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

Read the rest of the article on THE Journal…

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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Why I Love the World Almanac and Book of Facts

The World Almanac and Book of Facts
This has become a go-to reference for stuff I used to have to hunt down online. Forget that!

There’s something about the World Almanac and Book of Facts that tells me it deserves the inch and a half of room it requires on my grab-it-quick bookcase. Let’s face it, the world wide web doesn’t know everything; Wikipedia’s explanations are frequently beyond my level of understanding; and sometimes the prospect of cranking up the Google search home page one more time in a day is enough to send me out my office door and off for a three-week walkabout.

If you haven’t checked it out lately, this 1,008-page volume provides a snapshot of the year that was and the decades and centuries that were, in consumable and well-written bites.

Wondering just when the War of Roses took place and why? It’s covered in a tiny capsule in the “Military Affairs, Timeline of Major Wars” section.

Trying to figure out what song placed Shania Twain on the map? There it is in “Noted Personalities, Country Music Artists”: “You’re Still the One.”

Need the latest on internet usage in the United States? The “Technology, Internet Use” section provides data on most-visited sites, most popular apps, fixed broadband internet connections by type, usage by race and ethnicity and plenty of other statistics.

Every year I try to make donations to the non-profit online sites I use most often; the $14.99 cover price for the World Almanac costs is a bargain in comparison.

After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico University Turns to the Cloud to Restore Student Services

Class meets at Sagrado outdoors
Class meets at Sagrado outdoors.

When September’s massive storm knocked out access to electricity, clean water and communications for the entire island, Universidad del Sagrado Corazón needed to get up and running fast. Thanks to an extraordinary IT team and the resources of the cloud, the school was back in action within a few weeks…

Read the article on Campus Technology…

Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts: The definitive guide to jumpstart your project

Cover of Sam Huffman's book, Do's and Don'ts, published by
Sam Huffman’s book, Do’s and Don’ts, published by

This concise book (150 pages) by Microsoft Project expert Sam Huffman (and edited by me) will help you get up to speed quickly if you’re new to Project, remind you how Project works if you’re experienced and help you get the most out of the product without wasting time or effort…

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