Archive for February, 2012

House votes to roll back Department of Education rules

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

by Pete Kasperowicz, the Hill

The House on Tuesday afternoon voted to repeal two Department of Education regulations, an act that Republicans said would help lower the cost of college for millions of students. Members approved the Protecting Academic Freedom in Higher Education act, H.R. 2117, in a 303-114 vote. Despite Democratic complaints about the bill during floor debate, 69 Democrats joined all voting Republicans in support of the legislation. One of the rules sets out federal guidelines state officials must follow when authorizing schools to operate in their state, and the other sets out a nation-wide definition for “credit hour” — both must be met for educational institutions to participate in federal aid programs.

(editor note: Many states have indicated that they will continue with plans to levy fees on out of state colleges and universities enrolling students residing within their boundaries)

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/213111-house-votes-to-roll-back-department-of-education-rules

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Will online learning kill universities? Does anyone care?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

by AMA Net

After centuries as the pinnacle of higher education, could it be that the university is facing its end? Technology has allowed a brilliant Stanford academic to go out on his own, and run courses on the Internet. Is the university dying—and will anyone miss it? “The Stanford University professor who taught an online artificial intelligence course to more than 160,000 students has abandoned his tenured position to aim for an even bigger audience,” reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Sebastian Thrun, a professor of computer science at Stanford, revealed today that he has departed the institution to found Udacity, a start-up offering low-cost online classes.”

http://www.amanet.org/shift/index.php/2012/01/24/will-online-teaching-kill-the-university-and-does-anyone-care/

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Should Online Coursework Be a Library School Requirement?

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

by Hack Library School

This semester I’m taking ‘Distributed Learning Librarianship’ online at the University of North Texas. Needless to say online learning is on my mind. In August of last year Rose L. Chou contributed a great HLS post In Defense of Online LIS Education, and Laura Sanders’ recent post on Teaching Methods Used in Library School generated some good discussion that included comments about online coursework. I’d like to build on some of the ideas presented in these post and in my class. I feel like every other day I have a conversation with someone about online courses that includes a statement like, “How does that even work?” or “I can’t imagine what a class would be like online.” This weekend it dawned on me–maybe you can’t imagine what an online class is like until you take one. Sometimes I feel like I’m describing driving to someone who hasn’t ridden in a car.

http://hacklibschool.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/should-online-coursework-be-a-library-school-requirement/

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Regulatory Overreach

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

By Richard Vedder, Chronicle of Higher Ed
The House of Representatives is going to pass today a bill (H.R. 2117) that would forbid two regulatory initiatives of the Obama administration. The first relates to the definition of a student credit hour, while the second deals with the requirement that all online programs must get authorization in each of the 50 states to operate. The only interesting thing about today’s vote is how many Democrats will vote with the GOP. The number could be very substantial, since virtually the entire higher-education establishment, led by the American Council of Education, wants the bill passed. The Obama administration is “strongly opposed” to the measure, but has not explicitly said it would veto it if it were the pass the U.S. Senate.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/regulatory-overreach/31756

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MIT Online vs. Your Local College: How Will Online Learning Stack Up?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

by Alan Jacobs, the Atlantic

That’s going to be the key to the future of online learning: not whether universities simply film their best lecturers, or place all their course materials online, but whether they find an optimal design for online learning. But of course, as I suggested in my earlier post, it may not be universities who first figure this out: it may be educational entrepreneurs like Sebastian Thrun. If so — and depending on what kinds of intellectual property claims people like Thrun can make and sustain — universities may find themselves playing a futile game of catch-up.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/mit-online-vs-your-local-college-how-will-web-learning-stack-up/253473/

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Graduates of For-Profits Lag Behind Their Peers in Earnings and Employment, Study Finds

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

By Dan Berrett, Chronicle of Higher Ed

For-profit colleges do a good job of retaining students in their first year and getting them to finish, but over time these students also tend to fare worse than similar students at community colleges and public and private nonprofit institutions, according to a new study. Six years after they enter college, students from for-profit institutions are employed at lower rates and earn less than their peers, according to a study by three scholars from Harvard University. The scholars are affiliated with the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, a collaboration of universities that is led by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

http://chronicle.com/article/Graduates-of-For-Profits-Lag/130900/

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Open Educational Resources and Distance Online Learning in Brazil

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

by Luciano Sathler, Educational Technology Debate

Brazil has experienced strong socioeconomic changes in recent years, including the reduction of poverty, the rise of a new middle class and higher proportions of older people. One of the main demands that accompanies and drives this movement is expanding access to higher education and the growth of lifelong learning needs. The main feature of Brazilian higher education is its heterogeneity. An establishment may be distinguished from another, under various formal aspects: its institutional (university, university center, a federation or integrated schools or college); administrative category (public or private), the legal personality of its sponsor (government, foundation, civil society or private), whether or not for-profit, its constitution as secular or confessional institution, and is confessional, the religion or church to which it related.

https://edutechdebate.org/open-and-distance-learning/open-educational-resources-and-distance-learning-in-brazil/

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Powerful Statement on Online Learning: the Manifesto for Teaching Online

Monday, February 27th, 2012

by the University of Edinburgh MSc in e-Learning

The manifesto for teaching online is intended to stimulate ideas about creative online teaching. It was written by teachers and researchers in the field of online education, in connection with the MSc in E-learning programme at the University of Edinburgh. It attempts to rethink some of the orthodoxies and unexamined truisms surrounding the field. Each point is deliberately interpretable, and this page is a starting point for some of those interpretations.

http://www.education.ed.ac.uk/swop/manifesto.html

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Is online learning more supportive of interaction than traditional learning?

Monday, February 27th, 2012

by Learner Weblog

Online learning or traditional learning: which is better? This evolving but nevertheless important question has been raised from time to time, and as yet I don’t see an easy answer to it.Most of the classes I attended were of small class, with at most 30 students, though there were a few mass lectures of more than 90. We didn’t have teaching assistant for the instructors, and so I wasn’t alone in my learning in class. I learnt with a small group of around 5-6 students on some occasions in the undergraduate programs, but then I learnt mostly alone in the postgraduate courses. That wasn’t surprising, as students studying at the pre-internet time were information deficit and have to find their ways through the library, in search of “knowledge” with books, artifacts or journals. Do online learning offer a greater level of interaction than this? I think in my case, the interaction is different, as most of my interaction now with others have been over the virtual and digital networks.

http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/change11-cck12-is-online-learning-more-supportive-of-interaction-than-traditional-learning/

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Open sesame! Taking university education to the world via online learning

Monday, February 27th, 2012

 by the Conversation

The word “open” has grown educational wings over the past decade. From the British Open University, which enrolled its first students in 1971, the concept has expanded to mean various ways of relaxing the traditional barriers to entry, study and success in higher education. So what does it mean to be open? There are four ways of being open:

  • location: you can study anywhere; you don’t have to be on campus
  • time: you can study at any time; you don’t have to be in a scheduled class
  • entry: you don’t have to have special qualifications to gain entry
  • fees: you don’t pay

But there have been three key limitations on open education:

  • do you get feedback and evaluation?
  • do you get certification for finishing a subject?
  • can you use your education to get a degree?

http://theconversation.edu.au/open-sesame-taking-university-education-to-the-world-via-the-web-5053

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Online Learning Virtual Classroom

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

By Stephanie Wang, Stanford Daily

As professors experiment with online courses, students who aren’t physically on campus can now work toward their undergraduate degrees in front of a computer. In fact, some of these courses are free of charge and open to the public. Last quarter, professors offered three of Stanford’s most popular computer science (CS) courses−Machine Learning, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Introduction to Databases−to the public at no cost. Andrew Ng, Sebastian Thrun and Daphne Koller Ph.D. ’94, all computer science professors, taught the three courses, respectively. More than 100,000 students participated in the machinery and intelligence courses.

http://www.stanforddaily.com/2012/02/21/virtual-learning/

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Digital Online Learning: A Game Changer for American Indian Students

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

By Jonathan Butcher, Sonoran Alliance

American Indian students are more likely to live in poverty and face unemployment later in life. These children carry the burdens of geographic isolation and multi-generational poverty that are heavy to lift. In my conversations with state leaders on ways to help students in chronically failing schools—ideas such as expanding eligibility for education savings accounts and allowing parents to petition to convert a failing school to a charter school—policymakers regularly cite the unique challenges presented by American Indian students. Digital and online learning opportunities offer hope. As Goldwater Institute Senior Fellow Dan Lips explains in his new Policy Brief, Digital Learning: Improve Educational Opportunities for American Indian Students, online programs can be made available to any student and would increase educational opportunities in rural areas and on reservations.

http://sonoranalliance.com/2012/02/21/digital-learning-a-game-changer-for-american-indian-students/

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Core courses via online learning: a proposal, take 2

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

by Leo Charbonneau, University Affairs News

In a previous post last month, I proposed an experiment whereby a number of core courses (think Psychology 101, for example) would be taught online, perhaps to several thousand students at a time at a number of collaborating universities. I received a few thoughtful comments, but the proposal didn’t get quite the airing I had hoped. I also was a bit scant on some of the details of this hypothetical experiment, so consider this a second kick at the can. First, I chose first-year foundational courses because there is the greatest possibility of achieving some economies of scale in program delivery because of the numbers involved. It might also be a good way to introduce students, right in first year, to the potential of online learning (assuming you believe in the potential of online learning).  The curriculum would be devised through a collaborative effort of faculty members in that discipline, at the participating institutions, who have a particular interest in pedagogical innovation. Ideally, the experiment would be funded through a research grant with the outcomes followed, rigorously studied and built upon.

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/margin-notes/core-courses-delivered-online-a-proposal-take-2

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Promoting assessment efficacy through an integrated system for online clinical assessment of practical skills

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Peter J. Haya*, Craig Engstroma, Anita Greena, Peter Friisa, Sue Dickensa & Doune Macdonalda, Tandfon Online

=This paper presents evaluation outcomes from an externally funded research project involving the online clinical assessment of practical skills (eCAPS) using web-based video technologies within a university medical programme. eCAPS was implemented to trial this web-based approach for promoting the efficacy of practical skills assessment in knee joint examinations for a pre-clinical cohort of second year medical students. eCAPS involves a progressive organisation of online video experiences and task expectations for formative and summative assessments of selected competencies. Data are presented from semi-structured interviews with the medical students (N = 40). eCAPS successfully supported students’ skill development in knee joint examinations on fellow students and allowed remote assessment of candidates’ performances by clinicians experienced in musculoskeletal examinations. An ‘indicative standard’ paradigm, involving formative assessment of one randomly selected performance from the submission of all students’ responses within a small group, offered an efficient and efficacious avenue for providing consolidated feedback to students and promoted desirable learning behaviours. Overall, there was evidence of reciprocal learning benefits to the ‘blending’ of an online learning and assessment approach with an existing face-to-face environment. The medical students were able to successfully engage online with high quality and consistent practical skill-based materials in a flexible, independent and individual manner.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02602938.2012.658019

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The Future Of Higher Ed And Its Impact on Online Learning

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

by Aneesh Bhat, Upside Learning

I recently came across the 2012 Higher Education Edition of the NMC Horizon Report, and found it quite fascinating. It gave me a lot of insights about the state of higher education globally and also left me thinking about how these developments would impact the global elearning industry. I certainly believe that it is vital for all developers of elearning to understand these trends and adapt to the new paradigms of learning. Here are the key points from the Horizon report.

http://www.upsidelearning.com/blog/index.php/2012/02/16/the-future-of-higher-ed-and-its-impact-on-elearning/

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Online (learning) can be (and is) the privileged mode: Thoughts on the manifesto for teaching online

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

by Michael Sean Gallagher

As a proud graduate of the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in Elearning program, I have been enriched and invested myself in the process of learning with this dynamic community. I consider it time and resources well invested as I have had the doors blown out on my perceptions of what it means to learn online (especially as that dynamic being a poorer surrogate of the face to face experience-absolute nonsense). Well, being the clever people that they are, a recent activity has me spinning roles a bit from learner to instructor.

http://michaelgallagher.posterous.com/50205368

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Teaching Using a New Online Learning Model: Sage-on-the-Side?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

by Online Learning Insights

Have you heard the online instructor [cheekily] described as a ‘guide-on-the-side’, contrasted with the traditional professor, known as the ‘sage-on-the stage’? I’ve heard this term often – my interpretation is that the ‘sage’ is the learned professor with great expertise and knowledge, the ‘guide’ the mentor or coach. The terms ‘sage’ and ‘guide’ in this context, epitomize a collision between two theories of learning, each with opposing views on the way we learn. The sage-on-the-stage labels a teacher-centered approach, essentially a directive teaching style, grounded in behaviorist theory.

http://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/new-online-teaching-model-sage-on-the-side/

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Navigating State Authorization Requirements Remains a Huge Challenge for Online Learning Programs

Friday, February 24th, 2012

By: Mary Bart, Faculty Focus

State authorization of online programs is one of the biggest issues confronting higher ed institutions seeking to expand their reach to more distance learners. Since the introduction of federal regulations in October 2010 (section 600.9), institutions have been scrambling to respond to a myriad of state requirements. The Department of Education’s state authorization regulation (commonly referred to as 600.9) says, in part:

Institutions must be authorized to conduct business in a state and may not be exempt from this requirement on the basis of accreditation or years in operation.

Institutions that offer education through distance education to students in a state in which they are not physically located, must meet that state’s requirements.

Therefore, all institutions must be licensed in any state where they do business, as defined by that state’s specific licensing regulations.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/navigating-the-patchwork-quilt-of-state-authorization-requirements-remains-a-huge-challenge-for-online-programs/

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2 New Platforms Offer Online Alternative to Apple’s Textbook-Authoring Software

Friday, February 24th, 2012

By Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Apple’s recent release of free software to build e-textbooks has brought attention to custom publishing of academic materials. But Apple’s software, called iBooks Author, lacks easy tools for multiple authors to collaborate on a joint textbook project. Since most books aren’t written in isolation, two new publishing platforms seek to make that group collaboration easier.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/2-new-platforms-offer-alternative-to-apples-textbook-authoring-software/35495

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Fading tongues revived, via online learning

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

By: Margaret Munro, Winnepeg Free Press

Bud Lane III is believed to be one of the last few people on the planet fluent in the aboriginal language Siletz-Dee-ni. His language, spoken by a small aboriginal community in Oregon, is teetering on the brink of extinction. But it has now been immortalized in Lane’s soothing voice in a “talking dictionary” — one of eight unveiled here Friday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  Lane, who spoke to a media briefing Friday by phone from Oregon, said he will never forget the day experts came to his community in the 1980s and labelled the language “morbid.” The world is facing a crisis of language extinction, researchers said. Of the nearly 7,000 languages spoken today, they predict half may be gone by the end of the century. Many communities are embracing technology — the Internet, YouTube, social media, text messaging — as a way to save their languages.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/fading-tongues-revived-online-139568163.html

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Reflections on Online Learning: If teachers can be replaced by computer screen, we should be

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

By Cathy N. Davidson, Herald Sun

How do we learn best? How do we teach best? That’s the question. If we can be replaced by a computer screen, we should be. If that statement worries you, well, maybe that’s a good thing. It’s a challenge. It’s meant to provoke thought about what we can add, or how online learning can take care of certain basics but there are other, even more foundational basics, that require real, human, interactive, meaningful connection. That’s the point. There’s no one model, there’s no right way. But there are plenty of lazy, unthinking wrong ways. That’s the challenge. That’s the choice. IF we can be replaced by a computer screen, we should be.

http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/17567195/article-If-teachers-can-be-replaced-by-computer-screen–we-should-be

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