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The popularity of streaming video for recreation is nothing new to universities, however, growing trends for high-quality lecture videos and interactive class activities will soon put an added strain on campus IT teams.
The streaming revolution is showing no sign of slowing down. Sixty-one percent of Americans between 18 and 29 years old use streaming services as their primary way to watch TV, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center. New ventures, such as the recent purchase of MTV campus networks by streaming service Chedder, show companies are embracing the new wave of online viewership.
Beyond entertainment, college students are finding videos to be an optimal way to learn. A student survey at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry found 97 percent of students felt videos of lectures helped them learn, and 98 percent watched these videos online.
As online video viewing grows at an exponential rate each year, universities need to update their networks to stay ahead of the accelerating consumption in and out of the classroom.
There isn’t a New York Times bestseller list for online courses, but perhaps there should be. After all, so-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were meant to open education to as many learners as possible, and in many ways they are more like books (digital ones, packed with videos and interactive quizzes) than courses.
The colleges and companies offering MOOCs can be pretty guarded these days about releasing specific numbers on how many people enroll or pay for a “verified certificate” or microcredential showing they took the course. But both Coursera and EdX, two of the largest providers, do release lists of their most popular courses. And those lists offer a telling snapshot of how MOOCs are evolving and what their impact is on the instructors and institutions offering them.
In a corner of SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, a small, secretive group called Ad Astra is hard at work. These are not the company’s usual rocket scientists. At the direction of Elon Musk, they are tackling ambitious projects involving flamethrowers, robots, nuclear politics, and defeating evil AIs.
Those at Ad Astra still find time for a quick game of dodgeball at lunch, however, because the average age within this group is just 10 years old.
Ad Astra encompasses students, not employees. For the past four years, this experimental non-profit school has been quietly educating Musk’s sons, the children of select SpaceX employees, and a few high-achievers from nearby Los Angeles. It started back in 2014, when Musk pulled his five young sons out of one of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools for gifted children. Hiring one of his sons’ teachers, the CEO founded Ad Astra to “exceed traditional school metrics on all relevant subject matter through unique project-based learning experiences,” according to a previously unreported document filed with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The latest effort to clean up the planet's growing problem of space junk, RemoveDEBRIS, has been deployed from the International Space Station (ISS). In September it will begin simulated tests of space junk removal, after which it will move on to the real thing.
“After almost 5 years of development, it is exciting to finally be in a position where we can test these extremely exciting technologies in the field. If successful, the technologies found in RemoveDEBRIS could be included in other missions in the very near future,” says Guglielmo Aglietti, Director of the Surrey Space Center at the University of Surrey which has led the program since inception.
Space junk is one measure of humanity's increasing presence in low earth orbit (LEO). In 1967, the Russian-made Sputnik satellite was the only man-made object in space large enough to be tracked. Since then, the bits and pieces of space junk have added up to around 750,000 objects larger than 1 cm (0.3 inches) orbiting Earth, according to the European Space Agency. These man-made pieces of scrap fly around the planet at approximately 24,800 MPH (40 000 km/h), meaning that a collision would have about the same impact as a handheld grenade.
Eighty-two percent of teachers in a recent survey say they believe tech tools have enhanced teaching and learning, and most say they have access to the tools they want.
The survey from MidAmerica Nazarene University queried 1,000 teachers with a minimum of 5 years in the classroom to gauge the impact tech tools have had on instructional methods and student learning.
On average, teachers say 56 percent of their tools have become tech based, and 80 percent of teachers say they have access to most of the tech tools they want in their classrooms. Those tech tools include interactive whiteboards, student portals, laptops, tablets, learning software, and learning apps.
My library is not quiet. As much as I can, I strive to have my students engaged and excited about learning and exploring new things. One of those new things is augmented reality (AR).
Recently, an AR company gave interactive lessons for my class of 25 sixth-graders. The company was here for three hours and my students were engaged and excited the entire time. It was amazing to watch, and I thought, “This is a medium that we definitely have to explore.”
The challenge with this technology is that it looks fun, but many of us don’t have a concrete plan to incorporate it into learning or an idea of how (or if) it will impact student learning. Here are four tips that will help.
Educators around the country are excited about the potential of personalized learning, but before we can make it an everyday reality, we first need to agree on what exactly “personalized learning” means. There are a number of definitions out there. After a thorough review of the literature, I’ve settled on the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) definition of personalized learning, which asks educators to do three things in order to optimize education for each learner:
Be willing to change the instructional approach
Be willing to change the pace of learning
Work to involve students in the process
This definition serves as a strong foundation for a discussion of the past, present, and future of personalized learning.
The idea of the "reverse transfer" isn't new. It's been bandied about at least since 2014, when the National Student Clearinghouse undertook a project to find a way to award associate degrees to individuals who had transferred to a four-year college from a community college without first earning an associate degree. Even if they didn't follow through on their bachelor degree intentions, these "potential completers," so the argument went, may have earned the equivalent of a two-year degree, which they should be able to receive retroactively. The Clearinghouse would act as a transfer agent to handle the details. During that same year, legislation was introduced to encourage states to establish or expand reverse transfer programs.
Does online education help cities and states increase postsecondary access and success for the undergraduate students who need it most?
No hourlong presentation can reasonably purport to answer that question, and the kind of data that might present a clear yes or no verdict probably don't exist yet. But Richard Garrett, chief research officer at Eduventures, wove together an intriguing set of statistics and assertions at the group's annual summit, Higher Ed Remastered, here last week.
Using federal data on online enrollments, prices and completions, as well as state-by-state data from the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, Garrett made the case that online education has helped to suppress the tuition prices adult students are paying, and that colleges that enroll many students online are significantly increasing access to higher education for adult students.
But the data also show that students at those institutions graduate at sharply lower rates than do those at institutions where in-person and blended modes of learning dominate.
That "conundrum," as Garrett called it -- that online education "widens access but on average lowers students' odds of completion" -- raises questions about the extent to which colleges, states and others should be pushing fully online education or more blended forms of learning, which may be less practically available and more expensive but more likely to result in students' success, he argued.
Every year an increasing number of students take to their computers and access education through online or distance learning programmes.
However, this could be set to change according to Learning House’s annual report with Aslanian Market Research (AMR).
The report found that increasing annual numbers of online students are set to slow by 2019. In 2017 alone online programmes saw an increase of 3 percent, totalling 3.85 million full or majority distance learning candidates worldwide, but this is likely to reduce in coming years according to Eduventures.
The market is expected to peak at 4 million students in 2019 and 2020 before leveling off as the global economy improves and the number of high school graduates falls.
Innovation is an often-used—sometimes even over-used—word in strategic plans and company cultures, but as Cathy Sandeen points out, innovation is crucial for colleges and universities looking to overcome external pressures and grow enrollments. In this interview, Sandeen advocates for a firmer understanding of innovation on university campuses, and points to concrete ways in which an institution can build innovation into its culture.
Evo: Why are continuous improvement and innovation so important to the health of a postsecondary institution?
Cathy Sandeen (CS): Continuous improvement and innovation are important for any organization, whether you’re in the academic sphere or not. We all need to focus on how to do things better and find innovative ways to improve. This is particularly important in the postsecondary industry right now due to several external pressures.
The first is financial. In the United States, postsecondary education has become very expensive, so there’s a lot of talk about debt and affordability. This puts pressure on us to become more efficient.
The second is demographic. People are migrating away from certain regions of the country for economic opportunity, so there are fewer “traditional” customers for higher education in those parts. There’s a similar pattern in Canada, where the eastern provinces are losing their high-school-aged population to the west.
Finally, there’s a growing demand from the labor market for college credentials. In the US, we still have high demand for attainment, but attainment is really viewed as bachelor-level degrees and non-degree certificates. We’re forced to be more accountable and look at our outcomes.
These factors are driving the need to look at continuous improvement and innovation, both in terms of program delivery, but also in terms of student and administrative services. Innovation is a pressing priority because we are expected to do more as demand grows. We need to be able to serve more people, more efficiently.
We are at an interesting point in higher education, with increasing and widespread concerns related to a myriad of challenges and issues; as well as a host of innovations to address these problems. Colleges and universities in every imaginable form appear to be committed to intentional strategies clearly directed at making completion of credentials more assessable and affordable. There is growing acknowledgement that the innovative approaches to higher education demonstrate that we are in the midst of a major transformation in higher education that will result in changes to the way it is experienced by students.
Innovations such as Competency Based Education (CBE) are driving higher education institutions to rethink how we might shape the future. However, many questions linger in relation to the necessary requisites to support innovation in higher education. In addition to the core tenets of successful organizational change—motivating for a change, creating a vision, developing support, managing transition, and sustaining momentum—our team has identified five necessary elements that could be attributed to the successful launch and continued development of innovations including CBE.