Archive for December, 2014

Amazon Web Services Will Give You $1,000 In Credit For Completing These edX Courses

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

by Kyle Russell, TechCrunch

If you’ve got more time than money and have a startup idea that you think you have the skills to build, a new partnership between Amazon Web Services and online education portal edX will hook you up with $1,000 in credit for completing one of two courses on entrepreneurship. Unless you’ve already taken some classes on building a startup, you’re not going to be able to completely BS your way through MITx’s Entrepreneurship 101 or 102 on edX. You actually have to pass the course, so expect to put at least tens of hours into the class. But once you make your way through the coursework, you automatically receive $1,000 in credit to spend on processor time and/or storage in Amazon’s cloud.

http://techcrunch.com/2014/12/23/amazon-web-services-will-give-you-1000-in-credit-for-completing-these-edx-courses/

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Are MOOCs the great equalizer?

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

by Raechelle Clemmons, Green Bay Press Gazette

Is it really necessary to have each and every university in the country teach a version of American History 101, for example, or could some of that content be delivered via an “approved” MOOC? Under this model, students could potentially spend classroom time focused on deeper discussion and inquiry about the subject rather than spending it learning the basic content. Alternately, this model may be used to reduce the amount of time it takes to earn a college education, with students taking some courses in-person and some through self-paced MOOCs. Consider places that do not have good education systems, or individuals who may not be entitled to an education where they live because of their class, race, gender or other attribute. MOOCs have the potential to be the great equalizer — providing access to a quality education to anyone who can access the Internet from their home, a coffee shop, or elsewhere. In a world that increasingly needs an educated populace, this may be the greatest value of all.

http://www.correctionsone.com/2014-in-review/articles/8032950-The-rise-of-the-online-training-instructor/

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Online Learning Holds Promise, Challenges for Low-Income Students

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

by Jordan Friedman, US News

For low-income students, formal online learning holds promise. They can work around their own schedule, even if they have a full-time job. Distance from a reasonably priced school isn’t an issue either, and students can save money on transportation and living expenses. “You can find affordable programs at different universities in different disciplines,” says Javier Reyes, vice provost for distance education at the University of Arkansas. Some financially disadvantaged learners have lesser access to certain technologies that online courses require. This can “limit their interacting with the instructor and the materials, which could be a substantial obstacle,” Xu says. Xu says the self-directed nature of online courses could also make distance learning a bit more challenging for lower income students. In her research, she found that “online learning, although associated with more flexibility, also asks students to assume a higher degree of responsibility,” she says. Students from disadvantaged groups usually have a “lower level of self-directed learning skills” than other students, she adds.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2014/12/24/online-learning-holds-promise-challenges-for-low-income-students

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New Facebook app measures emotional state of online students

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

by Chuck Bednar, redOrbit.com

A new Facebook application could help bring e-learning closer to an actual classroom environment by monitoring the emotional states of students and notifying teachers when those individuals are having a rough day. The application is known as SentBuk, and the Autonomous University of Madrid (AUM) researchers behind it say that it uses algorithms to analyze social media messages, then discerns a person’s emotional state. When transmitted to online instructors, it could give them the same type of information other teachers can obtain by looking at their students’ faces.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113303827/new-facebook-app-measures-emotional-state-of-online-students-122214/

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Online Education: A Potential Solution For Students In Nigeria’s Troubled Northeast

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

by Sahara Reporters

An independent evaluation and assessment conducted by the Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG) has determined that over 194,664 students have been forced to stay out of school due to insecurity. According to CCSG President Etuk Bassey Williams the school closings will cause Nigeria to fail in meeting its 2015 benchmarks for primary school enrollment with less than 80 percent enrollment of school-aged children.

http://saharareporters.com/2014/12/22/online-education-potential-solution-students-nigeria%E2%80%99s-troubled-northeast

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Mike King of Berklee Online Looks Back On 2014

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

by Hyperbot

Mike King, course author, instructor and Assistant VP of Marketing for Berklee Online is up next on Hypebot.com’s Year End Virtual Panel. Discussing what 2014 meant for Berklee Online, King says “Massive Open Online Courses have made a significant, positive, impact on our business over the past year. We have seven free online courses available on Coursera right now, and two with EdX, covering music business, music production, songwriting, guitar, vocal production, and even a Gary Burton improvisation course.” Continue reading on the full panel post linked below.

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2014/12/mike-king-course-author-instructor-cmo-instructor-berklee-online-looks-back-on-2014.html

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Internet of things: Impact on learning and knowledge management

Monday, December 29th, 2014

By: Uma Ganesh, Financial Express

Internet of Things (IoT) is being viewed as the next big disruptor that would change the way businesses are transacted, customer needs are identified and serviced. The IoT refers to communication between ‘things’ containing embedded technology connected via wireless networks without the need for human interfaces. It is important to note that the number of objects connected to the Internet—including smartphones has already exceeded the number of people on earth. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion wireless devices connected to the Internet by 2020.Internet of Things (IoT) is being viewed as the next big disruptor that would change the way businesses are transacted, customer needs are identified and serviced. The IoT refers to communication between ‘things’ containing embedded technology connected via wireless networks without the need for human interfaces. It is important to note that the number of objects connected to the Internet—including smartphones has already exceeded the number of people on earth. According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion wireless devices connected to the Internet by 2020.

http://www.financialexpress.com/article/industry/tech/internet-of-things-impact-on-learning-and-knowledge-management/21816/

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The Changing Framework of Online Learning

Monday, December 29th, 2014

By Janet Burns, PSFK

Regardless, perhaps, of which platform an educator chooses, the question of how effective online learning strategies are remains pivotal to both educators and platform suppliers. Addressing the online learning industry as a whole, recent studies do indicate growing student success rates with online platforms, whether used as supplementary tools or self-contained courses. Earlier this year, MIT physicist David Pritchard and a team of researchers released their findings from a study of Pritchard’s online Mechanics ReView course, which he taught parallel to a traditional, in-person version. As Pope noted, the study concluded that the MOOC version was effective at communicating such difficult material as Newtonian mechanics, “even to students who weren’t MIT caliber,” and that progress from online students mirrored the curve of in-person learners.

http://www.psfk.com/2014/12/changing-framework-online-learning.html

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Eduventures Reveals Top Predictions for Higher Education

Monday, December 29th, 2014

by Eduventures

Eduventure analysts have highlighted six predictions that will most impact the higher education landscape in 2015.

1.    Competency-based direct assessment will pick up steam

2.    Higher ed spending on information technology will exceed $45 billion.

3.    Online learning will grow modestly.

4.    Debt will bubble over.

See the URL for more:

http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2014/12/23/eduventures-reveals-top-predictions-higher-education

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Instructor Utilization Of Podcasts In The Online Learning Environment

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

by Supawan Supanakorn-Davila and Doris U. Bolliger, JOLT

The utilization of podcasts in online learning environments has become common in higher education. The study examined how instructors used podcasts to deliver instructional material and instructors’ experiences with the use of podcasts in online courses. Twenty-five instructors who taught fully online courses at a research university in the United States completed the Instructional Use of Podcasts Survey. Instructors utilized different file types for a variety of purposes in their courses. Instructors shared several benefits and issues pertaining to podcast use in online teaching. Results provide the field with a better understanding of instructors’ use of podcasts and offer guidance to those who may consider the utilization of podcasts in online courses.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no3/Supanakorn-Davila_0914.pdf

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Instructor Intervention on the Quality and Frequency of Student Discussion Posts in a Blended Classroom

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

by Cheryl A. Murphy and Russell A. Fortner, JOLT

This quasi-experimental study examined the impact of structured instructor postings on the participation and performance of student discussion groups in a blended classroom. Undergraduate students enrolled in an instructional technology course were assigned to either a treatment (instructor postings; n=97) or control group (no instructor postings; n=98) for three distinct discussion topics spanning a six-week period. A crossover design was used to control for timing and instructor biases. Resulting student posts from all three discussions were compared between the groups with respect to quality and frequency. The findings suggested that although students received equal quality scores in both situations, different posting strategies were utilized in the presence or absence of instructor posts. Further research is needed to explore specific strategies students employ when posting with and without instructor intervention, and to consider how this knowledge can be used by instructors to support students in online discussions.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no3/Murphy_0914.pdf

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13 higher ed tech tools and approaches to watch in 2015

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

By Keith Button, Education Dive

Higher education technology businesses can get lost in the weeds after their launch has passed and they’re no longer in the startup or seed funding mode. College administrators and their IT staffs can labor in relative anonymity as they try to improve their learning technology and approaches for students. Sometimes recognition through awards, or top 10 or 20 lists, can supply just what a company needs for a marketing boost or what a college needs to shine a light on its progress. Here are 13 ed tech tools and approaches from companies and institutions that you should keep on your radar due to their recent recognition.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/13-higher-ed-tech-tools-and-approaches-to-watch-in-2015/336102/

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Big Idea 2015: Online Learning Must Gain Full Acceptance

Saturday, December 27th, 2014
by Julie Benesh, Pulse
Opinions vary, but online learning, despite its popularity, is still stigmatized. I tend to forget this as I interact in my bubble with hundred of online learners and instructors on a daily basis. Then I am caught up short by a joke, a remark, an editorial that jars me back into the realization that the characterizations above are all in play and have an effect on the realization of online learning’s potential. Some commentators distrust virtuality itself. They are not fans of, say telecommuting, either.They need to see and be seen to believe anything is happening, forgetting that most of what is happening that impacts our lives we don’t observe directly and synchronously.  Many social changes happen gradually, suddenly. May 2015 be the year that online learning gets its due, for the benefit of learners, employers, and society.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-idea-2015-online-learning-must-gain-full-benesh-phd-mfa-sphr
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4 ways to ensure your university app connects with students

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

By Dan Friedman, eCampusNews

Program director gives best practices on how to design with students in mind for optimal engagement. There is no doubt that today’s college student is tech-obsessed, with some studies citing that students are carrying on average seven devices around campus. In order to meet students where they are, we educators need to go mobile. To succeed, however, we have to do this in a way that meets the young person’s desires for functionality and the institutions need for sharing important content. Plus the design also needs to be cool.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/app-design-students-018/

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Teaching, Learning and the College Ratings Framework

Saturday, December 27th, 2014
by Patricia McGuire, Huffington Post
USDE has now declared learning outcomes impossible to consider in its framework for establishing ratings on the quality and value of institutions of higher education. Instead, reverting to the outmoded academic practice of determining quality through inputs, the Department’s metrics are heavy on inputs data about the economic profile of students (highlighting the percentage of Pell Grantees in the student body is like counting books in the library) but short on true learning outcomes (the seriously flawed federal graduation rate measuring seat time in one place is a surrogate for the question of whether students have actually learned anything). By dismissing the primary work of colleges and universities — teaching and learning — as impossible to measure across institutions, the proposed framework exposes the utter folly of the Administration’s plan to impose some kind of generic rating system on the thousands of disparate institutions of higher education in this nation.
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What MOOCs Teach Us

Friday, December 26th, 2014

by Daphne Koller, Technology Review

One early prediction about MOOCs was that they would undermine or even replace the traditional college education—an idea we at Coursera never endorsed. And it hasn’t happened—only 15 percent of our current learners are college age. How do we create an educational experience suited to this very different population? First, we can share our knowledge about learner interests with our university partners, who can experiment with new courses, new subject areas, and hands-on projects that align with problem-­solving in real-world settings. We also need to find the right delivery method. Working adults have many demands on their time; they have to structure their learning around their lives, rather than the other way around. For this reason, we’re making the transition to an on-demand model that lets people engage with the content at their own pace. Finally, we need to educate people on the value of this new type of credential.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/533361/what-moocs-teach-us/

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UTEP to launch more online degrees

Friday, December 26th, 2014

by Lindsey Anderson, El Paso Times

More University of Texas at El Paso degree programs will be available online next year through a partnership with an private publishing company. UTEP is now accepting applications for the 13 online degree programs it has developed with international educational publishing company, Pearson. Most of the programs will launch in May. UTEP officials aim to enroll 5,000 students in the programs over the next five years, said Mike Smith, vice provost and dean of UTEP’s Extended University. “They’re our classes taught by our faculty; we’re just leveraging some class design expertise from Pearson.”

http://www.elpasotimes.com/news/ci_27178934/utep-launch-more-online-degrees

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Using Games in Online Education: Is it a Winning Strategy?

Friday, December 26th, 2014

by Phu Vu, Sherry R. Crow, Scott Fredrickson; OJDLA

This study examined the impact of adding game elements on students’ performances in an online learning setting. Two intact online graduate level course sections were chosen for this study. Each course sections had 18 students. The results of the study showed that there were significant differences in the time students spent in their courses and the number of posts between the course section with the game elements (treatment group) and the course section with the traditional design. However, there was no significant difference in grades students achieved in the course section with the game elements and the course section with the traditional design. The study was concluded with discussions and suggestions for further studies.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter174/vu_crow_fredrickson174.html

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From Needs Assessment to Communities of Practice for Online Continuing-Education Programming

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

by Alaina Feltenberger Beaver, Fenimore Johnson, Caroline Sinkinson; OJDLA

This study identifies the professional development needs of instructors teaching online using quantitative and qualitative methods. Twenty-six participants from a convenience sample at the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Division of Continuing Education (CE) were surveyed in a Faculty Needs Assessment (FNA) that was open to participants from September to October of 2013, and six of those participants self-selected into an open focus group interview in November 2013. Survey participants were asked questions about skills and knowledge gaps, learning preferences, and other support needed to help advance their professional development. Focus group participants were interviewed to provide further detail about the themes that emerged from the survey. The findings revealed specific pedagogy and technology training needs, platform preferences for the delivery of training and community engagement, and barriers to professional development. The results of the study provide direction on designing a learning and performance strategy to meet instructors’ professional development needs.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter174/beaver_johnson_sinkinson174.html

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Exploring the Relationship between Military Service and Performance in Online Classes

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

by Guy H. Downs & Dorothy K. McAllen, OJDLA

Universities have witnessed the consistent growth of increased college-level distance education programs with 32 percent of all students having taken at least one online course (Allen & Seaman, 2013). Key to this continued growth, however, is understanding the factors that contribute to the greatest growth and success in these programs. Researchers have identified a growing sub-population of non-traditional students – military Veterans, where universities have specifically seen a dramatic growth in enrollment (Lighthall, 2012). This study examined the relationship between military service and academic performance in distance learning courses offered entirely online. We conducted an Ordinary Least-Squares (OLS) regression, using grade point average in online classes as the dependent variable and Veteran status as the explanatory variable, and found that Veteran status has a positive, statistically significant relationship with academic performance in the online classroom.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter174/downs_mcallen174.html

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Distance Education Readiness Assessments: An Overview and Application

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

by Carolyn Gascoigne & Juliette Parnell, OJDLA

With the rise in online and hybrid courses at the post-secondary level, many institutions are offering various online learning readiness assessments to students who are considering these instructional formats. Following a discussion of the characteristics often attributed to successful online learners, as well as a review of a sample of the publicly available online readiness surveys, an application of one representative tool is described. Specifically, the Distance Education Aptitude and Readiness Scale was administered in both hybrid and face-to-face sections of beginning post-secondary French across a two-year span. Differences in scores between groups, as well as the relationship between scores and grades are examined.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/winter174/gascoigne_parnell174.html

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