Udacity Will No Longer Offer Free Certificates

April 18th, 2014
by Steve Kolowich, Chronicle of Higher Ed
Udacity hopes the certificates it offers to people who complete its massive open online courses are worth something. Now the company plans to charge students accordingly. “Discontinuing the ‘free’ certificates has been one of the most difficult decisions we’ve made,” wrote Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s founder, in a blog post about the policy change. So far Udacity has given students who complete a MOOC the option of downloading a free certificate. But lately the company has been designing courses that combine the promise of instructional rigor with premium services to create tuition-based offerings. Those “full” courses cost $150 per month and include contact with human coaches, project-based assignments, and job-placement services.
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Online speech therapy meets a number of schools’ and students’ needs

April 18th, 2014

by Laura Devaney, eSchool News

Speech-therapyOnline learning extends educational opportunities to a number of different student groups, and those needing special interventions are able to benefit from expanded learning opportunities, too. One fast-growing online intervention is online speech therapy, which connects students with highly-qualified speech therapists who might not otherwise be accessible to students, whether due to geographical limitations or funding issues.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/04/09/online-speech-therapy-745/

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Online learning: tutors at your fingertips

April 18th, 2014

by the Telegraph

The Tutors’ Association – launched in October to regulate this burgeoning industry – is also turning its attention to the emerging online sector. And so, it seems, are many parents. Online tutoring service Tutorhub, which has more than 5,000 students and 700 tutors on its books, has been among those at the receiving end of parents’ attention. “We’ve seen a 500 per cent growth in demand over the last 12 months, across every subject imaginable, at every level – especially from students in rural areas,” says its founder, Jon Ellis. “With an online teaching hub you can offer a lot of specialist knowledge that students aren’t going to be able to find locally.” And the price of this knowledge – imparted by teachers, lecturers, examiners and Oxbridge graduates – averages £20 per hour. It’s a similar story for MyTutorWeb. Since its launch last year, this online service has enabled 3,500 tutoring sessions, delivered by Oxbridge and Russell Group university students at £17 an hour. On most days it signs up six new parents in search of tutors.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationadvice/10741448/Online-learning-tutors-at-your-fingertips.html

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Minnesota students and instructors are developing an online platform similar to a MOOC

April 17th, 2014

By Taylor Nachtigal, Minnesota Daily

As the nature of higher education evolves from traditional classrooms to online, a group of graduate and professional students want to ensure the University of Minnesota follows the trend. Some students and instructors are working with the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly to develop an online platform for graduate and professional students to pool their knowledge and expertise to address common, University-wide problems. The website will work similarly to a MOOC, or massive open online course, and serve as a virtual learning platform that allows people to connect anytime to explore shared interests or solve common problems. “The nature of knowledge is changing,” said Christiane Reilly, a Ph.D. student who is consulting project leaders. “Younger generations are used to solving problems by looking up information on the Internet when they have a problem.”

http://www.mndaily.com/news/campus/2014/04/08/gapsa-develops-online-platform

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Facial Biometrics Replacing Passwords in Online Learning

April 17th, 2014

by FindBiometrics

Biometrics have a very special place in multilingual deployment scenarios. The human body speaks its own universal language of identity. We have seen this particularly benefit the healthcare industry through field deployments that leverage fingerprint biometrics to better keep track of health records regardless of language or literacy barriers. Now, we are beginning to see this philosophy applied to the space of online learning. Biometric ID and motion analysis specialist KeyLemon SA announced yesterday that it has partnered with Swissteach AG in order to bring facial recognition sign-on to the Global Teach online learning management system. Currently a supplemental level of logical access security, the resultant demo solution uses 20 points of facial data to guard sensitive information.

http://findbiometrics.com/facial-biometrics-replacing-passwords-in-online-learning/

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Online courses, gateway to limitless knowledge

April 17th, 2014

by ASHIK GURUNG, Republica

KATHMANDU, April 07: In the heart of every scholar’s woes is their never-ending thirst for knowledge; the constant ‘need to know all’ basis and the burning desire to challenge the mind to higher analytical thinking and problem solving skills. To add to their distress, complications arise when they cannot find the required resources to quench their thirst: lack of teachers, overcrowded classrooms, exorbitant fees, missing books, unavailable courses; the list just goes on and on. But with the recent evolution of high-tech gadgets, these scholars can seek solace in the newly found panacea for their difficulties – online courses.

http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=72424

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Online students can’t help being sociable

April 16th, 2014

By Sean Coughlan, BBC

It was a revolution moving higher education from bricks to clicks… and now it’s started to go back to bricks again. Online university providers, which offered people the chance to study from home, are turning full circle by creating a network of learning centres where students can meet and study together. Instead of demolishing the dusty old classrooms of academia, the online university revolution is responsible for opening some new ones. Coursera, a major California-based provider of online courses, is creating an international network of “learning hubs”, where students can follow these virtual courses in real-life, bricks and mortar settings. And there are thousands of meet-ups in cafes and libraries where students get together to talk about their online courses.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26925463

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What Recruiters Need to Know About EdTech–and the Expanding Talent Pool

April 16th, 2014

By ADAM VACCARO, INC

Fresh takes on education aren’t just about disrupting an ancient industry or helping people grow their skill set. Most of the focus on innovations in education–MOOCs, for starters, but also less formal online learning communities like Codecademy or Lynda–tend to focus on two things: the looming disruption of traditional education and the opportunity for just about anybody to sharpen their skills. A sometimes overlooked element of the industry, however, is the access it affords employers and recruiters to the skills of the broader talent pool. That’s the driving force behind recruiting Aquent’s MOOC program, Aquent Gymnasium. The recruiting company launched the program in 2012 with a business model that puts companies at the center of the movement.

http://www.inc.com/adam-vaccaro/edtech-recruiting.html

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The Right Model for Live Online Classes

April 16th, 2014

by James W. Pennebaker and Sam Gosling, Inside Higher Ed

In 2012, we started teaching our Introductory Psychology course as a live online course. It was like a MOOC but was broadcast to 1,000 students who saw it in real time. One challenge of building a SMOC (a synchronous massive online class) was how to define the nature of the relationship we would have with students. The choice was to teach the class as a regular stand-up lecture or to try something more akin to a TV show.

http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/right-model-live-online-classes

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Employers like MOOCs — if they know what one is

April 15th, 2014

By Jake New, Editor, eCampus News

MOOCs-employers-studentsEmployers are fans of massive open online courses (MOOCs), according to a new study by researchers at Duke University and RTI International. But many first had to have the concept explained to them. “We were interested in exploring how employers viewed MOOCs in terms of whether they would make a difference in hiring decisions or how they might be used for recruiting talent,” said Laura Horn, the RTI’s site principal investigator. The study, funded by the Gates Foundation, was based on a survey of more than 100 human resource professionals from North Carolina employers. About 70 percent of the respondents had never heard of a MOOC before. Once they had a working definition, however, the majority of participants said they were receptive to using MOOCs in hiring decisions. They especially liked the idea of using MOOCs for professional development training.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/employers-like-moocs-004/

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An E-Portfolio With No Limits

April 15th, 2014

By David Raths, Campus Technology

Students at the University of Mary Washington build their academic identities on their own personal Web domain. As many universities look to certifications, badges and e-portfolios as vehicles to allow students to demonstrate their achievements and skills, another movement has begun to surface on campus: a personal web domain for each student. At the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, VA), this academic year has seen the evolution of a blogging platform used by faculty and staff into a Web-hosting space where students can use an array of tools to build their own academic identities, with no limits. And the idea is catching on: Since UMW started its project, Davidson College (NC) has received a Mellon Grant to work on digital curriculum, including individual student domains, and Emory University (GA) is piloting the student domain concept in a writing program.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/04/02/an-e-portfolio-with-no-limits.aspx

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Is Google Eyeing a Satellite Startup? – Analyst Blog

April 15th, 2014

By Zacks.com

Rumor has it that Google Inc. is looking to acquire Skybox Imaging, a startup that manufactures satellites and deploys data analytics services to companies. According to TechCrunch, this move follows Facebook ’s recent announcement regarding the acquisition of Connectivity Lab, a plan to connect the world with Internet access using drones and satellites.

http://www.nasdaq.com/article/is-google-eyeing-a-satellite-startup-analyst-blog-cm342411

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In conversation with: Sebastian Thrun, CEO, Udacity

April 14th, 2014

By Adam Lashinsky, CNN Money

Sebastian Thrun wears many hats: Stanford professor. Google robotics tinkerer. And now, chief executive of online learning pioneer Udacity. The venture capital-backed company in Silicon Valley had a rough start trying to work with San Jose State University, a failed experiment that looked somewhat like higher education organ rejection. It has re-tooled with a “freemium” model of offering skills-based classes for free, working with engineering-oriented companies, and charging for mentoring services. The vast majority of students we have right now are young professionals. The vast majority are actually in jobs right now. That’s the demographics. We have about a third U.S., two-thirds international, and they find themselves in situations where they need specific job skills. These are people that just understand learning is important. These are life-long learners.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2014/04/10/in-conversation-with-sebastian-thrun-ceo-udacity/

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Interest in Wyoming online education increases

April 14th, 2014

BY LEAH TODD, Casper Star-Tribune

Classes taught online or via video conferencing bring education to places in the state where a community college may be dozens of miles away. The increasing trend is due to colleges updating their technology infrastructure – new servers, monitors and cameras – and more students and teachers learning about the online option, Rose said. “More people, more educators, more faculty are seeing they can do this,” he said. “They can actually teach online.” The Wyoming Department of Enterprise Technology is working on a new bandwidth project to overhaul Wyoming’s Internet connections. A project like that can only benefit the community colleges’ online outreach, Rose said. Like Wyoming community colleges, the Casper-based UW Outreach School says online and distance education is important to expanding their reach across the state.

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/04/06/3587538/interest-in-wyoming-online-education.html

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Taught by the web: tomorrow’s doctors are being educated online

April 14th, 2014

by Harry Slater, the Guardian

Online communities can be great resources and a means of communication to assist medical students and junior doctors. The internet can make studying to be a doctor easier, if you know where to access the right resources. More importantly, the internet is effectively addressing the flaws of traditional offline learning. Online learning adds variety, too. Medical students from all over the country who are taught in different ways can exchange methods. Similarly, it’s an opportunity to share clinical experience that some students – because of the way their course works – won’t always be familiar with. For example, you may have only a little GP contact and then, in your third year, be sent straight to work on wards. Sophie adds that there is the opportunity for follow-up when the scenario finishes. “There’s a chance to say ‘this is what you should have been thinking’ and ‘here’s where you could have saved the situation.’” Afterwards, tweets from the discussion are grouped together using Storify and depending on the case, additional notes are provided.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/feb/12/doctors-educated-online

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New trend: Students enrolling with no intention of graduating

April 13th, 2014

by eCampus News

A student at Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California, Kevin Floerke, 26, already graduated in 2010 from UCLA, where he majored in archaeology. This time, however, unlike many other people in his field, he’s not interested in getting yet another degree. He’s just trying to master a set of techniques and technologies that will help him verify the details he finds while doing fieldwork. “I’m really there to learn the program itself and be able to use it in a professional setting,” he said. Floerke, who leads tours for the National Geographic Society, is part of a group of students known as “skill builders,” who are using conventional colleges in an unconventional way: not to obtain degrees, but simply to learn specific kinds of expertise without spending time or money on courses they don’t think they need.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/students-skills-degrees-565/

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Online at Community Colleges

April 13th, 2014

Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed

Online enrollment continued to grow at community colleges in 2013, even as many two-year institutions saw overall enrollment stagnate or drop, according to a report released Sunday by the Instructional Technology Council. The council released its annual report on online education at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges, with which it is affiliated. In 2013, the 142 distance education officials who responded to the survey reported that their online enrollments were up by 5.2 percent over the previous year. That increase is smaller than those of the three previous years, going back chronologically, 6.5 percent, 8.2 percent, and 9 percent. But those increases came in years in which community colleges were reporting increases in both in-person and online enrollments, which is no longer the case this year.

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/07/study-finds-slower-online-growth-community-colleges-growth-nonetheless

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MOOCs: the Next Evolution in (corporate) E-Learning?

April 13th, 2014

by Gary Kranz, Workforce

Industry observers believe MOOCs will follow an adoption path similar to that of e-learning, which likewise germinated within universities before being embraced by corporations. “There could be a huge demand for MOOCs as the corporate content market gets consolidated. If companies are able to get low-cost to free learning content through a MOOC, they’ll be interested,” said Josh Bersin, president of research firm Bersin by Deloitte. Hall doesn’t speculate on when MOOCs might go mainstream. His focus is on the videos that should enable Marek Bros. to boost its bottom line. “It gives us a better idea of what our market share is and what it should be, which helps us change behavior to improve results,” Hall said. Which is what learning is all about.

http://www.workforce.com/articles/20358-moocs-the-next-evolution-in-e-learning

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1 million students to get free textbooks

April 12th, 2014

By Jaccii Barmer, eCampus News

This fall, over 1 million students will have access to the free textbook, Principles of Economics, provided by OpenStax College. Founded in 2012, OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization developed by Rice University and supported by numerous foundations, which provides free textbooks and learning materials. The organization has produced six textbooks that have been downloaded over 480,000 times, estimating students have saved about $8 million. The organization, which has been adopted by hundreds of educational institutions, works with educators to write and peer-review each textbook.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/business-news/openstax-students-textbook-234/

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Innovation, online learning helping adults go back to school

April 12th, 2014

By Austen Smith, Ann Arbor Journal

As the work force in Michigan has evolved since the manufacturing and housing crash in 2008, more adults are finding their way back to the classroom and they’re finding more flexibility in learning. The average age of students at Washtenaw Community College has been driven upwards to around 27 in recent years as the college has seen more enrollment from adult students than tradtional students coming from high school. President Dr. Rose Bellenaca says WCC is the perfect place for adults retraining in a new field. “This is the absolute best place you can retrain,” says Bellanca. “We’re an economic driver for the region. We work hand in hand with business and industry, we are able to train for a variety of jobs…this is the best place to learn for an adult.”

http://www.heritage.com/articles/2014/04/05/ann_arbor_journal/news/doc533f356843847099215608.txt

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Google Glass journalism course coming to USC

April 12th, 2014

By Jake New, eCampus News

A new course to be taught at the University of Southern California will ask students to find ways for journalists to take advantage of Google Glass. The course, which is called Glass Journalism, will begin this fall. “In this class we’re not talking about the future of journalism,” Robert Hernandez, the course’s professor, wrote on his Tumblr blog. “We’re building it.” Glass is a type of wearable computer developed by Google. A head-mounted display sits in front of the user’s right eye, allowing for voice-commanded access to the internet, a camera, and other applications. Hernandez, a well-known digital journalist, is one of a select few who were allowed to purchase an early version of the device through a Google Glass Explorer program.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/google-glass-usc-journalism-025/

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