Archive for October, 2011

University to test out online learning: As part of UC system pilot project, UC Merced to launch math class.

Monday, October 24th, 2011

By YESENIA AMARO, Sun-Star

UC Merced officials are trying to figure out how to make online instruction as effective as its counterpart in the classroom. “A lot of the information out there shows that the kind of students that we have don’t really do as well online as they do face to face,” said Keith Alley, executive vice chancellor and provost at UC Merced.

Not only officials at UC Merced, but also educators nationwide aretrying to find out what would make online education as engaging as in-person learning. The University of California system has launched an online instruction pilot project and will begin to offer online courses as part of the project in January, said Steve Montiel, spokesman for the UC Office of the President. The main purpose of the project is to “find out what works, what doesn’t work, to find out whether it’s possible to be able to offer online courses of the same quality as they are taught in the classroom,” he said.

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/10/20/2089282/university-to-test-out-internet.html

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Online learning opportunities are only half the equation

Monday, October 24th, 2011

by Jim Henderson, Shreveport Times

The statistics at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) in Bossier City certainly mirror the national trends. Last fall, some 4,375 “seats” were occupied in online classrooms. Approximately 1,800 of our 7,000 students access online and traditional face-to-face courses. To manage the rapid growth in overall enrollment on campus, we have created a number of hybrid courses that meet in person about one-third of the time and utilize e-learning the remainder of the time. The result is a smarter use of facilities for the college and expanded development of communication competencies for the student. Offering online and other technology-based learning opportunities is only half the equation. Delivering these services with a focus on student service and support is our focus.

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20111016/OPINION0106/110160332/Jim-Henderson-E-learning-opportunities-only-half-equation

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HSU launches new online teaching certificate program

Monday, October 24th, 2011

by Megan Hansen, Humbolt Times-Standard

A teaching program that was discontinued in 2009 because of budget cuts has been revamped at Humboldt State University and brought back as a series of online courses. Graduate students and working teachers who want to teach at the community college level can now earn a faculty preparation certificate by completing a 12-unit online program. The curriculum spans three semesters and includes classes on everything from how to organize a college course to assessing student progress. Chris Hopper, associate dean of professional studies at HSU, said the program started Monday and that 13 students throughout the state are participating. ”This is sort of our kick-off in terms of getting the courses online,” Hopper said. “The online format enables a much broader format to engage people.”

http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_19153952

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Online course offerings continue to grow at Michigan State University

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

By Stephen Brooks, State News

In an age where full-length movies can be streamed directly to a phone the size of a deck of cards, online classes might not seem as cutting-edge as they once did. To keep up with the current times, MSU is continuing to advance its online course offerings for students. Today, MSU serves more than 5,000 undergraduate students taking online courses, with another 1,800 students pursuing graduate degrees or individual graduate courses online. “One of the primary benefits would be giving access to students that wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a degree,” said Brendan Guenther, director of MSU’s virtual university design and technology. MSU’s online course offerings have grown tremendously since the first online class was offered in 1996, Guenther said.

http://www.statenews.com/index.php/article/2011/10/online_course_offerings_continue_to_grow

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Challenges with Learning and Using Online LMS: Regaining Your Faculties

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

By Joanna F. DeFranco, Eric Malm, Campus Technology

While the LMS has become a ubiquitous feature of higher ed, doubts persist over how much–and how effectively–faculty use the technology. The LMS market is worth nearly a billion dollars in the United States alone. Nearly every campus has one or more systems, along with IT staff, training programs, and infrastructure to support it. Indeed, for many institutions, the LMS is the keystone of their technology-based learning strategy, whether that means blended learning, distance learning, or just more convenient classroom administration. But just how many institutions are actually doing a good job incorporating the LMS into their teaching structures? Recent research suggests that LMS adoption in higher education may not be going as smoothly or as consistently as many would hope.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/10/17/regaining-your-faculties.aspx

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Learning and Online: Facebook Is Not Ruining Your Grades [STUDY]

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

by Sarah Kessler, Mashable

The latest of several studies to look into the relationship between Facebook use and low grades has a counterintuitive twist — some kinds of Facebook use are correlated with higher GPAs. “Facebook use in and of itself is not detrimental to academic outcome,” says study author Reynol Junco, a professor at the Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. “It depends how it’s used.” The study, published last week in Computers in Human Behavior, analyzes 1,839 college students’ survey data about Facebook use and actual grades (as opposed to self-reported grades). It also takes into account students’ high-school GPAs. On average, students say they spend 106 minutes on Facebook per day. Each increase of 93 minutes beyond 106 minutes correlates with a GPA decrease of .12 grade points — statistically significant, but not dramatic when applied to a real-world situation.

http://mashable.com/2011/10/11/facebook-gpa/

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iNACOL Revs National Standards Guide for Online Learning

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

By Kanoe Namahoe, THE Journal

A new report released today by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) outlines new standards for online learning courses in K-12. The report, National Standards for Quality Online Courses, Version 2, was formulated by a committee of experts to give K-12 schools, districts, and organizations a common benchmark for evaluating and implementing courses for their online programs. “By offering up a set of guidelines to promote quality online courses, it is our hope that all students engaged in online and blended learning programs will be given the opportunity to access a world-class education,” said Susan Patrick, contributor to the report and president of iNACOL, in a prepared statement. The new national standards–based in part on the original standards, plus results from research and surveys–focus on aligning online course content to state academic standards, instructional design, technology, student assessment and course management. The goal, Patrick said, is to ensure that each course supports the academic growth and critical learning experience of K-12 students in online and blended learning environments.

Please see the iNACOL report here:

http://www.inacol.org./research/nationalstandards/iNACOL_CourseStandards_2011.pdf

Please see the THE Journal report here:

http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/10/12/inacol-revs-national-standards-guide-for-online-learning.aspx

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Benefits of an Online Learning Degree

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

by Community of College

With hundreds of schools, universities and colleges offering programs accredited online degree this opportunity and those benefits are waiting to be chosen as the low hanging fruit. Sign up for an online degree program and let you help distance learning raise your hand. Although most of the online learning takes place in the solitude of your own home has many resources to help towards an online degree. The virtual and the real army of teachers, counselors and instructors are ready to help. Some institutions even provide your academic adviser to help you navigate through course outlines and curricula in order to choose a study program that meets your needs.

http://www.ecoheatcool.org/benefits-of-an-online-degree/

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Colleges Unite to Drive Down Cost of ‘Cloud Computing’ Access for Online Learning and More

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

By Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

In one of her first public appearances as chief executive of Hewlett-Packard this month, Meg Whitman beamed in by videoconference to a meeting of college technology leaders to announce the company’s participation in what colleges are calling a “community cloud”—a pool of high-performance computers that researchers can tap into online, as needed, from any participating campus. The officials who stood gazing up at Ms. Whitman, a former gubernatorial candidate in California and eBay executive, call the community cloud a new era of campus technology, and a new way to negotiate deals with tech giants like HP. The big idea: Colleges can collectively bargain with technology companies to establish more campus-friendly terms and prices than any one college could get on its own. In this case, the broker for the deal was Internet2, a nonprofit consortium with some 235 college members.

http://chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Unite-to-Drive-Down/129427/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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Online Learning Key to Building Something Different in Texas

Friday, October 21st, 2011

by Kevin Kiley, Inside Higher Ed

John Ellis Price, the president of the University of North Texas System and CEO of the campus at Dallas wants to create a model of higher education that, he says, is more accessible, more flexible, and more student-focused. “The one thing at the forefront of everything we do is what can we do to drive down the cost of instruction and the time that it takes to complete a four-year degree while maintaining quality,” Price says. Judging by statements from Price, Bain consultants, and members of the commission, the plan is likely to include several ideas that have been discussed with increasing frequency by higher education reformers, such as an emphasis on online technology in education delivery, a restructuring of the traditional 15-week semester, and consideration of new ways of financing education.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/10/17/bain_initiative_at_university_of_north_texas_dallas_aims_for_new_educational_model

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Questions about Pearson OpenClass for Online Learning

Friday, October 21st, 2011

 by Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed Blog U

As of this writing, (10/16 at 1:30pm), no one from Pearson has engaged the IHE community in our discussion about OpenClass. The OpenClass website does not have a place for discussion. Steve Kolowich’s 10/13 article has 15 comments and my blog post on OpenClass from 10/16 has 5. Members of the IHE community raise a number of important questions about OpenClass, questions I’d think that Pearson would want to address. This sort of communication is critical if OpenClass is to thrive, as the marketing and sales channels that support typical higher ed enterprise purchases will not work for Pearson’s OpenClass. A free, high quality LMS may be in the strategic business interest of Pearson (and Google and Microsoft…..), but the yearly licensing costs for an LMS are actually the smallest part of the investment any institution makes in our LMS deployment.

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology_and_learning/pearson_should_engage_in_an_open_discussion_on_openclass_15_ihe_community_questions

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Learning Online: For Better Research Assignments, Ask a Librarian

Friday, October 21st, 2011

By: Beth Schuck, Faculty Focus

A recent survey of faculty handouts for research assignments found that most of the handouts provided details for length, citation guide style and how to get assistance from the faculty member. What wasn’t included was a critical need for most undergraduate students: context for the research topic. Across the board, the handouts lacked specifics of the research context, including where to start, where to focus the information seeking, and how to locate a variety of information types. These key research behaviors are not common skills in today’s, or perhaps any, undergraduate students. Ironically when follow-up conversations were completed with the faculty members who took part in the survey; they did not believe students knew where to look but hadn’t included the directions necessary to direct students in this phase of research either.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/for-better-research-assignments-ask-a-librarian/

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House Proposed Budget Would Restrict Support for OER Online Learning

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

by Libby A. Nelson, Inside Higher Ed

A provision in the proposed House of Representatives budget for fiscal year 2012 would stop the federal government from using grant programs to develop new courses, learning materials or other related projects unless the labor secretary verifies that similar programs are not already available for purchase or “under development.” Whether the provision in the House budget proposal will make it to the final version is unclear. That budget has been seen as a bargaining chip or starting point for negotiations, with several controversial proposals for higher education, including eliminating spending on many minority-serving institutions and reshaping Pell Grant eligibility. But the change to the job-training proposal has so far attracted little attention.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/10/18/provision_in_2012_budget_would_constrict_open_educational_resources_project

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Blackboard Announces Creative Commons Collaboration to Enable Opening of Course Content

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed

Under the partnership with Creative Commons, Blackboard instructors will be invited to tag their course content with different licenses that indicate exactly how others can use it. Instructors will then have the option of sharing the course on Twitter or Facebook. The company is also working to make the licensed course content more visible to public search engines, so that it can be discovered more easily by instructors searching the Web for free course content. Blackboard’s announcement this morning comes on the heels of the release by Pearson, the e-learning company, of a new LMS product that colleges can download through the Google store for free. A number of observers have speculated that the new offering, called OpenClass, could spell the beginning of the end for Blackboard Learn, which can cost institutions hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in licensing fees.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/10/19/in_wake_of_pearson_openclass_unveiling_blackboard_announces_oer_support

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With Goldman’s Foray Into Higher Education, A Predatory Pursuit Of Students And Revenues

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

by Chris Kirkham, Huffington Post

Soon after the Goldman buyout, the newly private Education Management LLC embarked on its most ambitious period of growth — one that has recently brought it crosswise with federal prosecutors, who have accused the company of widespread fraud in its recruitment processes. Over the past year, Goldman’s stake in EDMC has increased from 33 percent to more than 41 percent. Together with Providence Equity Partners, the two firms control 80 percent of the company. The Justice Department complaint does not specifically name Goldman or Providence as defendants, but their returns could be significantly affected were EDMC compelled to pay penalties and return prior revenues to the government. “The financial brilliance behind these schools is that unlike the mortgage industry, when this bubble bursts, these loans are guaranteed to these companies,” said Lawrence, the former Argosy University recruiter. “They’re backed by the government, so it’s not them that’s going to go under.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/14/goldman-sachs-for-profit-college_n_997409.html

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Online Learning Should Inspire Curiosity and Imagination – Michael Wesch: It’s a ‘Pull, Pull’ World

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By John K. Waters, THE Journal

Educators play a critical role in the development of the essential skills students need to navigate the blizzard of unfiltered information available to them via the Web. Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University, said he believes they should also be fostering something more basic: curiosity and imagination. “The new media landscape is a ‘pull’ environment,” Wesch said. “Nothing is pushed to you from the Web, which makes it essential that we inspire students to seek out the knowledge that’s out there. The content isn’t fundamentally different, but the environment just demands more curiosity and imagination.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/10/12/michael-wesch-its-a-pull-pull-world.aspx

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A Survey of the Electronic Portfolio Market Sector: Analysis and Surprising Trends

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Trent Batson, Campus Technology

Now, electronic portfolios offer a more broad-based and exciting architecture. They’ve moved from institution-centered to multi-centered; from assessment-centered to learning and assessment centered, from school-time limited to life-long and life-wide, from installed to SaaS, and from reinforcement of the status quo to supporting new learning and assessment designs. Electronic portfolios once again embody the potential to support education and learning practices that fit with the trends in education toward “high-impact educational practices” (George Kuh) and in life towards building a professional digital identity. Electronic portfolios have dramatically improved in functionality and user interface since that article was published four years ago. The gold rush to accreditation management is over, and electronic portfolios now offer a range of services, support, and features that can excite those hoping for improvement in how education adopts technology.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/10/12/a-survey-of-the-electronic-portfolio-market-sector.aspx

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Online Learning: More on Pearson’s Debut of Free LMS with Google Apps Integration

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Publishing and education tech behemoth Pearson has introduced a new, free, cloud-based LMS for higher education. OpenClass, as the LMS is named, is expected to appear in the Google Apps Marketplace for Education Oct. 18. Users will be able to launch OpenClass from within Google Apps or access their Google applications from OpenClass, which, the company declared, has no hardware, licensing, or hosting costs. “OpenClass has huge potential for higher education,” said Adrian Sannier, senior vice president of Learning Technologies at Pearson. “OpenClass accelerates what technology will do for learning with a free, open and innovative platform that easily scales and lets students work via social media, with an intense focus on learning that elevates achievement.”

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2011/10/13/pearson-debuts-free-lms-with-google-apps-integration.aspx

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WCET Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework Project Delivers Millions of Course Records for Review and Analysis

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

by WCET

WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, announces the successful federation of datasets from the six institutions participating in the PAR (Predictive Analytics Reporting) Framework proof of concept project just four months after the project’s early June launch. The goal of the PAR Framework is to identify variables that influence student retention and progression and to determine the impact of various demographic data on factors influencing loss and momentum. The data will be used to explore patterns that emerge when the datasets from considerably different institutions are analyzed as a single, unified sample. The WCET member institutions engaged in the PAR Framework project include American Public University System (apus.edu), Colorado Community College System (cccs.edu), Rio Salado College (riosalado.edu), University of Hawaii System (hawaii.edu), University of Illinois Springfield (uis.edu) and the University of Phoenix (phoenix.edu). Each institution obtained IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval. All data was anonymized and encrypted to ensure that no data are personally identifiable.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/10/prweb8882165.htm

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Imagine the International Online Learning Possibilities: Google Translate for Android

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

by Google Blog

Mobile technology and the web have made it easier for people around the world to access information and communicate with each other. But there’s still a daunting obstacle: the language barrier. We’re trying to knock down that barrier so everyone can communicate and connect more easily. To use Conversation Mode, speak into your phone’s microphone, and the Translate app will translate what you’ve said and read the translation out loud. The person you’re speaking with can then reply in their language, and Conversation Mode will translate what they said and read it back to you. This technology is still in alpha, so factors like background noise and regional accents may affect accuracy. But since it depends on examples to learn, the quality will improve as people use it more. We wanted to get this early version out to help start the conversation no matter where you are in the world.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/10/start-conversation-with-google.html

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Pearson and Google Jump Into Learning Management With a New, Free System

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

By Josh Fischman, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Pearson, the publishing and learning technology group, has joined the software giant Google to launch OpenClass, a free LMS that combines standard course-management tools with advanced social networking and community-building, and an open architecture that allows instructors to import whatever material they want, from e-books to YouTube videos. The program will launch through Google Apps for Education, a very popular e-mail, calendar, and document-sharing service that has more than 1,000 higher-education customers, and it will be hosted by Pearson with the intent of freeing institutions from the burden of providing resources to run it. It enters a market that has been dominated by costly institution-anchored services like Blackboard, and open-source but labor-intensive systems like Moodle. “Anytime Pearson and Google are used in the same sentence, it’s going to get people’s attention,” says Don Smithmier, chief executive and founder of Sophia, another community-based learning system that is backed by Capella Education, the corporation behind the online educator Capella University. “I believe the world will be shifting away from a classic LMS approach defined by the institution. Openness and social education is a very powerful idea.”

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/pearson-and-google-jump-into-learning-management-systems/33636?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

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