Course Evaluations: How Can/Should We Improve Response Rates?

May 24th, 2016

By: Maryellen Weimer, Faculty Focus

A 2008 review of nine comparison studies reported that online response rates averaged 23% lower than traditional formats. What percentage of students in a course need to respond for the results to be representative? The answer depends on a number of variables, most notably class size. For a class of 20 students, one expert puts the minimum at 58%. As class size increases, the percentage drops. Despite some disagreement as to the percentages, there is consensus that online response rates should be higher than they are right now. Perhaps we all can agree that offering incentives to complete the evaluations doesn’t get students doing ratings for the right reason. Students should offer assessments because their instructors benefit from student feedback the same way students learn from teacher feedback. They should be doing ratings because reflecting about courses and teachers enables students to better understand themselves as learners. They should be doing these end-of-course evaluations because they believe the quality of their experiences in courses matters to the institution. The bottom line question: Is there any way to get students doing ratings for the right reasons?

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/course-evaluations-can-improve-response-rates/

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Celebrate International Month of Creative Coding by Taking Online Courses

May 24th, 2016

by CATY MCCARTHY, Kill Screen

Everything we know and love virtually is the source of meticulous coding. Coding is the backbone of videogames. Coding is in the DNA of the websites we visit daily. In fact, coding can be the reason why some of our favorite creative endeavors exist at all. Coding all too often makes the impossible possible. And that’s why the for-profit online course provider Kadenze has officially dubbed May as the “International Month of Creative Coding.” But what makes coding creative?

https://killscreen.com/articles/celebrate-international-month-creative-coding/

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9 Free Online Courses To Pump Up Your Big Data, Analytics Skills

May 24th, 2016

by Jessica Davis, Information Week

Analytics, big data, and data science are hot areas in the industry, and professionals who have these skills are in high demand. Some reports put annual salaries for data scientists at above the $200,000 mark. Career site Glass Door rated data scientist as the top job for work-life balance, which is not anything that’s easy to come by these days. The demand for data scientists, analysts, and big data experts is strong, and educational institutions are scrambling to meet the demand. But do you really need to go back to school to get another degree in order to establish yourself in a career as a data scientist? Maybe not. There are plenty of other ways for aspiring data scientists and analytics experts to prove their worth to potential employers. For instance, Kaggle offers competitions that enable new data scientists to show off their knowledge and expertise. This site is a common hunting ground for recruiters looking to hire the best and the brightest in data science.

http://www.informationweek.com/big-data/big-data-analytics/9-free-online-courses-to-pump-up-your-big-data-analytics-skills/d/d-id/1325521

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Why Google Daydream matters — and how it could change virtual reality

May 23rd, 2016

By Adi Robertson, the Verge

For Clay Bavor, a longtime Googler who became the company’s first head of virtual reality this year, Cardboard was also a Trojan horse — a low-stakes project that could one day evolve into something bigger. “We knew that Cardboard would only go so far,” says Bavor. After two years, Google wants a mobile VR platform that doesn’t just introduce people to virtual reality but makes them want to stay there. That is called Daydream, an Android-based virtual reality initiative announced yesterday at I/O. Unlike Cardboard, Daydream’s apps will run only on new phones that have been certified by Google, a process that requires various VR-friendly components — like high-quality sensors for head tracking or screens that can reduce blurring by showing images in extremely short bursts. Partners will sell what Google promises will be incredibly comfortable, ergonomic Daydream headsets — designed with the help of unnamed clothing and accessory companies — alongside a small motion controller.

http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/19/11713498/google-daydream-mobile-vr-virtual-reality-cardboard

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With recent deals, Capella moves into job-skills training, particularly software coding

May 23rd, 2016

by Evan Ramstad, STAR TRIBUNE

Last month, Capella spent $18 million to buy Hackbright, one of three deals this year that have pushed the Minneapolis-based for-profit education firm into a new business. Capella in the early 1990s was one of the first companies to offer accredited college degrees via online courses and has grown into one of the biggest, with about 38,000 active students and $430 million in annual revenue. Now, it is teaching job-ready skills that will get people into today’s most in-demand professions. “Employers can’t find the right skilled workers and academia isn’t keeping up,” said Kevin Gilligan, Capella’s chief executive. “We recognize a big opportunity to be an institution that can upskill and reskill 21st century workers.” In addition to Hackbright, Capella bought DevMountain, a Provo, Utah, firm that teaches even more specific tech skills, such as creating apps, in classrooms in the Salt Lake and Dallas metro areas.

http://www.startribune.com/with-recent-deals-capella-moves-into-job-skills-training-particularly-software-coding/379452701/

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Online Courses Just Got Personal

May 23rd, 2016

by Aly Laube, the Runner

Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor David Burns is aiming to make higher education easier for full-time workers, parents, and students travelling abroad. He created his own Small Private Online Course (SPOC) to teach his Education 1100 classes. Where most current online courses are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) that are often based on a series of video lectures, the SPOC is “tailored to students needs, applied and responsive.” Burns keeps his courses personal by “making more of the course material responsive,” and using his free time to have “a lot of lectures and activities online [and] more office hours,” than he ever had while teaching in classrooms. He created all of the materials from scratch, whether they were podcasts, videos, or more traditional mediums, to make them as interesting as possible.

http://runnermag.ca/2016/05/online-courses-just-got-personal/

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A computer science class didn’t notice one of its TAs was a chatbot

May 22nd, 2016

By Chris Mills, BGR

The Turing test has always been an approximate benchmark for good AI. In the test, a human is supposed to converse with a machine over text for five minutes; if the human doesn’t realize that they are talking to a machine, then the computer passes as AI “indistinguishable” from human intelligence. How about a computer that tricked hundreds students for an entire semester?

http://bgr.com/2016/05/13/chatbot-ta-computer-science-turing-test/

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Using Student Analytics for Online Course Improvement

May 22nd, 2016

By: Jennifer Patterson Lorenzetti, Faculty Focus

Many instructors feel that they need to be experts in mathematics in order to understand analytics. But according to John Vivolo, director of online and virtual learning for New York University, every faculty member can learn to use the course analytics available through their LMS to improve student learning. Vivolo’s aim is to help faculty “use analytics to proactively reach out to students.” Vivolo talks about what he calls “pocket data analytics.” These are small, easy-to-use pieces of data that are readily available to instructors through their LMS. Pocket data analytics are a way to leverage the data that is collected, often automatically, by looking at smaller bits of data that show discrete happenings and student behaviors in a class. This allows instructors, deans, and instructional designers to move beyond simple surveys and student grades as metrics into more information that is easily understood and responded to.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/using-student-analytics-online-course-improvement/

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How a telepresence robot is changing some classrooms

May 22nd, 2016

BY LAURA DEVANEY, eSchool News

Thanks to recent strides in robotics and mobile devices, telepresence technology has opened up numerous possibilities at both the K-12 and higher-ed levels, where remote observation and communication can come in handy. Educators and students are exploring a new way to remotely observe and interact with colleagues and peers with a telepresence robot that enables face-to-face communication. Using Kubi, from Revolve Robotics, users download an app onto a tablet and connect the tablet to Kubi using Bluetooth. The tablet sits on a robotic platform. Other users can then “navigate” to Kubi with a browser. This lets them control the robot remotely over the web, including moving it for face-to-face communication.

http://www.eschoolnews.com/2016/05/12/how-a-telepresence-robot-is-changing-some-classrooms/

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3 blossoming fields of study with massive potential

May 21st, 2016

BY MERIS STANSBURY, eCampus News

For institutions eager to help their students not only leap into the job market, but enter a future-proof career, these fields of study are wise investments. As students become more concerned with leveraging their postsecondary education for entry into the job market, colleges and universities must look beyond traditional fields of study to ones that directly lead to future-ready careers. Future-ready, or future-proof, careers refer to careers that not only have a significant number of current job openings, but whose openings are expected to increase in the future. These careers also offer competitive salaries, and are available in multiple markets (i.e. business, education, healthcare, etc.). Using data from job-hunting site Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., as well as recent research from the education sector, eCampus News lists three burgeoning fields of study that any campus would do well to incorporate into their curricula.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/technologies/fields-of-study/

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Can Facebook boost MOOC retention?

May 21st, 2016

BY LAURA DEVANEY, eCampus News

A new study on MOOC course design reveals that students prefer Facebook’s collaboration and interaction features to those of built-in MOOC communication tools. Social media tools might be the key to keeping students engaged in MOOCs and preventing course dropouts, according to new research on MOOC course design that was presented at the annual ACM conference on Learning at Scale on April 26. A study comparing students’ use of their MOOC course’s built-in message boards and forums to the same students’ use of course Facebook groupe revealed that students seemed more engaged in the Facebook groups. Students told researchers they preferred social media interaction to interacting with the MOOC communication tools. Results of the study have implications for future MOOC course design, the researchers said in their paper, parts of which are available by registering for the Learning at Scale flipped conference online.

http://www.ecampusnews.com/featured/featured-on-ecampus-news/mooc-course-design/

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Survey: Instructional Designers ‘Pivotal’ in Tech Adoption

May 21st, 2016

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Managing projects is the most common task instructional designers undertake during their days, followed by technology and pedagogical training. Their biggest obstacle to success on the job is faculty resistance. The most important expertise they possess as a whole is the ability to learn new technologies, followed by project management and learning science or theory. Their favorite tools to work with are Camtasia and Adobe products; their least-favorite are Blackboard and learning management systems in general. Those are some of the findings that have come out of a new survey undertaken by Intentional Futures, a self-described “strategy and design studio,” undertaken on behalf of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Next Generation Courseware Challenge.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/05/09/survey-instructional-designers-pivotal-in-tech-adoption.aspx

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ASU President Michael Crow on innovation, tenure and meeting demands

May 20th, 2016

By Autumn A. Arnett, Education Dive

Arizona State University President Dr. Michael Crow took the reigns of the university 14 years ago, and under his leadership, the institution has implemented a number of programs and innovations, including the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, the University Innovation Alliance, eAdvisor, Learn-Explore-Advance-Design, ASU 101, the Student 360 view and retention dashboard. Arizona State has an 86% freshman retention rate, thanks in no small part to its concentrated efforts around the Global Freshman Academy, which Crow says “draws in students who, because of life balance or a need for greater confidence, have shied away from attempting higher education,” and the institution’s First-Year Success Center — “which pairs highly trained upper-division graduate students with freshmen and sophomores to offer free, personal academic support and advocacy.”

http://www.educationdive.com/news/eduvation-spotlight-asu-president-michael-crow-on-innovation-tenure-and-m/418153/

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Online courses for game-changers

May 20th, 2016

by Molly Brown, Mt. Shasta News

Deep in the Amazon rainforest, spanning the borders of modern-day Ecuador and Peru, the Achuar people have lived and thrived for centuries. In 1995, the Achuar made the courageous decision to reach out to the modern world that was threatening their very existence. A group of people, including Bill and Lynn Twist and John Perkins, traveled to the rainforest at the invitation of Achuar leaders. The Achuar shared with this group the urgent threat to their lands and culture, their vision for self-determination, and a request for allies from the North who would ‘change the dream of the modern world’ ” shifting our culture of overconsumption to one that honors and sustains life.The Alliance has created, among many other projects, two dynamic courses to enable people to discover the value of ancient wisdom in addressing our modern crises and their personal role in bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this planet.

http://www.mtshastanews.com/article/20160512/BLOGS/305129999/-1/news

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Taking Competency-Based Credentials Seriously in the Workforce.

May 20th, 2016

by John K. Waters, Campus Technology

Companies like AT&T and Google are expanding their partnerships with online education providers, creating new educational pathways to real jobs. It sounds cutting-edge, but the concept of a competency-based education that results in an institution-agnostic microcredential isn’t new. For well over a century, industries have worked with colleges and universities through various types of extension programs to salt the workforce with better-qualified candidates. But in the Age of the Internet, for-profit online education providers such as Udacity and Coursera have tweaked that model by collaborating with companies to develop programs tailored to their specific needs. AT&T was one of the first companies to work with the new generation of online education providers to develop a credentialing program designed to fill a specific staffing gap.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/05/11/taking-competency-based-credentials-seriously-in-the-workforce.aspx

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How to Learn Anything Online, Including Programming

May 19th, 2016

by Tomas Laurinavicius, Huffington Post

I believe that education is the most powerful force in the world. To be exact, self-education. It doesn’t matter if you are in a university or studying in a library, it’s self-education. If you want to learn something, you’ll find a way, and on the other hand, if you don’t want to learn, even the best university or teacher won’t be able to put knowledge into your head. Learning online allowed me to become my own boss and focus on things that excite me. Instead of following orders and lesson plans designed for general public, I was able to learn things on my own, copy others, ask questions and even start working for money by applying those skills I’ve learned. Could it get even better?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tomas-laurinavicius/how-to-learn-anything-online_b_9856754.html

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Granite Geek: The art of college and online learning

May 19th, 2016

by DAVID BROOKS, Concord Monitor

MOOCs were a hot new thing three or four years ago when they looked as if they might upend the traditional college business model. “Structures” is part of EdX, a compilation of MOOCs from a variety of high-profile universities around the world that was created by MIT and Harvard. The advantage of the approach is obvious: it’s a great way to spread education. May says a whopping 15,000 students have taken the class. She plans to use a rerun for research into educational methods, performing so-called A/B tests in which single variables of the approach are tweaked for different groups so the results can be compared.

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Organization Tips For Students Taking Online Classes

May 19th, 2016

By Kylie Exline, ULoop

Taking online classes is not always super fun, but they can definitely be easier for you. For instance, you can still travel and vacation since attendance is not a thing (or it is simply a click on your laptop). Or stay in your PJ’s all day just because you do not have to leave the house for any reason whatsoever. Sounds golden. In order to do well in these online courses, you definitely need to stay organized. Without it, you may not do that well, and maybe even regret taking the class at all. Do not regret it.

http://www.uloop.com/news/view.php/200718/Organization-Tips-For-Students-Taking-Online-Classes

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Artificial Intelligence Course Creates AI Teaching Assistant

May 18th, 2016

By Jason Maderer, Georgia Tech

College of Computing Professor Ashok Goel teaches Knowledge Based Artificial Intelligence (KBAI) every semester. It’s a core requirement of Georgia Tech’s online master’s of science in computer science program. And every time he offers it, Goel estimates, his 300 or so students post roughly 10,000 messages in the online forums — far too many inquiries for him and his eight teaching assistants (TA) to handle. That’s why Goel added a ninth TA this semester. Her name is Jill Watson, and she’s unlike any other TA in the world. In fact, she’s not even a “she.” Jill is a computer — a virtual TA —implemented on IBM’s Watson platform. The students, who were studying artificial intelligence, were unknowingly interacting with it. Goel didn’t inform them about Jill’s true identity until April 26. The student response was uniformly positive.

http://www.news.gatech.edu/2016/05/09/artificial-intelligence-course-creates-ai-teaching-assistant

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3 Theories Why We Are Intrigued By Mobile Learning

May 18th, 2016

By Joshua Kim, Inside Higher Ed

Why are we so interested in mobile learning? What is it about moving online education from our laptops to our phones and tablets that has gotten us so intrigued? Is it because the world of social media has largely moved to mobile? Over three-quarters of all the time that people in the U.S. spend on social media is done so on a mobile device. 90 percent of people that access Facebook on a daily basis are doing so via mobile, and over 50 percent of Facebook users only access the social network on a mobile device. Over 80 percent of Twitter users are mobile users. More than half of YouTube views come from a mobile device. I have 3 theories about why we are so intrigued by the siren song of mobile learning.

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/technology-and-learning/3-theories-why-we-are-intrigued-mobile-learning

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Ignoring Non-Traditional Students Invalidates Most College Ratings

May 18th, 2016

Cathy Sandeen, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension as reported in Evolllution

There’s no shortage of publications and systems available for students to track institutional performance and student success. Unfortunately, the truth of many of these systems is that they ignore or overlook the vast majority of learners enrolled in higher education today. In this interview, Cathy Sandeen shares her thoughts on the validity of the College Scorecard, released by the federal government, and reflects on its value as a mechanism to measure institutional success.

http://evolllution.com/attracting-students/accessibility/ignoring-non-traditional-students-invalidates-most-college-ratings/

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