Archive for May, 2011

Online Learning: Is College (Finally) Ready For Its Innovation Revolution?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

By Derek Thompson, the Atlantic

“The price of college is going to fall, and the Internet is going to cause that fall. The rest of it is really difficult to figure out.” If a college student today stepped into a time machine and traveled back to Plato’s Academy of ancient Athens, she would recognize quite a bit. Sure, it might take some time to master ancient Greek and the use of stylus on wax, but she would eventually settle into a familiar academic routine. Colleges rarely think about efficiency, because all the signals tell them to spend more money on fewer students. Theoretically, the most efficient school would give the highest quality education to the most people for the lowest price. In reality, national rankings reward universities for rejecting the highest number of applicants, teaching the fewest number of students per class, and spending the most per capita on resources. That doesn’t mean colleges are failing. It means the system suffers from an incentive to be inefficient.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/05/is-college-finally-ready-for-its-innovation-revolution/239393/

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Purdue University should consider more online classes

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Purdue Exponent Editorial Board

To keep up with other universities and provide more opportunities for its students, Purdue should offer more online classes. The College of Education has recently implemented an online graduate program, the first of its kind at Purdue. Having more online programs is not necessary, but more online classes would be a wise move. It could be useful to a student taking an online course if there are technological aspects to the course that could not otherwise be offered in a classroom due to certain restrictions. For example, some classes are held in rooms without projector screens that would be useful in providing visual aid to lectures. If a course was offered online, it would be easier to have visual aids, and more of them because there is no time constraint a regular class would have. When taking large lecture courses into consideration, online classes could provide a better way for students to learn the material.

http://www.purdueexponent.org/opinion/editorials/article_a3ae9c14-8667-11e0-911c-0019bb30f31a.html

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Learning About the News? There’s an Online Course for That

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

By Scott Manning, US News

More Adults who enroll in online education are not necessarily aiming to earn a degree. Many individuals are seeking to expand their knowledge of a certain subject or continue their education. Avid followers of the news may often be curious about common themes that are covered by the media, such as finance, social, religious and political events. To challenge those who are interested in these topics, the Washington Post recently announced in a press release that it will offer a series of online courses called Post MasterClass. The program was created by writers for the publication, who are considered experienced experts in their respective fields.

http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/want-to-learn-about-the-news-theres-an-online-cour_11501.aspx

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Elaborating on Online Accessibility

Monday, May 30th, 2011

by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed

The Department of Education on Wednesday elaborated on a 2010 letter urging college and university presidents to make sure that the “emerging technology” on their campuses squares with federal laws protecting disabled students from discrimination. While the original “Dear Colleague” letter focused on recent controversies over the accessibility of classroom devices such as electronic readers. Wednesday’s addendum made it clear that online courses and their content also must be accessible to disabled students — even if none are currently enrolled.

http://goo.gl/bl0lK

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Future of Open Online Higher Education

Monday, May 30th, 2011

by Ray Schroeder, e-Cornucopia Conference at Oakland University

This reource presentation site is one that I used for the keynote presentation at this year’s e-Cornucopia conference at Oakland University.  From the pedestrian to the provacative, the site outlines some of the open reources and opportunities available and emerging in higher education.  The site was used for discussion on the potential of the OERu and related open initiatives that – if they become disruptive in the Christensen sense – may have a significant impact on re-defining colleges and universities worldwide.

http://sites.google.com/site/openfuturehighered/

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For-Profit College Costs Surpass Nonprofit Peers in U.S. Study

Monday, May 30th, 2011

by John Lauerman, Bloomberg

The average cost of attending a four- year for-profit college surpassed expenses at both U.S. state and private nonprofit universities, a government report found. Full-time students paid an average of $30,900 annually at the for-profit schools in the 2007-2008 academic year, almost double the $15,600 average paid at public universities, according to U.S. Education Department data released today. The average cost of attending a private nonprofit college was $26,600, the study said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-26/for-profit-college-costs-surpass-nonprofit-peers-in-u-s-study.html

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Learning online, the sky’s the limit

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

by Diana Hinds, the Guardian

Most colleges and universities run their own virtual learning environment, through which students can download course materials and communicate with their tutors online. The majority of courses now include a digital component, giving students the chance to work collaboratively through forums, blogs, wikis and video conferencing. All of this, the institutions argue, makes for better connection, improved access and increased flexibility – allowing students to learn at a time and in a place that best suits them. The Open University (OU) has been using computers since 1969 to educate its distance learners, many of whom work either part-time or full-time, and it now has a policy that every student needs a computer. For more disadvantaged students, the OU provides training and grants to help them buy a computer and get online. “We try to make courses as easy as possible to access,” says Niall Sclater, OU director of learning innovation. “All you need is a web browser: if you can buy a book on Amazon, you should be able to use our websites.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/adult-learning/learning-online-cloud-computing

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Digital learning joins the race online: making adult online learning accessible for all

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

by Diana Hinds, the Guardian

Some adults relish the social aspect of joining a class when they return to learning. For many others, however, research shows that use of a computer in the comfort of their own home is much more appealing. Studying online means that they can work where and when they choose, away from the bustle and competition of the classroom. But not everyone has that choice. Would-be adult learners who do not have access to the internet are among the key targets of a national campaign, Race Online 2012 (raceonline2012.org), which hopes to inspire and support everyone in the UK to go online. The campaign is the brainchild of Martha Lane Fox, e-commerce businesswoman, who last year was appointed UK digital champion by David Cameron. “I don’t think you can be a proper citizen of our society in the future if you are not engaged online,” says Lane Fox.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/adult-learning/race-online-2012

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University offers summer courses for credit via online learning

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

by Drew Henderson, Yale Daily News

The University will offer three courses online for credit toward a Yale College degree this summer, according to the Yale Summer Session website. The three courses — “HUMS S-212E: Brains of Genius: Mozart and Friends,” “ECON S-253E: Computational Finance” and “PLSC S-394E: Introduction to Middle East Politics” — are intended “for students who cannot travel to New Haven for our residential program,” the website says. All three courses will meet during scheduled times and are “not exclusively self-study.” Yale faculty members will teach all three courses, which are each capped at 25 students. Professor Donald Brown’s “Computational Finance” and associate professor Ellen Lust’s “Introduction to Middle East Politics” will be taught only online, but professor Craig Wright’s “Brains of Genius” will be taught simultaneously both online and in New Haven.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/may/16/university-offers-online-summer-courses-credit/

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Online Learning Comes of Age in Asia

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

By LIZ GOOCH, New York Times

Universities around the world have jumped on the e-learning bandwagon to varying degrees, from posting course materials online to making participation in online discussion forums an assessable course component. Yet some education experts say such programs are not a panacea in removing barriers to a university education. Poor Internet service in many parts of Asia, particularly rural areas, remains a problem, leaving many students unreachable. In addition, online universities, they say, face many challenges, from competing with the more established campus-based universities to building a credible reputation in an environment saturated with schools of questionable qualifications.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/world/asia/16iht-educLede16.html?_r=1

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Online Learning Faculty Burnout?

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed

Online education demolishes borders: borders between regulatory jurisdictions, between traditional and nontraditional learners, and between for-profit and nonprofit higher education. But one pattern of erosion that has been less thoroughly documented has been the crumbling of the borders that define the work lives of college professors. Some experts fear that the boom in online education could lead to higher rates of burnout among faculty, especially those whose emotional satisfaction depends on face-to-face interactions with students and colleagues. At the same time, some suggest that technological advances in online learning environments, specifically tools that aim to make virtual interactions more rewarding, could reduce the risk of alienation for online instructors. Does teaching online increase the risk of burnout? Scholarly research devoted to the topic is thin and offers no definitive answers.

http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/dialog/news/2011/05/16/online_faculty_burnout

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Its Flexibility Draws One Family to Online Learning

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

By Sara Bernard, Mind/Shift

Because her husband’s military career kept the family on the move, Patti Joubert — the mother of two full-time students at Florida Virtual School (FLVS) — always homeschooled her daughters. Now that they’re in high school, Joubert wanted to find a more resource-enriched alternative. “[Online schools] offer extra classes that aren’t necessarily in a regular school,” says Joubert, citing supplemental foreign language courses as an example. “The technology they’re getting access to, the course content, the teachers. It’s nice to just sit back and be the parent again.”

http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/05/its-flexibility-draws-one-family-to-virtual-school/

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Academic departments at University of Missouri to take control of online learning through faculty committee

Friday, May 27th, 2011

By Caitlin Swieca, University of Missouri Maneater

The committee was formed in response to academic departments’ concerns about changes in MU’s eLearning programs. In response to concerns over the proposal to realign MU’s eLearning program, a faculty committee will be organized in the fall to develop curriculum for online courses. Interim Vice Provost for eLearning Jim Spain said the shifts in the program will be mainly administrative. The report, released Feb. 25, was developed by former MU Extension Director Tom Henderson at the request of the UM System. “That report included input from a wide range of campus constituents — including administrators, staff involved in teaching and learning online and faculty that have extensive experience in distance education programs,” Spain said. Under the plan, MU Direct and the Center for Distance and Independent Study will be moved out of the MU Extension program and into the academic administrative structure of MU. Spain said he intends to have this process finished by the end of summer.

http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2011/5/17/academic-departments/

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Online Learning Trends at Community Colleges

Friday, May 27th, 2011

by David Moltz, Inside Higher Ed

Community colleges reported a 9 percent increase in their distance education enrollments from fall 2009 to fall 2010, according to a national survey of two-year institutions released Tuesday by the Instructional Technology Council, an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges. This increase is higher than the 7 percent increase in overall student enrollment in all of higher education and the 8 percent increase at community colleges during the same time period. Survey respondents identified several factors that contributed to this growth. Thirty-nine percent noted that this was “typical growth for distance education classes.” Thirty-seven percent attributed the growth to the “downturn in the economy.” Twelve percent cited a “new enrollment initiative.”

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/18/community_college_distance_education_enrollments_continues_to_grow

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Teach Yourself With These 11 Free Online Learning Sites

Friday, May 27th, 2011

by Kristy Korcz, Geek Sugar

Truth is, there are an amazing number of ways you can get a quality educational experience online, without ever having to fork over any cash. The cost of a college education is pretty remarkable these days, and not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a degree from an Ivy League school (especially in this economy). But nearly everyone can afford the cost of an Internet connection, or even a library card.

http://www.geeksugar.com/Free-Online-Classes-16688740

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Engaging Online Learning Students through Communication and Contact: Outreach Can Positively Impact Your Students and You!

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

by Wendy Achilles, et al; MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Technology (JOLT)

Student retention is a critical component to the success of any university, whether instruction is provided in a traditional or online setting. Creating an effective student retention program can positively impact student success and, ultimately, the reputation and the image of the institution. The implementation of a student retention program can be especially challenging in the online environment for both the instructors and the institution. Unlike a traditional university setting where students and instructors interact face-to-face, online programs need to rely on alternative methods to engage students. When online instructors take the time to create a consistent proactive outreach program students feel connected to the instructor and strive harder to be successful in the classroom. Online outreach programs can include tasks as simple as consistently emailing students, enlisting the help of student advisors, and taking time to phone students. Each approach has the potential to keep engaged students participating and can re-engage non-participating students by ensuring a high level of faculty and student interaction.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no1/byrd_0311.htm

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Gender Differences in Student Discourse on Discussion Board and Blogs: An Instructor’s Quest to Create a Level Playing Field in a Hybrid Classroom

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

by Crystal Machado, JIOL

The widespread use of innovative web-based technology in recent years has led to significant changes in the way students learn, communicate, and interact with one another. This exploratory single subject Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) study, conducted in a hybrid graduate course, was designed to determine if web-based tools like Discussion Board and Weblogs afforded pedagogical benefits, and if these benefits extended equally to both males and females in the classroom. Data comprised of a total of 1,373 Discussion Board posts and 109 Weblog posts. Some interesting gender-related patterns were found. The findings, though not generalizable, are illustrative of the challenges instructors can face when experimenting with web-based technology in higher education classrooms.

http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/10.1.3.pdf

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Understanding Students’ Online Interaction: Analysis of Discussion Board Postings

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

by Liyan Song and Scot W. McNary, JIOL

The purpose of this paper was to report on the findings of a study examining students’ online interaction patterns. The context of the study was a graduate online class delivered via Blackboard®. The primary data for the study came from students’ discussion board postings, online learning journals, and course grades. Various data analysis methods such as descriptive and regression analyses were utilized to examine students’ evolving interaction patterns and different interaction patterns among students in the same class. Results of the study indicated that there was considerable variability in students’ postings. Students’ postings were found mostly heterogeneous across students and across modules. The study suggested no correlation between the number of posts and students’ success.

http://www.ncolr.org/jiol/issues/pdf/10.1.1.pdf

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Learning Online in Second Grade: Elementary iPads

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

By Bridget McCrea, THE Journal

As the number of high schools and middle schools that are making iPads accessible to students is growing, some elementary institutions are also jumping into the fray. One school in Kentucky is getting its second and third graders up to speed on the devices in hopes of preparing the youngest generation for the 21st century academic and work world. Bill Gatliff, principal at Stonewall Elementary in Lexington, KY, said the initiative came about after the institution tapped into some of Fayette County School District’s available grant money. Two years ago the school’s fifth graders received laptops, and the fourth grade students followed in their footsteps the following year. For this school year, Gatliff set his sights on funding the purchase of 70 iPads for use in several second and third grade classrooms.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/05/04/elementary-ipads.aspx

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6 Technologies That Will Change Education

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

By David Nagel, THE Journal

Over the next five years, six technologies will have a profound impact on teaching and learning, according to a new report released Tuesday by the New Media Consortium (NMC) in collaboration with the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), “2011 Horizon Report K-12 Edition.” The annual Horizon Report focuses on the key technology areas that researchers identify as likely to have a major impact on educational institutions and other learning-focused organizations within the next five years, broken down into the technologies that will have an impact in the near term, those that are in the early stages of adoption (two to three years out), and those that are a bit further out (four to five years). The report also identifies trends and “critical” challenges facing education in the near future. Researchers and analysts this year identified six technologies that they indicated have the potential to expand the classroom toolset without increasing costs, that will extend learning into the home, that will inform decision making, and that will increase student engagement

http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/05/17/6-technologies-that-will-change-education.aspx

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How To Build an Online High-Stakes Learning Assessment System

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

by Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

At first glance it appears the state of Delaware has pushed through online testing in all of its public schools–a feat in and of itself–in less than a year. But according to Wayne Hartschuh, the seeds for its success were actually planted 15 years ago, when the state began planning for a centralized networking infrastructure that would not only power the state government but also all 19 school districts. The Delaware Center of Educational Technology, where Hartschuh is executive director, was formed specifically with a goal of wiring every classroom. The Center swept through the state, retrofitting buildings to deliver Internet access to every classroom and provide professional development to teachers, librarians, and administrators to help them understand what going online meant.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/05/19/how-to-build-an-online-high-stakes-assessment-system.aspx

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