Links: New and Expanding Online Graduate Degrees at Syracuse University

A representative example of a major trend in online education. Syracuse University is growing professional master’s programs and expanding online coursework available in high-profile areas of interest, such as data science.

Also of note is a presentation given at the UPCEA 100th Annual Conference in March 2015, during which employees of Syracuse University discussed a survey of technology staff that highlighted the pros and cons of their decentralized working environment. The survey was based on the OLC Quality Scorecard.

File: Against the Natural Order of Things: Why E-Learning Refuses to Take Off

A well-written and comprehensive overview of the pitfalls of advocating for technological change without due consideration of faculty expertise. Highly recommended.

This helps to explain why many predictions of the future fail: not because the technology itself will not materialize, but because the people doing the predictions are not experts in the situations or domains they are aiming to affect. They develop tools without watching the way people work. This is why their visions strike us as funny, odd, or even offensive. And it’s why, when a technologist tries to tell a designer, a doctor, or a teacher “you will work like this in the future,” they laugh.

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Baldwin, Jonathan. “‘Against the Natural Order of Things’: Why E-Learning Refuses to Take Off.” In Centennial Conversations: Essential Essays in Professional, Continuing, and Online Education. UPCEA, 2015.

Infographic: Student Mobile Workspaces

A visual overview of student reliance on mobile devices versus institutional and faculty priorities for learning.

94% of higher education leaders agree that students should have access to applications and data anywhere, on any device, but 55% said their institution does not provide this level of access to students today.

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Link/File: ECAR Study of Faculty and IT (2015)

The second annual Study of Faculty and Information Technology (2015) has been released by the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research. Customized results for UO are also available.

Interestingly, faculty in this study believe that IT may not have the funding or capacity to manage change as well as it could, suggesting potential for powerful, combined advocacy for appropriate technology investment. e greatest value of a study like this is not the conclusions it reaches but the campus conversations it begins.

Link: A Sergeant Works Toward A UW Degree–In Korea

An overview of UW’s Integrated Social Sciences bachelor’s, launched in 2014 as a degree completion program delivered online, with the story of one active military member who is enrolled.

…ISS courses are part of a carefully constructed degree program with five core courses and dozens of upper-level electives. The program culminates with a capstone project in which students curate their best work—learning plans, articles, self-reflection essays, maps, and other materials—organizing them in an electronic portfolio that showcases their learning and achievements.

Nancy Joseph. “A Sergeant Works Toward A UW Degree–In Korea.” UW Perspectives Newsletter, November 2015.

LINK/FILE: A Different Vision of the Bachelor’s Degree

Op ed blog post commending a November 2015 report from New America entitled “Flipping the Paradigm: Why We Need Training-Based Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree and How to Build Them” which advocates “flipping” the bachelor’s degree path to “start with applications and work upwards towards theories.”

We build degrees that move from the broad and general at the beginning — the theory, the survey — to the specific at the end. That structure pretty much guarantees that initial encounters with large and sweeping theories will be shallow at best, since they lack both context and a sense of why they matter. By the time students get to specifics, they’ve left the big questions behind. If they return to the big questions later, it’s despite, rather than because of, the way we’ve organized degrees. They rarely get the benefit of coming back to the big questions with the benefit of context, and that’s our failure.

Download the PDF of “Flipping the Paradigm: Why We Need Training-Based Pathways to the Bachelor’s Degree and How to Build Them” by Mary Alice McCarthy. November 2015.

Matt Reed. A Different Vision of the Bachelor’s Degree. Inside Higher Ed. November 12, 2015.

Link: Redefining Service for the Digital Academic: Scholarship, Social Media, and Silos

A reflection on the ways in which technology mediates the traditional balance of research, teaching, and service for faculty.

Some days, I see my academic self as multiplatform, in a sense.  That self is fluid, moving with some ease among the silos of research, service, and teaching; that movement is facilitated by the networks I’ve created and the networks I share throughout the digital space.  Like the pathways in a brain, they crisscross, they intersect, there are multiple conduits for information and multiple opportunities for synthesis.

Utell, Janine. “Redefining Service for the Digital Academic: Scholarship, Social Media, and Silos.” Hybrid Pedagogy, November 2015.

Link: 7 Things You should Know About Video Communication

Educause (2013)

Live video communication is becoming a staple in educational venues, where instructors employ it for office hours, online courses, presentations by special lecturers, just-in-time learning, or coordination with researchers in the field. It can offer a convenient venue for faculty meetings, staff liaising, and project planning when not all parties are on-site.

Read the full article here.

Link: An iPad in Every Home

Straumsheim, C., (2014) An iPad in Every Home

Lynn U.’s tablet revolution marches on. Its next initiative: affordable online degree programs delivered exclusively through iPads — at tuition rates that are a fraction of what the university regularly charges.Since its moment in the national spotlight, Lynn has replaced textbooks with Apple’s iPads and iBooks, adopted iTunes U as its learning management system and built its own attendance and gradebook app. Its revamped distance education programs, launching next fall with seven degree options, will extend the tablet revolution to Lynn’s online students at a fraction of what the programs used to cost.

Read full article here.

Letter to the Editor: Online Learning Success Depends on Student Effort

“Online learning is not for everyone — not for all students nor all faculty. It takes the ability to motivate oneself and the expectation of doing work on your own. Some researchers have identified a trait they call “learning presence,” which is a combination of self-efficacy and self-regulation, and found that it is needed for students to succeed in online classes.

Students need to begin an online class with the expectation of doing at least the same amount of work as they would in a face-to-face course. The standard is that students should spend two to three hours per week outside class for every hour in a class. So for a three-credit hour course, students should be spending nine to 12 hours per week in total. The same standard is used for online classes; even though there typically is no “class time,” students should expect to spend approximately 10 hours each week on the class in a regular term.”

Read the full article here.