Although teaching first-time freshmen across all content areas presents challenges, first-year experience (FYE) courses also have unique obstacles which must be overcome, especially with the shift to online learning. Often, there is no traditional content such as math or history, so students may ask, “What will I get out of this class?” As instructors and professors, we need to get creative in challenging and engaging students so they feel motivated to learn. This semester, we surveyed students in both face-to-face and online FYE courses and found four active learning strategies that helped students become more engaged.
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Mechanical Engineering professor transitions online, deepens knowledge of well-being - Amber McClung, St. Mary's Univesity
My approach was to take things one step at a time and to keep my students’ well-being as the top priority. I am starting the certification for online teaching right now, and am reading a lot about how to foster engagement with a classroom with mixed attendance modes (some in person, some online), so I expect to have a much longer list of new tricks before classes start in the fall.
The ways we respond and react to the need for better methods of virtual learning will have a significant impact on whether and how online education develops as an opportunity for the future. It may change the impact of education on our economy at large, and its viability and availability to a broader set of participants. Likewise, the time and geographic flexibility of online learning may serve to make it available to a more comprehensive set of participants.
Friday, June 26, 2020
Facebook just released a database of 100,000 deepfakes to teach AI how to spot them - Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review
Deepfakes? have struck a nerve with the public and researchers alike. There is something uniquely disturbing about these AI-generated images of people appearing to say or do something they didn’t. With tools for making deepfakes now widely available and relatively easy to use, many also worry that they will be used to spread dangerous misinformation. Politicians can have other people’s words put into their mouths or made to participate in situations they did not take part in, for example.
We need to reimagine higher education, not just repair it - Francisco Marmolejo, University World News
Crises can make innovations that seemed previously impossible suddenly inevitable. There will be years of ‘a reckoning’ that higher education institutions will go through. But the ‘new normal’ we must shape needs to begin with the recognition that putting classes on Zoom isn’t change. Higher education institutions need reimagining, not just repairing. Educators, policy-makers, employers and investors must urgently give thought to what a post-COVID world should look like and what role higher education institutions must play to make that world a reality.
The COVID-19 wake up call on upskilling and reskilling needs around the world - Kevin Mills, Open Access Government
Our next hurdle in the “future of work” will be how to solve the massive unemployment crisis that’s coming our way. For this to happen swiftly, we need leadership to pave the way. In essence, we all need to buy into the idea of lifelong learning as a necessity. As we do so, and the concept of “life-long learning” consolidates, we’ll notice changes. Even at Coursera, where we’ve focused on upskilling and reskilling learners globally since launching in 2012, these will be significant.
Thursday, June 25, 2020
The University should focus on finding more ways to build small, tight-knit communities that would foster strong interpersonal relationships. Rather than emphasizing solely the flexibility of learning alone, Hopkins should explore new ways to help students bond. For example, Hopkins could significantly expand existing programs like Peer-Led Team Learning (PILOT) and Study Consulting. This would encourage greater peer mentorship while simultaneously creating more work-study opportunities. This would help alleviate the burden for students facing challenging financial situations and supplement lost on-campus jobs.
Momentum for "Micro-Credentials" Builds as Workers Seek New Skills - John Marcus, Public News Service
First they get a credential in a skill they need, then another and another. Each of these can quickly pay off on its own by helping to get a job, raise or promotion. And they can add up over time to a bachelor's degree. "Even if I chose not to finish, I would still have these pieces and I'd say, 'Look what I've done,' as opposed to, 'I have two years of college'" but nothing to show for it, said Nelson, who works as an information technology consultant and hopes to move into an administrative role. "I don't think it really dropped on me until I sat down to update my resume," she said. That's when Nelson realized that each of those certifications had already increased her value on the job market, she said.
California’s online-only community college is flunking out with legislators - Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle
When California set aside $100 million to launch its first fully online community college, supporters led by then-Gov. Jerry Brown said the school would prepare adults stuck in dead-end careers for the modern workforce. After two years of halting progress, state lawmakers facing a budget disaster and mounting complaints from faculty unions are pushing to scrap the college entirely.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
As an education researcher who has been studying online education and a professor who has been teaching in both face-to-face and online environments for more than a decade, I am often asked whether online learning at universities and colleges can ever be as effective as face-to-face learning. The answer isn’t as unequivocal as some would like it to be. Individual cherry-picked studies can support any result. But systematic analyses of the evidence generally show there are no significant differences in students’ academic outcomes between online and face-to-face education.
These are tough times for everyone and the best you can do is to be prepared. Jobs of tomorrow are not going to be the same as the jobs of today or yesterday. As a senior IBM leader in their IT org told us, “Learning can be a comfort; it’s something we can control. If your situation allows it, use the time you used to spend commuting to focus on your Nanodegree program and learning new skills.” And this is our recommendation to you as well. Try to use your time at home to learn a new skill and prepare yourself for the future jobs. The future is of hard-employable practitioner level skills in fields like programming, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data science. There can’t be a better opportunity for you to train yourself in one of these emerging new-collar jobs.
With stay-at-home orders lingering for months, some of the leaders in online courses and programs have seen dramatic spikes in people learning from home. LinkedIn recently announced that, in the first week of April alone, people watched 1.7 million hours of learning content on LinkedIn Learning. Udemy enrollments had a 425% spike overall and an 80% increase in business consumption. During the 30-day period ending May 20, Coursera saw nearly 300% more course enrollment than for the same period in 2019.
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Feedback is a powerful construct in the design of quality online learning, and quantified dimensions of learners’ feedback experiences can be leveraged to improve effectiveness, increase efficiency, and maintain appeal in online courses. What if real-time data could provide proactive insight into a student's experiences? What if mentors and leaders could monitor experiences and intervene to remedy negative learning situations? Are there online-learner behaviors (rather than algorithms, which can be biased) that mentors and leaders could observe as early-warning signs of problems with the effectiveness of the instruction, the efficiency of the design, or the overall appeal of the courses? What are the key ingredients of learning, and could they be measured and monitored on a large scale?
Unlocking Education and Workforce Opportunity Through Blockchain - Kerri Lemoie and Louis Soares, ACE
As we make our way through the crisis and into recovery, that imperative should encourage experimentation with approaches to credentialing (and hiring) that leverage the potential of new technologies to provide more granular descriptions of skills and improved communication among education and training organizations, individuals, and employers. Blockchain, in particular, holds promise to create more efficient, durable connections between education and work. It can provide the technological fabric to help displaced workers translate their skills for new education opportunities and employers, and may hold particular value for those currently underserved by the existing education-to-employment paradigm.
Coursera... added 10 million new users from mid-March to mid-May, seven times the pace of new sign-ups in the previous year. Enrollments at edX and Udacity, two smaller education sites, have jumped by similar multiples. “Crises lead to accelerations, and this is best chance ever for online learning,” said Sebastian Thrun, a co-founder and chairman of Udacity.
Monday, June 22, 2020
When campuses closed due to the spread of the coronavirus and the threat posed by the COVID-19 illness, faculty who were teaching HyFlex classes were already prepared to teach high-quality, fully online courses. The term HyFlex originates from faculty work to support both online and traditional students—without developing a completely separate online master's degree program—in the Instructional Technologies master of arts program at San Francisco State University.2
Orienting Students to Online Learning: A Must for Student Success - Jaimie Hoffman , Megan Eberhardt-Alstot and Jill Leafstedt; EDUCAUSE
Orientation experiences support students' transition to the first year of college, which is essential for student success.1 This support is particularly important for those students from historically marginalized populations.2 Orientation for online learners should be holistic and would ideally mirror content delivered in the onsite orientation experience, since students enrolling in online courses may come to campus infrequently or possibly not at all. Student orientation helps to foster student success; research suggests that those who participate in orientation programs generally perform better than those who do not and persist to graduation at a higher rate.3
As Harvard Goes Online, Will Students Pay Top Dollar For Higher Education? - Robert Farrington, Forbes
To be clear, it’s not that online learning is low-quality; it’s that many courses were never created for an online learning environment, yet schools had no choice but to fashion one out of nothing in a matter of weeks. With the spring semester of college practically over and a new school year well on its way this fall, there are more questions than answers in the world of higher education right now. Will colleges be able to open for on-campus learning, or will some be forced to renew the year with more weeks or months of distance learning?
Sunday, June 21, 2020
Leveraging OER for COVID-19 Response Efforts and International Partnerships-Jennryn Wetzler, Creative Commons
Currently, we face both a swell of support for open educational resources (OER) and devastating upheaval of our traditional education systems. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.5 billion youth are out of school, countless teachers and parents are pivoting to online teaching and education systems face immense financial strain. While OER is not a magic cure for the current education crisis, there are opportunities to work with open education efforts to build greater resiliency within our learning ecosystems and also support cross-national partnerships.
Data from LinkedIn suggests soft skills will be the most in-demand as the economy begins to rebuild and 2020 grads look for work. Today's graduates are entering the worst job market since the Great Depression. LinkedIn's annual "Grad's Guide to Getting Hired" report states that soft skills like leadership and communication will be the most in-demand. Even before the coronavirus economy, experts extolled soft skills as critical for tomorrow's work force.
Good College Teaching Does Not Require Sharing Air with Students - Michael Hunter Schwartz, Tomorrow's Professor
Ask your friends to tell you about their best teachers. They likely will describe people who were passionate about their fields and student learning, knew their subjects cold, communicated great faith in students’ capabilities and insisted they live up to those expectations, were excellent explainers, and were caring, authentic, respectful, and well prepared for class. For the past 20 years, I have been publishing books and articles about effective teaching approaches; the qualities your friends would name are typical of the best teachers. Poor in-person teaching happens every day at every university.... Poor online teaching also happens every day. But great teaching and deep learning also happen online.