Archive for April, 2014

Online labs evolve: enhancing instruction, improving access and saving costs through digital lab experiences

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

By Matt Zalaznick, University Business

Schools are partnering to give more students remote access to expensive lab equipment. The North American Network for Science Lab Online, or NANSLO, has a lab in the Denver area and another in British Columbia that provide access to community colleges in their regions and as far away as Alaska. The organization, part of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education, is now developing a third lab in Great Falls, Mont., to serve another three institutions in neighboring states. Using a mix of software and hardware, students in chemistry, physics and biology courses are able to remotely control microscopes, spectrometers and a piece of equipment known as an air track, says Sue Schmidt, NANSLO’s project coordinator. “Basically, the students are doing exactly what they would do in a science lab,” Schmidt says. “They’re collecting real data, they’re looking at real slides and they are manipulating the equipment.”

http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/online-labs-evolve

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Neurobiology online course to attempt world’s largest memory experiment

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

by Hannah Nyhart, Steve Koppes, Medical Xpress

University of Chicago’s Peggy Mason, professor of neurobiology, will lead Understanding the Brain. Mason designed the 10-week course for people from all walks of life who are interested in the workings of the brain and the nervous system. Enrollment for Mason’s course has reached 27,000 and climbing. Her MOOC students will be able to participate in the memory experiment, which will begin with the second 5-minute segment of the course. “I anticipate that we will get it credited as the largest memory experiment ever performed,” Mason said, referring to the Guinness Book of World Records. “It’s very simple. People just have to listen to one 5-minute segment and then answer an e-mail.” No further participation in the course is required. “In that way the students can contribute to human knowledge. We’re going to learn something from that experiment.”

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-04-neurobiology-online-world-largest-memory.html

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Online college success: Expert advice for preparing & prospering in a virtual space

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

By Mario Matus, Navy Times

Active-duty troops and veterans tend to be nontraditional students — more likely to be married, to have children and to hold down a job while going to school. That’s why many choose to pursue a degree online. The discipline, commitment and planning behaviors inherent in military service make troops a good fit for online education. But military students and veterans often need guidance to adapt from getting hands-on, in-the-moment training to completing reading assignments, written essays and final exams in an online environment. Arizona State University Online developed a list of critical success factors that veterans and active-duty service members should follow to make the most of their online learning experiences.

http://www.navytimes.com/article/20140421/EDU/304210029/Online-college-success-Expert-advice-preparing-prospering-virtual-space

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Moving To Online Teaching: Issues and Resources For Educators

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Mackenzie Hurlbert, Skilledup

Curtis Bonk, a professor of instructional systems design at Indiana University and co-author of the new book Adding some Tec-Variety (http://tec-variety.com/), says that to develop these skills, teachers should “take a class first, or at least browse one. Browse a few, because everyone is a little bit different. I recommend taking a smorgasbord approach and sampling a bit.” Ray Schroeder, associate vice chancellor for online learning at the University of Illinois-Springfield, is a national leader in today’s online learning discussion. He advises that, “online faculty can best teach if they can create a community of inquiry. Distant students need to be engaged and supported since they do not have ready access to the facilities of the campus.” The online environment constantly changes for students and faculty alike. New technologies, apps and software force online educators to adapt, says Schroeder, and “pedagogies and best practices constantly evolve requiring continuing professional development.”

http://www.skilledup.com/blog/moving-to-online-teaching-issues-and-resources-for-educators/

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Three Ways Online Learning Boosts Employee Productivity and Company Profits

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Josh Clement, Business2Community

Online learning is nothing new, but recent trends make it easier than ever for companies to boost employees’ productivity and ultimately company profits. For many businesses, the latest, greatest change has been the advent of MOOCs, or massive open online courses, which offer online classes to thousands of learners. All one needs is a computer, access to the Internet, the desire to learn and time to spare. While MOOCs became popular in university settings, businesses are now realizing the amazing potential of this new type of online learning. It’s not just about the free content; here are three exciting ways that today’s online training can enhance productivity.

http://www.business2community.com/human-resources/three-ways-online-learning-boosts-employee-productivity-company-profits-0855137

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New Perk Gives Federal Employees a Break on the Cost of Education

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Kellie Lunney, Government Executive

Many federal employees and their family members will be able to take advantage of a tuition discount as part of a new partnership between the government and academia. Federal workers who live outside of Maryland can receive a 25 percent discount on all undergraduate and most graduate programs offered at the University of Maryland University College. Out-of-state tuition rates at UMUC now are $499 per credit hour for undergraduate classes and $659 per credit hour for graduate programs. The rates drop to $374.25 and $494.25 respectively, with the 25 percent discount. Federal workers’ spouses and their legal dependents also are eligible for the reduced rates. The tuition break applies to in-person and online classes.

http://www.universitybusiness.com/news/new-perk-gives-federal-employees-break-cost-education

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State Authorization Expert Russ Poulin Updates Latest News On Dept of Ed Negotiated Rulemaking

Monday, April 28th, 2014

by Russ Poulin, WCET Frontiers

Members of the U.S. Department of Education’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee proposed many options for the federal rules that institutions would need to meet regarding the state authorization of distance education. The Department was interested in addressing the concerns expressed by several negotiators. WCET’s Russ Poulin highlights at the link below what appears to be the latest language on the most important issues.  The Department is working on the next version and they have given us a chance to make more suggestions through April 30, so there is no exact language to share. Expert Poulin  presents his best understanding of what is currently on the table. (ed note:  of great interest to many may be the discussion of the possibility of granting automatic authorization to institutions enrolling 30 or fewer online students in a state… still developing).

http://wcetblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/state-authorization-changes-proposed-to-regulatory-language-at-april-meeting/

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A Digital Badge Initiative in First-Year Writing Courses

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By Denise Paster, Alan J. Reid, Campus Technology

This coming fall, Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC will be rolling out a unique curricular initiative throughout its English Department that administers digital badges to students who demonstrate mastery in the critical skills outlined in first-year writing courses. Denise Paster, assistant professor and coordinator of composition, and Alan Reid, teaching associate, have designed an online model that adds an additional fourth credit hour to the traditionally three-credit-hour English courses taken by students in the first two semesters — English 101: Composition and English 102: Composition and Critical Reading. The program is titled Coastal Composition Commons, or CCC for short, and it takes an innovative approach to scaffolding the foundational skills central to college writing.

http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2014/04/17/A-Digital-Badge-Initiative-in-First-Year-Writing-Courses.aspx?Page=1

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The Great Adaptive Learning Experiment

Monday, April 28th, 2014

By John K. Waters, Campus Technology

Higher education is in the midst of a kind of Renaissance. A flurry of activity and experimentation around adaptive learning is taking place on college and university campuses, thanks to a high-profile, targeted grant program from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the relatively recent emergence of sophisticated adaptive learning software and platforms; and nascent partnerships among schools and learning content publishers. Institutions around the world are engaged in serious explorations of the potential of an approach to instruction and remediation that uses technology and accumulated data to provide customized program adjustments based on an individual student’s level of demonstrated mastery. That last sentence contains a pretty good definition of “adaptive learning,” but the term is so often used synonymously with “personalization” or “personalized learning” that it’s reasonable to ask, What’s the difference?

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/04/16/the-great-adaptive-learning-experiment.aspx

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4 Big Data Challenges that Universities Face

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

By Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education

“In this era of big data and big science, universities must serve as a crossroads for collaboration more than they ever have,” said Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, during a general session at the 2014 Internet2 Global Summit in Denver on Tuesday, April 8. This crossroads for collaboration doesn’t just mean that researchers should talk to each other. It also means collaboration between research and IT in a way that doesn’t always happen, said Michael McRobbie, president of Indiana University. Researchers need the support of IT leaders who take the time to understand what’s needed technologically and can then provide it. As university leaders support their campuses’ missions, they face four major challenges on the road to unlocking the potential of big data and science.

http://www.centerdigitaled.com/news/4-Big-Data-Challenges.html

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It’s all online!

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

by the Free Press Journal

As MOOCs become popular, Knowledge finds out more aboutthe learners and how they move along with the curriculum. In recent times, the word MOOC has been floating around quite commonly. Well, there is a MOOC for almost every subject, if there are willing learners. Massive open online courses or MOOCs, are courses that participants can enrol for at their convenience, and study for at their convenience as well. Unfortunately, not all those who register for such an online course are able to complete the course and get a certificate. And that’s how the success is measured. According to Anant Agarwal, CEO, edX, a MOOC platform founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University in May 2012, while completion rate is an important measure, it represents only one segment of a diverse group of MOOC learners who are looking for access to education. EdX hosts a wide range of university-level courses in a variety of disciplines for a global audience at no charge.

http://freepressjournal.in/its-all-online-2/

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Georgia officials hope lower online tuition will boost enrollment

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

By Kathleen Foody, Associated Press

Instead of heading straight to class from work, she uses eCore – an online system that focuses on “core” classes that every Georgia state college or university student must take – for one or two courses each semester. Cost was her only reason for not taking more classes, Small said. On-campus credit hour charges at Dalton State this year are $97.27, compared with $189 for eCore. This fall, the cost of eCore classes will drop $20 per credit hour. It’s the first time the system’s Board of Regents has lowered tuition for the program since its 1999 launch, and a stark contrast to the tuition increases also approved last week at all 31 state campuses.

http://beta.mirror.augusta.com/news/2014-04-20/georgia-officials-hope-lower-online-tuition-will-boost-enrollment?v=1398036072

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Synergies between online learning, on-campus teaching and flexible learning

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

by Tony Bates, Online Learning and Distance Education Resources

Public institutions such as UBC now face a much more diverse student population, with very different needs. Thus UBC has both young residential and young commuting students, local, national and international students, pre-university, undergraduate, graduate and lifelong learners, students with different levels of English language ability, gregarious and shy learners, and on and on. Every one of these groups probably needs a different range of options regarding the campus experience and the delivery of learning. Thus I would argue that UBC also needs to focus just as much on fully online learning, or distance education, as on blended learning, or on improving the campus, as important as that is. In particular the lifelong learning market is growing rapidly, and is increasingly important economically in a highly competitive knowledge-based economy.

http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/04/20/synergies-between-online-learning-on-campus-teaching-and-flexible-learning/

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4 Online Education Trends for 2014

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

by Rose Mary, Tech Cocktail

Looking ahead this year, business owners worldwide are definitely in board rooms steering up plans designed to ensure they have a successful 2014, and the world of online education is no different. The industry has a projected monetary growth of approximately 10 percent between 2012 and 2015, so educators and education startups should take notice of this year’s projected learning trends and leverage them for positive growth professionally and financially.

http://tech.co/online-education-trends-2014-04

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More and more students getting an education online

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

By ELLY GRIMM, High Plains Daily Leader

“We’re trying to accommodate the needs of our students and being so isolated, rurally isolated if you will, we have a lot that do drive in,” she explained. There is also a general concensus that there is no real difference in performance between the students in online courses and those who are in traditional face to face courses. Zant said that she has even been able to integrate some of the tools from the online course with her face to face classes.

http://www.leaderandtimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16352:more-and-more-students-getting-an-education-online&catid=12:local-news&Itemid=40

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Minerva’s Plan to Disrupt Universities: A Talk with CEO Ben Nelson

Friday, April 25th, 2014

by WADE ROUSH, xEconomy

Founder Nelson, 38, has called Minerva a “perfect university” that will trade huge lecture courses for small faculty-led seminars, and physical classrooms for online video exchanges. The for-profit company won $25 million in seed funding from Benchmark in 2012, and three weeks ago it admitted 45 students to its first class. The students won’t attend classes, exactly; instead they’ll use their laptops and webcams to log into Minerva’s Web-based platform for virtual seminars. They won’t be graded through papers or tests, but instead by faculty reviewing recordings of seminar interactions to see whether they’re picking up key concepts and habits of mind. They won’t even stay in San Francisco: for their sophomore year the entire class will be transplanted to another world city, such as Mumbai. (The actual locations of Minerva’s second, third, and fourth campuses haven’t yet been announced.)

http://www.xconomy.com/national/2014/04/18/minervas-plan-to-disrupt-universities-a-talk-with-ceo-ben-nelson/

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FIU gives updates on MOOC accreditation

Friday, April 25th, 2014

By Raul Herrera, FIUSM

The University’s Massive Open Online Course program is finally adapting to the State’s demands, requiring students to take a final exam to receive credits for any MOOC. The finalized proposal on how the University would meet Florida’s MOOC accreditation requirement was presented to the Faculty Senate on April 8. Laurie Shrage, faculty senator and professor of philosophy, said in a previous interview with Student Media that the MOOC tests would function much like the College Level Examination Program, which allows students to eliminate core credits by taking an exam. FIU Online Dean Joyce Elam said that it will be an entirely self-driven initiative, as students will access the material by themselves with no professorial help.

http://fiusm.com/2014/04/18/university-gives-updates-on-mooc-accreditation/

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Online courses offer alternative learning but require skilled students

Friday, April 25th, 2014

by Linda Easley Tidwell, Shreveport Times

The online environment allows those being developed to choose the time and place for professional development to take place. Instead of feeling pressure to instantly understand everything the speaker is saying and projecting onto the screen, online development offers the opportunity for the learner to review multimedia resources several times at his/her convenience. Responses are required within the development so the attendee is a participant and is able to apply ideas to his/her own particular circumstances.

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20140419/OPINION/304190008/Online-courses-offer-alternative-learning-require-skilled-students?nclick_check=1

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EdX CEO: LaunchCode’s ‘St. Louis experiment’ a wild success

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

by Brian Feldt, St. Louis Business Journal

Anant Agarwal, CEO of EdX, the online learning platform founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, refers to what LaunchCode is doing here as the “St. Louis experiment.” And he said results of the pilot have far exceeded his expectations. That’s why Agarwal is ready to assist LaunchCode in its efforts to expand outside of St. Louis. LaunchCode is the paired-programming initiative founded by Jim McKelvey that is placing up-and-coming computer programmers with 100 of St. Louis’ most notable corporations. McKelvey said the company is eying a national expansion into places including Miami, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver and a location somewhere on the West Coast.

http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/blog/biznext/2014/04/edx-ceo-launchcode-s-st-louis-experiment-a-wild.html

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Controversial Mooc nearly costs professor his job

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

BY CHRIS PARR, Times Higher Education

The course, Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World, was taught by Ebrahim Afsah, associate professor of public international law at the University of Copenhagen. It ran for 10 weeks, from December 2013, on the US Mooc platform Coursera. “If you are teaching a controversial course, there is a risk of physical and reputational damage to you,” he told a conference for partners of Coursera, held in London last month, adding that he had “almost” lost his job because of the controversy his Mooc attracted. On a recent trip to Iran, Professor Afsah continued, he had a “nice friendly chat, for four hours, with the Iranian secret service”, who knew everything about his Mooc and wanted to talk about it in a little more detail. “If you want to touch the hornets’ nest you need to be prepared for the repercussions,” he told delegates.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/controversial-mooc-nearly-costs-professor-his-job/2012647.article

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Teaching Center pushes for online training

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

by HAILEY WINSTON, Yale Daily News

As online education gains momentum across the nation, the Yale Teaching Center is looking to help more graduate students learn online teaching skills. Around 50 percent of academic job positions now require or suggest online teaching experience, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. But Yale currently provides opportunities for fewer than 30 graduate students to gain online teaching experience each year, said Sara Ronis GRD ’15, a fellow at the Teaching Center and a member of the University Committee on Online Education. To address the issue, the Yale Teaching Center has applied for funding from the newly established Rosenkranz Fund for Pedagogical Innovation to organize workshops for graduate students about how to teach online courses. The center’s proposal will be evaluated by the University-wide Committee on Online Education, which will then make recommendations to Provost Benjamin Polak about whether the project should get financial backing from the fund.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2014/04/17/teaching-center-pushes-for-online-training/

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