Archive for July, 2012

Backing Off on State Authorization

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

By Libby A. Nelson, Inside Higher Ed

Do the states have the will / resources to enforce state authorization now that the US Dept of Ed has announced it will not enforce the rules?

In the wake of the program integrity rules, some states have changed their authorization requirements, in some cases making it more difficult or expensive for colleges to get permission to operate, said Russell Poulin, deputy director of research and analysis with the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.As efforts to overturn the rule made their way through the courts and Congress last year, Poulin had warned that the genie was out of the bottle: states would likely seek to enforce authorization laws already on the books even if the federal requirement was thrown out. That’s still true, Poulin said Monday night. But he added that many states don’t have the manpower to enforce the authorization rule, and without the threat of federal enforcement nudging colleges to comply, many might wait to get caught rather than seeking authorization in advance.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/07/31/education-department-wont-enforce-state-authorization-distance-education-programs

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US Dept of Ed Will NOT Enforce State Authorization – But, of course, States Will

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
In a “Dear Colleague” letter issued on July 27, the U.S. Department of Education revealed that it will NOT enforce the controversial distance education provision of the state authorization regulations.  Institutions have been given the green light regarding the federal “state authorization” regulation, but still need to follow other state and federal rules.

Details at the WCET blog.

http://wcetblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/usdoe-will-not-enforce/

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Online Education is Real Education

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

by Nathan Jurgenson, Cyborgology

Discussing the relative strengths and weaknesses of education as it occurs on and offline, in and outside of a classroom, is important. Best pedagogical practices have not yet emerged for courses primarily taught online. What opportunities and pitfalls await both on and offline learning environments? Under ideal circumstances, how might we best integrate face-to-face as well as online tools? In non-ideal teaching situations, how can we make the best of the on/offline arrangement handed to us? All of us teaching, and taking, college courses welcome this discussion. What isn’t helpful is condemning a medium of learning, be it face-to-face or via digital technologies, as less real. Some have begun this conversation by disqualifying interaction mediated by digitality (all interaction is, by the way) as less human, less true and less worthy, obscuring the path forward for the vast majority of future students.

http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2012/07/20/online-education-is-real-education/

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Connecting the Dots in Online Learning

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

by Libby Dowdall Blog

Earlier this month, the University of Wisconsin System announced plans to create a flexible online degree program. This announcement wasn’t too ground-breaking, except for one feature: students will be able to earn credits by testing out of specific competencies, including things they’ve learned in other learning environments (via Coursera, edX, at another school, or at work): The flexible diploma is meant to translate past online and classroom coursework along with work experience into UW college credits that could be combined with additional online learning to complete a degree. The program also is being designed to tap existing online courses at UW and other universities around the world. The online courses would for the first time be broken down into smaller learning units. Students would be tested on each unit independently and at their own pace. (Source: University of Wisconsin System) Most new online learning platforms aren’t equipped or accredited to grant certifications and degrees; traditional colleges and universities are. I’d be surprised if more colleges and universities didn’t scramble to adopt this approach soon.

http://libbydowdallblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/connecting-the-dots-in-online-learning/

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No, Free Online Courses Are Not For Credit

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

by Danny Vinik, Washington Monthly

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that 12 new universities are partnering with Coursera, an online education platform, to offer over 100 massively open online courses (MOOCs) expected to attract over a million users. The piece stated that one of the schools, the University of Washington, was even going to offer these MOOCs for credit. This was big news in the education community and the College Guide reported it as well. MOOCs are still fairly new and traditional universities have not yet offered credit for them.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/blog/no_free_online_courses_are_not.php

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Why Higher Education is Looking for Online Learning Leaders

Monday, July 30th, 2012

By Tanya Roscorla, Converge

Universities and community colleges are posting job openings for a range of e-learning leadership positions, reflecting the growing popularity of online education. Working students are searching for the most economical way to earn a degree, said Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning and director of the Center for Online Learning Research and Service at University of Illinois Springfield Online. Universities and community colleges are trying to accommodate them by offering classes that make fiscal sense for their institutions. The economy — and the development of communication forum technology — is making a compelling case that some institutions should offer courses online, Schroeder said. But because online learning is a fast-moving field, the leaders that institutions hire will need to envision which technology and economic models will work. “Visioning is the No. 1 challenge in this field, and it’s because the factors are changing rapidly,” Schroeder said.

http://www.convergemag.com/policy/Why-Higher-Education-is-Looking-for-Online-Leaders.html

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University of Illinois Attracts Thousands with Free Online Learning Classes

Monday, July 30th, 2012

by: Elizabeth Pelz, College Classes

When the University of Illinois signed up with Coursera to begin offering 10 online courses to students at no cost, they might not have been able to predict that they would receive such a positive response. According to the Chicago Tribune, around 14,000 pupils enrolled to take advantage of these courses and this is only a few days after they began advertising this new development. While this number indicates the level of interest that has been rising in the field of online education, as these courses begin to gain ground and more students discover the opportunities that are being made available to them, this number could seem miniscule compared to the number of students that will join up for the classes of their choosing in the near future.

http://www.collegeclasses.com/university-of-illinois-attracts-thousands-free-online-classes/

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Massively Open Online Learning Courses Are ‘Here to Stay’

Monday, July 30th, 2012

By Tanya Roscorla, Converge

Massively Open Online Courses have slowly garnered attention. Called MOOCs, these courses are offered to anyone at no charge. Since they began on college campuses in 2008, large numbers of people have been taking these courses. When 12 more top universities announced on Tuesday, July 17, that they will offer some of these online courses, the higher education community woke up to the reality that MOOCs will be a part of education’s future. “[Tuesday's] announcement is a pretty loud call to action for other universities,” said Jonathan Becker, assistant professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. “What it mostly does is it legitimizes these kinds of courses.”

http://www.convergemag.com/policy/MOOCs-Here-to-Stay.html

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Constructivism and Online Learning

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

by Nancy Rubin, Nancy-Rubin Blog

Online learning requires a new pedagogy that is built on establishing a relationship between the instructor or facilitator and the learners. One of the most salient features of online learning is that it allows learning to be place and time independent. Learners can arrange their learning around their everyday lives. [Rubin's notes from: Huang, H. (2002). Toward constructivism for adult learners in online learning environments. British Journal of Educational Technology. Vol 33. No 1. 27-37.]

http://nancy-rubin.com/2012/07/21/constructivism-and-online-learning/

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16-university consortium expands free, online learning IT course offerings

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

By Joe, ZDNet

Coursera, a startup built around the global classroom business model, announced new partnerships with an additional 12 universities, bringing the total to 16 major universities now offering in free, online courses. The larger span of universities now on board brings a range of information technology courses, from the fundamentals of algorthms to machine learning and security. Along with the original four institutions as part of Coursera — Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and the University of Michigan — Coursera is also partnering with Johns Hopkins University, University of Toronto, University of Illinois, University of Washington, CalTech, Rice University, Duke University, University of California San Francisco, University of Virginia, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Edinburgh, and Ecole PolyTechnique Federale de Lausanne.

http://www.zdnet.com/16-university-consortium-expands-free-online-it-course-offerings-7000001330/

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Real learning, or online learning scam?

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

By Gregg Weinlein, Albany Times Union

Many schools are utilizing technology to enhance the learning experience in high school. But there are also schools that are assembly-lining students on virtual learning programs as a quick fix to remediate failures. In 2010, credit recovery accounted for an estimated $500 million of the $2 billion online education industry, and the number has been growing for more than a decade. It’s now estimated that half of the 1.5 million students enrolled in online coursework are involved in the recovery of credits for failed classes. These statistics raise red flags. It’s certainly suspicious that students cannot pass classes taught by a certified teacher, despite the typical remedial assistance available in schools, yet suddenly, and often in a very short period of “screen” time, earn the failed credit in an online class. Several states are investigating the utilization of online classes for credit recovery and the connection between inflated graduation rates and this industry.

http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Real-learning-or-online-scam-3725484.php

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Online Learning Outcomes Equivalent to Traditional Methods, Study Finds

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Interactive learning online (ILO) produces essentially the same outcomes as traditional face-to-face education at the university level, according to a recent report from Ithaka S+R. The report, “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Tests,” suggested that educational institutions looking to reduce costs in the face of shrinking budgets can confidently turn to online education as a means of saving money without diminishing educational outcomes.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/07/19/online-learning-outcomes-equivalent-to-traditional-methods-study-finds.aspx

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U Washington to offer fee-based courses through Coursera

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

By Katherine Long, Seattle Times

The University of Washington will offer credit for some online courses offered through Coursera, an online course platform, but students will have to pay a fee to receive credit. A day after joining a prestigious national venture to offer free online courses, the University of Washington announced it also would offer credit for some of the courses — for a fee. That would make it the first university in the U.S. to provide credit using a Massive Open Online Course — MOOC — learning platform, UW officials said. The free courses are: scientific computing, taught by J. Nathan Kutz, and information security and risk management in context, taught by Barbara Endicott-Popovsky.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2018714077_coursera19m.html

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Yes, Hybrid Online Learning Delivers

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

by James A. Bacon, Bacon’s Rebellion

UVa wouldn’t be joining company with Stanford, Princeton and Duke if there weren’t compelling evidence to support the idea that MOOCs can, for some courses, help students master the subject matter as well as they could in a traditional classroom setting. The latest evidence comes from a report, “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials,” published by Ithaka S+R, a nonprofit, higher-education think tank. In a trial of 605 undergraduates at six universities in New York and Maryland, half of the students were assigned to a traditional class on introductory statistics while the other took a hybrid course that supplemented online content created by Carnegie Mellon University with weekly meetings with instructors.

http://www.baconsrebellion.com/2012/07/yes-hybrid-online-learning-delivers.html

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Online learning universities are the future of higher education

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Dror Ben-Naim, Transforming the Nation (AU)

In higher education, we’ve been talking about “e-learning” for years. But, in practice, we have mostly been teaching in the same way just through different mediums; that is, delivering one-way lectures online, posting digital lecture notes and occasionally “innovating” with quizzes. Instead of students passively learning from a lecturer, imagine immersive online “serious” games where students can learn through practice. Virtual patients now allow medical students at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) to develop diagnostic and clinical skills through online scenarios. They can learn from their mistakes with no adverse consequences for real life patients and without the need to be at the university.

http://www.transformingthenation.com.au/2012/07/virtual-campus-online-universities-future-higher-education/

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Online Learning for Librarians: 100 Helpful Blogs For School Librarians (And Teachers)

Friday, July 27th, 2012

by Jeff Dunn, edudemic

We love librarians. They’re the gatekeepers of knowledge and always looking to explore new ways to enhance the learning experience. I learned about the latest trends in libraries at this year’s CALICON in San Diego and love the move toward open source, cross-library sharing, and going digital. But what if you weren’t able to attend CALICON or simply want to get a regular update on all the fun stuff happening with libraries? Lucky for you, our friends at Online College shared the following post with us. It details 100 great blogs librarians around the world should add to their RSS reader.

http://edudemic.com/2012/07/librarian-blogs/

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Online Learning: Offline Testing Through iPads

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

ExamSoft, which offers a Web-based service for secure exam administration, will be launching a mobile application for offline test-taking on iPads later this year. The new app will eliminate the need for an Internet connection, the company said in a statement, and block network access during the exam. Test-takers will be able to use their own devices to take the exams created and delivered through Flex-Site, the company’s suite of test design, delivery, scoring, and reporting modules. The use of the company’s technology already lets schools test students on laptops, desktops, and Scantron forms. The offline nature of the new service may prove pivotal. As more devices show up in college classrooms, wireless connectivity is often strained, sometimes preventing students from achieving the access they need during class, which can turn out to be a dire problem when those students are taking tests.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2012/07/17/examsoft-to-deliver-offline-testingtthrough-ipads.aspx

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Harnessing the Internet to Provide Low-Cost Online Learning

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

By Nicole Wallace, Chronicle of Philanthropy

University of the People has an ambitious goal: to use the Internet to provide an extremely low-cost college education to students around the world. And the nonprofit’s big idea is starting to gain traction with grantmakers. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $500,000 to support the university’s effort to gain accreditation. The grant comes on the heels of recent awards by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Intel Foundation, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Since its inception in 2009, University of the People has enrolled 1,500 students from 132 countries. Courses are taught by professors from around the world who volunteer their time, and the university offers degrees in business administration and computer science.

http://philanthropy.com/blogs/innovation/harnessing-the-internet-to-provide-low-cost-higher-education/1105

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List of Top 16 People Changing Online Education Forever

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

by San Francisco Chronicle

FindOnlineEducation.com, an online education portal, today released its list of 16 People Changing the Landscape of Online Education Forever. These visionaries are helping to disrupt – for the better – the online higher education model around the world. This allows millions of people to revolutionize and transform the way they see and access online material, and ultimately interact with the course. Right now, more than six million Americans are enrolled in online degree programs across the U.S., and their numbers are growing daily.

http://www.sfgate.com/business/prweb/article/FindOnlineEducation-com-Releases-List-of-Top-16-3709205.php

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Back to school: For many parents, it’s juggling online learning classes and raising kids

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

by Erin Kourkounis, PNJ

At one time, it might have been unheard of to go back to college after having children. But parents who have gone back to school after they’ve started a family say it’s doable, especially with the ever-expanding menu of online and hybrid classes colleges offer. And, they say, it’s totally worth it. Pensacola State and the University of West Florida offer hundreds of online and hybrid courses and some degrees and certificate programs fully online. Vance Burgess, director of distance and continuing education at UWF, said a lot of nontraditional students, many who are probably parents, are drawn to online learning. “In Florida, there’s over 2 million people who have some college and no degree,” he said. “A lot of those are married and/or have kids. Lots of those people are the ones coming back, either to get a raise at their job or to get a more lucrative job.”

http://www.pnj.com/article/20120716/NEWS01/307160017/Back-school-many-parents-s-juggling-classes-raising-kids

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Berkeley to Join the Free Online Learning Partnership EdX

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

By TAMAR LEWIN, New York Times

In the scramble to stake out a leadership role in the world of online education, the University of California, Berkeley, is announcing on Tuesday that it is joining edX, the free nonprofit online learning venture founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Berkeley will be offering two courses, contributing new open-source technology and heading a soon-to-be-formed consortium of universities joining edX. Berkeley’s decision to join with edX is noteworthy because of the university’s prominence, and because several of its professors have been offering free online courses through Coursera, a competing platform for massive open online courses, or MOOCs, created by two Stanford University computer scientists.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/education/berkeley-to-offer-free-online-classes-on-edx.html?_r=1

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