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Risk in a networked society

Risk in a networked society | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it

It’s hard to dispute the claim that society now is more inter-connected than it has ever been.  Most of the time this hyperconnectivity is touted as a positive influence on society, but what are the risks involved?


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Frank J. Klein's insight:

"don't write anything down you don't want read back to you in court or printed on the front page of a newspaper, as the saying goes. In the future this adage will broaden to include not just what you say and write, but the websites you visit, who you include in your online network, what you "like," and what others who are connected to you do, say and share."

 

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohens' book (a great read)

The New Digital Age/Reshaping The Future Of People, Nations and Business

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Digital Identity and Access Management
Digital authentication, authorization,administration and auditing of a persons identity.
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XLRI summer Placements 2014 -16: entire batch gets placed in 3.5 days

XLRI summer Placements 2014 -16: entire batch gets placed in 3.5 days | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
XLRI Summer Placement of its largest ever batch 2014-16 in record time. The recruitment drive saw 105 companies participating in the process, making 385 offers to 365 students.

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NMAT 2015 Analysis: Logical Reasoning turns a trap for Candidates

NMAT 2015 Analysis: Logical Reasoning turns a trap for Candidates | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
: NMAT 2015 exam trend shows logical reasoning would the game changer section. NMAT 2015 first day and second day exam contain easy but time taking question in LR Section.

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XIMB organizes `Athlos 2014`; drives `Hudhud` on back foot

XIMB organizes `Athlos 2014`; drives `Hudhud` on back foot | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
XIMB successfully organized its three day Annual Sports fest. Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB) successfully organized its three day Annual Sports fest Athlos 6.0 which concluded on October 12, 2014.

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XAT 2015: Decision Making 3 step preparation strategy: Know the weight age & type of questions

XAT 2015: Decision Making 3 step preparation strategy: Know the weight age & type of questions | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
XAT 2015 like earlier XAT exams will be a paper pencil mode written test. The exam will be conducted on January 4, 2015 in a single session of 3 hrs duration.

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IMI New Delhi organizes Cultural Fest KRITVA'14 on the theme 'Redefining India'

IMI New Delhi organizes Cultural Fest KRITVA'14 on the theme 'Redefining India' | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
IMI New Delhi ( International Management Institute ) New Delhi organized its 3 day Annual cultural fest KRITVA�14 from Oct 17 to Oct 19, 2014. The inaugural ceremony evening on Oct 16, 2014 was graced by many illustrious dignitaries such as the Direc

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CAT 2014 Admit Card is out: Download now and take the print

CAT 2014 Admit Card is out: Download now and take the print | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
CAT 2014 Admit card is available now on CAT 2014 official website. CAT 2014 aspirants can download it now by login with their registered CAT user id and password.

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Conventional college route shifts to “education buffet” | Hechinger Report

Conventional college route shifts to “education buffet” | Hechinger Report | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it

“We are at or approaching a point of significant transformation where you will be able to snap modules together from a wide array of choices, or link them in ways that produce what are sometimes called stackable credentials,” says Molly Corbett Broad, president of theAmerican Council on Education, or ACE, the predominant national association of colleges and universities.

All of these alternatives to conventional higher education are growing exponentially, thanks to their flexibility and, often, considerably lower cost.

A new federal report shows that 1.3 million high school students took courses for college credit in the 2010-2011 academic year, up 67 percent from the last time the government checked, in 2003.

More than half of all colleges award at least some credit for military and career experience, according to the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, or CAEL. The number of transcripts from military and corporate training courses submitted for college credit through an accreditation service provided by ACE rose 35 percent in the last 10 years, and a consortium of colleges that agree to accept credit for military experience now awards an average of just under 18 credits per year to each of more than 45,000 service members.

Meanwhile, more than six million people are enrolled in one or more college classes online,the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board report.

“You’re seeing learning becoming much more open,” says Mark Milliron, chancellor of the Texas branch of Western Governors University, which awards degrees based on “real-world competencies” obtained from work experience and elsewhere. “People have access now to lots of different learning resources, and ways to prove what they’ve learned.”

Other than at a handful of accredited alternative universities such as Western Governors, however, getting a degree in this way depends on mainstream schools accepting nontraditional credits toward one, something they’ve been slow to do. After all, it cuts into their business of providing classroom education for a fee. There are also legitimate concerns about quality. Just because ACE accredits certain military and corporate courses for academic credit doesn’t mean that colleges are required to accept them, and there’s no way of tracking whether or not they do.

Last year, when the Department of Defense asked colleges that enroll service members under the department’s tuition reimbursement plan to accept more nontraditional credits—which would have saved the government money—the colleges balked, saying it was undue interference, and the Pentagon backed down.

But under growing pressure to improve graduation rates, more colleges and universities are coming to terms with this new higher-education model.

“What we’re seeing, in dramatic ways, is this kind of informal learning beginning to creep into the more formal learning environment,” says David Theo Goldberg, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and cofounder of the Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, which promotes technology in teaching.

A survey by the education marketing company Stamats found that offering credit for life experience helps attract the lucrative and growing segment of older-than-traditional-age college-goers. It’s also a way to meet the national goal of increasing the number of Americans with university degrees, since an estimated 37 million adults have almost, but not quite enough, college credits to get one, Milliron says.

And public universities, whose funding increasingly depends on graduation rates instead of enrollment, have an incentive to recruit students with career experience, who a CAEL study showed are more than twice as likely to graduate as students without it.

“Institutions of higher education are going to have to ask hard questions about whether internal barriers are stopping students who have learned something from getting credit for that learning because of institutional history or policy,” Milliron says.

Some states, including Colorado, Minnesota, and Vermont, aren’t waiting for their public universities to award credit for military and career experience. They’re ordering them to start that process. And a proposal in the California state Senate would push public universities in that state to accept credit for certain outside online courses, including some provided by for-profit companies.

 

One reason for all of this attention is that unconventional credit is often cheaper than the traditional kind, for both students and taxpayers. Applicants usually must pay fees to prove they’ve actually learned something elsewhere―say, by submitting portfolios or taking assessment tests―but a student who earns 15 credits for career experience can save from $1,605 at a large public university to $6,000 at a private one, according to CAEL. It also saves time. With their credits from “real-world” experience, Western Governors University says its students take an average of 35 months to earn a bachelor’s degree, compared to more than 50 months at other higher-education institutions. In March, the government gave the idea another boost by saying federal financial aid could be applied to the cost of assessing prior learning in this way.

Companies, organizations, and government agencies―including Microsoft, Disney-Pixar, Intel, NASA, and Mozilla, the company that developed the Firefox web browser—are now developing digital “badges,” which would track a person’s experience and skills in addition to, or even instead of, university degrees.

Several websites have sprung up to help students “bank” their credentials, or tell them which institutions will award them academic credit for career experience.

“People are finding themselves taking a smattering of credits and programs and life experiences, and would like to find a way for those to count,” says Ramin Sedehi, director of higher education consulting at the Berkeley Research Group.

Some activists are pushing this movement even further, suggesting that people forgo college altogether and do their higher learning elsewhere. That’s the subject of a new book called “Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will,” by Dale Stephens, head of an organization called UnCollege, who suggests that work experience, internships, online courses, and other alternatives provide the kind of education that employers value.

“I don’t have anything against universities or colleges,” says Stephens, who received a fellowship from billionaire Facebook founder Peter Thiel that pays students under 20 a $100,000 stipend to drop out of college and become entrepreneurs. “My problem is with people going to universities or colleges simply because they think that’s what expected of them.”


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Dr. Steven F. Simmons's curator insight, May 7, 2013 6:11 AM

This trend of a transient student and emergent college experience is in line with the new emergent workforce experience i.e. changing companies and even industries every couple of years. For those individuals who adopt a Protean career attitude (mindset that they are in charge of their career) this type of college experience will be appealing.

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Forget MOOCs--Let's Use MOOA

Forget MOOCs--Let's Use MOOA | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it

As colleges begin using massive open online courses (MOOC) to reduce faculty costs, a Johns Hopkins University professor has announced plans for MOOA (massive open online administrations). Dr. Benjamin Ginsberg, author of The Fall of the Faculty, says that many colleges and universities face the same administrative issues every day. By having one experienced group of administrators make decisions for hundreds of campuses simultaneously, MOOA would help address these problems expeditiously and economically. Since MOOA would allow colleges to dispense with most of their own administrators, it would generate substantial cost savings in higher education.

 

"Studies show that about 30 percent of the cost increases in higher education over the past twenty-five years have been the result of administrative growth," Ginsberg noted. He suggested that MOOA can reverse this spending growth.  "Currently, hundreds, even thousands, of vice provosts and assistant deans attend the same meetings and undertake the same activities on campuses around the U.S. every day," he said.  "Imagine the cost savings if one vice provost could make these decisions for hundreds of campuses."

 

Asked if this "one size fits all" administrative concept was realistic given the diversity of problems faced by thousands of schools, Ginsberg noted that a "best practices" philosophy already leads administrators to blindly follow one another's leads in such realms as planning, staffing, personnel issues, campus diversity, branding and, curriculum planning. The MOOA, said Ginsberg, would take "best practices" a step further and utilize it to realize substantial cost savings.

 

Ginsberg pointed to the realm of strategic planning. He said that thanks to to the best practices concept, hundreds of schools currently use virtually identical strategic plans. Despite the similarities, however, these plans cost each school hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars to develop. The MOOA would formalize the already extant cooperation by developing one plan that could be used by all colleges. Ginsberg estimates that had the MOOA planning concept been in use over the past ten years, schools would have saved more than a half billion dollars.  "One way to look at it," he said, "Is that through their tuitions students paid about $500 million for strategic planning that might have been used for curricular development or other educational purposes."  The MOOA plan, he declared, would end such wasteful duplication. 

According to Ginsberg, another place where the MOOA concept is immediately relevant is "branding."  Following contemporary business models, hundreds of schools pay consulting firms hundreds of thousands of dollars to help them improve their "brand" identities. The results of these expensive individual efforts often seem quite similar. For example, after a major and costly rebranding effort, the University of Chicago School of Medicine declared that its brand would be "University of Chicago Medicine." After working with consultants, the Johns Hopkins Medical School decided that its brand would be "Johns Hopkins Medicine." And, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School was helped by its consultants to coin the brand, "Penn Medicine." A MOOA might have identified a brand that all medical schools would be happy to use, such as "[School's Name] Medicine."   

Ginsberg also suggested that the "best practices" philosophy has led administrators at many schools to develop similar tasks and projects. At his own university, administrators created a "committee on traditions" to rediscover forgotten school traditions or, if necessary, to invent new ones. Similar committees had also been created by administrators on a number of other campuses including Emory, Duke, Middlebury, and Bowling Green.  "Interestingly," said Ginsberg, "administrators meeting on dozens of campuses have uncovered or devised very similar traditions." Substituting one MOOA "committee on traditions" for the dozens, perhaps hundreds of such committees would generate significant savings.   

Ginsberg has named his MOOA "Administeria," and plans to begin operations in early 2014.  He admits that widespread use of MOOAs could result in substantial unemployment among college bureaucrats. However, he noted that their skill sets make them qualified for work in such burgeoning industries as retail sales, hospitality, food services, event planning, and horticultural design. 

_______________

Benjamin Ginsberg is David Bernstein Professor of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University.

- See more at: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2013/06/forget_moocslets_use_mooa.html#sthash.cx3QvK4s.dpuf


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How Badges Really Work in Higher Education -- Campus Technology

How Badges Really Work in Higher Education -- Campus Technology | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
Digital badge initiatives at colleges and universities across the country are challenging assumptions about learning and assessment.

 

In 2011, as the University of California, Davis added a new major in sustainable agriculture and food systems, it sought to create a curriculum that would help students develop competencies for addressing the environmental, social, and economic challenges involving agriculture.

Because much of the work takes place outside the classroom, administrators wanted students to create their own portfolios where they could demonstrate all types of learning and activities. "This seemed to match well with digital badges," says Joanna Normoyle, internship coordinator and undergraduate adviser for UC-Davis' Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI). "We want to help students organize their thinking about their different learning experiences and tell their story. It seemed to us that badges could help take something that is highly abstract and concretize it."

The new major was selected as one of 30 winners of a MacArthur Foundation Digital Media & Learning Competition grant. That funding is supporting development of a digital portfolio that helps students build badges they can display on LinkedIn, Facebook, and to future employers. ASI initially worked with some third-party software developers but is now transitioning the badge system in-house. After 18 months of development work, the system is set to launch this fall.

"We want to roll it out carefully in our program," Normoyle says. "We are focused on the individual student experience of building a portfolio and earning badges, and ways that faculty can comment and connect with [students] as they do it."

Badges Get Serious 
Digital badges are getting a serious look on many university campuses because they may allow students to demonstrate a greater variety of skills. "A diploma says as much about the institution you attended as it does about you," notes Bill Wisser, instructional designer in the Graduate School of Education (HGSE) at Harvard University (MA). "A portfolio gets more granular, and badges can show individual records of accomplishment."

But badges are only as valuable as the metadata behind them, and that is why the Mozilla Open Badges infrastructure is important, he asserts. "The badge image itself means nothing," Wisser says. "But with Mozilla there is something behind it that links back to the issuer, the criteria it was issued under, and evidence verifying the credential."

Wisser, who will give a presentation on digital badges next month at the Campus Technology 2013conference in Boston, has some experience with badge deployment. Last year, he helped doctoral students at HGSE design a badge program to experiment with alternative credentialing. "They decided to create a badge system to get at the core theories in areas such as urban education and craft pathways to understanding," he explains.

The badges have several layers, Wisser says. While the top level signifies that you completed elements of the coursework, the badges have stripes for other accomplishments such as leading a discussion or teaching peers. "These badges are visible to other students, and if you are struggling in one area, you could turn to someone more accomplished--as shown by their badge--for help. Or if you were strong in a certain area and saw someone else was struggling, you could reach out to that person."

Challenges 
Wisser notes that at Harvard, there is not yet support for badges from upper-level administrators. "It is too early and it just hasn't come onto their radar yet," he says. Digital badge efforts are beginning to bubble up from the middle of universities, agrees Sheryl Grant, director of social networking for theHASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition and a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science. "It's not so much individual faculty members working alone and it's not the top administrators, but alliances of people on campus who are agitating from the middle," she says.

A badge effort may take more than a year to get off the ground. People from different parts of campus may come together and have different problems they want to solve, and that leads to different answers about the infrastructure they need and what types of assessment are required, Grant says. Universities that already embrace a competency-based model of curriculum development and assessment are able to move much faster on badges, she notes.

Adopting badges at the university level will present many challenges to the pioneers who try it, saysDan Hickey, associate professor of learning sciences and research scientist at the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University. "People don't know what they are getting into and it touches the whole ecosystem." Hickey is working on a grant from Google to offer a massive open online course (MOOC) that uses badges. "I have to negotiate with the university about whether I am allowed to use 'IU' on the badges I plan to issue with the course," he says. IU is basically telling early adopters to go ahead and innovate, and it will work through any policy issues later, Hickey says. "So they are pleased with our efforts and not hindering us," he adds, "but they see that there are some risks involved."

In his blog posts, Hickey has noted that efforts to implement badges within accredited academic programs could get complicated because changing accountability usually changes assessment, and changing assessment often calls for changes in instruction. One of the challenges, he says, is aligning badges with learning outcomes. "When they go to issue badges, teachers sometimes realize the claims they want to make are not really linked to evidence. They don't have the evidence of the learning outcomes."

Hickey is leading the DML Badges Design Principles Documentation project to document the badge design principles that emerge from the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning program. He suggests university officials ask themselves some initial questions about learning when considering using digital badges:

What sorts of claims will your badges make about the earners and what evidence will your badges contain to support those claims?What assumptions about learning will frame your consideration and implementation of badges?How will your badges program be introduced? Will it be a centralized effort or pockets of innovation?

Purdue's Passport 
One university that has embraced the concept of badges is Purdue (IN), which has developed its own Passport platform for their development. "We saw this as an emerging model for alternative credentialing and a means to provide students a way to capture evidence of the work they've done and align that with embedded learning outcomes," says Kyle Bowen, director of informatics in Information Technology. "We also think faculty can get creative with new forms of assessment."

Purdue has created the technology infrastructure to support badges, including tools to capture evidence, store it, and provide privacy controls. (Purdue's Passport platform integrates with the Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure, including Mozilla Backpack.)

In one early example of Passport's use, instructors are giving out badges for students who pass an 8-week MOOC-like course in nanotechnology that doesn't have credit attached. In another example, the provost's office has created a badge related to intercultural learning that students can earn for their work in different disciplines and departments. "One key element is the information attached to the badge, including who issued it," Bowen says. "Some of these fields are quite small, so who the instructor is can be important."

The next question for Purdue to explore is how to balance the ad-hoc use of badges as an element in a course or co-curricular activity vs. how they might be officially issued by the university. What would a more official collection of badges look like? "We are working on a way to articulate how evidence is captured and assessed within our core curriculum," Bowen says. "It will take time." 

How to Move Forward? 
Nicholas Langlie, director of planning, innovation, and implementation at Longwood University (VA), developed a badge system for use with a MOOC course on post-secondary readiness skills offered to high school students. The first time the course ran, 28 percent of those who signed up worked through 10 individual badges and completed the course. "Students found it engaging," Langlie says. "They can now show up for an interview or a college application with a digital representation [of their skills]. That might make them stand out."

With badges in mind, Longwood is now rethinking its approach to continuing education. "For instance," Langlie adds, "our statisticians in the business college are interested in teaching a class for K-12 teachers. They would get certifications in the form of a badge."

Yet Langlie believes that if you asked most faculty members on his campus, they would say they have no interest in badges. "They might say it is an interesting concept, but they would not be interested in using it in the traditional for-credit environment," he says. "And I think the upper administration is even more worried about assessment and accreditation issues. There needs to be more awareness that this doesn't supplant traditional assessment; it complements it. It would also help if accrediting agencies would express an opinion about digital badges."

Setting aside course credit, some universities are experimenting with digital badges to encourage engagement with the campus to improve student retention. Seton Hall University (NJ) students, for instance, can earn badges for participating in campus events.

There is a diversity of opinions in the badge community about giving badges for participation, says HASTAC's Grant. Some think if the badge system does not demonstrate a level of skill and tangible value, it may water down the concept of badging overall. While IU's Hickey agrees, he is excited by badges' potential role in deep engagement and participatory education. "We need to do a lot of work to understand motivation. The intrinsic/extrinsic motivation model is outdated and too narrow," he says. "The real question is, how does the introduction of the badge transform discourse? Do the students engage more deeply?"

Grant estimates that it may be five years before university presidents and provosts start feeling real pressure to have badge programs. "But I think it is only going to take one university coming up with a scalable model to get the momentum going, and I think one of the land grant universities will do it."

Referring to her own graduate work, Grant notes that if there were two top Ph.D. programs in her field, one that allowed her to work toward badges in defined competencies through a combination of coursework and field experience and another that didn't, "there's no question which one I would choose."

HGSE's Wisser thinks the digital badge movement will stay at the faculty level for a while longer as technology companies and open source consortia work to make badges easier to deploy. "We will see more educational research on their use and impact," he says, "and more buy-in and slow growth as part of the electronic portfolio."


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Reinventing education for millennials: Anant Agarwal at TEDGlobal 2013 | TED Blog

Reinventing education for millennials: Anant Agarwal at TEDGlobal 2013 | TED Blog | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
Anant Agarwal shares insights from EdX.com, a program offering "massively open online courses" (MOOCs) from prestigious universities

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5 Factors Influencing Design in Digital Education in 2014 | Acrobatiq

5 Factors Influencing Design in Digital Education in 2014 | Acrobatiq | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
Five factors are elevating the role of design in digital higher education, and specifically, in the course design and development process.

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susangautsch's curator insight, January 16, 7:44 PM

1. Design and learner data - quick synthesis & frictionless navigation

2. Design as a competitive differentiator -- as Dan Pink noted, Apple proved

3. Consumer-education apps crossover - We all use consumer tools in class

4. Big media investing in education - high production values

5. The Design Quality of apps - drive our usage


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Colleges move to digital transcripts managed by outside firms | Inside Higher Ed

Colleges move to digital transcripts managed by outside firms | Inside Higher Ed | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it

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susangautsch's curator insight, February 1, 4:52 PM

The much-maligned college transcript is finally going digital.

A small group of private firms are seeing increasing demand for their repositories for e-transcripts, as colleges move away from paper versions for both incoming and outgoing students.

...

Electronic transcripts can include more information, often including links to descriptions and examples of students’ work, knowledge and skills. For example, Reilly points to Stanford University’s electronic transcripts, which can feature “hot links” to a wealth of information that a static, paper version could not convey.

 

When they are used this way, digital transcripts share similarities with other emerging forms of credentials, including digital badges, competency-based transcripts and new skills certifications from testing firms.

 

Pittinsky, an ed-tech veteran who co-founded Blackboard, has been pushing the concept of a “next gen” transcript that would be digital, standardized, portable and national -- or even global. Something like this already exists in the United Kingdom – the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).

 

Ideally digital transcripts would be “stackable,” Pittinsky said, meaning students could easily bring them along as they earn additional degrees, certificates and other credentials.

 

But he said a set of broadly agreed-upon standards and a common document structure are necessary for that idea to take off. “The challenge is that we end up in the tower of Babel,” said Pittinsky.


Officials at colleges that have made the switch said digital transcripts are cheaper and more efficient than paper versions. Those savings can benefit both students and institutions.

 

Cateret recently signed on with Parchment. The company handles student requests for transcripts as well as their distribution. 


Student accounts with Parchment are free. And they can stack all their credentials with the company’s transcript exchange.

Parchment charges institutions for the outsourced transcript processing. And students typically pay a small amount -- ranging from $3 to $10 -- to institutions to have digital transcripts distributed, printed and mailed. Colleges often use that revenue to help offset the Parchment fee.



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What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should)

What You Don’t Know About Financial Aid (but Should) | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
Students have more tools than ever to decipher and compare financial aid packages. But why is it still so confusing, and why can’t you afford what colleges say you can?

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susangautsch's curator insight, April 10, 5:38 PM

How's anyone to
 understand how colleges define basic, crucial terms like “need,” “aid” or “need-blind admission,” and she does not know that those definitions vary from place to place. Her confusion is distressingly common, as demonstrated in studies, surveys and interviews with students and parents.

An array of policy analysts from think tanks to the White House say things should change. “It’s a ridiculously complicated system, if you can even call it a system, and a lot of people don’t get it,” said Sandy Baum, a research professor at George Washington University’s graduate education school, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a leading expert on college pricing. “If you put five aid offers from different colleges together, they’re all different, and it’s very, very difficult to compare. That problem could be solved.”

 
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CAT 2014: Focus on Accuracy, attempt 60% question correctly; Topper Gaurav Awal Advice

CAT 2014: Focus on Accuracy, attempt 60% question correctly; Topper Gaurav Awal Advice | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
CAT 2014 Exam strategy revealed by CAT Topper Gaurav. Reap the benefit from the success stories of past CAT toppers and their preparation strategy for CAT 2014

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CAT Verbal Ability Question of the Day! - Forums

CAT Verbal Ability Question of the Day! - Forums | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
This forum article will provide you CAT Verbal Ability questions of past years and CAT 2014 Probable questions for Verbal Ability. Practising these questions

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TAPMI Manipal opens admission for PGDM 2015-17 batch; Apply by Dec 31, 2014

TAPMI Manipal opens admission for PGDM 2015-17 batch; Apply by Dec 31, 2014 | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
T. A. Pai Management Institute (TAPMI) is all set to announce the Admissions-2015 to its 3 flagship 2-year fully residential Post Graduate Programs

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CAT 2014 Test day video launched; Examinees to report 2 hours before the test at Exam centre

CAT 2014 Test day video launched; Examinees to report 2 hours before the test at Exam centre | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
CAT 2014 Exam centre released test day video. CAT 2014 aspirants going to take the test either in morning or afternoon session will have to report 2 hrs before the start of exam

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CAT 2014: 5 big changes revealed on Test day Video; listen and read carefully

CAT 2014: 5 big changes revealed on Test day Video; listen and read carefully | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
CAT 2014 Test Day Video has brought about number of changes to be followed by the CAT 2014 test takers on the examination day

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Need To Grow Your EdTech Startup? Edtech Incubators Are Popping Up Everywhere

Need To Grow Your EdTech Startup? Edtech Incubators Are Popping Up Everywhere | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
There is no question that education is an unusual industry: Nonprofit ventures compete with for-profits. (In fact, it’s frequently hard to tell them apart.) The “users” of products aren’t typically the folks who are the “buyers” of products.

 

Need To Grow Your EdTech Startup? Edtech Incubators Are Popping Up Everywhere

 

There is no question that education is an unusual industry: Nonprofit ventures compete with for-profits. (In fact, it’s frequently hard to tell them apart.) The “users” of products aren’t typically the folks who are the “buyers” of products. The marketplace is a jigsaw puzzle of districts, charters, and others, crisscrossed with bureaucracy and conflicting demands. And the entrepreneurs are, for the most part, young and untested in the ways of building businesses.

For those kinds of reasons, it made perfect sense when three experienced Internet businessmen started an education technology incubator, Imagine K12, in early 2011.

More choice is better for all the participants involved, from kids and teachers to startups themselves.

And since incubators are kind of geographic hot spots, it made sense that entrepreneurs on the East Coast should have one, too. And maybe in the middle of the country. And in the south. Then there were more. (Here’s our list of the current state of edtech incubators.)

So far in 2013, the U.S. alone has seen five new edtech incubators and accelerators. And whether by coincidence or design, all five decided to announce their arrival this February, making the month look like a weekly show of one-upmanship.

It’s a telling sign of the convergence of dynamic energies: a supply of talented and passionate entrepreneurs devoted to the space, renewed faith in the education market among investors, and a global belief in the potential for technology to better education. But is it too much?

FEBRUARY’S FAB FIVE

Boston-based nonprofit LearnLaunch got the ball rolling on February 1 when it announced the LearnLaunchX accelerator program. LearnLaunch grew out of an existing organization, EdTechup, that had organized a regular series of local meetups and events around education entrepreneurship. The six to eight startups selected for LearnLaunchX will start school on April 1.

Socratic Labs, based in New York City, debuted its inaugural class a week later on February 7 (even though it quietly began operations in fall 2012). It will run two cohorts a year, with eight to 10 startups per cohort. The three founding directors--Heather Gilchrist, Rusty Grieff, and Farb Nivi--all hail from Grockit. Particularly notable is a program Gilchrist is spearheading called Edtech Passport: entrepreneurs involved with Socratic, LearnLaunch, 4.0 Schools (a “pre-incubator” in New Orleans), and others will have a “passport” to travel among the incubators that are part of the network and “enjoy the perks of a local network in regional hubs across the country.” This includes attending classes, using work spaces, and sharing access to each other’s networks of schools, investors, and other community resources and stakeholders. Socratic’s mantra: “Education is not a zero-sum game.”

Education is not a zero-sum game.

On February 18, TechStars CEO and founder David Cohen, along with Kaplan CEO Andy Rosen, announced they were joining forces for the Kaplan EdTech Accelerator. The program boasts a flashy lineup of mentors, including Deborah Quazzo, founder of GSV Advisors, and CEOs from big-name edtech startups like Knewton and Dreambox Learning. The program, also based in NYC, will work with ten startups every year, beginning this June.

Two days after the Kaplan-TechStars announcement, Pearson launched its own incubator, Catalyst. It’s an incubator in the loosest sense: Ten startups with “products that complement or enhance a Pearson brand” will be partnered with those teams and work together. (This has raised eyebrows and dismissals of the program as an “easy-bake oven” that takes piggyback technologies from others to promote existing Pearson products.)

That very same day, FurtherEd, which made its name in the online continuing education space for professionals, announced its very own edtech incubator in partnership withProgress Partners, a finance and M&A advisory firm. FurtherEd CEO Schnurman is still finalizing financial details of his program, but he plans to work with up to 10 small (2- to 3-person) teams in FurtherEd’s new downtown New York office.

The United States is not alone with the edu-bator craze. Other countries have caught the bug as well:

London recently welcomed the U.K.’s first edtech incubator, the “Edtech Incubator” (so much for a name). And there are rumors of another one on the way.Israel is building an education technology oasis with MindCET, which offers two programs for startups. In its first year, the accelerator is currently working with 10 startups in different stages of development.The Brazilian government is also getting in on the dance with Startup Brasil, which offers up to $100K to woo tech entrepreneurs, particularly those working on education, to set up shop in the country. There’s a bit of a competitive streak going on there, too: Startup Chile is on track to host 1,000 startups by 2014.MAKING SENSE OF THE NUMBERS

Too many? Are they fueling a bubble? “From the ecosystem perspective, more choice is better for all the participants involved, from kids and teachers to startups themselves,” says Alan Louie, a founding partner at Imagine K12 (who is stepping back from his day-to-day role). “Education is not a unified market by any means. There are a lot of cultural differences between regions, which means they each have different strengths and needs.”

Even so, that collection of incubators promise easily more than 100 edtech startups a year. How many of them will survive? NewSchools Venture Fund counted 34 seed financings in 2012. We’re keeping count, too. From there, a portion are likely to get snapped up in acquisitions: CB Insights counted 99 M&A edtech deals in 2011 and 2012. Traditional publishers like Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Wiley & Sons have been among the top acquirers, with the top disclosed deal worth $650 million. Startups are getting into the action as well, as seen in Edmodo’s acquisition of Root-1 in March 2013 orRosetta Stone’s recent purchase of Livemocha.

And that might be enough momentum to keep the incubators going. Our back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that most incubators have about a $1 million-a-year burn rate. (Figure $400,000 for the 20 startups, a similar amount for managing partners, and the rest for rent, other services, and events.) Just a few deals should keep the incubators humming.

“We [the U.S] probably can’t support 20 of these things, but five is probably more reasonable,” quipped Louie.

But some final words of wisdom for those thinking about joining the incubator bandwagon: It’s more than just offering money, work space, and connections. “Most people don’t realize how much work they have to put in,” says Gilchrist. “Imagine managing eight startups, on top of your own.”

By Tony Wan, Associate Editor, Ed Surge


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Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream

Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it

A CERTAIN drama has become familiar in the United States (and some other advanced industrialized countries): Bankers encourage people to borrow beyond their means, preying especially on those who are financially unsophisticated. They use their political influence to get favorable treatment of one form or another. Debts mount. Journalists record the human toll. Then comes bewilderment: How could we let this happen again? Officials promise to fix things. Something is done about the most egregious abuses. People move on, reassured that the crisis has abated, but suspecting that it will recur soon.

The crisis that is about to break out involves student debt and how we finance higher education. Like the housing crisis that preceded it, this crisis is intimately connected to America’s soaring inequality, and how, as Americans on the bottom rungs of the ladder strive to climb up, they are inevitably pulled down — some to a point even lower than where they began.

This new crisis is emerging even before the last one has been resolved, and the two are becoming intertwined. In the decades after World War II, homeownership and higher education became signs of success in America.

Before the housing bubble burst in 2007, banks persuaded low- and moderate-income homeowners that they could turn their houses and apartments into piggy banks. They seduced them into taking out home-equity loans — and in the end, millions lost their homes. In other cases, the banks, mortgage brokers and real-estate agents pushed aspiring homeowners to borrow beyond their means. The wizards of finance, who prided themselves on risk management, sold toxic mortgages that were designed to explode. They bundled the dubious loans into complex financial instruments and sold them to unsuspecting investors.

Everyone recognizes that education is the only way up, but as a college degree becomes increasingly essential to making one’s way in a 21st-century economy, education for those not to the manner born is increasingly unaffordable. Student debt for seniors graduating with loans now exceeds $26,000, about a 40 percent increase (not adjusted for inflation) in just seven years. But an “average” like this masks huge variations.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, almost 13 percent of student-loan borrowers of all ages owe more than $50,000, and nearly 4 percent owe more than $100,000. These debts are beyond students’ ability to repay, (especially in our nearly jobless recovery); this is demonstrated by the fact that delinquency and default rates are soaring. Some 17 percent of student-loan borrowers were 90 days or more behind in payments at the end of 2012. When only those in repayment were counted — in other words, not including borrowers who were in loan deferment or forbearance — more than 30 percent were 90 days or more behind. For federal loans taken out in the 2009 fiscal year, three-year default ratesexceeded 13 percent.

America is distinctive among advanced industrialized countries in the burden it places on students and their parents for financing higher education. America is also exceptional among comparable countries for the high cost of a college degree, including at public universities.Average tuition, and room and board, at four-year colleges is just short of $22,000 a year, up from under $9,000 (adjusted for inflation) in 1980-81.

Compare this more-than-doubling in tuition with the stagnation in median family income, which is now about $50,000, compared to $46,000 in 1980 (adjusted for inflation).

Like much else, the problem of student debt worsened during the Great Recession: tuition costs at public universities increased by 27 percent in the past five years — partly because of cutbacks — while median income shrank. In California, inflation-adjusted tuition more than doubled in public two-year community colleges (which for poorer Americans are often the key to upward mobility), and by more than 70 percent in four-year public schools, from 2007-8 to 2012-13.

With costs soaring, incomes stagnating and little help from government, it was not surprising that total student debt, around $1 trillion, surpassed total credit-card debt last year. Responsible Americans have learned how to curb their credit-card debt — many have forsaken them for debit cards, or educated themselves about usurious interest rates, fees and penalties charged by card issuers — but the challenge of controlling student debt is even more unsettling.

Curbing student debt is tantamount to curbing social and economic opportunity. College graduates earn $12,000 more per year than those without college degrees; the gap has almost tripled just since 1980. Our economy is increasingly reliant on knowledge-related industries. No matter what happens with currency wars and trade balances, the United States is not going to return to making textiles. Unemployment rates among college graduates are much lower than among those with only a high school diploma.

America — home of the land-grant university, the G.I. Bill and world-class public universities from California to Michigan to Texas — has fallen from the top in terms of university education. With strangling student debt, we are likely to fall further. What economists call “human capital” — investing in people — is a key to long-term growth. To be competitive in the 21st century is to have a highly educated labor force, one with college and advanced degrees. Instead, we are foreclosing on our future as a nation.

Student debt also is a drag on the slow recovery that began in 2009. By dampening consumption, it hinders economic growth. It is also holding back recovery in real estate, the sector where the Great Recession started.

It’s true that housing prices seem to be on the upswing, but home construction is far from the levels reached in the years before the bubble burst of 2007.

Those with huge debts are likely to be cautious before undertaking the additional burdens of a family. But even when they do, they will find it more difficult to get a mortgage. And if they do, it will be smaller, and the real estate recovery will consequently be weaker. (One study of recent Rutgers University graduates showed that 40 percent had delayed making a major home purchase, and for a quarter, the high level of debt had an effect on household formation or getting further education. Another recent study showed that homeownership among 30-year-olds with a history of student debt fell by more than 10 percentage points during the Great Recession and in its aftermath.)

It’s a vicious cycle: lack of demand for housing contributes to a lack of jobs, which contributes to weak household formation, which contributes to a lack of demand for housing.

As bad as things are, they may get worse. With budgetary pressures mounting — along with demands for cutbacks in “discretionary domestic programs” (read: K-12 education subsidies, Pell Grants for poor kids to attend college, research money) — students and families are left to fend for themselves. College costs will continue to rise far faster than incomes. As has been repeatedly observed, all of the economic gains since the Great Recession have gone to the top 1 percent.

Consider another dubious distinction: student debt is almost impossible to discharge in bankruptcy proceedings.

We’re a long way from the debtors’ prisons Dickens described. We don’t send debtors to penal colonies or put them in bonded labor. Although personal bankruptcy laws have been tightened, the principle that bankrupt individuals should be allowed a fresh start, and a chance to discharge excessive debt, is an established principle. This helps debt markets work better, and also provides incentives for creditors to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers.

Yet education loans are almost impossible to write off in bankruptcy court — even when for-profit schools didn’t deliver what they promised and didn’t provide an education that would let the borrower get a job that paid enough to pay back the loan.

We should cut off federal support for these for-profit schools when they fail to graduate students, who don’t get jobs and then default on their loans.

To its credit, the Obama administration tried to make it tougher for these predatory schools to lure students with false promises. Under the new rules, schools had to meet one of three tests, or lose their eligibility for federal student aid: at least 35 percent of graduates had to be repaying their loans; the typical graduate’s estimated annual loan payments could not exceed 12 percent of earnings; or the payments could not exceed 30 percent of discretionary income. But in 2012, a federal judge struck down the rules as arbitrary; the rules remain in legal limbo.

The combination of predatory for-profit schools and predatory lenders is a leech on America’s poor. These schools have even gone after young veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are heart-rending stories of parents who co-signed student loans — only to see their child killed in an accident or die of cancer or another disease — and, like students, can’t easily discharge these debts.

Interest rates on federal Stafford loans were set to double in July, to 6.8 percent.  Good news came on Friday: it appears that there is a temporary reprieve, as Republicans have come around. But the stay would be temporary and would not address a more fundamental issue: if the Federal Reserve is willing to lend to the banks that caused the crisis at just 0.75 percent, shouldn’t it be willing to lend to students, who will be crucial to our long-term recovery, at an appropriately low rate? The government shouldn’t be profiting from our poorest while subsidizing our richest. A proposal by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, for lower student-loan interest rates is a step in the right direction.

Along with tougher regulation of for-profit schools and the banks they connive with, and more humane bankruptcy laws, we must give more support to middle-class families struggling to send their children to college, to ensure that they have a standard of living at least equal to that of their parents.

But a real long-term solution requires rethinking how we finance higher education. Australia has designed a system of publicly provided income-contingent loans that all students must take out. Repayments vary according to individual income after graduation. This aligns the incentives of the providers of education and the receivers. Both have an incentive to see that students do well. It means that if an unfortunate event happens, like an illness or an accident, the loan obligation is automatically reduced. It means that the burden of the debt is always commensurate with an individual’s ability to repay. The repayments are collected through the tax system, minimizing the administrative costs.

Some wonder how the American ideal of equality of opportunity has eroded so much. The way we finance higher education provides part of the answer. Student debt has become an integral part of the story of American inequality. Robust higher education, with healthy public support, was once the linchpin in a system that promised opportunity for dedicated students of any means. We now have a pay-to-play, winner-take-all game where the wealthiest are assured a spot, and the rest are compelled to take a gamble on huge debts, with no guarantee of a payoff.

Even if compassion isn’t a factor — even if we focus just on recovery now and growth and innovation tomorrow — we must do something about student debt. Those concerned about the damage America’s growing divide is doing to our ideals and our moral character should put student debt at the top of any reform agenda.


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Catching on at last - The Economist

Catching on at last - The Economist | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it


 New technology is poised to disrupt America’s schools, and then the world’s
IN A small school on the South Side of Chicago, 40 children between the ages of five and six sit quietly learning in a classroom. In front of each of them is a computer running software called Reading Eggs. Some are reading a short story, others building sentences with words they are learning. The least advanced are capturing all the upper- and lower-case Bs that fly past in the sky. As they complete each task they move through a cartoon map that shows how far they have progressed in reading and writing. Along the way they collect eggs which they can use to buy objects in the game, such as items to furnish their avatar’s apartment. Now and then a child will be taken aside for scheduled reading periods with one of the two monitoring teachers.

The director of North Kenwood-Oakland school says this sort of teaching, blending software with human intervention, helps her pupils learn faster. It also allows teachers at this school—which, like other charter schools, is publicly funded but has some freedom to teach as it likes—to spend more time teaching and less time marking written work and leading pupils through dull drills of words and numbers. On top of that the school gains an accurate, continuous record of each child’s performance through the data its various programs collect and analyse.

 

The idea that technology can revolutionise education is not new. In the 20th century almost every new invention was supposed to have big implications for schools. Companies promoting typewriters, moving pictures, film projectors, educational television, computers and CD-ROMS have all promised to improve student performance. A great deal of money went into computers for education in the dot.com boom of the late 1990s, to little avail, though big claims were advanced for the difference they would make.

These claims were not entirely false: some bright, motivated children did use new technologies to learn things they would have missed otherwise. In many classrooms, too, computers have been used to improve efficiency and keep pupils engaged. But they did not transform learning in the way their boosters predicted. It is wise, therefore, to be sceptical about the claims made for the current wave of innovation. Yet there are also reasons to believe that a profound shift is occurring.

Over the course of the 20th century mass education produced populations more literate, numerate and productive than any the world had seen before. But it did so, usually, in an impersonal manner, with regimented rows of children chanting their times-tables as Teacher tapped the blackboard with a cane. Schooling could never be tailored to each child, unless you employed lots of teachers.

Teaching programs that monitor children’s progress can change that, performing a role more like that of the private tutors and governesses employed long ago in wealthier households. Data derived from each child’s responses can be used to tailor what he sees or hears next on the computer screen. The same data also allow continual assessment of his abilities and shortcomings, letting schools, teachers and parents understand both the pupil himself and the way human beings learn.

Such learning—called “adaptive” in the trade—is not the only advantage technology offers to today’s teachers and pupils. Online resources, from wikis to podcasts to training videos, are allowing both children and adults to pursue education on their own, either instead of learning in schools or colleges or as a supplement. It is, in the words of Bill Gates, who follows developments in this area closely and whose foundation funds some of them, “a special time in education”.

This is in part because it is a special time for information technologies in general. The capacity, and mindset, to design systems that use and make sense of large amounts of data gathered on the fly is coming of age. This makes it possible to track things like the “decay curve”, which governs a pupil’s fading recall of what has been taught. And more or less everything is getting remarkably cheap to provide, thanks to faster processing, widely available broadband and the resources of cloud computing. Mr Gates says that putting an hour of video online cost $400 in the late 1990s. Today it costs around two cents.

The main reason for optimism, though, is the evidence coming in from classrooms. Adoption of education technology in America’s state-funded schools was given a boost by a requirement to measure pupil performance in the No Child Left Behind Act, signed by George W. Bush. Online learning was first picked up in some surprising places, including rural Idaho, where schools were looking for ways to expand the limited curriculums they were able to offer. Barack Obama’s Race to the Top initiative gave a further shove, making billions of dollars available to states willing to innovate. At the beginning of June his administration announced a plan to give 99% of America’s students access to high-speed internet within five years.

Those schools that have pressed on have done rather well. Rocketship, a chain of seven charter schools in San Jose, California, blends traditional teaching with at least an hour a day of individualised online instruction in mathematics, literacy and comprehension. Its low-income pupils outperform those living in the wealthiest districts in the state. Over on the east coast Mark Edwards, superintendent of the Mooresville graded school district in North Carolina, introduced personalised learning on laptops for all pupils aged ten and over in 2009. His district is now one of the state’s leading performers, despite being close to the bottom in funding per pupil. Between 2009 and 2012 the share of its pupils considered proficient in maths, science and reading rose from 73% to 88%.

As well as evidence from these schools, the effectiveness of particular bits of software has been studied. The Department of Education spent four years evaluating literacy programs; it concluded that Read 180, a program to help students who have fallen behind in reading, was good at combating adult illiteracy. A randomised control trial of Cognitive Tutor, which helps teachers identify weaknesses and strengths in maths, among 400 15-year-olds in Oklahoma found that children using the program reached the same level of proficiency as the control group in 12% less time.

Meanwhile, the Khan Academy, a creator of online tutorials widely used as a form of home tutoring, is beginning to provide hard evidence for why it is considered one of edtech’s rising stars. At Oakland Unity, in tough inner-city Oakland, test scores for 16-17-year-olds in algebra and geometry have risen significantly in the two years since Khan courses were introduced. These courses are now being adopted by the Los Altos school district, also in California, which is already one of the best-performing in America. Khan Academy pinpoints the way in which edtech can turn conventional education on its head: in its “flipped classroom” pupils are no longer given lectures in the classroom and set problems as homework, but watch instructional videos at home and work on problems in class, where teachers and peers can help them.

Game theory for investors

In short, though, this latest wave of education technology is too new and eclectic to have proved its worth definitively. It is still mostly a matter of patching together different bits; only Amplify, the education arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, claims to have a product (available on tablets) that offers an integrated curriculum for a child. Research also suggests that the way the technology is used in the classroom is at least as important as having it there. “It is appalling how little is actually known about the outcomes produced by various forms of online learning,” says William Bowen, once president of Princeton University and author of a new book on technology in higher education, a field that is also being revolutionised thanks to online courses known as MOOCs.

This uncertainty has not stopped companies from wagering lots of money on its success. Several big education companies have been investing heavily in technology ever since the 1990s. Pearson (a part-owner of The Economist) says it has spent over $9 billion in the past decade on technological upgrades for its education business. News Corp is also taking a big bet on Amplify, run by Joel Klein, a former chancellor of schools in New York City (and one-time antitrust nemesis of Mr Gates). Amplify’s office, in an old warehouse in New York’s DUMBO district, contains not only classrooms, where students and teachers use new technology, but groups of former teachers working with software engineers, graphic artists, psychometricians and game designers to produce new content.

Much of the new technology at Amplify and elsewhere leans strongly on what has been learned in the games industry and in social-network businesses. Games get pupils more engaged, says Nt Etuk, the founder of DimensionU, which develops interactive games to teach mathematics and science. A lot of programming, design and artistry go into creating apps where students can compete with or assist each other, and which reward successful activity. One of the main global mathematics websites, Mathletics—used by children in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Britain and New Zealand as well as America—allows children to earn certificates, appear on international leader boards and earn “gold coins” which they can use to buy upgrades to their avatars. Kaplan, an education company owned by the Washington Post, has recently announced a partnership with Badgeville, a “gamification” specialist that works in all sorts of industries, to come up with learning games that can recognise good achievement by displaying badges on the screen.

Other organisations funding the application of all this potential to education include companies who, like Pearson, are already established in education as providers of textbooks and other resources; companies already established in technology who see big new markets (Apple says it sold 3m iPads to American educational institutions last year); and companies established in other businesses who see edtech as a big opportunity.

Then there are legions of start-ups, backed by an American venture-capital crowd that has proclaimed edtech to be the new thing. According to GSV Advisors, a consultancy, investment in edtech soared to $1.1 billion in 2012. The Education Innovation Summit held in Scottsdale in April was crawling with would-be investors; presentations from new companies were packed. Investment in the education sector in 2011 was almost as high in nominal terms as the dot.com peak, and was higher in terms of volume (see chart).

Hurdles to jump

Data-driven technology may have more impact on education in developing countries, but the first big wave of investment and experimentation is in America, which has a large technology industry, venture capitalists and philanthropists with experience in the field, and a culture of eagerly trying new things. It also has the promise of markets both large (the state school curriculum is increasingly uniform) and niche (in specialised schools).

For all that, formidable barriers still exist to getting education technology into America’s schools. These range from the prosaic to the ideological. America’s 13,000 school districts still upgrade their texts and equipment on slow, unsynchronised cycles and follow a bewildering range of procurement processes. Glenn Anderson, a former Washington state legislator and consultant on education policy, emphasises that education is a highly regulated public utility in which rules can govern everything, from what goes into textbooks to how many children there are in a class. And local politicians can change rules or policy unpredictably. This causes problems for a start-up which wants to get its technology into a lot of schools. Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, takes the problem so seriously that it avoids any edtech investment in which a school or school district would be the main buyer.

One way round this is for small companies to be swallowed up by the education arms of established corporate giants. Wireless Generation, a personalised-learning firm that has become the core of Amplify, was bought by News Corp in 2010 for $340m. McGraw-Hill Education bought Bookette, a company that provides online performance measurement, in 2011, and an adaptive-learning company, Aleks Corp, in June. Pearson acquired Schoolnet, another personalised-learning firm, for $230m in 2011 and Embanet Compass, which provides online services to higher education, for $650m in 2012.

Another start-up strategy, which avoids having to deal with the difficulties of winning procurement contracts in such a complex market, is to give the wares away. This, the companies hope, will convince students, teachers and parents to adopt the technology on their own or push to make it more available. Quizlet offers a flashcard tool this way; Noodle, a course-recommendation service; Chegg, help with homework. Their theory is that once the technology is widely used it will be easier to persuade schools to spend money on expensive offerings.

Persuading schools to buy is only the first step, though. America’s teaching unions fear a hidden agenda of replacing properly trained humans with some combination of technology and less qualified manpower, or possibly just technology. Unions have filed lawsuits to close down online charter schools, including what looks like a deliberately obtuse proposal to limit enrolment at such virtual schools to those who live in their districts.

These concerns are not completely unfounded. Teachers at Rocketship’s schools in San Jose earn 20% more than the local going rate, but will have up to 100 children in a class when they are working one-to-one in online learning laboratories. This gives Rocketship lower costs compared with schools of a similar size. It also means fewer teachers per pupil. Unions also suspect that more technology implies heavy-handed monitoring of teacher performance, a worry reinforced when Mr Gates proposed putting a camera in every classroom to help with assessments.

The promise in all this for teachers is less drudgery, since some of their duller tasks can be automated, and interesting new challenges as they work out how to reorganise their classes. If the technology can be used as an extra pair of hands in the classroom, teachers will find it possible to do more. The American Federation of Teachers has invested $10m alongside TSL Education, a British firm, in a joint venture called sharemylesson.com, a website that lets teachers share lesson plans and other tips. Lore, a New York start up recently acquired by Noodle, has developed a platform somewhat like Facebook where teachers can share coursework and grades, and where pupils can converse with their teacher and each other. A similar network, called Edmodo, lets parents in too.

Even if teachers and their unions can be persuaded, two worries will linger. One is what all those pupil-data will be used for. “We get millions of data points per day,” says Jose Ferreira, the founder of Knewton, a New York company which offers ways of adapting content to individual pupils, and makes it easier to spot when a pupil will fail. “We know more about our users than any company has ever known about anyone.” As with any enterprise involving big data, it is possible to imagine such stores of information being misused.

The second worry is that the benefits of all this change may end up disproportionately with the rich, the bright and the highly motivated, who already make most use of online resources. The worry may be misplaced, though. Used properly, edtech offers both the struggling and the brilliant a route to higher achievement. The point is to maximise the potential of every child.

As the Council on Foreign Relations reported recently, America continues to slip down the international rankings in education, falling during the past three decades from first to tenth in the educational level of those leaving high school, and from third to 13th for college students. Education technology could reverse this trend—if it is not jinxed by politics, bureaucracy and outdated institutional structures. Countries where it is not now have the chance to race ahead.

 


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Fujitsu and MIT Announce First-of-its-kind Breakthrough Higher Education Learning Platform : Fujitsu Canada

Fujitsu and MIT Announce First-of-its-kind Breakthrough Higher Education Learning Platform : Fujitsu Canada | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
Navigation and simulation technology solves challenges of online learning systems

 

Sunnyvale, CA and Cambridge, MA, June 17, 2013 — At the Sixth Conference of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC), Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc. and MIT have jointly announced a first-of-its-kind, revolutionary asynchronous, personalized learning platform – Guided Learning Pathways.

Guided Learning Pathways is a result of the companies’ joint research program focused on overcoming the challenges in traditional online learning systems, including finding appropriate learning materials and personalizing learning pathway of learners. Guided Learning Pathways is designed to address these critical problems for learners. As a result, two technologies have been developed and applied in the research. One is navigation technology, which can organize massive online learning materials into multi-layer topics. The other technology developed is the students’ learning behavior simulation based on an advanced probabilistic learner model. Fujitsu Laboratories of America and MIT will continuously research and develop Guided Learning Pathways, and apply it to the massive online learning systems for colleges and enterprises.

“We are pleased to collaborate with MIT to address a critical need in today’s online education environments” said Yasunori Kimura, President and CEO of Fujitsu Laboratories of America. “Our joint solution will enable students to rapidly acquire knowledge that is customized to their learning requirements”.

Full details of the research will be presented at the conference being held from June 16-19, 2013.

Background
From high schools, through college, and continuing to early and mid-career, increasingly learners throughout the world are using the Internet to gain new knowledge and skills. The goals may be to study for a pre-college Advanced Placement (AP) test, to learning subject matter toward a bachelor’s degree, to obtaining knowledge and skills that are directly needed in one’s job, and much more. The trend towards online learning has grown recently due to the prevalence of Open Educational Resources (OER), where educational content is available free of charge. Additional growth is due to very recent creation of, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), where over 100,000 students may take a course at one time.

These 21st Century Internet-enabled developments have not, however, been matched by comparable developments in methods of presenting educational materials to students in ways compatible with their varying learning styles and educational needs. Almost always the educational content is accepted to be a ‘course’ as in college course, where all the students learn a “course’s worth” of identical material and at the same speed. This old-fashioned industrial model acts on students as if they were identical mechanical widgets passing through a production process. But in fact no two students learn the same way nor do they naturally at the same speed.

GLP Concept Design
Online technology is allowing the ultimate personalization of the Internet experience—why not for education as well? E-commerce sites recommend things that you can buy that other shoppers—similar to you—also bought. Search engines tailor results that fit your personal interests. The same concepts and technologies can be brought to bear on education, to recommend to learners which “learning nuggets” to study.

Nuggets are learning materials that teach a single, atomistic concept with a domain like calculus (for example, derivatives). Examples of nuggets are a homework problem to be done online; a video snippet (e.g., lecture, real world application, Khan Academy video), shorter than ten minutes; a pop quiz for self-assessment of content knowledge; an animation, possibly interactive; a simulation, also possibly interactive; a web-based lab experiment; a short educational game; or a small section of textual material, typically less than one page in length.

By breaking domains into atomistic concepts and populating each concept with a wide variety of learning nuggets, GLP will be able to eliminate the Industrial Age “course” and tailor each individual’s education to suit their interests. As shown in Figure 1, each learner can follow his or her own pathway through the material. We can imagine that learners engage with nuggets that fit their non-academic interests, and intelligent tutors in GLP understand their strengths and weaknesses. Badging and rewards can also bring a fun element to learning and show learners how academic topics relate to the “real world”. For example, a learner studying calculus who loves music might go to an interactive simulation, which examines the singing behaviors of musicians. Among other things, it shows spectral patterns of the singing, the first and second derivatives of various elements of each song (e.g., decibels, real time change in frequency), and it allows the learner to alter recorded voices according to some calculus parameters to hear what the singer would have sounded like under those revised circumstances.

 

Figure 1: Learning Path and Nugget Recommendations

 

Technological Issues
Many technological challenges exist for creating GLP; our research project has addressed some critical issues. First, while there are huge amount of OER available which are promising for GLP, it is difficult to organize them as learning nuggets into appropriate topics in learning pathways. Second, successful GLP applications require effective recommendations. However, field evaluations of educational technology are very resource intensive—evaluating recommendation algorithms would require a large number of students from diverse backgrounds in order to see significant results. Before taking a platform to students, though, we wanted to be able to narrow down the types of recommendation algorithms to field test.

Newly Developed Technology
For populating each topic in learning pathways with well-organized and reused learning nuggets from OERs, we provide an advanced approach to explore and organize learning nuggets with multi-layer topics having different granularity based on a probabilistic topic model (Latent Dirichlet Allocation) framework, which is more efficient and effective compared with conventional keyword search. Because for a new learner with limited knowledge to a new domain, it is very hard to obtain appropriate search keywords and find wanted contents. In order to evaluate different recommendation algorithms outside of the classroom, we created a simulation model based on a stochastic, Bayesian Knowledge Tracing algorithm. We also include a topic-graph generator that allows us to generalize across domains and test large-scale systems. Finally, we utilize an implicit rating system for learning materials, in which learning nuggets are not rated by learners directly, and instead their ratings are calculated based on learning outcome of learners. These components’ parameters were set using published field evaluations and give us a general sense of which recommendation algorithms we should test in a deployed system.

 

Figure 2: Learning material navigation with multi-layer topics

 

Future Plans
Atomistic topic maps are currently emerging in other MIT projects, such as some led by MIT’s OEIT (Office of Educational Innovation and Technology) and ODL (Office of Digital Learning), and the GLP team is speaking with these groups to explore future collaborations, and also introducing GLP to edX project. We expect that our ideas will blend with theirs to form stronger and more innovative learning projects that will be deployed within the MIT community. In general, the future seems bright for the many GLP concepts that have been demonstrated by independent organizations, such as personalized digital learning, massive enrollments in online classes, and collaborative, online learning. We look forward to unifying these concepts into a single platform and creating additional GLP components to serve learners around the world. As shown in Figure 2, we needed to define a software architecture to hold all the parts together, yet one that would also allow for GLP’s long-term growth and success. Based on GLP platform, Fujitsu is also planning to apply corresponding technology to its future business, which is not only involving traditional school education but also informal and lifelong corporate learning.

 

Figure 3: Software Architecture of GLP Platform

 

Nugget App & Service manage how learners view and interact with nuggets, or individual learning materials. Each nugget teaches a single concept topic and is “bite-sized”. This app requests the nugget (i.e. a video, set of lecture notes, animation, simulation, etc.) from the appropriate location on a server, and displays it with appropriate user controls. It collects analytics on how the user interacts with the nugget.

Nugget Recommendation App & Service calculate which nuggets would most likely be useful for each individual learner, and ranks them accordingly. The apps can use factors such as learning styles, non-academic interests, and results from other learners. The returned result is a list of nuggets, much like a search engine’s results page.

Intelligent Tutor App & Service present assessment-type problems to each learner. As learners solve the problems, the tutor builds up a model of each learner’s understanding. When appropriate, it provides personalized hints and explanations to improve each learner’s understanding.

Content Topic Map App & Service display the content topics relevant to each learner’s learning goals. Each content topic map consists of individual topics; for example, within the calculus map are topics like derivatives, integrals, and limits. The topics are thus a subset of all topics within GLP—for example, someone studying calculus would not see the topics related to basic algebra. Each topic has a set of learning nuggets associated with it that learners can study from.

Content Topic Recommendation App & Service determine which topics a learner is prepared to study, from the ones needed to reach her learning goals. A learner is prepared to study topics where she has mastered all of the pre-requisites at a sufficient level.

Education Dashboard App & Service allow educators to manage groups of learners. They can set a shared learning goal, but also adjust learning goals and activities for individual learners. Educators can also see group and individual progress.

User Registration App & Service allow users to register for GLP. Each type of user will follow a different process. For example, learners will experience a learning styles assessment and a knowledge level assessment, whereas content creators might experience a verification of their expertise.

 

Glossary and Notes

1.MOOCs:
A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education.

2. OER:
Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely accessible, usually openly licensed documents and media that are useful for teaching, learning, educational, assessment and research purposes.

3. edX:
edX is a massive open online course platform founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University to offer online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience at no charge, please see: https://www.edx.org/ ;



About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$54 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. 
For more information, please see: : www.fujitsu.com

About Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc.

Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. (Japan), focusing on research on Internet, interconnect technologies, software development and solutions for several industry verticals. Conducting research in an open environment, it contributes to the global research community and the IT industry. It is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. 
For more information, please see: : www.fla.fujitsu.com

About the Professor

Professor Richard Larson is Mitsui Professor of Engineering Systems and Director of Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals. The majority of his career has focused on operations research as applied to services industries including technology-enabled education. Since 2010, Professor Larson has started collaboration with Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc, on education research, which is a key component of Human-centric Intelligent Society project. Please see: http://linc.mit.edu/

About Fujitsu Laboratories Limited

Founded in 1968 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited, Fujitsu Laboratories Limited is one of the premier research centers in the world. With a global network of laboratories in Japan, China, the United States and Europe, the organization conducts a wide range of basic and applied research in the areas of Next-generation Services, Computer Servers, Networks, Electronic Devices and Advanced Materials. 
For more information, please see: : jpfujitsu.com/labs/en

Press Contacts

Finn Partners

 


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Blackboard Buys Student-Centric Web Platform MyEdu – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Blackboard Buys Student-Centric Web Platform MyEdu – Wired Campus - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it

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susangautsch's curator insight, January 16, 7:47 PM

Blackboard Inc., whose learning-management system is used by more than two-fifths of nonprofit colleges in the United States, said on Wednesday that it would acquire the student-centric web platform MyEdu.

Jay Bhatt, Blackboard’s chief executive, declined to disclose the purchase price. He described the acquisition as “small” compared with others that Blackboard has made in the past several years, but “extremely strategic.”

Based in Austin, Tex., MyEdu employs about 20 people. Its platform is designed to help students showcase skills to potential employers. The user profile functions like a résumé, with pertinent academic and work experience organized in colorful, easily viewable tiles.

“One of the big focus areas that we have been pursuing is student-centric application development and student-centric personas around our tools,” Mr. Bhatt said. “For far too long, I think, software vendors have built technologies for only certain constituents—IT administrators or even faculty.”

The service will remain a free tool for students, he said. Blackboard plans to integrate the platform into its learning-management system.

MyEdu was started in 2008 as Pick-A-Prof, a website that allowed students to rate their professors. A year later, it got a new name and a new focus—equipping students to map out their most efficient and cost-effective paths toward degrees.

The platform dovetails with continuing conversations about competency-based education, Mr. Bhatt said. User profiles allow students to share entire projects with would-be employers, showing relevant skills rather than just listing a major. In January the company started MyEdu for Employers, which allows businesses to list internships and jobs, and matches the listings with students’ profiles.

Officials at MyEdu said the platform had been used by about a million students at more than 800 colleges. It is the first acquisition for Blackboard since 2012, when the education-software giant bought Moodlerooms and NetSpot, both built around the open-source platform Moodle.

In addition to its core learning-management system, Blackboard has built out—often through acquiring other companies—a range of education-technology products, including administrative- and academic-support services, data-analytics tools, and, last year, a mobile application.

The company went public in 2004 but was taken private again in 2011 with a $1.64-billion buyout by its current parent, Providence Equity Partners.

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Massive open online forces

Massive open online forces | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
UNIVERSITIES have not changed much since students first gathered in Oxford and Bologna in the 11th century. Teaching has been constrained by technology. Until...

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susangautsch's curator insight, February 24, 9:49 PM

In essence: Less selective institutions are close substitutes for MOOCs. Elite institutions face very different circumstances. 

They aim to cultivate a sense of belonging and gratitude in students in order to recoup their investment decades later in the form of donations from successful alumni.

 

Ironically, these universities may have threatened their own business model by embracing MOOCs. Online courses break the personal link between students and university and, if offered cheaply to outsiders, may make regular graduates feel more like chumps than the chosen few. For top schools, the best bet may simply be to preserve their exclusivity.

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Despite Promises, Little Progress in Drawing Poor to Elite Colleges

Despite Promises, Little Progress in Drawing Poor to Elite Colleges | Digital Identity and Access Management | Scoop.it
Surveys of top colleges found virtually no change from the 1990s to 2012 in enrollment of students who are less well off despite a huge increase in the number of such students going to college.

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susangautsch's curator insight, August 25, 7:14 PM

It's still easy to court the families paying cash than the students with need-based financial aid.