Archive for February, 2012

Campus in cyberspace: Colleges pursue online learning

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

By Savannah King, Gainesville Times

Distance learning classes are showing up virtually everywhere. Through online courses, students can log into class from anywhere at any time, earning a degree without ever stepping foot on a campus. It’s a powerful tool that the University System of Georgia thinks will help the state increase the number of Georgians with college education. System Chancellor Hank Huckaby recently announced that a new group will look at how universities and colleges use technology in distance education in order to make recommendations on ways to better serve students.

http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/63512/

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Will MITx work?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

BY TONY BATES, Online and Distance Learning Resources

MITx’s first course, 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics, is being offered to anyone anywhere in the world, without charge or prior entrance requirements, with an MIT certificate for successful completion. This course uses the same curriculum as the on-campus course with the same name. In my view, making such courses open is terrific, but ONLY if they lead to engineers with the same quality as those who are privileged to be inside the tent. Or doesn’t it matter if the online students aren’t quite as good? With an MITx certificate won’t they still get good jobs?

http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/02/15/will-mitx-work/

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iPad 3: Predictions and Challenges for Anticipated Online Learning Tool

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

By Tom Kaneshige, CIO

Kyle Wiens of iFixit, a Web site that provides free repair manuals and advice forums, has been a reliable prognosticator of everything Apple. With the next iPad expected to come out in March, Wiens recently gazed into his crystal ball. On the eve of other major Apple unveilings, Wiens rightly predicted that the iPhone 4S would not run on 4G networks because the 4G chipsets were woefully power-inefficient. He predicted that the iPad 2 would have more RAM and a dual-core chip, but not higher resolution. He anticipates the iPad 3 will have basically the same form factor but with double the screen resolution. A Retina display, or four times the pixels, would be the goal. Although I haven’t run the numbers, it all depends on how far you hold it from your face. It’ll be very close to the Retina display. There might also be a high-resolution camera.

http://www.cio.com/article/699517/iPad_3_Predictions_and_Challenges

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MIT Offers Free Online Learning Electronics Course

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

By Anh Nguyen, CIO

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is offering a free, undergraduate-level circuits and electronics course online, to virtual learners around the world. The MITx course, 6.002x (Circuits and Electronics), has been designed to serve as a first course in an undergraduate electrical engineering or electrical engineering and computer science degree.  Topics covered by the course include resistive elements and networks, amplifiers, digital abstraction, and analogue and digital circuits and applications.  Offline, the course is one of the core subjects that all MIT undergraduates studying electrical engineering and computer science have to take.

http://www.cio.com/article/700399/MIT_Offers_Free_Online_Electronics_Course

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Learning Online at Yale: Online lectures enter the classroom

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

by SARAH SWONG, ANTONIA WOODFORD, Yale Daily News

Open Yale Courses has made professors’ lectures available to Internet users around the world, but it is also changing how those professors teach on campus. The website, which now features videos and transcripts for 35 Yale courses, launched in 2007 in an effort to broaden access to a Yale education. But in some cases, the program has led to revisions in a Yale education: many professors whose lectures are posted online have since altered their courses to avoid redundancy and give students a reason to attend class in person. While many professors have changed the topics they cover, others have completely redesigned the structure of their classes and incorporated the online material. Ecology and evolutionary biology professor Stephen Stearns and religious studies professor Christine Hayes both require their students to watch their online lectures before coming to class so that they can spend class time on discussion. Many students interviewed complained that this format makes the courses much more time-intensive, but some said they appreciated the chance to engage actively with the material during lecture.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/feb/16/online-lectures-enter-the-classroom/

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10 Principles of Effective Online Teaching

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

by Larry Ragan, Faculty Focus

In the traditional college classroom today, faculty and students arrive with a set of expectations, shaped largely by past experiences. And although students may need the occasional (or perhaps frequent) reminder of what’s required of them, there’s usually something very familiar about the experience for both faculty and students alike. In the online classroom, an entirely new set of variables enters the equation. Variables that, if not managed properly, can lead to frustration and an overall bad experience for teacher and learner. This special report features a series of columns by Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State’s World Campus, and will help you establish online instructor best practices and performance expectations.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/free-reports/principles-of-effective-online-teaching-best-practices-in-distance-education/

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MIT launches automated online learning courses

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

by UK Virtual College

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has revealed it is to launch the world’s first ever fully automated online learning courses. It will be free for students to sign up to and will focus on electronics, with the classes set to begin in March, reports BBC News. Anant Agarwal, director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, will be one of the teachers in charge of the online learning and stated the aim is to continue to make the course material engaging for those who sign up to take part in the scheme. “There are interactive exercises to see if they’ve understood,” he said, pointing out students will need a working knowledge of science and maths to succeed in the e-learning module, although there are no formal requirements for those wishing to participate.

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/MIT-launches-fully-automated-online-learning-courses-newsitems-801293155.aspx

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Open Online Learning: Will MITx Change How We Think About Higher Education?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

by Philip DiSalvio, New England Journal of Higher Ed

Consider the fact that the marketplace has overtaken the government as the dominant force shaping and reshaping American higher education. MITx is addressing the market by lowering the existing barriers between residential campuses and the millions of learners around the world by making MIT educational content accessible and providing those learners with an opportunity to earn an MIT-related credential. Whether MITx will directly threaten the operating margins of universities (especially for-profit universities) remains to be seen, but higher education continues to be disrupted. In a global economy, the real question for traditional higher education now becomes whether we continue to offer higher learning to those who can afford the high prices and let the market address the issue of access.

http://www.nebhe.org/thejournal/will-mitx-change-how-we-think-about-higher-education

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George Washington University wary to adopt free online courses

Monday, February 20th, 2012

by Aliya Karim, GW Hatchet

Administrators are skeptical about the trajectory of online education after a startup company made a splash last month by offering free online courses taught by universities’ top professors. Udemy, a for-profit company that allows users to create and sell courses, tapped into professors’ knowledge base with the launch of The Faculty Project Jan. 26. Twelve professors at universities like Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Colgate have developed free courses in subjects ranging from public health to Russian literature and music. The Udemy courses – which are offered for no academic credit – are presented through a combination of media, often including video mash-ups in which the professor is seen talking and outlining graphs next to a presentation. Students can post comments and questions under the lectures to which professors might respond.

http://www.gwhatchet.com/2012/02/13/gw-wary-to-adopt-free-online-courses/

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Continuing Ed Grows via Online Learning, But It’s Not For Everyone

Monday, February 20th, 2012

by Dave DeWitte, KCRG

For the Internet-savvy, such courses are convenient, inexpensive and comparatively quick because they do not involve travel time. Real estate licensure in Iowa, for example, requires agents to take 36 hours of continuing education every three years, including 12 hours of mandatory ethics and law training. They can take 24 hours of continuing education online.The Iowa Association of Realtors offers more than 24 hours of electives online through an affiliation with RE Campus, an online learning company, and is creating more on its own. Judy Steven is coordinator of the Skogman Real Estate School at Skogman Realty and is an accredited instructor for the Iowa Association of Realtors. Continuing education online has a place, she said, but she’s not a big fan. “They do them online for time constraints — so they can take them at midnight,” Stevens said of her fellow real estate agents. Stevens teaches the pre-license classes that aspiring real estate agents need to take for licensure.

http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Continuing-Ed-Grows-Online-But-Its-Not-For-Everyone-139192389.html

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Excelsior offers an online learning bachelor’s degree for $10,000

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

By Daniel de Vise, Washington Post

Excelsior College has rolled out a program that guarantees a bachelor’s degree for $10,000. Excelsior is a nonprofit college in Albany that specializes in helping students finish their degrees by cobbling together past credits, online coursework and course-credit exams. Here’s how it works: Excelsior specializes in credit-by-examination: students complete coursework and then sit for an Excelsior College Examination that measures their knowledge in the subject, similar to the College Board’s College Level Exam Program.  College president John Ebersole notes that the free online courses come from the likes of MIT via the “open courseware” movement. “This puts to lie the whole idea that you can’t have low price and high quality,” he said. “The quality is coming from Yale and MIT and Notre Dame and Berkeley.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/a-bachelors-degree-for-10000/2012/02/10/gIQAMMwo4Q_blog.html

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Military Spouses Discover the Benefits of Online Learning

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

by the Peachtree Corners Weekly

It’s a fact — over 6.1 million students reported taking at least one online course during the fall 2010 term, an increase of 560,000 students over the previous year (Sloan Consortium). As more and more military spouses discover the many advantages of an online education, choosing an online military-friendly school that fits the student’s personal and educational needs is key. “We always recommend spouses look for a school that offers exactly what they need by matching their goals and how they fit into their lifestyle,” said Rodney Butler, U.S. Army First Sergeant, Retired and Ashworth College Military Education Coordinator. “There are many fine schools out there and taking the time to find one that meets most of a spouse’s needs will pay off in the long run.” If a spouse does their homework before enrolling, they will find that online schools can offer flexibility, convenience and tuition prices that fit well within military education benefit guidelines.

http://www.theweekly.com/news/2012/February/10/Ashworth.html

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After 10 years of classes, this student is just a few credits from a bachelor’s degree via online learning

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

by Laura McMullen, U.S. News & World Report

“It really came down to time management around my family and quality time with them,” says Bridge Baldwin. She was already spending more than 40 hours per week on campus for work, Baldwin says, and she didn’t want to spend any more time away from her two children and husband. Instead of attending class on campus for three hours around dinner time, Baldwin says she now studies early in the morning before her kids awake, and late at night after they go to bed. Baldwin has just been promoted in her job at Champlain College because of her nearing degree completion. She says, too, that she has more “drive” to learn than ever before, thanks to fighting negative thoughts. “As an adult learner, I think there can be a lot of things in life that tell you can’t: not enough time, not enough money, not enough confidence,” says Baldwin. “But you get that confidence as you learn.” She adds that, “you start to become part of this community of adult learners that is really engaging and motivating.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-201202101202usnewsusnwr201202090209online.student.feb10,0,5485356.story

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Thrun starts web-based university; Stanford considers online course policies

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

By Matt Bettonville, Stanford Daily

Although Stanford has offered some courses available online for years, the trend toward online courses has recently grown. In addition to Thrun’s course, the Computer Science Department offered machine-learning and introduction-to-databases classes through the same program, and Stanford has partnered with Apple to include courses in the company’s recent iTunes U revamp. The recently published Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES) report cited online distribution of courses as an area to address in the near future, as very limited policies currently exist on the matter. “There’s huge stuff happening with courses going online and nobody knows what they’re doing yet,” Jennifer Widom, chair of the Computer Science Department, said of the report’s call for new policies.

http://www.stanforddaily.com/2012/02/09/thrun-starts-web-based-university/

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Online learning courses to be offered before freshman semester?

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

By Kelly Farrell, the Racquet

As the university strives to make UW-L a top contender academically in the UW system, it looks to improve the level at which our professors teach. One way to up the competition is to dismiss remedial classes as part of the course catalog. This would mean that any 051 courses offered would only be availabe online for students who are required to take the course before beginning taking credits at the university level. UW-L offers these remedial courses for mathematics and english, allowing international students an opportunity to get a better understanding before jumping into the curriculum. However, the debate comes down to whether or not these courses are doing more harm than good.

http://www.theracquet.net/news/potential-online-courses-to-be-offered-before-freshman-semester-1.2770404

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University of Maryland engineering school will open graduate online learning center

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

By Teddy Amenabar, The Diamondback

Facilities Management began construction in J.M. Patterson last month to create the Siegel Learning Center, a state-of-the-art technology hub to be the centralized location for Distance Education program faculty. Marty Ronning, the assistant director of Distance Education Technology and Services, said the center will help the university serve more students statewide, despite the fact that the university possesses limited funds to hire more faculty and a classroom deficit of 70,000-square-feet on the campus. “This could go a long way in satisfying the University System of Maryland mandate that all the campuses increases their enrollment,” she said.

http://www.diamondbackonline.com/news/engineering-school-will-open-graduate-online-learning-center-1.2772151#.TzZw1sVPsnM

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The Benefits of Online Learning

Friday, February 17th, 2012

By Careerealism, International Business Times

How many hours are left in the day after work? Is it enough to go to college?

Maybe not if you have to commute, but if it simply meant logging on to your school’s website, you could complete a simple reading assignment in the amount of time to watch a television show. An estimated 6.1 million college take online courses, according to a report by the Babson Survey Research Center. The flexibility of online school has allowed working individuals to rise ahead, procuring a better position at a current company or even transitioning into a better working environment. Online education has really changed the game for military families and single parents as well. For these students, taking courses over the Internet really saves time and even money.

http://www.ibtimes.com/blogs/articles/34092/20120208/the-benefits-of-online-education.htm

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Online learning ‘an enabler for teaching’

Friday, February 17th, 2012

by Virtual College UK

Online learning courses have been highlighted as a method of enabling teaching by Thomas Buckley, assistant vice-president of academic services at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He noted his educational facility is not in a rush to adapt new forms of technology into the classroom, but pointed out some of the benefits of e-learning for students. Speaking to IT World Canada, he explained online learning must always be viewed as an enabler for education in an academic context if it is to be a success. Mr Buckley compared online learning systems to the way similar products are used in the private sector in order to boost productivity for businesses. “If it’s not based on sound pedagogy it’s like automating a bad business process. You just make mistakes faster,” he told the news provider.

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/Online-learning-an-enabler-for-teaching-newsitems-801285892.aspx

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An online learning class with training wheels

Friday, February 17th, 2012

by Miranda Pederson, Bowling Green Daily News

Robert Paugh, the school’s technology specialist, estimates that about half the school uses Edmodo, an online social learning network. It looks a lot like Facebook, but instead of connecting with friends, students connect with their teachers about assignments, grades and other class-related information. “It’s kind of like a quasi-social feed,” Paugh said. On Edmodo, teachers can post assignments, grades and other materials students might need for class, Paugh said. Students can get feedback for assignments and send private messages to teachers with questions, as well as sign up for alerts any time new assignments or grades are posted. “The communication opens up in different ways than before,” Paugh said. “It’s a completely different world than I went to school in.” Paugh has been using Edmodo for more than two years in his classes at Western Kentucky University, he said. “The students really like the interaction,” he said. “It’s a lot friendlier than Blackboard.”

http://www.bgdailynews.com/features/learning/an-online-class-with-training-wheels/article_e463fd12-51b4-11e1-b932-0019bb2963f4.html

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7 Strategies to Make Your Online Teaching (and their online learning) Better

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

by Andrea Zellner, Inside Higher Ed

There is no doubt that online learning has arrived in Higher Education. Each year, the numbers of colleges and universities offering online courses increases. There is certainly appeal for these types of courses: students can better fit them into busy schedules and traveling to campus is no longer required. While I dabbled in teaching hybrid and online courses for a while, I have been teaching online for most of the past two years. Additionally, I began my graduate career in a hybrid PhD program: two weeks of face-to-face instruction with the rest of the instruction and work provided entirely online, and mostly asynchronously. Having been on both sides of online learning has taught me a few lessons about how best to help students learn in an environment that provides as many challenges (if not more) as face-to-face teaching.

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/7-strategies-make-your-online-teaching-better

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Panel Ponders Future of Open Online Learning Resources

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

By Nick DeSantis, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Open-education efforts like the free lecture materials at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and producing free online textbooks are relatively new, and advocates face questions about how to pay for such projects and how to maintain their quality. A panel of higher-education experts gathered on Tuesday to discuss those issues and the future of the movement. Earlier in the day, Rice University announced that its open-education platform, Connexions, would soon offer free online textbooks for five popular courses.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/panel-ponders-future-of-open-education-resources/35269

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