Competency-Based Education: The Importance of Metrics and Data Collection

August 14th, 2016

by Carlos Rivers, Evolllution

A major issue that we have seen for current innovative educational models, particularly for Competency-Based Education, is that we have not agreed upon a common framework to measure the effectiveness of these programs. At the Institute for Competency-Based Education, we are currently building a Metrics Framework for our CBE program in Organizational Leadership at Texas A&M-Commerce (TAMU-C). Our framework analyzes three key components since program inception: 1. Student Demographics 2. Program Performance 3. Program Efficiency. The landscape of higher education comes with immense complexity. There can be no one-size-fits-all approach, and therefore we believe this is the perfect starting point to which you can then adjust your parameters to meet the specific needs of your program(s).

http://evolllution.com/programming/program_planning/competency-based-education-the-importance-of-metrics-and-data-collection/

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Five Steps to Building an Academic Innovation Engine

August 14th, 2016

by Christina Sax, Evolllution

The number of unique professional job postings in the higher education sector with “innovation” in the title or description rose 211 percent from 2010 to 2015 (from 75 postings in 2010, to 233 in 2015, according to Burning Glass Labor InsightTM). In addition, it appears that a new interdisciplinary field of academic innovation is also emerging within higher education.[2,3] As a provost or dean, is your institution ready to take on an innovation agenda?[4] And if so, where do you start when it comes to building an innovation engine? This article provides a set of five first steps to establish, nurture and sustain an engine of academic innovation.

http://evolllution.com/managing-institution/operations_efficiency/five-steps-to-building-an-academic-innovation-engine/

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Learning Analytics: Is data collection of students’ learning habits Orwellian or simply helpful?

August 14th, 2016

by Study International

Dr. Bart Rienties, director of the learning analytics program at the Open University, told The Guardian: “We’re trying to use data to improve our understanding of how students learn. We want to understand the story behind that data.” Rienties added that with the use of learning analytics, universities are able to “provide a more personal learning experience, rather than a one-size-fit-all solution”. In a recent study involving data collated from more than 113,000 students at the Open University, a student’s usage patterns of online learning resources can help predict their overall academic performance. Despite the potential advantages of learning analytics, experts are also wary of its potential abuses, especially when it comes to students’ privacy. The Higher Education Policy Institute’s director, Nick Hillman, said it was still too early to say what effect this approach would have in the long run.

https://www.studyinternational.com/news/learning-analytics-orwellian-or-helpful

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MIT Software Greatly Simplifies Tough Database Querying

August 13th, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

New software from researchers at MIT could make even the most complex databases easier for non-experts to use. The program’s home screen looks like a spreadsheet, and it allows users to create database queries and reports by combining functions familiar to spreadsheet users rather than forcing them to learn SQL or some other data scripting language. The research project, underway in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, lets people use drop-down menus to pull data into the tool from multiple sources; then they can sort and filter that data, perform integration and tuck away unneeded columns and rows. From those activities the program generates the database queries that deliver results.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/08/05/mit-software-greatly-simplifies-tough-database-querying.aspx

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Qlik Expands Portfolio of Free Data Analytics Tools for Universities

August 13th, 2016

By Michael Hart, Campus Technology

Qlik, a company that primarily makes data analytics tools for business, has added a new component to the free digital course materials it offers to universities. The company has added a new data analytics curriculum to its Qlik Academic Program. The program, which the company has offered to higher education institutions since 2012, offers digital tools that students and professors in all academic disciplines can use to visualize and analyze data and then share findings with one another.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/08/01/qlik-expands-portfolio-of-free-data-analytics-tools-for-universities.aspx

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7 Best Practices for Deploying Lecture Capture Campuswide

August 13th, 2016

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Technology leaders from universities with large lecture capture implementations share their advice for rolling out the technology at scale. Today’s students increasingly expect ubiquitous lecture capture so they can review lectures to improve their understanding of the material or catch up on a class they missed. “Lecture capture in general is becoming very quickly an expectation of students,” said Chris Edwards, assistant vice president at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. To meet this demand, colleges and universities are scaling up their lecture capture deployments to more classrooms and providing faculty the option of recording lectures outside of the classroom.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/08/03/7-best-practices-for-deploying-lecture-capture-campuswide.aspx

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Hey, super-achiever, you need more exercise, not another AP class

August 12th, 2016

by ELIZA DEWEY, Miami Herald

Miami-Dade has made efforts to make its real world phys ed classes more enticing, adding a variety of options more fun than jumping jacks. There is a learn to swim program for middle schoolers and up that includes a water sports component such as sailing, kayaking or snorkeling. There is a new “geocaching” unit for middle schoolers that resembles a scavenger hunt in public parks with various fitness challenges along the way. There are “wellness centers” in all but three middle- and high-schools that have a mix of traditional fitness equipment like treadmills and outside-the-box offerings like Dance Dance Revolution.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article94121427.html

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Cook to coder: How low-income youth are writing a better future

August 12th, 2016

by Shobita Dhar, the Times of India

Thanks to online courses and the initiatives of a few individuals, youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds are learning to crack the code. Helping some of them do so is Francesco Stasi, an Italian national who heads India operations for CodersTrust, a Danish learn-and-earn platform for freelance coders. “Coding doesn’t need formal education. Anyone can learn it. This makes it attractive to students from poorer backgrounds who often haven’t completed their formal education,” says Stasi. “A cook in urban India earns up to $50 (about Rs 3,000) a month while a coder can earn around $15 (Rs1,000) an hour,” points out Stasi, who set up the trust’s India arm in Gurugram in March. It has enrolled more than 1,000 students from both privileged and underprivileged backgrounds and subsidizes education for bright students from poor families.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-times/Cook-to-coder-How-low-income-youth-are-writing-a-better-future/articleshow/53575603.cms

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3 ways to improve online charter schools

August 12th, 2016

By Amelia Hamilton, Education Watchdog

As the popularity of online charter schools continues to grow, so do concerns over their efficacy. The Fordham Institute has three recommendations to improve online charter schools. First, policymakers should fund e-schools based on performance metrics. Second, Fordham recommends the fit between students and e-schools be improved. Finally, policymakers should allow students to take online courses without enrolling full-time in e-learning.

http://watchdog.org/272748/3-ways-improve-online-charter-schools/

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Using educational technology to enhance student learning

August 11th, 2016

by Marilyn Siderwicz, MIT

Improving educational delivery is a core focus of MIT, and also a priority for training new generations of teachers in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). On July 19, about 30 postdocs and graduate students attended a Workshop on Digital Education hosted by CEE to learn about digital education tools available to them as they prepare to teach undergraduate and graduate students, both at MIT and elsewhere. The instructor, Dipa Shah of the MIT Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL), was invited by the CEE Postdoctoral Committee to provide an overview about the latest online technologies and their use for delivering content to students and providing students with practice and feedback.

http://news.mit.edu/2016/using-educational-technology-enhance-student-learning-0805

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Tuscaloosa County Schools introducing fully online high school program

August 11th, 2016
By Terri Brewer, WBRC

This year, the Tuscaloosa County School System is unveiling a program that will allow high school students to earn a diploma, without ever walking the halls of an actual school. The Tuscaloosa County Schools’ new Virtual Learning Program will allow a student to be a full-time online student. Previously, the system has provided for blended learning, where students receive traditional classroom instruction, combined with online courses. The blended learning opportunities will still exist, but the Virtual Learning Program is fully online.

http://www.wbrc.com/story/32694126/tuscaloosa-county-schools-introducing-fully-online-high-school-program

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Gov. Mifflin launches new K-through-12 online learning program

August 11th, 2016

By David A. Kostival, Reading Eagle

The Gov. Mifflin School District has unveiled a new online learning program that will also allow students to participate in all district activities. Administrators conducted an informational meeting Thursday night to a handful of families to explain the new program known as Governor Mifflin GOLD. Dr. Steve Gerhard, superintendent, said the program is a shift to a more robust and responsive approach to online learning. “It’s important for families to have options when providing the best education for their students,” Gerhard said. “I think up until now, our families had an either-or option – online or in school.” Gerhard said he doesn’t believe that was the best response from the district. “We view this as an ‘and’ option combining online programming with the in-person programming you can find in our schools,” he said. Governor Mifflin GOLD is available tuition-free to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

http://www.readingeagle.com/news/article/gov-mifflin-launches-new-k-through-12-online-learning-program

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Cal State LA Launches Pokémon Go Health Walk

August 10th, 2016

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

To promote student health and wellness, the university created a walking path throughout the campus that incorporates the augmented reality game. Pikachu and other beloved Pokémon are taking over California State University, Los Angeles as part of a university initiative to promote physical fitness and wellness for students and employees. Cal State LA’s Mind Matters initiative constructed a health walk that runs throughout the campus and incorporates the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go. Formally called the #MindMatters Pokémon Go Health Walk, the route travels through the 175-acre campus and has players complete approximately 9,555 steps or five miles. The route includes 35 PokéStops, where players collect items to help them catch the pocket monsters, and three gyms where Pokémon battles take place.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/08/03/cal-state-la-launches-pokemon-go-health-walk.aspx

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DeMillo on MOOCs and College Affordability

August 10th, 2016

By David Weldon, Campus Technology

Technology has the potential to solve the affordability and access problem in higher education, according to the author of Revolution in Higher Education. Richard DeMillo, author and director of Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities says “We’ve gotten to this state by choosing the most expensive – and least effective – way to run our universities…. The cost of tuition is rising at four times the cost of inflation. And I don’t think that will change anytime soon.” In order to be sustainable, universities must find new ways to deliver education, he said. “One way to think about it – you’ve got this fight between a method of teaching that is thousands of years old, and something that is very different.” In particular, he believes massive open online courses will be a key part of the transformation. DeMillo envisions is the broader use of MOOCs to enroll more full time students than was previously possible – for entire degree programs.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/08/04/demillo-on-moocs-and-college-affordability.aspx

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How much are Georgia college students saving on textbooks?

August 10th, 2016

by Janel Davis, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Efforts to cut college costs are paying off for Georgia students. Students in Georgia’s public University System saved the most money of any school or school system on textbooks last year through an open publishing program known as OpenStax, a Rice University-based publisher. The savings information released this week by Rice shows that the almost 36,000 University System of Georgia students participating in the textbook program saved more than $3.5 million during the 2015-2016 school year. OpenStax uses grants from nonprofit groups such as the Gates Foundation to publish textbooks in about 20 subject areas including biology, economics, and algebra that are popular on college campuses. The books are free for students online, and hard copies can be purchased at a much lower cost than traditional books.

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/how-much-are-georgia-college-students-saving-on-te/nr86k/

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‘Virtual’ learning coming to Central Heights

August 9th, 2016

By JOHN HAWKS, The Shopper

Central Heights high school students have a new kind of education before their eyes. Joining the wave of virtual learning sweeping the country’s educational climate, Central Heights is partnering with Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, known as Greenbush, to offer a virtual learning program for students in grades 9-12 for the 2016-17 school year. “We are excited to provide USD 288 students with a quality accredited virtual learning program, that meets state curriculum standards, and that provides demonstration of student mastery,” Brian Spencer, Central Heights superintendent, said.

http://www.ottawaherald.com/news/local/virtual-learning-coming-to-central-heights/article_6eb1bdd8-8a0f-5379-bb8b-a24f094be0d5.html

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Teach your kids about money through online course

August 9th, 2016

by Nicole Villalpando, Austin 360

From the mind behind the summer camp MoolahU, Gayle Reaume, comes an online course for parents to take that teaches them how to teach their kids about money. The $37 online course promises to help you: Create everyday opportunities for your kids to learn about making purchases. Support your child’s learning through their mistakes. Give your kids the experience of being powerful with money. Remove tension around purchases. Relax knowing your kids are learning about money through practice.

http://parenting.blog.austin360.com/2016/08/01/teach-your-kids-about-money-through-online-course/

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KCS opens online classes to homeschoolers

August 9th, 2016

By Erin Weeks, Indianapolis Tribune

Kannapolis City Schools’ student family just got a bit bigger. Starting this fall, homeschool children in the district will be able to enroll in the system’s online classes, which range from fun electives to core subjects to high-level Advanced Placement courses. “It’s been successful in some out-of-the-box kind of situations, so we figured we’d apply it and offer that to our homeschool students, as well,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kelly Burgess said of the online program. “Especially for those higher-level courses—foreign language and AP—or just those high-interest courses like psychology, civics and economics, creative writing, we want to be able to offer that to all students, so we figured that would be a good partnership and a good opportunity for us to reach out to that community.”

http://www.independenttribune.com/news/kcs-opens-online-classes-to-homeschoolers/article_b6765a62-57f4-11e6-9002-5fca186f110f.html

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Inside the Online School That Could Radically Change How Kids Learn Everywhere

August 8th, 2016

by CHRIS BERDIK, THE HECHINGER REPORT

VLACS is part of a nationwide boom: In the last decade, the number of full-time virtual schools has grown from a handful to over 450, enrolling more than 260,000 full-time students and millions more part time. Amid all the bad news, VLACS stands out as an online success story. On average, the school’s full-time students typically equal or modestly exceed New Hampshire average scores on state reading and math tests, as well as on the SAT. The secret to VLACS’ success may be that it does things differently from most virtual schools. It puts a focus on building strong student-teacher relationships. It breaks up traditional courses into specific skills and abilities, called “competencies,” that students master through a personalized blend of traditional lesson plans, offline projects and real-world experiences. Also, VLACS’s funding is based on student performance rather than enrollment.

http://www.wired.com/2016/08/inside-online-school-radically-change-kids-learn-everywhere/

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Education Technology: How EdTech Can Bridge The Learning Gap In The Age Of Industrial Revolution

August 8th, 2016

By Kristine Walker, Parent Herald

In the age of industrial revolution, the demand for competency-based hiring is on the rise, making professional education degrees appeared irrelevant in most job descriptions. That’s why, many experts believed that education technology’s (EdTech) potential to transform the field of education can also be useful in bridging the burgeoning skills and learning gap in the workforce industry. As professional education continuously evolves, having a college degree seemed to have lost its importance in the society these days. In fact, only 20 percent of college degree holders are ready to work in spite of the fact that millennials are currently the most educated generation, Quartz revealed. As smart technology and automation continue to rise, the workforce industry is needing individuals who are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to launch a career hence investing in lifelong learning could be a competitive advantage, Parent Herald previously reported.

http://www.parentherald.com/articles/59043/20160804/education-technology-latest-news-updates-how-edtech-bridge-learning-gap-age-industrial-revolution.htm

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Consultant gives crash course on cyberspace as teaching tool

August 8th, 2016

by Deke Farrow, Modesto Bee

For about two hours, Harvard-educated consultant Alan November shared research, tips, examples and stories to help the seventh- through 12th-grade instructors harness the power of the internet. He showed them how to use search engines at an academic level and urged them to teach their students the same. “He talked about how to really engage students in (online) searches to promote academic conversations,” said Greg Havens, digital instruction coach at Davis High School. “… One example was finding a PDF about Shakespeare on a website from England. What does London have to say about Shakespeare?

http://www.modbee.com/news/local/education/article93611512.html

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