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MIT Launches Multiple Initiatives To Improve Digital Learning from PreK to Continuing Ed

Campus Technology - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 23:45
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology will significantly expand its research programs looking into online and digital education from preK through residential higher ed and lifelong learning.

MIT aims to expand its research into learning

Tony Bates - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 22:17

Diffusion tension imaging Satrajit Ghosh, MIT

Chandler, D. (2016) New initiatives accelerate learning research and its applications MIT News, February 2

The President of MIT has announced a significant expansion of the Institute’s programs in learning research and online and digital education, through the creation of the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili).

The integrated science of learning — now emerging as a significant field of research — will be the core of MITili (to be pronounced “mightily”), a cross-disciplinary, Institute-wide initiative to foster rigorous quantitative and qualitative research on how people learn.

MITili will combine research in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, economics, engineering, public policy, and other fields to investigate what methods and approaches to education work best for different people and subjects. The effort will also examine how to improve the educational experience within MIT and in the world at large, at all levels of teaching.

The findings that spin out of MITili will then be applied to improve teaching on campus and online.


First, I very much welcome this initiative by a prestigious research university seriously to research what MIT calls the ‘science of learning’. Research into learning has generally been relatively poorly funded compared with research into science, engineering and computing.

However, I hope that MIT will approach this in the right way and avoid the hubris they displayed when moving into MOOCs, where they ignored all previous research into online learning.

It is critical that those working in MITili do not assume that there is nothing already known about learning. Although exploring the contribution that the physical sciences, such as biological research into the relationship between brain functionality and learning, can make to our understanding of learning is welcome, as much attention needs to be paid to the environmental conditions that support or inhibit learning, to what kind of teaching approaches encourage different kinds of learning, and to the previous, well-grounded research into the psychology of learning.

In other words, not only a multi-disciplinary, but also a multi-epistemological approach will be needed, drawing as much from educational research and the social sciences as from the natural sciences. Is MIT willing and able to do this? After all, learning is a human, not a mechanical activity, when all is said and done.

Empowering Students in Open Research

e-Literate - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 19:51

By Michael FeldsteinMore Posts (1052)

Phil and I will be writing a twice-monthly column for the Chronicle’s new Re:Learning section. In my inaugural column, “Muy Loco Parentis,” I write about how schools make data privacy decisions on behalf of the students that the students wouldn’t make for themselves, and that may even be net harmful for the students. In contrast to the ways in which other campus policies have evolved, there is still very much a default paternalistic position regarding data.

But the one example that I didn’t cover in my piece happens to be the one that inspired it in the first place. A few months back at the OpenEd conference, I heard a presentation from CMU’s Norm Bier about that challenges of getting different schools to submit OLI student data to a common database for academic research. Basically, every school that wants to do this has to go through its own IRB process, and every IRB is different. Since the faculty using the OLI products usually aren’t engaged in the research themselves, it generally isn’t worth the hassle to go through this process, so the data doesn’t get submitted and the research doesn’t get done. Note that Pearson and McGraw Hill do not have this problem; if they want to look at student performance in a learning application across various schools, they can. Easily. Something is wrong with this picture. I proposed in Norm’s session that maybe students could be given an option to openly publish their data. Maybe that would get around the restrictions. David Wiley, who does a lot more academic research than I do, seemed to think this wasn’t a crazy idea, so I’ve been gnawing on the problem since then.

I have talked to a bunch of researchers about the idea. The first reaction is often skepticism. IRB is not so easy to circumvent (for good reason). What generally changed their minds was the following thought experiment:

  • Suppose that, in some educational software program, there was a button labeled “Export.” Students could click the button and export their data in some suitably anonymized format. (Yes, yes, it is impossible to fully de-identify data, but let’s posit “reasonably anonymized” as assessed by a community of data scientists.) Would giving students the option to export their data to any server of their choosing trigger the requirement for IRB review? [Answer: No.]
  • Suppose the export button offered a choice to export to CMU’s research server. Would giving students that option trigger the requirement for IRB review? [Answer: Probably not.]

There are two shades of gray here that are complications. First, researchers worry about the data bias that comes from opt in. And the further you lead students down the path toward encouraging them to share their data, such as making sharing the default, the more the uneasiness sets in. Second and relatedly, there is the issue of informed consent. There was a general feeling that, even if you get around IRB review, there is still a strong ethical obligation to do more than just pay lip service to informed consent. You need to really educate students on the potential consequences of sharing their data.

That’s all fair. I don’t claim that there is a silver bullet. But the thought experiment is revealing. Our intuitions, and therefore our policies, about student data privacy are strongly paternalistic in an academic context but shift pretty quickly once the institutional role fades and the student’s individual choice is foregrounded. I think this is an idea worth exploring further.

The post Empowering Students in Open Research appeared first on e-Literate.

Lehman College Improves Energy Efficiency with Lighting Retrofit

Campus Technology - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 19:45
Lehman College has retrofitted its campus with LED lights in an effort to improve sustainability and energy efficiency.

John Carroll U Adopts Data Visualization Tools To Teach Students How To Share Insights

Campus Technology - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 18:39
John Carroll University's College of Arts and Sciences has adopted a data visualization suite to help students learn how to find insights in data and present their findings to an audience.

Stratasys Intros Advanced Color Management Software

Campus Technology - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 18:36
Stratasys has introduced software that combines advanced color management with a direct design-to-3D print workflow.

Three New Moodle Jobs For Those Looking For Opportunity

Moodle News - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 18:19
Can you believe that January has already passed us by? Never fear, fellow Moodlers! February has opened with three new Moodle-specific job opportunities for those seeking a change or growth. Head on...


Educació Demà - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 17:01
WÄRKS - Formació i consultoria pedagògica. Creem, formem i facilitem projectes d'innovació pedagògica. Localització Espanya 41° 22' 46.5096" N, 2° 10' 6.0852" E See map: Google Maps

Week Three Of the Learn Moodle MOOC Is About Making The Grade

Moodle News - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 09:51
Week Three of the Learn Moodle MOOC: Teaching with Moodle follows finding your way around and helping learners learn with mastering the the Moodle gradebook. Without further ado let’s jump...

The Limits of Open

OLDaily - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 01:00

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Feb 01, 2016

At a certain point they should be required to drop the word 'open' from their offering, right? Coursera has now started charging op front for students to take some of their courses. As George Siemens says, the company is "playing a short-term venture capital game" instead of offering open courses. "The deep pool of a visionary and re-architected future ended up being about as thick as a dollar bill." Of course, this is a story that - given the actors - could have ended no other way. Silicon Valley investors were never going to risk their money for the common good.

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Texas Christian U Touts Admissions with Mobile Campaign

Campus Technology - 2 Febrero, 2016 - 00:38
Texas Christian University has teamed with a private partner to launch a social media-based admissions campaign.

ABP: proyectos fuera del aula, alumnos más motivados

El producto final público puede considerarse el que más, de los siete elementos clave del ABP, contribuye a que la metodología de aprendizaje por proyectos se diferencie de los modelos de educación tradicionales.

Nos referimos aquí a actividades de difusión formalmente organizadas y que impliquen que los estudiantes presenten sus proyectos a un público que esté formado no solo por padres, alumnos o profesores sino sobre todo por personas de fuera del ámbito escolar y, si es posible por expertos en los temas abordados en el proyecto.

La participación de estos expertos externos en la difusión no debe limitarse al momento de la presentación final pública sino que tendría que extenderse a todo el proceso de aprendizaje del proyecto ofreciendo a los alumnos información, recursos y asesoramiento para mejorar sus tareas y productos y hacer una revisión crítica de qué están aprendiendo y cómo están aprendiendo.

Career-Minded, Pragmatic Gen Zs Heading to College

Campus Technology - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 21:44
Generation Z — people who started college in 2013 — aren't like Millennials.

Westmont College Streamlines Admissions with Constituent Relationship Management

Campus Technology - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 20:08
Westmont College has selected a new constituent relationship management platform in an effort to modernize its enrollment processes.

Top 7 Campus Technology Stories in January

Campus Technology - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 18:35
The numbers are in: Here's what got the most attention on our Web site last month.

President Obama Calls on Country to Deliver CS Education to All Students

Campus Technology - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 16:44
President Obama said he wants to see a stronger commitment to computer science in American schools, and he's laid out a new initiative to make that a reality.

Remote-Learner Is Moving Its Headquarters To Denver, Colorado

Moodle News - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 15:25
In a press release, Remote-Learner announce they will be moving their corporate headquarters to Denver, CO from Waynesboro, VA, and expect to be open for business in their new offices by February....

LearningStudio and OpenClass End-Of-Life: Pearson is getting out of LMS market

e-Literate - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 15:20

By Phil HillMore Posts (383)

Pearson has notified customers that LearningStudio will be shut down as a standalone LMS over the next 2-3 years. Created from the Pearson acquisition of both eCollege and Fronter, LearningStudio has been targeted primarily at fully-online programs and associated hybrid programs – not for simple augmentation of face-to-face classes. The customer base has mostly included for-profit institutions as well as not-for-profit programs that are often packaged with an online service prover model (e.g. Embanet customers). As of this year, LearningStudio has approximately 110 customers with 1.2 million unique student enrollments.

This decision is not one isolated to LearningStudio, as the end-of-life notification caps a series of moves by Pearson to get out of the LMS market in general.

Less than a year ago I wrote a post about Texas Christian University claiming that Pearson was “getting out of the LMS market”, although during research for that story the administrator requested a change in the campus newspaper.

“Pearson is out of the learning management system game,” Hughes said. “We need something to evolve with the Academy of Tomorrow and where we’re moving to at TCU.”Hughes said Pearson withdrew from the LMS search process for TCU but remains an LMS provider.

From 2007 through 2012, Pearson aggressively moved into the LMS market. In 2007 the company acquired eCollege for $477 million, taking it private. In 2008 Pearson acquired the European LMS provider Fronter. In 2009 Pearson announced LearningStudio as the rebranded combination of eCollege and Fronter, predominantly from eCollege. Then the big PR move came in 2011 with the splashy announcement of OpenClass, an “completely free” and “amazing” LMS that dominated the discussion at EDUCAUSE that year, partially due to “misleading headlines” implying a partnership with Google.

In the past year, however, Pearson has reversed all of these strategic moves. Announced last September, OpenClass will no longer be available as of January 2018. In November Pearson sold Fronter to itsLearning. And now LearningStudio (and in effect eCollege) is being retired. To be more precise, LearningStudio is being retired as a standalone LMS. What is not publicized it that LearningStudio internally provides the infrastructure and platform support for Pearson’s MyLabs & Mastering courseware. That internal platform will remain, but the external product will go away.

For this story Michael and I interviewed Curtiss Barnes, Managing Director of Technology Products for Pearson Global Higher Education[1] Barnes confirmed the story and said that all LearningStudio customers have been notified, and that there are no plans for a public announcement or press release. Barnes said the decision to get out of the LMS category was based on Pearson’s continuing efforts to reorganize and streamline the diversified company, and being competitive in the LMS market just doesn’t help meet corporate goals.

So what platforms and technology products do meet corporate goals? Barnes said that Pearson does courseware really well, with over 12 million students on these platforms overall and approximately 2 million per day. He sees large distinctions between content-agnostic LMS solutions and courseware. Courseware might require certain features that overlap LMS features, but the fundamentals of what’s being delivered goes well beyond content management store, calendaring, and other LMS basics to include instrumentation of content and science-based learning design. Barnes said that learning design is the key element they’re looking for as a company.

The front page for OpenClass now describes Pearson’s view on LMS and courseware markets.

On January 1, 2018, OpenClass will no longer be available to faculty, students, or administrators, and as of today, no new accounts will be created. You will be able to sign in and access OpenClass and we will maintain SLAs until January 1, 2018. We will also continue to provide Community Forum support and OpenClass Knowledge Base until this date.

At Pearson, we are relentlessly committed to driving learner outcomes and we see a bigger opportunity to provide value to our customers via programs such as MyLab & Mastering and REVEL, and through our professional services, such as curriculum design and online program management.

While the LMS will endure as an important piece of academic infrastructure, we believe our learning applications and services are truly “where the learning happens.” In short, withdrawing from the crowded LMS market allows us to concentrate on areas where we can make the biggest measurable impact on student learning outcomes.

Pearson has told customers that they still have engineers and operations teams to fully support continuing operations and mitigate bugs or issues affecting LearningStudio, but they are not developing new features. LearningStudio will remain available for customers through their existing contracts, but the earliest loss of support for any customer will be December 31, 2017 to allow customers whose contracts expire before then more time to select a different LMS and migrate their courses.

Michael and I pressed during the interview to see if Pearson is favoring one solution over another in their discussions with customers, but Barnes said that Pearson has decided to remain neutral. Customers are not being given recommendations on alternate solutions.

This move out of the LMS market by Pearson has a parallel with last year’s sale of PowerSchool, a Student Information System for the K-12 market. Pearson acquired PowerSchool from Apple in 2006, but it no longer made sense to try and be competitive in the SIS market.


Like the forced migration caused by WebCT and ANGEL end-of-life notices, there will now be more than 100 LMS changes triggered by this announcement. While the for-profit sector has taken big hits in enrollments over the past 3-4 years, there are still some very large online programs that now have to select a new LMS.

This has been an eventful year for the LMS market already, and it’s only one month old. Expect to see more movement and changes.

  1. Disclosure: Pearson is a client of MindWires Consulting on an separate project.

The post LearningStudio and OpenClass End-Of-Life: Pearson is getting out of LMS market appeared first on e-Literate.

Box Delivers New Integrations With Microsoft

Campus Technology - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 15:00
In an effort to make it easier for people to work with their Microsoft Office documents stored in Box, the content management and collaboration platform has introduced three new integrations with Microsoft products.

Want To Drag And Drop Basically Anything In Atto? Check Out This Plugin

Moodle News - 1 Febrero, 2016 - 09:51
Last October we reported on the Paul Nicholls plugin that allowed Moodlers to drag and drop images into the Atto editor. This tool was a fantastic and welcome edition to the suite of 20+ plugins that...