Northern Arizona U Expands Competency-Based Degree Options

October 31st, 2014

By Joshua Bolkan, Campus Technology

Northern Arizona University (NAU) has added bachelor of science options to its online, competency-based personalized learning degree offerings. “Personalized learning’s online competency-based education model allows students to earn their degrees based on what they know,” according to a news release. “Students develop key skills and knowledge areas called competencies and earn credit by demonstrating how well they understand each competency, not from how much time they spend in class.” Previously, NAU only offered bachelor of arts degrees in computer information technology, liberal arts and small business administration. Those same programs are now available as BS degrees. In addition to earning credits for what they already know, the self-paced programs allow students to transfer credits from other institutions and pay a flat six-month subscription fee rather than paying by the credit.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/10/21/northern-arizona-u-expands-competency-based-degree-options.aspx

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Flipping the Traditional Lecture Hall

October 31st, 2014

By Michael Hart, Campus Technology

There’s no question that the flipped classroom model has become all the rage at colleges and universities across the country. In fact, in the most recent Horizon Report, the New Media Consortium (NMC) called the flipped classroom one of the most important emerging trends in educational technology for higher education, noting, “The model is becoming increasingly popular in higher education institutions because of how it rearranges face-to-face instruction for professors and students, creating a more efficient and enriching use of class time.” Yet with all the flipped classroom’s potential for active, collaborative learning and increased interaction between professors and students, there’s still one bastion of higher education that has resisted the trend: the large lecture course. Columbia University is experimenting with the flipped classroom model in large lecture courses.

http://campustechnology.com/articles/2014/10/22/flipping-the-lecture-hall.aspx

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Cheating, plagiarism persist as current academic concerns

October 31st, 2014

by Michael Papich, Elon Pendulum

Cheating and plagiarism sit at the top of honor code concerns at Elon University and at most schools. But as the technology around teaching and the professional world change, the need to reassess the climate of unethical behavior arises. “It’s one of the things that’s so basic, we forget to talk about it,” said George Padgett, associate professor of communications. One of the main changes to classrooms in the past few years has been the popularization of online courses. In an environment where a professor and a student cannot see one another, professors have different takes on whether this makes cheating more or less likely.

http://www.elonpendulum.com/2014/10/cheating-plagiarism-persist-current-academic-concerns/

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Fitch: Online Learning Here to Stay for Higher Education

October 30th, 2014

by Fitch Ratings

Online learning as a means of educational delivery continues to expand throughout higher education. ‘While much of the media intensity surrounding the earlier days of MOOCs appears to have subsided, online learning in general remains an increasing component of educational delivery and at the forefront of the higher education dialogue nationally,’ said Colin Walsh, Director at Fitch. Fitch expects the growth of online courses to continue as more and more students, parents, faculty, and administrators embrace online learning as a means to supplement the traditional face-to-face learning environment. Institutions view online programs as a potential revenue generator by augmenting existing enrollment levels or offsetting enrollment declines in certain degree programs.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20141022006307/en/Fitch-Online-Learning-Stay-Higher-Education#.VEkcuPl4r2s

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Berklee College hits the high notes as other colleges fall out of tune

October 30th, 2014

by Craig Douglas, Boston Business Journal

Berklee’s expansion has many drivers, some rooted in its traditional on-campus operations and others that are more entrepreneurial in nature. Together they have solidified Berklee’s enrollment and boosted its student residency numbers to record highs in the current fall semester. This September, Berklee broadened its enrollment reach with the launch of its first-ever online degrees in music business and music production. Chief Financial Officer Mac Hisey said the programs have around 240 students today and are on track to exceed expectations with approximately 300 enrollees by year end. The degree programs were targeted to enroll only 250 students in this first year and augment Berklee’s already 10,000-strong population of students taking courses online. “It’s actually expanding our demographic,” he said.

http://www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/mass_roundup/2014/10/berklee-college-hits-the-high-notes.html

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The Role of Interactivity in Student Satisfaction and Persistence in Online Learning

October 30th, 2014

by Rebecca A. Croxton, JOLT

Enrollment in online courses is rapidly increasing and attrition rates remain high. This paper presents a literature review addressing the role of interactivity in student satisfaction and persistence in online learning. Empirical literature was reviewed through the lens of Bandura’s social cognitive theory, Anderson’s interaction equivalency theorem, and Tinto’s social integration theory. Findings suggest that interactivity is an important component of satisfaction and persistence for online learners, and that preferences for types of online interactivity vary according to type of learner. Student–instructor interaction was also noted to be a primary variable in online student satisfaction and persistence.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no2/croxton_0614.pdf

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Online Ed Skepticism and Self-Sufficiency: Survey of Faculty Views on Technology

October 29th, 2014

By Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed

Gallup surveyed 2,799 faculty members and 288 academic technology administrators this August and September on issues identified by Inside Higher Ed. Virtually all faculty members and technology administrators say meaningful student-teacher interaction is a hallmark of a quality online education, and that it is missing from most online courses. A majority of faculty members with online teaching experience still say those courses produce results inferior to in-person courses.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/survey/online-ed-skepticism-and-self-sufficiency-survey-faculty-views-technology

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Use of Synchronous Virtual Classrooms: Why, Who, and How?

October 29th, 2014

by Florence Martin & Michele A. Parker, JOLT

Virtual classrooms allow students and instructors to communicate synchronously using features such as audio, video, text chat, interactive whiteboard, and application sharing. The purpose of the study reported in this paper was to identify why instructors adopt synchronous virtual classrooms and how they use them after their adoption. An electronic survey was administered asking instructors from various institutions to describe their experience adopting a synchronous virtual classroom in either a blended or online course. In describing their reasons for adopting the technology, respondents most frequently cited institutional resource availability, increasing social presence, enhancing student learning, and the availability of technology. Along with audio chat, the features that most influenced the adoption of virtual classrooms and were used most frequently by respondents were the ability to archive conference sessions, see participants through webcams, and use text-based chat interfaces.

http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no2/martin_0614.pdf

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More Mooc Developers Disrupt Business Education With Paid-For Courses

October 29th, 2014

by Seb Murray, Business Because

Coursera became the latest learning technology company to expand further into the fee-paying market with a series of programs similar to Moocs – massive online open courses – that are disrupting the business education market. Coursera launched 18 new Specializations last week – a sequence of online courses that students study through distance learning, an addition to the first batch announced in January. Significantly, the tech company will allow students to complete a real-life project and purchase a certificate to show to prospective employers. This move into vocational learning further encroaches into the territory of business schools, which already have to compete with Moocs in business-related subjects. Coursera rival edX announced plans to launch a series of short paid-for executive courses earlier this month that have been developed by leading universities.

http://www.businessbecause.com/news/mba-distance-learning/2864/more-moocs-disrupt-business-education-with-paid-for-courses

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Wake Forest Ending the Traditional MBA

October 29th, 2014

By Kaitlin Mulhere, Inside Higher Ed

After five years of declining enrollment in its traditional M.B.A. program, Wake Forest University is shifting gears to focus on an area where it sees greater demand — those M.B.A. seekers who want to earn a paycheck while studying. Starting next year, Wake Forest will no longer accept applications for a traditional, daytime M.B.A. program at its Winston-Salem campus. In the past five years, enrollment in the university’s traditional M.B.A. program has dropped from 123 to 98. At the same time, enrollment in the M.B.A. for working professionals program — which offers year-round evening and weekend classes — has grown from 242 to 304. The number of online and hybrid MBA degrees has grown in the past several years, and so has wider acceptance of such programs. Some top business schools now offer online programs in addition to their traditional programs. Many business schools have also launched or grown their programs for part-timers.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/23/wake-forest-drop-traditional-mba-program

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Virginia joins higher ed distance learning agreement

October 28th, 2014

by Associated Press

Virginia higher education officials are making it easier for students to take online classes and for universities to offer them. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia announced the joining of a multi-state reciprocity agreement on Monday that deals with authorization and payment for distance learning courses.

http://www.roanoke.com/news/education/higher_education/virginia-joins-higher-ed-distance-learning-agreement/article_d2a42f79-3813-5048-8510-d4d5a668aa2e.html

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3 Statistics to Consider When Assessing Online Faculty

October 28th, 2014

By Devon Haynie, US News

When vetting their online instructors, students should look for accessibility and experience teaching online. One way schools prepare​ their faculty is by introducing them to new technology and helping them use it effectively in the classroom, Eaglin says. In a virtual classroom, “there are whole new possibilities” in terms of how to use technology to enhance learning, he says. ​Some instructors get this, he says, while others simply don’t. When it comes to understanding the importance of faculty development, universities seem to have received the memo.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2014/10/21/3-statistics-to-consider-when-assessing-online-faculty

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Editorial: Online learning and a look at quality

October 28th, 2014

by the Southeast Missourian

The Internet has changed many things over the years. From online banking and bill paying, to entertainment options, to how you may be reading this editorial, digital devices, though not without flaws, can benefit us. Online education offers many individuals a better opportunity to take college coursework, fitting it between working and family responsibilities. But it’s equally as important that quality be at the forefront. Dr. Allen Gathman, associate dean of online learning, said the university is using a peer-review process via Quality Matters standards. Faculty members go through the training and then can evaluate the classes to make sure they are meeting the needs of students to help them achieve outcomes designed for the class. We hope the training helps the university continue to improve the courses, offering students the benefit of easier access. Gathman is hopeful that the training will help reduce the course drop rate, which is higher than face-to-face courses.

http://www.semissourian.com/story/2130359.html

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Virtual field trips provide ASU students with immersive online learning environment

October 27th, 2014

By Megann Phillips, The State

ASU’s immersive virtual field trips, commonly referred to as iVFTs, are improving the accessibility of a more engaging, comprehensive educational experience for University students enrolled in iCourses, as well as the general public through an online library. Ariel Anbar, a biogeochemist and professor at ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, has been responsible for creating the virtual field trips and lab settings popularly used in many online classrooms at the School of Earth and Space Exploration, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and other ASU colleges.

http://www.statepress.com/2014/10/19/virtual-field-trips-provide-asu-students-with-immersive-online-learning-environment/

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5 lessons for launching your first competency-based degree

October 27th, 2014

By Dian Schaffhauser, eCampus News

When Purdue University announced in 2013 that it intended to introduce a new technology school built on the “competency” model, it joined a field with few other players. Delaware County Community College, Southern New Hampshire U, Western Governors U, Excelsior College and a handful of other institutions have pursued a similar path in developing educational programs that put the emphasis on helping their graduates master specific competencies vs. counting the number of hours they sit in classrooms. The new Purdue Polytechnic Institute was intended to be a “bold experiment in educational transformation,” according to its founding dean, Gary Bertoline. But rather than attempting to launch the Institute from within the traditional confines of the existing university, the founders drew up plans starting with a blank sheet of paper.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/launching-competency-degree-984/

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How administrators can enhance online learning programs

October 27th, 2014

By Meris Stansbury, eCampus News

Administrators and administrative structure can not only vastly improve online program efficiency, but boost enrollment by thousands of students. At least, that’s what a new study of private, nonprofit colleges revealed, providing what researchers say is much-needed empirical research on what works for administrative structure for online programs. “Nonprofit private colleges lag behind their public and for-profit counterparts in offering online programs,” explains Rebecca Hoey, director of online learning for Northwestern College. “As a result, administrative structures to manage online programs at those institutions may be underdeveloped.”

http://www.ecampusnews.com/top-news/administrators-online-learning-746/

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Ed Department to Colleges: Read the Instructions

October 26th, 2014
by Inside Higher Ed
The U.S. Department of Education has a response to colleges and universities confused by how they are supposed to count students enrolled in distance education courses: Read the instructions.  In a study released last month, higher education consultant Phil Hill and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies found many colleges and universities have under- or overreported thousands of students to the federal government, which tracks those numbers through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System program, or IPEDS.   In some cases, institutions were confused about whether or not to report students enrolled in continuing education, and in others, institutions used their own definitions of distance education.
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/10/20/ed-department-colleges-read-instructions
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Publishers Win Reversal of Court Ruling That Favored ‘E-Reserves’ at Georgia State U.

October 26th, 2014

By Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Ed

How much copyrighted material can professors make available to students in online course reserves before they exceed the boundaries of educational fair use? That’s the essential question at the heart of a long-running copyright-infringement lawsuit that has pitted three academic publishers against Georgia State University. The answer matters not just to the parties to the case, Cambridge University Press et al. v. Carl V. Patton et al., but publishers, librarians, and professors at many other institutions. It’s already been more than six years since Cambridge, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications sued Georgia State for copyright infringement. And the latest round of legal action guarantees that the case will drag on a while longer before it produces a reliably precedent-setting answer, if it does.

http://chronicle.com/article/Publishers-Win-Reversal-of/149523/

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Want an online degree? Net ruling threatens that

October 26th, 2014

by Vincent del Casino, AZ Central

Success of online education, including student retention and graduate rates, can’t happen without a wide range of services, from online-faculty office hours to tutoring to disability services and beyond. Online-library access and journal accessibility are also central to success; it is hard to imagine any student today who does not rely on the Internet for much of his or her basic research. An open and accessible Internet is, after all, a space where students — not just as consumers of knowledge, but also as producers — will exchange content across an ever-growing set of information databases. However, just as those in higher education accelerate action to expand online education, the debate about net neutrality — the idea that broadband and Internet service providers should provide open access to all legal online content equally and without interference — has intensified.

http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2014/10/16/net-neutrality-online-degrees/17384523/

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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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