Archive for October, 2011

Want Innovation? Remove the Barriers

Monday, October 31st, 2011

by Peter Stokes, Inside Higher Ed

If you want innovation, I say, remove the barriers. To that end, I’d like to propose that the U.S. Department of Education establish a new “demonstration program,” not unlike the Distance Learning Demonstration Program of the past. That former program allowed institutions that delivered a majority of their programs online to distribute Title IV funds. Twenty-four institutions – a mix of nonprofits and for-profits – participated in the program. Along the way, we learned something important about the potential for scale within online learning; and today, one in four college students has taken at least one course online. Now we need something a little different, but based on the same model – call it the “Innovation Demonstration Program.” In this case, the program will charter new organizations to offer degrees and distribute Title IV funds – even if they lack accreditation. That has the potential to open up real innovation within multiple segments of the marketplace.

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/10/27/essay-us-should-create-demonstration-program-spur-innovation

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Are Online Learning Math Programs Better Than Literacy Online Programs?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

by Tina Barseghian, Mind/Shift

When it comes to math and literacy software, the choices are vast and varied. But over the past months, I’ve heard a recurring complaint from different school administrators: The quality of literacy software is not as high as that of math. Why is this the case? I spoke to Aylan Samouha, chief schools officer at Rocketship Education, a network of charter elementary schools in San Jose that allots 25 percent of students’ time at school in the computer lab, where they use math and literacy software for basic skills mastery. Time in classroom with their teacher is spent on what they call “higher-order thinking” and collaborative projects. In general, he points out, with any form of learning — online or otherwise — basic skills are easier to teach, grasp, and to measure than higher-order thinking and concepts. And although math does involve conceptual thinking, even at the elementary level, it’s easier to break out conceptual skills than in literacy.

http://mindshift.kqed.org/2011/10/are-online-math-programs-better-than-literacy/

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Faculty concerned with cheating in online learning classes

Monday, October 31st, 2011

By Sura Khuder, Independent Collegian

Professors have also shown concern for this and requested information from Benjamin Pryor, vice provost of Learning Ventures and dean of the College of Innovative Learning, who presented findings and ways Learning Ventures is approaching the issue of academic dishonesty in online courses. “People will tell you that cheating is rampant in online courses,” Pryor said. “Some faculty and advisors have told me that they don’t know what to do because students have approached them and said they have taken the online courses because they know they can cheat in it.” Pryor said nationwide data is back and forth, some studies show cheating in the same course is lower online compared to a traditional course in a classroom, and other studies show cheating is higher in online courses than in traditional ones.

http://www.independentcollegian.com/faculty-concerned-with-cheating-in-online-classes-1.2660515

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StraighterLine Lands U. of Phoenix as Partner

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

 

by Inside Higher Ed

StraighterLine, a low-cost online course provider, has signed up the University of Phoenix as its 27th partner college. A larger group of colleges typically accepts credits earned for StraighterLine courses that are evaluated by the American Council on Education’s Credit Recommendation Service. Partner colleges, however, have agreed to accept credits earned through the provider and also offer a streamlined application process to StraighterLine students. Phoenix joins other for-profit partner colleges, including Kaplan University, DeVry University and Capella University. StraightLine’s nonprofit partners include Western Governors University and several public universities, such as Albany State University and Charter Oak State University.

http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2011/10/25/straighterline-lands-u-phoenix-partner

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On Campus Learning Competing with Online Distractions: Students using Facebook in your class? Better try a bit harder

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

By Mathew Ingram, GigaOM

Just like it has with media, the web is disrupting education.  Harvard Crimson Editor Hemi Gandh argues that Facebook is just part of this much larger paradigm shift in the way that knowledge is transmitted in our digital society, and that Harvard and other universities have to respond to this and adapt if they want to remain relevant. Professors “need to realize that they are in constant competition for students’ time and attention,” the Crimson editorial writer says, and have to start thinking of themselves as “service providers who must constantly innovate to serve students better” by appealing to their students’ curiosity and their desire to learn outside of the traditional curriculum.In some cases, adapting to a digital world can actually improve what happens in the classroom, as my GigaOM colleague Ryan Kim noted in a post about using social tools at school. He argued that using the web and social tools in particular can make it easier to appeal to some students who might not otherwise get involved in a classroom discussion (due to shyness or various other personal or cultural factors). Have any university professors thought about trying to do that, I wonder, or are they just assuming that most of their students are online because they are intellectually lazy?

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Online learning ‘provides the next step for medical education’

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

by Virtual College UK

E-learning models could be successfully tailored to the medical industry, according to recent reports. Educators in Britain have stressed the need for improved learning methods in medical education to keep in line with many other learning environments where online learning has become a core part of curriculums. At a meeting of lecturers and teachers as part of a two-day workshop at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) recently, many expressed the positivity of e-learning and cited that it is a flexible and easy-to-maintain approach to acquiring new skills. In a debate focused on the nature of virtual learning systems, the academic experts suggested that it was not just about the content and delivery but also about the ability for users to dip in and out of the learning experience. Professor Paul Duvall from the University of Liverpool said: “The challenge for medical educators is to be aware of the new changes and to consider how the latest technology can be used to enhance learning.”

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/Elearning-provides-the-next-step-for-medical-education-newsitems-800773796.aspx

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Online Learning: 8 Colleges Collaborate on Open Courses

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

By Tanya Roscorla, Converge

Many students can’t pay hundreds of dollars each term for textbooks. So they choose not to buy any of them. “They just try to take the class without the book, and boy, that’s hard,” said Marty Christofferson, dean of campus technology at Tompkins Cortland Community College in New York. This year, eight colleges that primarily serve at-risk students are working together on Project Kaleidoscope. In California, New York and Nebraska, faculty members are collaborating on open general education courses that will cut student textbook costs to less than $30 per class.

http://www.convergemag.com/classtech/8-Colleges-Collaborate-on-Open-Courses.html

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Learning Online ~ On the Move – Mobile Apps Increase

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

By Tanya Roscorla, Converge

More than half of public and private universities are starting to use mobile apps. But only 4.4 percent have been moving their enterprise resource planning services to cloud computing, according to the 2011 Campus Computing Survey from The Campus Computing Project. For the last two years, the Horizon Report has listed mobile as a technology to watch and suggested it would be adopted within a year or less. And the Campus Computing Survey of 496 senior IT officials shows that more colleges and universities are moving to mobile apps.

http://www.convergemag.com/policy/Mobile-Apps-Cloud-Adoption-Higher-Education.html

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Six Easy Steps to Online Learning Program Success

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

by Richard Rose, Campus Technology

Against his better instincts, an educator at West Texas A&M University shares his school’s recipe for developing a successful online learning program. The online Master of Education program in instructional design and technology at my school, West Texas A&M University, has more than doubled its admissions during the last two years, even as similar programs nationwide have struggled. This is because we consistently honor six very simple practices in every course in the program. During my career as a senior instructional designer at Microsoft and Boeing, these practices were universal for online instruction. I have been shocked to learn how many online college courses incorporate none of them.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/10/24/6-easy-steps-to-online-success.aspx

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UK online learning is ‘most popular in Europe’

Friday, October 28th, 2011

by Virtual College

Britain has the highest demand for online learning in the whole of Europe, according to one online resource. The e-learningcentre.co.uk, an information provider for those interested in learning online and members of the industry, suggested that the popularity of the UK’s e-learning sector tops the market elsewhere in Europe due to the easy, flexible and independent nature of education on offer. David Patterson, director and consultant with e-learningcentre.co.uk, said: “After the dot-com bubble burst of 2000, the last decade has seen quite remarkable growth in e-learning, it must be the ‘after the hype’ effect. “We observe the switch in training spend from face-to-face to e-learning principally to save money, therefore we can confidently conclude that e-learning is growing in popularity with companies and we would add equally importantly with learners.”

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/UK-elearning-is-most-popular-in-Europe-newsitems-800762070.aspx

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More college students taking online classes in South Dakota – The Associated Press, Rapid City Journal

Friday, October 28th, 2011

More students are getting degrees from South Dakota public universities without ever stepping foot on the six traditional college campuses. A new study released by the Board of Regents shows the number of students taking online college courses in South Dakota has increased by 12 percent in the last fiscal year and 69 percent since 2007. Regents’ executive director Jack Warner says most of the online students are adults who cannot attend a traditional class setting because they’re often juggling family and work responsibilities.

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/more-college-students-taking-online-classes-in-state/article_d5345d32-fccd-11e0-b034-001cc4c03286.html

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Online Learning through Libraries – Clicks and Mortar

Friday, October 28th, 2011

by BILL LEUKHARDT, Currant

Reference librarians are familiar with queries like “What is Bulgaria’s principal export?” More frequently now they’re also handling questions like “How do I find the book I just downloaded?” “We get more and more questions like that daily from patrons,” said Pam Kelly, the Wethersfield Public Library supervisor in charge of technology and making sure the library isn’t left behind as things change. “People ask us to explain how to use Kindles, Nooks, iPads, tablets — all different devices. The staff has to know a lot. And there’s always more to learn.” The printed book still rules in libraries, but more and more libraries are acting as a digital gateway, playing roles in two worlds — the tangible and the cyber.

http://www.courant.com/community/wethersfield/hc-wethersfield-library-classes-1023-20111022,0,4105354.story

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Ensuring Online Learning Course Quality Requires Constant Vigilance

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

By: Jennifer Garrett, Distance Learning Administration

Online programs are under a microscope. Some school faculty and administrators are concerned with maintaining academic quality, while others have already identified problems with quality and integrity. Negative media exposure has caused accreditors and other stakeholders to scrutinize online learning, and college and university administrators know that they need to respond.

The eQuality program, used at the Open Campus of Florida State College at Jacksonville, provides a method for ensuring and demonstrating quality across online courses and degrees. It provides both an overall plan and a framework, and it also allows colleges and universities to address concerns or issues as they arise.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/ensuring-online-course-quality-requires-constant-vigilance/

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Faculty concerned as CMU could be first Michigan university to implement new online learning style

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

By Mike Nichols, Central Michigan Live

Central Michigan University would be the first university in Michigan to implement if a new style of online learning if it is adopted. In Tuesday’s Academic Senate meeting, Provost Gary Shapiro addressed the option of using the National Center for Academic Transformation, a nonprofit organization, to implement more online learning to save the university money. Carolyn Jarmon, NCAT vice president, said the center has worked with about 200 universities and community colleges to enhance learning. They use six different models of restructuring courses that can be formatted for different academic disciplines. For many students, lectures are not engaging, Jarmon said. NCAT focuses on information technology, meaning students use more self-learning online software to take quizzes and view shorter lectures. She said it is normally used in prerequisite undergraduate courses with larger class sizes. The NCAT system allows universities to save money by placing more students in classes, Jarmon said.

http://www.cm-life.com/2011/10/21/cmu-could-be-first-michigan-university-to-implement-academic-transformation/

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No campus? No problem – Learning Online

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

by Sarah Reinecke, Argus Leader

More and more students are getting degrees from South Dakota public universities without ever stepping foot on the six traditional college campuses. Enrollment in online courses and at the state’s three university centers is up from five years ago, according to a study released recently to the Board of Regents. Regents’ executive director Jack Warner said he’s not surprised by the increases because the system is expanding access to adults who want to further their education. “We’re trying to make it as convenient as we can for them,” he said. “They’re increasingly motivated to get higher education degrees because they see it as a pathway to prosperity.”

http://www.argusleader.com/article/20111022/NEWS/110220319/No-campus-No-problem

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Online Learning Education Remains a Popular Option for Working Adults

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By Catherine Groux, US News

Various reports have shown that online education is becoming increasingly popular on college campuses. For example, the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning indicates that about 5.6 million students took at least one web-based class in the fall 2009 semester. This marked a 21% increase from the previous year, compared to a 2% increase in overall higher education. While every student has his or her own reasons for engaging in distance learning, many decide to pursue online education because of the flexibility it allows them. According to a recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics, nontraditional students – or older individuals, those with full-time jobs and people who have children and spouses – are more likely to take web-based courses than other degree seekers.

http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/online-education-remains-a-popular-option-for-work_11819.aspx

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Mobile Device Intervention for Student Support Services in Distance Online Learning Education Context – FRAME Model Perspective

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

by Lalita S Kumar, et al: EURODL

This paper reports the findings of a study conducted to analyse the effect of mobile device intervention for student support services and to gauge its use for enhancing teaching – learning process as a future study in the context of offer of Distance Education programmes. The study was conducted with the learners of the coveted Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology programme of Indira Gandhi National Open University. In order to illustrate the issues involved primarily in student support services and the mobile learning as a future course of action, it is proposed to apply the Koole’s FRAME model. Questionnaire and interview methods are used to obtain a feedback. The findings are discussed and future direction of study is also indicated.

http://www.eurodl.org/?article=447

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Let’s be Clear: Google Says Pearson’s New Online Learning System Is ‘Not a Shared Product’

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Philadelphia—When Pearson officials talk about their new learning-management system, OpenClass, they like to mention Google. They note that the software is distributed through Google’s App marketplace, and say that it was inspired by Google’s popular e-mail and Web services platform. Pearson drops the company’s name so much that many college officials assume that Google is jointly building the new system, something that officials have long speculated that the search company might one day do. But other than routine help it gives to any app in its marketplace, Google is not directly involved with the new learning-management system, and Google officials say they have no plan to jump into developing learning software.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/google-says-pearsons-new-learning-system-is-not-a-shared-project/33861

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Distance Students’ Readiness for Social Media and Collaboration

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

by Bruno Poellhuber & Terry Anderson, IRRODL

In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the use of social networking tools (e.g., Facebook) and social media in general, mainly for social, recreational, and entertainment purposes (Smith, Salaway, & Caruso, 2009). Many educators believe that these tools offer new educational affordances and avenues for students to interact with each other and with their teachers or tutors. Considering the traditional dropout rate problem documented in distance courses (Rovai, 2003; Woodley, 2004), these tools may be of special interest for distance education institutions as they have the potential to assist in the critical “social integration” associated with persistence (Sweet, 1986; Tinto, 1975). However, as distance students are typically older than regular on-campus students (Bean & Metzner, 1985; Rovai, 2003), little is known about their expertise with social media or their interest in harnessing these tools for informal learning or collaborating with peers. To investigate these issues, an online questionnaire was distributed to students from four large Canadian distance education institutions. A systematic sampling procedure led to 3,462 completed questionnaires. The results show that students have diverse views and experiences, but they also show strong and significant age and gender differences in a variety of measures, as well as an important institution effect on the student’s interest in collaboration. Males and younger students scored higher on almost all indicators (past teamwork experience, cooperative preferences, attitudes toward technology, experience with social software, etc.). These age and gender differences should be interpreted cautiously, however, as they are based on self-reported measures. The limits of the study, as well as future developments and research questions, are outlined.

http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1018/1960

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Examining Motivation in Online Distance Learning Environments: Complex, Multifaceted, and Situation-Dependent

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

by Maggie Hartnett John Dron, and Alison St. George, IRRODL

Existing research into motivation in online environments has tended to use one of two approaches. The first adopts a trait-like model that views motivation as a relatively stable, personal characteristic of the learner. Research from this perspective has contributed to the notion that online learners are, on the whole, intrinsically motivated. The alternative view concentrates on the design of online learning environments to encourage optimal learner motivation. Neither approach acknowledges a contemporary view of motivation that emphasises the situated, mutually constitutive relationship of the learner and the learning environment. Using self-determination theory (SDT) as a framework, this paper explores the motivation to learn of preservice teachers in two online distance-learning contexts. In this study, learners were found to be not primarily intrinsically motivated. Instead, student motivation was found to be complex, multifaceted, and sensitive to situational conditions.

http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1030/1954

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The Importance of Online Learning Interaction for Academic Success in Online Courses with Hearing, Deaf, and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

by Gary Long, Carol Marchetti, and Richard Fasse; IRRODL

This paper reports the findings of three studies within a program of research designed to better understand the factors contributing to the academic achievement of students in online courses and the contributions of interaction to online learning. The first study compared the academic achievement of students in the online and face-to-face (F2F) sections of multiple courses. In the second study, an online survey was used to obtain student perceptions of course satisfaction, learning, and communication. These factors were then related, using binary logistic regression analysis, to the amount of interaction that occurred in the students’ respective online courses; information from the myCourses course management system was used to quantify the amount of interaction that occurred in online courses. In the final study, both datasets were used to examine the academic achievement of students in online courses based upon the amount of interaction that had actually occurred. Whenever possible, a subgroup of deaf and hard-of-hearing students was included in the study to increase our understanding of the role that communication plays in the teaching-learning process. Our findings indicate that students enrolled in online courses, especially those designed with high levels of online interaction, receive higher grades and report greater learning than students in comparable F2F courses. In addition, online courses appear to provide deaf and hard-of-hearing students with special benefits in terms of academic achievement through online discussion. Overall, the studies illuminate how the quantity of interaction in online discussions relates to important success factors. Students in online courses with more interaction outperformed students in online courses with less interaction.

http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1015/1952

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