Online Learning Update

June 3, 2017

Course Workload Estimator

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

by Rice University

My colleague, Dr. Vickie Cook, shared this site with me. I think that you may find it useful! Somewhat surprisingly, there is very little research about the amount of time it takes the average college student to complete common academic tasks. We know quite a bit about how students tackle common academic tasks, but those studies rarely ask students to report on how long it takes them to complete the task (whether reading a book, writing a paper, or studying for an exam). The testing literature provides some clues (because valid instrument design depends on data about the average speed of test takers), but it’s tough to generalize from the experience of taking high-stakes, timed tests to the experience of working on an assignment in the comfort of your dorm. And while there is a sizable literature on reading, the nature and purpose of the reading tasks in these experiments are also quite different from what students typically encounter in college. All of which is to say the estimates linked below are just that: estimates.

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Teaching Medicine as an Immersive Experience

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am

by Michael Parker, EDUCAUSE Review

In rethinking medical education, an interdisciplinary team at Harvard Medical School designed a new fundamentals curriculum for online health care learning. HMX Fundamentals takes advantage of how people learn and an array of online tools to provide an immersive online program for students just beginning their studies in health care. Courses integrate clinical applications, opportunities for active learning, and biomedical visualizations that help make concepts more intuitive and memorable. Students from the pilot at one HMX partner institution increased scores by an average of 55 percent from pre-course to post-course quizzes, with similar trends for groups at other schools.

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One Size Does Not Fit All

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:03 am

By Wayne D’Orio, Insidhe Higher Ed

With residential enrollments down and online student enrollments up, many private nonprofit and public colleges and universities are expanding their distance education courses and programs. Still, even though online classes have existed for 20-plus years, administrators, faculty members and staff are frequently tripped up by what seems like a basic question: How many students should be in an online class? Examining how both experienced institutions and newcomers to online learning set class sizes shows this task is much more art than science. “The big question we all want to solve in terms of course size is: How do we increase capacity and access without diminishing academics,” said Luke Dowden, the director of the office of distance learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, which went from offering 13 online courses in 2010 to 191 in 2017.

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June 2, 2017

State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Spring 2017 Edition

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:05 am

By Phil Hill, e-literate

This is the ninth year I have shared the LMS market share graphic, commonly known as the squid graphic, for US and Canadian higher education. The original idea remains – to give a picture of the LMS market in one page, highlighting the story of the market over time. The key to the graphic is that the width of each band represents the percentage of institutions using a particular LMS as its primary system. Last year we made a big shift based on our LMS market analysis service – we are working with LISTedTECH to provide market data and visualizations. This data source provides historical and current measures of institutional adoptions, allowing new insights into how the market has worked and current trends. Our spring report for subscribers will be released this month. Data for 2017 goes through April 1 of this year.

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Bill Gates reveals what he’d study if he were a college freshman today

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:04 am

by Chris Weller, Business Insider

Take notice, incoming college freshmen — the richest person in the world has some advice for what you should study. In a Twitter thread on Monday, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates said if he were to enter college now, he’d major in artificial intelligence, energy, or biosciences. He called them all “promising fields where you can make a huge impact.” Experts in technology and economics generally agree that there will be profound changes in the next 20 years in the way companies use AI to automate their factories, construction sites, and retail locations.

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The Midas Touch of Machine Learning

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:03 am

By Christopher Watkins, Udacity

Machine learning is one of those technologies that seems to have a limitless capacity to affect change. It’s a sort of technological King Midas, able to turn everything it touches into algorithmic gold. Recent innovative implementations include everything from fraud prevention to agricultural systemss. Part of machine learning’s appeal lies in its fundamental agnosticism; it can be used in virtually any field, and towards virtually any purpose. Machine learning strategies are also emerging as an effective way for companies to gain marketplace advantage, thus rendering machine learning talent all the more sought-after. Additionally, new startups powered by machine learning and related technologies are launching with increasing frequency, further serving to widen the impact. We’ll highlight one such story below, in which a graduate of Udacity’s Machine Learning Nanodegree program used the skills he learned in the program to launch a new financial services startup.

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June 1, 2017

U.S. Colleges Face Potential Loss of $250 Million from Drop in International Enrollments

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

The “Trump effect” could smack American colleges and universities to the tune of a quarter of a billion dollars in tuition and fees if international student enrollment drops by only 5 percent. That’s the conclusion of researcher Rahul Choudaha, who leads DrEducation, a U.S.-based firm that monitors international student trends. Choudaha said the president’s “anti-immigrant rhetoric” is “colliding with the economic challenges in the ‘source’ countries to create a perfect storm for international student enrollment.” Of course, the travel ban imposed by Trump affects six Muslim-majority countries, which in the near past have sent about 20,000 students, said Choudaha. But the “trickle-down effect on other Muslim-majority countries” is still an unknown, he added, as is the impact on travel from other countries. “The decline for the 2017-2018 academic year will hit the institutions hardest that have benefited from the rising tide of enrollments particularly from China, India and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

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Online Classes vs. Traditional Classes: Pros and Cons

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:06 am

by My College Guide

Online classes are no longer a novelty; they are quickly changing the entire structure and experience of college. For some, this is a welcome change. For others, it can feel intimidating. But with more and more colleges offering online courses, and even entire programs online, it’s important to understand what taking an online course entails, if it’s right for you, and how to succeed if you do choose to enroll. While every college and university offers a unique online experience, many do have several things in common. Understanding the basic structure of online programs will help you feel confident when choosing your program and starting your class.

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Educators Must Accept Tech Methods, Higher Ed Leaders Say

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:02 am


Izabela Uscinski’s students hear an unusual message in their first-ever college writing classes: Open up your laptops, and let’s all work together. The University of Houston visiting assistant professor requires students to drop drafts of their papers in a shared Google folder, where they type notes on each other’s writing styles and arguments for one another to see. Uscinski watches the conversation unfold, commenting on student feedback and giving pointers of her own. It’s a far cry from traditional peer editing techniques, when students swap papers and scribble notes in the margins. That method isn’t effective, she said, because new college students don’t yet know what helpful feedback looks like. What could be an useful exercise, then, wastes time. Uscinski is one of several UH instructors experimenting with ways to integrate life in the classroom with life on the screen.

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