How a Video Boom Led to Better Campus Collaboration

Reorganizations can be tough on everybody involved. Work left behind. People’s emotions rubbed raw. New managers struggling to gain staff trust. But a restructuring within Princeton University (NJ) turned out to be a great example of how collaboration in higher education ought to work. And it all kicked off when the university decided to create its first massive open online courses (MOOCs)…

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How to Set Up a VR Pilot

The headset goes on and the student is handed two controllers. She begins to manipulate a virtual model of a protein, turning it this way and that to study the structure. It’s not exactly like playing in Star Trek: Bridge Crew, but it’s still way better than looking at a flat illustration in a textbook, which is exactly why Washington & Lee University’s Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center is trying out the use of virtual reality in as many classes as it can. Even though it may feel like VR has been around for a long time (Oculus Rift began taking pre-orders in 2012), in education its use is still on the bleeding edge…

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5 Ways to Make Your Videos Binge-Worthy

A faculty member at New York University’s Stern School of Business entered Amanda Justice’s office, apparently after binge-viewing Breaking Bad. “He asked me if we could end [his videos] with a cliff hanger,” recalled the educational technologist. She remembered thinking, “This is an operations course. I don’t really know off the top of my head how we could get Breaking Bad-level engagement and trauma into it.”

On the other hand, that’s just the kind of challenge Justice and her colleagues on Stern’s Learning Science team within the W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs like to tackle…

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Online Course Enrollment Sees Relentless Growth

According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s latest annual report on distance education in the United States, online student enrollment has grown for the 14th year in a row. Nearly a million additional students took distance education courses in 2016 compared to 2012, a count consisting of both people who took online classes (or other forms of distance ed) exclusively as well as those who took a mix of online and face-to-face courses. That translates to more than 30 percent of colleges students — 6.4 million in total — who took at least one distance education course during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Conversely, a million fewer students came to campus for their college education in 2016 than in 2012.

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Personalized Learning Is Not about Planting Students Behind Computers

Digital Promise has issued a new report on personalized learning that dives into the policies and practices that should be pursued at the district, state, and federal levels to help individual learners master content and skills. This is the fourth report in a series on the topic of personalized learning.

Why is personalized learning getting so much attention? For several reasons, suggested Barbara Pape, co-author of the paper, on the Digital Promise blog

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Yes, Charters Do Hurt Public School Funding

Does the proliferation of charter schools hurt public-school funding? Yes, it does, according to a new working paper from Duke University.

Two researchers, Helen Ladd from Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and John Singleton, from the Economics Department, based their research “on detailed balance sheet information” for a sample of school districts in their own state of North Carolina, which saw significant charter entry when a statewide cap of 100 charters was lifted in 2011.

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Report: NAEP Setting Bar Too High

Has NAEP set the bar too high for American students? That’s the implication in a new report from the National Superintendents Roundtable and Horace Mann League. According to “How High the Bar?” when results from “nation’s report card” proficiency assessments are compared to results from two international assessments and the Common Core, researchers found that the proficiency benchmarks of the National Assessment of Educational Progress would knock out students in almost every country.

NAEP, which issues assessments in multiple topics to students in grades 4, 8 and 12, defines “proficient” as “solid academic performance for each grade assessed. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter….”

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3 Starters for Digital Leadership in Higher Ed

United States higher education is struggling to move into the 21st century digital era, according to Dr. Samuel Conn, president and chief executive officer for nonprofit technology consortium NJEdge. Holding back the segment, he said, are legacy processes and “last-century” thinking, which can no longer meet the demands of students who are more digitally savvy than their instructors — not to mention the growing competition coming from global institutions that are attracting those same students…

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