Study Reveals that Adding Frequent Tests to Online Learning Improves Retention

January 29th, 2015

by Karl M. Kapp, ASTD/ATD

Ever wonder how to improve attention within an online lecture and how to improve an online learner’s ability to learn? One method might be to quiz them frequently. Researchers have found that by interspersing online lectures with short tests, student mind-wandering decreased by half, note-taking tripled, and overall retention of the material improved. As the researchers pointed out, without the quizzing conditions, student’s minds wandered while participating in an online course. “In our experiments, when we asked students if they were mind-wandering, they said yes roughly 40 percent of the time. It’s a significant problem.”

https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Science-of-Learning-Blog/2015/01/Study-Reveals-That-Adding-Frequent-Tests-to-Online-Learning-Improves-Retention

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Amazon launches e-textbook publisher for educators

January 29th, 2015

by eSchool News

Amazon is rolling out a new e-textbook publishing service specifically for educators. Called Kindle Direct Publishing EDU, the self-publishing platform lets teachers create texts by marking up existing PDFs, which can be turned into textbooks that can be uploaded to the platform and shared with students on a range of computers and mobile devices, such as iPads and Android tablets. “Kindle Textbook Creator makes it easy for anyone to take any PDF and create a richly featured and widely available eTextbook,” said Chuck Kronbach, Director, Kindle Direct Publishing. “We look forward to seeing how authors use the new tool and getting their feedback to guide us in adding more features to KDP EDU over time.”

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/01/23/amazon-kindle-textbook-277/

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Open Learning Initiative Reaches Penn Alumni Online and Around the Globe

January 29th, 2015

by Jill DiSanto, UPenn

For the first time last fall, the University of Pennsylvania invited Quakers from around the globe to participate in an alumni-exclusive version of a massive open online course. From Oct. 6 to Nov. 2, Penn offered a modified, four-week, intensive version of “History of the Slave South” taught by Stephanie McCurry of the history department in Penn Arts & Sciences. McCurry’s course is a popular choice among Penn undergraduates, and the 10-week course offered online through Penn’s Open Learning Initiative has attracted thousands of people of varied backgrounds worldwide. So it was a natural choice for an exclusive version for alumni. Almost 700 alumni ranging from the Class of 1940 to the Class of 2014 and from 15 countries signed up.

http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/open-learning-initiative-reaches-penn-alumni-online-and-around-globe
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Why Are Corporations Making The Shift Towards E-Learning?

January 28th, 2015

by David Miller, Guru Focus

Huge numbers of corporations are making a shift toward e-learning. Why is that? Because the world of learning has changed forever. And why has this happened? Because of online education and learning management systems. With new technologies, like the learning management systems and increased users and internet access, people are making a massive and collective shift towards online education. The field of e-learning has grown exponentially and not just in terms of students who are taking online classes but in terms of educational online tools and interactive teaching methods that are being integrated into all grades and corporate training tools that keep companies up to date!

http://www.gurufocus.com/news/309235/why-are-corporations-making-the-shift-towards-elearning

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Teaching Language Quicker, Smarter, Better: Innovation Through Adaptive Learning, Testing

January 28th, 2015

by Ava Seave, Forbes

“The number of English learners is going to go from 1 billion now to 2 billion in 2020,” says Bernhard Niesner, CEO & Co-founder of busu.com, the online language learning platform. “There is no doubt that digital language learning will happen to a large extent on mobile devices, especially given the fact that in emerging markets, many countries are pure mobile markets. People don’t have a desktop. Their first device is a mobile phone.” Very few people learn a language just to read a book. And therefore we believe the social part is absolutely crucial for the overall motivation and engagement of the product.”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/avaseave/2015/01/22/teaching-language-quicker-smarter-better-innovation-through-adaptive-learning-testing/

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MOOCs and meetups together make for better learning

January 28th, 2015

by Michael E. Goldberg, the Conversation

More than 60 groups in 52 cities have formed to take MOOCs on Meetup, the world’s largest network of local groups. Coursera, the largest provider of MOOCs, has a Learning Hubs Initiative, which establishes physical spaces for students to access their classes. Coursera reports that their Learning Hubs participants show higher completion rates ranging from 30 – 100% vs. the 6.8% Coursera-wide average. Researchers at the Computer-Human Interaction in Learning and Instruction Lab (CHILI), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland reported in a June 2014 study that “watching MOOCs in groups provides (a) highly satisfying learning experience as learners feel connected and interactions among them are enabled.” As the BBC’s Sean Coughlin wrote in his April 2014 article about the expansion of MOOC meet-ups around the world, “even virtual students want to have a cup of coffee and a conversation after a lecture.”

http://theconversation.com/moocs-and-meetups-together-make-for-better-learning-35891

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Cybrary’s Free Online Training Reshaping Cybersecurity Education

January 27th, 2015

By: Amanda Vicinanzo, Homeland Security Today

A shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the public and private sectors has left the US vulnerable to major cyberattacks. In response, Cybrary, the world’s first and only free massive open online course for IT and cybersecurity professionals, announced the availability of free classes to the general public. “We have the firm belief that IT and cybersecurity training should be free,” Ryan Corey, co-founder of Cybrary, told Homeland Security Today. Th Cybrary is designed to provide comprehensive IT and cybersecurity training options for a range of users. With classes ranging from entry level to very advanced, Cybrary has attracted interest from people just breaking into the field as well as seasoned cyber professionals.

http://www.hstoday.us/briefings/industry-news/single-article/cybrarys-free-online-training-reshaping-cybersecurity-education/60d771bafa7b18158b7f059e6ebf0480.html

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Become an alien hunter with free online course from Harvard

January 27th, 2015

by Michael Franco, CNet news.com

“20 years ago, the only planets we knew of were in our own solar system,” says course instructor Dimitar Sasselov. Times have changed, and this course will tell you how. Questions about whether there’s life beyond our own universe has filled millions of pages of speculative fiction, taken up years of time on movie and TV screens, and consumed billions of hours of kids’ and astrophysicists’ daydreams. Now, a new free online course offered by Harvard can arm you with facts you need to learn more about “alien life, how we search for it, and what this teaches us about our place in the universe.”

http://www.cnet.com/uk/news/become-an-alien-hunter-with-free-online-course-from-harvard/

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Online short courses proving popular among professionals in SA

January 27th, 2015

BY BEKEZELA PHAKATHI, Business Day Live

According to Rob Paddock, GetSmarter chief academic officer, short courses are proving popular among working professionals as the educational needs of modern working professionals have changed. “The existing higher education system worked exceptionally well for the industrial-era economy, at a time when information was scarce, and change happened slowly. After school you went to university to gain access to scarce information, and then you generally worked in one or two jobs for the rest of your life implementing the knowledge you gained at university,” Mr Paddock said. “Now that we have entered the information era that has all changed. The amount of knowledge in the world has doubled in the past 10 years and is doubling every 18 months, according to the American Society of Training and Documentation. The result is that modern working professionals now have to become lifelong learners if they wish to stay relevant and advance their careers.”

http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/education/2015/01/20/online-short-courses-proving-popular-among-professionals-in-sa

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Nano-Degrees as a New Model to Integrate into Higher Education

January 26th, 2015

by Matthew LeBarr, Forbes

Last year, AT&T and the online educational organization Udacity teamed up to offer a “nano-degree” that directly trains students for a job with AT&T. This move is in line with a new government report that suggests that more cooperation between universities and businesses is the key to economic success in the future. However, Michael Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, is skeptical of nano-degrees. The degrees, he claims, are no substitute for a liberal arts degree. The nano-degree is simply a different kind of beast than a liberal arts degree. Nano-degrees are targeted training for a single job, while liberal arts degrees provide skills for a variety of jobs. Dr. Roth shouldn’t fear for his institution, but neither should he dismiss the nano-degrees as useless. The two can coexist and serve different purposes. Comparing the two is inappropriate and only serves to make both look worse.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2015/01/19/nano-degrees-as-a-new-model-to-model-to-integrate-into-higher-education/

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Online Learning Revolution Brings Business To Emerging Markets

January 26th, 2015

by Seb Murray, Business Because

“One of the biggest transformations in education came about as a result of the ubiquity of [the] internet in our lives,” says Sanjay Sarma, director of online learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Business schools have adopted the online delivery method, with a host of their programs being flipped online and Moocs being launched. Many of these courses are populated in part by educated and employed users seeking part-time study, but providers have sought to expand learning and bring educational to all. The web has enabled underrepresented groups around the world such as women, youth, the disabled and citizens in rural communities to gain quality education.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3044/online-learning-revolution-brings-business-to-emerging-economies

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From Gamification To MOOCs To Cloud, Learning Is Increasingly Tech-Based

January 26th, 2015

By Christine Kern, Business Solutions

Talent LMS, a cloud-based learning management system, has laid out its top 10 online learning trends for 2015 in an infographic. Among these trends are gamification, Big Data, personalization, m-learning, a focus on ROI, APIs (application programming interfaces), automation, augmented learning, corporate MOOCs (massive open online courses), and cloud learning management solutions. All of these technological trends are significant, because they address the changing demands from learners, who increasingly see online, social, and mobile technology as essential features of the learning experience.

http://www.bsminfo.com/doc/from-gamification-to-moocs-cloud-learning-increasingly-tech-based-0001

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Internet college: Some students never set foot on campus

January 25th, 2015

BY SCOTT WUERZ, Belleville News Democrat

Local universities and colleges are increasingly embracing the trend of schools offering more Internet-based courses. Students, in many cases, can now go to school from start to finish and never set foot on campus – unless they choose to walk in graduation ceremonies. McKendree University senior Kyle Green, 30, lives in Joliet. He’s never laid eyes upon McKendree’s campus in Lebanon. But he expects to graduate from the school at the end of the spring semester. “It doubled my speed in finishing school,” Green said. “I’m planning to make my first trip to McKendree in May when I graduate.”

http://www.bnd.com/2015/01/17/3614503/it-doubled-my-speed-in-finishing.html

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Why online learning needs to get serious about apps

January 25th, 2015

by Ryan Craig, Venture Beat

Smartphone users’ sessions are currently 3x longer when they’re using apps vs. browsing websites. Apps are also visited much more frequently than websites. Total time spent on apps is currently growing at an annual rate of over 20 percent, and according to comScore, for smartphone users, apps now account for over 50 percent of total time spent with digital media. 18-24-year-olds are the heaviest app users. Apps are purpose-built. So it’s not a stretch to imagine one app for Economics 101 and another for Psychology 110. Apps are ideal for simulations and gamified learning experiences. They’re also perfect for incorporating real-world inputs (such as location of the student) into learning.

http://venturebeat.com/2015/01/17/why-online-learning-needs-to-get-serious-about-apps/

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6 Alternative Social Media Tools for Teaching and Learning

January 25th, 2015

By Leila Meyer, Campus Technology

Facebook and Twitter may be ubiquitous, but there are many other social media tools out there that can enhance teaching and learning. Here, three educators share their favorites. VoiceThread lets people upload and share images, videos and documents and then have an online conversation about each other’s posts through audio, video or text comments. Alexandra Pickett, director of the Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence and an adjunct instructor at SUNY Albany, started using VoiceThread in 2006, primarily as an icebreaking activity in her online course. She introduces herself to her students through an informal video of herself at home with her daughter, so her students can get a full picture of who she is, professionally and personally. “One of the things that you want to do initially in an online course is to establish a sense of social presence among the participants in the course and with the students,” said Pickett.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/01/07/6-alternative-social-media-tools-for-teaching-and-learning.aspx

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Badges: A New Measure of Professional Development

January 24th, 2015

By Michael Hart, Campus Technology

Some higher ed institutions are experimenting with digital badges as a way to encourage and document learning among faculty and staff. Badges are quickly becoming acceptable currency in the world of higher education. Purdue University, for example, known for developing and commercializing innovative applications such as Course Signals, has embraced badges with another Purdue Studio project: Passport, a system for creating, issuing and sharing digital badges for learning and assessment. Badges have also found a home with massive open online courses, enabling students to earn credentials for specific work even when they do not complete the entire course.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/01/14/badges-a-new-measure-of-professional-development.aspx

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21st-Century Libraries: The Learning Commons

January 24th, 2015

by Beth Holland, Edutopia

Printed books still play a critical role in supporting learners, but digital technologies offer additional pathways to learning and content acquisition. Students and teachers no longer need a library simply for access. Instead, they require a place that encourages participatory learning and allows for co-construction of understanding from a variety of sources. In other words, instead of being an archive, libraries are becoming a learning commons.

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/21st-century-libraries-learning-commons-beth-holland

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MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU: Blazing Trails for Interdisciplinary Learning

January 24th, 2015

By Ann Elliott, Edudemic

School-specific versions of two popular video games recently debuted: MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU. These games require students to apply knowledge in the context of a virtual world, fostering an interdisciplinary learning experience that integrates siloed concepts. MinecraftEDU and SimCityEDU call for skills that transcend curricular boundaries and thus better replicate the real-world intellectual challenges that students will face. Read on to learn how other educators are currently using these games in their classrooms and how you can, too.

http://www.edudemic.com/minecraftedu-and-simcityedu-blazing-trails-for-interdisciplinary-learning/

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Hands-on: Microsoft’s HoloLens is flat-out magical

January 23rd, 2015

by Peter Bright, Ars Technica

Microsoft claims this will replace the computer screen – and they may well be right. HoloLens is an engaging and effective augmented reality system. With HoloLens I saw virtual objects—Minecraft castles, Skype windows, even the surface of Mars—presented over, and spatially integrated with, the real world. It looked for every bit like the holographic projection we saw depicted in Star Wars and Total Recall. Except that’s shortchanging Microsoft’s work, because these virtual objects were in fact far more convincing than the washed out, translucent message R2D2 projected, and much better than Sharon Stone’s virtual tennis coach. The images were bright, saturated, and reasonably opaque, giving the virtual objects a real feeling of solidity.

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2015/01/hands-on-with-hololens-making-the-virtual-real/1/

Check out the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAKfdeOX3-o

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Vice President Biden announces $25M for cybersecurity ed

January 23rd, 2015

By Allie Gross, Ed Dive

On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and White House Science Advisor John Holdren announced that a $25 million grant will be disbursed over the next five years to support cybersecurity education. The money will go toward the creation of a new cybersecurity consortium comprised of 13 historically black colleges and universities, two national labs, and the Charleston County School District. The growth of cyber crime has highlighted the need for cybersecurity experts.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/biden-announces-25m-for-cybersecurity-ed/353388/

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What you need to know about Educause’s latest research

January 23rd, 2015

by Susan Grajek, EDUCAUSE Review

EDUCAUSE presents the top 10 IT issues facing higher education institutions this year. What is new about 2015? Nothing has changed. And everything has changed. Information technology has reached an inflection point. See the URL below for a detailed report.

http://educause.edu/ero/article/top-10-it-issues-2015-inflection-point

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