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  • Udacity teams up with AT&T and launches "Nanodegrees"
    Udacity in collaboration with AT&T is offering its first degree program that could teach students the kinds of skills needed to win jobs in the employment market. This degree termed as "Nano Degrees" will be offered online and it involves less than a year of coursework, and costs about $200 per month. AT&T offers paid internships to some NanoDegree graduates and has committed to hire graduates of its NanoDegree program. Read more...
  • LinkedIn user profiles to have online education certification
    LinkedIn, the networking site for professionals, has partnered with online education firms to help users showcase their internet-based educational accomplishments. Its Direct-to-Profile Certifications pilot program makes it easy for members to update their profiles with the certification or completed course work when they complete an online course. Read more...
  • Tuition-free Universities in Germany
    Germans believe that free university education is a basic human right and it is socially unjust to collect tuition-fees that would discourage students from continuing their education. Beginning this week all German Universities will offer free higher education for students including international students. Read more...
  • EdX opens MOOCs for High Schoolers
    EdX has announced 26 free MOOC courses for High Schoolers covering Advanced Placement courses with material spanning the subjects of Science, Mathematics, English, and History. This first venture in to the K-12 arena is considered an attempt to alleviate the alarming gap between high school students' eligibility and their preparedness for getting into college. Read more...

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  • E-interview with Dr. Yuko Okubo


    Dr. Yuko Okubo, a social research scientist of Fujitsu Laboratories of America, explores the intersections of education, technology and culture. With a broad background that encompasses education, ethnography and anthropology, she is conducting research on curation learning to explore novel ways of learning in the digital age. Fujitsu Laboratories has a rich 50 year history of cutting edge innovation and research, from the first relay-based mainframe to one of the fastest supercomputers. Open Education Solutions Group of Fujitsu aims to build a new educational platform by making full use of innovative technology, cloud computing, security, advanced language processing and artificial intelligence.

    1. What deficiencies do you find in the present approach to learning in higher education?

    In higher education, teaching/learning through a lecture style is still prevalent. To enhance learning, an interactive learning environment is necessary. This can be done with the use of technology, or designing a course that incorporates more interactions -- between learning content and learners, between learners and instructors, and among learners, through learner-centered instructional methods such as project-based learning, discussion, and group presentation, etc. More interactions may help students to become motivated and self-directed learners.

    In social sciences and humanities, developing 4C skills – critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration – besides mastering content knowledge is set as a learning goal, but how we accomplish these goals are treated separately as it is challenging to design a course that enables learners to develop these skills while mastering content knowledge.

    Currently, there is no system to keep track of the learning progress of each student and to guide each student using data throughout college years. By connecting students with experts from post-graduate schools and the real world, and by integrating the latest information from each field of interest, students may be able to get the real-time guidance to reflect on their progress. With the development of technology and infra-structure, this could be done in the future.

    2. What is curation learning and in what ways is it intended to address these deficiencies?

    Curation Learning facilitates learning by enabling learners to find their connections to the world by Searching the information, Creating a curation from the searched and selected information, and by sharing the curation and Engaging in communication with others. In Creating a curation, we want learners to contextualize the information by adding their perspectives and frameworks to the selected information. By emphasizing the importance of adding one’s perspectives to the information, we hope that learners can find their own voices and their connections to the world.

    Other benefits of Curation Learning is that learners can learn the latest information and expert knowledge from the real world by conducting search in curating on their topics of interest, create and organize learning contents with ease, and develop skills necessary to curate effectively. As learners may discover new ideas from checking other curations of their interests in curating, Curation Learning can enhance social learning as well.

    3. What would be the new role of teachers in the student-centric classroom of the future?

    In a Blended Learning environment, we hear that teachers are becoming facilitators, coaches, or mentors. Teachers can facilitate class activities as facilitators, check learning progress of each as a coach, or assist and guide students with their personal and academic growth. Human figures are necessary for social development of students, especially when they are struggling with understanding the content.

    4. What are the questions about the future education that need to be answered by further research?

    How can we transcend the “digital divide” that is not limited to an access but pertains how people use technologies that is shaped by our environment and/or cultural capital and embedded in our everyday life.

    Cognitive and non-cognitive aspects such as perseverance, motivation, and grit are some of the cultural capital that is associated with learning, I think.

    5. If you were asked to design a world-class system of higher education available to people everywhere, what key elements would you include and how might it differ from the MOOCs that are rapidly developing today?

    Use of learning analytics – there is a ton of data on MOOCs platform and much research is carried out on MOOCs and how to create a more effective learning environment. The effective analysis of these data would guide teachers and learners for learning.

    Engagement of learners becomes higher when the learning process is more interactive. More interactive MOOCs, not only interactive in terms of clicking links and buttons, would be desirable. What creates more meaningful interactions for each learner will be a key.

  • Academic proficiency, not time spent in class, gets credits
    Janani Ramanathan

    Competency-based Education (CBE) is a self-paced student-centred approach to online learning that allows students to advance based on their proficiency in the subject. Instead of stipulating a certain number of hours of learning, CBE allows students to make progress as they demonstrate mastery of the subject. Those already familiar with the subject can complete assignments, take tests and earn credits. Others can take their time without the pressure of due dates for paper submission or exams. This personalized, flexible learning system caters to different learning abilities, and leads to more efficient learning outcomes. The system can be implemented in the traditional school or college course, however, Internet and Communication Technologies (ICT) make CBE far more easier to implement in the online learning system. CBE tools that define learning outcomes, map competencies to the course curriculum and track students' progress are emerging. Southern New Hampshire University, University of Wisconsin and Northern Arizona University in the US are some of the adopters of CBE.
    Apart from saving time and money, CBE can bring down college drop out rates. It can also result in utilization of teachers' skills more efficiently apart from providing alternative pathways to graduation.

  • The Role of Online Education in the New Global Paradigm
    Harish, Janani
    Online education significantly raises the educational attainment levels. Colleges with inadequate infrastructure and insufficient teachers cannot accommodate all those who seek education. Expansion of traditional educational facilities is slow and expensive. Online education using internet and communication technologies offers abundant opportunities to quantitatively and qualitatively expand access to education.
  • Authentication, MOOCs and OERs
    Fabian Banga
    With a growing inventory of openly available educational tools and resources and with an increasingly engaged and connected community, transformative opportunities for education abound. MOOCs that focus on the social dimension of learning and active practices will emerge successful in knowledge production and not just content mastery.
  • Globalizing Higher Education: Global Needs
    Nagan, Winston
    The curriculum design for global higher education should be formulated around the notions of global knowledge, global social consequences and global policy implications. The growth of technology has created a revolution in the storage and retrieving of knowledge, revolutionizing the time involved in learning or teaching from such a knowledge base. The possibility of a future connectivity of intelligence is a major paradigm shift that should impact the prospects of global higher education.
  • MOOCs in the Real World: Deconstructing the Impact
    Matkin, Gary
    MOOC and Open Educational Resources have emerged as the disruptive technology in teaching and learning. As MOOCs pave way for new opportunities, they present unique challenges for institutions of higher education in maintaining institutional autonomy and academic freedom.
  • Global Survival 101
    Krieger, David
    University students need a grounding in the global dangers that confront humans as a species, as well as a sense of the interconnectedness of these dangers and the ways forward to solutions that alleviate and reverse the dangers. Awareness of global dangers and human survival can be created by an online course available to students throughout the world.

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