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Monday, October 31, 2016

Research Report, October 2016 - Key Data on Music education hubs 2015 by Caroline Sharp and Adam Rabiasz

"Secondary analysis of a survey conducted by the Arts Council has found that music education hubs have continued to deliver on their core roles, working with an increased number of schools and pupils." notes NFER News.

Music education hubs (MEHs) were created to provide access, opportunities and excellence in music education for all children and young people in England. A total of 123 MEHs were established and started work in 2012. NFER has carried out secondary analysis of a survey conducted by Arts Council England each year since 2013. This report on the 2014/15 school year concludes that MEHs have continued to deliver on their core roles and worked with an increased number of schools and pupils.

Key Findings:
  • Music education hubs worked with 18,811 schools in 2014/15, representing 86.0 per cent of the state-funded schools in their areas.
  • Music education hubs provided Whole Class Ensemble Teaching (WCET) to over 631,000 pupils in 2014/15 representing an increase of 42,177 pupils in Years 1-9 since the previous year.
  • Over a quarter of pupils who had received WCET in 2013/14 continued to learn an instrument through their MEH partnerships in 2014/15.
  • Participation in WCET and ensembles was broadly representative of the population as a whole in terms of ethnic background and deprivation. However, pupils with SEN were considerably under-represented, as were boys.
Sharp, C. and Sims, D. (2016). Key Data on Music Education Hubs 2015. London: Arts Council England. 

Source: NFER

A Broad-Spectrum Online Teaching Reference Guide | Magna Publications

Be sure to check out and give your faculty online teaching strategies ranging from building a successful start of the semester, fostering productive connections, managing challenging behavior in the online classroom, and enhancing student engagement. 

Online education is a major force in higher education today. Because the field is evolving so quickly, many have a hard time keeping up with the wide-ranging impact this new technology has on how teachers teach.
This includes online faculty. Although experienced online educators may be searching for guidance to move to the next level, first-time online instructors can be struggling to find their way in cyber space.
Fortunately, Teaching Strategies for the Online Classroom: A Collection of Articles for Faculty is the perfect resource guide for online faculty at all stages of their careers. Consider it a broad-spectrum reference guide. This new book is a compilation of content generated by academic experts for the Online Classroom newsletter, Magna Online Seminars, and Magna 20-Minute Mentors.
In four well-organized modules, Teaching Strategies for the Online Classroom covers best practices in kicking off new courses, building rapport with students, establishing classroom management practices for online courses, and applying techniques for engaging students. This simple structure makes it easy and convenient for faculty members to zero in on material that addresses their specific, individual interests.
Readers will learn:
  • Innovative techniques for establishing an effective online instructor presence
  • Multiple strategies for establishing rapport with students
  • Best practices for managing the online classroom
  • Proven approaches for enhancing student engagement
  • Practical tips for maximizing the positive impact of online discussion
When online faculty have the tools they need to fulfill their potential as educators, the benefits to your institution are legion. Online faculty job satisfaction and retention rates go up, along with student engagement and success.
Take advantage of this opportunity to provide online teaching faculty members with a resource they can use across all stages of their development. Order Teaching Strategies for the Online Classroom: A Collection of Articles for Faculty today! 

Source: Magna Publications

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Local content required to reach online African audiences | IDG Connect

Vincent Matinde, international IT Journalist reports, "Increased internet penetration in Africa will cause a demand for local content." 

Photo: IDG Connect

Local content producers such as bloggers, artists, photographers and journalists have taken advantage of the internet to reach out to new audiences. Yet a new study by Internet 
Society says there is not enough local content and Africa is still in need of more.

“Much of the international content and many of the services available are relevant in many countries worldwide - this is true of social networking services, educational access, and, of course, entertainment. However, we also note the importance of locally created content, both for the relevance of the content in the local context, as well as for the opportunities provided to the creators for earning a living and creating jobs,” the report titled Promoting Content in Africa said.

The report reiterated that the availability of local content, especially in local languages, might push more people to adopt connectivity.

“Content is most relevant when it is in the local language - this applies in particular to international content and services, but also to local content that may not be available in all languages in a country,” the report stated.

“An increased focus on local language content can engage Sub-Saharan users in all aspects of the internet, including websites.”

However, the report showed that most languages are not supported by major platforms. 

Even some popular languages are not prevalent. Africa has to think of ways to make the internet relevant to its people by adopting new ways to incorporate local languages.

Education and news sites blazing the trail
E-learning and local news sites have been the biggest source of local content on the continent. For e-learning, the shift from hard copy books to students interacting with devices has pushed the need for local content in many African countries.

Wesley Lynch the CEO of Snapplify, a company that helps publishers digitise, says skills are the biggest hurdle.

“For publishers there is simply a lack of skills. They face a lot of problems in financing digitisation but also do not see much reward because there are not making much sales with the few e-books they have,” Lynch told IDG Connect during the Innovation Africa conference held in Nairobi in September.

Lynch added that smaller publishing houses face expensive outsourcing fees to digitise their content. In Kenya news sites such as Tuko News, Nairobi News, Hivi Sasa and the Nairobian, among many others, have successfully dealt with the need for local news by covering stories not featured in the traditional media outlets.

But there is little to say about other types of media such as video, audio and photography. Capital FM is one if the stations that has taken online content productions seriously.

“Video is becoming increasingly important for online platforms and we have seen this growing interest over the last two years. Capital FM has acquired new and loyal fans through our locally-produced shows. There are people who prefer the video format to articles and they have connected with the content we are creating,” Ken Macharia Online Content Producer at the station told IDG Connect.

In Africa research suggests that there will be a 55% increase in video consumption by 2019.
According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report for Sub-Saharan Africa 2015 [PDF], Africans are already moving towards accessing video content online.

“As more of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population become owners of smart and digital devices, new modes of content consumption are increasingly being explored. Viewing habits are moving away from conventional devices. In Nigeria for instance, 51% prefer to watch TV and video at their convenience, while 56% want access to video content across all devices,” the report said.

Independent video and audio producers should take note that the continent will have 720 million smartphone subscribers [PDF – pg 6] and this holds promise for content distribution.
Read more...  

Source: IDG Connect   

When school is right at home | The Straits Times

Photo: Venessa Lee
"Parents of about 50 children in each cohort each year choose to homeschool their kids, taking on various curricula and approaches" summarizes Venessa Lee.

The homeschooled timetable for Shania, who turns nine in December, includes playing instruments, cooking and picking leaves for her caterpillars.
Watch the Video
Homeschooler Jedidiah Eo, eight,
learns Latin as part of his curriculum.
Photo: Venessa Lee

Jedidiah Eo, eight, has been learning Latin and the history of the Magna Carta.

These subjects - as well as others he takes, such as geography and science - are not part of the syllabus for pupils his age, who are in Primary 2 in mainstream schools.

They are part of his Classical Conversations homeschooling curriculum, which aims to develop a love of learning through a Christian worldview. It is one of several curricula, including the Ministry of Education (MOE) syllabus, which his mother, Mrs Elaine Eo, 40, has been using to homeschool her son since he was 2½.

His sister Sarah, six, is also homeschooled; and their youngest sibling Hannah, three, joins in where she can, for example, in their daily reading sessions.

Homeschooling encompasses a wide range of philosophies and educational approaches.

Besides parents who adhere to the MOE curriculum, there are families who follow other structured curricula or a mix of educational approaches. Some of them practise "unschooling", which is driven by the children's interests.

Yet others subscribe to 19th-century-born British educator Charlotte Mason's method, which includes learning through "living books", quality literature where the author is passionate about the subject; as well as an emphasis on nature and the outdoors.

Jedidiah and Sarah's homeschool routine starts at about 9am - they do chores such as making their beds and sweeping the floor, which Mrs Eo says is part of contributing to their household.

This is usually followed by an hour of desk work and two hours of reading in a group, in both English and Mandarin. The children then help with lunch by laying the table or cutting vegetables.

Afternoons can be spent on activities such as going to the park; playing board games; or meeting other homeschooling families.

The two older children also attend Chinese enrichment class as another avenue to communicate in the language.

History is Jedidiah's favourite subject. "I like the information and I'm mainly interested in Singapore's history, such as the PAP (People's Action Party) defeating Barisan Sosialis. I also want to find out more about today's politics, such as news about the AHTC (Aljunied-Hougang Town Council)," he says.

He reads books with titles such as Whither PAP's Dominance? and Lee's Lieutenants and can discuss the China-Taiwan relationship.

He has done practice test papers for upper-primary science and English that his mother occasionally gives him, pitched at a level she thinks he can handle and yet challenges him.

Mrs Eo, a former civil servant who became a stay-at-home mum, admits that Jedidiah is "advanced" for his age.

"We hope to develop our children to be independent learners," she says, adding that homeschooling for their household is also about building character and cultivating good habits.

Source: The Straits Times

UWF Rite of Passage lecture series presents Drs. Morris Marx and Nick Power | UWF Newsroom and Rite of Passage website

"The University of West Florida will honor Dr. Morris Leon Marx and Dr. Nick Power on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, as part of the UWF Rite of Passage lecture series." according to  Rite of Passage website.

The event will be held in the Argonaut Athletic Club on the UWF Pensacola Campus at 2 p.m. It is free and open to the public, with a reception immediately following.

Photo: Nick Power
Photo: Morris Marx
Rite of Passage celebrates University faculty recently promoted to full professor and gives them an opportunity to share life lessons outside the classroom with colleagues, students, friends and community members.

Marx, third president of the University of West Florida and professor of mathematics and statistics, will present a special lecture, “Universities: Passages But No Rites,” in honor of his recent retirement. Inaugurated as president of UWF in September 1988, Marx oversaw significant expansion of the University’s campus, presence and resources. During his tenure, Congress approved the 136-acre land swap to create UWF on the Emerald Coast in Fort Walton Beach, which opened in 1992. Additionally, Marx ushered in the beginning of the education specialist program as well as facilities such as the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, College of Education Complex, student services building, psychology building, residence halls and on-campus apartments.
Read more... 

Source: UWF Newsroom 

Philosophy Beyond the Academy | Chronicle of Higher Education

Photo: Nakul Krishna
Nakul Krishna, lecturer in philosophy at the University of Cambridge notes, "Philosophy is multifarious, with many regional inflections, a new book argues."

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Laffoley, Art Resource, N.Y.

Late in his career, Plato wrote two dialogues, the Sophist and Statesman, each apparently aimed at defining the figure named in its title. But the real subject of these dialogues is their own methods: definition, distinctions, analogies. The dialogues are written as if part of a trilogy, but the climactic dialogue — The Philosopher — was never written. Perhaps that was the point: defining the philosopher needs one to be a bit of a philosopher oneself. Plato’s readers need to take the essential last step for themselves, asking what (if anything) the activities labeled "philosophy" have in common.

If Justin E.H. Smith had this unwritten dialogue in mind when christening his book, he does not mention it — his erudition is worn lightly. Unlike some philosophers who take their lead from Plato, he makes no attempt to intuit the essence of philosophy from the armchair. He gives us, rather, a fragmentary survey of "the history of human activities carried out under the label ‘philosophy,’ as well as many [similar] activities that have been carried out under other labels."

In this, Smith, like Plato, makes good use of analogy. Plato thought statesmanship was a bit like weaving, sophistry a little like angling; Smith likens philosophy, unexpectedly, to dance. He argues that philosophy is best regarded as "a universal human activity with many distinct cultural inflections." Dance, to his mind, is a better analogy than (say) ballet, something "by definition, European," though it may well crop up outside Europe "by diffusion or appropriation." The tradition of European philosophy that traces its lineage back to Plato and Socrates (Smith calls this tradition "Philosophia") is, then, like ballet, a single cultural inflection of a universal activity.

This provincializing of Europe helps to show how at least two ancient civilizations, India and China, have intellectual traditions of writing and argument enough like "Philosophia" to merit the name of philosophy. But Smith goes further, proposing that the reflections of nonliterate societies, oral traditions, and discursive forms based on myth and metaphor have some claim to count as philosophy as well.

As Smith rightly notes, what counts as philosophy has always been up for grabs. That is why it may prove useful "to think of ‘the philosopher’ as represented by various types … whom in different times and places it will make sense to consider as philosophers."

Smith teaches philosophy in Paris but went to graduate school in the United States, where he was well-schooled in the conventions and concerns of the so-called analytic philosophy that dominates the Anglophone academic world. But philosophers who write in this style are only one of the six types of philosopher to star in Smith’s story: In his equivocal label, they are "Mandarins."

The Mandarin shares the pages of Smith’s book with five other types. There is the Curiosa, who blurs the boundaries between natural science and philosophy. There is the Sage, who engages critically with a culture that he or she has thoroughly internalized. There is the Gadfly, whose critical engagement with the culture deploys such modes as parody or invective. There is the Ascetic, who disclaims such ersatz values as wealth or honor or pleasure for the real values: goodness, reflection, simplicity. Finally, there is the Courtier, speaking convenient untruths to power. These types flit in and out of Smith’s pages; wisely, he does not furnish us with representative examples of each type but rather invites us to see something of them in ourselves, our colleagues, and the figures of history.
Read more... 

Additional resources

The Philosopher: A History in Six Types
Justin E. H. Smith

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education

Around Campus | MIT News

"Four join the SA+P faculty, while seven are recognized for work in art, architecture, and urbanism." inform School of Architecture and Planning.

First row: (l-r) Azra Akšamija, Phillip Clay, Dennis Frenchman, Skylar Tibbits. Second row: (l-r) James Wescoat, Sheila Kennedy, Alan Berger, Kristel Smentek. Third row: (l-r) Brandon Clifford, Brent Ryan, Kevin Esvelt.

The School of Architecture and Planning has announced that seven faculty members have been recognized by being promoted, granted tenure, or given significant new roles.

In addition, four new professors have joined the school in the Department of Architecture and the Program in Media Arts and Sciences. Their research ranges from architectural design to self-assembling materials to genetic engineering.

“This group adds considerable strength to our faculty,” says Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning. “As individual practitioners and researchers, each brings a high level of creativity, imagination, and rigor to our capabilities. As a group, they offer new dimensions to our teaching and research explorations.”
Read more... 

New engineering faculty for 2016-2017
School of Engineering inform, "The School of Engineering welcomes 13 new professors."

First row (left to right): Matteo Bucci, Tal Cohen, and Ali Jadbabaie. Second row (left to right): Zachary P. Smith, Stefanie Mueller, Adam Belay, David Sontag, and Virginia Vassilevska Williams. Third row (left to right): Max Shulaker, Jennifer Rupp, Ryan Williams, Carmen Guerra-Garcia, and Zachary Hartwig

The School of Engineering will welcome 13 new faculty members to its departments, institutes, labs, and centers during the 2016-17 academic year. With research and teaching activities ranging from nuclear fusion to computational complexity theory, they are poised to make vast contributions to new directions across the school and to a range of labs and centers across the Institute.

“We are pleased to welcome such a talented group of faculty to engineering at MIT this year,” says Ian A. Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering. “Every year we broaden the scope and the scale of what we can do, and of how we think about engineering. Our new faculty are often the ones who show us the way forward.”
The new School of Engineering faculty members are:

Source: MIT News

Friday, October 21, 2016

CogniFit launches a new online platform to help educators improve quality of learning by training specific cognitive abilities

CogniFit, key vendor in the global K-12 testing and assessment market, introduces CogniFit for Education, a new web-portal for teachers to assess, train, and monitor cognitive skills involved in the learning processes.

The CogniFit for Education platform is a neurocognitive assessment and brain training program designed to help educators and teachers assess and track student's cognitive progress through fun brain games.

The CogniFit for Education platform starts with students completing a scientifically validated and gamified cognitive assessment. These brain games are specifically designed to identify the students' cognitive strengths and deficits in skills relevant for learning such as attention, memory, concentration, perception, and reasoning. Using this initial information, the CogniFit program automatically builds a personalized brain training regimen specifically for each student's cognitive needs and help improve their learning abilities. 

CogniFit CEO Tommy Sagroun explains, "Every student is different and has unique cognitive strengths and weaknesses. However, the mainstream education system groups students based on their age, rather than cognitive abilities like attention and memory, making it difficult to always ensure that the entire classroom is learning at the same pace. By providing educators with this new CogniFit for Education platform, teachers have the opportunity to assess, train and track their students' cognitive skills, and adapt their teaching strategy accordingly for each individual student. This makes a massive difference in the learning results at the end of the calendar year."

CogniFit has been working with schools and education centers around the world to develop this new solution and make sure its answers to the most pressing needs of educators. The aim is for this brain based learning platform to provide teachers with relevant information on a weekly basis in order to provide them with a tool for better learning experience. Teachers receive automatically a detailed report of their students' cognitive abilities after completing the initial assessment and the different regimen and exercises available online. The initial feedback on the platform also helps the teachers better adapt their teaching strategies during the year instead of waiting for test results to see the effectiveness of their education. This information also helps the teacher understand where each student may need extra help and personalize and humanize the relation with each student on a deeper level. For example, a student with a low inhibition or focus may have a harder time paying attention in class, or a student with low scores processing speed may need an extra minute to understand the written instructions on a test. By being aware of it, a teacher will use this information and improve the results.
Read more... 

About CogniFit

CogniFit is a world leader in developing online programs to assess and train core cognitive areas such as attention, memory, coordination, perception, and reasoning. As a digital health company, CogniFit specializes in scientifically validated cognitive tests and brain training programs, all available online at

CogniFit's web and mobile exercises are designed by an international team of scientists, neurologists, and psychologists who investigate and combine the latest discoveries on the brain with advanced adaptive algorithms and big data analytics. For over 15 years, CogniFit has been developing personalized brain fitness programs through scientific validation with leading institutions and peer-reviewed publications.

Today a major vendor in the cognitive assessment and training market, CogniFit offers its programs to companies in various verticals, such as healthcare, education, research, health and wellness, driving, and human resources.

Source: PR Newswire (press release) 

3 ways to set students up for success in an online course | eCampus News

Follow on Twitter as @JarrodMorgan

Jarrod Morgan, co-founder of ProctorU and was the company's first proctor notes, "Online learning gives students more options and flexibility and a growing number of them are taking advantage of online courses in order to pursue their degree in a way that works for them."
Photo: eCampus News

According to the 2015 Survey of Online Learning, there was an 3.9 percent increase in the number of higher education students taking at least one online course. Additionally, there are no signs that this upward trend is going to change any time soon.

For colleges and universities, as well as for instructors, this means supporting students who aren’t attending a brick and mortar classroom on a regular basis, if at all. Having served as director of technology at an online university, I’ve seen firsthand how institutions have risen to this challenge by getting creative in order to enhance the online learning experience. Below are three recommendations for setting students up for success in an online course.

1. Set Clear Guidelines
Students in online courses are learning in a non-traditional setting, and because of this a traditional set of classroom rules may not necessarily translate well.

Institutions can address this by setting clear guidelines at the institutional-level through a code of conduct specific to online courses and programs. A well-defined set of standards lets students know what is expected of them and how they can maintain their academic integrity.

Because the classroom experience has evolved, what constitutes academic dishonesty is no longer black and white and there is definitely a gray area, particularly when it comes to online learning. Identifying parameters takes the guesswork out of following the rules for students, letting them focus instead on learning course material. For example, with so much technology at students’ fingertips it’s important to note the difference between using technology as a learning tool and when it is being used inappropriately. A good code of conduct will outline when such tools can be used, such as for assignments or papers, and when they are not allowed, such as on exams.

Source: eCampus News

Are snow days a thing of the past? | Shelbynews

"Spending snow days outside building snowmen and sledding down steep hills will only be a memory for Shelbyville Central Schools students." summarizes Ross Flint /The Shelbyville News.

Shelbyville teachers and administrators have been working toward developing eLearning, which allows students to get school work done from home on days that school days are canceled, possible.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Harper said the school corporation has been working on making this possible after completing the Indiana Department of Education application. The corporation completed a survey to make sure families had internet access at home and found that 78 percent do.

That, combined with the corporation’s plan of providing lab days on Wednesdays and Saturdays to complete assignments, led them to decide to go for it.

Students will be able to participate in virtual discussions with their classmates, work remotely in small groups or with another student, watch a video and work on class projects.

Many teachers use Google Classroom and other Google sites, which can be utilized with eLearning.

Harper said it’s an opportunity to prevent the disruption of a student’s education because of bad weather.

Students will make up lost hours during a window of time following a missed school day. During that time, schools will be in their regular schedule and students are expected to complete their assignment through the eLearning Module. That allows students who might not have Internet access at home or have special needs accommodations to use the open labs.

Elementary school students will have access to the eLearning Module starting at 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday, and at 2:30 p.m. at the middle and high schools. It will close at midnight the following Monday.

Source: Shelbynews

SA University’s drop in international rankings, may be forced to adopt e-learning as #feesmustfall protests rage on | Technology Zimbabwe

"In recent weeks the highly publicized and controversial South African “#feesmustfall” protest reached a peak with widely reported incidents of students facing off with police and school leaders at multiple campuses across South Africa. There have been reports of students being arrested, shot by rubber bullets, teargassed and beaten." continues Technology Zimbabwe.

Students forced their way into the parliamentary complex.
Photo: BBC

Many of the prestigious African academic institutions have failed to contain the unrest caused by the protests leading to lectures being called off as campuses have been deemed unsafe for both academic staff and students, these include UCT, WITS, UKZN, NMMU, UP to name but a few.

So what has caused the protests? 
This is the second year running of the #feesmustfall movement. Sometime late last year the South African Government greenlighted an increase in tuition of 10.5% for the 2016 academic year which sparked outrage from student bodies across SA leading to widespread protests forcing their government to freeze any tuition increase for 2016. But in a surprising turn of events, the SA government recently greenlighted a fee increase of 8% for the 2017 academic year, hence the new wave of protests that have.

What do the students want? 
#feesmustfall movement is advocating for “free, quality and decolonised education”. According to a report by BBC, students are fighting against a system that discriminates black students who come from poor families robbing them of opportunities to study and pursue formal careers. The movement wants free education for all starting with the poor and “missing middle class” a section of a growing population in African where parents have jobs but cannot afford tertiary education.

What the Universities have been forced to consider 
With the calendar academic year in SA closely coming to an end the protests have caused up to a month of disruptions of lectures and learning. The Universities have continuously reiterated their stance on lectures having to commence with students asked to attend lectures this past Monday but that only escalated the protests with the VC of UCT on the receiving end of a few punches whilst attempting to address a group of students on the need to resume lectures.

The Universities have been caught between a rock and a hard place. There is a need for the academic year to be concluded but then there is the element of unsafe campuses for both students and lecturers. 
The only option the “brick and mortar” Universities have left is to adopt e-learning solutions effectively making students distance learners.

Source: Technology Zimbabwe

Scouter who completes 1 millionth eLearning module will win free Philmont conference registration | Scouting Magazine (blog)

Photo: Bryan Wendell
"The lucky Scouter who completes the 1 millionth eLearning module will win a free Philmont Training Center conference — up to $540 in value." according to Bryan Wendell, Eagle Scout, and senior editor of Boys' Life, Scouting and Eagles' Call magazines as well as the lead blogger at Bryan on Scouting, an official blog of Scouting magazine for BSA's adult leaders.
Photo: Scouting Magazine (blog

Getting trained for your Scouting position is its own reward.

But the Scouter who completes the 1 millionth module in the BSA Learn Center will get an additional reward: free registration for a conference at the Philmont Training Center — up to $540 in value.

The BSA Learn Center’s web-based training courses, created in response to feedback from leaders saying they want position-specific information delivered on multiple devices, went live in September 2015. They were an instant success, especially among busy parents.

As of this writing, more than 975,000 modules have been completed. In other words, the 1 million mark is just around the corner.

The free courses, available at, deliver high-quality online learning experiences tailored to your specific volunteer role or roles. You can complete them on any device from the comfort of your couch or home office...

Continue your training adventure — and give yourself a shot at the big prize — at
Good luck!

Source: Scouting Magazine (blog

Yardi eLearning Improves Online Course Creation | Business Wire

"New feature enables clients to build custom online courses quickly and easily by converting existing media." inform Business Wire.

Yardi eLearning clients have a new tool to create branded courses for online staff training. The latest version of Yardi eLearning allows clients to convert their existing learning materials into a digital format with minimal effort."

“We’ve made it faster and easier for users to cut, paste, and copy pre-existing documents into Yardi eLearning. With minor formatting such as defining page breaks, users can set-up a new course in a matter of minutes,” said Terri Dowen, senior vice president of sales for Yardi.

Quick course setup means users have more time to make courses engaging for learners, and can convert existing in-house content libraries with ease. “They can work with videos, insert links to practice software, and create spaces for class discussion and quickly drop those into the course,” said Dowen.

The Yardi eLearning platform is especially popular with Yardi clients, who appreciate its intuitive format, authoring functionality and reporting capabilities.

Log on to to learn more about online staff training solutions 
integrated with the industry-leading Yardi Voyager® mobile platform.

About Yardi
Yardi® develops and supports industry-leading investment and property management software for all types and sizes of real estate companies. Established in 1984, Yardi is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and serves clients worldwide. 
For more information, visit

Source: Business Wire

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime | EDUCAUSE Review

Marcia L. Dority Baker, assistant director for academic technologies in Information Technology Services (ITS) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln inform, "Can You Spot the Scam?"

Scams make great stories. Tales of Internet crime or other fraud make up some of Hollywood's most exciting thrillers. While cybercrime blockbusters are fun to watch on the big screen, cybercrime is a serious problem on campuses globally.

How many people do you know who are the victim of a scam (Internet or phone)? According to the FBI, cybercrime is a growing threat that affects individuals and businesses around the world. A recent Washington Post article reported that cybercrime cost the global economy $445 billion in 2014. 

What Is a Scam?
A good way to understand what something is is to know how it is defined. This post will use the Wikipedia definition of Internet fraud:

The use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them; for example, by stealing personal information, which can even lead to identity theft. A very common form of Internet fraud is the distribution of rogue security software. Internet services can be used to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.

We need to think of scams, fraud, and cybercrime as synonymous. There are many words to describe this topic but each have at their core the sense of financial deception and all refer to the same concept: to take advantage of someone or — to use an old verb — "to swindle."

Who Is on the Other Side?
Remember the New Yorker cartoon, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog"? This is one of my favorite cartoons and a perfect example of how a picture is worth a thousand words. While this cartoon came out in 1993, it holds very true today. On the Internet, it is easy for users to hide behind an alias, to share half-truths on a product, or to push a false service to gullible users.
Too Good to Be True

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is! 

Our ever-changing technology makes gathering information easier, especially as Internet users readily share personal information online. The challenge to outsmart the bad guys is a struggle for all organizations and individuals. We must stay informed of current trends in cybercrime to educate our campuses (faculty, staff, and students) on best practices for sharing content online and protecting valuable information. The FBI maintains a resource list of common fraud scams including examples of each type of scam and tips for staying safe online. This is not an exhaustive list of scams — as technology evolves, so will fraud. 
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Photo: VPN Geeks
21 Terrifying Cyber Crime Statistics by Jack Foster, author at VPN Geeks.
"It may not be a nice topic to talk about, but it is essential that the world is aware of the terrifying cyber crime statistics in 2018.

Source: EDUCAUSE Review

Online education – the way forward for 10 million hungry Indian minds |

Photo: Ashwin Damera
"Today, we have blended learning, online courses and Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs)." summarizes Ashwin Damera, Executive Director, Emeritus Institute of Management. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Education is the key to inclusive growth in any society. India is a young country with nearly 300 million people in the 19-35 age group. Based on the recent FICCI–EY report, currently India’s gross enrolment at 22 percent (30 million) is one of the lowest in the world, compared to 90 percent in the US, 62 percent in the UK and 31 percent in China. If we need to push our ratio even high enough to match China’s, then that amounts to educating an additional 15 million students – which seems like an overwhelming task, especially through our traditional brick-and-mortar education system.

The traditional education throws two major hurdles our way – accessibility and financial affordability. Business education is very expensive in India, especially considering the ROI on them. The tuition fees for premier B-schools in India are very high and they spike periodically. This situation pushes a majority of applicants to the lower tier schools, which have a mixed track record with respect to their placements. A working professional who is evaluating going to a business school in India may be extremely discouraged when (s)he takes into account the tuition costs, living expenses and most importantly the loss of pay during the period of education in a full-time programme. Of course, the lucky few who bag a great placement after the course may get a strong ROI for their time and money invested in a top tier B-school.

If we consider the distance learning method in India, it lacks the quality to deliver desired results. Of the 30 million higher education students, approximately five million are distance learning students. This means they receive self-study materials and enroll for end-of-term examinations. The system seems scalable and eliminates the need for additional infrastructure, but the students barely learn anything, have no professional guidance and lack the skills to tackle real-world problems. These students often end up in the lowest rung in terms of employability.

Technological disruption in education – our only ray of hope
Technology has disrupted industries across the globe and even in India, especially the retail, information accessibility and communication sectors. Now a fundamental change driven by technology has entered the education sector.
The latest developments in technology offer competitive and effective alternatives to traditional teaching. Today, we have blended learning, online courses and Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs). Each leverages IT infrastructure in varying degrees. Online learning is sweeping away the ground beneath us as we know it and replacing it with globalised, technology-enabled world of teaching and learning.
The year 2015 alone has witnessed nearly 591 edtech startups in India.

The annual increase in the edtech startups indicates that Indian students are voracious online learners. Class Central indicates that nearly 35 million students across the world have enrolled for online courses in 2015, as compared to 15 million in 2014. And nearly 10 percent of these students are Indians! Over the last few years, online learning has shown impressive growth numbers, thus drawing investors’ attention. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife's, Priscilla Chan, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, made its first investment in Asia in Bengaluru-based Byju’s, a mobile-based online learning company. This company is already backed by Sequoia Capital and Sofina, among others – and this is a clear indication of how this sector is being perceived.