Instructional Design Strategies for Intensive Online Courses: An Objectivist-Constructivist Blended Approach

July 16th, 2014

by Sue-Jen Chen, JIOL

Due to the time constraints of intensive online courses, instructional design strategies should be modified in order to retain the quality of learning without reducing the quantity of the course content. This paper presents how a blended approach combining objectivist and constructivist instructional strategies was used in the design of an intensive summer online course in the context of a support-based online learning environment. The implementation results revealed that students had a positive learning experience in the course and were highly satisfied with their learning outcomes.

http://www.ncolr.org/issues/jiol/v13/n1/3

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E-Learning Creates Value for Everyone

July 16th, 2014

by Monkey Mike, Degree Jungle

E-Learning is the current trend in turning the collegiate system itself into a business, and the movement is making headway around the planet. Today, striving for-profit companies and accredited universities identify that web-based education and learning can enhance their earnings ten-fold. A multitude of systems are presently being used to deliver academic training on the Internet. With potentials in design improvements, e-Learning has reinvented the concept of online education. Twenty years ago, exposure to web-based courses and accredited degree programs was confined to the lucky few who resided in industrial nations. However, today’s learners, even those found in the most isolated parts of the world, have the ability to locate online courses through sites like Degree Jungle and earn their diplomas from a well-known university.

http://www.degreejungle.com/blog/entry/online-education-e-learning-creates-value-for-everyone

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First Million Coursera Words Translated Into Russian Using Crowdsourcing

July 16th, 2014

by ABBYY Language Platform

Participants in the Coursera crowdsourcing project for translation into Russian have reached the milestone of one million words translated. Almost 5,000 volunteers are currently working to translate Coursera lectures into Russian. The project was launched on March 24, 2014 by ABBYY Language Services, an official language partner of Coursera. The project is also part of the Coursera Global Translation Community of dedicated volunteers, working together to provide translations for Coursera-hosted courses.

http://www.pr.com/press-release/566608

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How to Overcome Challenges to Complete an Online Degree

July 15th, 2014

by Dawn Reiss, US News

Completion rates for online students are tough to track, since the U.S. Department of Education only began looking at the issue recently, but many instructors and school leaders say the numbers are low. A 2013 study by Babson Survey Research Group found that that 41 percent of chief academic officers reported “that retaining students was a greater problem for online courses than for face-to-face courses.” That’s because many students who start their online degree drop out in the first two or three weeks, says Betty Vandenbosch, provost for Kaplan University, which allows its students to come to school for the first three weeks for free. “Online education is fabulous, but it’s not for everybody,” Vandenbosch says. “Some people don’t realize how much effort it takes. Many of the people who don’t finish barely start.”

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2014/07/04/how-to-overcome-challenges-to-complete-an-online-degree

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Lehigh Valley liberal arts colleges warm up to online education

July 15th, 2014

by Meghan Moravcik Walbert, The Morning Call

This summer, Muhlenberg is offering its first fully online course — in astronomy — and educators are working to create blended versions of two other courses, in religion and art history. Moravian just landed a spot in a consortium of colleges that got an $800,000 grant to explore and compare online teaching methods. All six of the Lehigh Valley’s private colleges, including Cedar Crest College, Lehigh University and DeSales University, will spend the summer creating a plan to develop ways to incorporate digital technology in the classroom. “This is a timely moment,” Lafayette President Alison Byerly said in announcing a $25,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation that will fund the effort. Private colleges’ foray into online learning world has been slow in coming.

http://articles.mcall.com/2014-07-04/news/mc-liberal-arts-colleges-online-courses-20140704_1_arts-colleges-private-colleges-online-education

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INFOGRAPHIC: 10 tips for online course design

July 15th, 2014

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

New infographics reveal advice for designing online courses; tablet-friendly material. According to recent studies, blended and fully-online courses are reaching almost every college and university in the country, with students craving more flexible and personalized learning. But as many faculty are coming to understand, an effective online course is more than just pasting information on a website.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/online-course-design-573/print/
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Apps vs Web Tools: Key Factoids To Know About Both Options

July 14th, 2014

By Katie Lepi, Edudemic

Using smartphones and tablets in the classroom isn’t necessarily innovative anymore. For some schools it is the norm, still others are just jumping on the bandwagon of using mobile devices (both in BYOD environments and in scenarios where schools supply the technology). That isn’t to say that a lot of classrooms aren’t using desktop and laptop computers anymore, but a lot of data is pointing to the fact that apps are the future, not the web. The handy infographic linked below takes a look at some interesting statistics on apps vs. web tools.

http://www.edudemic.com/apps-graphic/

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Report Examines Why Students Pursue Online Education

July 14th, 2014

By Vanessa Denice, US News

“A large majority of students pursuing online degrees and certificates are doing so for employment-related reasons,” the report states. “They want full-time jobs, new jobs, better jobs, or need more training for their current jobs. Within a year of graduation, about 40% report improvement in their employment status, typically a raise or promotion.” The study also identified several other factors that influence a student’s college decisions – as well as a few aspects that are no longer as important. For example, the report found that more students are enrolling in online programs from academic institutions further from home. In 2014, only 54% of online students were participating in a program within 100 miles of their home, compared to 69% in 2013 and 80% in 2012.

http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/report-examines-why-students-pursue-online-educati_14099.aspx

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Udacity’s Nanodegrees: Edtech’s Challenge To College Credentials?

July 14th, 2014

by BERNADETTE TANSEY, Xconomy

Sometime next year, an AT&T executive may be sitting at a desk, trying to decide whether to hire that computer science major from a good college—or a whip-smart high school graduate who just passed five or six courses on mobile iOS development from an online catalog. The value of the college grad’s four-year degree will be backed up by a longstanding higher education establishment that includes universities themselves, as well as the independent accrediting agencies that oversee the quality of their instruction. The high school grad will hold a new kind of credential called a nanodegree, whose value has been vouched for by AT&T itself; the company designed the online coursework in partnership with educational technology startup Udacity.

http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2014/07/02/udacitys-nanodegrees-edtechs-challenge-to-college-credentials/

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The Future Internet Is Not So Free Or Open, In Pew’s New Survey

July 13th, 2014

By ELISE HU, WUWF

What we know as the World Wide Web — the main way by which most of us access the Internet — just turned 25 this year. Its existence has allowed for all kinds of learning and free expression, coding and making, rule-breaking and platform-making. One American researcher even links the Internet to a decline in religious affiliation. An estimated 5 billion of us are expected to have Internet access in the next decade, but what will the Internet look like then? How easily will we be able to get, share and create with it? The Pew Research Center reached out to more than 1,400 tech industry leaders and academics, asking about the basic way the Internet will function come 2025.

http://wuwf.org/post/future-internet-not-so-free-or-open-pews-new-survey

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4 Tips for Getting to Know the Blended Instructional Model

July 13th, 2014

by Victor Small, Jr; Edutopia

The days of talking at students are finally over. I recall many a college class filled to the brim with students feverishly taking down notes, as our professor talked at us. Sounds familiar? Probably. Recently, I finished my Masters degree in what was a new environment for me: blended classes. The experience allowed me to further communicate with my colleagues and classmates in a manner that I hadn’t been accustomed to. Instead of reading each other’s notes and organizing study groups, we were posting in wikis and responding to discussion board posts. Instead of learning focused on facts and statistics that we needed to figure out how to memorize, our learning was focused on what we could do with the information presented.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/getting-to-know-blended-learning-victor-small

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16 OER Sites Every Educator Should Know

July 13th, 2014

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Open educational resources not only save students from triple-digit (or more!) textbook costs, but they also allow instructors to mix-and-match content for a more personalized, engaging learning experience. Here are 16 resources that offer a wide range of content and tools to help implement OER in just about any course.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/07/02/16-oer-sites-every-educator-should-know.aspx

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Android App and New Courses from Udacity

July 12th, 2014

by Sue Gee, iProgrammer

Udacity now has an Android version of its app that lets you study its online courses on your smartphone. There also a new course on developing your own apps for Android.  All Udacity courses are now available on Android for the first time, in a classroom specifically built and optimized for touch. You can stream lectures wherever your Android device goes, and test yourself with quick and fun quizzes and you learn on the go. One course that would seem very suitable to study in this way is Developing Android Apps: Android Fundamentals, an advanced 8-week course (assuming 6 hours per week) in which you’ll: “Build a cloud-connected Android app, and learn the tools, principles, and best practices of mobile and Android development that you’ll apply to your own projects.” This course is one of four new additions to the Udacity Course Catalog all of which are being developed in collaboration with Google.

http://www.i-programmer.info/news/150-training-a-education/7491-new-courses-and-android-app-from-udacity-.html

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Study: Online ED learning resources must clearly demonstrate value

July 12th, 2014

by Susan D. Hall, Fierce Health IT

The authors urged caution in implementing such online resources. “New opportunities must fill a clearly defined need, be value-added, and enhance clinical practice through consolidating and simplifying existing resources,” they said. However, a German study did find that apps that promote reflection–a type of informal learning on the job–boosted job satisfaction among hospital staff. The study’s 21 employees from the Stroke Unit, in particular, indicated that they discussed their work as a team more often after using the apps. A recently designed simulation game developed by Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing, Baylor Scott & White Health and University of Texas at Dallas aims to teach doctors and nurses how to work more collaboratively and avoid conflicts in order to prevent dangerous or sometimes fatal miscommunications. The simulation teaches doctors and nurses to work together, helping them avert tense situations in the real world by playing them out in the game.

http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/study-online-ed-learning-resources-must-clearly-demonstrate-value/2014-06-30

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Bing Delivers New Textbook And Online Course Search

July 12th, 2014

By Edwin Kee, Ubergizmo

Microsoft’s Bing search page has been updated in time for summer. In fact, a couple of new features have been unveiled along the way which will come in handy for folks who are on the lookout for online courses as well as recently published reading materials. The results will be displayed automatically in the side pane, which will be more natural to the human eye to read and figure out. A user will be able to perform a search for books while seeing the results appear over in the side pane. Just how is this going to be different from a standard search? Well, the side pane will show up an excerpt from the book, in addition to a link to a location where the book itself can be downloaded, alongside locations of where the title will be made available for loan for students (or interested parties) to borrow.

http://www.ubergizmo.com/2014/06/bing-textbook-online-course-search/

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Digital Feedback

July 11th, 2014

By Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

The University of Illinois at Springfield has tracked the impact of kudos on student performance. Officials there said they had seen a positive correlation on students’ grade point averages if they received the notifications in their first two semesters. The initial research suggests kudos have to be sustained to make a difference, said Karen Moranski, the university’s associate vice chancellor for undergraduate education. And getting them from different faculty members appears to be particularly helpful.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/06/27/starfishs-retention-software-includes-both-early-alerts-and-kudos#sthash.6tXvRf4g.qNFJWXaE.dpbs

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Students Say They Are More Motivated in Digital Learning Environments than Traditional Ones

July 11th, 2014

by Blackboard and Project Tomorrow

Students in digital learning environments are more interested in what they are learning in school, more motivated to do well, and feel a stronger connection to their school than students in traditional, face-to-face classes, according to a report released today from Blackboard and Project Tomorrow . The study also found that boys are more likely than girls to take online classes. The report found that nearly 50 percent of virtual high school students say they were interested in what they were learning in school, while only 32 percent of traditional high school students said the same. A similar disconnect exists in terms of motivation to do well with more than one-third of virtual school students saying they are motivated because they like school. Only a quarter of traditional school students say the same.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwgeeks/article/Students-Say-They-Are-More-Motivated-in-Digital-Learning-Environments-than-Traditional-Ones-20140630

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New U Wisconsin MOOCs to Focus on Environmental and Community Themes

July 11th, 2014

by University of Wisconsin-Madison

It was Aldo Leopold — the 20th century conservationist, father of wildlife management and former University of Wisconsin faculty member, who once said, “There are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other and the relation of people to the land.” Beginning in 2015, UW-Madison will take Leopold’s words to heart by offering six Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on topics ranging from Shakespeare’s dramas and the digital humanities, to understanding Leopold’s land ethic, to the relationship between climate change and public health. A shared theme of sustainability and the environment will connect the six courses, including the course on Virtual Shakespeare, which will explore four Shakespearean dramas and incorporate environmental readings of the plays.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/620082/?sc=rsln

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Why you should embrace MOOCs with gusto

July 10th, 2014

by Michael Curry, Training Zone

MOOCs can reach mass markets at disruptive price-points where universities only need to charge for assessment, certification or value-added services. This also opens up new market segments for them, such as employers. In addition, technology pioneers such as Google and also mobile operators can contribute to educational infrastructure as part of their strategy to be omnipresent for all technology-enabled consumer interactions. Corporates and employers, including Barclays, Microsoft, O2, can also leverage the opportunity to sponsor, drive and fund initiatives that have a calculated return in terms of brand building and corporate social responsibility whilst professional bodies such as the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM), can extend into international markets. Here, these associations can encourage new recruits into a career-long professional journey of learning, development and support.

http://www.trainingzone.co.uk/feature/moocs-gusto/187174

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Academics call for guidelines on use of online learners’ data

July 10th, 2014

by Times Higher Ed

Guidelines to ensure the ethical use of data gathered from online learners need to be developed, to prevent the misuse of personal information, a group of academics has said. Delegates at the Asilomar Convention for Learning Research in Higher Education, which took place in California earlier this month, have produced a framework to promote the appropriate use of both learners’ personal information, and any research based on their activity. The document states that six principles should inform the collection, storage, distribution and analysis of information gathered from people who engage with online learning resources such as massive open online courses.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/academics-call-for-guidelines-on-use-of-online-learners-data/2014194.article

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Librarians: unsung heroes of the digital age

July 10th, 2014
by the Chicago Tribune
Libraries and the professionals who staff them have risen to meet the needs of a constantly changing digital environment, shifting from gatekeeper of information to educator, a role that extends well beyond the college campus.  Today’s librarians support users by providing access to electronic resources and instructing those who may be unfamiliar with how to use the varied formats in which these resources may exist.  As they experience more new forms of technology, librarians have to stay on the forefront of how these technologies work and how they impact the flow of information.  “Libraries continue to be epicenters of knowledge,” says Anita Norton, director of the online library at Excelsior College. “Online students, for example, rightfully expect and should have access to the same resources and services available as their peers at brick and mortar institutions.  It has always been a responsibility of librarians to ensure that everyone has equal access to information and in the digital age libraries have to be creative and proactive in their outreach to all users.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/special/adsections/aranet/chi-ara-8080820305-20140627,0,3077611.story
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