Human connections important for online courses

May 19th, 2015

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

New research into the most effective elements of massive open online courses and other digital learning models find the human elements to be critical. eCampus News reports peer interaction improves outcomes and instructor input, through course design or the actual teaching and facilitation of course concepts, is essential. The report also covers the evolution of online course technology, discussing the currently emerging “fourth generation,” which includes adaptive learning and competency-based models, according to the article.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/human-connections-important-for-online-courses/396232/

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Moodle Gets Redesigned Navigation, User Interface Upgrade

May 18th, 2015

By Rhea Kelly, THE Journal

Moodle has unveiled version 2.9 of the open source learning platform, featuring a navigation and user interface redesign focused on ease of use for students, educators and administrators. “Our core goal is to support and improve education by making our teachers and trainers more effective, and Moodle continues its evolution in Moodle 2.9 with enhancements for users at all levels” said Martin Dougiamas, Moodle founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. “Working from the navigation overhaul specification with the input of the HQ team and community over the past 12 months, the core interface has seen some solid progress in making Moodle simple and friendlier for educators and students.”

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/05/11/moodle-fine-tunes-navigation-user-interface.aspx

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The death of classroom learning: What got us here won’t get them there

May 18th, 2015

by ARINYA TALERNGSRI, Bangkok Post

In essence, the future of leadership development not only requires a shift in mindset, but also a transformation in approach to enhance speed, outcomes and effectiveness. In other words, it should be a development method that focuses on building capability — not just competence.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/557571/the-death-of-classroom-learning-what-got-us-here-won-t-get-them-there

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Creating a Culture Conducive to Integrative Learning

May 18th, 2015

by Louis E. Newman, et al; Tomorrow’s Professor

Our experience has reinforced one overriding lesson: integrative learning is as much about pedagogy as about curriculum, as much about the culture of learning and collegiality as about specific programs. At Carleton, integrative learning thrives when faculty and staff working collaboratively and with strong administrative support see themselves as collectively responsible for the learning of their students in ways that transcend specific courses, departments, or programs. The distinctive practices of integrative learning are not self-sufficient or easily transferable from one institutional setting to another. They thrive only in a context where collaboration, risk taking, and modeling are actively fostered and rewarded.

http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/enewsletter.php?msgno=1411

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The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment: A Report on Research

May 17th, 2015

by Malcolm Brown, et al, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, EDUCAUSE explored the gaps between current learning management tools and a digital learning environment that could meet the changing needs of higher education. Consultations with more than 70 community thought leaders brought into relief the contours of a next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE). Its principal functional domains are interoperability; personalization; analytics, advising, and learning assessment; collaboration; and accessibility and universal design. Since no single application can deliver in all those domains, we recommend a “Lego” approach to realizing the NGDLE, where NGDLE-conforming components are built that allow individuals and institutions the opportunity to construct learning environments tailored to their requirements and goals.

https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli3035.pdf

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How to Make Online Learning Accessible for Students with Learning Challenges

May 17th, 2015

by Brent Betit, EdSurge

We know that students with learning disabilities may learn best in a human-mediated environment that takes into account their highly specific individual learning profile. The very best special educators adapt to a student’s learning style on the fly–a capability that computers haven’t yet acquired. So it would seem logical to question whether online education is even appropriate for students with LD. Yet I believe that a well-designed learning platform that includes multiple learning modalities could very well be superior to in-person education for someone with an LD. Based on my 30 years of experience working with students who learn differently, here are six precepts for how one could build an online learning platform that works for students with LDs:

https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-05-10-how-to-make-online-learning-accessible-for-students-with-learning-challenges

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Debt-Free College Catches On

May 17th, 2015

By Michael Stratford, Inside Higher Ed

After a concerted push over the past several months from liberals and progressive groups, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign appears to be on the cusp of embracing a debt-free college plan. The Democratic front-runner’s campaign manager promoted the idea last week during an interview on CNBC. “What voters are looking for is someone to be a champion for everyday people,” the campaign manager, Robby Mook, said. “For young people, that’s debt-free college.”

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/05/11/push-liberals-debt-free-college-gains-traction-2016-democratic-campaign

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Balancing Online Teaching Activities: Strategies for Optimizing Efficiency and Effectiveness

May 16th, 2015
by Deana M. Raffo et al, OJDLA

Increased demands in professional expectations have required online faculty to learn how to balance multiple roles in an open-ended, changing, and relatively unstructured job. In this paper, we argue that being strategic about one’s balance of the various facets of online teaching will improve one’s teaching efficiency and effectiveness. We discuss the balancing issues associated with four key online teaching facets: course design/development, delivery of the course content, assessments/feedback, and professional development. We conclude with a template for a strategic professional development plan that addresses these key facets.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring181/raffo_brinthaupt_gardner_fisher181.html

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An Investigation of Personality Traits in Relation to Job Performance of Online Instructors

May 16th, 2015

by Charles P. Holmes et al, OJDLA

This quantitative study examined the relationship between the Big 5 personality traits and how they relate to online teacher effectiveness. The primary method of data collection for this study was through the use of surveys primarily building upon the Personality Style Inventory (PSI) (Lounsbury & Gibson, 2010), a work-based personality measure, was the instrument used to assess personality measures. In addition an evaluation instrument was developed by the researchers to evaluate classroom performance across a 10-point scale. In total 115 instructors from a large predominantly online university were surveyed through Qualtrics for personality traits and then had their courses evaluated for effectiveness and quality utilizing measures based on the Quality Matters program. Using a Pearson product moment correlation coefficient, it was found that 9 personality traits were significantly correlated with online teaching performance. While the results of this study can only be seen at this point as preliminary, it does open the door to further studies to determine if online teacher training or professional development interventions should take a different approach. Ultimately, the findings of this study demonstrated that personality does play a significant role in the effectiveness of online teaching performance.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/spring181/holmes_kirwan_bova_belcher181.html

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5 Free (or Low-Cost) Tools for Flipped Learning

May 16th, 2015

By Dennis Pierce, Campus Technology

From screencasting to interactive presentations, here are some resources to get a flipped class off the ground. Flipping the classroom typically requires the use of certain technology tools, whether for recording lecture content or for orchestrating classroom discussion. Jon Bergmann, a pioneer of the flipped classroom and co-creator of FlippedClass.com, categorizes these tools into four different groups: video creation tools, like screencasting software; video hosting tools; interactive tools that help professors check for understanding and foster discussion among students; and learning management systems for tying all of this together. Some products and services perform more than one of these functions — and a few do all four.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/05/06/5-free-or-low-cost-tools-for-flipped-learning.aspx

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Do Employers Value Online Degrees?

May 15th, 2015

by Heather Brown, CBS Minnesota

Do employers look at degrees from an online university differently? Good Question. “I think they’re still trying to figure out what online degrees mean,” Paul DeBettignies, principal of Minnesota Headhunter, LLC, said. A survey by Public Agenda, a non-profit that works on education issues, found 45 percent of employers think online classes require more discipline, but 56 percent still say they’d rather have an applicant who learned in the classroom. “It comes down to the company and the manager,” Perry Wedum, Regional Vice-President of Experis, said. Mary Massad, division president of recruiting services for Insperity, a recruiting firm, says about 75 percent of her clients embrace online degrees. “My sense is that the value of a degree is still more closely tied to the reputation of the school itself, rather than the delivery method used,” Carleen Kerttula, head of program innovation at University of St. Thomas’s Opus School of Business, said.

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/05/07/good-questions-do-employers-value-online-degrees/

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Future of Online Learning at Indiana State University

May 15th, 2015

by Lauren Minor, Wasbash Valley

“We definitely are seeing growth in our online programs,” says Dean of Extended Ken Brauchle. In 2014 more than 7000 students at ISU took one or more online courses. “It allows us to serve more people without having to build more infrastructure. Having to have more residence halls, and classroom buildings and so on,” says Brauchle. More than 2000 students attend exclusively online, but most of them are considered non-traditional students who have family and/or job responsibilities.

http://www.mywabashvalley.com/story/d/story/future-of-online-learning/12922/CK6ZDyq8Ek-Sz7R1en7jrA

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Coursera CEO: Colleges will survive the online education revolution

May 15th, 2015

by John A. Byrne, Fortune

His first year on the job has been a whirlwind, putting the 68-year-old educator at the forefront of a revolution in higher education. Just this week, Coursera announced the first MOOC-based MBA degree with the University of Illinois College of Business. In February, Coursera launched a series of “specializations” in which a school offers a sequence of courses along with a capstone project. True disruption to higher education, believes Levin, will take many years and largely affect commuter colleges not known for deep engagement between students and faculty. For universities that sit on the sidelines, there could be significant consequences. Levin predicts that global rankings of universities are likely to take into account the number of people in the world touched by a university’s professors. That would make a global university’s status and prestige partly dependent on a school’s reach, which can be expanded significantly through online learning.

https://fortune.com/2015/05/07/coursera-ceo-colleges-will-survive-the-online-education-revolution/

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New Mexico, Vermont and Wyoming join SARA; National SARA board meets

May 14th, 2015

by NC-SARA

New Mexico and Wyoming have been approved by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to become members of the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA). In addition, Vermont has been approved by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) as the second state in the region to join the New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (N-SARA). These states join 20 others (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia) as members of SARA. SARA is a nationwide initiative of states that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The effort is funded by a $3 million grant from Lumina Foundation, $200,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and fees paid by institutions.

http://us3.campaign-archive1.com/?u=d33f013c3412cbcac1e8ae453&id=8d4f78e3da&e=7e8a4b699b

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Online learning is here to stay

May 14th, 2015

By Ruth Watkins,senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Utah, Deseret News

Today, three in four undergrads are considered “nontraditional” students. They may work while taking classes. They may have started families or served in the military. Or, as is often the case at my institution, the University of Utah, they may have done missionary work for as long as two years after high school. The on-campus model doesn’t work for this growing group of students. They can’t raise families in dorms. And morning classes aren’t compatible with full-time jobs.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865628125/Online-learning-is-here-to-stay.html

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Berkeley to Stop Adding Lecture Videos to YouTube, Citing Budget Cuts

May 14th, 2015

by Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Since well before MOOCs emerged, the University of California at Berkeley has been giving away recordings of its lectures on YouTube and iTunesU. In fact, Berkeley has become one of the most-generous distributors of free lectures on the web, adding some 4,500 hours of video per year. But that web channel, webcast.berkeley.edu, will soon stop adding fresh content. Last month officials announced that, because of budget cuts, the university will no longer offer new lecture recordings to the public, although the videos will still be available to students on the campus.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/berkeley-to-stop-adding-lecture-videos-to-youtube-citing-budget-cuts/56587

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‘My Degree Prepared Me For This’: Dalton State Offers New Online Degree

May 13th, 2015

by Misty Wheeler, Dalton State College

The bachelor’s degree in science in criminal justice will now be offered completely online by Dalton State through the University System of Georgia’s eMajor program. The degree is being offered online for the first time in the fall. The online degree closely follows Dalton State’s already reputable criminal justice program on campus. The College partnered with Georgia Southwestern University to offer the degree online. Students will have the opportunity to take courses all online, all on campus, or take a combination of both.

http://www.chattanoogan.com/2015/5/4/299633/My-Degree-Prepared-Me-For-This.aspx

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Seven guidelines for ensuring a better online business programme

May 13th, 2015

by Paul Hunter, Training Journal

Undoubtedly MOOCs have their place for disciplined and curious individuals with an iron will, available time and a natural predisposition to persevere. However, for time-stretched executives, juggling high-pressure professional objectives and increasingly scarce personal time, MOOCs have not provided the hoped for panacea. Expecting executive learners to stay the (online) course based on a cobbled together jumble of videos, articles and chat rooms is farfetched. In such circumstances, expecting tangible results such as measurable business impact or observed behavioural change is delusional. For virtual learning to work, providers should follow—and executives should look for—these seven guidelines:

https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/feature/seven-guidelines-ensuring-better-online-business-programme

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The Upwardly Mobile Barista

May 13th, 2015

by AMANDA RIPLEY, the Atlantic

Starbucks and Arizona State University are collaborating to help cafe workers get college degrees. Is this a model for helping more Americans reach the middle class?
 Our class-based higher-education divide explains more about America’s widening income gap than does any other single factor, according to Anthony P. Carnevale, the director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Declining union membership, frayed social services, low minimum wages—none matters as much as the unequal distribution of college degrees and certificates.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/05/the-upwardly-mobile-barista/389513/

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New Arizona State-edX MOOC: Another blow to traditional college

May 12th, 2015

by Stuart M. Butler, Brookings

Called the Global Freshman Academy, this is another important step in the revolution that is engulfing higher education. Recently Google and MOOC pioneer Coursera announced “microdegrees”, a set of online courses and a hands-on project that will essentially be the core of a low-cost degree major that will be accepted by top employers. Now ASU and edX is aiming at the package of general course requirements, enabling students to assemble an accredited set of mainly first-year classes to use at ASU or to gain credits that they can transfer to another college or university. The Global Freshman Academy is a boon to students and an existential threat to traditional state and private universities.

http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/techtank/posts/2015/05/4-asu-moocs-butler

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Effective Social Media Practices and Good Online Teaching

May 12th, 2015

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

I have this theory that if you are effective on social media then you stand a good chance of being effective in online teaching. How do these two activities go together? Two words: presence and community. The people who seem to get the most out of social media are those who dedicate themselves to being present on their platform of choice. The goal to invest in presence and achieve community are also the two hallmarks of effective online teaching. If you teach online you need be present. This does not mean answering every single discussion thread, or constantly putting up just-in-time videos to explain concepts. Rather, presence can take the form of active listening.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/effective-social-media-practices-and-good-online-teaching

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