://hechingerreport.org/opinion-innovation-wins-antiquated-ideas-higher-education-work-college-students-learn/

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5 Strategies to Thwart Cyberattacks in Higher Education

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by Jim A. Jorstad, Center for Digital Ed
Universities are a wealth of sensitive data and prime targets for cyberattacks. Making sure everyone on campus is on board with your defense strategy is key to ensuring your institution’s cybersecurity.  While corporate cyberattacks have been in the headlines, academic institutions possess a treasure trove of important data, identities, sensitive financial information, Social Security numbers and private research. Today, there are many defensive software and hardware tools available to thwart cyberattacks, but equally important are having strategies to create effective communications, information and awareness. These strategies can cost little — or are free — but can yield impressive dividends and create a proactive first line of defense. End users can become confident in protecting themselves and their data from aggressive phishing, spamming, and ransomware attacks.

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/higher-ed/5-Strategies-to-Thwart-Cyberattacks-in-Higher-Education.html

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October 4, 2017

Dampening Innovation, One Institution at a Time

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By Justin Draeger, Inside Higher Ed

The recommended penalties placed on Western Governors University will have a dampening effect on any institution that is pursuing new or modified learning models, argues Justin Draeger. What’s the fastest way to stifle innovation? Declare a higher education institution ineligible for federal financial aid, recommend it return hundreds of millions of dollars and watch other colleges and universities duck for cover.  Western Governors University, a well-known nonprofit, online education provider, is under pressure to return $713 million in federal financial aid after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General said in an audit report that the university is ineligible to participate in Title IV programs because of not meeting certain standards.

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/09/29/how-education-departments-approach-western-governors-university-could-impede-higher

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Explore Pros, Cons of Online Stackable Credentials

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By Bradley Fuster, US News

Some programs allow online students to earn several smaller certificates as they progress toward a full degree. Many working adults are overwhelmed by the time and financial commitments required to get an online degree. The fear of starting and not finishing a program, only to be saddled with debt, can deter potentially excellent students from taking online classes. Enter the online stackable credential. Students may complete as few as three online university classes at either the undergraduate or graduate level and earn a certificate, badge or other type of microcredential. Students can earn a second, more advanced certificate on top of the first one by completing a few more online courses. These stacked credentials allow students to quickly advance in their careers, adding a new line to their resumes.

https://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2017-09-29/explore-pros-cons-of-online-stackable-credentials

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How can states improve data innovation in ed systems?

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by Pat Donachie, Education Dive

States must support K-12 and higher ed initiatives to introduce students to the kinds of skills that will help them compete and fill jobs in the burgeoning data economy, and there also must be support for training opportunities for individuals in the workplace to garner new skills, according to the author of a recent report from the Center for Data Innovation that ranked the states which have been the best in data innovation, including creating available datasets, investing in new technologies and helping to develop “human and business capital.”

http://www.educationdive.com/news/how-can-states-improve-data-innovation-in-ed-systems/505884/

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October 3, 2017

Classes begin for Lone Star College-Kingwood students after flood damages

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By Beth Marshall, Community Impact Houston

Sustaining the most damage of all Lone Star College System campuses, LSC-Kingwood took on water in six of its nine buildings, and officials have worked to convert nearly 600 face-to-face courses to online or hybrid formats. “While the hurricane damaged our buildings, it did not shake our determination to get students educated,” said LSC-Kingwood President Katherine Persson. “Campus personnel pulled together to ensure that students were able to register, pay, and attend classes by Sept. 25.” As of Sept. 22, LSC-Kingwood had a seven percent increase in student enrollment, according to a release from the college. More than 13,000 students are taking online classes and in-person and hybrid courses are being held in the Student Conference Center and the Music Instructional Building on campus.

https://communityimpact.com/houston/lake-houston-humble-kingwood/education/2017/09/25/classes-begin-lsc-kingwood-students-today-flood-damages/

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Teacher Leadership in Online Classrooms Shapes Communication

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By Allison Mills, Michigan Tech University

In a paper published in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, STEM education researcher Joshua Ellis shows how empowering teachers in online professional development classes can deepen their learning. The effects can then carry over into their own classrooms. “My background is in designing online learning environments, and we know that you always want to design for the outcome—but we don’t always know how to design for the outcome,” says Ellis, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences at Michigan Technological University. “The study spurred conversations for us as designers because, at the end of the day, we have to ask, would we do this again?”

http://www.mtu.edu/news/stories/2017/september/teacher-leadership-online-classrooms-shapes-communication.html

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Online courses, initially slow to boot, now dominate some curricula

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By Mike Malloy, World-Herald

Back in the era of dial-up Internet and floppy discs, Mary Hawkins helped guide Bellevue University into the then mostly uncharted world of online education. It was 1996. Hawkins, who was less than a year into her tenure as university president, established Bellevue’s first online offering – an undergraduate management class. Unsure where to cap enrollment, Hawkins set the class limit at 1,000. “We got eight,” she said. Not 8,000 students. Eight students. Professors also were slow to boot up. “We were literally telling people to unpack the box the computer came in,” Hawkins said. Today, Bellevue has 9,176 online students, who log in from 130 countries to pursue 80 different degrees.

http://www.omaha.com/special_sections/college-careers/online-courses-initially-slow-to-boot-now-dominate-some-curricula/article_88135ae8-b398-5d6c-9236-be0c62378d52.html

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October 2, 2017

Wearables to See Double-Digit Growth through 2021

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By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal
Sales of wearable devices will post double-digit gains each year through 2021, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC).  Vendors will sell 121.7 million devices this year, according to the forecast, up 16.6 percent over last year’s 104.4 million shipments. By 2021, the company predicts total sales to reach 229.5 million units on the strength of a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.2 percent. Wrist-worn devices will drive the market, according to the company, while “lesser-known wearable products, such as clothing and ear-wear, will experience market-beating growth in the years to come.”

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/09/15/wearables-to-see-double-digit-growth-through-2021.aspx

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Minecraft: Education Edition Reboots The Oregon Trail

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By Sri Ravipati, THE Journal

Since its debut last year, educators and students in 115 countries are currently using Minecraft: Education Edition. Starting today, classrooms will be able to play a popular educational game from the past within Minecraft’s sandbox world.  Microsoft has launched The Oregon Trail Experience, which focuses on subjects in STEM, humanities and fine arts. The company partnered with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to bring back The Oregon Trail, a computer game first introduced in 1971 to teach students about frontier life by putting them in the role of a 19th century pioneer.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/09/18/minecraft-education-edition-reboots-the-oregon-trail.aspx

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: ARE COMPUTERS TAKING OVER FOR TEACHERS?

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by Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

If you’re an educator, you’ve probably noticed that the profession has undergone significant change in the last few years. With the growth of the flipped classroom model and the plethora of resources available via apps and websites, teachers are no longer considered the experts. They are moving into the role of facilitator, “guide on the side” instead of “sage on the stage.” Are we headed to a brave new world in which teachers are replaced by giant computer screens and a tech coach to assist on the sidelines? The answer is…yes and no.

http://www.thetechedvocate.org/artificial-intelligence-computers-taking-teachers/

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October 1, 2017

4 Recommendations for Closing Broadband Equity Gaps

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By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal
4 Recommendations for Closing Broadband Equity Gaps
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and Education Networks of America (ENA) have released a new report examining the steps states are taking to close the gaps in wireless access between their schools and districts.

The report offers four recommendations for policy makers and school leaders:

Increase infrastructure to support student-centered learning;
Design infrastructure to meet capacity targets;
Ensure equity of access for all students outside of school; and
Leverage state resources to increase broadband access.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/09/20/4-recommendations-for-closing-broadband-equity-gaps.aspx

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Cornell, Carnegie Researchers Aim to Hold Computers Accountable for Their Decisions

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By Joshua Bolkan, Campus Technology

A team of researchers led by professors at Cornell University will launch a project designed to ensure that automated decision-making systems respect privacy and come to their decisions fairly. “There’s a lot of new technology being deployed in a variety of important settings, and we don’t fully understand all the ramifications,” said Thomas Ristenpart, associate professor of computer science at Cornell Tech and co-principal investigator for the project, in a prepared statement.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2017/09/18/cornell-carnegie-researchers-aim-to-hold-computers-accountable-for-their-decisions.aspx

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Binge Learning: What Online Education Can Learn from Netflix

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By Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

We generally consider binging a bad thing, but a new study conducted by Wharton professors Eric Bradlow, J. Wesley Hutchinson, and doctoral candidate Tong Lu, suggests that binging content helps us learn better. Their study examined students taking a class on Coursera, one of the most widely used online education platforms. They received and analyzed data regarding how quickly students in multiple different classes consumed each learning module and compared it to their performance in the class.

https://news.elearninginside.com/binge-learning-online-education-can-learn-netflix/

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September 30, 2017

Science Competition Promotes K-12 Science Standards and Innovation

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By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal
An “assistance rod” that acts as a “rescue pack” for baby sea turtles. An improved cochlear implant that allows its wearer to hear a wider range of frequencies. An environmentally-friendly food wrap that will change color when the food inside has spoiled or been contaminated. Those are some of the winning student entries from previous “ExploraVision” science competitions. This year’s event will be open for registration from K-12 students until Feb. 8, 2018. The ExploraVision program is put on by the National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba with a goal of encouraging students to learn more about STEM-related subjects.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2017/09/21/science-competition-promotes-k12-science-standards-and-innovation.aspx

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