Penn State Students Attend Class via Robot

September 18th, 2016

By Sri Ravipati, Campus Technology

A new technology pilot program at Pennsylvania State University enables students to attend and participate in class without ever stepping inside the classroom. The research institution is piloting the BeamPro Smart Presence System from Suitable Technologies, which allows students to be present through a robot that can be remotely operated via computer application. Users can steer the BeamPro robots inside or outside of the classroom – they can even command the robot to take an elevator to another floor or travel around campus.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/09/08/penn-state-students-attend-class-via-robot.aspx

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Quality Matters Intros New Teaching Online Certificate

September 18th, 2016

By Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Online educators have a new way to document their skills in online teaching. Quality Matters (QM), a nonprofit organization providing quality standards, professional development, course/program review and more, has added a new Teaching Online Certificate (TOC) to its lineup of certifications for quality assurance in online learning. “QM has recognized from its beginning that quality course design is a necessary, but not sufficient, component for a high quality student experience. Quality teaching matters, too,” said Deb Adair, QM’s executive director, in a press release. “Our new TOC follows the QM tradition of building on well-researched criteria and identifying practical competencies in alignment with those criteria. It represents our first foray into Quality Matters for Teaching.”

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/09/13/quality-matters-intros-new-teaching-online-certificate.aspx

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Essentials of Digital Accessibility

September 18th, 2016

By Harriette Spiegel, Campus Technology

Digital accessibility is a hot topic in higher education these days, and training faculty in creating accessible digital materials is on the mind of every instructional designer or educational technology team. The question of how to accomplish this training is a topic in itself, but this article outlines some of the most common issues that confront faculty when making their course content accessible. These issues are Headings, Alt Text, Meaningful Hyperlinks and Tables.

https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/09/13/essentials-of-digital-accessibility.aspx

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Indiana University seeing fast growth in online courses

September 17th, 2016

by WISH-TV

Enrollment in Indiana University online courses and programs has continued its rapid growth this year. The university said some 27,000 IU students and one in every four students on the seven campuses administrated by the university, are taking at least one online course this fall. Faculty on all IU campuses have collaborated to develop courses and new online degree programs.

http://wishtv.com/2016/09/12/indiana-university-seeing-fast-growth-in-online-courses/

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An Online Education Disconnect

September 17th, 2016

By Rachael Cusick, Slate

I may have drawn the longest possible straw in online learning. I was signed up for a scaled-down, hybrid-classroom approach to distance learning. The course material was engaging, and so was the instructor. The professor stood a few feet away from me, and I had unlimited time to ask questions before and after the class itself. But though we were in the same room, even I had trouble paying attention while the professor stared into her computer, trying to simultaneously engage those of us in the room as well as those students more than 250 miles away. Every week, it looked like half my peers back at the ranch were dozing or updating their fantasy sports leagues instead of paying attention. I marveled at the ones who powered through and remained engaged throughout the whole section—and a lot of them did. My ultimate peeve with this technology-dependent learning platform was digital hand-raising

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/09/the_difficulty_of_creating_community_in_distance_education_courses.html

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Do You Have What It Takes To Tackle College Courses Online?

September 17th, 2016

By Rhiannon Winner, ULoop

Online college courses are appealing to many students, whether it’s because they’re cheaper than in-person classes or because they’re flexible enough to be molded to your schedule. Whatever sparked your interest in them, it’s best to be honest with yourself and see if you’re right for online learning before diving in. Are you organized? Organization is a key part of online learning. No professor will be around to hand out copies of the syllabus or remind you to store certain papers in the right folder. You’ll need to meticulously keep track of assignment due dates and make sure you’re pacing yourself so that you finish on time. If you’ve always been the kind of student with a color-coded note system and dozens of binders, you’d do well to keep that up when taking online courses.

http://www.uloop.com/news/view.php/212917/Do-You-Have-What-It-Takes-To-Tackle-College-Courses-Online

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Digital Tips for Cultural Responsive Activities

September 16th, 2016

by Nancy Wozniak, University of Alaksa Anchorage

Culturally-responsive design strategies allow students to realize they are important as participants in the class community and respected as unique individuals. The University of Alaska Anchorage includes culturally-mediated design as a major development strategy for their Robust Online Learning Program (Title III Grant) focused on General Education Requirement (GER) online courses. The goal is to create online environments that nuture and support cultural exchange and community. One thing to remember, when designing culturally responsive activities, is that students learn best, collaboratively. They learn effectively by discussing their ideas with one another and by participating in peer-to-peer learning activities and reviews. Here are 5 digital tips for infusing cultural responsiveness in your course.

https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academics/institutional-effectiveness/departments/academic-innovations-elearning/robust-online-learning/spotlights/digital-tips.cshtml

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Increased Job Opportunity Rises Demand for Blockchain Courses

September 16th, 2016

by News BTC

In an ideal scenario, the education sector works together with the industries to ensure a balance between the skilled workforce and job opportunities. But it is not always the case, especially when it comes to digital currency technology. The mismatch between job and education sector has led to many professionals and students registering for various online courses on Bitcoin and blockchain technology. At present, there are only a handful of universities offering professional courses on these topics. But thankfully, there are few online course platforms that allow people to learn the much-required skills so that they can benefit from the increasing requirement of blockchain professionals in banking, financial and IT institutions. A leading business magazine has recently reported on the surge in demand for cryptocurrency based courses.

http://www.newsbtc.com/2016/09/11/demand-blockchain-courses-wake-increased-job-opportunities/

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Online Title IX Course Mandatory for New Students

September 16th, 2016

by Shelby Evans, Arkansas Traveler

Incoming UA students will be required to participate in an online Title IX training course, a UA official said. The mandatory training is in response to many university Title IX issues, Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said in an email to all new students. “Part of the reason that sexual misconduct on college campuses is a growing issue is that people don’t always understand what constitutes sexual misconduct, what they can do to prevent it, how to get help, how to report it or the connections between alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct,” Steinmetz said. The university is addressing this problem through education and awareness with Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault, a short informational course, Steinmetz said.

http://www.uatrav.com/news/article_518289e6-76a8-11e6-90d3-af29a2f4796e.html

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Brits Seek to Measure Learning

September 15th, 2016

by Elizabeth Redden, Inside HIgher Ed

A project led by the Open University is using data related to learning analytics — on student participation in online classes, for example, or on library log-ins. Bart Rienties, a reader in learning analytics at the Open University, a distance learning institution, said the project primarily relies on analysis of data already being collected by his university and the other two institutions in the project, Oxford Brookes University and the University of Surrey. “All three universities have data of what students are doing in terms of virtual learning environment engagement, so what we’re testing is can we indeed identify patterns of some students becoming more engaged in a virtual learning environment while others are moving in a different direction,” Rienties said. While the focus is on virtual learning, Rienties said the study is not looking only at online courses, but also at various online learning environments created to support traditional face-to-face classes.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/09/england-push-evaluate-teaching-quality-and-learning-gains

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5 reasons getting your degree online makes sense

September 15th, 2016

By Asian Correspondent

Online learning has changed the higher education landscape in recent years. Not only are more students using digital resources to research and choose study options, increasing numbers are turning to online learning to gain degrees from prestigious universities around the world. Most universities and colleges now offer a range of online and hybrid degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, about 2 million undergraduate students and 600,000 postgraduate students were studying fully online in 2014 and this figure continues to grow. In fact, one third of students told one survey that they wouldn’t consider an equivalent on-campus program even if it were easily available.

https://asiancorrespondent.com/2016/09/5-reasons-getting-degree-online-makes-sense/

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Don’t wait for the future: learning disruption is already here

September 15th, 2016

by GISELLE BYRNES, NBR

Adaptive online learning tools can, through the use of data analytics, help students when they hit a roadblock and give them just-in-time advice. Far from making the role of the teacher redundant, adaptive online learning also allows teachers to see exactly how and where their advice is needed. Universities are re-thinking their priorities around investing in traditional assets and looking to further develop digital learning spaces. They are also increasingly employing data analytics to help improve student engagement and learning outcomes. This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of change, not just for university teachers and administrators, but also for the way in which these institutions are structured, the people they employ and how they will position themselves in the future.

http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/dont-wait-future-learning-disruption-already-here-194020

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Online classes give students great freedom, great responsibility

September 14th, 2016

by Leland Chow, Nebraskan

Online classes, compared with in-person classes, are generally more self-paced, meaning I can finish as many chapters as I want per week, as long as the instructor opens the chapters. This means some people, like me, would try to finish all the required reading and assignments as soon as possible so they can worry about other things, like in-person classes or other commitments. But some instructors might prevent students from doing more than 2 chapters a week to ensure students fully understand the materials before proceeding. Other people might drag out their learning period. The most obvious benefit of taking classes online, as opposed to in-person, is that students have freedom to choose when and where to study. Unlike in-person classes, in which class times and venues are fixed, I can study in my room at 8 p.m. or in the library at 2 p.m. between my classes. In fact, as long as I have access to a computer, the internet and my study materials, I can study anywhere and everywhere I want. Because of this freedom to choose when and where to study, instructors benefit too.

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/opinion/chow-online-classes-give-students-great-freedom-great-responsibility/article_319d9250-7631-11e6-ad3e-3b2101bf90a5.html

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Minerva Schools at KGI Add Faculty

September 14th, 2016

by Minerva

The Minerva Schools at KGI, which offer an innovative university program for the most talented and motivated students from around the world, today announced the appointment of 24 accomplished faculty. These faculty previously were at institutions including Harvard, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, and the Central European University of Budapest, among others. “As our student body expands significantly this fall, we are thrilled to welcome an incredibly talented group of scholars who will teach freshman and sophomore courses this year,” said Dr. Stephen M. Kosslyn, Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer. “Our teaching staff is now distributed across 20 cities and 4 countries, and we are delighted to welcome each of these gifted teachers to the Minerva team.”

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/minerva-schools-at-kgi-announce-24-additions-to-faculty-300321197.html

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Colleges experiment with engaging alumni of online programs

September 14th, 2016

by Roxanne Shiels, University Business

How does an institution connect with students who’ve never been on campus? In 2013, the latest year for which data is available, 2.7 million students—more than 13 percent of all U.S. students—took all their classes online or through other distance education. Penn State World Campus, the online arm of Penn State University that started in 1998, now has 18,000 students and almost 12,000 alumni. When students enroll in our degree programs, they aren’t just paying for an education—they’re paying for the promise of becoming part of the Penn State family, one of a network of 645,000 living alumni. Creating emotional connections and lasting bonds with online students starts while they are still in school, just as it does with traditional students. These bonds don’t benefit just the alumni organization or the institution. Research shows adult students who are at risk of dropping out are more likely to stay in school when someone is encouraging them.

https://www.universitybusiness.com/article/colleges-experiment-engaging-alumni-online-programs

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How to succeed as an online student

September 13th, 2016

Kelsie Clifton, UTPB Mesa Journal

School alone can be overwhelming but as an online student it can be even more challenging because we do not always have the motivation that other students might have in a traditional classroom. However, one thing I love about UTPB is that our online classes are designed to feel like we are a part of an actual classroom. We have group discussions, live chat and even group assignments just like a traditional classroom would. I have also noticed that more of my teachers have begun to record themselves by video or voice-overs for the chapter lecture which is also a huge help. It may take more effort but we as online students can succeed in our classes just as much as we would if we were physically there.

http://mesajournalnews.com/2972/news/how-to-succeed-as-an-online-student/

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Stackable Credentials Meet the Needs of Students and Society

September 13th, 2016

by Doug Shapiro, Evolllution

In the wake of the Great Recession, a number of “truths” higher education leaders took to be self-evident are disappearing. Students no longer fit into the traditional 18- 22-year-old demographic. Students no longer see their postsecondary education as a one-time affair. This second trend is particularly transformative, as learners are actually establishing their own non-conventional pathways to credentials within the rigid frameworks higher education institutions have in place. In this interview Doug Shapiro shares his thoughts on why these frameworks need to be rethought and reflects on the value of stackable credentials for students and for the economy.

http://evolllution.com/attracting-students/accessibility/stackable-credentials-meet-the-needs-of-students-and-society/

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6 Refresher Online Courses Every Employee Should Take Each Year

September 13th, 2016
by John Boitnott, Stamford Advocate
Businesses face a variety of challenges managing employees. With so many different personalities in one place, conflicts and issues will inevitably arise. Often one of the best ways to minimize friction is to train each worker on appropriate and safe behavior. Whether it’s avoiding a security issue or preventing a costly lawsuit, an investment in training can make a big difference. Some lessons merit more than a one-time session, however. A brief refresher course each year could keep employers safe without requiring employees to sit through a full training class again. Best of all, many of these classes can now be taken online, from the comfort of an employee’s cubicle.
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Economist suggests Ed Dept credentialing as college cost cure

September 12th, 2016

By Jarrett Carter, Education Dive

Economist Carlo Salerno writes in the Huffington Post that allowing the U.S. Department of Education to grant degrees based upon the number of courses completed, regardless of transfers or the number of institutions, is a way to generate more value and decrease costs for students. Since most schools do not accept transfer credits universally to create more profit in taking duplicate courses and more requirements, Salerno argues that the DOE has the capacity to set rules on how many courses and which types qualify students for a professional credential. Salerno says that schools would cut costs to keep pace with the government’s credentialing arm, which could operate in the same way that it qualifies students for federal loans, and higher education accreditors.

http://www.educationdive.com/news/economist-suggests-ed-dept-credentialing-as-college-cost-cure/425756/

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Adult learning options are better, and more useful, than ever

September 12th, 2016

By Nancy Collamer, NEXT AVENUE

Now that it’s September and back-to-school season, you might be thinking about going back to college in midlife yourself. Fortunately, the options for continuing education have never been better — or more affordable. Whether your goal is to pivot into a semi-retirement gig, pick-up new technical skills or earn a needed certification for a promotion, there’s a college class to fit your needs. And while you may need to invest in a degree in some cases, in many others, you can improve your marketability with just a few courses or a short-term certificate program. Which are the best non-degree options for budget-conscious adult learners? Here are four alternatives to consider, as well as a few cost-saving tips should you decide to pursue a more conventional degree program.

http://www.nextavenue.org/4-ways-back-to-college-cheap/

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Getting Real About Today’s College Students

September 12th, 2016

by Daniel Greenstein, Impatient Optimists

What are some of the most common misconceptions about today’s college students? Here are just a few: The typical college student is 18-24 years old and enrolls right out of high school. In fact, 40 percent of today’s college students are 25 or older. It is really important for colleges and universities to provide academic supports to help them brush up in areas where they might be weaker and technology-enabled advising that charts a steady and sure path to a credential. The typical college student is focusing full-time on their studies. The reality is that nearly two-thirds of all students are working while enrolled, a quarter of them full-time. Nearly 30 percent of students have children. The typical college student lives in a dorm on campus. Yes, 40 percent of today’s college students do live on campus, but that means 60 percent do not. Commuter students need access to programs and services before 9am and after 5pm, as well as online and blended courses that enable them to learn anytime, anywhere.

http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2016/09/Getting-Real-About-Todays-College-Students#.V86f9FsrLox

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