Online classes can serve students well: Guest opinion

October 25th, 2014

By Kathryn Hubbell, the Oregonian

In response to Ramin Farahmandpur’s Oct. 12 “In My Opinion” column, “Online courses shortchange their students,” I would like to defend online learning. I have taught both online and on-campus classes at Marylhurst University for the past six years, and prior to that earned my master’s in communications management from Syracuse University. The Syracuse program involved spending the first week of each term on campus, then finishing up via online learning from home. I was running my public relations firm in Montana at the time; the program meant I did not have to move in order to get the degree I wanted. The experience at Syracuse was so good that when I came to Oregon and began teaching online classes at Marylhurst, I took those lessons into my virtual classrooms.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/10/online_classes_can_serve_stude.html

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Colleges say student-faculty online engagement and assessment tools contribute to success

October 25th, 2014

By Rachel Weick, Grand Rapids Business Journal

West Michigan colleges and universities are finding that online advanced degree programs are especially popular among nontraditional and professional students whose schedules do not allow for consistent classroom time. The online platform for education is a tool academic institutions can use to meet the needs and expectations of their students in an increasingly data-driven world. Jill Langen, chief academic officer at Baker College Online and Center for Graduate Studies, said the college focuses on small classes of between nine and 12 students. “We really focus a lot with our faculty on a high level of student engagement. There is a lot of interaction that happens on the discussion board. We provide a lot of training and professional development for that,” said Langen. “It really only works if you have a lot of individual attention and classes are really small. It is a real core belief we have.”

http://www.grbj.com/articles/80829-online-strategy-is-essential-element-of-education

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The Real Revolution in Online Education Isn’t MOOCs

October 25th, 2014

by Michelle Weise, Harvard Business Review

Something is clearly wrong when only 11% of business leaders — compared to 96% of chief academic officers — believe that graduates have the requisite skills for the workforce. It’s therefore unlikely that business leaders are following closely what’s going on in higher education. Even the latest hoopla around massive open online courses (MOOCs) amounts to more of the same: academics designing courses that correspond with their own interests rather than the needs of the workforce, but now doing it online. But there is a new wave of online competency-based learning providers that has absolutely nothing to do with offering free, massive, or open courses. In fact, they’re not even building courses per se, but creating a whole new architecture of learning that has serious implications for businesses and organizations around the world. It’s called online competency-based education, and it’s going to revolutionize the workforce.

http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/10/the-real-revolution-in-online-education-isnt-moocs/

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SUNY Expands Online Course Offerings

October 24th, 2014

by Fox 28

The State University of New York is adding 56 degree and certificate programs from 17 campuses to a year-old online initiative as part of SUNY’s goal of increasing enrollment by 100,000 students. The expansion of Open SUNY+ announced Thursday is expected to attract 6,000 students next semester, more than triple the number that have enrolled since the program was launched with eight degree programs in January. Regardless of where they are, enrollees will be able to earn an associate degree in computer security and forensics from Broome Community College, for example, or a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from Empire State College.

http://www.wwnytv.com/news/local/SUNY-Expands-Online-Course-Offerings-279426942.html

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Tips for succeeding in online classes

October 24th, 2014

by Erin Malloy, Iowa State Daily

Five tips to succeed in an online class:

1. Stay organized

2: Don’t procrastinate

3: Be self-motivated

4: Set individual goals

5: Connect with instructors

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/dct/article_3dd92b1c-54da-11e4-a346-97046ff66fdd.html

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Minerva’s Virtual College Scores Backing to Grow

October 24th, 2014

by Bernadette Tansey, Xconomy

The Minerva Project, a San Francisco-based for-profit that aims to provide an Ivy League-caliber college degree for $10,000 a year, says it has closed on the bulk of a $70 million Series B round that will allow it to scale up its freshman class next year. Meanwhile, competitor Udacity, through some of its new online “nanodegree” programs, is focusing on the knowledge needed by its partner companies–which include Google and AT&T—in students they hire, such as wizardry in specific technical and computer programming skills. Udacity is trying to bypass the entrenched university credentialing system by developing employer-backed academic credentials. Whatever edtech models pull ahead, traditional universities would be wise to keep watching.

http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2014/10/16/minervas-virtual-college-scores-backing-to-grow/

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Columbia issues online course R.F.P. to faculty

October 23rd, 2014

By Conor Skelding, Capital New York

Columbia University’s Office of the Provost has issued a request for proposals to faculty to redesign courses “using innovative, technology-rich pedagogy and learning strategies.” Provost John Coatsworth announced the R.F.P. on Thursday in a university-wide email which publicized the report of the Provost’s Faculty Advisory Committee on Online Learning. The R.F.P. is a “response to the Committee’s recommendation that the University provide support for faculty in this area,” he wrote. Full- and part-time faculty are eligible to apply for grants of between $5,000 and $20,000, as well as “access to the resources and support of the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning.”

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/10/8554732/columbia-issues-online-course-rfp-faculty

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Online classes: Students, teachers adapting to demand for online learning

October 23rd, 2014

By Erin Malloy, Iowa State Daily

As enrollment numbers continue to climb, Iowa State has seen a rapid increase in the demand for online instruction both on and off campus, according to Ralph Napolitano, associate director for online learning for the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. “I think students are starting to see the variety of ways instruction can take advantage of the online environment of today to provide a rich and interactive learning experience,” Napolitano said. Iowa State Online and Distance Learning currently offers more than 900 online courses annually and more than 50 degrees and certificates.

http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_7084550a-54b2-11e4-9f89-eb86d6863350.html

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Edmonton youth design online coding course for latest University of Alberta MOOC

October 23rd, 2014

By Leah Holoiday, Metro

Move over Computer Coding 101 — there’s a new brand of online computer design classes designed by youth, for youth. Intro to Coding, the latest course from the University of Alberta’s series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), offers straightforward concepts for coding, designed for anyone above the Grade 3 level. One of course presenters and developers, 14-year-old Deanna, said she was inspired to bring coding to a larger audience after her experience with U of A’s Girls Coding Club.

http://metronews.ca/news/edmonton/1183150/edmonton-youth-design-online-coding-course-for-latest-university-of-alberta-mooc/

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How Southern New Hampshire U Develops 650-Plus Online Courses Per Year

October 22nd, 2014

By David Raths, Campus Technology

Kerri Bedrosian, director of eLearning project management for SNHU’s College of Online and Continuing Education characterizes SNHU’s course development model as “one-to-many.” “We have an internal team that designs the course, from the outcome to the critical path for summative assessment, all the formative assessment around it, choosing the learning resource, text or e-text, discussions and lectures or overviews,” she said. “All that is designed in-house and built by our production team into Blackboard, our LMS. That becomes our one course model — our master course — and we then copy that out depending on how many sections are needed for that term. The instructor receives a fully completed course. It is great for us because we can ensure a lot of consistency across our sections.”

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/10/15/how-southern-new-hampshire-u-develops-650-online-courses-per-year.aspx

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Brandman U. Gets Green Light for Direct Assessment

October 22nd, 2014

by Inside Higher Ed

Brandman University this week announced that the U.S. Department of Education had approved its application to offer federal financial aid for an emerging form of competency-based education. The university is the fourth institution to get the nod from the department for “direct assessment” degrees, which are decoupled from the credit-hour standard.

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/10/16/brandman-u-gets-green-light-direct-assessment

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Coursera Expands Its MOOC Certificate Program

October 22nd, 2014
by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed
Coursera, the online education company, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding a program that awards special certificates to students who pass multiple MOOCs. The company unveiled the program, called Specializations, earlier this year. The idea was to create certificates that, while not supplanting traditional degrees, carry more weight than a certificate of completion from a single massive open online course. The program, which requires learners to take Coursera’s fee-based “Signature Track” courses, apparently has been a success: The company is adding 18 new Specializations—mostly practical, in-demand fields like project management, cloud computing, and data mining. Students who complete the sequences can expect to pay $100 to $300, depending on the number of courses, according to a spokeswoman.
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Using Technology to Engage the Nontraditional Student

October 21st, 2014

by Philip Regier, EDUCAUSE Review Online

Higher education needs to focus on the success of nontraditional students, those who fail to graduate during their first engagement in college, by leveraging new technology solutions that better align with students’ life challenges, pace, and other unique characteristics. In the 21st century, it is imperative that higher education institutions be focused on the success of nontraditional students. We know that colleges and universities can assist these students by leveraging new processes and new technology solutions that better align with their life challenges, pace, and other unique characteristics. We have the ability to create a rich, increasingly personalized, and flexible learning experience at scale. And we can predict that these tools will ensure that returning students are given every chance to succeed and will result in more students who graduate, a higher- and better-educated citizenry, and less income/intellectual inequality.

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/using-technology-engage-nontraditional-student

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How crucial is e-learning for India?

October 21st, 2014

By Arun Nigavekar, My Digital Financial Chronicle

The Indian education system needs to accept the use of technology as an integral part of teaching and learning process. Teachers must be willing to decipher the online aspects of curriculum that go beyond just black board lessons. They must explore the internet and make full use of the widely available expert opinions and commentary in respective fields — along with its application — to be used in face to face lectures. In doing so, students would be all the more engaged, encouraged and excited to see the practical shift from learning to real life application. Mobile learning too, is an advanced and more defined version of what teachers have achieved via classroom teaching till date. Thus, teachers could certainly become great knowledge partners of today’s youths, if they are determined to bring about a positive change in the system.

http://www.mydigitalfc.com/op-ed/how-crucial-e-learning-india-741

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Cathy Davidson’s Big Idea, Tall Order

October 21st, 2014

By Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed

Cathy Davidson’s newest idea, the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, might just be her biggest yet. This summer, she was lured away from Duke by the Graduate Center to do something truly unique, on a grand scale: foster interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching and learning across the CUNY system, in a way that inspires reinvestment in public higher education. Davidson loved Duke, but the chance to do something bold that could trickle down into a system as big as CUNY, with some 250,000 students, was something she couldn’t pass up – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, she said in an interview.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/14/cathy-davidsons-new-big-idea

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In person online: the human touch

October 20th, 2014

BY JUDITH BOWMAN, Oxford University Press Blog

We can create the human touch by establishing an online presence – a sense of really being there and being together for the course. To be perceived as real in the online classroom we need to project ourselves socially and emotionally, and find ways to let our individual personality shine through whatever communications media we’re using. We can look to our own face-to-face teaching style for ways to humanize an online course. What do we do in a face-to-face classroom to make ourselves more approachable? We talk with students as they arrive for class, spice up lectures with touches of humor and relevant personal stories, treat discussions as conversations, and sometimes depart from what we planned so we can follow more promising asides.

http://blog.oup.com/2014/10/music-education-online-in-person/

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A New Department Marks the Rise of a Discipline: ‘Computational Media’

October 20th, 2014

by Rebecca Koenig, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Pixar movies, interactive video games, smartphone applications—all are forms of computational media, the marriage of computer science to the arts and humanities. Signaling a deeper investment in that fast-growing if slippery field, the University of California at Santa Cruz announced the creation on Monday of what it called the first computational-media department ever.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/a-new-department-marks-the-rise-of-a-discipline-computational-media/54883

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Blended Learning as Transformational Institutional Learning

October 20th, 2014

by Kim VanDerLinden, Tomorrow’s Professor

The research about the effectiveness of blended learning provides a powerful jolt for campus members. Of note, a recent Inside Higher Education (2013) survey of faculty attitudes toward technology found large amounts of skepticism among faculty members about the quality of online learning. This finding of high levels of skepticism, taken out of context, raises more questions than answers. What specifically are faculty members skeptical about – the learning outcomes, the pedagogical approaches, and student engagement in online activities? And if faculty members are the instructional designers in most instances, does that mean they are skeptical about their own work as novices or the work of their colleagues? The results become clearer when we keep in mind that most faculty members who were surveyed do not actually teach online. Moreover, the survey revealed that appreciation of the quality of online courses grows with instructors’ experiences teaching online.

http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/enewsletter.php?msgno=1358

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UNL is looking to expand distance learning programs

October 19th, 2014

By Bailey Schulz, Daily Nebraskan

The university already has an acclaimed graduate online education program, ranked sixth nationwide among online graduate business programs, and ranks 11th out of 300 in distance education programs, according to U.S. News and World Report’s most recent rankings. Administrators want to place more emphasis on online programs. “We need to expand these programs, both for the revenue they provide as well as the diversity of new students they connect to our campus,” Nebraska Chancellor Perlman said.

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/unl-is-looking-to-expand-distance-learning-programs/article_ae559548-528b-11e4-a149-0017a43b2370.html

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7 STEM apps designed by students

October 19th, 2014

By Michael Sharnoff, eSchool News

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) may have found an innovative solution through the creation of the Leaders on the Fast Track (LOFT) Video Game Innovation Fellow, a prestigious award to encourage American minorities to pursue STEM fields. On Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C., I had the privilege to meet with 20 student fellows, ages 15-25, selected for their video game and app prototypes that address social issues in their community. These future ed-tech leaders did a fantastic job of not only promoting STEM fields, but also dissuading the naysayers that the United States lacks innovation in education and technology. The fellows presented their projects to the Obama administration and will receive an innovation grant to help further develop their game or app. Here are seven of the apps that really stood out.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2014/10/13/stem-apps-students-429/

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In Texas higher education, massive open online courses are money well-spent

October 19th, 2014

By Caroline Levander, Houston Chronicle

Like many of its peers in Texas and elsewhere, Rice has developed a portfolio of MOOCs – now numbering more than 40 – for hundreds of thousands of learners, and we show no signs of slowing down. The costs of this endeavor have been substantial, and the return on investment – at least in dollars – thus far has been negligible, to say the least. So one might well ask, particularly at a university that prides itself on its smarts, why? Why do this expensive and difficult thing? What’s the value proposition for having award-winning faculty creating digital education assets for the masses? And even more pointedly, aren’t you eroding your own business model by “giving away for free” what students and their families are spending hard-earned money to acquire? The answer is as simple as the question: It’s all about the assets.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Levander-In-Texas-higher-education-massive-open-5816611.php

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