Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Call for Submissions – The Fall 2012 issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly

higher education, pedagogy, student learning

Call for Submissions – The Fall 2012 issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly

The Fall 2012 issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly is being compiled. Here is the call for submissions for a special edition on “Student Perceptions, Beliefs, or Attitudes” (keyword: STUDENT-1).
Student perceptions, beliefs, motivations, and attitudes, are constantly changing. As educators, at any grade or level, it is our responsibility to measure these variables continuously in order to enhance the learning environment. This edition is dedicated to the enhancement of the learning environment through student perceptions, beliefs, motivations and attitudes (Defined as students’ beliefs related to classroom climate, classroom instruction, teacher beliefs, student motivations, and many other topics.) Manuscripts are welcomed and encouraged in both research realms (qualitative and quantitative).
Who May Submit
Submissions are welcome from anyone (researchers, administrators, teacher, graduate students, and trainers) working with students, of all ages, in a learning environment. Please identify your submission with keyword: STUDENT-1
Submission deadline
Any time until the end of May 2012 – see details for other deadline options like early, regular, and short. Early submission offers an opportunity to be considered for Editors’ Choice.
Submission Procedure
This is an interdisciplinary topic open to all educators. Academic Exchange Quarterly is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the presentation of ideas, research methods, and pedagogical theories leading to effective instruction and learning. The editors are looking for articles consisting of approximately 3,000 words.
Procedure, Requirements, Deadline & Editorial Policy
Format and Style Requirements
Sample Manuscript Layout

CAll for Papers – Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning

faculty development, higher education, student learning

CAll for Papers – Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning

Submissions for Volume 4 (2012) are due: April 2, 2012
Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) and similarly named organizations (Centers for Teaching Excellence, Centers for Professional Development, Faculty Centers, etc.) in colleges and universities generate initiatives to encourage educational development. Focusing on the operations, achievements, and potentials of CTLs, the Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning (JCTL) seeks articles in any form (narrative, empirical studies, institutional critiques, and others) that highlight the roles CTLs serve and can serve in higher education.
An annual, peer-reviewed journal sponsored jointly by Miami University’s Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching, & University Assessment and Miami University Middletown’s Center for Teaching and Learning, JCTL considers submissions that:
  • highlight, analyze, and document the role of CTLs in fostering enhanced student learning;
  • theorize ways CTLs might help faculty develop scholarly intersections amongst their teaching, research, and service agendas;
  • debate the degree to which CTLs might serve as political entities on campus—proposing changes in workload or grading policies, for instance;
  • theorize the function of CTLs’ material spaces and ways to utilize their location on campus to best influence pedagogical practices;
  • exchange stories about their centers’ origination and governance;
  • discuss creative ways of conducting the “everyday” business of CTLs—awarding facultyprizes, disseminating grant monies, selecting directors, making attempts to involve non- participating faculty and staff, maintaining a website and publishing newsletters, advertising events;
  • consider means for involving students in CTL functions;
  • explore the best methods of assessing the impact of CTL initiatives and conveying their success to campus administrators;
  • consider ways particular CTLs might extend beyond campus borders to involve area schools and other community sites in the development of teaching and learning innovations;
  • suggest ways CTLs might help explicate pedagogical innovations to the public;
  • articulate other issues concerning the role of CTLs.
In short, JCTL provides a space for those involved with teaching and learning centers to constitute a Scholarship of Educational Development that helps them share ideas on how to create and maintain pedagogical innovations at and beyond their respective campuses.

RosEvaluation Conference 2012: Assessment for Program and Institutional Accreditation

RosEvaluation Conference 2012: Assessment for Program and Institutional Accreditation
RosEvaluation Conference 2012: Assessment for Program and Institutional AccreditationOn the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana
April 1-3, 2012
Educators are searching for tools that can help them assess and evaluate their students’ achievement of defined learning outcomes in fields as diverse as engineering, business, health professions, math, science and technology (to name a few). These assessments and evaluations are part of a national trend toward transparency and accountability regarding the value added in education. The RosEvaluation Conference 2012 will bring together those who are developing assessment and evaluation tools to share information and their expertise. The conference will emphasize concrete, effective, and efficient solutions to assessment and evaluation challenges!
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Staci Provezis, Project Manager & Research Analyst for the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), located at the University of Illinois.
Details and registration information at:

Edudemic: Connecting Education & Technology

Social media is making a big impact on education. The threading of new technology with old standards has created new and exciting opportunities for teachers, school administrators, and students. What is the best way to improve education using social media? That’s the big question that Edudemic hopes to answer. You’ll find regular doses of helpful ideas, infographics, news, videos, and more when you visit Edudemic. Do you ever wonder how schools, universities, colleges, and large groups in general should use social media? Students are often early adopters, frequent users, and overall lovers of technology and social media. Edudemic is run by a few graduate students and teachers with a passion for learning and educating. Want to help us? We’re always looking for fun, creative, and exciting writers to join us. Get in touch with us by filling out this form or simply dropping us a line at
IN THE CLASSROOM How Adaptive Learning Technology Is Being Used in Online Courses Internet learning is becoming more popular. Distance education allows students a chance to learn their subjects at their leisure. Convenience is another of the benefits that is found with internet educational institutions. Adaptive learning is an essential component of distance learning. 50 minutes ago
IN THE NEWS Why I’ll Start Using Pinterest Again After April 6th I deleted my Pinterest account on February 29, 2012. I still love the site and actually intend to restart my account after April 6th. That’s because Pinterest finally took action to correct some potentially disastrous mistakes. 1 day, 20 hours ago
HOW TO The Teacher’s Quick Guide To Pinterest As a new teacher, it’s easy to become overwhelmed trying to create motivating lessons while managing the responsibilities within the classroom. Luckily, a relatively new social network is here to help! 3 days, 2 hours ago ADOBE How To Get The New Photoshop CS6 Beta Right Now. For Free. Are you an Adobe Photoshop aficionado or someone looking for free kick-butt technology that’s useful in the classroom? Here’s a brief opportunity that’s perfect for you. 3 days, 20 hours ago
IN THE CLASSROOM The Pros and Cons of Speed Reading Most of us face information overload on a daily basis thanks to the Internet, mobile devices, television, media, and a million other sources bombarding us with images and text. Even a few minutes of browsing the web can present more information than you could possibly hope to tackle in hours of reading. Or could you? 4 days, 1 hour ago
MAGAZINE Thank You. 10,000 Times. We just hit 10,000 readers of the Edudemic Magazine! After just a couple months, we’re so excited to be hitting this milestone. To say thanks, we’ve got a bigger preview of the March issue and a hint at some exciting news coming out later this month! 4 days, 23 hours ago
IN THE NEWS Study: Girls Are Smarter Than Boys (So Why Aren’t There More In STEM?) This is a fascinating study and infographic by the folks over at They drilled down into some recent studies to unearth some startling data. It focuses on the fact that studies have shown that girls are smarter than boys in many of the STEM subjects but most girls don’t end up pursuing careers in those fields. 5 days, 12 hours ago
HOW TO The 8 Skills Students Must Have To Be Digital Leaders How does a student become a digital leader after graduating from school? They’ll need to have nurtured and mastered skills in the classroom that they can use in their careers. Here are 8 must-have skills all future digital leaders and marketers should have. 5 days, 23 hours ago
HOW TO How To Build Real Relationships With Online Classmates There are two levels of online classmate relationships. One is the formal requirement to participate in online discussions by the instructor. The other comprises the informal peer-to-peer relationships that develop between and among students. They are interdependent. 6 days, 1 hour ago SOCIAL MEDIA The 60-Second History Of Social Networks Got a minute and want to walk down memory lane? Remember Geocities or How about Six Degrees, Pinterest or CompuServe? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then don’t miss this fun new infographic from Citizen Brando. 6 days, 2 hours ago
IN THE NEWS Help Crowdfund the Thesaurus of the Future A new visual thesaurus app for the Apple iPad promises to inspire students to discover and explore words, in an inexpensive or free app. In a twist, the app developers have turned to crowd-funding site KickStarter to raise funds to build the app, and then release it for schools, parents, or anyone else to download for free or 99 cents. 6 days, 19 hours ago
TOP 10 LISTS 10 Useful iPad Apps For Future Scientists and Nurses You know how useful it is in the classroom. You know how fun it can be at home. But what about in a life and death situation? The iPad shines even there, thanks to some fabulous apps that current and future nurses as well as doctors can start using now. 1 week ago
CONTEST Announcing The Winners Of The Adobe #EdTech Giveaway! I’ll make this short and sweet. We had more than 1,000 entries in our contest to win a free copy of the Adobe Digital School Collection as well as 3 free downloads of the new Adobe Photoshop Touch app. So here’s who won: 1 week ago
UPDATES 25 iPad Apps MBAs Are Using Right Now A master of business administration is looking more attractive to many white-collar workers today as a way to take their game to the next level, and app developers are taking notice. 1 week, 2 days ago I
N THE NEWS 10 Must-See Stories About Going Back To School For so many students, education is a dream deferred that once put off never comes back around. But for the lucky few, going back to school is an incredible journey of determination and hard work. 1 week, 2 days ago
SOCIAL MEDIA Why I Love Infographics. Back in 2010, Jeff Dunn wrote an article about how infographics can accelerate learning. Their popularity has not lessened since then; in fact, I think their popularity has only grown, if this Pinterest page is any indication. 1 week, 2 days ago
IN THE NEWS The Educational Cartoon Everyone Should Be Talking About Have you always wanted to visit a fictional coastal town, populated by rain boots? OK, me neither until now, but the animated children’s series Rainboot Cove definitely makes me wish I could spend some time there! 1 week, 3 days ago
TOP 10 LISTS 25 Twitter Hashtags That Will Help You Get A Job While some lucky college students find work right away, for most others, the idea of hitting the job market after graduation is a little intimidating if not downright scary. Luckily, Twitter is here to help. 1 week, 3 days ago
IN THE NEWS New Crowdfunding Site Might Just Revolutionize Scientific Research When it comes to funding for scientific research, it’s a tricky business. Most grants are awarded by the government and have little to no input from the taxpayers. A new startup wants to change that. It’s called Petridish and it puts the power in your hands to pick which scientific studies should be funded. 1 week, 4 days ago
IN THE CLASSROOM How One School District Provides 24-7 Access To Teachers I just learned about a great venture being undertaken by the folks at Glens Falls City School District in New York. They’re working to provide 24-7 access to lessons taught by their teachers. 1 week, 4 days ago
TOP 10 LISTS 5 Innovative Animation Tools for Teachers Move over, Disney. Step aside, Pixar! It’s now easier than ever for casual users to create fun, engaging animations. With the slew of information available online, even young storytellers can learn the basics of visual storytelling. There are even several free tools that are easy to learn. 1 week, 4 days ago
BEST OF Could Student Loan Debt Soon Be Erased? Are you still paying off your student loans? Are loans the only way you’ll be able to attend college? You’re not alone. There’s a bill in front of Congress that could change the amount you have to repay and it’s worth checking out. 1 week, 5 days ago
HOW TO The Big Problem With iPads In The Classroom The iPad is an amazing device that greatly enhances learning. But there’s a big problem when it comes to deploying hundreds of them across a school district. 1 week, 5 days ago

Edudemic: How to Build Real Relationships with Online Students

There are two levels of online classmate relationships. One is the formal requirement to participate in online discussions by the instructor. The other comprises the informal peer-to-peer relationships that develop between and among students. They are interdependent. The instructor is the key. Unlike the regular classroom where communication is fluid and quick, the online setting is different. Online students come from widely diverse age and cultural backgrounds. Geographically they may be spread across the globe and different time zones. Instructor leadership The instructor must clearly define course requirements. He/she must establish a code of conduct. As well he/she should establish a distinct gathering place. Some instructors call this the “gathering lounge.” He/she should set up a class bulletin board where announcements, changes, exam schedules, reminders for assignments are located. Instructor Support He/she should maintain an openness and support. Student concerns must be answered promptly, emails within 24 hours. Unlike regular classrooms, students can’t raise their hand and ask a question. Support includes fostering peer-to-peer relationships. The instructor can post the names, professional affiliations and emails on the class bulletin board. He/she can set up an open discussion group where students can exchange personal information. He/she can encourage chit-chat on messenger. As well, he/she should explain how to post a comment. Writing a good post requires thought and conciseness. There should be a title for each post. Students are encouraged to use tools such as Word with copy and paste for internet content notes. Supplemental material can be posted to help students understand exactly what is required. These could include self-tests, student examples from previous courses and specific directions for completing a written assignment. Instructor Modeling Overall, the instructor is modeling the behavior he expects from students online. The goal is to provide security and responsiveness between instructor and students. Being comfortable online is the biggest prerequisite to successful classmate relationships. Showing respect and interacting when needed is the best way for students to “feel” and develop friendships online. Moving to informal peer-to-peer relationships we find a wide and diverse array of behaviors. Very much like regular classrooms we find students who are very social and seek out and enjoy making new friends. Others prefer to limit their interactions to the classroom only. These are personality characteristics and must be respected both in regular and online classes. Online classroom relationships are more difficult because they lack face-to face contact. In addition, it is more time consuming to construct a written message than to say it. The written word cannot be changed once it is sent. It is extremely difficult to find written words that convey accurate feelings. There is no eye contact, no body language. The nature of the internet poses a threat to some persons. They are reluctant to open up themselves to relative strangers. Being open on the internet requires a degree of “risk taking.” Some tips include sharing photos, engaging in chit-chat, humor and sharing personal stories. Try to make yourself “real.” Once the other person feels you as real they will be more open and giving. Facebook and Linkedin, are being used for online classmate relationships. Groups are formed with “like” similarities. These interactions are low risk and an easy way to connect with classmates. Colleges and universities are also using these social media to interact with students in orientations. They are using the “event” function and the “wall” to connect and provide information.

Charles Latch is a business writer offering advice on executive mba online programs that work with your schedule.

The Guardian Higher Education Network: In Praise of the Long Distance Learning Student

Lecturer James Derounian explores the loneliness of the long distance learning student and celebrates their commitment, hard work and long hours

It can get lonely being a long distance student. Photograph: Christophe Karaba/EPA The vast majority of my students at University of Gloucestershire are part-time, mature, distance learners. We now have more than 1,000 graduates from our distance learning programmes in community engagement and governance, employed in the voluntary sector, police and parish, community and town councils in Wales and England. Our students and graduates are engaged in work to deliver what – since the coalition government came to power – has come to be known as localism and "big society"; basically helping local communities to help themselves. What impresses me is the commitment of these students, and their resilience in the face of six years part-time study to gain an honours degree, combined with care of dependents, a day job plus assorted life pressures. Distance learners – in my book – expect a lot from their education (a good thing) and equally give a great deal. They are inquisitive, committed, and desperate to do well. A mark in the 50s is a cause for sackcloth and ashes; 60% underwhelming. Only the best will do. My undergraduates are scattered to the four corners of the UK, and periodically come in to Cheltenham for tutorials and residentials from as far afield as Durham, Wales, the south-west and way across to East Anglia. My most remote student, to date, was Sylvia – undertaking voluntary service in the Bolivian jungle. One of the success stories of these courses has been the way in which students can address local issues and opportunities for community benefit while – simultaneously – gaining academic credit. So a student might look at introducing a skate park in their parish as part of a module on projects and services. Or they could review recycling as a contribution to pursuing sustainability in their town, thinking globally and acting locally. Then there have been substantial, ground-breaking dissertations – looking at the politicisation of parish and town councils; the performance of Neighbourhood Plan front runners; why parish clerks are invariably older women. These graduates have gone on to present their findings to major professional conferences. What impresses me is the ability of these distance learners to support each other's learning; to link up with graduate mentors, to attend two-day residential schools at the start of each semester, to come to tutorials – that we run in response to student demand – in places where they are – Notts, Cornwall, Hampshire, Staffs and Cambridgeshire. For the rest of the time students and staff exchange information, views, draft assignments and useful sources via a virtual learning environment – Moodle. We also receive (most) assignments electronically, track changes and return marked work back through Moodle. It's brilliant – the external examiner can access whatever he wishes, staff know the day and time that a student submits work, and no paper is used. We sometimes even do synchronous lectures or sessions via the VLE. On one occasion I trailed that I would be online the following Tuesday at 10am. Around 15 students agreed to "attend" as well. The result was a rich two-hour exchange of information around community-based planning. With lots of interaction and a number of participants saying how they felt much more comfortable contributing online rather than face-to-face. Interesting. We also communicate using phone and email; as well as people occasionally popping in. And how about this: The Open University, since its launch in 1969, has helped more than 1.6 million people worldwide to achieve their learning goals. The OU is the biggest university in the UK with more than 260,000 students and close to 7,000 tutors. But it's the distance learning students that I want to highlight: I am in awe of their commitment, hard work, long hours, dedication, resilience in the face of illness, unemployment and other setbacks that these students experience. Best of all is enjoying their success at graduation – it's life affirming.

James Derounian is a principal lecturer in community development and local governance and National Teaching Fellow, University of Gloucestershire This content is brought to you by Guardian Professional. To get more articles like this direct to your inbox, sign up for free to become a member of the Higher Education Network.

UCD CFD Blog Faculty Development Online Education Database
higher education, student learning
Leave a Comment
The Online Education Database a great resource of Open Courseware Collections, Podcasts, and

Videos, which includes links to the following categories:
  • Archives
  • Broadcast Learning
  • Directories & Searches
  • eBooks & eTexts
  • Encyclopedias
  • Open Courseware – University
  • Open Courseware
  • Podcasts – University
  • Podcasts – Other
  • Research
  • Videos – Universities
  • Videos – Other
  • Video Directories & Searches
Also linked to this site is a very useful page – Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps.

EduDemic: How Adaptive Learning Technology Is Being Used in Online Courses

Internet learning is becoming quite popular. Distance education allows students a chance to learn their subjects at their leisure. Convenience is another of the benefits that is found with internet educational institutions. Adaptive learning is an essential component of distance learning.

What is adaptive learning?
Adaptive learning tailors the educational process to the strengths and weaknesses of individual students. This method of teaching first came into being during the 1970s. However, the costs to implement adaptive technologies was unfeasible at this time. Recent advancements in the power of computers have made it easy for universities to instruct their students on an individual basis.

Adaptive technologies
Adaptive technologies are tailored to offer insight into the ability of each student. The software that is used during internet classes is designed to understand the limitations of students and help them learn. Understanding complex subjects is made easy with the use of adaptive technology.

Spoken instruction
Computers can offer spoken instruction that makes the educational process more effective. The software that is used in the industry is more advanced than ever and is programmable to meet an individual’s needs. The spoken aspect of learning programs is one option that is currently being used in the internet classroom.

The basis of adaptive technologies is the feedback that occurs during the class room. Old fashioned methods were unable to accomplish this task. The latest software is designed to look at the wrong answers and provides insight into the special help that is required for a student to understand complex concepts.

Group learning
Adaptive technologies are also designed to facilitate group learning. Many internet universities have classes that are held at set times every day. All of the students are connected in a group and are free to discuss the topics that are talked about during a class. The use of web cameras facilitates the discussion process and fosters that atmosphere of collaboration that is a hallmark of the traditional university.

System Flexibility
Another feature of adaptive technologies is that they are highly flexible. These programs are designed to respond to the changing needs of students over time. As a new concept is learned, the programs will then help students understand the ideas that are associated with what has already been discussed in the class. This flexibility makes it easy for students to progress through difficult subjects.

Cognitive modeling
Students will also be able to benefit from the cognitive modeling that is offered with adaptive technologies. The framework of learning is given a high regard in the use of distance education. Understanding how the mind learns and remembers concepts is a feature that is used in software. Ideas and concepts are then presented in accordance with the cognitive abilities of students and are tailored for a particular individual.

Online universities offer busy adults a number of benefits. These colleges teach all of the subjects that are taught in traditional universities, but they are ideal for those who work a full time job. Living in certain geographic areas also makes it difficult for students to attend classes. Going to an online college is one way that anyone can attend an institution of higher learning.

Instructional capabilities
The latest adaptive technologies have been designed to act similar to the way that a teacher does in a traditional university. Teachers have the human ability to recognize their student’s errors and help them overcome any troubles. Computers are now being programmed to provide the same type of feedback. Systems offer students more information about wrong answers. Giving hints so students see where they are making a mistake is another of the features offered by the latest software.
The internet has made learning difficult concepts easier. Attaining an advanced education is now more convenient than ever, and adaptive technology is being used in the classroom to help students learn. Feedback is one of the features of this type of educational system. The computer program recognizes the student’s weaknesses and offers ideas to help them learn a particular concept. The information is tailored to any learner’s strengths and weaknesses.

Alex Stanton is a career counselor offering advice on accredited online mba programs that can help you obtain your degree. Wiki Resources for the Classroom

Most of us know about Wikipedia and Wikispaces, but there are tons of other Wiki's out there that could be used in the classroom when utilized correctly.

Here are a few handy wiki resources for educators:

Wikiquote is a wiki dedicated to providing quotations from famous people and from throughout history. Looking for a quote for students to interpret or share each day? This might be a good starting point. Like most Wiki sites, it is available in multiple language.

Wiktionary is dedicated to providing dictionary definitions. Although there are tons of sources to use for definitions, there is a wiki as well. On the main page you will find a "Word of the Day" and each entry provides lots of facts and information about each word.

Wikispecies is for you science teachers out there. A valuable resource that provides lots of information about the species of our planet. On the main page you will find a "Species of the Week" and a "Distinguished Author."

Wikiversity is a wiki dedicated to providing an open learning community. On the main page you will find a "Featured Product of the Day" and a "Picture of the Day." This source is dedicated to all levels of education and research related to education.

WikiBooks is a wiki dedicated to open content textbooks. Each book has a various range in ages and subject matter. On the main page you will find a "Featured Book" and a "Featured Children's Book."

Wikinews is a wiki dedicated to sharing the news that allows visitors to write. Needless to say, you can expect opinionated and one-sided news stories, but a good way for students to see differing opinions on issues. However, this is a good way to get news that is not part of a "corporation" news story.

Now you just might be all "wikied" out, but remember to remind students that all information and resources found on a Wiki should be double checked from a reliable source.

What Wiki resources do you use in your classroom? Share with us in the comments section!

Friday, March 23, 2012

DELL Power Solutions Special Edition Next Generation Learning 2012

Education news
Empowering educators, inspiring students
Empowering educators,
inspiring students
At Dell, we believe that Next Generation Learning platforms have the power to transform the teaching and learning experience. We hope you enjoy reading about the innovations we cover in this special edition of Dell Power Solutions magazine.

The Chronicle of Higher Education ProfHacker: Tips about Teaching, Technology & Productivity

Forking Your Syllabus

March 22, 2012, 11:00 am
Here at ProfHacker, we’re all about encouraging you to collaborate and share (200+ posts and counting!). Perhaps one of the best places to practice sharing is when you are working on a designing a new class and syllabus. No matter how many classes you’ve taught or how many ProfHacker posts on syllabi you’ve read it can be a bit daunting to start from scratch. Which is a great reason not to start from square one.

In a post for graduate students who are teaching for the first time, I suggested that first-time teachers should learn to embrace theft: recognizing that good teaching often comes from adapting or stealing outright someone’s great assignment, classroom activity, syllabus, or even lecture notes. This advice of course pertains to more than just first-time teachers. When you’re beginning to plan something new, you can always benefit from seeing what others before you have done.

Of course, your use of someone else’s syllabus to design your own need not be outright theft: you could provide acknowledgments on your syllabi. Friend of ProfHacker, Kathy Harris recently reflected on why acknowledgments are important. Doing so helps establish provenance for ideas (always important in scholarship), generates goodwill among fellow scholars, and might even help make your case for the influence of your teaching innovations when it comes time for an annual or tenure review. (Kathy’s post struck a nerve as I had felt the need to give such credit when I designed a new course last fall.)

In conversations about Kathy’s post on Twitter, Trevor Owens suggested that syllabi could learn a trick or two from GitHub. GitHub is a repository for open source code that supports version control (don’t miss our gentle introduction to version control). What this means in plain terms is that developers can share code using GitHub and then other developers can add on to that code, with the repository tracking all the changes. If a developer wants to take a piece of code down a different line of development, he or she “forks” the code. The fork shows the provenance of the code while still allowing you to adapt it to your own needs. Finding a platform to “fork your syllabus” would not only allow you to give acknowledgments to those whose work you drew on, but it would invite others to make use of your syllabus for their own development, similar perhaps to assigning it a Creative Commons license.

As luck would have it, a few days later Audrey Watters, of the amazing Hack Education, covered ClassConnect: a platform for sharing your teaching documents and for others to edit them. I haven’t had the chance to play with ClassConnect much yet, so I’ll hold off on giving a full review. While having a particular platform for sharing syllabi will of course be useful, I believe the practice of forking represents a much more exciting idea. Like Ethan, then, I want “forking a class” to become part of our vernacular.

What about you? How would you feel about giving public credit for those from whom you develop ideas? Would you welcome others forking with your syllabi? Let us know in the comments!

Lead photo: Splitsing van fietspaden / E. Dronkert / CC BY 2.0
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Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Survey Finds Dramatic Increase in Tablet Ownership Among College Students and High School Seniors
14 March 2012

Majority of college students prefer digital books over printStudents believe tablets will replace textbooks within five years

WASHINGTON—Just a week after the release of the much-anticipated new Apple iPad, a new study from the Pearson Foundation reveals that students believe tablets and other mobile devices will transform learning. The Pearson Foundation's Second Annual Survey on Students and Tablets also finds that tablet ownership among college students and high school seniors has risen dramatically in the last year—ownership has tripled among college students (25% vs. 7% in 2011) and quadrupled among high school seniors (17% vs. 4% in 2011).
The survey reveals that more students are reading digital books, and that a majority of college students (63%) and high school seniors (69%) believe that tablets will effectively replace textbooks within the next five years.
The Pearson Foundation Survey on Students and Tablets was conducted to understand how college students and college-bound high school seniors currently use and would like to use mobile technology. It also examined their perceptions about how tablets and related mobile devices are changing their expectations about their educational experience. The survey asked students specifically about ownership and intent to purchase; usage; preferences between digital and print formats when reading for school and pleasure; and what school-related activities they prefer. The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Pearson Foundation in January 2012 among 1,206 college students and 204 college-bound high school seniors.
Survey findings indicate that over one-third of college students (36%) and one-quarter of college-bound high school seniors (26%) intend to purchase a tablet in the next six months. This includes almost half of tablet-owning college students who plan on buying another tablet device (46%), and one in five who are first-time buyers (college students: 21%; high school seniors: 20%). Among college students who own tablets, the Apple iPad is by far the most popular tablet (63%) followed by the Kindle Fire (26%) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab (15%).
Digital readership has continued to grow since last year's survey. Seventy percent of college students have read a digital text, compared to 62% in 2011, and the majority of students now prefer digital to print. Almost six in 10 college students prefer digital over print when reading books for fun (57%) or textbooks for class (58%). This is a reversal from last year, when more college students preferred print over digital; this trend also holds true among high school seniors.
Nearly all college student tablet owners believe these devices are valuable for educational purposes (94%). Around half say that they would be more likely to read textbooks on a tablet because of access to embedded interactive materials, access to social networks to share notes or ask questions, and access to instructors' comments in the reading material. Three-quarters of college student tablet owners use tablets daily for school-related activities; three in five say they use their tablet for school purposes multiple times a day.
The survey is part of the Pearson Foundation Survey series. Previous surveys have addressed early literacy, community college, literacy, philanthropy and, again in 2012, tablets usage.
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Pearson Foundation between January 9 and 27, 2012, among 1,206 college students and 204 college-bound high school seniors. Qualified college students were U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 30 who were enrolled in a two-year college, four-year college or university, or graduate school. Qualified college-bound high school seniors were U.S. residents age 17 or 18, enrolled as seniors in high school and intending on enrolling in a two-year or four-year college upon graduation. Data were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population of college students and college-bound high school seniors. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. The Pearson Foundation will make the full methodology, including weighting variables, cross tabulations, and the underlying SPSS data file, available upon request.

Media Contact:

Stacey Finkel, Pearson Foundation
(703) 304-1377

About the Pearson Foundation

The Pearson Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to make a difference by promoting literacy, learning and great teaching. The Pearson Foundation collaborates with leading businesses, nonprofits and education experts to share good practice; foster innovation; and find workable solutions to the educational disadvantages facing young people and adults across the globe. More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us—and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit

Inside Higher Ed: Educational Technology Getting Their Money's Worth

March 21, 2012 - 3:00am
Lasell College’s new five-year strategic plan contains some typical goals for a small, private college: hire new faculty, renovate old buildings, improve advising and student support, and identify signature programs.
But Lasell’s short-term roadmap also includes another, more unusual goal: It wants 100 percent of faculty to be actively using the college’s Moodle-based learning management system (LMS). And it wants comprehensive LMS usage -- every course, all sections -- before the end of this year. That means at a minimum, an instructor will have to use the online platform to take attendance, post assignments, and post grades.
“We’re basically mandating it,” says Michael B. Alexander, Lasell’s president. The hope is that those baseline requirements, plus compulsory training, will lead to even more extensive usage over time.
Less than two decades since professors and students traded exclusively in oral discussion and printed documents, online learning environments have become ubiquitous. More than 90 percent of all colleges and universities -- small and large, public and private -- have invested in an institutionwide LMS, according to data from the Campus Computing Project. Even traditional institutions, where classes still are held primarily in classrooms, have deployed online platforms to run parallel to their face-to-face courses.
Whether faculty use the LMS, and to what extent, is a different question. Some colleges that have shelled out licensing fees -- or at least implementation and upkeep costs -- to give instructors the opportunity to track attendance, post learning materials and grades, start threaded discussions and collect submitted work have found that some faculty are uninterested in using many of these tools.
“It would be almost a rarity for a client of ours to not be struggling to some extent,” says Katie Blot, a senior vice president of consulting services at Blackboard, an education technology giant that sells the most popular LMS product. Even if a preponderance of courses have a live page, instructors might be using only the most basic features, Blot says.
Institutions that approach Blackboard’s consultants with an LMS usage deficit typically report that fewer than 20 percent of faculty members could be classified as “robust users” of the platform, she says.
Not surprisingly, the colleges that struggle to get faculty to use some of the platform’s more advanced tools are institutions at which the LMS is still a supplement to the classroom, where most of the teaching and learning still occurs, says Blot. At colleges that run a lot of online programs, where the learning management system is frequently the primary point of contact between instructors and their students, the instructors use the online platform (and its more advanced features) as a matter of necessity. LMS usage tends to be less robust at colleges where it is still possible to run a class almost entirely face-to-face -- even if the licensing fees, typically priced according to student headcount, are the same.
Lasell’s push to get 100 percent faculty usage of its learning system by the end of 2012 is tied to another of its strategic goals for 2017: “Institute [an] online undergraduate and degree completion program.” The plan calls for the college to enroll at least 100 undergraduates (out of 1,800) online within five years. The idea behind comprehensive LMS usage is both to increase the existing teaching tools for faculty and also to prepare them to teach online, says Alexander, the president. And you cannot do that, he observes, without being fluent in the platform.
The plan does not appear to have run up against much resistance from Lasell faculty. But while the usage thresholds proposed by Alexander are slight, the president might be treading a fine line when it comes to requiring that faculty use particular features in Moodle. “If you’re going to see faculty resistance, it’s going to be if they are told what tools they have to use,” says Cristina Haverty, chair of the department of athletic training and exercise science. (Haverty says there has been no public discussion of Alexander’s expectation that faculty will use the attendance, assigning and grading tools specifically.)
Lasell’s online ambitions aside, the LMS is being seen as increasingly crucial to the modern college -- not necessarily because it enables students to learn more, but because it enables colleges to learn more about students. Online colleges in particular are discovering the power of data analysis in understanding the dynamics of teaching and learning -- both in general and with respect to particular students and instructors.
“This whole notion of big data and analytics is just exploding all around now,” says Randy Swing, the executive director of the Association for Institutional Research. Swing points out that some of the major funding entities in higher education, especially the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have put an enormous focus on projects that propose to use technological infrastructure on college campuses to harness data. Learning management systems stand to play a central role in collecting those data.
At the same time, Swing says he is not sure that colleges that are not already online are using learning management software to boost their data intelligence. “When I have talked with the regular institutional research people in the world, they look at me like [they] don’t know what I’m talking about -- they haven’t even started to think about social media or LMS clicks or any of that,” he says.
Swing says he is hoping to survey the association’s members about the extent to which they are in fact drawing data from the LMS. Regardless, the ability of traditional institutions to share in the presumed dividends of the Big Data era may turn on their ability to push course activity into the online classroom.
“What I think is intriguing about all of this is we love to do this comparison of traditional classes with online classes, starting out with an assumption of the inferior nature of online,” Swing says. And yet to the extent that quality might soon depend on how effectively colleges collect and analyze information about their students, traditional classrooms might find themselves at a disadvantage to their data-rich online counterparts.

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