Archive for March, 2013

Online Learning: Will Technology Transform Higher Education?

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

by Jamie Beckett, Stanford Engineering

“MOOCs could be to higher education what Napster was to the music industry,” said Girod, referring to the music-sharing system that created a seismic shift in how music is purchased and consumed. ”Online technologies have repeatedly enabled an unbundling, which disrupted the respective industries and their traditional business models. Mitchell Stevens, an Associate Professor of Education at Stanford, said the move to online education is driven not by technology but by factors like contracting state budgets, which put pressure on many colleges to reduce costs at the same time they are facing growing scrutiny around performance. “The digital revolution is a match igniting a large terrain of dry ground,’’ he said. One implication of digital educational delivery mechanisms, he said, is that they provide college educators the ability to measure and improve performance.

http://engineering.stanford.edu/news/online-learning-will-technology-transform-higher-education

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SUNY Potsdam and Canton online learning courses available to SUNY students statewide

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

by North Country Now

People will be taking online courses offered at SUNY Canton, SUNY Potsdam, and all 64 SUNY campuses through a new initiative outlined by the State University of New York Board of Trustees. “Open SUNY” will make all the online offerings accessible to all of the system’s 468,000 students and 88,000 faculty. “Online learning has evolved to include new instructional models and a diverse blend of programs and services, and Open SUNY is our way of keeping pace with that evolution while expanding access and mobility within our system,” said Board Chairman H. Carl McCall.

http://northcountrynow.com/news/suny-potsdam-and-canton-online-courses-available-suny-students-statewide-081783

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10 Ways To Become A Better Online Learner

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

by Katie Lepi, edudemic

Whether you are a current online learner or you are looking to become one, you know that online learning can be a bit different than taking a class in a more traditional classroom. While the “don’ts” of this handy infographic are supposed to be humorous, the “dos” are some pretty basic but important things to keep in mind if you’re going to be trying online learning.

http://edudemic.com/2013/03/become-a-better-online-learner/

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California should take cautious steps toward online learning

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Mercury News editorial

California’s budget crisis has had many terrible consequences, but one of the most troubling has been the erosion of access to college courses. Last fall, for example, about 400,000 community college students — nearly a quarter of the student body — were on a waiting list to get into a class. Online education holds great promise to help alleviate this problem. A bill by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) aims to begin bringing it to scale as a means of improving access while maintaining California’s reputation for quality higher education — a real concern, particularly with classes provided through for-profit companies.

http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22851370/california-should-take-cautious-steps-toward-online-education

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72% Of Professors Who Teach Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Don’t Think Their Students Deserve Credit

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

by GREGORY FERENSTEIN, Tech Crunch

This is not a good sign for MOOCs: 72 percent of professors who have taught Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) don’t believe that students should get official college credit, even if they did well in the class. More importantly, these are the professors who voluntarily took time to teach online courses, which means the actual number of professors who discount the quality of MOOCs is probably much (much) higher. The survey reveals the Grand Canyon-size gap between the higher-education establishment and the coalition of tech companies and lawmakers that are mandating college credit for online courses.

http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/22/72-of-professors-who-teach-online-courses-dont-think-their-students-deserve-credit/

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The Aussie Coursera? A new homegrown MOOC platform arrives

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

by Bella Counihan, phys.org

The first Australian free online education platform has been launched in Canberra today, by tertiary education minister Chris Bowen. Open Universities Australia, a private distance and online education organisation, has stepped into the world of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) with a new online platform called Open2Study. Mr Bowen, who signed up for a course on anthropology at the launch, said “we don’t yet know what the full impact online forces will have on the delivery of higher education. But we know it’s going to have a big impact… and we know that any university or any institution that doesn’t respond and offer flexible programs is going to fall behind.”

http://phys.org/wire-news/125403413/the-aussie-coursera-a-new-homegrown-mooc-platform-arrives.html

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Opportunity missed to increase online learning

Friday, March 29th, 2013

By Frits Pannekoek, Calgary Herald

We in the [Canadian] post secondary system will, in the next while, be reflecting on the meaning of what amounts to an almost 15-per-cent real loss in budget power (7.2 per cent reduction in grant, a forgone two per cent that universities had been told last year to expect, and four-pe-cent to six-per-cent loss of purchasing power due to increasing costs). While this is devastating to a sector that was just beginning to rebuild its capacity and reputation, it could have forced the ministry and the post-secondary sector to reimagine a new future based on e-learning and collaboration. This is not to suggest the end of the “bricks and mortar” institutions – they are critical to the success and vitality of the Alberta system – only that the ministry and institutions must look at differing strategies for learner engagement including e-learning, MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses), e-texts and open learning resources. Post secondary institutions need to do their business more frugally and effectively. But that requires a new policy and funding tool kit built on a foundation of imagination and possibility.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Opportunity+missed+increase+learning/8118340/story.html

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Open Universities launches MOOC platform for massive online learning

Friday, March 29th, 2013

By intermediatescan

Australia’s leading online higher education provider, Open Universities Australia (OUA), has unveiled its own free online education venture, Open2Study. OUA describes Open2Study as “a new dimension in online learning, … is designed with the online student in mind.“ Paul Wappett, OUA chief executive says Open2Study Open2Study isn’t a me-too MOOC: … it’s objective is not merely attracting massive enrolments. It’s the next evolution in online learning, centred on student success. Open2Study provides an engaging and compelling education based on a comprehensive pedagogical model that recognises that online learners behave differently, and have different needs from on-campus learners. Course materials comprise a mixture of six to 10 minute videos, animations, simulations and quizzes, designed using high production values. Launched with 10 subjects, including Financial Planning and Introduction to Nursing there’s a pipeline of a couple of hundred and OUA expects to offer 40 to 50subjects by the end of 2013. Open2Study courses commence on 22 April.

http://the-scan.com/2013/03/22/open-universities-launches-mooc-platform/

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Learning Online: How to Finish a MOOC

Friday, March 29th, 2013

by Online Courses

Luckier programs see 20% of enrollees finish their courses, but on average only 10% or fewer stay from beginning to end. Although 77% of professors and higher education administrators look favorably upon online courses on the whole, they remain largely skeptical of what MOOCs can offer. A mere 2.6% of colleges and universities currently offer MOOCs, while only 9.4% plan to experiment with the format. However, it is worth noting that many individuals who sign up for MOOCs do not necessarily identify as students. Some supporters believe the retention and completion numbers should not garner as much concern as they do. Not all the hundreds of thousands of people who sign up for MOOCs do so for academic reasons. Many prefer dipping in and out of the casual atmosphere, treating it as a hobby as opposed to serious educational inquiry. “MOOC platforms are an emerging technology,” says Barbara Truman, vice president of learning technologies at Academic Partnerships, which oversees the influential MOOC2Degree initiative. “Platform capabilities that provide rich, automated feedback, practice, social interaction, and assessment are being used and are explored for use in MOOCs. Regular learning management systems are being tested for their extensibility to support MOOCs.”

http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/2013/03/22/how-to-finish-a-mooc/

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Challenges of Online Learning: 4 Ways to Keep Your Online Student Engaged

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Eric Schwartzman, Udemy blog

When I set out to take my Social Media Training Courses online, I realized early on that online courses only work if people actually consume the content. It’s one thing to sit through a live training. Sure, retention may be low, but at least you do learn something. But one of the main challenges of online learning is that unless the learner has the discipline and the motivation to focus and watch the lectures, they learn nothing at all.

https://www.udemy.com/blog/challenges-of-online-learning/

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How recruiters are dealing with the shift to online learning degrees

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

by Courtney Symons , Ottawa Business Journal

Some recruitment agencies say they are seeing a large shift towards online learning and are making changes to their business model to stay on top of it.  That includes David Aplin Group, which has an office in Ottawa.President Jeff Aplin says he’s beginning to see what he calls the democratization of education – flexible, affordable options for those who can’t or don’t want to go the traditional route. He says his company has implemented changes to better assess employees who used alternative education methods. They include skill tests, psychometric assessments and behavioural interviewing. Such techniques can include personality questionnaires, aptitude tests and a focus on evaluating a candidate’s behaviours in their personal and professional lives by asking open-ended questions and crafting multiple follow-up questions. This differs from a traditional interview where questions are narrow and focus primarily on work and educational experience. “We’ve really enhanced our business to respond to the change of the landscape of education and the shift to moving education online,” Mr. Aplin says.

http://www.obj.ca/Local/2013-03-20/article-3199424/The-rise-of-the-digital-degree/1

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Higher ed experts talk rise of online learning, budget cuts

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

By Sarah Gibson, the Texas A&M Battalion

Professionals in the Texas education system fielded questions Wednesday on challenges facing public and higher education as part of a lecture titled “Cost vs. Quality: The Future of American Higher Education.” During the lecture, presented by the MSC Wiley Lecture Series and the Student Conference on National Affairs, Mary Smith and Robert Scott — professionals in the Texas education system — discussed topics from education reform to budget and research cuts. “We want to blur the lines between high school and college,” Scott said the fine arts as well as trade schools have been severely impacted by recent budget cuts.Students raised their hands when Smith asked audience members if they had taken an online class. “Right now, the coordinating board is seeing a big movement toward online classes,” Smith said. “We feel that by 2020, a large percentage of students will be enrolled in both online and lecture classes.”

http://www.thebatt.com/higher-ed-experts-talk-rise-of-online-classes-budget-cuts-1.3012718

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Give online learning courses the old college try

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Los Angeles Times Editorial

A California bill to allow the first 50 such courses takes pains to do things the right way.Online courses could open worthwhile classes at California’s public colleges to thousands more students, or they could undermine the reputation of our widely admired public higher-education system. As the state embarks on its first foray into offering such courses for credit on a large scale, it’s intriguing to think about virtual classrooms and the opportunities they present. Online courses could make a fine education possible even for students who cannot travel to a campus easily or attend class at a specific time. They could allow a professor to reach many more students with each lecture.

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/18/opinion/la-ed-online-courses-20130318

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Many MOOC professors do not support offering credit, yet see value in courses

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

by Trisha Thadani, Boston University Daily Free Press

A majority of professors who teach massive open online courses do not believe credit should be awarded, yet believe the courses play an important role in the changing face of education and have inherent value, according to new data. Boston University Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Elizabeth Loizeaux, who is head of BU’s Council on Educational Technology and Learning Innovation, said it is not contradictory for professors to believe MOOCs are valuable and yet not worth traditional college credit.

http://dailyfreepress.com/2013/03/21/many-mooc-professors-do-not-support-offering-credit/

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UC Officials Were Not Consulted For Online Course Accreditation Bill

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

By Michael Higham, IVN Unfiltered News

Last week, IVN covered California Senate Bill 520. The bill would grant online course accreditation to private companies allowing students to earn academic credit while attending a public college. Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacrament0) introduced SB 520. The University of California (UC) Academic Senate responded with an official letter opposing the bill. SB 520 aims to provide fifty of the highest demanded introductory courses in California public colleges and universities through online educators like Udacity and Coursera. Sen. Steinberg says this process will improve graduation rates by increasing access to over-enrolled classes. The UC Academic Senate stated the university system was not included in the construction of the bill. The March 15 open letter written by UC Academic Council chair, Robert Powell, said: “We were not consulted in the writing of this legislation, which purports to address course access problems experienced by students in public higher education.”

http://ivn.us/progress-report/2013/03/21/uc-officials-were-not-consulted-for-online-course-accreditation-bill/

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The dirty little secret of online learning: Students are bored and dropping out

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

By Todd Tauber, Quartz

So why are all these students falling asleep, virtually, in their digital classes? Mainly because the people putting education online are still thinking in terms of classrooms. And despite incorporating “decades of research on how students learn best”, the world has changed a lot in just the last few years. Here’s just one example of how: Before smartphones, we went online roughly five times a day, in long chunks, according to Joe Kraus, a partner at Google Ventures. Today, with smartphones, it’s 27 times, in much shorter bursts. Twentieth century instructional methods just don’t work as well for busy, distracted 21st-century learners. Another big issue, especially for non-traditional students, is that learning has to fit in between life and work.

http://qz.com/65408/the-dirty-little-secret-of-online-learning-students-are-bored-and-dropping-out/

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Minerva promises elite, online learning college

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

BY JOANNE, Linking and Thinking on Education

The Minerva Project, which promises an elite, rigorous, all-online college education, is drawing attention. Ben Nelson, who founded the Snapfish photo web site, sees Minerva as an alternative to the Ivy League. Larry Summers, a former president of Harvard, will chair the advisory board, which will include Bob Kerrey, a former senator and head of the New School in New York, and Pat Harker, president of the University of Delaware and a former dean of the Wharton School. “Minerva aspires to reinvent everything, from the business model and the curriculum to the way in which teaching is delivered,” writes The Economist. “I don’t want or need to disrupt Harvard. I care about the kid who should have got into Harvard but didn’t,” says Nelson.

http://www.joannejacobs.com/2013/03/minerva-promises-elite-online-college/

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Harvard Online Learning: A Worldwide Hit

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

By Kathleen Struck, MedPage Today

When the Harvard School of Public Health opened its virtual doors last fall to a worldwide student body online, the first course they offered was neither broad nor lofty. But 55,000 students signed up for “Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical and Public Health Research.” In other words, biostatistics and epidemiology, together in one offering (PH207x for those looking in the online course catalog). The free course taught students basic lessons in how to handle variability and associated uncertainty, explained course co-developer Marcello Pagano, PhD, professor of statistical computing at Harvard, who has taught at the school for the past 35 years. “Statistics is at the forefront and the foundation of public health in this country,” said Pagano. The randomized clinical trial has been one of the major advances in medicine in the 20th century, he said, and “is just basic to everything.”

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/PublicHealth/37942

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Colleges Assess Cost of Free Online-Only Courses

Monday, March 25th, 2013

By DAVID WALLIS, NY Times

“There’s a distinction that people often don’t make,” said Professor Thrun, “which is whether these classes reach existing students and take away business, or whether they reach new students and add to the business?”…  “Everybody should be afraid of MOOCs,” said Gary W. Matkin, dean of continuing education, distance learning and summer session at the University of California, Irvine, “although there are some that should be more afraid than others.” Mr. Matkin forecasts tough times ahead for what he calls the “mediocre middle” — institutions that have not been invited into what amounts to a higher-education V.I.P. room.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/education/colleges-assess-cost-of-free-online-only-courses.html

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Even the professors behind massive online learning classes aren’t sure they should count for credit

Monday, March 25th, 2013

by Ki Mae Heussner, gigaOM

Even though many in academia have expressed skepticism, a survey from the Chronicle of Higher Education finds that the professors behind the MOOCs have many positive things to say about the new classes. But, interestingly, these most enthusiastic academics say that while they’re embracing MOOCs, they don’t necessarily believe they should be worth credit from their institutions. According to the Chronicle, while 79 percent of respondents said they believed that MOOCs are “worth the hype,” just 28 percent believed that students who succeeded in their MOOC deserve formal credit from their home institution. The survey, which attempted to reach every professor who has ever taught a MOOC, ultimately included responses from 103 professors (out of 184).

http://gigaom.com/2013/03/18/even-the-professors-behind-massive-online-classes-arent-sure-they-should-count-for-credit/

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Coursera experiences glitches, growing pains: Self-discipline is one of many challenges to online learning

Monday, March 25th, 2013

By MICHELLE MA, the Daily Pennsylvanian

Despite the hype surrounding massive open online courses, some challenges remain for both students and educators. This past February, a Coursera class entitled “Microeconomics for Managers” offered through the University of California at Irvine Extension program was canceled halfway through — it was supposed to last for 10 weeks. The professor, Richard McKenzie, cited “disagreements over how to best conduct this course” in a letter explaining the decision. In another instance, a Georgia Institute of Technology course on Coursera taught by Fatimah Wirth titled “Fundamentals of Online Education: Planning and Application” was suspended after a week with students complaining about technical glitches and confusing instructions. According to Penn research assistant Andrew Steinmetz, who is assisting Penn Integrates Knowledge professor Ezekiel Emanuel in his “Health Policy and the Affordable Care Act” course on Coursera, admits that certain challenges exist in an online course environment.

http://www.thedp.com/article/2013/03/coursera-experiences-glitches-growing-pains

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