How Course Web Design Impacts Student Engagement

February 28th, 2015

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

When Instructure began analyzing the course designs for its higher ed customers, the LMS company discovered something about getting students to interact with the online elements of their courses. Cloud-based applications have the advantage of generating lots of usage data that can give developers insights about how customers are using their products. Rarely, however, do companies share the data publicly. But that’s exactly what Instructure did when it released an interesting infographic offering summary data from 387 colleges and universities that have used its learning management platform for at least two years. Although the company shares all kinds of data points of interest in the compilation, what really stands out is the analysis Instructure offers on course Web site design. According to Jared Stein, vice president of the company’s research and education division, the company enlisted experienced instructional designers to evaluate a number of course designs and rate the “navigational complexity” of those designs against a rubric.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/02/18/how-course-web-design-impacts-student-engagement.aspx

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ACE and Blackboard Unveil Research on Alternative Pathways to Degree Completion

February 28th, 2015

by the American Council on Education

The first paper is “Credit for Prior Learning: Charting Institutional Practice for Sustainability,” which identifies and addresses some of the cultural barriers and successful strategies to institutions incorporating CPL. Interviews with leaders and practitioners from a diverse group of seven institutions located across the U.S. offer insights into common challenges, successful strategies and innovative CPL practices. “Embracing CPL initiatives means first acknowledging that college-level learning can occur outside the traditional classroom setting,” said Soares. “For many institutions, this requires a shift in thinking from how credit has been awarded historically.” The second paper is “The Currency of Higher Education: Credits and Competencies,” which explores the challenges in adapting the traditional credit hour to an information-age economy that relies on greater flexibility and productivity. Credits and competencies both reflect important structures of value for diverse stakeholders: government agencies, educational leaders and administrators, faculty, assessors, students and employ

http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/ACE-and-Blackboard-Unveil-Research-on-Alternative-Pathways-to-Degree-Completion.aspx

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Managing Constant Change

February 28th, 2015

by Jonathan Blake Huer, Educause Review

If you are in higher education using technology, you may often feel like your hotly anticipated, recently purchased technology solution is obsolete by the time the delivery person drops it off. If we are truly on “the back half of the chessboard,”1 the rapid pace of technological change will only continue to increase. Depending on your view, this either causes constant disruption or presents constant opportunity. Are you being disrupted? Or are you the disruptor? How should the academy—bound by deep tradition and extensive regulations—manage this increasing onslaught of change?

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/managing-constant-change

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The Web’s About To Get Faster

February 27th, 2015

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Hypertext Transfer Protocol version 2 is a done deal. According to the chair of the HTTP working group within the Internet Engineering Task Force, the draft specification for HTTP/2, as it’s known, was sent off to the Request for Comments (RFC) Editor, where it will officially become an Internet standard. The same delivery included the draft specs for HPACK, the format for header field compression to be used in HTTP/2. Currently, the most common version of HTTP in use is HTTP/1.1. The HTTP/2 standard is expected to speed up loading of Web pages by transporting data between browser and server.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/02/19/the-webs-about-to-get-faster.aspx

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One vision of tomorrow’s college: Cheap, and you get an education, not a degree

February 27th, 2015

by Kevin Carey, Washington Post

Higher education — increasingly unaffordable and unattainable — is on the verge of a transformation that not only could remedy that, but could change the role college plays in our society. Can you imagine the benefits of colleges having little bricks-and-mortar overhead, of each student being taught in ways scientifically tailored to their individual needs, of educators, students and researchers being able to capi­tal­ize on global intelligence? In “The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere,” Kevin Carey, director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation, a public-policy think tank in Washington, lays out a provocative history of how the university system got to this point and one vision of the revolution that’s beginning because of digital innovation.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/one-vision-of-tomorrows-college-cheap-and-you-get-an-education-not-a-degree/2015/02/11/7b2ed78c-8617-11e4-9534-f79a23c40e6c_story.html

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UK online course provider FutureLearn reaches million

February 27th, 2015

by Sean Coughlan, BBC

The provider of so-called Moocs (massive open online courses) says interest has been rising sharply, with 20% more UK students in the last three months of 2014. FutureLearn carries free online courses from universities including Warwick, King’s College London and Sheffield. “We’re just at the start,” said chief executive Simon Nelson. FutureLearn has reached the million-student milestone after launching in September 2013. Set up by the Open University, it offered a UK platform for online courses in a field that was becoming dominated by US university networks.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-31533681

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Distance learning taps in to virtual reality technology

February 26th, 2015

by Lucy Jolin, the Guardian

New technology – such as forums, online lectures and interactive study experiences – is enhancing today’s online learning experience, and there are plenty of innovations in the pipeline. Dominic Micklewright, dean of academic partnerships at the University of Essex, believes mixed reality teaching and learning environments (MiRTLEs) – which enable online students to enter a real face-to-face lecture virtually – will become an increasingly popular facet of online degrees. “The online student can view the lecture, lecturer and other face-to-face students from a first-person perspective via a webcam. In the lecture hall, distance-learning students will appear either as an avatar or as themselves – via their webcam – on a large screen that the face-to-face students and the lecturer can see.”

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/feb/19/distance-learning-taps-in-to-virtual-reality-technology

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The New York Times and CIG Education Group Collaborate on Online Learning Initiative

February 26th, 2015

by the New York Times

The New York Times and CIG Education Group have come together to launch NYT EDUcation, a new education initiative. NYT EDUcation marries The New York Times’s premier content and award-winning journalism to the educational expertise of CIG Education Group, a leader in the development of branded academic institutions. NYT EDUcation will provide innovative courses and programs covering a wide array of subjects, including communications and media, which reflect the authoritative content and intellectual breadth of The New York Times. Courses will be offered on a wide variety of topics, ranging from pre-college level to higher education, continuing education and executive education by incorporating the skills, knowledge and experience of The New York Times.

http://investors.nytco.com/press/press-releases/press-release-details/2015/The-New-York-Times-and-CIG-Education-Group-Collaborate-on-New-Education-Initiative/default.aspx

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Cheating or Collaboration?

February 26th, 2015

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

The computer science department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, seeking a balance between promoting student collaboration and fostering individual academic achievement, will continue to let students share their work online. The department last week cracked down on students who were posting code — and thereby sharing answers to homework assignments — to the repository Web site GitHub. But after students criticized the department, which invoked copyright law to force the Web site to remove the code, faculty backtracked.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/02/19/u-illinois-urbana-champaign-backs-down-legal-threat-against-code-repository

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Higher Ed Tech Talent: Get ‘Em, Keep ‘Em (If You Can)

February 25th, 2015

by David J. Hinson, EDUCAUSE Review

The hiring search for technically skilled employees to join institutional IT departments encounters multiple challenges, including the disparity in salaries for technology jobs between higher education and industry. One solution is to hire new staff upon graduation and train them in the skills needed, benefitting the institution’s IT department and the individual’s career development. The best approach is to know your market, know your job, understand your staff, make staff success your success.

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/higher-ed-tech-talent-get-em-keep-em-if-you-can

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Engaging Students: Online and Offline

February 25th, 2015

by Mariappan Jawaharlal, Huffington Post

How do we define engagement, and how do we engage students? Engaging is an overused word these days. Many researchers have studied student engagement and developed instruments to measure various level of engagement. As an educator, I define engagement as action. It’s that simple. Engagement manifests itself when:

Something captures your attention

You feel compelled to do something

You are self-motivated

You are involved in hands-on activities….

You make a connection between what you are being taught and it’s applications in the ‘real world’….

It feels personally meaningful….

There is drama and dilemma….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mariappan-jawaharlal/engaging-students-online-and-offline_b_6685622.html

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Harvard Business School to Offer Online Introductory Courses Worldwide

February 25th, 2015

by iSchool Guide

Harvard Business School is offering its introductory courses online to undergraduates and post-graduates across the globe. Students, including those out of college for nine years or less, can apply for the iteration of the school’s Credential of Readiness program. Harvard Business School’s digital education school, HBX, will soon offer its introductory courses to students across the globe at the end of the month. The school’s inaugural pilot program was offered to undergraduates in Massachusetts and was eventually expanded to six corporate clients.

http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/8039/20150216/harvard-business-school-offer-online-introductory-courses-worldwide.htm

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Online classes are effective and beneficial for today’s busy students, offering an innovative option that helps many

February 24th, 2015

BY RUDY CHINCHILLA, Daily Titan

One of the best and most novel innovations of the online age has been the creation of online classes, otherwise known as distance education courses. This alternative type of education offers advantages not found in the traditional, in-person classroom. 12.5 percent of the U.S. student population were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses in the fall of 2012, according to a 2014 report by the U.S. Department of Education. A further 13.3 percent enrolled in at least one distance education course, bringing the total of students enrolled in at least one online course to 25.8 percent. For many students, distance education courses offer the distinct advantage of being flexible to their personal schedules.

http://www.dailytitan.com/2015/02/online-classes-are-effective-and-beneficial-for-todays-busy-students-offering-an-innovative-option-that-helps-many/

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New wave of students wants to design own college plans

February 24th, 2015

By Lauren Williams, University Business

According to the “Portrait of Generation Z” report released by Northeastern University, nearly two-thirds of Gen Z-aged respondents said they want to learn about entrepreneurship in college, including how to start a busi­ness. More than four in 10 expect to work for them­selves at some point—nearly four times higher than the current per­centage of self-​​employed Amer­i­cans. According to the Northeastern study, Gen-Z students want colleges to:

…offer practical skills such as financial planning (85%)

…integrate internships and other professional experience into their programs (79%)

…allow them to design their own majors (72%)

…teach entrepreneurship (63%)

http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/new-wave-students-wants-design-own-college-plans

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Weather or Not – Online Learning and Closing College Campus Classes

February 24th, 2015

by Herman Berliner, Provost Prose (Inside Higher Ed)

For the prior two weeks, snow led to the canceling of classes and I was both involved in, and in support of, making those decisions. It is time to change our response and more faculty and institutions are doing so. Almost all of us have learning platforms available to us. We may use these platforms in a very limited way or in more major ways. But when bad weather happens, a major tool in responding and maintaining the learning experience is use of online education tools which can allow you to substitute online learning for in person learning. The pace of the course, the material covered, and learning process can all continue undiminished. Making use of these tools works well both if you are an advocate for online learning or a major critic. In these situations, there is no opportunity to choose in person education without making some adjustments which likely come with their own problems. Online learning could easily be the best alternative available.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/provost-prose/weather-or-not

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MOOCs transform learning experience

February 23rd, 2015

by Steven Mintz, Daily Texan

Established by the Board of Regents in 2012, the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning has a bold mandate: to leverage technology to make a UT quality education more accessible, affordable and successful, especially among populations that higher education has too often failed. The ITL has supported a number of initiatives at UT Austin including innovative online delivery of a large number of “gateway” classes and development of nine massive online courses, or MOOCs, that have reached nearly a quarter of a million students globally. Right now, ITL’s energies focus on ways to better serve non-traditional students: low-income students, first-generation college students, part-time students, commuting students, working adults, family caregivers and students with some college and no degree.

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/2015/02/15/moocs-transform-learning-experience

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Medical students complete online course after proposing its creation

February 23rd, 2015

by Huy Nguyen, News Record

As they prepare to graduate from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine, medical students now have the opportunity to reinforce doctor-patient relationships through the college’s first online class. Senior medical students have a lot on their plate as they prepare to enter the medical workforce. Most of their time is spent in research, clinical rotations at hospitals and preparing for their internships after graduation. “That travel time for them is quite extensive,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, associate professor and chair of UC’s medical student education, and one of the instructors in charge of the pilot course. “Many of them take two months off to do all of that – at least a month off. So they’re not getting credit for any work.”

http://www.newsrecord.org/news/medical-students-complete-online-course-after-proposing-its-creation/article_fc51f6f2-b572-11e4-84de-6702e44ba9ad.html

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Can online courses address India’s rising university demand?

February 23rd, 2015

By Rob O’Brien, Enterprise Innovation

With student numbers rising and a shortage of faculty, massive open online courses (MOOCs) and small private online courses (SPOCS) are being viewed as a possible panacea in India. “There are more and more students wanting to study at college or university… it could almost double,” says Bijendra Nath Jain, Vice-Chancellor at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani in Rajasthan, India. “There aren’t people wanting to become teachers [in India] – the only solution to the problem is technology. But who is going to embrace technology to solve these problems?”

http://enterpriseinnovation.net/article/can-online-courses-address-indias-rising-university-demand-1688794921

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A Manual for Flipping Your Classroom

February 22nd, 2015

by the Innovative Instructor Blog

The Innovative Instructor has featured several posts on flipping your classroom (see here, here, here, and here) a technique that has students learning content on their own time and using class time to work on problems, discuss materials, or engage in collaborative activities. Text reading flipping the classroom with the classroom upside downJust in time for the upcoming semester, the Chronicle of Higher Education has published A Guide to the Flipped Classroom, available for free download. The manual, in PDF form, collects seven case studies and articles on the process of flipping the classroom that appeared in the CHE over the past three years. Faculty teaching evolutionary biology, chemistry, mathematics, and business topics weigh in on their experiences.

http://ii.library.jhu.edu/2015/01/14/a-manual-for-flipping-your-classroom/

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7 Best Practices for Creating a Completely Mobile Campus

February 22nd, 2015

by Toni Fuhrman, Campus Technology

At the University of Central Florida, students and faculty can now connect to the software they need anywhere, anytime, from any computing device — laptop, tablet, desktop or smartphone. The recently launched UCF Apps application-streaming initiative aims to turn the second largest university in the nation into a completely mobile campus, giving users ubiquitous access to software as if it were locally installed. CT asked project leaders JP Peters, IT and communications director, and Craig Froehlich, director of information technology, how they approached the initiative’s design, build and adoption.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/02/10/7-best-practices-for-creating-a-completely-mobile-campus.aspx

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Do Your Students Have Harmful Expectations?

February 22nd, 2015

by Richard Buckland, Open Learning Blog

There is often a mismatch between how we want our students to be changed in our courses, and their expectations of those courses. This tension can be particularly acute for first year university students or high school graduates taking a MOOC whose expectations about education are based on how they experienced high school which privileges marks over deep learning and individual performance over working collaboratively. This article considers the expectations high school graduates might have about education and then suggests some strategies to alter student expectations so that they become more focused on deep learning and the true objectives of the courses they undertake.

https://www.openlearning.com/blog/DoYourStudentsHaveHarmfulExpectations0

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