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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Learning Engineering: Making Education More "Professional" | Features - Campus Technology.

A Q&A with Ellen Wagner

Learning engineering has taken many forms since the term was coined by Herbert Simon back in the 1960s, explains Mary Grush, Editor and Conference Program Director, Campus Technology. 

"The evolution of ed tech has always demonstrated that as tech platforms get more complex, product teams turn to other disciplines to get the expertise they need."
Photo: Ellen Wagner
Ellen Wagner, who chairs IEEE's ICICLE SIG on Learning Engineering Among the Professions offers some perspective — from Simon's original insight to LE's application and potential today.

Mary Grush: Some 50-plus years ago, Herbert Simon (who we remember today as a famed economist and Nobel Prize winner), coined the term "learning engineering" — a term we are hearing a lot these days. What was "learning engineering" in Simon's original context?

Ellen Wagner: Back in 1967 Herb Simon shared a radical vision that colleges and universities could improve their professionalism by increasing the use of scientific methods and business processes in university administration and operation. In today's era of accountability, analytics, "big data", and performance funding, Simon's recommendations sound almost quaint, don't they?

But by increasing the use of scientific methods and business processes, Simon believed it would be possible to improve the returns on investment in college infrastructure and operational management, which in turn would lead to increased efficiency and better outcomes in curricular development, teaching, and ultimately, in student learning. Does this sound more familiar? Maybe even a bit more like performance-based funding, something that is already in place in 34 states?

Among his suggested strategies for making colleges and universities more professional settings for teaching and learning, Simon believed there might be value in providing college presidents with a "learning engineer" [see Simon, "The Job of a College President," p. 77] — an expert professional in the design of learning environments.

As Simon envisioned this role, the learning engineer would be an institutional specialist with several responsibilities related to optimizing university productivity: Specifically, they would be responsible to work collaboratively with faculty to design learning experiences in particular disciplines. They would also be expected to work with administration to improve the design of the broader campus environment to facilitate student learning and faculty improvements. And, they would be expected to introduce new disciplines such as cognitive psychology, along with learning machines and computer assisted instruction — remember, this was 1967 — to various disciplines on campus.

Source: Campus Technology

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6 Things to Know About Textbooks for Online Courses | Online Colleges - U.S. News & World Report

Online students may consider purchasing rather than renting textbooks if they plan to keep course materials as career resources, according to Jordan Friedman, New York-based freelance reporter.

There are several ways to buy – and save on – textbooks.
Photo: Getty Images

When Regina Kizer took online nursing classes in two graduate nursing degree programs, she bought textbooks in all different formats.

“I've tried eBooks; I've tried Kindle. I've tried purchasing them in hardback, and I've rented them as well,” says the 45-year-old Oklahoma resident, who earned a nursing master’s and doctoral degree from Frontier Nursing University.

She says the decision to buy or rent textbooks – either from the school or elsewhere – in part boiled down to whether she planned to continue using the textbook as a career resource once a class finished. If so, she typically chose to purchase textbooks, often in print... 

Some online courses are going textbook-free.  
Certain professors may not assign any textbooks and will simply have students download a series of journal articles and other reading materials at no cost.

Other online courses may utilize Open Educational Resources, or OERs, which are free materials on the internet that are often available to anyone and are produced through university, state or federally funded projects, says Tony Contento, program manager for the School of Professional Studies at Colorado State University—Global Campus.

“What they represent is a free resource for students designed by active professors,” Contento says. “And sometimes these professors even design other materials – videos, interactives, assessments – for student and faculty use.”
Read more... 

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tech Talent Charter: Tackling gender diversity in tech through collaboration | Diversity - Information Age

Nick Ismail, editor for Information Age notes, Today, the Tech Talent Charter (TTC) launched its inaugural benchmarking report, tracking gender diversity in technology roles across the UK.

Over the course of a year, TTC signatories have more than doubled, which shows the tech sector is taking the gender gap seriously.
Photo: Information Age
The Tech Talent Charter — partner of Information Age’s Women in IT Awards Series — has done something that few diversity initiatives can claim: bring business competitors together to share data and collaborate for one purpose: to end the gender gap prevalent in the technology sector.

In a first-of-its-kind report, the TTC has collated data from across large corporates to start-ups, which provides practical insights — or best practice tips — in helping close the gender gap.

In late 2017, I attended the Tech Talent Charter’s first annual event at the top of the Gherkin. Then, the diversity initiative announced its 90th signatory. Today, there are over 200. But, as Debbie Forster — CEO of Tech Talent Charter — told me, “we’re ahead of the pack, but there is still along way to go.”

The fight (and I use that word carefully) to close the gender gap is fraught with obstacles: recruitment practice, cultural change etcetera. But, the report released today will help companies — who care about diversity — to improve the inclusion practices...

Does size matter in gender diversity? 
Yes, is the answer.

The data collected shows clear differences between the size of an organisation and its gender representation in technology roles. However, no clear trend was found between size and gender representation.

Surprisingly, the micro-companies (or digital native, culturally progressive start-ups) had the highest representation with 53% of all technical roles held by women, in comparison with small companies at 20%, medium at 23% and large at 19%.

Zoe Amar, founder and director of micro-business Zoe Amar Digital, said: “There is an arms race for employees with good tech skills and all organisations need to think creatively about how to attract them. 92% of my team are women and as I founded my social enterprise when I had a toddler and a baby I knew how important it was to offer flexible work, so I could create more opportunities for women in tech.

Source: Information Age

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Your First Digital Steps | Edition January/February 2019 - Chief Learning Officer

It can be overwhelming to keep up with the volume and pace of change for learning leaders today. In his "Your First Digital Steps" article for Chief Learning Officer®, Intrepid's David Woods, account executive with Intrepid by VitalSource, simplifies the complexity and offers practical suggestions for how to get started with digital learning. 

Photo: Chief Learning Officer
The landscape of employee learning and engagement is constantly shifting, but what does that mean for organizations that are just beginning their digital learning journey?

Artificial intelligence, adaptive learning and virtual reality: While these technologies are exciting for the potential they bring in training employees and offering more engaging experiences, there are many organizations that are still stuck in outdated modalities for whom such leaps are unthinkable. Many organizations are still printing and shipping manuals and binders all over the country or even the world to get information to their people.

In many industries, small, incremental changes can often be more practical to accomplish at speed than large, sweeping changes, and the same can be true for learning and development departments that feel stuck in their current training methods. The good news is that small steps along the digital learning path can lead to significant changes in your learners’ lives and in your training department’s efficacy.

Dusty binders and manuals are a thorn in the heel of many a CLO. Here’s where to start to bring your training into the digital age.
Read more... 

Source: Chief Learning Officer

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Tech usage in school more likely in UK than Germany | -TechTarget

Most students in UK schools use technology as part of their learning – the same of which cannot be said about some German schools, writes Clare McDonald, Business editor at Computer Weekly.

Photo: -TechTarget
Young people in the UK are more likely to use technology as part of classroom learning than German students, research has found.

A study by Citrix asked students between the ages of 12 and 15 in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands about their technology usages in schools, and found only 2% of young people in the UK and the Netherlands use no technology in schools compared with 22% of those in Germany.

In the UK, more than half of students claimed to use interactive whiteboards and online portals for homework, and just under half said they used laptops and desktop computers in class – around 14% also said they had used video calling to contact other schools, classes, teachers or experts.

Students in the UK were also more confident about the skills they were learning in school, with three-quarters of UK students saying school prepares them from the world of work, as opposed to fewer than 60% of German and Dutch students.

Darren Fields, regional director of UK and Ireland at Citrix, said the UK is making progress in the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects, but that more needs to be done to keep ahead of growing skills gaps...

A number of adults in the UK do not have the digital skills needed to perform even the most basic of digital tasks, and many have said children have a better knowledge of technology than they do.

Source: -TechTarget 

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The 22 New Skills You Can Now Learn on LinkedIn Learning | New Courses - LinkedIn Learning

Each week presents a new opportunity for you and your team to learn the skills necessary to take on the next big challenge, recommends Paul Petrone, Editor - LinkedIn Learning.

Photo:  Learning Blog - LinkedIn Learning
And, at LinkedIn Learning, we want to do everything we can to help make that happen.

So, each week, we add to our 13,000+ course library. And this past week was no different, as we added 22 new courses covering everything from storytelling with data to AWS for developers to scaling your startup.

The new courses now available on LinkedIn Learning are:

Source: LinkedIn Learning (Blog)

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Mathematicians Have Developed a Computing Problem That AI Can Never Solve | Tech - ScienceAlert

Not everything is knowable. In a world where it seems like artificial intelligence and machine learning can figure out just about anything, that might seem like heresy – but it's true, argues Peter Dockrill, Senior Writer at Science Alert.

Photo: tostphoto/iStock
At least, that's the case according to a new international study by a team of mathematicians and AI researchers, who discovered that despite the seemingly boundless potential of machine learning, even the cleverest algorithms are nonetheless bound by the constraints of mathematics.

"The advantages of mathematics, however, sometimes come with a cost… in a nutshell… not everything is provable," the researchers, led by first author and computer scientist Shai Ben-David from the University of Waterloo, write in their paper.

"Here we show that machine learning shares this fate."

Awareness of these mathematical limitations is often tied to the famous Austrian mathematician Kurt Gödel, who developed in the 1930s what are known as the incompleteness theorems – two propositions suggesting that not all mathematical questions can actually be solved.

Now, Ben-David's new research indicates that machine learning is limited by the same unresolvability.

In this argument, a machine's ability to actually learn – called learnability – can be constrained by mathematics that is unprovable. In other words, it's basically giving an AI an undecidable problem, something that's impossible for an algorithm to solve with a true-or-false response.

"For us, it was a surprise," senior researcher and mathematician Amir Yehudayoff, from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, explained to Nature...

According to the researchers, in this kind of case, the mathematical problem to be solved bears similarities to a machine learning framework known as probably approximately correct learning (aka PAC learning), but it's also similar to a mathematical paradox called the continuum hypothesis, another field of investigation for Gödel...

The findings are reported in Nature Machine Intelligence.
Read more... 

Source: ScienceAlert

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Alberta set to welcome next generation of AI experts | Associated Press

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) has launched applications for the 11th annual Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning Summer School, happening July 24 - August 2, 2019 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. 

Hosted in partnership with CIFAR, the Summer School brings together graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and industry professionals to explore the latest AI techniques, build research networks and open collaborative opportunities.

“We’re excited to be hosting this year’s Summer School here in Edmonton and to welcome the future experts of our industry from across the world,” says John Shillington, CEO of Amii. “It’s often a surprise for people to learn that Edmonton is a hub for AI research and home to some of the brightest minds in the field, so we’re thrilled to be able to show the world all the things this unique research community has to offer.”

Over the 10-day intensive program, participants will learn directly from world-renowned AI researchers including Amii’s own Richard Sutton and Martha White and other global leaders like Yoshua Bengio of the University of Montreal. Programming also includes an AI Career Fair and social events, meant to ignite conversations around the major questions across multiple sectors...

The Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning Summer School takes place July 24 - August 2, 2019 at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and is hosted by Amii and CIFAR, with participation and support from Canada’s other AI hubs: Toronto’s Vector Institute and Mila in Montreal.

Visit to apply and for more information. Follow the conversation through social media channels using the hashtag #DLRLSS2019.

About Amii: 

One of three centres of excellence in Canada’s national AI Strategy, the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) performs advanced research in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence and guides businesses as they grow their AI capabilities. Amii supports world-leading research and training at the University of Alberta and acts as a catalyst for transformative growth for Alberta and Alberta-based businesses through machine intelligence. 
Learn more at | Amii Fact Sheet

About CIFAR: 

CIFAR brings together outstanding researchers from across disciplines and borders to address important challenges facing the world. CIFAR supports leading edge research with the potential for global impact. In 2017, CIFAR was chosen by the Canadian government to lead the $125 million Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy.

Source: Associated Press

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An Adaptive Algorithm for K-12 Science Shows Promising Results | Editor’s Picks - eLearningInside News

Read the full study here.

Adaptive algorithms designed for the education process tend to generate mixed results. While applications teaching languages, math, and early literacy have shown promising results, other areas tend to be ill-suited for teacher bots, says Henry Kronk, Author at eLearningInside News.

Photo: Ousa Chea, Unsplash.

A team of Dutch education researchers, however, recently ventured into relatively unexplored terrain. Led by Karel Kroeze of the University of Twente, the team created an adaptive algorithm that would evaluate and aid learners in forming scientific hypotheses. 
Read more... 

Source: eLearningInside News

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University offers 'should be made after results day', say lecturers | UK - BBC News

Pupils should be able to apply for university places only after they receive their A-level results, the lecturers' union has said.

A record number of 18-year-olds received unconditional offers from universities last year 
Photo: PA
A report by the University and College Union said the change could mean the end of unconditional offers and the "chaotic" clearing system.

Admissions body Ucas said the proposals "appeal" but would be hard to bring in.

Most UK school leavers currently apply for courses months before their exams, with offers based on predicted results.

In 2018 nearly a quarter of university applicants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (67,915) received an unconditional offer - up from 1% (2,985) in 2013 - Ucas figures show...

But Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said a UK-wide consultation carried out in 2012 found waiting for students' results would be likely to "significantly disadvantage" disabled students unless secondary or university calendars also change.

"Young people need the support of their teachers when making application choices, and this isn't readily available to all when schools and colleges are closed during August," Ms Marchant said.

Source: BBC News 

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