5 Questions to Ask Before Pursuing an Online Associate Degree

April 28th, 2016

By Jordan Friedman, US News

​An online associate degree program might not be a fit for everybody, but experts say there are benefits to choosing this route to an education. In a lot of cases, prospective students may want a degree but are unsure if they will have time for a bachelor’s, says Megan Foster, an admissions counselor at Pennsylvania State University—World Campus. “They’ll start with an associate’s, get that credential a little bit quicker to help them get a bump up in their job, and then they might consider a bachelor’s afterwards,” Foster says. In the 2014-2015 school year, the number of students enrolled in online classes at community colleges continued to rise, increasing by 4.7 percent – the same rate as the previous year, according to a 2015 survey ​by the Instructional Technology Council, which is affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2016-04-22/5-questions-to-ask-before-pursuing-an-online-associate-degree

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Get On The Machine Learning Bandwagon With Google

April 28th, 2016

by Lucy Black, iProgrammer

You can’t help but notice the surge of interest in anything to do with machine learning. Now Google has launched a series of videos presenting machine learning recipes. And this adds to an existing heap of resources. AlphaGo’s historic victory against the Korean Go champion Lee Sedol has had consequences. One is a worldwide shortage of Go boards due to an upsurge of interest in the game, which is recognized as the most difficult to play. Another is that we all want to get involved with machine learning, amplifying a trend that has already been evident for a couple of years. The latest way to gain some insight into what machine learning does and how you can use it comes from Josh Gordon, who presents a series of short (7 minutes) videos that aim to get you started with machine learning using two open source libraries, scikit-learn and TensorFlow, which Google open sourced having developed it in-house.

http://www.i-programmer.info/news/105-artificial-intelligence/9662-get-on-the-machine-learning-bandwagon-with-google.html

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How to know if you should enroll your student in an online course

April 28th, 2016

by NEIL MORAN, METROMODE

It used to be that if your child attended a high school with a limited number of electives and only a couple advanced placement classes, there were only so many options available for them to explore their interests and prep for college. Not anymore. With online classes, many students now have access to a learning tool that reaches across school districts. That doesn’t mean signing up your student is a no brainer. Adding online courses to a student’s workload is often a difficult decision, especially with the great variety of options, from subject matter to instructor. Like traditional courses, the quality can vary and is only as good as the instructor who prepares and administers the program. For parents deciding if online courses are right for their child, here’s some things to consider.

http://www.semichiganstartup.com/features/online-class-michigan-042016.aspx

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Adaptive engineering course opens up engineering fundamentals to all

April 27th, 2016

by eCampus News

The University of New South Wales Australia and adaptive learning provider Smart Sparrow have unveiled what they call the world’s first-ever open adaptive engineering course designed to unlock access to high-quality courses for learners of all backgrounds. The course, Through Engineers’ Eyes: Engineering Mechanics by Experiment, Analysis and Design, was developed by Professor Gangadhara Prusty and Robin Ford, a retired Associate Professor, both from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing at UNSW. It is the first Engineering MOOC to leverage Adaptive Technology. Adaptive Tutorials built on the Smart Sparrow platform have been incorporated to engage students with real-life simulations and personalised course materials, addressing the low completion rates in MOOCs and high failure rates in introductory engineering.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/online-learning/moocs/adaptive-engineering-course/

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Bellevue U approaches online learning with liberal arts classroom model

April 27th, 2016

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Bellevue University in Nebraska takes a liberal arts approach to online education, focusing on small class sizes and high-touch faculty who provide oversight and guidance to students, and, in turn, improve retention. According to eCampus News, the school requires faculty to take a course about online teaching strategies before leading their first classes, and they are then monitored by senior faculty and deans; a performance-based approach to student progress avoids automation of some competency-based programs. While programs map curricula and outline outcomes and performance skills students must master, it is a combination of tests and other assessments, like video presentations, that allow students to prove their skill — and while the programs are largely self-paced, students must meet major milestones to stay largely in step with one another.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/bellevue-u-approaches-online-learning-with-liberal-arts-classroom-model/417870/

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New law alters online class graduation requirement (but details murky)

April 27th, 2016

by Leslie Postal, Orlando Sentinel

Lawmakers altered online-class requirement for high school graduation. Now, you don’t need to take a class.. Florida students must pass one online course to earn a high school diploma, a rule that kicked in starting with the class of 2015 and has had its detractors (including students who said a virtual class wasn’t their academic cup of tea). The Florida Legislature, which put the rule in place, has altered it a few times since it was first adopted — and did so again in its session that wrapped up in March. Embedded in its multi-pronged education bill (HB 7029) are a few more ways for students to meet the online-class requirement, including not taking a so-called virtual class at all. The law says students can now pass certain tests and use those scores to meet the requirement, even if they don’t take an online class.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/education/school-zone/os-new-law-florida-online-graduation-requirement-20160420-story.html
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Report: Blended Fits Nicely To Re-Engage Dropouts

April 26th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Each year about 485,000 people leave high school before they get a diploma. Students drop out for myriad reasons: They struggle in classes, have personal or family obligations, don’t see the connection between school and their lives or, quite simply, the school environment has become unsupportive. A new report examines the use of blended learning as a strategy for pulling these students, aged 16 to 24, back into high school for completion or an equivalent credential. As the report explained, the blended model of education combines in-person and online or virtual instruction and supports. The analysis was written by America’s Promise Alliance, a non-profit organization begun as a multi-president initiative in 1997 that runs a program focused on raising national graduation rates.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/04/11/report-blended-fits-nicely-to-reengage-dropouts.aspx

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Mixing It Up in the Design Lab: The Virtuality-Reality Continuum

April 26th, 2016

By Mary Grush, Campus Technology

Established in 2015, the Mixed Reality Lab at Oklahoma State University focuses on research and instruction in augmented reality, virtual reality, and digital prototyping for design. It provides space and infrastructure for both students and faculty researchers to work on design-related projects that incorporate AR, VR, and 3D printing tools. The lab helps students, researchers, and, through outreach activities, the broader community learn how to apply these technologies in design. CT asked Tilanka Chandrasekera, an assistant professor in the department of Design, Housing and Merchandising at OSU, about the Mixed Reality Lab’s goals for research and instruction.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/04/19/the-virtuality-reality-continuum-in-design.aspx

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Online Vs. Traditional: Which is the Better Platform?

April 26th, 2016

By Stefanie Schmude, ULoop

Picture this. Two friends go out to eat for lunch; friend number one discusses the hard work of being a college student and juggling class schedules with work. Friend two discusses the same struggles, but whether or not they are going to attend their American Literature class on the couch or in bed. With the rising popularity of online courses, students are starting to think about not only where they want to go, what they want to do career wise, but how they are going to receive that education: online or traditional. Personally, I have done schooling in both mediums and I don’t find either one to be better than the other. I prefer one to the other because one option (online) works best for me. But there are pros and cons to each one, and to look at those, I took the Rasmussen College model, which broke it down into four simple categories.

http://www.uloop.com/news/view.php/198063/Online-Vs-Traditional-Which-is-the-Better-Platform

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8 strategies for successful tech initiatives

April 25th, 2016

BY ANDREW BARBOUR, eCampus News

Great tech products are a reflection of the needs and values of the community they serve. These eight strategies can help ensure that new IT tech initiatives get real traction on campus. For university IT leaders, unveiling major tech initiatives can be a bit like handing out Halloween candy: The customers run the gamut from quiet pixies to absolute ghouls, some complain about the quality of the treats, and others have a nagging suspicion that you’ve put razor blades in their apples. It doesn’t have to be this way. Handled well, the rollout of a big IT project should unfold more like an adult Christmas, with customers receiving presents they’ve wanted and thought about for a long time. In interviews with IT leaders at a range of institutions and companies, eCampus News identified eight strategies to help colleges ensure that constituents see their next big IT project coming with a bow on top.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/successful-tech-initiatives/

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Researchers Studied Data on 9,000 Students. Here’s What They Learned About Dropouts

April 25th, 2016

BY RYAN HOLEYWELL, SENIOR EDITOR, KINDER INSTITUTE FOR URBAN RESEARCH

This blog post was originally published on The Urban Edge. An analysis reveals top predictors that students will drop out. The study reveals that the strongest predictor of dropouts in the Houston Independent School District is whether a student is age 16 or older at the start of 9th grade. The research also highlights other predictors of dropping out: whether a student received an F in 8th grade; whether a student had a disciplinary incident in 8th grade; and whether a student failed to meet the TAKS testing standard in 8th grade math. Dr. Diego Torres, the lead author of the report, said the findings aren’t necessarily a surprise, since they highlight the fact that if a student struggles when he or she is on the cusp of adulthood, it will become much more difficult to recover.

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/higher-ed/Researchers-Studied-Data-on-9000-Students-Heres-What-They-Learned-About-Dropouts.html

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Education Leaders Need to Bridge the Digital Use Divide

April 25th, 2016

BY TANYA ROSCORLA, Center for Digital Ed

National ed tech leader Joseph South emphasized the importance of shifting schools away from passive to active technology use. The digital divide receives a lot of attention because it separates those who have technology from those who don’t. But another divide exists that puts some students at a disadvantage: the digital use divide. This divide makes includes active technology use on one side and passive technology use on the other side. Schools across the country need to start providing more learning opportunities for students to create and collaborate with technology instead of just using it to consume information, said Joseph South, acting director of the Office of Educational Technology in the U.S. Department of Education. “It’s not enough to have the connectivity; it’s not enough to have the smartphones,” South said.

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/higher-ed/How-Education-Leaders-Can-Bridge-the-Digital-Use-Divide.html

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Evaluating the Privacy and Security of Ed Tech: 7 Questions to Guide the Process

April 24th, 2016

By Bill Fitzgerald, THE Journal

When working with educational technology, responsible decision makers in schools recognize the need for solid security and privacy practice in software applications. However, defining an acceptable level of privacy protection, or an adequate level of security, can feel imprecise. While some of the loudest conversations about privacy and security try to reduce the issues to binary choice, the reality is often more nuanced. As we navigate evaluating the privacy and security protections of educational software, the following questions and observations can help guide the process.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/04/14/evaluating-the-privacy-and-security-of-edtech-7-questions-to-guide-the-process.aspx

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Teachers learning online tools

April 24th, 2016

By Sandi Krasowski, Chronicle Journal

Roles switched in the classroom this weekend and learned some tech savvy techniques from the technology giant Google. More than 300 attended the Google Summit at St. Ignatius High School. The two-day conference, which started Saturday, had participants learn how to fully utilize the company’s applications in their lesson plans. Cindy Carr, the technology enabled learning and teaching co-ordinator with the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, said the main goal of using the new technology is to have educators and students collaborate more.

http://www.chroniclejournal.com/news/local/learning-online-tools/article_d94edfc6-051c-11e6-b601-278812c57c9a.html

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‘Exam factory’ schools urged to shift emphasis to online learning

April 24th, 2016

by Richard Adams, the Guardian

High-quality, low-cost online courses could be used to shift schools away from being “exam factories” and help students keep pace with the threat of automation, according to a new report by the Institute of Directors. The report argues that the internet allows schools to be more flexible and adapt learning towards “a future in which more and more work is taken over by robots or computers”. “The cost savings, convenience and flexibility that online learning offers has the potential to revolutionise education provision, but only if businesses and the education sector work together to capitalise on the potential of computer-based teaching applications to support employees in their pursuit of lifelong learning,” the report said.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/apr/18/exam-factory-schools-urged-to-shift-emphasis-to-online-learning

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Chicago Mayor Emanuel touts plan to expand cyber use in city

April 23rd, 2016

by Marwa Eltagouri, Chicago Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces an initiative April 16, 2016, aimed at raising $10 million over the next three years to improve opportunities for Chicagoans to receive digital and computer training. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city officials Saturday unveiled Connect Chicago, an initiative aimed at raising $10 million over the next three years to create more opportunities for Chicagoans to receive digital and computer training. “If you are technically capable, the doors of tomorrow are open to you. If you are not, those doors are shut,” Emanuel said. “Now the question is, ‘Are we going to make sure every child and every family is conversant?’” Among Connect Chicago’s first efforts to bridge the digital divide is the expansion of the Chicago Public Library’s Cyber Navigator Program to 78 libraries from 49, and expanding the program to 11 community development centers.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-emanuel-touts-plan-to-expand-cyber-use-in-city-20160416-story.html

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Grant will help Cisco ISD offer more blended learning opportunities

April 23rd, 2016

by the Abilene Reporter-News

The Cisco Independent School District will receive up to $500,000 in grant funding and support over three years to help implement its blended learning initiatives, the district said Wednesday. Cisco ISD is part of a group including four Texas school districts and one public charter school to receive a grant totaling about $3 million sponsored by Raise Your Hand Texas, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to inspire innovative leadership and advocacy for public education, according to the nonprofit’s website.

http://www.reporternews.com/news/education/grant-will-help-cisco-isd-offer-more-blended-learning-opportunities-306398fe-6ab1-3a43-e053-0100007f-375625781.html

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Are libraries still relevant? Of course they are

April 23rd, 2016

by JENN SAVEDGE, Mother Nature Netork

The digital age is making them more important than ever. Libraries have much more to offer than simply books on a shelf — although this, in and of itself, is still powerful. But as the Pew survey also found, most Americans have no idea of the myriad educational and community-related services that the local library has to offer.

http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/blogs/are-libraries-still-relevant-yes-yes-they-are

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20 educational resources for new teachers

April 22nd, 2016

BY LAURA DEVANEY, eSchool News

New teachers need support, research indicates, and these free online resources can help. It’s no secret that new teachers sometimes struggle to feel empowered in their positions as educators. In fact, a lack of support, experienced teacher mentors, and resources lead many new teachers to leave their profession within the first three years. While technology can be a great tool, finding the right technology or tool often proves challenging and time-consuming. During an edWeb webinar, Shannon Holden, assistant principal at Republic Middle School in Missouri and a longtime educator, offered a list of websites to help new teachers find online resources quickly and easily.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/04/14/20-educational-resources-for-new-teachers/

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Ed Tech Spending Increases by 7 Percent

April 22nd, 2016

By Richard Chang, THE Journal

Education technology hardware spending increased worldwide by 7 percent in 2015, according to a new report issued by Futuresource Consulting. Spending on educational hardware, such as Chromebooks, classroom displays and mobile PCs, rose to $15 billion globally last year, said Colin Messenger, senior analyst at Futuresource Consulting, a U.K.-based ed tech research firm. Growth has been strong over the past several years, rising $4.5 billion since 2012, Messenger said in a statement released Thursday. The increase in spending has been primarily driven by the surge in the mobile PC market, which at $10.1 billion currently represents 67 percent of the total expenditures, compared to 63 percent last year.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/04/14/ed-tech-spending-on-the-rise.aspx

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Education Edition of Minecraft on Track for Summer Release

April 22nd, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

Microsoft is on track to deliver its Minecraft: Education Edition this summer with an “early access” program that will let any teacher download the open world game. However, those teachers will need to be running either Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan (at least in early days) and have an Office 365 Education account. The company acquired this education-specific version of the game earlier this year from TeacherGaming. The education edition, which will be available at this site, will include lesson plans and a Minecraft mentoring program to match up teachers new to the game with those who have experience in using it in a classroom setting

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/04/15/education-edition-of-minecraft-on-track-for-summer-release.aspx

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