Archive for April, 2013

Online courses changing college classrooms: But humanities classes remain rare in the digital world

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

by John Keilman, Chicago Tribune

Virtual education at the college level has exploded over the last decade, with one survey finding that about a third of all students today take at least one class online. The humanities, though, remain a relative rarity in the digital world. Most online bachelor’s degree programs offered by Illinois universities focus on practical or professional subjects, such as business, nursing or criminal justice. But aided by a grant meant to further such studies, the University of Illinois at Springfield designed online degree programs in three fields — English, history and philosophy. Some Chicago-area students enrolled in the courses say their experiences have taught them that online education can be far more than just a convenient substitute for traditional classrooms.  (access to complete article requires free registration)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-online-humanities-20130429,0,6844681,full.story

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5 Reasons Why Crowdsourcing is Beneficial for Online Learning

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

by Rene Wilson, ideascale blog

The term “crowdsourcing” comes with a wide range of definitions, but basically it is the process of utilizing idea-based, problem solving inputs by a community. When the specific community is vested in the outcome, they tend to become more involved with finding the solution for the problem at hand. Based on this description, is it possible that online education students, faculty and universities could benefit from crowdsourcing? Here are five reasons why crowdsourcing is beneficial for online education.

http://blog.ideascale.com/2013/04/18/5-reasons-why-crowdsourcing-is-beneficial-for-online-education/

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New Open Resource for Online Learning: The Digital Public Library of America is Now Open

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

by the Digital Public Library of America

The opening ceremonies were delayed by the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings, but the library is now open. The vision of a national digital library has been circulating among librarians, scholars, educators, and private industry representatives since the early 1990s. Efforts led by a range of organizations, including the Library of Congress, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive, have successfully built resources that provide books, images, historic records, and audiovisual materials to anyone with Internet access. Many universities, public libraries, and other public-spirited organizations have digitized materials, but these digital collections often exist in silos. The DPLA brings these different viewpoints, experiences, and collections together in a single platform and portal, providing open and coherent access to our society’s digitized cultural heritage.

http://dp.la/

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Credit for MOOCs

Monday, April 29th, 2013

by Jonathan Haber, Huffington Post

One of the hot topics regarding MOOCs and other forms of online learning (massive or small, free or otherwise) is whether or not taking such courses should count for actual high school or college credit. California recently mandated that schools who shut out students for lack of space in traditional classrooms must allow them to take equivalents online courses for credit (with Florida flirting with similar legislation). Buried in these decisions is the assumption that online and classroom learning experiences are equivalent in terms of the amount of material taught, and the level of mastery obtained by students at the end of a session.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jonathan-haber/credit-for-moocs_b_3116003.html

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Online learning class teaches students to have that aha moment

Monday, April 29th, 2013

By Jessica Zack, Houston Chronicle

Ever wonder what makes the cartoon light bulb of creative inspiration turn on over someone’s head? Why some people experience more aha moments of true ingenuity than others? Stanford University engineering professor Tina Seelig has devoted her career over the past 30 years to the question of how to get people’s creativity flowing. In her classes, both at Stanford and now offered free to the public online, she tests and teaches ways to catalyze breakthroughs in innovative thinking for everyone from artists to entrepreneurs. Her now-famous “Five-Dollar Challenge,” which has been replicated in courses all over the world, involves giving students $5 or a simple object, such as a water bottle or handful of rubber bands, and asking them to create as much value as possible in several hours – with “value” defined by the students. In another assignment, Seelig challenges students to create as much value as possible from the contents of a home trash can.

http://www.chron.com/life/article/Online-class-teaches-students-to-have-that-aha-4447643.php

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Coursera Online Learning Classes Only Offered by Elite Universities

Monday, April 29th, 2013

by: Monica Gleberman, Business Administration Information

Anyone can be a student in Coursera’s online learning classroom, but only the top universities in the world can offer classes through the popular site. Coursera classes only use content from universities that are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a group of the 62 top research institutions in North America. The AAU includes Ivy League schools, such as Yale and Harvard, as well as many state schools, such as Texas A&M and the University of Kansas. Coursera also partners with select international institutions, according to the document: For universities outside the United States, only those counted among the top five in their nation may use the Coursera platform. However, Coursera can make exceptions to these rules. It has created a University Advisory Board, which will help make academic decisions, including allowing new schools to sign up for the online services, serving as the final arbiter in any disagreements or disputes and reviewing the platform to make suggestions.

http://www.businessadministrationinformation.com/news/coursera-classes-only-offered-by-elite-universities

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Overview of Online Learning at Stanford

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

by Stanford University

Stanford University is aggressively exploring the varied ways in which online technology has the potential to
enhance educational access and quality. Stanford faculty are experimenting with online coursework for both on-campus and off-campus students. Groups of faculty and students are researching the questions around what a digital environment means for teaching and learning. Technology teams are developing and sharing new platforms for delivering online courses. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have captured wide public attention in recent months. But Stanford’s work in the online space is much broader. How can we help students learn more effectively, using the tools that technology offers?How can we employ technology in different ways to meet the needs of different kinds of students? Experimentation is crucial to answering these questions, and Stanford faculty are experimenting actively.

http://online.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/null/online-learning-factsheet.pdf

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Administrators, experts uncertain about future of free online learning courses

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

by Asha Omelian, GW Hatchet

Administrators and online education experts gathered Friday to hash out the future of free online education, agreeing that it was nearly impossible to gauge where massive open online courses would take universities. At the talk in Jack Morton Auditorium, some of GW’s top officials cautiously embraced the power of MOOCs, which have swept across higher education as some of the best U.S. universities like Stanford and Harvard have advocated for them. Provost Steven Lerman echoed his previous statements that the University would create a handful of MOOCs that showcase GW’s best qualities. He said he considers this a transformative moment in which new technology is being added to rather than displacing existing practices. “Like all technology, MOOCs will find their place over time and evolve, and we will adapt to it,” he said.

http://blogs.gwhatchet.com/newsroom/2013/04/12/administrators-experts-uncertain-about-future-of-free-online-courses/

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USC formally launches its online learning college

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

by Andrew Shain, THE STATE

Touting “The Quality of USC Online,” South Carolina’s flagship university launched a web-based college Thursday that allows students to complete their bachelor’s degrees online. “We want to bring the university to them — to their dens, to their kitchens, to their living rooms,” University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides said. The new college should help USC better compete with for-profit colleges for students who have the equivalent of a two years of college credits but cannot attend classes on a residential campus. The university hopes to triple the number of students taking web-based courses by 2018.

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20130419/NEWS10/304190025/USC-formally-launches-its-online-college?nclick_check=1

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Innovative online learning developer to broaden college partnership

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

By Susan Frey, EdSource

The marriage of innovative online course developer Udacity and San Jose State University is going so well that the partners are offering for-credit summer classes to 10 times as many students per course. “So far, so good,” said spokesperson Clarissa Shen, saying that the summer classes are considered an extension of the spring pilot, which offered three math classes, including Statistics. Based on the outcome of the summer program, Silicon Valley-based Udacity and San Jose State will decide in the fall whether to make the courses part of the university’s regular offerings. Udacity and the university chose courses that are in high demand, with wait lists, and feedback from students has been positive, Shen said. “Forty percent of the students who responded to a survey said Udacity was their only option to take the course,” she said. “We’re reaching an underserved market.”

http://www.edsource.org/today/2013/innovative-online-developer-to-broaden-college-partnership/30638#.UXMIzKJg-nI

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Western Oklahoma State College on probation after review of [ten-day] quick credit online learning courses

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

By Silas Allen, News OK

Western Oklahoma State College’s accrediting board has placed the school on probation following a review of a controversial online course reportedly favored by college athletes. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools found the college’s 10-day accelerated online courses don’t meet quality and rigor standards required of compressed-format courses. As part of the probation, the board revoked approval for the college to offer accelerated online courses and programs. According to a public disclosure notice the board released Thursday, college officials must allow students who are enrolled in the so-called quick credit courses to complete those courses in eight-week or 16-week formats.

http://newsok.com/western-oklahoma-state-college-on-probation-after-review-of-online-courses/article/3790477

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How was it? The UK’s first Coursera Moocs assessed

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

by CHRIS PARR, Times Higher Education

In January, the University of Edinburgh became the first UK university to offer massive open online courses on one of the big US Mooc platforms, Coursera. Its six courses – covering artificial intelligence, astrobiology, critical thinking, e-learning and digital cultures, philosophy, and equine nutrition – attracted 308,000 students, with Introduction to Philosophy the most popular, drawing almost 100,000 participants. The programmes, which ran over five weeks, had an estimated average completion rate of about 12 per cent, while early figures suggest that each Mooc cost about £30,000 from development to delivery. But what did instructors and students think?

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/how-was-it-the-uks-first-coursera-moocs-assessed/2003218.article

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Online Learning Expands into the Field of Dance: Online Courses Designed for Dance Teachers

Friday, April 26th, 2013

by Digital Journal

Quench the thirst for knowledge. Indulge the brain in stimulating new ideas and connections. Online Learning….the latest trend in education, is now being expanded into the field of dance. The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) has launched the Online Professional Development Institute (OPDI) to deliver online dance education courses to dance teachers who need to fulfill professional development requirements, maintain their certification, or who simply have a desire for life-long learning. NDEO’s OPDI offers online dance education courses featuring pedagogy, teaching methods, dance history, choreography, arts integration, assessments, research and much more. The OPDI will benefit the vast majority of dance teachers, teaching artists and administrators who are working in dance studios, community and cultural centers, K-12 schools or higher education.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1192727

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New online learning grading software provokes excitement, skepticism

Friday, April 26th, 2013

By MICHELLE MA, Daily Pennsylvanian

The landscape of online learning is changing fast, and its latest innovation might be both its most promising and riskiest yet. EdX, the massive open online course platform created by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently unveiled a new automated grading system that evaluates a student’s essay in seconds. While this is not the first time such software has been created and mobilized in the education community, it is the first time that it’s been implemented in the MOOC world. Additionally, the new software requires humans to first grade 100 essays or questions before the machine starts grading. The machine also learns from the data and continues to improve its grading techniques.

http://www.thedp.com/article/2013/04/new-online-grading-software-provokes-excitement-skepticism

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LSU increasing online learning efforts

Friday, April 26th, 2013

by McKenzie Womack, LSU Reveille

The University is “ramping up” its efforts to increase online learning, said Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management David Kurpius at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting. The University currently offers online learning in graduate school programs. Kurpius said 17 students are enrolled across the programs, but they expect more in the fall and next spring. “Inquiries are ramping up significantly. We see the flood coming,” he said. Kurpius said students involved are non-traditional students who have jobs and families. The programs offered online are courses that started as on-campus classes.

http://www.lsureveille.com/news/article_e79cf4ea-a7bf-11e2-8d69-001a4bcf6878.html

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Education Giant Pearson Adapts To Digital Online Learning

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

by Ellis Booker, Information Week

Pearson, the world’s largest educational publisher, recognized older students as online learning harbinger. Schools aren’t the only ones grappling with big questions about online learning, flipped classrooms, assessment analytics and open-source alternatives to commercial products. Traditional publishers are making changes, too. Pearson, the world’s largest education publisher, was early to embrace the digital future, according to observers. The company says more than half of its revenues last year came from digital products and service. “We’ve organized internally around three A’s — achievement, access and affordability,” Todd Hitchcock, senior VP of online solutions and business development at Pearson, told InformationWeek in a phone interview.

http://www.informationweek.com/education/online-learning/education-giant-pearson-adapts-to-digita/240153068

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Online Learning: Asia’s first MOOC draws students from around world

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

by Yojana Sharma, University World News

Naubahar Sharif has been teaching science, technology and innovation for some years at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He drew on his lectures to develop a massive open online course, or MOOC, on “Science, Technology and Society in China”, and this month it was launched on the Coursera platform – billed as Asia’s first MOOC. Some 17,000 students registered for the three-week course, which began on 4 April. “I was astonished and overwhelmed. This is far more than the 8,000-10,000 students we were expecting,” said Sharif, an associate professor.

http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130417153545600

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Stanford for everybody!

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

by Rebecca Grant, Venture Beat

NovoEd launched today to make access to courses from prestigious educational institutions available to anyone, starting with Stanford. The company started out as Venture Lab, a project run by a Stanford professor and a PhD student to make online learning more social, experiential, and interactive. Many Stanford professors were interested in taking their courses online but said presenting material in that format did not allow for the degree of interactivity they desired. Using a combination of techniques in crowdsourcing, design and analysis of reputation systems, and algorithm design, NovoEd’s platform enables collaboration and peer learning. The classes are built around team-based exercises that require students to exchange ideas, communicate, and evaluate each others’ work. Stanford University will use the platform to offer seven courses to the general public, as well as 10 private courses available only to current Stanford students. Course topics are diverse and include ‘A crash course on creativity,” “Mobile health without borders,” and “Finance.”

http://venturebeat.com/2013/04/15/stanford-for-everybody-professor-launches-startup-make-elite-education-globally-accessible/

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Robot essay graders a growing possibility

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

BY AARON LEWIS, Yale Daily News

Yale faculty may have postponed their vote on the grading overhaul to November, but students concerned about grading policies may have something bigger to worry about: artificial intelligence software that could be used to evaluate their essays. EdX — an education nonprofit founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — has just introduced a free online tool that automates the essay grading process. EdX president Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science, told The New York Times he believes his software will give professors more free time and allow students to receive helpful instant feedback. The software first analyzes 100 of a professor’s already graded essays, then uses machine-learning techniques to grade future papers on its own.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/04/16/robot-essay-graders-a-growing-possibility/

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San Jose State and Udacity expand online courses for Cal State credit

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

By Katy Murphy, Oakland Tribune

San Jose State and online education startup Udacity are offering for-credit, online-only courses for $150 this summer, the company announced Monday. Enrollment is capped at 1,000 each for the new introduction to programming and psychology courses and will likely grow for the existing, lower-level math classes. The courses are an extension of a pilot project launched in January at San Jose State with Udacity that has been deemed successful. Going into midterm exams, 85 percent of students (including university and high school students) were still enrolled in the test courses, Udacity reports.

http://www.mercurynews.com/education/ci_23029108/san-jose-state-and-udacity-expand-online-courses

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The massive computerized online learning professor

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

By Trent M Kays, Minnesota Daily

Automated feedback is nothing new. However, EdX is taking it to an entirely new level. Writing is not an automated activity. Sure, a computer can compile and construct sentences, but a computer can never write. It can never move people to action via discourse, and it can never really construct meaning. The human in the writing process is paramount. Humans drive the writing process. Therefore, in the same way computers cannot write, they also cannot be left to judge others’ writing. Even now, students are marching into SAT and GRE testing facilities to take standardized tests and write to prompts. After they finish writing, their essay is sent off to be graded by a computer. To be fair, according to the Educational Testing Service, one human also grades test answers. Still, how does it make you feel knowing that a computer is deciding whether you’ll go to college? That’s basically what is happening.

http://www.mndaily.com/opinion/columns/2013/04/14/massive-computerized-professor

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