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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Free courses will teach career-building skills to young people | Careers -

Photo: Jenny Darmody
Jenny Darmody, Careers Editor at notes, "Accenture and An Cosán Virtual Community College are set to roll out the virtual Skills to Succeed Academy throughout Ireland this summer."

Photo: sergey causelove/Shutterstock

As part of a €170m commitment to its Skills to Succeed initiative, Accenture is collaborating with An Cosán Virtual Community College (VCC) to roll out a free interactive online training programme.

The Skills to Succeed Academy is designed to give people throughout Ireland the skills and confidence to choose the right career as well as advance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for individuals.

The programme will be rolled out throughout the summer to community organisations and local employment services in Clare, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Mayo, Meath, Sligo and Tipperary.

It uses virtual coaches, gamification and simulations to help users navigate their career paths while equipping them with skills they need to find long-term employment...

An Cosán VCC CEO Liz Waters compared the programme to a flight simulator for the world of work.

“The Skills to Succeed Academy is an innovative digital learning solution that gives jobseekers an opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ and try out real-world scenarios for themselves while learning key employability skills as well as having ongoing support in the local community along the way,” she said.


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Survey: 7 in 10 People Don't Believe Online Classes Can Provide a 'True College Experience' | Campus Technology

"In spite of the fact that nine in 10 people believe online and distance learning programs will grow in popularity over time, seven in 10 don't think that students can a get a "true college experience" from an online-only program" says Dian Schaffhauser, senior contributing editor.

Photo: Campus Technology

That drops to five in 10 for those students who have attended a blended learning course.

Those results surfaced in "Online Education Trendspots," a survey intended to understand experiences and perceptions of online or distance education programs. The survey was produced by Verndale, a "customer experience" design agency. The company surveyed 320 people, ages 18 to 55, who have attended at least some level of college. Three-fifths of respondents said they had taken an online course.

The Verndale researchers suggested that online courses "are still being judged using legacy cultural benchmarks." They also anticipate that changing. "We will likely soon find that our expectations of a true 'college experience' are inherently blended, digital and global."...

The report is available with registration on the Verndale website.

Recommended Reading 
Photo: Campus Technology
Survey: Most Students Say Online Learning Is as Good or Better Than Face-to-Face by Dian Schaffhauser, senior contributing editor.
The report is available with registration through the Learning House website.

Source: Campus Technology

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Loma Linda University School of Public Health offers three online learning programs | Loma Linda University Health

MPH and DrPH degrees for people whose schedules don’t allow for campus-based learning, continues Loma Linda University Health

Photo: istock

The Loma Linda University School of Public Health will offer three online degree programs this fall for people who want more flexibility than traditional classroom learning allows.

Students can choose between two online MPH degrees and one online DrPH degree. The first MPH and the DrPH degree offer a health education curriculum. The second MPH degree focuses on population medicine.

Anna Nelson, DrPH, MPH, program director for the MPH and DrPH in health education, says the curriculum is continuously updated to reflect changes in the job market. She cites convenience as a key reason some people choose online classes.

“Online learning programs allow you to continue living in your current location, working your current job and taking care of your family,” Nelson said. “You can continue with everything you were already doing and still get a degree.”

Nelson should know. She and her husband were living in Saudi Arabia when she enrolled in an online MPH program. After completing that, she signed up for an online DrPH degree at LLU. Not only did she keep living and working abroad, but her family grew while she studied. “I had two of my kids while doing this,” she says.

Karen Studer, MD, MBA, MPH, program director for the MPH degree in population medicine, says the program is open to any health professional.

Source: Loma Linda University Health

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UC Berkeley puts blockchain training online; thousands sign up | Computerworld

After teaching an on-campus course about cryptocurrencies, UC Berkeley is planning to launch a two-part, online course aimed at educating students around to globe about cryptocurrencies and business-scale blockchain networks, inform Lucas Mearian, Senior Reporter, Computerworld.

Photo: Thinkstock

UC Berkeley in 2016 saw the potential for teaching about blockchain with a primary focus on bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies the technology underpins.
At the time, about 70 students signed up.

Next month, the university will kick off an online professional certificate program for blockchain, a three-month, two-part course focusing on cryptocurrencies and permissioned blockchains aimed at equipping students for careers in developing the distributed ledger technology for businesses.

So far, 7,400 students have already signed up.

"We've had other online courses that have done well, mainly STEM-related content... but I'd say this course's early results show very impressive enrollments," said Suzanne Harrison, director of design and development at UC Berkeley.

It's the first time Berkeley has opened its blockchain education program to students globally through an online learning platform...

The course wraps up with a look at various blockchain ventures today and concludes with a blockchain-based future thought experiment. 

Blockchain Fundamentals on edX 

EdX's Professional Certificate programs are series of courses designed by universities and industry experts, and they are highly valued by perspective employers. For example, Microsoft recently committed to contribute toward the cost for any community college student to complete the entry level Computer Science Professional Certificate program on edX.

Berkeley isn't alone. Several accredited U.S. universities now offer on-campus or online courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, including MIT, which offers two courses on cryptocurrency engineering and design; Princeton University; Stanford University; and Duke University, which also has a student-run curriculum. There are also specialty schools such as Mountain View, Calif.-based Blockchain University and London-based education startup B9lab, which launched an online Certified Ethereum Developer Training program in 2016.

Source: Computerworld and Blockchain at BerkeleyX Channel (YouTube)  

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A machine has figured out Rubik’s Cube all by itself | Intelligent Machines - MIT Technology Review

Unlike chess moves, changes to a Rubik’s Cube are hard to evaluate, which is why deep-learning machines haven’t been able to solve the puzzle on their own. Until now, as MIT Technology Review reports.

Photo: MIT Technology Review
by Emerging Technology from the arXiv June 15, 2018 

Yet another bastion of human skill and intelligence has fallen to the onslaught of the machines. A new kind of deep-learning machine has taught itself to solve a Rubik’s Cube without any human assistance.

The milestone is significant because the new approach tackles an important problem in computer science—how to solve complex problems when help is minimal.

First some background. The Rubik’s Cube is a three-dimensional puzzle developed in 1974 by the Hungarian inventor Erno Rubik, the object being to align all squares of the same color on the same face of the cube. It became an international best-selling toy and sold over 350 million units.

The puzzle has also attracted considerable interest from computer scientists and mathematicians. One question that has intrigued them is the smallest number of moves needed to solve it from any position. The answer, proved in 2014, turns out to be 26. 

Another common challenge is to design algorithms that can solve the cube from any position. Rubik himself, within a month of inventing the toy, came up with an algorithm that could do this.

But attempts to automated the process have all relied on algorithms that have been hand-crafted by humans.

More recently, computer scientists have tried to find ways for machines to solve the problem themselves. One idea is to use the same kind of approach that has been so successful with games like chess and Go.

In these scenarios, a deep-learning machine is given the rules of the game and then plays against itself. Crucially, it is rewarded at each step according to how it performs. This reward process is hugely important because it helps the machine to distinguish good play from bad play. In other words, it helps the machine learn...

Enter Stephen McAleer and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine. These guys have pioneered a new kind of deep-learning technique, called “autodidactic iteration,” that can teach itself to solve a Rubik’s Cube with no human assistance. The trick that McAleer and co have mastered is to find a way for the machine to create its own system of rewards.
Read more... 

Additional resources  
Ref: : Solving the Rubik's Cube Without Human Knowledge
Source: MIT Technology Review

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5 math apps that boost skills over summer | Lifestyle - AOL

Daily math practice doesn't have to be -- and, in fact, shouldn't be -- drill-and-kill. 

Photo: AOL

Summer is a great opportunity to make learning more fun with apps that add a gaming element to key skills such as addition, subtraction, fractions, and more. These apps let kids avoid the "summer slide" in a fun -- and totally painless -- way.

Related link  

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Online Learning Consortium Launches 'OLC Outlook: An Environmental Scan of the Digital Learning Landscape' | Benzinga

New strategic planning resource for higher education professionals examines priorities, trends, innovations and other considerations for 20 core areas of digital learning; First report from the series covers Accessibility and publishes today.

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of digital learning worldwide, today introduced OLC Outlook: An Environmental Scan of the Digital Learning Landscape, a series of original reports from the OLC Research Center for Digital Learning & Leadership, designed to keep higher education professionals informed of the latest developments in the field of digital learning. 

Download the report

The OLC Outlook series will serve as a strategic planning resource, illuminating priorities, trends, innovations and other considerations that OLC uncovers through its daily research and analysis of the digital learning landscape and interactions with leaders and innovators in the field.

Digital learning professionals need to stay informed of the latest developments in the field in order to deliver successful learning experiences for the modern learner. Yet the pace of change and the sheer volume of available news and information make it challenging to maintain a comprehensive understanding of all the factors that can inform strategy and vision. Each OLC Outlook report offers a curated 360-degree view of a critical digital learning topic, providing access to helpful resources that can be used to inform strategic planning and solve strategic challenges...

The OLC Outlook series will cover 20 core areas of digital learning, with a new white paper publishing each month. Initial topics include: Accessibility (June); Instructional Design (July), Leadership (August), Business Models (September), Learning Sciences (October) and Workforce Development (November). All reports in the OLC Outlook series will be available in the OLC Research Center for Digital Learning & Leadership.
Accessibility is the subject of the first report in the OLC Outlook series. Click to download the report: OLC Outlook: Accessibility - An Environmental Scan of the Digital Learning Landscape.
Read more... 


The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including, best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises. 
Visit for more information.

Source: Benzinga

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Technology Is Key for Boosting Classroom Equity | EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education

Integration of digital tools can help give students an equal playing field, according to a new report, reports Eli Zimmerman, budding journalist with experience reporting across various fields.  

Photo: CleoFilter/Getty Images

As the growth in personalized learning initiatives has emphasized, students will exhibit differing aptitudes for subjects depending on their strengths.

However, issues with classroom equity have left some students unable to perform, not because they are having trouble grasping the material but because of issues related to geography, race, gender, ethnicity, language or economics.

In response, America’s Promise Alliance, the Aspen Institute’s Education and Society Program and the Council of Chief State School Officers have issued a report to help school districts address these equity issues.

“We recognize the journey toward educational equity is a long and arduous one, but it is an important and necessary journey that will define the course of our nation,” the report’s authors conclude. “We all recognize we can do more, and these promising practices show we are on the right path to ensure a brighter future for our nation’s students.”

Innovations in technology may be the key in establishing an equal playing field for students struggling to catch up to their peers. 

Accessibility Through Online Learning Programs  
A prominent distinction among students is where they live, more specifically the difference between urban and rural homes. 

Those living farther away from their school district may not be able to access the same resources or may be more likely to miss days of school because of their living situations, with states like North Carolina and Maine seeing a significant rise in absenteeism in rural students.

Establishing an online network where students can access classroom materials and school resources can be a great way to boost equity. Some districts have already begun to create these types of networks.

The Utah Education Network, in collaboration with the Utah State Board of Education, has compiled a site housing research databases, lesson plans and platforms for distance learning, according to the report.

Source: EdTech Magazine: Focus on Higher Education

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Double incentives in HRM Asia's Digital Learning research | HRM Asia

Participate in the highly-anticipated Thriving in a World of Digital Learning study with one click from this story! 

Photo: HRM Asia
The world of learning is going digital - is your organisation keeping up?

Are you at the front edge of the transformation in learning and development, driven by technology? Or are you about to fall behind?

Here is your opportunity to find out!

You can get ready for your own digital transformation by participating in HRM Asia's eight-minute Thriving in a World of Digital Learning Survey.

Who should participate?
If your organisation employs more than 100 people in Singapore, and you are in senior leadership, HR, or the learning and development function specifically, your organisation will benefit from participating in this survey.
Read more... 

Related link   
HRM Asia’s digital learning research now underway

Source: HRM Asia

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Monday, June 18, 2018

In her short life, mathematician Emmy Noether changed the face of physics | Physics - Science News

Photo: Emily Conover
"Noether linked two important concepts in physics: conservation laws and symmetries" argues Emily Conover, Physics Writer.

THE BEAUTY OF SYMMETRY  Emmy Noether had a lasting impact on her colleagues and students, and on the fields of mathematics and physics.

On a warm summer evening, a visitor to 1920s Göttingen, Germany, might have heard the hubbub of a party from an apartment on Friedländer Way. A glimpse through the window would reveal a gathering of scholars. The wine would be flowing and the air buzzing with conversations centered on mathematical problems of the day. The eavesdropper might eventually pick up a woman’s laugh cutting through the din: the hostess, Emmy Noether, a creative genius of mathematics.

At a time when women were considered intellectually inferior to men, Noether (pronounced NUR-ter) won the admiration of her male colleagues. She resolved a nagging puzzle in Albert Einstein’s newfound theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity. And in the process, she proved a revolutionary mathematical theorem that changed the way physicists study the universe.

It’s been a century since the July 23, 1918, unveiling of Noether’s famous theorem. Yet its importance persists today. “That theorem has been a guiding star to 20th and 21st century physics,” says theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek of MIT.

Noether was a leading mathematician of her day. In addition to her theorem, now simply called “Noether’s theorem,” she kick-started an entire discipline of mathematics called abstract algebra.

But in her career, Noether couldn’t catch a break. She labored unpaid for years after earning her Ph.D. Although she started working at the University of Göttingen in 1915, she was at first permitted to lecture only as an “assistant” under a male colleague’s name. She didn’t receive a salary until 1923. Ten years later, Noether was forced out of the job by the Nazi-led government: She was Jewish and was suspected of holding leftist political beliefs. Noether’s joyful mathematical soirees were extinguished.

She left for the United States to work at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Less than two years later, she died of complications from surgery — before the importance of her theorem was fully recognized. She was 53.

Although most people have never heard of Noether, physicists sing her theorem’s praises. The theorem is “pervasive in everything we do,” says theoretical physicist Ruth Gregory of Durham University in England. Gregory, who has lectured on the importance of Noether’s work, studies gravity, a field in which Noether’s legacy looms large.

Making connections 
Noether divined a link between two important concepts in physics: conservation laws and symmetries. A conservation law — conservation of energy, for example — states that a particular quantity must remain constant. No matter how hard we try, energy can’t be created or destroyed. The certainty of energy conservation helps physicists solve many problems, from calculating the speed of a ball rolling down a hill to understanding the processes of nuclear fusion.

Symmetries describe changes that can be made without altering how an object looks or acts. A sphere is perfectly symmetric: Rotate it any direction and it appears the same. Likewise, symmetries pervade the laws of physics: Equations don’t change in different places in time or space.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading  
Weird Math: A Teenage Genius and His
Teacher Reveal the Strange Connections
Between Math and Everyday Life

‘Weird Math’ aims to connect numbers and equations to the real world by Diana Steele, Freelance Science Writer, Science News.
"A new book tackles the mysteries of chaos theory, higher dimensions and more."

Source: Science News

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