Archive for July, 2013

Online learning’s unlucky 13

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

by Bob Little, Business Reporter UK

A while ago, over 100 learning professionals were asked what one thing most annoys them about online learning materials. Their responses were both varied and – significantly – many.

Of these, the 13 most annoying traits of online learning materials were:

Patronizing the learner

• Having a section called ‘How to use this e-learning module’.

• Spelling out the materials’ objective, such as, ‘By the end of this module you will have learnt…’

• Text-heavy sections labelled ‘Background’ or ‘History’, and the related issue of getting learners to read a company policy in the guise of it being ‘e-learning’.

http://business-reporter.co.uk/2013/03/e-learnings-unlucky-13/

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21 Things That Will Be Obsolete (mostly made so by online learning) by 2020

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

by Tina Barseghian, KQED

Inspired by Sandy Speicher’s vision of the designed school day of the future, reader Shelly Blake-Plock shared his own predictions of that ideal day. How close are we to this? The post was written in December 2009, and Blake-Plock says he’s seeing some of these already beginning to come to fruition.

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/03/21-things-that-will-be-obsolete-by-2020/

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Khan Academy Trains Teachers to Use Its Online Learning Videos and Tools

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

by Katrina Schwartz, Mind/Shift

Khan Academy, best known for its free online library of video tutorials, is using the summer months to offer in-person teacher trainings in places like Chicago, New Orleans, and Redwood City, California. The workshops are integrating what teachers and Khan Academy staff have learned over the past few years while experimenting with different ways of integrating videos and Khan assessments into classrooms. “Now that we are a couple of years in it, we have enough evidence of really great teacher practices that we are trying to share with a broader audience,” said Khan Academy President Shantanu Sinha, at a training workshop in Redwood City earlier this week.

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/khan-academy-offers-trainings/

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From Hype to Nuanced Promise: American Higher Education and the MOOC 3.0 Era

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

by Cathy Sandeen, Huffington Post

That Inside Higher Ed story referred to a theory that I have for some time thought was an appropriate way of thinking about the MOOC evolution: the Gartner technology “hype cycle.” MOOCs already have moved through several stages along that cycle, from their initial breakthrough to inflated expectations and down into the trough of disillusionment. MOOC 3.0 is akin to the Gartner scale’s slope of enlightenment, where second and third generation products begin to emerge. Eventually, the hype cycle predicts, we will enter a plateau of productivity and the various permutations of MOOCs will become part of the higher education mainstream. I think we already are entering this next phase.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathy-sandeen/from-hype-to-nuanced-prom_b_3618496.html

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Making Online Learning Faster and more fun by adding more artificial intelligence

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

BY BRIAN WANG, Next Big Future

Udacity has evolved the MOOC concept into one that really helps people throughout the course; to complete the course. We have to really work on artificial intelligence, really understand, like, where can we take a student if they have a certain kind of learning profile. We do some of it manually right now; we analyze student profiles, we make predictions of what are the success rates, and then we intervene manually right now based on the predictions we get from students’ profiles. But we haven’t automated this yet. So eventually it’s going to be a big piece of artificial intelligence that sits there, watches you learn, and helps you pick the right learning venue or task, so you’re more effective and have more pleasure.

In 5 years, Udacity wants to be a university for the 21st century.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/07/making-online-learning-faster-and-more.html

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Michigan Virtual University Supports First Major Online Learning Project in Nigeria

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

by Sonic Foundry

Up to 1.2 million students in Nigeria qualify to begin college each year, but the country’s 104 universities can only accept 300,000 students. In response to the great demand for distance learning to make in-country education more accessible, Michigan Virtual University (MVU) is supporting Nigeria’s first e-learning project with Mediasite by Sonic Foundry, Inc. (NASDAQ: SOFO), the trusted leader for video content management and webcasting solutions. MVU has been using Mediasite to create online learning materials and record and stream events since 2007. Through a partnership with Venture Garden Group, MVU is taking its e-learning expertise to Nigeria. MVU and Venture Garden Group designed an e-learning solution based on Mediasite lecture capture for the Center for Distance Learning at Obafemi Awolowo University.

http://www.heraldonline.com/2013/07/15/5020158/michigan-virtual-university-supports.html

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New online learning classes aim to meet excess demand

Monday, July 29th, 2013

By Nicole Freeling, University of California

Now that state lawmakers have approved $10 million for the expansion of online education at the University of California, UC faculty and administrators are moving ahead with plans to develop dozens of online courses for high-demand undergraduate subjects. The funding will be focused squarely on the development of for-credit classes in areas where students face bottlenecks in progressing through their studies, UC Provost Aimée Dorr told the UC Board of Regents today (July 18). In the last academic year, UC campuses offered a combined 200 undergraduate classes and 60 graduate level courses online, Dorr reported. Many of the undergraduate courses were offered through extension programs and summer session. UC’s current efforts are focused on building the number of online offerings — now numbering 33 — available during the regular academic year. Unlike online summer session and extension offerings, students would be able to take these classes without paying any additional fees.

http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/29787

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Sebastian Thrun on the Future of Learning

Monday, July 29th, 2013

by Rachel Metz, Technology Review

Started in 2012, Udacity’s goal is to make education affordable for everyone. All classes are available for free on the Web, and some also offer college credits for a fee of $150. It’s one of a growing number of startups offering similar services. And the timing seems right: the average cost of a bachelor’s degree has shot above $100,000, and high-speed Internet has made so-called “distance learning” a plausible alternative to the classroom. MOOCs have been hailed by many as the future of education, but they’re still in their early days, and they’re susceptible to growing pains (for example, one of Udacity’s partners, San Jose State University, said this week that it is suspending its online course offerings until the spring).

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/517181/sebastian-thrun-on-the-future-of-learning/

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Online learning program offers diverse security education

Monday, July 29th, 2013

By Sarah Hoffschwelle, Texas A&M Battalion

Danny Davis, lecturer and director of the CHLS program, said the program courses were offered online because of limited physical space and increased flexibility. “Classroom space is big reason for all courses being online,” Davis said. “We didn’t have space at the Bush School for all the classes. Most of the students are middle to upper class working professionals and are working during work hours. The online classes provide flexibility to work and do schoolwork.” The online set-up of the program not only allows students with full-time jobs the ability to participate in the program, but also invites the best in the industry to instruct the courses whether they are full-time professors at another prestigious university, full-time professionals in the field, or even professors at Texas A&M. “Our professors are scattered all over the country — the best experts in homeland security in the field and the best professors around the country, and one or two resident professors,” Brown said. “Every class, I learn from my students because [many of them are] professionals in their fields.”

http://www.thebatt.com/news/online-program-offers-diverse-security-education-1.3048836

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Don’t call it a big data degree; Berkeley launches first online info science master’s

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

by Lauren Hepler, San Jose BizJournal

Big Data may be a major Silicon Valley buzzword at the moment, but don’t expect a new online data science master’s degree program at the University of California, Berkeley to get too caught up in the fad. Starting in January 2014, Berkeley’s School of Information, or I School, will offer the country’s first fully online Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) degree program, the university announced Wednesday. While students will learn the mechanics to analyze millions of rows of data, courses will also cover other elements of data visualization, machine learning, database analysis and data security.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/07/17/not-a-big-data-degree-uc-berkeley.html

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The attack of the MOOCs

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

by the Economist

Certainly, there is plenty of experimentation with business models taking place. The MOOCs themselves may be free, but those behind them think there will be plenty of revenue opportunities. Coursera has started charging to provide certificates for those who complete its courses and want proof, perhaps for a future employer. It is also starting to license course materials to universities that want to beef up their existing offering. However, it has abandoned for now attempts to help firms recruit employees from among Coursera’s students, because catering to the different needs of each employer was “not a scalable model”, says Ms Koller. For Udacity, in contrast, working with companies to train existing and future employees is now the heart of its business model. It has tie-ups with several firms, including Google. It recently formed a partnership with AT&T, along with Georgia Tech, to offer a master’s degree in computer science.

http://www.economist.com/news/business/21582001-army-new-online-courses-scaring-wits-out-traditional-universities-can-they

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San Jose State suspends online courses

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

By JASON DEAREN, Associated Press

Five online classes that were announced with great fanfare by the governor at San Jose State University were suspended Thursday after more than half of the students failed the final exams. “The plan right now is to pause for one semester, there are a couple of different areas we need to work on,” school spokeswoman Patricia Harris said about the courses offered in conjunction with Udacity Inc. Harris said the school will keep offering online courses developed with edX, another company. The failure rate on final exams for the courses involving Udacity ranged from 56 to 76 percent, said Sebastian Thrun, a researcher at Stanford University and Google Inc. who launched Udacity. Despite the high failure rate, Thrun said valuable data and experience was gained from the effort that will help improve future classes.

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_23686640/san-jose-state-suspends-online-courses

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Learning online: The virtual lab

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

by M. Mitchell Waldrop, Nature

Confronted with the explosive popularity of online learning, researchers are seeking new ways to teach the practical skills of science. “Labs are where we offer students the opportunity to engage with real lab equipment, to analyse authentic data, to experience the wonder of observation,” says Mike Sharples, an education-technology researcher at the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK. Today, almost all the lab work is available online through the university’s OpenScience Laboratory. Just like many working scientists, students can collect real data from remotely controlled instruments — among them a γ-ray spectrometer for identifying elements and isotopes, and a 0.43-metre telescope in Majorca, Spain. Students can also explore real data with simulated instruments such as the virtual microscope, with which they look at high-resolution images instead of real specimens. “They zoom in, adjust the focus and control where in the sample they’re looking,” says Sharples — just as they would on real instruments.

http://www.nature.com/news/education-online-the-virtual-lab-1.13383

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Handling Hefty Course Loads: The Hosting Infrastructure Behind Massive Open Online Courses

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

by David Hamilton, the WHIR

MOOCs are delivered through a Virtual Learning Environment, an application that enables an educator to run online lectures, deliver multimedia, administer tests, assign homework, mark assignments, and grade students. A good deal of the potential of MOOCs is dependent on these VLEs, but also the hosting infrastructure and technology that supports the VLE as it delivers a MOOC to thousands and tens-of-thousands of students. There are plenty of options for an educational institution to consider when rolling out a MOOC: join a course aggregator network like Coursera, spend time and money on building their own solution, buy proprietary software and hosting, use Google Course-Builder which runs on Google App Engine, or host an open-source app like Moodle.

http://www.thewhir.com/web-hosting-news/handling-hefty-course-loads-the-hosting-infrastructure-behind-massive-open-online-courses

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MOOCs: Born of technology, a perfect fit for IT learning

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

By Dean Tsouvalas, Computerworld

In some circles, MOOCs are seen as highly disruptive for higher education. While the battle over massive open online courses may rage in some disciplines for years to come, there’s one area where the transition will be tranquil: information technology education. MOOCs, of course, are usually college-level courses that are offered by an established university. They are free and available online, and their shared goal is to open up learning to as many people as possible. Information services and technology rest at the heart of the MOOC experience. And not only are MOOCs the result of advances in information-sharing technology, they are also ideally suited to the teaching of IT skills — and to the acumen and temperament of most IT students. As a result, computer and information science courses and their students are leading the charge in this transformation of higher education. With computer and science professors among the most interested in moving their courses to a new platform, and with students who are already tech-savvy, the IT-MOOC connection makes perfect sense.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9240646/MOOCs_Born_of_technology_a_perfect_fit_for_IT_learning

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Making Online Learning Courses Accessible to All

Friday, July 26th, 2013

by John Christie, Matilda Ziegler Magazine

Faculty members or instructors who teach online courses have to make their materials accessible to all according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. This was L. Scott Lissner’s bottom line as he spoke to a group of attorneys one afternoon. He also said that he didn’t think that you would have to make a whole textbook accessible but it was your responsibility to make a 20 page article accessible. Lissner is the President of The National Association of Higher Education and Disability and the American Disabilities Act coordinator. Before the growth of Online Education, a disability office would coordinate a disabled person’s accommodation.

http://www.matildaziegler.com/2013/07/17/feature-writer-john-christie-making-online-courses-accessible-to-all/

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Will students fork over $60K for UC Berkeley’s new online master’s degree in data science?

Friday, July 26th, 2013

by Ki Mae Heussner, GigaOM

Berkeley can reach students all over the world and people who want more education without giving up their jobs. With 2U, it hopes to offer a virtual experience that can justify the same price tag as an on-campus degree. “We wanted a partner that would be able to offer the level of rigor, selectivity, and quality of our existing campus based degrees,” said AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of UC Berkeley’s I School. Given space limitations on campus, an online degree also enabled the school to offer a new program without requiring additional space. The degree, which 2U expects students will be able to complete in 12 to 20 months, will cost $60,000 a pop. When compared to the free and low-cost massive open online courses (MOOCs) — like the online computer science degree offered by Georgia Tech and Udacity — that get the lion’s share of attention in online education, that’s bound to raise eyebrows. But 2U offers an entirely different flavor of online learning.

http://gigaom.com/2013/07/16/uc-berkeley-now-offers-online-only-masters-in-data-science-for-60k/

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Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework Releases Student Success Matrix

Friday, July 26th, 2013

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

The Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework, which is managed by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), has released its Student Success Matrix (SSMx), a tool intended to help higher education institutions improve student outcomes through the effective use of supports and interventions. According to information released by PAR, the SSMx can capture supports delivered face-to-face, online, or through other media. Sixteen member institutions have already submitted more than 1.7 million anonymized student records and more than 12 million institutionally de-identified course-level records to the PAR Framework’s dataset. Educational institutions can use that multi-institutional information to help identify the most effective tools to improve student outcomes

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2013/07/17/par-releases-student-success-matrix.aspx?=CTCLV

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Students Seeking Online Learning Degrees Now More Like Traditional On Campus Students, New Study Reports

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

by Jeanne Grunert, Business Administration Information

Today, younger students are embracing an online learning model and foregoing a traditional college experience altogether. The study’s authors note that the 2014 data collection is needed to verify their hypothesis that more and more online learners resemble traditional college campus students. Distance learning has undergone a dramatic transformation from the days of correspondence classes to today’s MOOCs (massive open online courses). Students today are faced with myriad choices ranging from pursuing their entire postsecondary degree in a traditional, in-person campus setting to an entirely online program in which they never set foot on the actual college campus.

http://www.businessadministrationinformation.com/news/students-seeking-online-degrees-now-more-like-traditional-on-campus-students-new-study-reports

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Blackboard MOOC Gains 15 More Colleges

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

by Kelly Sheridan, Information Week

Learning management company Blackboard Inc. recently announced that 15 additional colleges and universities have signed up to use its services to run massive open online courses (MOOCs). Classes will be free of charge and run this summer and fall. This is a big step for Blackboard, one of the first companies to combine teaching and learning with the Internet. Since its 1997 founding, Blackboard has expanded to offer clients mobile apps and a variety of learning management platforms.Schools that are currently licensing Blackboard’s learning management system, Blackboard Learn, will have access to the MOOC platform at no additional cost. Now Blackboard partners can use CourseSites to run free unlimited MOOCs as well. CourseSites is hosted on Blackboard Learn 9.1. Non-partnering schools and instructors can use CourseSites to create and manage MOOCs. However, individual instructors cannot offer more than five MOOCs to students at once.

http://www.informationweek.com/education/online-learning/blackboard-mooc-gains-15-more-colleges/240158375

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Online learning: How to make a MOOC

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

by Sarah Kellogg, Nature

In the past couple of years, academic institutions, policy centres and research institutes around the world have become partners with MOOC providers including Coursera, edX in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Udacity in Mountain View (see Comment, page 275). Coursera has so far registered 9.5 million enrolments; edX counts some 1 million. Institutions or instructors looking to go it alone can post lecture videos on YouTube. Instructors may feel daunted by the challenge of making a popular course shorter, livelier and easily understood on a computer screen. However, experienced MOOC designers say that the task is well worth the effort, because the courses allow for experimentation on a grand scale. Although it does not generally bring in extra pay, MOOC work gives teachers a chance to develop fresh methods for teaching science, bringing it to new, uninitiated audiences and encouraging cutting-edge discussions.

http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/science/articles/10.1038/nj7458-369a

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