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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Which philosopher would fare best in a present-day university?

Follow on Twitter as @GdnHigherEd
"They thought, therefore they were, and that was that. But if they’d been assessed by the Ref, who’d have got most stars?" according to higher education network.
Descartes, Kant, Leibniz – one of them is a Ref superstar…
Photo: Getty Images/Alamy 

Today’s philosophers are used to dancing to the tune of the Research Excellence Framework (Ref). They have to publish their articles in reputable journals and their books with university presses. They have to generate impact and contribute to their research environment.
But how would the great philosophers of the past have fared under this system? Surely if they were truly great then they would have done well? Not necessarily.

Take Plato, Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas: they all wrote extensively and much of that proved to be very influential. But sadly for them, they lived in an age when such writings were only available as handwritten copies of manuscripts rather than as true publications and there were no journals in which to place shorter pieces of work.

So to find the most Ref-able philosopher who ever lived, we need to look at later philosophers, who had journals they could publish in and presses that would bring out their books.

Immanuel Kant might look worthy of the nod – his three Critiques shaped a lot of the philosophy that came afterwards. However, those works were preceded by an 11-year hiatus in which he published nothing whatsoever – which means there would have been an entire Ref cycle for which he would not have been eligible.

We may presume that his justification for this career break – that he had used that time to wake up from his dogmatic slumber – would have cut little ice with his (admittedly fictional) research coordinator.

What, then, of René Descartes? Although he produced some classic books, such as the Meditations on First Philosophy and Principles of Philosophy (which are surely of four-star quality), it is doubtful that he would have published enough to have the required four outputs during any six- to seven-year Ref cycle.

He could have requested that some of his books be double-weighted, but his preference for writing quite short works, such as Passions of the Soul, makes it doubtful that this request would have been approved. And so Descartes probably would not have been Ref-eligible at any point of his career.

The real winner, I suspect, would have been Gottfried Leibniz. For one thing, he was the first of the great philosophers to publish prolifically in journals, authoring more than 100 articles over the course of his career. These articles appeared in the top European journals of his day too, such as the Acta Eruditorum, Histoire des Ouvrages des Savants, and Journal des Sçavans. Plenty of four-star output there.  

Source: The Guardian

Kid’s Seemingly Correct Answer on a Math Test Has the Internet Up in Arms

"It doesn’t take much to cause everyone on the internet to go a little crazy, so it’s not completely surprising that an incorrect answer on a child’s math test is the latest event to get people fired up." continues GOOD Magazine

The test in question asked kids to solve 5x3 using repeated addition and the correct answer is “5 groups of 3” not “3 groups of 5.” This is a typical type of question set by the Common Core but has many questioning this type of standardized testing and how it affects learning. 

Photo via Cloakenn/Imgur

After an image of the test was uploaded to Imgur, many took to voicing their opinions on both sides of the argument. One commenter took up the side of the student, saying, “As an instructor: fuck it. I am actually happy when I see people finding alternative ways to solve the problems.” While another said, “Actually the teacher is correct. 5*3 means 5 times the number 3, or 3+3+3+3+3. Understand, we are not in the room when it was TAUGHT.”

One thing we can all agree on is that 5+5+5= people on the internet love to argue.

Source: GOOD Magazine

From Zombies to Abused Statistics: My Scariest Math Posts

Follow on Twitter as @evelynjlamb
"If you want to get a good scare for Halloween but you’re not interested in anything gory, maybe math is right for you. A lot of people seem to find it scary, and for good reason." summarizes Evelyn Lamb, Postdoc at the University of Utah.  

Obsolete trig functions, the stuff of nightmares.
Tttrung and Steven G. Johnson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Over the past few years, I've written about some pretty spooky topics. Enjoy...if you dare! 
Read more... 

Source: Scientific American (blog) 

Online philosophical journal of the University of Urbino

ISONOMIA is a philosophy journal founded in 2001 within the Philosophy Department of the University of Urbino. It comprises three sections (Epistemologica, Teoretica and Storica). All submitted articles are double-blindly reviewed. The journal publishes articles in Italian or English that focus on the topics described in the relative sections. 

ISONOMIA is directed by Gino Tarozzi, and each of the three sections has its own editor and a separate scientific committee.

Teaching and Learning Mathematics. Some past and current approaches to mathematics education by Laura Branchetti, (University of Palermo)

Teaching and Learning Mathematics. Some past and current approaches to mathematics education. (PDF)

Today mathematics education arouses the interest of various subjects: not only insiders, such as mathematicians, teachers, pedagogists, philosophers, and psychologists, but also policy makers and entrepreneurs. Although the debate on mathematics education is lively and multi-faceted, it is often its socio-economic impact, more than other aspects, that comes under the spotlight. Mathematical competence, problem solving, mathematical skills required for technological development and in everyday life are indeed the keywords of mathematics education today. However, looking into the past or to the future, other issues and new challenges are brought into light, and we are led to recognize some surprising resemblances between the approaches in different historical periods or even, mutatis mutandis, some common structures or similar concerns. The contributions collected in this volume present different perspectives (past and present) on mathematics education. Some contemporary theories are taken into account and analyzed in order to bring out and clarify the key points of the current debates and stimulate discussion in view of future developments. Since the topic is complex and involves different disciplinary areas, we have invited mathematicians, historians of mathematics, psychologists, philosophers and researchers concerned with these issues to lead us in the exploration of the different aspects of mathematics education.
Read more... (PDF) 

Source: Isomomia and Panagiote Ligouras - Facebook

Critical Literacies and the Challenge of Online Learning from Stephen Downes

Follow on Twitter as @Downes
Let's take a closer look at this recent keynote presentation delivered toTESL, Lake Louise, Alberta by Stephen Downes below.

Stephen Downes reports "In recent years the massive open online course (MOOC) has become widely popular, but it has also demonstrated some of the key challenges facing online students. Challenges to MOOCs have included high dropout rates and the need for students to be self-sufficient online."

In this talk the developer of the original MOOC, Stephen Downes, addresses this challenge by underling a set of competencies or skills recommended for both teachers and learners in virtual environments. These competencies, which he describes as ‘critical literacies’, support an approach to online learning based in an immersive online pedagogy in a personal learning environment supporting engagement with online courses, communities of practice, and workplace communities.

Critical Literacies and the Challenge of Online Learning 

Related links  
Conference Link 

Source: Stephen's Web

The best way to learn math is to learn how to fail productively

Follow on Twitter as @jandersonQZ
"Singapore, the land of many math geniuses, may have discovered the secret to learning mathematics (pdf). It employs a teaching method called productive failure (pdf), pioneered by Manu Kapur, head of the Learning Sciences Lab at the National Institute of Education of Singapore." according to Jenny Anderson, reporter in our London bureau for Quartz.

Photo: Quartz

Students who are presented with unfamiliar concepts, asked to work through them, and then taught the solution significantly outperform those who are taught through formal instruction and problem-solving. The approach is both utterly intuitive—we learn from mistakes—and completely counter-intuitive: letting kids flail around with unfamiliar math concepts seems both inefficient and potentially damaging to their confidence.

Kapur believes that struggle activates parts of the brain that trigger deeper learning. Students have to figure out three critical things: what they know, the limits of what they know, and exactly what they do not know. Floundering first elevates the learning from knowing a formula to understanding it, and applying it in unfamiliar contexts.

The education ministry in Singapore has given Kapur over $1 million to explore productive failure, including a $460,0000 grant to train teachers for 11th and 12th grade statistics.

He learned the approach firsthand as a student at the National University in Singapore. He spent four months trying to solve a non-linear differential equation in fluid dynamics. His teacher finally let on that the problem was unsolvable with math alone (it required computation). Frustrated, he asked why he had allowed him to waste so much time. It wasn’t wasted, the teacher explained; Kapur now truly understood the problem he was trying to solve. As a teacher himself, Kapur wondered whether this method could be more broadly applied.
Read more... 

Source: Quartz

Friday, October 30, 2015

We, Robots Staying Human in the Age of Big Data by Curtis White

"Can technology solve all of our problems? Curtis White, author of, most recently, the acclaimed The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers, and of the international bestseller The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves, urges us to remember that we've been deluded by technology -- and seductive stories -- before." 

We, Robots: Staying Human in the Age of Big Data

The Criticism of No Criticism
In this culture, we are asked to live through stories that make no sense but that we are not allowed to criticize—unless the criticism itself confirms the stories.
Take Nicholas Carr’s recent book The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, a detailed critique of our over-dependence on Cowen’s intelligent machines. A good part of Carr’s critique is pragmatic: the computers we depend on are not as safe or productive as we have been led to think they are—in large part because the human attendants to the computer’s work (Cowen’s freestylers) are “deskilled” and have become complacent. Carr provides multiple examples of the dangers of our growing dependence on computers in the airline industry (where some pilots have forgotten how to fly, especially in crisis situations), in medicine (where doctors who have lost the ability to diagnose), and in architecture (where architects no longer know how to draw). (Carr doesn’t mention the most ominous use of AI: autonomous weapons like Britain’s “fire and forget” Brimstone missiles. Will these military innovations breed a generation of soldiers who can’t shoot straight?)

While Carr is rightly concerned with the consequences of our digital dependencies, he does not come close to calling for the abandonment of an economy based on computers. Rather, he is asking for a correction. He doesn’t condemn computers, or automation, or freestyling; he simply reminds us that we should use digital power as a tool and not be displaced by it. It is a position that Cowen would very likely agree with. Carr simply calls for “wisdom” and, to use an engineer’s term, recalibration. A Luddite he’s not.

Which isn’t to say that Carr lacks sympathy for the Luddites, for there is more substance to his critique than concern with safety. For Carr, the deskilling of labor through computer automation is not only inefficient and unsafe, it is also dehumanizing. Carr makes frequent appeal to familiar ethical concepts like “freedom”—“all too often, automation frees us from that which makes us feel free”—and “humanity”— “automation confronts us with the most important question of all: what does human being mean?” At one point, Carr seems to answer this question by saying, “We are, after all, creatures of the earth.” This means that we are not just the dematerialized phantoms that AI seeks; we are embodied in a particular world:
Getting to know a place takes effort, but it ends in fulfillment and in knowledge. It provides a sense of personal accomplishment and autonomy, and it also provides a sense of belonging, a feeling of being at home in a place rather than passing through it.
Invoking Karl Marx, Carr complains that “in case after case, we’ve seen that as machines become more sophisticated, the work left to people becomes less so.” He worries that “when automation distances us from our work, when it gets between us and the world, it erases the artistry from our lives.”

Source: PopMatters

Upcoming Webinar: Differentiation Made Possible: Hapara Workspace for Google Apps

Check this Webinar out! 

Differentiation Made Possible: Hapara Workspace for Google Apps
Date and time:
Thursday, November 19, 2015 1:00 pm
Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
1 hour

Differentiation and personalization for deeper learning requires teacher planning and effort. In this webinar you will hear how two teachers streamlined the process of differentiating learning in their classes using Hapara’s Workspace and Google Apps.
Register Now for this Free Event

Source: Tech & Learning

Upcoming Live Online Seminar: Taming the Monster: Rethinking the Role of Content

Checkout and attend this event.

Whether it’s new material emerging in the field or content from previous courses that students have yet to master, teachers struggle with what should be covered in a course. Cutting, trimming, and wedging more content into an already jam-packed syllabus leads to agonizing decisions and unrealistic expectations. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the role of content in teaching and learning.

Register Now

This seminar will teach you innovative ways to think about the content that is critical for your students to learn and remember. You'll explore the mission of content in the classroom and how to use it to provide high-quality instruction. 

Join Nicki Monahan, M.Ed.Tuesday, November 10, 2015 | 01:00PM Central | Length: 40 Minutes  for Taming the Monster: Rethinking the Role of Content, a live, interactive discussion that reexamines the role of content in learning and how to manage it for a richer classroom experience.

Register today and you'll be able to:

  • Identify the underlying problems created by the "content coverage" model of teaching
  • Answer critical questions about content problems
  • Analyze the role of content in learning from new perspectives
  • Implement strategies for effectively using content to enhance student learning
When we shift our focus from covering content to using content, curriculum design becomes less a matter of determining “what” to teach and more a matter of “how” to facilitate learning.
Register for Taming the Monster: Rethinking the Role of Content and find new ways to think about and manage the content in your courses. 

Maryellen Weimer, Ph.D. have organized and hand-picked a series of six Magna Online Seminar programs that will be offered this fall.

Register Now

Source: Faculty Focus

Becoming a Lead Learning Designer

Photo: Georgina Taylor
"Have you ever wanted to be a learning designer but don’t know how to get there? This video shares the journey from teacher to designer and how Simon Rupniak made the move." writes Georgina Taylor, Marketing Coordinator for the UK, focuses on social media, events and digital marketing.  

As part of Learning Now TV’s ‘Learning Designer’ series Simon Rupniak, one of our learning designers talks about why and how he got into the role and a recent project he has been working on.

During Simon's teaching career he used a variety of methods to keep his learners engaged and involved with his lessons, from theory outside of the classroom to self-directed learning. This approach is incorporated in Simon’s work, not only to design effective elearning but to also be part of a blended solution that provides more of a holistic approach to learning for his clients.

In this short video Simon shares how he is using the latest learning technology such as virtual classrooms spread across continents and time zones to create a more collaborative environment for learners.

Watch Video

Want to know more about creating an effective blend with virtual classrooms? 
Then take a look at Simon’s Five Reasons You Need to Use Virtual Classrooms post for more insight.

Source: City & Guilds Kineo (blog)

Five myths about academic editing

Photo: Brian J Bloch
The quality of scholarly editing is ‘extremely uneven’, says Brian Bloch, journalist, academic editor and lecturer in English for academic research at the University of Münster.

Writing skills and academic skills are clearly not one and the same.
There is no doubt a correlation between the two, but even truly outstanding researchers do not always write well. Likewise, their work is not always well edited or translated.

Times Higher Education (blog)
Academics whose native language is not English are confronted with particular challenges in getting published (and in getting their work well edited). Over the past decade especially, the editing industry has burgeoned in the wake of an ever increasing globalisation of research and of academia in general.
However, this industry is insufficiently (if at all) controlled, and is often seriously problematic. Quality is extremely uneven, and users of editors, both direct (clients) and indirect (journals and readers), may fall prey to several “myths”.

The “good enough” myth
My first myth is the belief that cheap editors will still be good enough. This is seldom the case.

The problem is that in order to edit an article well, one needs not only to know the subject in question at a postgraduate level, but also how to write well and appropriately. Moreover, they must be motivated to do the job comprehensively.

It is not easy to find people with this combination, and if you take a cut out of an already not-so-wonderful hourly rate, a rushed job is all the more likely.

When an underqualified or undermotivated person gets to work, the result is often so feeble that one would never know that someone had been through the paper at all.

Source: Times Higher Education (blog)

5 Most Beautiful Campuses in the World

"It has often been seen that students opting for higher education, pay a lot of attention to the setting of the campus apart from its ranking and quality of education." summarizes Board, Edtech magazine by Foradian Technologies. Cover everything about edtech from latest technology updates to disruptive edtech ideas.

A beautiful campus can add an extra point to the preference chart of students who are looking for that tranquil setting that’ll provide them the richest of experience. Find below, the list of 5 most beautiful campus in the world that deserves a mention, apart from it’s academic record.

University of Oxford, England

Photo: University of Oxford, England

The origin of the university dates back to 1438 and it’s not just popular for its status or the extremely gruelling entrance exam, it’s also popular for the grandeur and beauty. One of the most beautiful campus in the world, the major attraction in the campus is the Codrington Library that houses an immense collection of books on all possible subjects. The university grounds, the Botanic Gardens, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology echoes years of history and oozes beauty together.

Read more...  

Source: Foradian Technologies

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mobile Learning 101: The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Started - Live Webinar

Check out these FREE online 4 webinars below. 

Follow on Twitter as @asma_zaineb
Asma Zaineb, Online Marketing Manager at CommLab India inform, "Do you wish to know how organizations have leveraged the full potential of mLearning to satisfy their training needs? Interested in knowing what it takes to design an effective strategy to implement mLearning efficiently and integrate mLearning programs with other training initiatives effectively?"

You will find answers to these questions and much more in our live webinar series, Mobile Learning 101: The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Started. This series of 4 webinars is for the training professionals who wish to make the most of this learning medium. 

Register for this live webinar series and get your questions answered in real-time. 
Reserve Your Spot Now!

The webinars answer the following.

• How mobile learning is different from eLearning
• How mobile learning solutions can be used along with existing training programs
• What are the learning design strategies to create highly effective courses for the mobile
• What are the strategic, technological and infrastructure aspects that need to be considered before foraying into mobile learning 

Source: CommLab India

Why Scientists Should Study Art And Literature

Follow on Twitter as @orzelc
"How studying "the humanities" will make you a better and more successful scientist, as well as a better human being." according to Chad Orzel, write about physics, science, academia, and pop culture.

The author speaking at TED@NYC in 2013. Cell-phone photo by Terry Plank.

My “day job” is as a professor at Union College in Schenectady, NY, a small liberal arts college, and because of that, I’ve offered a bunch of academic advice. I’ve written about why small colleges are a great place to be a science major, what science students should study in college, and why non-science majors should take science classes. This covers most of the topics on which I’m most obviously qualified to give advice.

The obvious gap in this collection of advice is why science students ought to take non-science classes. I sort of feel like I shouldn’t need to write this, as essays defending the importance of the collection of academic disciplines known as “the humanities” (a term I hate, because it implies that the sciences are inhuman, which is very far from the truth) are an evergreen topic in writing about academia. Lots of scholars of arts and literature have written at great length about why the study of art and literature and history and philosophy and all the rest matters even in our modern, technological, consumerist age.

The problem is, I mostly hate what they come up with. I wouldn’t be where I am and do what I do if I didn’t believe that arts and literature and the study thereof have an important role in the world, but most of the defenses people offer are just maddening to me. They’re soaringly vague, or make grandly empty claims about “big questions” and “critical thinking” (as if those don’t come up in science), or attempt to distinguish themselves from science in a way that mostly serves to demonstrate that the author knows basically nothing about the practice of science. (One of these made me get a little rant-y yesterday, and is the proximate cause of this post.) They purport to be defending “the humanities” from attacks, but mostly just pander to the sensibilities of an educated elite who already agree with them.

I’ve read a lot of these, and hardly a week goes by without another one showing up in my various social-media feeds. But I’m consistently disappointed by the failure to articulate a clear, concrete case for the value of arts and literature in terms that make sense to somebody who isn’t already committed to these fields. Which I guess means I’ll have to make my own attempt at it.
Read more... 

Additional resources

Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist
Chad Orzel third book entitled Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist, published December 2014 by Basic Books.
"Even in the twenty-first century the popular image of a scientist is a reclusive genius in a lab coat, mixing formulas or working out equations inaccessible to all but the initiated few. The idea that scientists are somehow smarter..."

A short video based on Chapter 8 of Eureka - YouTube

Source: Forbes

New NFER video discusses the latest work on Academies

NFER research manager Jack Worth discusses latest NFER research on academies.


Academies were first established in 2002. By 2015 there were over 4000. As a result, it is important to understand their impact on the English state school system.

NFER have published a variety of work directly addressing the issues arising from the Academies programme:
  • An analysis of examination performance comparing different groups of secondary academies with comparable maintained schools
  • A rapid review of evidence on the performance of academy schools based on 13 key studies. This aims to make a contribution to understanding current research with a view to identifying gaps and drawing conclusions
  • A think piece arguing that any future expansion in the number of academies should be motivated by a clear vision as to what long-term outcomes for learners academy policy is aiming to achieve
  • New survey data exploring parents knowledge about academy schools and the extent to which they would like more information
  • An authoritative factsheet.
There is also a range of work on issues around school structures that is relevant to the discussion of academies, including: school improvement and the middle tier; intervention and accountability; governance; school leadership and system leadership.

Source: National Foundation for Educational Research and NFERTV Channel (YouTube)

Authentic learning

Photo: Scott Johnson
"For those of us who work in education, whether teaching or creating courses and curriculum, learning design is central to what we do." writes Scott Johnson, Chief Business Development Officer, A Pass Educational Group.  

Beyond 1 + 2 = 3: Auto Scoring for Open-Ended Math Questions (PDF)

As instructional designers, our challenge is to deliver education that meet specific goals. Increasingly, assessing success requires us to move beyond traditional fill-in-the-blank frameworks, toward authentic, accurate, real-world experiences.

During October and November, we are partnering with Learnosity to bring you helpful information that will expand your ability to get creative with assessments. 
Using technology enhanced assessment items, you can now evaluate a vast range of skill sets that were previously untestable.

This week's A Pass Angle focuses on math and chemistry assessment: 
Beyond 1 + 2 = 3: Auto Scoring for Open-Ended Math Questions

A Pass Educational Group and Learnosity writes "This paper explores the capabilities of the Learnosity math & chemistry scoring engine used in technology-enhanced items, demonstrating the many advantages of this feature from both an educator and student perspective. From basic formulas to the more complex mathematical expressions, the powerful auto-scoring math engine enables advanced, rule-based auto-grading."

Source: A Pass Educational Group

U.S. math performance drops on NAEP. We have higher standards. Do we have higher commitment?

Photo: Maureen Downey
"The national drop in math performance seen today in the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress – the first decline after 20 years of a steady climb — has triggered a lot of fretting and speculating on why scores faltered." according to Maureen Downey,  Discuss, learn and share news and opinion. 

Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

In Georgia, eighth-graders held steady in math but fourth-graders scored four points lower than in 2013. Eighth-graders scored two points lower in reading, while fourth-grade scores remained the same from the last NAEP test in 2013. Fourth-grade reading was the only area where Georgia students exceeded the national average.

In a statement, Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods said, “These results underscore the importance of strengthening our students’ foundational skills in reading and math. At the state level, we’re committed to supporting districts in that work by producing better resources for teachers, fully vetting any new standards and initiatives, and providing greater flexibility so schools have room to innovate.”

Here are some examples of what’s being said this morning about the newly released NAEP data:

Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

Acrobatiq Launches Powerful New Smart Author™ Tool Enabling Higher Education Institutions to Develop, Deliver and Optimize Online Learning

First in a New Generation of Enterprise-Level Courseware Authoring Solutions  

Acrobatiq, a leading learning optimization company in the fast growing adaptive learning market, announced today at EDUCAUSE 2015 the launch of its Smart Author™ Adaptive Learning Platform – the first in a new generation of enterprise-level course authoring and data analytics solutions for higher education institutions to rapidly develop, deliver and continuously improve high quality online courses and programs.

Acrobatiq Smart Author enables best practices in data-driven instructional design through easy-to-use, web-based tools for the development of outcomes models; rich content and assessment tied to outcomes; adaptive course delivery; and powerful analytics showing who is learning and who is not, which content works and which content does not, and where to focus time in making improvements. 

Institutions can use Smart Author to extend high-quality educational access online through instructionally effective and mobile-ready seat or competency-based programs; to facilitate blended instruction where foundational learning occurs online and outside the classroom; and to improve learning outcomes in "red flag" or traditionally high failure courses by developing "smart" courseware that personalizes student learning. 

Acrobatiq's approach to learning optimization has roots in 12 years of groundbreaking cognitive and learning sciences research from Carnegie Mellon University's Open Learning Initiative, and is proven to produce measurable improvements in student outcomes including reduced time spent to achieve equal or greater learning gains.

"Historically, building adaptive courseware required partnering faculty with cognitive and data scientists, instructional designers, and software developers. With Smart Author, we built those functions right into the tool, so we can now get out of the way and let institutions and faculty develop their own data-driven, adaptive courses," said Eric Frank, Acrobatiq CEO.

Features of Smart Author include tools to develop outcomes models, pre-built page layout templates, an intuitive WYSIWYG authoring interface, and more than 25 embeddable activity types designed to enable students to receive immediate and targeted feedback. Using predictive analytics, courseware created with Smart Author collects, analyzes and models student learning data. Dashboards show, in real time, objectives and concepts that students find difficult to master, pinpoint at-risk students, and enable educators to provide targeted interventions at the point of need.  

Acrobatiq Smart Author is a cloud-based software-as-a-service solution, purchased as an annual subscription and supported by professional services to ensure successful and sustainable implementation.

For more information on Acrobatiq's solutions for higher education, or to request a meeting, please visit

About Acrobatiq

Acrobatiq is a learning optimization and analytics company backed by Carnegie Mellon University, helping educators and academic leaders develop, deliver and continually improve high quality and instructionally effective online learning programs and degrees.  

Building on CMU's historic strengths in learning science, and the Open Learning Initiative's evidence-based research in online learning, Acrobatiq's Smart Author™ Adaptive Learning Platform, Professional Services, and portfolio of Smart Courseware™ content, enable the rapid development and cost-effective delivery of online learning that adapts to the needs of each learner. Predictive insights generated from student learning data provide educators and other key stakeholders – in real time – with detailed information about which students need help, and where, improving student achievement.

Source: PR Newswire (press release)

At Universities, More Students Are Working Full-Time

Follow on Twitter as @Emily_DeRuy
"A quarter of all students are both employed full-time and enrolled in college full-time." summarizes Emily DeRuy, writes for Next America, an editorial venture by National Journal. 

Photo: National Journal

Most col­lege stu­dents work to pay for school. It’s been that way for dec­ades. But where earli­er gen­er­a­tions of young people could earn enough to cov­er tu­ition and oth­er ex­penses, today’s stu­dents are tak­ing out loans to make ends meet. And as the na­tion’s col­lege stu­dents be­come a more var­ied bunch, the fin­an­cial re­spons­ib­il­it­ies they shoulder are in­creas­ingly nu­mer­ous.

Ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from Geor­getown Uni­versity’s Cen­ter on Edu­ca­tion and the Work­force, there were around 20 mil­lion col­lege stu­dents in 2014, up from just 2.4 mil­lion in 1949. Sev­en in 10 stu­dents work while they are en­rolled, a fig­ure that has re­mained steady for the past three dec­ades. What has in­creased is the num­ber of hours they work.

A quarter of col­lege stu­dents are now both full-time work­ers and full-time stu­dents. Many more are work­ing closer to full-time. Nearly 40 per­cent of un­der­gradu­ate stu­dents and 76 per­cent of gradu­ate stu­dents work at least 30 hours a week, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Many are older, with fam­il­ies to sup­port. Nearly 20 per­cent have chil­dren.

As the na­tion’s col­lege stu­dents have be­come more var­ied—ra­cially, in terms of life stage, and, crit­ic­ally, wealth—the cost of earn­ing a de­gree has climbed. Stu­dent-loan debt has bal­looned bey­ond a tril­lion dol­lars. Sen. Eliza­beth War­ren is among the law­makers who has ad­voc­ated for stu­dent-loan re­form, point­ing out that when she was a stu­dent, a sum­mer job was suf­fi­cient to pay for school. Now, a stu­dent work­ing full-time earn­ing min­im­um wage would make around $15,000 in a year, which is less than tu­ition and liv­ing ex­penses at most schools. Ac­cord­ing to the Col­lege Board, an un­der­gradu­ate stu­dent pay­ing in-state tu­ition at a four-year col­lege is look­ing at about $19,000. Private four-year schools run closer to $43,000.

“Today, al­most every col­lege stu­dent works, but you can’t work your way through col­lege any­more,” An­thony P. Carne­vale, dir­ect­or of the cen­ter and the re­port’s lead au­thor, said in a state­ment. “Even if you work, you have to take out loans and take on debt.”

Work­ing, the re­port notes, can open ca­reer op­por­tun­it­ies for stu­dents. But, par­tic­u­larly for first-gen­er­a­tion and low-in­come col­lege stu­dents, work­ing long hours can lead to poor grades, or worse, drop­ping out. While stu­dents from wealthy fam­il­ies can af­ford to take un­paid in­tern­ships to gain hands-on know­ledge in their de­sired field, low-in­come stu­dents of­ten end up in res­taur­ant or re­tail po­s­i­tions.

Source: National Journal 

Blackboard Learn 9.1 Getting Updates for Competency Ed, More

Dian Schaffhauser, writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications reports, Blackboard Learn is getting a cluster of new features and assuring its customers that the flagship software still matters even as the company pursues development of its next-generation software. 

Photo: Blackboard

Sometime during the next two months the company will be rolling out updates to version 9.1 of the learning management system that will be of use to schools pursuing competency-based learning and seeking to exchange grade information between the LMS and the student information system.

The biggest update is the addition of a goal performance dashboard building block to map goals to courses within Learn. This tool, intended for competency-based education environments, lets learners and instructors track progress toward competencies and other learning milestones.

Grades Journey bolsters integration between Learn and the SIS to allow data exchange, such as grades between the two types of applications.

For K-12 schools and districts using PowerSchool SIS, the integration allows for "hands-free" syncing of users, classes, enrollments, assignments and grades.

Additional updates include small enhancements or fixes. For example, users will be able to navigate to the next or previous thread in a discussion from the thread detail page instead of having to go through the discussion forum page. Also, "multiple fixes" to grades reporting will surface as will updates to content folders and notification processing.
Read more... 

About Blackboard Inc.

Blackboard is the world's leading education technology company. We challenge conventional thinking and advance new models of learning in order to reimagine education and make it more accessible, engaging, and relevant to the modern-day learner and the institutions that serve them. In partnership with our customers in higher education and K-12 as well as corporations and government agencies around the world, our mission is to help every learner achieve their full potential by inspiring a passion for lifelong learning. 
For more information about Blackboard, follow us on Twitter @Blackboard.

Source: T.H.E. Journal

Irvine-based Brandman University offering competency-based education

Photo: Greg Lee
"Your job experience could translate into a higher education." inform Greg Lee, reporter.

A growing number of colleges and universities are crediting students for the knowledge they've gained through their professional lives.

Irvine-based Brandman University works to serve non-traditional students like military members or people with full-time jobs.

Brandman's part of a growing network of schools offering a competency-based education, which helps students earn degrees faster and for less.

In the video below, Orange County reporter Greg Lee has more on how competency-based education programs work.

Watch Video

Related link

Brandman University’s Competency-Based Education program is called MyPath. MyPath is completely online, allowing you to study any time, anywhere, on any device. 
Brandman University’s MyPath (YouTube)

Source: KABC-TV