4 Features to Look for in a 21st Century LMS

July 3rd, 2015

By Dian Schaffhauser, THE Journal

It’s a sure bet that every program calling itself an LMS these days offers the course-management basics: providing a way for students to submit assignments and for teachers to run online discussions and deliver announcements. But those were the same features LMS users wanted a decade ago, and they pale in comparison to what users are looking for now: An intuitive interface that mimics consumer social networks; Collaboration that goes far beyond standard teacher-student communication; Assessments with analytics responsive enough to drive instruction for that day, week or month; and The capacity to provide a structure for organizing digital learning resources and sharing them locally and broadly.

http://thejournal.com/articles/2015/06/10/4-features-to-look-for-in-a-21st-century-lms.aspx

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Three ways to help online students succeed

July 3rd, 2015

By Laura Devaney, eCampus News

A recent survey of 28,000 students yielded three specific factors that could influence online academic performance, with many stakeholders saying online student success really depends on effective learning design. Based on the survey results and statistically valid samples, Eduventures issued three recommendatdions to help institutions focus on online student success.

1. Align online courses with objective design standards to improve performance

2. Launch a pre- and post-design quality assurance process to ensure objectives and expectations inform every aspect of the student experience

3. Optimize the use of a learning management system to enhance the student experience

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/online-student-success-382/

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8 open source platforms for IT consideration

July 3rd, 2015

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Usually, the higher-ed industry has a reputation as being one of the slowest adopters of new technology. But when it comes to open source software (OSS), campus IT departments are ahead of other industry and consumer tech adoption curves, says Scott Wilson, service manager of OSS Watch at the University of Oxford. “On the face of it, higher education has been relatively quick to realize the benefits, notes Wilson. “Over 50 percent of higher education institutions use open source, both on the server and on the desktop. And one of the great open source success stories in higher education is the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).”

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/open-source-campus-767/

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The 3 key ingredients for mobile learning success

July 2nd, 2015

By Keith Krueger, eSchool News

Don’t forget these keys of mobile implementations ingredients-success. Why are some mobile learning implementations successful while others struggle? It seems struggling districts are missing at least one of a handful of ingredients that successful districts have in common. When it comes to mobile learning success, leaving out just one key ingredient can ruin an otherwise perfect recipe. What are these ingredients? They can be categorized as: leadership, strategy, and expectations management.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/06/23/3-ingredients-mobile-044/

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Instructure launches Canvas Data

July 2nd, 2015

by eSchool News

Instructure, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company and creator of the Canvas learning management system (LMS), has released Canvas Data, a hosted data solution providing fully optimized data to K-12 and higher education institutions capturing online teaching and learning activity. As a tool for education improvement, the basic version of the service will be made available to Canvas clients at no additional cost, with premium versions available for purchase.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/06/24/instructure-canvas-data-674/

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Senators look to close broadband gap for schools with Digital Learning Equity Act

July 2nd, 2015

By Sean Buckley, Fierce Telecom

United States Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) have introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 as a way to improve broadband access and close what they call an education gap for all students. A key focus of the act is the recognition that access to a broadband Internet connection is an important enabler for students to get access to new personalized learning options made available through online and blended learning. The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 aims to narrow this growing divide by supporting new methods to ensure students stay connected and extend access to digital learning opportunities when they leave the classroom.

http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/senators-look-close-broadband-gap-schools-digital-learning-equity-act/2015-06-22

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Boot camp classes may offer a peek at the future of higher ed

July 1st, 2015

by Bob Sullivan, CNBC

Udacity has abandoned the idea of giving classes away to huge numbers of people in favor of “nanodegrees”—boot-camp style, short-term programs with a laser-like focus on preparing students for a career. Nanodegree subjects include Web developer, Android developer, iOS developer … you get the picture. What you don’t get is a huge student loan debt. Udacity classes start at $1,200 for a six-month program. “Our form factor, delivery over the Web and mobile, makes it very affordable. And we’ve decided to do that away from the traditional university system,” Makhijani said. The school has also added an Uber-like version of peer reviews, digital age teaching assistants, which lets students grab virtual roving experts and get one-on-one feedback that was sorely missing from initial MOOCs.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102771114

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What Can the Business World Teach Us About Strategic Planning?

July 1st, 2015

by Jonathan S. Spackman, Jennifer Thorup, Brigham Young University

The need for a reliable strategic planning framework for distance educators and their institutions has never been greater than it is now. Increased government regulations, accreditation standards, and competition are converging with decreased funding from federal, state, and private sources, and administrators require better strategic planning. A strategic planning model known as the Balanced Scorecard has met with widespread adoption and sweeping success among the business community, but, surprisingly, has not been widely adopted among institutions of higher and distance education. In this article the authors share what they have learned about this strategic planning model through a review of the available literature and their own early efforts to introduce it to their institution, the Division of Continuing Education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer182/spackman_thorup_howell182.html

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A Comparison Study of a New Species of Online Course Delivery

July 1st, 2015

by Sheryne Southard, Joshua Meddaugh, Antoinette France-Harris; OJDLA

Numerous formats exist for online course delivery: pure online, blended or hybrid, flipped and web-enhanced. The literature is replete with comparison studies on the efficacy of online, hybrid and traditional format courses. However, the self-paced online course, a relatively new and rare variation, has received very little coverage in the body of research on this topic. This study examines the components of a self-paced online course specifically designed to incorporate web-based pedagogy to create an engaging and dynamic learning environment. It compares student performance in a self-paced online course, a conventional online course and a traditional in-class course and reveals the potential for students to thrive in a wide variety of online course formats. This study provides useful information to administrators exploring online programming options and online instructors seeking to improve student performance.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer182/southard_meddaugh_harris182.html

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When Learning Analytics Meets E-Learning – Betul C. Czerkawski, OJDLA

June 30th, 2015

While student data systems are nothing new and most educators have been dealing with student data for many years, learning analytics has emerged as a new concept to capture educational big data. Learning analytics is about better understanding of the learning and teaching process and interpreting student data to improve their success and learning experiences. This paper provides an overview to learning analytics in higher education and more specifically, in e-learning. It also explores some of the issues around learning analytics.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer182/czerkawski182.html

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Explore Summer Online Learning Options for High School Students

June 30th, 2015

By Ian Quillen, US News

Through summer online courses, high schoolers can tackle advanced subjects, prepare for college entrance exams and retake classes. Kim Davie remembers her reaction when her mom suggested she and twin sister Shayla enroll in a summer online course after their freshman year. “I wasn’t all for it,” she says sheepishly. A year later, though, both Houston-area high schoolers are willingly returning for another summer with the International Connections Academy to get a head start on next fall’s course material. Shayla will take statistics after enrolling in Algebra 2 a year ago. Kimberly will study physics after last year’s geometry course. Both expect a similar summer as​ last year, when they still had time for cheerleading camp, fitness camp and a vacation to Mexico. “You could still work the class into your schedule,” Kim says. “Any free time you had, you could use it.”

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California Community Colleges to Roll Out On-Demand Faculty Training

June 30th, 2015

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Faculty and staff in the California Community Colleges (CCC) will soon have access to online training on digital skills and tech tools. This summer, the CCC system is partnering with online learning platform Grovo to power the new CCC Learn Academy, an effort to “close the digital skills gaps that affect faculty and students across campuses.” With Grovo, the Academy will provide 87,000 faculty, staff and administrators with an extensive library of 60-second microlearning video lessons covering digital skills and professional topics. The system is cloud-based, so faculty can participate anywhere, any time. Trainings range from e-mail etiquette to Google Apps and Microsoft Office.

http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2015/06/18/California-Community-Colleges-to-Roll-Out-On-Demand-Faculty-Training.aspx

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E-Portfolios Link Academic Achievements to Career Success

June 29th, 2015

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

When the School of Business at Portland State University launched a brand new online business degree program focused on leadership and management for working professionals, the intent was to experiment with new kinds of learning to enhance students’ professional, academic and career development. Looking for a way to link students’ academic achievements to career success, the school turned to e-portfolios as a key component in the program. And students will carry those portfolios beyond graduation: In their third year of the three-year program, they will port a version of their e-portfolio content into a career-oriented social sharing site. Here’s how Portland State wove e-portfolios into the curriculum from the ground up.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2015/06/17/eportfolios-link-academic-achievements-to-career-success.aspx

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Could texting and tweeting boost retention?

June 29th, 2015

By Laura Devaney, eCampus News

New study examines the impact of course-related texts and tweets on student recall.  Students who tweet or message about anything associated with an academic lesson could demonstrate greater recall and learn more from lectures. The finding is part of a new study, Texting and Tweeting in the Classroom: How Do They Impact Student Learning?, appears in the National Communication Association’s journal, and analyzes how different social media messaging, including tweets, impacts how much students retain what they learn during lectures.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/texting-tweeting-students-098/

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The New Breed of Competency-Based Education Degree Programs: A Trend or Fad? (Part 1)

June 29th, 2015

By Robert Hill, Evolllution

The DOE approved three institutions’ “direct assessment” degree programs (first SNHU, then for-profit Capella University, and the University of Wisconsin Extension) that other colleges (including Northern Arizona University and Bellevue College, among others) would also soon seek and obtain approval for this flexible degree option. Likewise, the for-profit online behemoth Kaplan University and its Mount Washington College, along with another giant for-profit institution, Walden University (owned by that Laureate Education), also earned approval from the DOE and its regional accrediting agencies for similar direct assessment programs. Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will other colleges or universities routinely accept these credits and degrees into graduate programs? Will employers have confidence in this new self-paced learning and anytime, anywhere approach? Will they understand and agree to recognize the new competency-based transcripts? This will be something to watch in the coming months.

http://www.evolllution.com/opinions/breed-competency-based-education-degree-programs-trend-fad-part-1/

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Employment Status, Teaching Load, and Student Performance in Online Community College Courses

June 28th, 2015

by Witt Salley and Melanie Shaw, OJDLA

A continued need exists for community college administrators to develop and implement strategies to ensure sufficient staffing to meet demand for online courses and promote student success. The problem this study addressed was threefold. First, online instructors in the local setting are overextended and are consequently unable to implement best practices. Another problem was that the current institutional system encourages overload teaching assignments. Finally, increased teaching loads can have negative ramifications on online instructor attentiveness, student performance, and academic rigor.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer182/salley_shaw182.html

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Online vs. On-Campus: An Analysis of Course Prices of U.S. Educational Institutions

June 28th, 2015

by Shouhong Wang, OJDLA

Pricing online courses is an important issue for managing online education. This research note reports a statistical analysis of price differences between online courses and on-campus courses at 103 US educational institutions based on the data available on the Internet. The finding indicates that educational institutions set significantly lower prices of their online courses than that of on-campus courses, private educational institutions set significantly lower prices of their online courses than public institutions, and small institutions or large institutions set significantly lower prices for their online courses than medium-sized institutions.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer182/wang182.html

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The Roles that Librarians and Libraries Play in Distance Education Settings

June 28th, 2015

by Amanda Corbett and Abbie Brown, OJDLA

This article explores the literature that focuses on the various roles librarians and libraries play in distance education settings. Learners visit libraries either in person or via networked computing technology to ask for help with their online courses. Questions range from how to upload a document with a learning management system, to how to use software and hardware, to more complex questions about how to locate and research articles for term papers. The literature reviewed provides a glimpse into the historical roles, current roles, as well as possible new roles that libraries and librarians may play in the future. This article identifies various library services that are essential to distant learners and distance education settings, and will explain how librarians and libraries are providing these services online.

http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer182/corbett_brown182.html

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How Virtual Reality can Improve Online Learning

June 27th, 2015

by Ilan Mester, Engineering

Online learning can sometimes be impersonal and unstimulating. A group of engineering students is hoping to change that by integrating virtual reality tools into distance education. “Online learning gives us huge opportunities in higher education. You can connect with more diverse people across greater distances, for example,” said Conrad Tucker, an assistant professor of design and industrial engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. “But online courses also limit you in some ways — there’s little immersive or tactile interaction, and sometimes it’s hard for students to engage with the material. IVR [Immersive Virtual Reality] systems are a potential solution to that problem.”

http://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/10287/How-Virtual-Reality-can-Improve-Online-Learning.aspx

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Online education has its benefits

June 27th, 2015

by Patrick An, Diamondback

It’s efficiency and accessibility that truly elevates MOOCs beyond the traditional education model. The relatively low stakes of taking an online course reinforces the notion that knowledge is its own reward and should not necessarily only be applied to finding a lucrative profession. By removing price from the equation, MOOCs additionally ensure all knowledge is equally important and equally priceless. Centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin famously said “the only thing more expensive than education is ignorance,” but today, MOOCs provide an educational system to students so they don’t have to choose between the two.

http://www.diamondbackonline.com/opinion/article_428cbf58-1540-11e5-a462-1b84d2826b10.html

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Growth Of Blended Online And Campus MBA Learning Gathers Pace

June 27th, 2015

by Seb Murray, Business Because

The blended learning revolution at business schools is gathering pace, with a clutch of top schools having announced plans to roll out digital MBA degrees. The blended form of learning has already been embraced by the likes of Harvard and Stanford. But as competition with disruptive online education providers – so called edtech companies – intensifies, others are rolling out the programs to keep pace with digital innovation. “The launch of our Online MBA program represents our commitment to developing innovative programs that enable busy professionals to earn a business degree,” says Gene Anderson, Miami School of Business dean. Miami’s new online degree will launch in September 2015. It is billed as fully-online but offers a one-week residency on Miami’s campus in Florida.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/3323/blended-learning-growth-gathers-pace

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