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According to this report, loosely based on a Facebook post (and probably this week's New York Times article) "The Summit-Facebook system, known as the 'Summit Personalized Learning Platform,' allows students to be in control of their own learning process and complete lessons at their own pace." Can Facebook learn enough about you to offer you personalized learning? Based on their advertising selection, no. But if they can peer into even more of your private data, maybe it will work (and if not, they can always feed advertisements into the system). You can see the same story in an EdSurge article from two years ago (using the same graphics) on the use of the system in Summit's own charter schools. There's an update from edSurge from April. But read more in this week's coverage of this breaking news story from Education Dive, Business Insider, The NonProfit Quarterly Blog, Education Week (which actually charges money for this rehash), Washington Examiner, Times Higher Education. *sigh* #facepalm[Link] [Comment]
This is the ninth in a series of ten blog posts aimed at those new to online learning or thinking of possibly doing it. The previous eight are:
- 6. How do I start?
- 8. Won’t online learning be more work?
OK, now you’ve looked at most of the pros and cons of online learning, you’re now ready to start. But you want to make sure that if you are going to do online learning, you are going to do it well. What will that entail?
First, let me define by what I mean by ‘doing online learning well.’ I define a high quality online course in the following way:
teaching methods that successfully help learners develop the knowledge and skills they will require in a digital age.
Now of course that could equally define a high quality face-to-face or classroom course. Chickering and Gamson (1987), based on an analysis of 50 years of research into best practices in teaching, argue that good practice in undergraduate education:
- Encourages contact between students and faculty.
- Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
- Encourages active learning.
- Gives prompt feedback.
- Emphasizes time on task.
- Communicates high expectations.
- Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.
These guidelines apply just as well to online learning as to face-to-face teaching. At the end of the day, the best guarantees of quality in teaching and learning fit for a digital age are:
- well-qualified subject experts also well trained in both teaching methods and the use of technology for teaching;
- highly qualified and professional learning technology support staff;
- adequate resources, including appropriate teacher/student ratios;
- appropriate methods of working (teamwork, project management);
- systematic evaluation leading to continuous improvement.
However, because online learning was new and hence open to concern about its quality, there have been many guidelines, best practices and quality assurance criteria created and applied specifically to online programming. All these guidelines and procedures have been derived from the experience of previously successful online programs, best practices in teaching and learning, and research and evaluation of online teaching and learning. A comprehensive list of online quality assurance standards, organizations and research on online learning can be found here.
I’m not going to duplicate these. Instead, I’m going to suggest a series of practical steps towards implementing such standards. Chapter 11 of my open, online textbook, Teaching in a Digital Age, sets out nine steps to quality online learning. Ideally, you should read the whole of this chapter before starting out on your first online course, but in this post I will provide a brief summary of each step.
I am assuming that all the standard institutional processes towards program approval for an online course have been taken, although it might be worth thinking through my nine steps outlined below before finally submitting a proposal. This would be a good way to anticipate and address any questions and concerns that your colleagues may have about about online learning. My nine steps approach would also work when considering the redesign of an existing course.
The nine steps are as follows:
- Step 1: Decide how you want to teach
- Step 2: Decide on mode of delivery
- Step 3: Work in a Team
- Step 4: Build on existing resources
- Step 5: Master the technology
- Step 6: Set appropriate learning goals
- Step 7: Design course structure and learning activities
- Step 8: Communicate, communicate, communicate
- Step 9: Evaluate and innovate
I am providing below a very brief description of each step. Just click on the heading for each step to see the full section in the book.1. Decide how you want to teach
Of all the nine steps, this is the most important, and, for most instructors, the most challenging, as it may mean changing long established patterns of behaviour.
This question asks you to consider your basic teaching philosophy. What is my role as an instructor? Do I take an objectivist view, that knowledge is finite and defined, that I am an expert in the subject matter who knows more than the students, and thus my job is to ensure that I transfer as effectively as possible that information or knowledge to the student? Or do I see learning as individual development where my role is to help learners to acquire the ability to question, analyse and apply information or knowledge?
Do I see myself more as a guide or facilitator of learning for students? Or maybe you would like to teach in the latter way, but you are faced in classroom teaching with a class of 200 students which forces you to fall back on a more didactic form of teaching. Or maybe you would like to combine both approaches but can’t because of the restrictions of timetables and curriculum.
Considering using new technologies or an alternative delivery method will give you you an opportunity to rethink your teaching, perhaps to be able to tackle some of the limitations of classroom teaching, and to renew your approach to teaching. Using technology or moving part or all of your course online opens up a range of possibilities for teaching that may not be possible in the confines of a scheduled three credit weekly semester of lectures. It may mean not doing everything online, but focusing the campus experience on what can only be done on campus. Alternatively, it may enable you to to rethink totally the curriculum, to exploit some of the benefits of online learning, such as getting students to find, analyse and apply information for themselves.
Thus if you are thinking about a new course, or redesigning one that you are not too happy with, take the opportunity before you start teaching the course or program to think about how you’d really like to be teaching, and whether this can be accommodated in a different learning environment. The important point is to be open to doing things differently.2. What kind of course or program?
In an earlier post, it was pointed out that there is a continuum of online learning.
Where on that continuum should your course be? There are four factors or variables to take into account when deciding what ‘mix’ of face-to-face and online learning will be best for your course:
- your preferred teaching philosophy – how you like to teach
- the needs/backgrounds of the students (or potential students)
- the demands of the discipline
- the resources available to you.
You will need to read Chapter 9 of Teaching in a Digital Age for help in making that decision.3. Work in a team
Working in a team makes life a lot easier for instructors when teaching blended or online courses. Good course design, which is the area of expertise of the instructional designer, not only enables students to learn better but also controls faculty workload. Courses look better with good graphic and web design and professional video production. Specialist technical help frees up instructors to concentrate on teaching and learning.
Working in a team of course will depend heavily on the institution providing such support through a centre of teaching and learning. Nevertheless this is an important decision that needs to be implemented before course design begins.4. Build on existing resources
The Internet, and in particular the World Wide Web, has an immense amount of content already available. Much of it is freely available for educational use, under certain conditions (e.g. acknowledgement of the source – look for the Creative Commons license usually at the end of the web page). Top universities such as MIT, Stanford, Princeton and Yale have made available recordings of their classroom lectures , etc., while distance teaching organizations such as the UK Open University have made all their online teaching materials available for free use. There are now many other sites from prestigious universities offering open course ware. (A Google search using ‘open educational resources’ or’ OER’ plus the name of the topic will identify most of them.)
But as well as open resources designated as ‘educational’, there is a great deal of ‘raw’ content on the Internet that can be invaluable for teaching. The main question is whether you as the instructor need to find such material, or whether it would be better to get students to search, find, select, analyze, evaluate and apply information. After all, these are key skills for a digital age that students need to have.
Most content is not unique or original. Most of the time we are standing on the shoulders of giants, that is, organizing and managing knowledge already discovered. Only in the areas where you have unique, original research that is not yet published, or where you have your own ‘spin’ on content, is it really necessary to create ‘content’ from scratch.5. Master the technology
Taking the time to be properly trained in how to use standard learning technologies will in the long run save you a good deal of time and will enable you to achieve a much wider range of educational goals than you would otherwise have imagined. There are many different possible technologies, such as learning management systems or video recording. It is not necessary to use all or any of these tools, but if you do decide to use them, you need to know not only how to operate such such technologies well, but also their pedagogical strengths and weaknesses.
There are really two distinct but strongly related components of using technology:
- how the technology works; and
- what it should be used for.
These are tools built to assist you, so you have to be clear as to what you are trying to achieve with the tools. This is an instructional or pedagogical issue. Thus if you want to find ways to engage students, or to give them practice in developing skills, such as solving quadratic equations, learn what the strengths or weaknesses are of the various technologies for doing this.6. Set appropriate learning goals
An instructor (particularly a contract instructor or adjunct) may ‘inherit’ a course where the goals are already set, either by a previous instructor or by the academic department. Nevertheless, there remain many contexts where teachers and instructors have a degree of control over the goals of a particular course or program. In particular, a new course or program – such as an online masters program aimed at working professionals – offers an opportunity to reconsider desired learning outcomes and goals. Especially where curriculum is framed mainly in terms of content to be covered rather than by skills to be developed, there may still be room for manoeuvre in setting learning goals that would also include, for instance, intellectual skills development.
What this is likely to mean in terms of course design is using the Internet increasingly as a major resource for learning, giving students more responsibility for finding and evaluating information themselves, and instructors providing criteria and guidelines for finding, evaluating, analysing and applying information within a specific knowledge domain. This will require a critical approach to online searches, online data, news or knowledge generation in specific knowledge domains – in other words the development of critical thinking about the Internet and modern media – both their potential and limitations within a specific subject domain.
It is pointless to introduce new learning goals or outcomes then not assess how well students have achieved those goals. Assessment drives student behaviour. If they are not to be assessed on the skills outlined above, they won’t make the effort to develop them. The main challenge may not be in setting appropriate goals for online learning, but ensuring that you have the tools and means to assess whether students have achieved those goals.
And even more importantly, it is necessary to communicate very clearly to students these new learning goals and how they will be assessed. This may come as a shock to many students who are used to being fed content then tested on their memory of it.7. Design course structure and learning activities
In a strong teaching structure, students know exactly what they need to learn, what they are supposed to do to learn this, and when and where they are supposed to do it. In a loose structure, student activity is more open and less controlled by the teacher. The choice of teaching structure of course has implications for the work of teachers and instructors as well as students.
‘Strong’ teaching structure is not inherently better than a ‘loose’ structure, nor inherently associated with either face-to-face or online teaching. The choice (as so often in teaching) will depend on the specific circumstances. However, choosing the optimum or most appropriate teaching structure is critical for quality teaching and learning, and while the optimum structures for online teaching share many common features with face-to-face teaching, in other ways they differ considerably. Chapter 11 looks at several specific areas where online learning requires a different approach to structure and learning activities from face-to-face teaching. It is probably in this step that the differences between face-to-face and online learning are greatest.8. Communicate, communicate, communicate
There is substantial research evidence to suggest that ongoing, continuing communication between teacher/instructor and students is essential in all online learning. At the same time it needs to be carefully managed in order to control the teacher/instructor’s workload. Students need to know that the instructor is following the online activities of students and that the instructor is actively participating during the delivery of the course.
Chapter 11 sets out a number of strategies for ensure good communication with online students while managing instructor workload.9. Evaluate and innovate
The last step emphasises the importance of both evaluating how well the online course or programs actually works, with a particular emphasis on formative or ongoing evaluation, and the importance of looking constantly for ways to improve or add value to the course over time.
Chapter 11 suggests ways to conduct both the summative and formative evaluation of online courses in ways that include evaluating specifically the online components.Building a strong foundation of course design
The nine steps are based on two foundations:
- effective strategies resulting from learning theories tested in both classroom and online environments;
- experience of successfully teaching both in classrooms and online (best practices).
The approach I have suggested is quite conservative, and some may wish to jump straight into what I would call second generation online learning learning, based on social media such as mobile learning, blogs and wikis, and so on. These do offer intriguing new possibilities and are worth exploring. Nevertheless, for learning leading to qualifications, it is important to remember that most students need:
- well-defined learning goals;
- a clear timetable of work, based on a well-structured organization of the curriculum;
- manageable study workloads appropriate for their conditions of learning;
- regular instructor communication and presence;
- a social environment that draws on, and contributes to, the knowledge and experience of other students;
- a skilled teacher or instructor;
- other motivated learners to provide mutual support and encouragement.
There are many different ways these criteria can be met, with many different tools.Follow-up
Despite the length of this post, it is still a brief summary. You are strongly recommended to read the following chapter in full:
Indeed, you are now at the stage where are should be reading the whole book, and in particular the early chapters on epistemology and teaching methods.Up next
‘Ready to go‘. This will be the last post in this series. It provides a brief summary of the previous posts and suggests further professional development activities that will better prepare you for online learning.Your turn
If you have comments, questions or plain disagree, please use the comment box below.
Categoría % muestra % universo Mujeres 58.8 71.6 Varones 40.9 28.4 Infantil y primaria 43.1 56.1 Secundaria 56.9 43.9 Centros públicos 86.9 71 Privados y concertados 13.1 29 Directivos 23.5 4.8 Tenemos, pues, una fuerte sobrerrepresentación de los varones, del profesorado de secundaria, de la enseñanza pública y de miembros de los equipos de dirección; también hay desequilibrio en la representación de las CCAA, pero no aburriré al lector con los detalles (declino buscar datos globales sobre edad y antigüedad, aunque estoy seguro de que influyen y podrían también estar desequilibradas en la muestra). ¿Da igual? Pues no. En primer lugar son categorías que a priori ya se saben relevantes. Sin necesidad tener una teoría acabada y probada al respecto no es difícil aventurar que los varones son más categóricos en sus pronunciamientos que las mujeres y tienen mayor presencia en las etapas superiores que en las inferiores, así como en los equipos directivos; que los profesores de secundaria se ven más directamente afectados por la LOMCE que los de infantil y primaria, o al menos de distinta manera; que los de la enseñanza pública y la privada probablemente no tengan la misma opinión sobre la norma (¿no es parte de un proceso de mercantilización según los autores?).Una rápida lectura del informe indica, efectivamente, que el grado de máximo desacuerdo con la LOMCE es, en muchas de las preguntas, más del doble entre los docentes de la pública que entre los de privada y concertada, sensiblemente superior en secundaria que en infantil y primaria, así como entre los demás profesores que entre los que ocupan cargos directivos (no hay cruce por género). Por consiguiente, los resultado globales estarán sesgados y los propios autores pueden ver por qué en sus resultados parciales… pero no hacen nada. Cuando una muestra no refleja adecuadamente la composición del universo, una manera de evitar datos globales sesgados es ponderar los resultados. Ponderar es tan simple como aplicar índices correctores que compensen las descompensación de partida. Si los profesores de la pública, en este caso, son el 86.9% de la muestra pero deberían haber sido solo el 71%, se multiplica cada caso por la inversa del índice de sobrerrepresentación, 71/86.9= 0.81703107019 y el resultado es que cada 86.9 profesores de pública contarán como si fueran solo 71; y viceversa, claro está, con la privada o concertada. Con más variables a compensar se complica algo más (hay que combinar los sesgos), pero con una hoja de cálculo y un programa estadístico ordinarios lleva muy poquito tiempo dejarlo todo listo. Esta es una tarea que los autores del informe todavía pueden hacer o, al menos, liberar realmente los datos originales (no el PDF) para que lo hagan otros.Hay otro problema más grave, aunque difícilmente tasable y a estas alturas ya insoluble, y es quién decide responder o no a una encuesta como esta. Los autores explican que el cuestionario se envió por correo electrónico “al universo de centros de públicos y concertados-privados cuyas direcciones […] fueron accesibles.” Bien, pero ¿qué universo “accesible” es ese? Hay más de veintiocho mil centros, pero ¿cuáles son los accesibles: los que tienen algún electrónico, los que solo tienen uno oficialmente asignado…? ¿Y cuáles son los privados-concertados, ya que luego tampoco se distingue y no podemos saberlo: los que reúnen ambas características o todos los de titularidad privada, sean o no concertados? Si la encuesta se envía a los centros eso explica la sobrerrepresentación de integrantes de los equipos directivos, pero también puede hacer que estos la pasen a quienes creen más conformes con sus opiniones, o que sencillamente no consideren a los más tecnofóbicos o tecnopléjicos.Pero lo más importante es que la disposición a responder no es aleatoria. Cualquiera que haya hecho encuestas en general y en el mundo educativo en particular debería saberlo. Para empezar, hay tal diluvio de promociones comerciales, cuestionarios de satisfacción, etc., que ya es difícil obtener una respuesta de nadie sin algún tipo de contrapartida, si bien es cierto que el cuestionario de esta encuesta es tan breve y tan simple que no asusta la idea de tener que emplear mucho tiempo él. En el mundo educativo, en particular, hay una notable saturación de intervenciones externas (alumnos de prácticum, trabajos de curso, ofertas comerciales y, por supuesto, investigadores), a la vez que una extendida aversión a la transparencia. Además, es un mundo extremadamente opiniático, en el que demasiada gente tiene opiniones rotundas sobre todo lo imaginable. El primer problema de un investigador que quiera averiguar algo sobre la educación en general es evitar el riesgo de que solo le informen quienes quieren decir algo en particular. En este caso, el riesgo obvio es que se ofrezcan en tromba los enfadados con la LOMCE pero no tanto los demás, como sin duda ha ocurrido. Esos rotundos noventas y ochentas por ciento deberían hacer desconfiar a cualquiera que no haya perdido el norte o no suspire por obtener precisamente esos resultados. La idea de que la LOMCE ha sido impuesta al conjunto del profesorado desde el exterior, en vez de dividir a la profesión y a la sociedad en proporciones muy parecidas es, sencillamente, ingenua, pero esta es otra historia.¿Y el cuestionario? Aunque en ningún momento se ofrece el cuestionario como tal (tal y como les ha llegado a los encuestados), se describe como un conjunto de 20 ítems a los que se responde con una escala Likert (muy en desacuerdo, en desacuerdo, de acuerdo, muy de acuerdo, más NS/NC). Los enunciados que se listan se corresponden bastante bien con los encabezados de las tablas de frecuencias y cruces, de modo que pueden darse por fieles. De los veinte ítems, diez preguntan al encuestado si algo es o ha sido “adecuado”. Uno de los temas repetidos por la prensa es, por ejemplo, que ocho de cada diez profesores rechazan los currícula de la LOMCE. El ítem (y supongo que la pregunta) sobre el que se mide el acuerdo o desacuerdo dice literalmente: “Los contenidos curriculares que incluye la LOMCE son los adecuados.” La Tabla 17 nos informa de que no está de acuerdo el 76.7% del profesorado (casi 8 de cada 10 como redondea la prensa), pero ¿con qué no están de acuerdo?, ¿en qué son inadecuados? Unos pueden pensar que son escasos, otros que son excesivos; unos que son demasiado académicos, otros que demasiado pedagógicos; unos que son demasiado detallados, otros que no era ese el detalle; unos que faltan horas para su asignatura, otros que sobran para la del colega; unos que no enfatizan lo bastante las competencias, otro que eso no es más que cháchara; unos que la ley ha ido demasiado lejos… en la dimensión X, otros que se ha quedado corta… ¿Cuál es la conclusión general? Si se quiere asumir riesgos, que la mayoría está descontenta, aunque lo más prudente, con estos mimbres, sería no sacar ninguna.El titular que más ha repetido la prensa, no sé por qué (quizá porque se aproximan, quizá porque acababa de pronunciarse el Consejo de Estado, quizá por la información suministrada por los autores), es el de que ocho de cada diez profesores rechazan las reválidas, pero el hecho es que las reválidas no aparecen en ninguna de las 20 preguntas del cuestionario ni de las 305 páginas del documento de resultados. Las más parecidas son: “La incorporación de las evaluaciones externas que realiza la LOMCE es adecuada” y “La difusión de los resultados de los centros en las evaluaciones externas previstas en la LOMCE es adecuada”, pero, aunque las reválidas sean evaluaciones, hay muchas otras evaluaciones que o son reválidas (de diagnóstico, del profesorado, del centro). También aquí nos quedamos sin saber si la inadecuación se debe a son pocas o demasiadas evaluaciones, a que son evaluaciones o a que no son buenas evaluaciones, a que se les da suficiente o insuficiente publicidad, etc. Me temo que la mayoría de la gente que ha celebrado el informe no haya tenido duda ninguna no solo sobre la fuente (muestra, administración, etc.) sino tampoco sobre el significado: ¡¡si están en desacuerdo será por los mismos motivos que yo, que son motivos tan evidentes!!
La disposición a aceptar y difundir las conclusiones de un estudio tan, tan débil es solo una muestra más de lo que suele denominarse sesgo de confirmación, que la sabiduría popular ya expresó como el riesgo de oír solo lo que uno quiere oír. Curiosamente, esta falta de rigor científico e intelectual es perfectamente compatible con toda suerte de jaculatorias sobre eso: el rigor, la crítica, los datos, la “evidencia” científica, etc., y este caso es uno más de los que nos advierten del riesgo de llenarnos la boca con la política basada en evidencias mientras se tragan toda clase de evidencias basadas en la política. Resulta algo más penoso que esta actitud esté tan extendida, precisamente, en el mundo educativo, entre mucha de la gente a la que encomendamos la tarea de ayudar a nuestros hijos a seleccionar, interpretar y valorar la información, en vez de tragarse lo primero que encuentren. Un grado más de alarma, en fin, cuando se incurre en ello en la propia tarea investigadora, pues, como decía el sociólogo y político D.P. Moynihan: “Tiene usted derecho a su propia opinión, pero no a sus propios hechos.”
Ironically posted on Buzzfeed, this article asserts that "for nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’ s virtually been optimized to accommodate it." Now, writes Charlie Warzel, "With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself 'the free speech wing of the free speech party' to do?" It's a good question. Though described as a social networking platform, Twitter is in reality a publishing platform (albeit of very short articles). Moreover, there's no real distinction between 'friend' and 'abusive stranger' on Twitter, which means your harassers can target both you and all your followers. “ The original sin is a homogenous leadership,” one former senior employee told BuzzFeed News. “ This is part of what exacerbated the abuse problem for sure." Language warning, because Buzzfeed.[Link] [Comment]
Silicon Valley has a diversity problem. How else to explain how Snapchat came out with what is essentially a racist photo filter? "Snapchat recently released a new selfie lens that it says was 'anime-inspired.' But it made your eyes look squinty and slanted. And if you had your mouth open, it would also appear as if you had buck teeth. In short, it turned you into a racist Asian caricature... (yet) Anime is generally known for large, soulful eyes and tiny mouths, not slanted eyes and enlarged teeth." This isn't an isolated instance, either; witness the recently released 'nerd filter' (illustrated).[Link] [Comment]
The most striking feature of this article is a list, side-by-side, of the sharing and network features that existed in the early days of the blogosphere and those that are available today. In far too many categories, today's listing is "n/a" - in other words, nothing. We've lost blog search, responses, favourites, updates, friend lists, and more. Some of these have just be slurped into the closed social media sites, while others are just gone. "I think most of these ideas were good ideas the first time around and will remain good ideas in whatever modern incarnation revives them for a new generation," writes Dash. "I have no doubt there’ s a billion-dollar company waiting to be founded based on revisiting one of the concepts outlined here." Via D'Arcy Norman (listed only as 'dnorman' in his author metadata).[Link] [Comment]
This excellent paper has been the subject of some recent social media pranks, the point of which are to show that people rarely read the posts they share on Twitter or Facebook. You can read a Washington Post article about it from mid-June. “ People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “ This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.” The study does go deeper, and in a way that will be of significant interest to analysts; in addition to providing the analysis, it proposes a new metric to measure the influence of a URL. "Ideally," write the authors, "we would like to create a similar metric to quantify the influence of a user," which in the end is suggested via an indirect statistical mechanism.[Link] [Comment]
“Ugandan parliament orders Bridge Academy schools closed,” according to Education International. “In a sweeping move, the for-profit school chain has been told to lock its doors after parliament demanded it halt operations in response to its failure to meet educational and infrastructure standards.” The company – funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Pearson, Learn Capital, and others – says it will remain open.
The US Department of Education announced it was launching “a pilot to test rigorously the effectiveness of more flexible loan counseling policies on federal student loan borrowers.”
Via The New York Times: “State Department, Citing Security, Suspends Teaching Program in Turkey.”Presidential Campaign Politics
Via Education Week: “Donald Trump Proposes Making Parents’ Child-Care Costs Fully Tax-Deductible.” No details on how this would actually work.Education in the Courts
Via The New York Times: “Ahmed Mohamed, Boy Handcuffed for Making Clock, Is Suing.”
Via the Dallas Morning News: “Professors who ban guns in their classrooms will be punished, UT lawyer says.”
MIT, New York University, and Yale are being sued by employees, “accused of allowing their employees to be charged excessive fees on their retirement savings,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday. By the end of the week, additional, similar complaints had been filed by employees at Duke, Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against New Mexico State University, alleging that the university paid a female former assistant track coach significantly less than her male colleagues, the department announced on Thursday.”Testing, Testing…
Reuters continues its reporting on standardized testing security (or lack thereof): “ACT shakes up security unit, plans audit after cheating reports.”
Via The Wall Street Journal: “Unpublished SAT Exam Material Stolen, College Board Says.”
“The Indiana Department of Education is seeking $4 million in damages from the company that created last year’s problem-plagued ISTEP test. The state blames the California-based CTB company for the scoring problems and technical glitches that led to delays in releasing last year’s test results,” says Chalkbeat.
From the US Department of Education’s blog: “Building the Next Generation of Assessments in Education.”Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)
Via the Coursera blog: “Coming soon to all courses: Flexible session-based schedules.”
Imperial College London has joined edX.
Remember when the World Economic Forum was super-into MOOCs? Well, now the organization is making similar-sounding predictions about Bitcoin, for what it’s worth.Coding Bootcamps (The Once and Future “For-Profit Higher Ed”)
From the press release: “The U.S. Department of Education today denied a request from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE), a Utah-based chain of for-profit career colleges, to convert to non-profit status for purposes of federal financial student aid. The denial means that the colleges' programs must continue to meet requirements under the federal Gainful Employment regulations.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Education Department review of Ashford University’s compliance with federal financial aid rules has resulted in a fine of $137,695 for a handful of violations, Bridgepoint Education, which owns Ashford.”
“Are coding bootcamps only for the rich?” asks Techcrunch.
Also via Inside Higher Ed: “Traditional colleges including Northeastern University and Bellevue College are entering the coding boot camp market by partnering with boot camp providers or by creating their own programs.”
More on General Assembly in the “business” section below.
Here’s a puff piece in Education Dive about the for-profit Ubiquity University.
Via Eater: “Culinary Schools Are Getting More Expensive – Should You Go?”Meanwhile on Campus
BYU is under Title IX investigation, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Via the Seattle Times: “As many as 90 University of Washington students from China may have been defrauded of up to $1 million in tuition money, UW Police Department investigators said Monday.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Association of American Publishers complains about Cal State librarian who studies popularity of pirated scientific papers. Cal State defends its librarian.”
Via The Atlantic: “Assault-Rifle Camp for Kids, Courtesy of the American Military.”
“Xavier University in Ohio will later this month become the home to the first pizza ATM in the US,” says Inside Higher Ed.
Vermont schools have more computers than students, says the Burlington Free Press.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What $500 Tuition Could Mean for 3 UNC Campuses.”
Via Education Week: “Personalized learning pioneer Summit Public Schools is expanding its network to include 100 new schools, CEO Dianne Tavenner announced via a Facebook post today.”
There’s more Summit Public Schools / Facebook news in the downgrades section below.Accreditation and Certification
“Digital badges aren’t replacing the bachelor’s degree any time soon,” Inside Higher Ed helpfully points out. “But a growing number of colleges are working with vendors to use badges as an add-on to degrees, to help students display skills and accomplishments that transcripts fail to capture.” Smart idea, schools, to outsource one of your core functions to a vendor. Super smart.Go, School Sports Team!
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Collegiate Athletic Association and five co-defendants will pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a Frostburg State University football player who died after suffering a head injury in 2011. Three Frostburg State staff members, helmet manufacturer Kranos Corp. and retailer George L. Heider Inc. also agreed to the settlement.”From the HR Department
Chicago Public Schools has laid off some 1000 employees, including 500 teachers. Here’s my friend Xian Franzinger Barrett describing his experiences getting “the phone call.” His first child is due in a couple of months.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A member of the Board of Governors of Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, will resign following threats by the federal government to withhold student aid from the college if he stayed on the board.”
Chris Lohse is the new head of the Education Technology Industry Network, the ed-tech division of the Software & Information and Industry Association.
More on teacher pay in the research section below.Upgrades and Downgrades
It’s not a pivot; it’s “phase two,” apparently. That’s how Techcrunch describes the private school AltSchool, which now says it plans to charge $1000 per student for others to use its surveillance ed-tech software.
“*Schoology*: The strongest LMS you’ve never seen” – according to Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill at least.
And from his business partner Michael Feldstein: “Instructurecon 2016: Why This Company is Still Formidable (and Misunderstood).” Poor poor misunderstood LMSes.
“Facebook is out to upend the traditional student-teacher relationship,” says The New York Times in one of the worst pieces I’ve seen it write about ed-tech in a long time. “On Tuesday, Facebook and Summit Public Schools, a nonprofit charter school network with headquarters in Silicon Valley, announced that nearly 120 schools planned this fall to introduce a free student-directed learning system developed jointly by the social network and the charter schools.”
Oh look. Another “Pinterest for education.”Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)
Kira Talent has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Relay Ventures, BDC Capital IT Venture Fund, Globalive, and Roger Martin. The “talent acquisition” and college admissions app has raised $8.2 million total.
Job matching company Viridis Learning has raised $3.2 million in Series A funding from Thayer Ventures, Lumina Foundation, the Carver Family Office, Serious Change, NVC Investments, Carlos Gutierrez, C.S. Park, and Ken Hicks.
Hypothes.is has raised $1.9 million from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Omidyar Network Fund. The press release describes this as grant money, and I hope so because I’d sure hate to see VC funding from that later organization ruin a startup that higher ed folks seem to like.
General Assembly has acquired the coding bootcamp Bitmaker.
PowerSchool has acquired SRB Education Solutions.Data, Privacy, and Surveillance
“The University of Melbourne has moved to allay privacy concerns amid revelations it is tracking students through their wi-fi usage,” says The World Today. “The university said the practice, which looked at where people were moving around campus, helped institutions improve retention rates and the experience of students.”
“What kinds of data do school districts release?” asks the Sunlight Foundation.Data and “Research”
Via the AP: “Gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students are far more likely than their classmates to be raped or assaulted in a dating situation, according to the first national survey of its kind.”
There are “merits” to reading paper books – “real books,” says the headline – to children, and The NYT is on it.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Employer-sponsored wellness programs are on the decline, as are benefits for part-time faculty members, according to a new study from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.”
“Teachers of math and English/language arts in states following the common-core standards are playing a strong role in developing or selecting the classroom resources they use,” according to a RAND Corporation report.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new national survey finds that student debt has an impact on how people view relationship potential.” Debt is “baggage,” apparently.
Via EdSource: “Pay for teachers has stagnated nationally over the past two decades, and fallen behind earnings of other workers with college degrees, the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank, concluded in a report released Tuesday.” But Atlschool's fouder thinks schools are gonna pay $1000 per student for some creepy software. Right.
Icon credits: The Noun Project