Coursera Removes Free Track From Some MOOCs

January 31st, 2016
by Inside Higher Ed

Massive open online course platform Coursera is removing the option to complete some of the courses offered on its platform for free. Coursera has previously offered a free track and a paid track that awards an identity-verified certificate, but as of last week, learners will have to pay a fee in some courses to have their assignments graded. Learners in those courses who choose not to pay can still browse the course materials, including discussions and assignments. “We are on a mission to change the world by providing universal access to the best learning experience,” Coursera said in a blog post. “To do this, we also need to have a business model that supports our platform, our partners, our content and everything we do for learners.

https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2016/01/25/coursera-removes-free-track-some-moocs

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College class blends Game of Thrones and Medieval history

January 31st, 2016

by Lexi Kallis, Winter is Coming

In recent years, we’ve seen more and more Game of Thrones-themed college courses pop up. They’ve focused on everything from religion to historical figures to war to the more granular R+L=J theory. Virginia Tech University is the latest to join the pack with a Game of Thrones-themed class centered on medieval history. Virginia TV station WSLS-10 recently took a look at the online class and at professor Matthew Gabriele, who combined his passion for medieval studies with his love for the show. The course concentrates on three major themes: power and politics, the role of women, and the fantasy element of dragons.

https://winteriscoming.net/2016/01/24/college-class-blends-game-of-thrones-and-medieval-history/

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Earning online degrees takes motivation

January 31st, 2016

by Debbie Blank, Herald-Tribune

Malia Fledderman decided to go back to school to get an MBA “to just get a job in general. I had a very hard time after graduation just finding a full-time job because I was a ‘damn millennial’ and didn’t have any experience.” Aiming to earn a Master of Business Administration in management and strategy, “Mine was typically three courses, but a couple of terms I had four. Each major has a different setup.” In my major, all of the work required writing papers and working through simulations …. You can go at your own pace, because the papers or projects are not due at particular times. They just all have to be completed and you have to have a passing grade on each paper or project by the end of the term for all of the courses. If you submitted a paper and it didn’t pass, you had to redo the paper and resubmit. Before you resubmit, you have the option to speak with the professor of the course, (who) will read through your paper and help you figure out what parts you may be missing.”

http://www.batesvilleheraldtribune.com/news/local_news/earning-online-degrees-takes-motivation/article_31ba330b-78f9-516d-8851-c88d5f9310a3.html

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SUNY-ESF receives $190,000 grant to fund online learning program

January 30th, 2016

By Taylor Watson, Daily Orange

SUNY-ESF recently received a SUNY Investment Fund award in support of its development of online programs, furthering the university’s dedication to distance learning. State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher announced on Jan. 11 during her annual State of the University Address that the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry would receive $190,000 to fund the ESF Open Academy. SUNY-ESF has a history of engaging in a variety of distance learning methods, including video conferences and the use of satellite technology, said Chuck Spuches, associate provost for outreach at SUNY-ESF.

http://dailyorange.com/2016/01/suny-esf-receives-190000-grant-to-fund-online-learning-program/

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GOP senators want lower Internet speeds to qualify as “broadband“

January 30th, 2016

by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

A year after the Federal Communications Commission changed the definition of broadband Internet to include only faster speeds, Republicans in Congress are still mad about the decision. Using the new broadband minimum speed of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload, the FCC’s annual review of deployment this month said that broadband isn’t being offered to about 34 million Americans. ISPs immediately criticized that assessment; yesterday their friends in Congress piled on.

http://arstechnica.com/business/2016/01/gop-senators-want-lower-internet-speeds-to-qualify-as-broadband/

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Apple hires top virtual and augmented reality expert, FT reports

January 30th, 2016

by Mark Walton, Ars Technica

While nearly every big tech company has some sort of plan in place to deal with the upcoming onslaught of virtual reality and augmented reality technology, there’s been one rather large holdout: Apple. According to a report from the Financial Times, however, Apple now has its own VR/AR expert. Doug Bowman is joining Apple following a sabbatical from his position as a professor of computer science and the director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech. Bowman, who was the lead author of 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice, has an impressive background in virtual reality tech. His research focused on “three-dimensional user interface design and the benefits of immersion in virtual environments,” according to his academic profile.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2016/01/apple-hires-top-virtual-and-augmented-reality-expert-ft-reports/

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Engaging on Purpose in Higher Education

January 29th, 2016

by Mark Milliron, EDUCAUSE Review

In the world of higher education, the needs are great, possibilities powerful, and partners diverse. Students are facing a future that increasingly requires deeper learning and labor-market-valued credentials, along with relevant work experience and civic engagement opportunities to help them take meaningful steps on the path toward living well and actively participating in today’s rowdy digital democracy. In the United States, state and federal governments, foundations, and associations are constantly calling for more—and more diverse—students to successfully complete higher education journeys to fuel the economy and brace us for a road ahead that promises innovation and uncertainty.

http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/1/engaging-on-purpose-in-higher-education

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Fresh Perspectives on Alternative Credentials

January 29th, 2016

By Richard Garrett, Eduventures

Sticker price may be soaring but net price, what students actually pay, is more modest and stable. The wage premium that comes with a degree has never been higher, calming fears about student debt. Still, it’s hard to feel good about these three data points: Graduation Rates. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, the six-year undergraduate completion rate is a mere 55%—and it’s declining. Employability. In 2012, the OECD ran its first international survey of adult skills. Only 8-16% of U.S. adults achieved literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving proficiency at a level judged to be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, yet 34% had such a degree. Premium. Yes, the degree wage premium is higher than ever, 95% for those with a bachelor’s degree and 136% for those with a master’s degree when compared to high school graduates.

http://www.eduventures.com/2015/12/alternative-credentials-fresh-perspectives/#img

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What Employers Think of Badges, Nanodegrees from Online Programs

January 29th, 2016

by Jordan Friedman, US News

A degree or certificate may tell an employer about your education, but it won’t necessarily highlight your specific skills. Online education, however, has facilitated the rise of “microcredentials,” namely digital badges, and nanodegrees, that aim to do just ​that. “I would say over the past three years or so, we’ve seen a rise in this arena in a way that we really haven’t seen in the past,” says Lauren Griffin, senior vice president of the recruitment ​agency Adecco Staffing USA. In some online classes, whether it’s MOOCs or for-credit courses offered through universities, instructors have begun incorporating digital badges into their curricula. Students earn these badges once they achieve a certain milestone or develop a particular skill and can then post them on social media or an online portfolio. When somebody – such as a potential employer – clicks on the badge, it will link to information on how and when the badge was earned.​

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2016-01-22/what-employers-think-of-badges-nanodegrees-from-online-programs

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3 Ways Your Online Classmates Might Surprise You

January 28th, 2016

by Darwin Green, US News

It was the first week of my online course, and we had to introduce ourselves to the class. I discovered that I was the only student who lived in Nebraska. Others lived in China, England, the Middle East and Africa. The discussion posts and interactions between the students of the class brought with them many differences, complications and insights that only an online class could bring. I had never been in a classroom where, during a group project, the teacher had to rearrange the members of the teams according to time zones. Here are four things that surprised me about working with other students in an online setting.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-learning-lessons/2016/01/22/3-ways-your-online-classmates-might-surprise-you

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Google is offering a free online class on deep learning

January 28th, 2016

By PAVITHRA MOHAN, Fast Company

Techies who have some background in machine learning may want to tune into Google’s new course on deep learning. Available through Udacity—home to a host of open online courses—the class is expected to run about three months, assuming people put in about six hours of work per week. The course will also introduce participants to TensorFlow, the open-source deep learning platform Google unveiled back in November. Deep learning, a division of machine learning through which machines detect and classify patterns in data, is the driving force behind Google Photos’ search engine and the company’s speech recognition technology.

http://www.fastcompany.com/3055814/fast-feed/google-is-offering-a-free-online-class-about-deep-learning

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Who needs a computer science degree these days?

January 28th, 2016

by Paul Rubins, CIO

Two candidates apply for a software development position: One has a degree in computer science from a prestigious school. The other is self-taught with several years’ experience under his belt. Who one gets the job? Of course, there’s no definitive answer to this question, but it’s one that CIO’s are increasingly going to have to think about. That’s because more and more software developers – and very skilled and competent ones at that – are entering the job market without any degree-level training.

http://www.cio.com/article/3025349/careers-staffing/who-needs-a-computer-science-degree-these-days.html

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Inspiring the Next Gen of Tech Workers

January 27th, 2016

By John K. Waters, THE Journal

It has been called “America’s persistent problem”: not enough skilled workers to fill millions of job openings. The high-tech sector in particular has complained for years about the country’s shallow pool of tech talent. Some leading companies in that sector have partnered with online education providers in hope of deepening that pool in the relatively near term. Google, AT&T, Facebook, and Twitter, for example, have worked with Udacity to create targeted online certification programs, a few of which provide training for specific jobs currently available. Some high-tech companies are also acting with an eye toward the future with programs and events aimed at K-12 students and educators.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/21/inspiring-the-next-gen-of-tech-workers.aspx

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Students earn gen ed credits and major credits online

January 27th, 2016

By Katie Ellington, the Asbury Collegian

Many think of a typical school day as a series of in class lectures that are over by dinnertime. But a number of Asbury students are taking both general education courses and major requirements from their dorm rooms. “There are a limited number of courses offered online for traditional undergraduate students, most of which are foundational courses,” said Registrar Sheryl Voigts. While students take classes online to simplify schedules, work at their own pace or get some work done over the summer, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Dr. Bill Hall, who helped start the online program, says it wasn’t until two or three years ago that these courses opened up to the entire student body.

http://www.theasburycollegian.com/2016/01/students-earn-gen-eds-and-major-credits-online/

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Collaborative classrooms mark wave of the future in higher ed

January 27th, 2016

By Tara García Mathewson, Education Dive

Student-centered models turn instructors into guides as students investigate for themselves. Student-centered, collaborative classroom design is exploding across higher education and virtually all faculty today understand the difference between labs of computers and classrooms that feature them. INTERESC has three collaborative classrooms in high demand and plans to design more as soon as there’s money to build them. The designs put students at the center of instruction, shifting the faculty role to one of tutor or guide. “This changes the whole way we teach,” Benavides said. At the School of Education, students benefit from more engaging class periods, as well as the modeling of how to be comfortable with technology as teachers. Their instructors serve as content guides, and they also help solve technical problems that are sure to crop up in the modern classrooms.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/collaborative-classrooms-mark-wave-of-the-future-in-higher-ed/412430/

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Turnitin Launches Service Designed to Improve Student Writing

January 26th, 2016

By David Nagel, THE Journal

Turnitin, best known in education circles for its technology designed to detect plagiarism in students’ papers, has launched a new tool that aims to improve those students’ papers during the writing process. According to Turnitin, the technology, called Turnitin Revision Assistant, goes beyond simple grammar and spelling checks and instead provide “actionable comments” on demand, offering feedback on such aspects of their writing as “focus, use of evidence or organization, among many others,” according to the company.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/21/turnitin-launches-service-designed-to-improve-student-writing.aspx

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Game-Based Learning Has Practical Applications for Nontraditional Students

January 26th, 2016

By Marguerite McNeal, edSurge

Can game-based learning help nontraditional students improve outcomes? That’s the central question behind a report released today by Muzzy Lane Software, a Newbury, Mass.-based game development platform. Game-based experiences like role-playing scenarios and puzzles can let students test competencies in a safe environment. The new report shows the potential for these learners to benefit from modular, game-based approaches that fit within their lives and their instructors’ workflows. “We hope that this [research] leads to educators and curriculum designers and game-makers thinking about approaches to games that can overcome hurdles of cost and fit that have been holding things back,” says Bert Snow, principal investigator and vice president of design at Muzzy Lane.

https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-01-20-game-based-learning-has-practical-applications-for-nontraditional-learners

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Reshma Saujani Makes the Case for Girls Who Code

January 26th, 2016

By Patrick Peterson, THE Journal

The code that makes computers run consists of long strings of seemingly random numbers and letters that tell the computer how to react to certain requests and even let the computer perform tasks that seem almost human. The geeky wizards who control this digital magic are mostly young men. But girls, led by lawyer-turned-tech-advocate Reshma Saujani, have begun to mine this source of power. “They are interested and they are good at it,” Saujani said during a keynote address to FETC 2016 last week in Orlando. Through the organization Saujani founded in 2012, Girls Who Code, more than 10,000 young women have been learning to create computer software which runs everything from smartphones to the nation’s power grid. The girls have discovered that there is no reason for them to avoid high-tech fields, which are normally chosen by boys.

https://thejournal.com/articles/2016/01/20/reshma-saujani-makes-the-case-for-girls-who-code.aspx

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3 Things to Consider Before Taking Online Courses in College

January 25th, 2016

by Say Campus Life

Before you choose online as the route that is best for you, it’s important to understand that this format can be a challenge. Here are 3 things to do before starting online course work. Hopefully they help you decide.

http://www.saycampuslife.com/2016/01/20/3-things-to-consider-before-taking-online-courses-in-college/

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Choose the Right Online Program in Entrepreneurship

January 25th, 2016

By Jordan Friedman, US News

Entrepreneurship is a growing discipline ​in online education for a number of reasons, including that​ skills in the field are becoming more appealing to employers, experts say. “People are excited when they see companies startup​​ and become successful, and also I think that there’s a way to apply entrepreneurial thinking within an organization,” says Cheryl Bann, chair​ of the MBA program at Capella University, an online, for-profit school that offers a graduate certificate and an MBA degree in entrepreneurship. Career goals, cost and faculty interaction are factors to consider, experts say.

http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2016-01-20/choose-the-right-online-program-in-entrepreneurship

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Confessions of a MOOC professor: three things I learned and two things I worry about

January 25th, 2016

by John Covach, the Conversation

Roughly two-thirds of my students have been over the age of 25. When we think about college courses, we assume the students are age 18-24, since that’s the usual age at which one gets an undergraduate degree. There are a significant number of people out there, however, who are interested in continuing to learn later in life. Students who take MOOC courses tend to be older and are mostly international. Continuing education courses at colleges and universities have served that public to a certain degree, but it is clear that there is more demand among older students than many might have suspected. Given the chance to learn according to their own schedule and location, many find this option very attractive. MOOC students are mostly international and already college-educated

http://theconversation.com/confessions-of-a-mooc-professor-three-things-i-learned-and-two-things-i-worry-about-53330

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