How Blockchain Will Disrupt the Higher Education Transcript

May 29th, 2016

By David Raths, Campus Technology

Last year, the MIT Media Lab began issuing digital certificates to the participants in its Director’s Fellows program. The authentication behind the certificates relies on blockchain technology, best known for its connection to the cryptocurrency bitcoin. In a blog post, Philipp Schmidt, director of learning innovation at the Media Lab, described how blockchain works: “In essence, it is a just a distributed ledger to record transactions. What makes it special is that it is durable, time-stamped, transparent and decentralized. Those characteristics are equally useful for managing financial transactions as for a system of reputation. In fact, you can think of reputation as a type of currency for social capital, rather than financial capital.” The technology has tremendous potential for higher education, according to Phil Long, chief innovation officer and associate vice provost for learning sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/05/16/how-blockchain-will-disrupt-the-higher-education-transcript.aspx

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Credentials Reform: How Technology and the Changing Needs of the Workforce Will Create the Higher Education System of the Future

May 29th, 2016

by Jamie Merisotis, EDUCAUSE Review

A powerful shift in postsecondary credentialing has taken place over the last few decades, with an explosion in the number of pathways to an education beyond high school. As a result, today’s job-seekers can possess not just four-year college degrees but everything from associate’s degrees and apprenticeships to occupational licenses and education certificates, all the way to digital badges and employer-based certifications. The myriad options—and the subsequent push to better connect them—are unleashing the power of technology to fundamentally reshape the higher education landscape. A future system is shaping up in which students are situated at the center and are able to navigate their postsecondary options, from traditional institutions of higher education to a whole host of other learning providers: employers, unions, online programs, and even libraries and museums. Learning, rather than seat time, will be the core measure of progress in this new system, and students will be able to demonstrate what they’ve learned through dynamic online platforms.

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/5/credentials-reform-how-technology-and-the-changing-needs-of-the-workforce-will-create-the-higher-ed

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Report: U Iowa students used Chinese companies to cheat online

May 29th, 2016

by Jeff Charis-Carlson, Press Citizen

Dozens of Chinese students at the University of Iowa are being investigated for cheating in their online courses, according to a news report from Reuters. ProctorU alerted UI that the students may have attempted to cheat by having other people take their exams in one or more courses. In a story posted Wednesday, Reuters reports that most, if not all, of the UI students under investigation are Chinese nationals who stand accused of cheating in online versions of at least three courses. Three of those Chinese students admitted to Reuters that they hired Chinese-run online companies to take exams for them. There are many such services that offer to help foreign students at U.S. colleges do much of the work required for their online classes — everything from writing papers to taking exams.

http://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/education/university-of-iowa/2016/05/25/report-ui-students-used-chinese-companies-cheat-online/84930626/

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North Carolina State’s Moodle plug-in gamifies sport management course

May 28th, 2016

By Roger Riddell, Education Dive

A Moodle plug-in developed in-house at North Carolina State University has gamified an Introduction to Sport Management course. Conceived by assistant teaching professor Edwin Lindsay, assistant professor Michelle Harrolle (who is no longer at the university), and NC State business and tech applications analyst Stephen Bader, the plug-in allows students to pursue individualized paths through coursework, gaining skill points so their avatars can complete various objectives. Funded by a grant from NC State’s DELTA (Distance Education and Learning Technology Applications), for which Bader also serves as Moodle lead, the plug-in may be released to the open-source community by the end of this year.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/north-carolina-states-moodle-plug-in-gamifies-sport-management-course/419841/

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Examining overtime rule’s real impact on higher ed

May 28th, 2016

By Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

An examination of 2014 salary data shows a number of support positions at universities across the country do not meet the threshold for the new overtime guidance. This means hundreds of employees per campus will be eligible for either a raise in base salary or overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week. Average national salaries for construction/maintenance workers, office/admin support staff, service staff, production/transportation employees and those working in sales all fall below the new threshold of $47,476. And while teaching staff are exempt, guidance on postdocs is still murky.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/examining-overtime-rules-real-impact-on-higher-ed/419888/

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How an Online Course Can Help You Change Career

May 28th, 2016

by Say Campus Life

If you consider your options carefully, and still decide that changing career is the right thing to do, you may find that you need qualifications to make the change. This is when online courses can be a real help. If you already have a full time job then you will not have time to attend college as well. Online courses are flexible which means you can fit your study around your job, and all other aspects of your life. You also do not have to leave home to study. You can use your own desktop computer or laptop. This is major positive, especially if you already spend a lot of time traveling to work each day. If you have made the decision to change career then making sure you are qualified to make the change is important. Embarking on an online course enables you to do this while still living the life you already have.

http://www.saycampuslife.com/2016/05/24/how-an-online-course-can-help-you-change-career/

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Moocs prove that universities can and should embrace online learning

May 27th, 2016

by Kerri Morgan, Times Higher Education

The demand by students to study by distance, and the increasingly sophisticated delivery methods on offer, has created a truly staggering shift in our understanding of what “going to university” means. No longer are students confined to studying within their borders: a wonderful fact if you come from a poor country with limited university access, or if you want to learn a specialist subject but don’t have the means to travel overseas to study. While the power of technology to improve learning is well understood, the spectre of failure that comes from innovating, including deep technology adoption, sits heavy on the shoulders of universities who are acutely aware of what it would mean to fail. Higher education institutions have a responsibility to ensure that they are wisely adopting technology to support and advance their core endeavours.

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/moocs-prove-universities-can-and-should-embrace-online-learning

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Commentary: Colleges need to catch up on game-based learning

May 27th, 2016

By Ramin Nadaf, Philly.com

Given their ubiquity, it makes sense to apply games to schoolwork. Many teachers have done so through game-based learning, in which actual video games are used to teach specific skills. Take the online game “Whack-A-Bone,” which teaches the names, locations, and functions of bones and muscles throughout the human body. Or the H&R Block Budget Challenge, which provides instruction in the basics of personal finance by making a game of saving for college. Done right, game-based learning can be fun. Students who learn through games are more engaged with the material and more immune to distractions. They also benefit from a direct sense of accomplishment while learning.

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160523_Commentary__Colleges_need_to_catch_up_on_game-based_learning.html

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Our online model will always be free: ALISON founder

May 27th, 2016

by Sanjay Vijayakumar, the Hindu

When compared to other prominent Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) such as Udacity, Coursera and edX, ALISON’s content is not drawn from elite US-based universities, instead it focuses on practical workplace skills. ALISON, which has 7 million learners and over 750 courses, focuses mainly on developing markets such as India and Africa. ALISON calls itself a ‘for profit social enterprise’ and a single platform focused on workplace skills. “We are focusing on job skills at lower level. We are not training any one to become neuro scientist. We are training lots of people to speak English, to learn about IT, to learn about basic principles of business, on entrepreneurship this is what we teach,” said Mr. Feerick. Workplace is where the numbers are when compared to the academics, he said.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/our-online-model-will-always-be-free-alison-founder/article8632836.ece

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University of Iowa investigates claims of cheating by online students

May 26th, 2016

by Vanessa Miller, the Gazette

Safeguards in place to prevent cheating among University of Iowa online students recently detected “potential irregularities” during an exam, prompting the institution to launch an academic misconduct investigation. The revelations came after ProctorU, a national proctoring service that the university partners with to provide identity verification for several online courses, alerted UI officials that at least 30 students enrolled in online courses might have tried to cheat by having other people take their tests. The proctoring service flagged potential instances of cheating through discrepancies in identification provided by test-takers in one or more exams and — in some cases — in multiple courses. A statement provided by UI spokeswoman Jeneane Beck says the institution is reviewing each case and will determine appropriate next steps.

http://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/education/higher-education/university-of-iowa-investigating-cheating-among-online-students-20160520

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3 Ways Online Students Might Take Exams

May 26th, 2016

By Bobbie Lynn Eicher, US News

Different programs have different test-taking requirements and might proctor exams in person or online. Some programs will require that students have the proper equipment needed to take tests online, such as a microphone and webcam. Few students would cite exams as their favorite part of being in school, but doing well on them is crucial to surviving most academic programs. Being an online student means never having to sit in a classroom overseen by a professor and surrounded by others taking the same test, but online programs have still found ways to examine what students know.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/articles/2016-05-20/3-ways-online-students-might-take-exams

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Role of CIO critical in higher ed’s future

May 26th, 2016

By Roger Riddell, Education Dive

Citing an Educause and Jisc report that states future IT leaders in higher ed must bring strategic focus to the role, EdTech Magazine breaks down the importance of the position as campuses are increasingly required to adapt to the technological demands of the 21st Century. Strategy in the role must go beyond simply being a middle-man between a college or university’s top administrators and IT, addressing how IT fits into the campus overall in relation to its strengths and weaknesses. A survey from CIO magazine suggests this is a challenge those in the position (regardless of official title, which can vary) are more than up for as they increasingly tackle business strategy as part of their day-to-day responsibilities.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/role-of-cio-critical-in-higher-eds-future/419455/

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Continuing Education Divisions as Impact Agents in Online Initiatives

May 25th, 2016
by Vickie Cook and Gayla Stoner, Evolllution
Continuing Education divisions have an opportunity to work with their institutions to impact change through standalone centers focused on supporting campus-wide online program development. This article will look at seven key components that will benefit an institution’s centralized approach led by the CE Division as well as the impact of this standalone center approach on the long-term sustainability of a CE Division.
http://evolllution.com/revenue-streams/distance_online_learning/continuing-education-divisions-as-impact-agents-in-online-initiatives/
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What’s Your Type? Making Online Education Work #infographic

May 25th, 2016

by Affordable Colleges

A useful collection of data by type of online student is provided in this infographic. This may be a good orientation to those who are unfamiliar with the growing importance of online learning.

http://www.affordable-online-colleges.net/online-education/

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Take Your Teaching Online: the Micro-Lecture

May 25th, 2016

By Travis Grandy, Inside Higher Ed

Whether you want to supplement instruction for your in-person class or you teach a fully online course (like me), you’re probably looking for effective ways to deliver content and maintain student engagement. Online learning is a different landscape thanks to sites like Khan Academy, the rapid adoption of MOOCs, and digital pedagogies (including blended and flipped classrooms). While online lectures aren’t the only medium for online instruction, they can be a powerful one, and can play a strategic part in how you teach. Short, focused discussions of key concepts or ideas can be a great way to support student learning when they’re working independently or at a distance. For example, if you want to share content quickly in a condensed format, micro-lectures can help cut out excessive verbiage. Beyond creating a good learning experience for students, being conversant about effective online teaching can be a big help when you’re doing a job search.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/take-your-teaching-online-micro-lecture

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Course Evaluations: How Can/Should We Improve Response Rates?

May 24th, 2016

By: Maryellen Weimer, Faculty Focus

A 2008 review of nine comparison studies reported that online response rates averaged 23% lower than traditional formats. What percentage of students in a course need to respond for the results to be representative? The answer depends on a number of variables, most notably class size. For a class of 20 students, one expert puts the minimum at 58%. As class size increases, the percentage drops. Despite some disagreement as to the percentages, there is consensus that online response rates should be higher than they are right now. Perhaps we all can agree that offering incentives to complete the evaluations doesn’t get students doing ratings for the right reason. Students should offer assessments because their instructors benefit from student feedback the same way students learn from teacher feedback. They should be doing ratings because reflecting about courses and teachers enables students to better understand themselves as learners. They should be doing these end-of-course evaluations because they believe the quality of their experiences in courses matters to the institution. The bottom line question: Is there any way to get students doing ratings for the right reasons?

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/course-evaluations-can-improve-response-rates/

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Celebrate International Month of Creative Coding by Taking Online Courses

May 24th, 2016

by CATY MCCARTHY, Kill Screen

Everything we know and love virtually is the source of meticulous coding. Coding is the backbone of videogames. Coding is in the DNA of the websites we visit daily. In fact, coding can be the reason why some of our favorite creative endeavors exist at all. Coding all too often makes the impossible possible. And that’s why the for-profit online course provider Kadenze has officially dubbed May as the “International Month of Creative Coding.” But what makes coding creative?

https://killscreen.com/articles/celebrate-international-month-creative-coding/

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9 Free Online Courses To Pump Up Your Big Data, Analytics Skills

May 24th, 2016

by Jessica Davis, Information Week

Analytics, big data, and data science are hot areas in the industry, and professionals who have these skills are in high demand. Some reports put annual salaries for data scientists at above the $200,000 mark. Career site Glass Door rated data scientist as the top job for work-life balance, which is not anything that’s easy to come by these days. The demand for data scientists, analysts, and big data experts is strong, and educational institutions are scrambling to meet the demand. But do you really need to go back to school to get another degree in order to establish yourself in a career as a data scientist? Maybe not. There are plenty of other ways for aspiring data scientists and analytics experts to prove their worth to potential employers. For instance, Kaggle offers competitions that enable new data scientists to show off their knowledge and expertise. This site is a common hunting ground for recruiters looking to hire the best and the brightest in data science.

http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/9-free-online-courses-to-pump-up-your-big-data-analytics-skills/d/d-id/1325521

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Why Google Daydream matters — and how it could change virtual reality

May 23rd, 2016

By Adi Robertson, the Verge

For Clay Bavor, a longtime Googler who became the company’s first head of virtual reality this year, Cardboard was also a Trojan horse — a low-stakes project that could one day evolve into something bigger. “We knew that Cardboard would only go so far,” says Bavor. After two years, Google wants a mobile VR platform that doesn’t just introduce people to virtual reality but makes them want to stay there. That is called Daydream, an Android-based virtual reality initiative announced yesterday at I/O. Unlike Cardboard, Daydream’s apps will run only on new phones that have been certified by Google, a process that requires various VR-friendly components — like high-quality sensors for head tracking or screens that can reduce blurring by showing images in extremely short bursts. Partners will sell what Google promises will be incredibly comfortable, ergonomic Daydream headsets — designed with the help of unnamed clothing and accessory companies — alongside a small motion controller.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/19/11713498/google-daydream-mobile-vr-virtual-reality-cardboard

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With recent deals, Capella moves into job-skills training, particularly software coding

May 23rd, 2016

by Evan Ramstad, STAR TRIBUNE

Last month, Capella spent $18 million to buy Hackbright, one of three deals this year that have pushed the Minneapolis-based for-profit education firm into a new business. Capella in the early 1990s was one of the first companies to offer accredited college degrees via online courses and has grown into one of the biggest, with about 38,000 active students and $430 million in annual revenue. Now, it is teaching job-ready skills that will get people into today’s most in-demand professions. “Employers can’t find the right skilled workers and academia isn’t keeping up,” said Kevin Gilligan, Capella’s chief executive. “We recognize a big opportunity to be an institution that can upskill and reskill 21st century workers.” In addition to Hackbright, Capella bought DevMountain, a Provo, Utah, firm that teaches even more specific tech skills, such as creating apps, in classrooms in the Salt Lake and Dallas metro areas.

http://www.startribune.com/with-recent-deals-capella-moves-into-job-skills-training-particularly-software-coding/379452701/

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Online Courses Just Got Personal

May 23rd, 2016

by Aly Laube, the Runner

Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor David Burns is aiming to make higher education easier for full-time workers, parents, and students travelling abroad. He created his own Small Private Online Course (SPOC) to teach his Education 1100 classes. Where most current online courses are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that are often based on a series of video lectures, the SPOC is “tailored to students needs, applied and responsive.” Burns keeps his courses personal by “making more of the course material responsive,” and using his free time to have “a lot of lectures and activities online [and] more office hours,” than he ever had while teaching in classrooms. He created all of the materials from scratch, whether they were podcasts, videos, or more traditional mediums, to make them as interesting as possible.

http://runnermag.ca/2016/05/online-courses-just-got-personal/

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