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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States

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Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States
(Retrieved from: The Sloan Consortium: http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/changing_course_2012)

The 2012 Survey of Online Learning reveals that the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million. Higher education adoption of Massive Open Online Courses remains low, with most institutions still on the sidelines.

“The rate of growth in online enrollments remains extremely robust,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “This is somewhat surprising given that overall higher education enrollments actually declined during this period.”

“Institutional opinions on MOOCs are mixed, with positive views of their ability to learn about online pedagogy and to attract new students, but concerns about whether they represent a sustainable method for offering courses,” stated his co-author I. Elaine Allen.

Key report findings include:

  • Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year.
  • Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • Only 2.6 percent of higher education institutions currently have a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), another 9.4 percent report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
  • Academic leaders remain unconvinced that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses, but do believe that they provide an important means for institutions to learn about online pedagogy.
  • Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face.
  • Only 30.2 percent of chief academic officers believe that their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education – a rate is lower than recorded in 2004.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders that say that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is at a new high of 69.1 percent.
  • A majority of chief academic officers at all types of institutions continue to believe that lower retention rates for online courses are a barrier to the wide-spread adoption of online education.

Previously underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the report has been able to remain independent through the generous support of Pearson and the Sloan Consortium.

You can download the full report by selecting his link.

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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Behind the Webcam’s Watchful Eye, Online Proctoring Takes Hold

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Behind the Webcam’s Watchful Eye, Online Proctoring Takes Hold

by Steve Kolowich (The Chronicle Of Higher Education/April 19, 2013)

Hailey Schnorr has spent years peering into the bedrooms, kitchens, and dorm rooms of students via Webcam. In her job proctoring has learned to focus mainly on students’ eyes. “What we look for is eye movement,” says Ms. Schnorr. “When the eyes start veering off to the side, that’s clearly a red flag.” Ms. Schnorr works for ProctorU, a company hired by universities to police the integrity of their online courses. ProctorU is part of a cottage industry of online proctoring providers that has grown in recent years as colleges and universities have set their sights on “nontraditional” students who want to earn degrees without leaving home. The old biases against online education have begun to erode, but companies that offer remote proctoring services still face an uphill battle in persuading skeptics, many of whom believe that the duty of preserving academic integrity should not be entrusted to online watchers who are often thousands of miles from the test-takers. So ProctorU and other players have installed a battery of protocols aimed at making their systems as airtight as possible.

To read the full article, select the following link: http://chronicle.texterity.com/chronicle/20130419a?sub_id=coz8a68j0Tf6#pg12

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Objectivism and Constructivism: Approaches in Class-Structure

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Colloquium Series, March 19
Dr. Kelly Elander
Assistant Professor of Communication
Title: Integrating Teacher-Centered and Learner-Centered Learning  (Objectivism and Constructivism) Approaches in Class-structure, Reference materials, and Activities to Improve Student Motivation and Involvement

Dr. Elander shared with fellow faculty in attendance how integrating the two approaches (objectivism and constructivism) into the classroom, by capitalizing on the strength of each approach, has the potential of motivating and engaging students. For too long Instructional designers and college instructors have felt pressure to choose between objectivist and constructivist learning approaches. However, recent research has offered a view that  attempts to integrate the two learning approaches to provide a common model uniting both and capitalizing on the benefits of each approach.  Later in the presentation Dr. Elander asked the faculty to consider the requirements of the five dimensions of learning when combining teacher-and learner-center approaches:

  • pre-existing and emerging information: foundational and central concepts
  • learner engagement with learning and information
  • learning processing of the information
  • learner application of the information
  • expert thinking (problem solving) use of the information

You may view Dr. Elander’s Colloquium Series Presentation below or visit the following link: http://www.harding.edu/hulearn/Projects/Colloquium.html

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Addressing Academic Dishonesty in the Age of Ubiquitous Technology

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Addressing Academic Dishonesty in the Age of Ubiquitous Technology
by: Berlin Fang (taken from: Educause Review Online)

Key Takeaways

  • Technology can help fight cheating that is itself based on technology, especially with tweaking of assignments and assessments in a way that makes it difficult to cheat.
  • Students should be made aware of resources such as university writing centers and tools such as Endnote.
  • Training about copyright, plagiarism, and time management can help students succeed without feeling that they have to cut corners.
  • Relevant codes and policies should be clearly stated in communications such as orientation

    materials, student handbooks, and course syllabi to establish expectations and reduce confrontations between instructors and students.

Academic integrity can seem like a nebulous concept, though it is probably better understood through its opposite, academic dishonesty: that is, “…anything that gives a student an unearned advantage over another.”1 It involves our understanding of ethics, culture, pedagogy, and even technology. Ethical lapses during one’s education may carry over into a person’s career and personal life. With the growing number of corporate scandals, educational institutions could increasingly be held accountable for providing training in ethical behavior. Improving academic integrity not only preserves the integrity of an assessment, a class, or an academic program but also serves as part of an ongoing education that enables a person to grow as a learner, an employee, and a public citizen.

William Astore, a professor of history at Pennsylvania College of Technology, dismisses the division between an “academic world” and a “real world.” Professor Astore argues that “education is indeed a real world, every bit as vital and true as the world of work.” I have worked both in the corporate and academic settings myself. While working for universities, I found them to be places where people work, learn, relate, and grow as much as (and often to a greater extent) they do in other work settings. Insisting on academic honesty helps students learn to take greater responsibility for their learning and personal conduct, which is “real world” in every sense of the phrase.

Confronting academic cheating can ultimately help students grow. Initially they may be less concerned about academic ethics than about peer, parental, and financial pressure to succeed, and although the nature of these pressures may vary from culture to culture, they are to some extent present everywhere. Higher education institutions must help students understand that embracing academic integrity is a necessary part of achieving success.

Is Technology the Culprit?

Technology is sometimes blamed for “causing” academic dishonesty at the present time. Students can easily use computers to plagiarize from Wikipedia or copy and paste from Google with just a few clicks. Online classes in particular lend themselves to this type of cheating.

Web-based resources have enabled students to change how they consume knowledge. Comments A. Nicole Pfannenstiel of Arizona State University:

In the age of blogs, mashups, smashups and Wikipedia, traditional notions about academic and educational integrity and appropriate acknowledgment of sources seem altogether out of synch with everyday, creative or artistic research and writing practices.

At Oklahoma Christian University (OC), we provide every student with an Apple laptop and another electronic device such as an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. The entire campus is covered by a wireless network. With our infrastructure, technology use is increasing, yet cases of reported plagiarism are decreasing. So ubiquitous technology appears not to be the controlling factor.

Because I work with educational technology, I often get involved in cases concerning academic integrity. In fall 2009, OC had 49 reported cases of academic dishonesty. In 2011, the total dropped to 19. In fall 2011, there were 14 reported cases. Our experience offers some thought-provoking ideas about the socio-technological aspects of academic honesty.

To read the entire article click here.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized