Archive for September, 2014

Google X founder Sebastian Thrun leaves Google to focus on Udacity

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

By Kye White, Startup Smart

Google X founder Sebastian Thrun has left his role as VP and fellow at the company. Thrun launched Google’s driverless car project and was the project lead on Google Glass. He is currently running an online education startup Udacity, which he also co-founded. Google confirmed the news to TechCrunch. “As the co-founder of Google [x] and our self-driving car project, Sebastian made huge advances in computer science and robotics that have paved the way for autonomous driving technology,” a spokesperson said.

http://www.startupsmart.com.au/growth/the-news-wrap-google-x-founder-sebastian-thrun-leaves-google-to-focus-on-udacity/2014092313272.html

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E-Learning Startup Udacity Raises $35M to Launch ‘Nanodegrees’

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

By LIZETTE CHAPMAN, Wall Street Journal

Udacity Inc. has secured $35 million, the latest e-learning startup to raise funding in a growing cluster that has raised hundreds of millions from venture investors in a bid to redefine the way people learn. Unlike crowdsourced learning marketplaces like Udemy Inc. and Skillshare Inc., which invite the masses to teach a variety of skills, Udacity works with corporate partners to create online courses to train future employees. And while companies like the Minerva Project Inc., Coursera Inc., Khan Academy and others aim to upend the traditional college experience, Udacity targets college grads and is built with the help of industry partners seeking skilled employees. Those partners, a list of roughly 20 that now includes Google Inc., Facebook Inc., Cloudera Inc. and Salesforce Inc., provide the content and pay Udacity to develop online classes and verify knowledge upon graduation.

http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2014/09/24/e-learning-startup-udacity-raises-35m-to-launch-nanodegrees/

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E-Learning Through Smart Watches – Finding Possibilities

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

by Training Zone

Transition from Desktop to mobile is still in process, there is a large portion of the industry which still struggling to develop content for mobile devices. Now a new challenge emerged to develop content for micro screens. The companies which are already in developing content for mobile devices may not face it as difficult as those who don’t. Still it is a great challenge to deliver content developed in different styles of content presentation such as animations, diagrams, images etc. Above all challenges, it has great potential to reach more learners anywhere for more time of the day with wide range of subjects. We can expect applications to come-up in the smart watches market to deliver learning content.

http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/blogs-post/what-about-surplus-learning-budgets/187738

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Online Learning is Just as Effective as Traditional Education, According to a New MIT Study

Monday, September 29th, 2014

by Lauren Landry, BostoInno

Researchers’ findings have been published in the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, and co-author David Pritchard, MIT’s Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics, knows they will be controversial. The group, comprised of researchers from MIT, Harvard and Tsinghua University, completed a before-and-after test on students taking “Mechanics ReView,” an introductory mechanics course offered on massive open online learning platform edX. Researchers then conducted a similar test on students taking the class residentially, discovering: The amount learned is somewhat greater than in the traditional lecture-based course.

http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2014/09/24/mit-study-how-do-online-courses-compare-to-traditional-learning/

link to IRRODL article:

http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1902/3009

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Google’s ‘Most Searched For’ University Rankings

Monday, September 29th, 2014

by The Huffington Post UK

Google has revealed the most popular searches for universities from people across the globe – and the results were pretty unexpected. Compared to the typical university ranking system highlighting the ‘best of the best’ when it comes to higher education, the new Google ranking system gives us an indication of the universities that most people (including potential students) are searching for – as well as why this could be. The number one search? University of Phoenix, a US-based university with a plethora of online courses to choose from. The new rankings show that there’s a global interest in attending universities that can cater to those who want to learn online, rather than on campus. In third place sits the popular Open University, which also happens to be the top ranking uni in Europe on Google’s list.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/09/24/google-university-ranking_n_5871942.html

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8 Websites for Free Online Learning

Monday, September 29th, 2014

By Trent Hamm, US News

One of the biggest benefits of the Internet is the huge amount of information we all have available at our fingertips. Yet the biggest challenge for many of us is making sense of all that information. There are many opportunities for learning, but the information is often spread out in various places and not presented in an organized way that makes learning easy. Thankfully, several organizations – both nonprofits and businesses – have jumped into this niche and have developed online courses that draw upon this vast wealth of available knowledge. These eight free websites allow you to take educational courses in the comfort of your home, expanding your knowledge and understanding of the world at your convenience.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/09/23/8-websites-for-free-online-learning

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Where Does the LMS Go From Here?

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Faculty members and students want their future learning management systems to be customizable and full of features, but a new study finds they still use the systems’ basic functions most often. The report, produced by Eden Dahlstrom, D. Christopher Brooks and Jacqueline Bichsel at the Educause Center for Analysis and Research, provides an overview of faculty and student opinions about a piece of educational software present at virtually every college and university in the U.S. The researchers pulled data from last year’s Core Data Service survey, which collects information about institutions’ IT use, as well as two surveys of faculty members and students conducted this year, summarizing the responses of more than 27,000 respondents at hundreds of U.S. institutions.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/09/23/educause-gates-foundation-examine-history-and-future-lms

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Digital Literacy Is the Key to the Future, But We Still Don’t Know What It Means

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

BY MARCUS WOHLSEN, Wired

The amount of potential unlocked by the industrial revolution is dwarfed in information terms by what you can do with computers,” said Ari Geshner, a senior software engineer at Palantir. “Digital literacy is about learning to use the most powerful tools we’ve ever built.” The tricky part comes in defining what exactly is meant by “use.” Most people who use computers don’t know how to build software. Does that mean they’re digitally illiterate? It’s become commonplace to argue that everyone is better off learning at least basic programming skills—that coding itself is the new, necessary literacy. But “learning to code” is an exceedingly broad concept, and one which without more specifics risks oversimplifying conversations about what digital literacy really means. And how digital literacy is defined is important. This isn’t just about filling Silicon Valley jobs. It’s about educators, policy makers, and parents understanding how to give the rising generations of digital natives the tools they need to define the future of technology for themselves.

http://www.wired.com/2014/09/digital-literacy-key-future-still-dont-know-means/

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The Effects of Social Networking Sites in Distance Learning on Learners’ Academic Achievements

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

by Büşra Özmen and Bünyamin Atıcı, Eurodl

The general aim of this study is to determine the effects of learning management systems supported by social networking sites on learners’ academic achievements in distance education. The study group consisted of 75 undergraduate students from a state university in eastern Turkey. The data for the study, in which an experimental research design was used, were collected through an achievement test, which consisted of 40 multiple-choice questions. Within the scope of the research, a learning management system and a social networking site were utilized in a distance education course. As a result of the research, it was seen that social network supported distance learning activities created a more positive effect on the achievements of the learners than the distance learning activities. Also, it was determined that social network supported distance education activities were more effective in the acquisition of behaviours at the knowledge level of the cognitive domain than activities in other groups; however, the groups were not different from each other in relation to the acquisition of behaviours at the comprehension level of the cognitive domain. In this context, it was concluded that the learning management systems used in distance education should be supported by social networking sites to increase the academic achievement of learners.

http://www.eurodl.org/?p=current&article=646

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Admininstrators give 7 scalable tips for common challenges in online learning

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

According to recent polls and surveys among college and universities that are either in the final stages, or have fully implemented, online learning courses and platforms, there are a number of common, well-defined challenges and trends experienced by IT departments and faculty. The good news is: there are also scalable tips. The data comes from a recent UPCEA and NASPA report on thoughts from higher-ed leaders on the challenges and emerging trends in online education.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/online-learning-challenges-772/

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Indiana on forefront of Online CPA training

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

by Sherry Slate, The Journal Gazette

The Indiana CPA Society this summer became the first state professional organization to allow certified public accountants to go online for competency-based learning courses to earn some credits required for license renewal. The CPA Center of Excellence pilot program, approved by the Indiana Board of Accountancy, is scheduled to run through the end of 2015. It allows CPAs to use up to two online classes – or 16 hours – toward continuing education requirements. “We just strongly feel that this is the direction education should be headed,” said Dave Shatkowski, spokesman for the Indiana CPA Society.

http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20140921/BIZ/309209905

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U. of Wisconsin-Madison using Google Glass for academic feedback

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

by Stefanie Botelho, University Business

“Instead of marking the paper and posting the solution, we can record personalized videos for each student,” explains Michael Gofman, finance professor from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We’re not just showing their grade and what they did wrong, but how they can improve in the future. The technology was the perfect fit for the problem.” After only one semester of using the technology, student evaluation scores that measure the quality of feedback in Gofman’s corporate finance course jumped to 4.69 (on a scale from one to five, five being the highest)—an increase of 38 percent from the year before and 22 percent higher than the average for all business courses at the same semester. By using Google Glass, Spencer gave more nuanced and detailed feedback to students, touching on mistakes, what they did well, and how to build on what they’ve learned.

http://www.universitybusiness.com/news/u-wisconsin-madison-using-google-glass-feedback

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Use of Synchronous Virtual Classrooms: Why, Who, and How?

Friday, September 26th, 2014

by Florence Martin and Michele A. Parker, JOLT

Virtual classrooms allow students and instructors to communicate synchronously using features such as audio, video, text chat, interactive whiteboard, and application sharing. The purpose of the study reported in this paper was to identify why instructors adopt synchronous virtual classrooms and how they use them after their adoption. An electronic survey was administered asking instructors from various institutions to describe their experience adopting a synchronous virtual classroom in either a blended or online course. In describing their reasons for adopting the technology, respondents most frequently cited institutional resource availability, increasing social presence, enhancing student learning, and the availability of technology. Along with audio chat, the features that most influenced the adoption of virtual classrooms and were used most frequently by respondents were the ability to archive conference sessions, see participants through webcams, and use text-based chat interfaces. Open-ended survey responses revealed that instructors used virtual classrooms to promote interactivity, develop community, and reach students at different locations. There were also distinct trends characterizing the demographics of faculty members who reported using virtual classrooms. These findings provide meaningful data for instructors interested in providing synchronous components in their online teaching and for administrators interested in promoting technology-enhanced learning on their campuses.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no2/martin_0614.pdf

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More Students Opting For Online Courses

Friday, September 26th, 2014

by KRIS-TV

Online enrollment numbers are going up across the nation and here locally. In fact, Del Mar College actually broke a record this past school year with nearly 20% of students taking online courses. “My kids say, ‘Mom, you’re still on the computer. You’re still on that same screen,’” said full time student Mary Guerra. Along with school, Guerra is a mother of three and a full-time worker. “When they’re doing their homework, I’m doing mine.” She says the hardest part about online classes is not talking face to face with her instructors. But despite the hard work, she said she’s dedicated to continuing her education.

http://www.kristv.com/news/more-students-opting-for-online-courses/

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For Some Students, Customized Online Learning Is Best

Friday, September 26th, 2014

by Kevin Nicholls, Times of San Diego

In this day and age, nearly every aspect of life is customizable. We recognize that society is made up of unique individuals, all of whom have unique needs, goals, abilities and desires. And so we have… options. In recent years, we have come to see the benefit of customizable education as well. More and more colleges and universities offer online or accelerated programs, and there is no end to the availability of online continuing education and professional development courses for adults. The proliferation of technology in the last decade has made it possible to achieve our learning goals when a traditional classroom setting just won’t do.

http://timesofsandiego.com/opinion/2014/09/19/students-customized-online-learning-best/

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“Tackling the Challenges of Big Data”

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

by MIT Professional Education

MIT Professional Education will offer two new deliveries of the online professional course, “Tackling the Challenges of Big Data,” to a global audience beginning Nov. 4, 2014 and Feb. 3, 2015. Their first course, offered in the spring of 2014, drew approximately 3,500 professionals from 88 countries, and more than 2,000 organizations worldwide. Participants from around the world, many of whom would otherwise lack access to world-renowned MIT educational resources, benefitted from this comprehensive online course, which addressed a priority-learning need of working professionals. “The success of our first offering on big data proved there is a real value and robust appetite to offer this online course to a broad span of industry players once again. And based on feedback received from the first offering, we have integrated several enhancements into the new version,” said Bhaskar Pant, executive director of MIT Professional Education.

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/mit-professional-education-two-new-online-x-professional-big-data-courses-0919

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EdX launches new high school initiative

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

by Zareen Choudhury, the Tech (MIT)

In a new initiative for edX, last Tuesday, the online platform spearheaded by MIT and Harvard launched 26 new courses aimed at high school students, according to The Boston Globe.  The new subjects offered include English, computer science, algebra, calculus, and several Advanced Placement (AP) courses, such as AP Environmental Science and AP Biology. According to edX, fourteen institutions were involved in developing these courses, including MIT, Rice, the University of California Berkeley, Georgetown, and public high schools such as Weston Public High School.

http://tech.mit.edu/V134/N39/highschooledx.html

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Learning without boundaries through online courses

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

BY AKIL YUNUS, The Star (Malaysia)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are about widening my horizons and going out of my comfort zone to learn things I did not get to pursue in university, says computer science graduate and IT service provider Ricky Soo. Soo is among an increasing number of Malaysians actively pursuing Massive Open Online Courses and believe they are a valuable educational tool that expands one’s knowledge and skills, at virtually no cost whatsoever. MOOC portals have popped up in the last decade, but only gained real prominence of late. Some of the well-known ones are Coursera.org, Stanford Online, Open Education Europa, edX, and udemy, which offer hundreds of free courses from top universities worldwide.

http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/09/19/Learning-without-boundaries-through-online-courses/

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What students really think about learning online

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

by Susan Lafky, eSchool News

After recently posting two pieces about being an online teacher on the Middlebury Interactive Languages’ blog, I realized something was missing from the conversation: the voice of the students actually taking the digital classes. So I polled my German language students, asking one simple question: “What do you like most about learning German online?” Participation was completely voluntary, and I was pleasantly surprised by the number of students who took the time to respond. When reviewing the students’ comments, some clear themes emerged. One of the bigger themes was how much the students value self-paced learning. I have found that with many students, a self-paced structure actually enhances independence, responsibility, and confidence.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/09/19/students-learning-online-593/

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Colleges work to meet demand for online study

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

by Jennifer Paley, NWI Times

As student demand for online courses and degrees continues to grow, local schools are working hard to recruit students. Janet Schutte, director of marketing for Indiana Tech, said the school offers about 30 online degrees ranging from associates to masters. Offering online degrees significantly helps with recruiting students, she said. “We’re seeing a big increase in students enrolling in online courses. We’re also seeing a lot of students like to be able to mix their classes and take some in a classroom and some online depending on their schedules and subject matter. Most of the school’s online students are in their 30s or 40s, working while trying to complete a degree. They also have a few military students who like the ability to move without disrupting their college program.  “We’re definitely adding more online degrees, taking some of the degrees that we offer at our campuses and developing them for online. There are also a couple of degree programs only available online so as we look at new fields and decide whether there is a market for the degree, we’ll look at whether it should be in classroom or online or offered both ways.”

http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/colleges-work-to-meet-demand-for-online-study/article_1ff32a7e-d3dc-506f-88a0-1e3dc23ece64.html

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Why Open Education Matters Video Competition Winners Announced

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

by US Dept of Ed

What would you do if you thought you had a solution that would make a high-quality education freely available to anyone with a computer or cell phone, help instructors build new teaching skills and get credit for their accomplishments, and also greatly reduce costs for schools, families and students? You’d want to tell the world! That is just what the nearly one hundred videographers who entered the “Why Open Education Matters” video competition, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, spent part of this summer doing.

http://www.ed.gov/blog/2012/07/why-open-education-matters-video-competition-winners-announced/

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