Archive for May, 2012

Welcome to Harvard.com

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

By HANA N. ROUSE and JUSTIN C. WORLAND, Harvard Crimson

Students who may be skeptical about the academic merits of taking courses online would likely have some of their anxieties alleviated by the power of the institutions behind edX. “By calling it HarvardX or MITx, you’re saying that this will be close to the experience of taking a course at MIT,” said Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor who will serve as the first president of edX. “They include all the qualities, the difficulty levels, the pedagogy, and all the idiosyncrasies of what makes a quintessential Harvard course or an MIT course.” Agarwal expects a wide range of people to enroll in edX courses, from high school students looking for an alternative to Advanced Placement credit to adults hoping to further their education to college students aiming to bolster their learning experience. “It really gives the opportunity to democratize our education and make it available as a public good,” Agarwal said.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/5/24/edx-virtual-learning-harvard/

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Online learning students ‘process information faster’

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

by Virtual College UK

Students who use online learning can take in information faster than those who only take part in classroom-based sessions, new research has indicated. A study conducted by non-profit think tank Ithhaka S+R used two versions of a statistics course to compare the effectiveness of the two different forms of learning, Boston.com reports. One group of students received only face-to-face teaching, while the other was only allocated an hour with their lecturers and spent the remaining time being taught online. The latter group were seen to learn faster and Ithaka adviser and chancellor of the University System of Maryland William Kirwan said online learning has the potential to be a “model that can totally change the teaching and learning process while lowering costs”.

http://www.virtual-college.co.uk/news/Online-learning-students-process-information-faster-newsitems-801369768.aspx

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Online courses offer options to students

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

By JENNIFER NESBITT, Pickerington Times-Sun

Many local high school students looking to get ahead — or to catch up — on credits now have an additional option: online summer courses. More and more central Ohio districts are offering the option to students, which district representatives said gives students more flexibility to fit courses into their summer schedules. For the third year, students in the Olentangy Local School District have 16 courses available to them online this summer. They range from Algebra I through Honors Pre-calculus and include history courses, geography, economics and health. Students even can track physical activity in different fitness areas online, then report for a final in-person exam at the end of the term for physical-education credits.

http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/pickerington/news/2012/05/23/summer-classes-online-courses-offer-options-to-students.html

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California company possible partner for UI online courses

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

by Christine Des Garennes, News-Gazette

The University of Illinois is exploring the possibility of partnering with Coursera, a California company that offers free online courses. UI Vice President and Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise has asked the faculty senate to convene an ad hoc committee that will explore any academic issues that could come along with a possible partnership. Meanwhile, a separate committee is taking a look at the potential legal, pedagogical, financial and logistical implications, said Rob Rutenbar, professor and head of the UI’s Department of Computer Science. Coursera has garnered media attention recently for its growing offering of free “MOOCs” — massive, open online courses.

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-05-27/california-company-possible-partner-ui-online-courses.html

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Online learning summer classes offer advantages, challenges for students

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

by Melanie Mills, Bowling Green News

Campus during the summer looks a lot different — empty parking lots, closed dining facilities and less students running to class. However, other students continue their education by taking summer classes. There are currently 6,465 students registered for the summer semester, and of these, 2,999 are taking at least one online learning class, said University Registrar Christopher Cox. Summer classes are broken up into three different sessions. The first session lasts six weeks, the second eight weeks and the third six weeks, according to the University website. Students take summer classes for a variety of reasons.  They can change their minds, study abroad, take time off and work at different speeds, which makes it nearly impossible to peg summer classes on one factor.

http://www.bgnews.com/campus/summer-classes-offer-advantages-challenges-for-students-who-choose-to/article_9dae7ea8-a473-11e1-a6e3-0019bb2963f4.html

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Grockit Wants to Build a Pinterest for Learning

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

by Sarah Kessler, Mashable

Search engines may make it easy to find information, but they don’t necessarily do the same for learning it. That’s why the founders of social test prep startup Grockit want to re-configure online content such as YouTube videos, Wikipedia entries and ebooks into ordered lesson plans. Their new product, Learnist, works a bit like a Pinterest for learning. Soon anyone (the capability is still invite-only at launch) will be able to compile content pieces onto a board or “learning.” A nifty bookmarklet makes it easy to collect content from other sites. Unlike Pinterest, however, creators suggest a path in which to consume each content component. Users can check off each component as they go or “re-add” it to one of their own learnings.

http://mashable.com/2012/05/23/learnist/

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Free ‘iVy League’ education via online learning

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

By Chris Hoaldridge, Korea Times

Now, Korean university students can enroll in high-caliber courses taught by distinguished American professors, just like the 289 Korean undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Harvard and the 280 at MIT, without ever having to set foot in Cambridge, Mass. MOOCs are transforming free online education as we know it by providing students with a much more active learning experience, as they include not only engaging videotaped lectures, but also interactive learning content, such as embedded quizzes and exams, peer-to-peer feedback, and question and answer forums. And as if that is not exciting enough, while MOOCs do not offer college credit, many of them do offer (drum roll, please!) certificates of completion.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2012/05/137_111561.html

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Online learning college classes are win-win situation

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

 by Katrina Trinko, guampdh.com

The latest trend among an increasing number of prominent colleges is to offer online classes to the masses. This month, Harvard became the next college to jump on the online education bandwagon, announcing it would be teaming up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to launch a new program of online classes — edX. Another company, Coursera, is carrying online classes from other top-notch universities, including Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. A third, Udacity, was launched earlier this year after Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun was inspired by his experience of teaching an online class on artificial intelligence. Right now, these classes aren’t a substitute for getting a college degree, although students can gain credit for them. But in the future, more and more students might decide to swap the campus for the computer.

http://www.guampdn.com/article/20120523/OPINION02/205230309

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Binghamton U’s online classes expanding

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

by Debbie Swartz, Ithaca Journal

Since its inception in 2003, Binghamton University’s offering of online courses has exploded, as have the number of students. With five courses and 141 students in its first year, online education has expanded to 228 credit courses with an enrollment of 3,200 students, said Tom Kowalik, director of BU’s Office of Continuing Education & Outreach. In addition, the college also offers more than 600 non-credit courses to more than 4,000 individuals looking for continuing education in their profession or to pick up new skills, he said.

http://www.theithacajournal.com/article/20120522/NEWS01/205220395/BU-s-online-classes-expanding?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CLocal%20News%7Cs&nclick_check=1

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College Students Boost Digital Adoption, According to CourseSmart Survey

Monday, May 28th, 2012

by Marketwatch

Fielded by Wakefield Research, an independent research consultancy, the survey revealed that technology has become a significant part of students’ everyday lives with the average using three devices daily. A majority (67%) can’t go more than one hour without using some sort of digital technology, with 40% not lasting more than 10 minutes. “The survey underscores the undeniable influence technology has on today’s college experience. As technology continues to evolve and digital devices become integral to the evolution of higher education, it’s encouraging to see the positive impact on learning outcomes as students utilize advanced devices and digital course materials to streamline and improve their learning environment,” said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/college-students-boost-digital-adoption-according-to-coursesmart-survey-2012-05-23

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Online Learning: College as a Service (CaaS)

Monday, May 28th, 2012

by Louis Soares and Amy Ostrom, Inside Higher Ed

A new “College as a Service” (CaaS) logic can help reframe a substantive debate that pulls together what seem to be very disparate strands of thinking regarding practices and policy. CaaS provides a systemic way of thinking about nettlesome challenges such as how a student’s customer profile of preferences, needs and active participation leads to student success; how information yields accountability; and how self-service can improve higher education. In this way, College as a Service is a new logic for how higher education systems behave that is distinct from a wholly financial (colleges function a certain way because of how we pay them) or political (colleges function a certain way because of who has most sway over the political process) perspective and can help us better understand how value is co-created by students and colleges and thus how it should be measured and improved.

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/05/24/new-way-thinking-about-higher-education-performance-essay

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How online learning through gaming is helping students score more marks

Monday, May 28th, 2012

by Neenu Abraham, TNN

Gamification, or using gaming techniques to explain concepts, is a happening trend among Indian students these days. It has been identified as among the Top-10 technology trends for 2012 by audit and consultancy firm Deloitte. Classtopper.com, for one, has over 10,000 users logging in just a month after its launch in India. With digital games generating over $25 billion in sales worldwide in 2010, online content providers are wrapping educational material in the form of games so that students can learn, while having fun. While some people dismiss gamification as a fad, neuroscientists are discovering more and more ways in which humans react to interactive design elements. They say such elements can trigger feel-good chemical reactions from human responses to a stimuli — increasing the reaction time, states the study ‘Future of Intenet’ by Pew Research Centre.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/careers/education/How-gaming-is-helping-students-score-more-marks/articleshow/13448786.cms

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Findings give boost to online learning classes

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

By Mary Carmichael, Boston Globe

The burgeoning movement to put more college classes online, which attracted the support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier this month, is getting another endorsement that may have an even greater impact: rigorous evidence that the computer can be as effective as the classroom. A new study compared two versions of an introductory statistics course, one taught face to face by professors and one mostly taught online with only an hour a week of face time. Researchers found students fared equally well in both formats on every measure of learning. The only difference was that the online group appeared to learn faster.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/05/22/findings_give_boost_to_online_classes/

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Taking Florida higher education system online

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

by the Tampa Tribune

Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently announced they will be offering courses online for free, and other schools will likely follow. While some Florida schools offer courses online, we need a college that specializes in online learning. In Tallahassee, we have started a conversation about how Florida will become a national leader in online education, and I believe that includes creating the nation’s first online public university. The current model in Tallahassee is broken, and allowing politicians to push pet projects for their alma mater or local university is not what we need to increase global competitiveness. Instead, we need to develop a system where certain universities can play to their strengths and complement one another. Having a university solely focused on reaching students in rural and urban communities across Florida and around the globe would take us to newer heights of excellence, access and cost-effectiveness — three worthy goals for our state. Whether we like it or not, higher education is changing. We can embrace the change or stay behind the curve.

http://www2.tbo.com/news/opinion/2012/may/22/naopino2-taking-florida-higher-education-system-on-ar-406325/

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An online learning opportunity for Canadian universities

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

by MICHAEL COTEY MORGAN, Globe and Mail

What might a pan-Canadian open courses project look like? Instead of following the current model in which each university acts independently, the leading institutions from across the country should build a single national open course portal to which they would contribute entire lecture courses in a range of fields. Citizens could watch multiple versions of the same basic courses taught by different professors across the country and see a variety of ways of approaching the same questions. Imagine listening to historians from UBC, the University of Toronto, Laval University and Dalhousie University lecture on the development of Canada from its origins to the present day. Imagine comparing how constitutional law professors in Quebec and Saskatchewan, for instance, interpret the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Imagine following courses on Canadian literature or politics taught by this country’s best teachers in both official languages.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/an-online-opportunity-for-canadian-universities/article2436343/

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College Crackup and the Online Learning Future

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

by Mark C. Taylor, Bloomberg

There are going to be winners and losers in the new world of networked higher education. The success of Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford and Princeton online programs will prove a challenge to many colleges and universities. Why pay a quarter of a million dollars to go to a second-tier school when you can get a Harvard education online for little or nothing? This also raises the question of whether one is paying for an education or certification when attending college. Facing skyrocketing debt and dismal job prospects, many students and their families may even ask whether the difference between the virtual and the real Harvard is worth the cost. These practical considerations shouldn’t overshadow one of the most promising innovations that online education will bring: The very structure of knowledge will change.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-21/college-crackup-and-the-online-future.html

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As Elite Colleges Invite the World of Online Learning, Questions Remain on Their Business Plans

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

By Jeff Selingo, Chronicle of Higher Ed

When Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced this month that they were forming a partnership to offer online courses free to the masses, they pledged $60-million to the effort, dubbed edX. That’s about twice the median budget of four-year colleges and universities in the United States. All for courses that, for now, won’t bring in a penny in tuition revenue. Perhaps the alternative admissions method could feed a new school created at the university. That’s where these students could come, in person or virtually, for a high-quality education, perhaps for their first two years before moving into the traditional university to finish their degree. Or maybe the new school within the university would take them through graduation. There are plenty of options, many of which would allow these elite institutions to answer their critics—who want them to broaden enrollment as applications have skyrocketed—by expanding classes at the same time they maintain their quality and air of exclusivity.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/next/2012/05/19/as-elite-colleges-open-to-the-world-online-questions-remain-on-business-plan/

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Online Learning: Study Shows Promise and Challenges of ‘Hybrid’ Courses

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

By Katie Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Students learn just as much in a course that’s taught partly online as they would in a traditional classroom, but such courses won’t reach their potential until they are both easier for faculty members to customize and more fun for students, according to a report released today. The report, “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence From Randomized Trials,” is based on a study conducted by Ithaka S+R, a consultancy on the use of technology in teaching. The finding that hybrid courses are no better or worse than traditional ones isn’t, as it might appear, “a bland result,” said one of the co-authors, William G. Bowen, president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/study-shows-promise-and-challenges-of-hybrid-courses/36350

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Online Learning: Is College’s Stone Age About to End?

Friday, May 25th, 2012

By Mark C. Taylor, Bloomberg

Excessive specialization has created a culture of expertise that has distorted higher education and had a negative impact on faculty members, students and the broader society. With online education taking off at traditional institutions, the hope is that learning breaks out of these cocoons. But as we have already discovered in the political arena, increased connectivity can create new divisions that deepen social discord. The rise of online learning may create more rifts in fields and curricula, or it may reorganize higher education for the better.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-20/is-the-college-cave-age-about-to-end-part-2-.html

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Emerging Trend? Online Enrollment Surpasses Traditional Chattahoochee Tech Campuses

Friday, May 25th, 2012

by Acworth Patch

More students are taking classes at Chattahoochee Technical College this summer without ever setting foot on one of the college’s eight campuses. For the first time ever, the number of online students has surpassed enrollment at any one of the traditional campuses. “It is a sign of the times that we see more students looking toward the flexibility and convenience of online classes,” said Chattahoochee Technical College Vice President of Academic Affairs Trina Boteler. “Most of the online students are adults who prefer not to attend a traditional class setting because they’re often juggling family and work responsibilities.” Despite the increasing popularity of online classes, distance learning has not replaced the traditional classroom at Chattahoochee Technical College.

http://acworth.patch.com/articles/online-enrollment-surpasses-traditional-chatt-tech-campuses

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Schools Go Into the ‘Cloud’ to Embrace the Popularity of Social Media

Friday, May 25th, 2012

By SONIA KOLESNIKOV-JESSOP, New York Times

The newest catchphrase in online education is social learning. Several start-up companies have begun offering cloud-based platforms that combine education and social media. Companies like Teamie, based in Singapore, provide software that lets teachers create, share and manage academic content, and also let students collaborate on assignments on platforms that are similar to the “walls” used on Facebook.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/21/world/asia/schools-go-into-the-cloud-to-embrace-the-popularity-of-social-media.html?_r=1

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