Disrupting Higher Ed
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Disrupting Higher Ed
Innovations and Issues that are Disrupting U.S. and Global Higher Education
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Professors Say Technology Helps in Logistics, Not Learning - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Professors Say Technology Helps in Logistics, Not Learning - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Smithstorian's insight:

With PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos, and online portals, technology is playing an increasingly important role in college classrooms and lecture halls. But are those technologies improving learning?

 

A study published this month in the journal Science, Technology, & Human Values found that professors at research-intensive universities believe the answer to that question is no.

 

A report on the study, “Technological Change and Professional Control in the Professoriate,” includes interviews with more than 40 professors at three universities. It suggests that professors often use such technologies for logistical purposes rather than to improve learning.

 

“There is little or no indication that innovative pedagogy motivates technological use in the classroom, which sort of flies in the face of how the use of information-based instructional technologies is usually presented,” said David R. Johnson, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Georgia and the study’s author.

 

Instead, the report suggests, technology is more often used by professors for managerial reasons, such as to help with the demands of growing class sizes. While Mr. Johnson said most college administrators are not yet requiring professors to use instructional technologies, the pressure of teaching more than 300 students at once, for example, leads faculty members to adopt technology in ways unrelated to improving learning.

 

“You’re being told that you have to shoulder a larger and larger share of the burden, and here’s some technology that will help you do it,” said one anthropologist quoted in the report.

 

Mr. Johnson said the findings show a gap between how universities market their use of technology—often framing technology as more sophisticated than prior approaches to instruction—and how the faculty actually uses it. He called this a “ceremonial myth.”

 

“It’s a symbol that’s emphasized in environment, but not necessarily acted upon by members of the organization,” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s an attempt to communicate legitimacy to parents, students, and prospective employers, but for the faculty who would actually use these tools, it’s not seen as a valuable tool, and it can even be a detriment to student learning.”

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Information wants to be free, but the world isn't ready

Information wants to be free, but the world isn't ready | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Every few years, one of my friends from the early days of digital enthusiasm turns up on the media’s radar as a "defector." Huzzah! The former advocate or progenitor of the Next New Thing has...
Smithstorian's insight:

Every few years, one of my friends from the early days of digital enthusiasm turns up on the media’s radar as a “defector.” Huzzah! The former advocate or progenitor of the Next New Thing has turned into a flaming critic. Perhaps he or she has even issued a jeremiad against the former Great Hope of All Humanity. It’s a turnkey, media-ready narrative, easy to convey and easy for a low-attention reading public to digest: He was for it. Now he’s agin’ it. You can tweet that and have enough characters left over for a haiku.

 

Jaron Lanier, who emerged into the media spotlight in the early ’90s as the chief spokesperson for Virtual Reality, seems to be having a longer — and more vocal — run at this sort of thing than most. In “Half A Manifesto,” published in Wired (2000), Lanier struck out against what he saw as a cybernetic totalism wherein some techno enthusiasts were laboring to create our nonbiological replacement species. You Are Not A Gadget (2011) went a bit further into “fighting the future,” exploring the ways in which Web 2.0 disruption depersonalized or was economically unfair to “creatives.” The latest chapter of this saga, “What Turned Jaron Lanier Against the Web,” is the much-ballyhooed portrait by Ron Rosenbaum for Smithsonian Magazine that portrays Jaron as being like a “spy who came in from the cold.”

 
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Lessons learned from wrestling with a MOOC - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Lessons learned from wrestling with a MOOC - Casting Out Nines - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Smithstorian's insight:

I’m currently taking a MOOC called Computing for Data Analysis through Coursera. Ths is my fourth MOOC (the sixth one, if you count the two that I started and then dropped). It’s an introduction to the open-source statistical computing environment known as “R”. I got interested in R after learning about this modeling-based Calculus projectthat uses the statistical and plotting capabilities of R as well as some special symbolic packages as the centerpiece of introductory calculus. I’m leading a taskforce in my department to draft a plan for technology use in the Calculus sequence, and while I don’t think we’ll be using R, I like very much the spirit behind this calculus project, which puts programming at the heart of learning the subject and uses an open-source platform. Plus, I thought R might come in handy for analyzing my own data, and anyway, it’s free, and the course description says it only requires 3–5 hours a week. So why not?

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'History Harvest' Project May Spawn a New Kind of MOOC - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

'History Harvest' Project May Spawn a New Kind of MOOC - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

During the New Deal of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration hired writers to document history across the United States. The best-known effort collected oral histories of former slaves. Those interviews became the bedrock of research for decades, contributing to a reinterpretation of slavery that took place from the 1950s to the 1980s, says William G. Thomas III, a historian at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

 

Mr. Thomas sees something similar as possible today. He and others are trying to build a movement to gather “the people’s history.” And their project could spawn a new model for massive open online courses, or MOOC’s.

 

Since 2010, scholars and students at Nebraska and at James Madison University have organized a series of “History Harvests”—community events where families share their artifacts and stories with students, who document and digitize them. The idea is to make visible histories and materials that otherwise would be largely invisible, and to share them more broadly online. Scholars benefit, and so do students, who learn to apply their disciplinary skills in real-world situations.

Smithstorian's insight:

I think my alma mater (M.A. History from UNL) is really on to something here!

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New Platform Lets Professors Set Prices for Their Online Courses - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

New Platform Lets Professors Set Prices for Their Online Courses - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
What's your course really worth to students? A new online platform lets professors determine what services to offer and how much to charge.
Smithstorian's insight:

Professors typically don't worry about what price point a course will sell at, or what amenities might attract a student to pick one course over another. But a new online platform, Professor Direct, lets instructors determine not only how much to charge for such courses, but also how much time they want to devote to services like office hours, online tutorials, and responding to students' e-mails.

 

The new service is run by StraighterLine, a company that offers online, self-paced introductory courses. Unlike massive open online courses, or MOOC's, StraighterLine's courses aren't free. But tuition is lower than what traditional colleges typically charge—the company calls its pricing "ultra-affordable." A handful of colleges accept StraighterLine courses for transfer credit.

 

Instructors who offer courses on Professor Direct will be able to essentially set their own sticker prices, as long as they are higher than the company's base price. One professor teaching an online mathematics course with a base price of $49, for example, plans to charge $99. For each student who signs up, the company will pocket the $49 base price, and the professor gets the remaining $50.

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Studies Find How Technology Is Changing Higher Education - Edudemic

Studies Find How Technology Is Changing Higher Education - Edudemic | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
You can't ignore it. You can't avoid it. Technology is here. These studies find out exactly how technology is changing higher education.
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The Future of Big Ed - WorldWise - The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Future of Big Ed - WorldWise - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

I read recently a remarkable article in The New Yorker by Atul Gawande called “Big Med.” It tried to outline where medicine might be going next.

 

Given spiraling costs, increasing demand, and lax quality controls, Gawande makes it clear that medicine will—and probably has to—go through a series of changes that will move it from being a craft industry to something that much more closely resembles a conventional industry. He outlines clearly the costs and benefits: “We’ve let health-care systems provide us with the equivalent of greasy-spoon fare at four-star prices, and the results have been ruinous. The Cheesecake Factory model represents our best prospect for change. Some will see danger in this. Many will see hope.”

 

Perhaps we are starting to see something like this process of change taking place in American and British higher education, too. It is possible to see a new political economy of higher education coming into existence born out of the huge increase in students around the world, as well as boosts to university research funds and the prevalence of information technology that allows lower transaction costs and more syndication. Whether we like it or not, higher education will almost certainly follow something much closer to a mass-production model as it scales up even further. The only question to be answered is, what kind of industrial model?

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How college students find and use information [Infographic]

How college students find and use information [Infographic] | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
My friends over at Project Information Literacy have just released this infographic to summarize their recent research on how college students find and use information. Data in this infographic com...
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Providers of Free MOOC's Now Charge Employers for Access to Student Data - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Providers of Free MOOC's Now Charge Employers for Access to Student Data - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Several high-profile tech companies have already signed up for Coursera's new employee-matching service. Udacity offers a similar service.

 

Providers of free online courses are officially in the headhunting business, bringing in revenue by selling to employers information about high-performing students who might be a good fit for open jobs.

On Tuesday, Coursera, which works with high-profile colleges to provide massive open online courses, or MOOC's, announced its employee-matching service, called Coursera Career Services.

 

Udacity, another company that provides free online courses, offers a similar service. Udacity works directly with professors to offer courses, rather than signing agreements with colleges.

 

Udacity's founder, Sebastian Thrun, said in an interview that 350 partner companies had signed up for its job program. While Mr. Thrun would not say how much employers pay, he characterized the fee as "significantly less than you'd pay for a headhunter, but significantly more than what you'd pay for access to LinkedIn," a popular social network for job hunters.

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Saying No to College

Saying No to College | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Risky? Perhaps. But it worked for the founders of Twitter, Tumblr and a little company known as Apple.

 

BENJAMIN GOERING does not look like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, talk like him or inspire the same controversy. But he does apparently think like him.

 

Two years ago, Mr. Goering was a sophomore at the University of Kansas, studying computer science and philosophy and feeling frustrated in crowded lecture halls where the professors did not even know his name. “I wanted to make Web experiences,” said Mr. Goering, now 22, and create “tools that make the lives of others better.”

 

So in the spring of 2010, Mr. Goering took the same leap as Mr. Zuckerberg: he dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco to make his mark. He got a job as a software engineer at a social-software company, Livefyre, run by a college dropout, where the chief technology officer at the time and a lead engineer were also dropouts. None were sheepish about their lack of a diploma. Rather, they were proud of their real-life lessons on the job.

 

“Education isn’t a four-year program,” Mr. Goering said. “It’s a mind-set.”

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How to Earn Your Cyber Stripes

How to Earn Your Cyber Stripes | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

Awarding achievements with information-age credentials. A number of institutions are developing badge systems to recognize specific skills.

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How to Get a College Degree on Your Smartphone

How to Get a College Degree on Your Smartphone | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

Online schools aren’t tied to the established standards of older institutions and so are able to adapt quickly. In particular, online colleges have embraced mobile technology as a way to deliver content to students. The Open University, based in the United Kingdom, plans to leverage mobile apps to provide learning materials to its 250,000 students by early 2013. The school serves students all over the world and first enrolled students in 1971. Technology is changing the way The Open University interacts with students and faculty. According to the Guardian, the college has seen a surge in younger students in the last few years:

 

The OU's focus on distance or "open" learning naturally lends itself to the use of new technologies, for example making use of the digital media player iTunes and video-sharing website YouTube to deliver lectures and resources, which appeals to internet-savvy young people.

 

An app know as OUAnyhwere, will soon be available for Android, Apple, Amazon and Windows mobile devices. The OU hopes that improved access to course material will make it easier for part-time students to watch lectures and complete assigned reading. Their strategy for the app will prepare them for a mobile future, according to TechCrunch.

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Finances affect students academically, NSSE 2012 finds | Inside Higher Ed

Finances affect students academically, NSSE 2012 finds | Inside Higher Ed | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

The recession may be over, but as tuition and debt continue to rise, many students are still under extreme pressure to make ends meet – and for some, it’s at the expense of academic pursuits.

 

In part responding to critics who wondered why they hadn’t explored this earlier, the creators of the National Survey of Student Engagement this year asked how finances were affecting students’ academic activity. The results, NSSE director Alexander C. McCormick said, are “not too surprising, but worrisome.”

 

About 60 percent of full-time seniors who work more than 20 hours per week said it interfered with their academic performance, but just as many said they frequently looked into working more hours to cover costs. Further, 32 percent of first-year students and 36 percent of seniors said financial concerns interfered with their academic performance.

 

And 27 percent of freshmen and 34 percent of seniors said they “often” or “very often” chose not to purchase required academic materials because of the cost.

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Project Aims to Bring PLoS-Style Openness to the Humanities - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Project Aims to Bring PLoS-Style Openness to the Humanities - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
The Open Library of Humanities, a new nonprofit organization, seeks to create a humanities-and-social-sciences version of the successful Public Library of Science.
Smithstorian's insight:

Open access isn't just for scientists. Opening up research is an idea that appeals to more and more humanists and social scientists. The trick has been how those fields can support the open sharing of research.

 

Several recent publishing ventures and platforms, including the Open Humanities Press and Anvil Academic, are investigating how to bring more open-access journals and monographs online. A brand-spanking-new nonprofit organization, called the Open Library of Humanities, aims to create a humanities-and-social-sciences version of the successful Public Library of Science, or PLoS, which in the past decade has established itself as a major presence in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific publishing. Like PLoS, the Open Library of Humanities, or OLH, will be peer-reviewed.

"For me, there was an itch, a frustration: Why are we always talking about science?" says Tim McCormick, one of the three founders of the new venture. "I'm sure that it has probably crossed the minds of many people, and a number of people have said to me, 'I've always thought there should be a PLoS for humanities.'"

 

Mr. McCormick hails from the publishing-and-technology worlds. He used to be a senior product manager for Stanford University's HighWirePress; he's now a consultant with Stanford's MediaX, which encourages tech collaborations between researchers and the business world. Mr. McCormick's OLH co-visionaries are academics: Caroline Edwards, a lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln, in England, and Martin Paul Eve, also a lecturer in English at Lincoln who's also a computer programmer. Both Ms. Edwards and Mr. Eve have experience editing open-access journals in their fields.

Momentum in Many Fields

As Mr. McCormick points out, the humanities and social sciences have a sometimes underappreciated history with open access. Some of the movement's most visible leaders come from nonscience backgrounds; Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project, is a philosopher by training, for instance.

 

But the sciences have the most robust mechanisms in place to encourage the open sharing of work. PLoS is an especially visible publishing option. The now-venerable preprint repository arXiv has long been the place physicists, computer scientists, and others to go for the latest research. The cause of openness has gotten a big boost from the National Institutes of Health's public-access policy, which requires that research supported by the agency be made freely accessible via the PubMed Central repository within 12 months of publication. Researchers have petitioned the government to expand the policy to all federally backed research.

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Universities Try MOOCs in Bid to Lure Successful Students to Online Programs - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Universities Try MOOCs in Bid to Lure Successful Students to Online Programs - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Smithstorian's insight:

Since massive open online courses exploded into the public consciousness, college presidents have been trying to figure out how to use higher education’s most hyped innovation to deal with one of its greatest challenges: enrolling and graduating more students at a time of rising costs and declining support.

Academic Partnerships, a company that helps traditional institutions build online programs, believes it has found a way. And it involves awarding academic credit to students who take MOOCs—at no charge.

 

The company announced on Wednesday that it and a group of its public-university clients were planning to recast certain conventional online courses as MOOCs in the hope that the free courses could serve as a tool for recruiting students into their online degree programs—in particular, students who are likely to succeed.

 

Academic Partnerships is calling the new program MOOC2Degree. The particulars will vary by institution, but in general each participating university will allow students anywhere in the world to take an online course free. If a student then decides to enroll at the university, the university will count the credit hours earned in the MOOC toward a degree without charging the student. Universities typically charge students several hundred dollars per credit hour, and courses typically carry three credit hours.

 

Randy Best, chairman and chief executive of Academic Partnerships, talked about the program’s goals in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “We believe that it turns the MOOC … into a practical tool,” he said.

The company says a number of its clients are planning to offer MOOC2Degree courses,including the University of Arkansas system, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing, the University of West Florida, and Cleveland State, Florida International, Lamar, and Utah State Universities. (Another client, Arizona State University, says it plans to participate but will charge students who enroll there for credits earned in its MOOCs.)

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Taylor Branch, Prize-Winning Historian, to Teach MOOC on Civil-Rights Era - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Taylor Branch, Prize-Winning Historian, to Teach MOOC on Civil-Rights Era - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Smithstorian's insight:

The author and historian Taylor Branch spent nearly 25 years exploring and writing about the civil-rights era, and the result was a popular trilogy of books,America in the King Years, one of which won a Pulitzer Prize. This semester Mr. Branch will share his knowledge of the period by teaching a course at the University of Baltimore and opening it up to outsiders on the Web as a massive open online course, or MOOC.

 

The course, which starts on January 23, is built around his new book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, and will include face-to-face instruction with 20 University of Baltimore students, along with up to 100 auditors who will tune in online at no charge.

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What I'm learning from Harvard: A MOOC story

What I'm learning from Harvard: A MOOC story | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Taking a bit of my own advice, I recently started working through a computer programming MOOC from Harvard, with the goal of distilling out teaching tips and online course ideas from a student’s perspective.  While learning some useful job skills,...

Via Jesús Salinas
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Georgetown to offer free online courses

Georgetown to offer free online courses | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Georgetown University is joining one of the most prominent ventures in online higher education, a Web platform known as edX that provides courses from elite schools to a global audience free of charge.

 

The addition of Georgetown to edX, which officials plan to announce Monday, marks the latest development in a fast-growing movement that aspires to connect the ivory tower to the world.

 

Millions of people have signed up this year on various Web sites for massive, open online courses, or MOOCs, which offer self-paced learning through video lectures, tests, homework, discussion boards and other digital interfaces. Advocates say MOOCs will democratize higher education and spark a teaching revolution on campuses. Skeptics call it little more than brand promotion.

 

EdX, which Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched in May, hosts MOOCs from those schools and the University of California, Berkeley. The University of Texas system joined in October and Wellesley College last week. Like Georgetown, they plan to add MOOCs to edX next year.

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For the Future Student, Higher Education Will Be Redefined

For the Future Student, Higher Education Will Be Redefined | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

Not too far in the future, students may be faced with an entirely different set of choices than they do today. No longer might college or career straight after high school graduation be the two only and divergent paths in front of them. No longer may a four-to-six-year commitment to a highly esteemed institution be the fastest way to a fruitful career or a rich network.

 

With online education quickly gaining momentum, the emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs) is not only shaking up higher education to the core — its value, its status, its cost — the movement is also changing how young people envision their education and their future.

 

Sebastian Thrun, whose free, online artificial intelligence class for Stanford last year enrolled more than 175,000 people and launched the MOOC movement, foresees a radically different future for students. Thrun, who founded Google X, the incubator for projects like the Google self-driving car and Google Glass, co-founded Udacity, a free online school that offers higher ed classes computer science classes — everything from Programming Languages to How to Build a Startup.

 

“Right now you go to college for four, six, seven years, and it’s a big commitment over a long period of time,” Thrun said in an interview earlier this week, which will be shown in an upcoming PBS Newshour story. “But in the future, learning will be lifelong, and it will happen in very small chunks. If you have an interest, a problem, if need a skill, you’ll go find and learn it. Things like degrees and classes and so on, will be replaced by entire sequences of achievements in the learning space but also in the kinds of things we can do in the project space.”

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Flipping the Curriculum: Introductory Courses Should Be Just as Good as the Capstone Experience - Next - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Flipping the Curriculum: Introductory Courses Should Be Just as Good as the Capstone Experience - Next - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

One of the many criticisms about the current fascination with massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, is that they fail to improve on a basic pedagogical problem that many universities face: the large size of lecture classes. Indeed, MOOC’s exacerbate the problem by enrolling tens of thousands of students rather than just hundreds.

 

Much of that line of criticism about MOOC’s, of course, comes from professors at traditional institutions who continue to teach large lecture classes themselves. They don’t have much of a choice, they say. Universities need large intro-level lecture courses in some disciplines to subsidize smaller upper-division courses and graduate work in others.

 

“The reality is that English has been subsidizing chemistry as long as there has been chemistry,” says Jane Wellman, the former executive director of the Delta Cost Project on Postsecondary Costs, Productivity, and Accountability.

 

Higher-ed economics has worked this way for decades, and we accept it as fact whenever presented with better ways to teach freshmen. The cross subsidies seem to win out every time over a better first-year experience for students because we can’t figure out a new model to finance an institution. We know that the high-impact practices that deepen learning include first-year seminars and experiences, where students can get to better know faculty members at exactly the time when students are most at risk of transferring or dropping out.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way.

 

A few weeks ago, at a conference on the future of higher education held at George Mason University, the topic of large introductory courses came up several times during a panel discussion on how to engage students and strengthen learning. As one audience member described a stimulating capstone experience for seniors, one of the panelists, Mills Kelly, asked why the university makes them wait four years to get it. Why can’t large universities provide similar small-group learning experiences for freshmen?, asked Kelly, who is director of the global-affairs program and a history professor at George Mason.

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Wellesley College teams up with on-line provider edX - The Boston Globe

Wellesley College teams up with on-line provider edX - The Boston Globe | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

Classes at liberal arts colleges bring to mind small groups of students bunched around a long wooden table, batting around big ideas with a professor.

 

That tradition would seem at odds with the new trend in higher education, opening courses to the masses via the Internet. But now a new partnership involving Wellesley College is seeking to bridge these two worlds, in a test of how humanities classes will translate into the growing on-line arena.

 

EdX, the on-line education provider founded by Harvard University and MIT, plans to announce Tuesday that the women’s school has joined its growing roster, the first liberal arts school to do so.

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New Guides Aim to Become the Yelp for MOOC's - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

New Guides Aim to Become the Yelp for MOOC's - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

Students looking for massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, have many options, with a growing number of providers and course titles. A handful of Web sites have popped up over the past few months to help students find courses they’re interested in, much as a restaurant-goer might turn to Yelp. Some of the sites let students review the MOOC’s they’ve taken, incorporating their views into the sites’ overall guidance.

 

One new directory, Course Buffet, was started two months ago by Bruce Bolton, out of his frustration over trying to compare the quality of online resources. The site lists more than 500 courses from various MOOC providers, and each course is assigned a difficulty level (Psychology 100, for example), to help students move from easier to more difficult material. He hopes to turn a profit by selling advertising, such as by sending offers from certification companies to students.

 

Another site, Class Central, groups online-course listings into one page of tables categorized by the dates they are offered. Dhawal Shah, the site’s founder, works as a Bay Area software engineer by day and takes MOOC’s at night. He began working on Class Central last November and built up an audience through hits from sites like Hacker News and Reddit.

 

Knollop, which stands for a “dollop of knowledge,” started its beta phase in October and lists a number of providers, including Open Yale Courses and Khan Academy. Students can filter course options by provider, date, topic, or rating. Users give courses overall reviews and also rate the courses by content, difficulty, depth, and entertainment quality. The site plans to expand beyond MOOC’s to other learning materials, like educational podcasts and problem-set sites, a co-founder, Karen Sun, said.

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Khan Academy Founder Proposes a New Type of College - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Khan Academy Founder Proposes a New Type of College - Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

Salman Khan’s dream college looks very different from the typical four-year institution.

 

The founder of Khan Academy, a popular site that offers free online video lectures about a variety of subjects, lays out his thoughts on the future of education in his book, The One World School House: Education Reimagined, released last month. Though most of the work describes Mr. Khan’s experiences with Khan Academy and his suggestions for changing elementary- and secondary-school systems, he does devote a few chapters to higher education.

 

In a chapter titled “What College Could Be Like,” Mr. Khan conjures an image of a new campus in Silicon Valley where students would spend their days working on internships and projects with mentors, and would continue their education with self-paced learning similar to that of Khan Academy. The students would attend ungraded seminars at night on art and literature, and the faculty would consist of professionals the students would work with as well as traditional professors.

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Show Me Your Badge

Show Me Your Badge | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it
Information-age credentials may be the first serious competitor to traditional degrees since college-going became the norm.

 

AT the end of “Fundamentals of Atomic Force Microscopy,” a short online course offered by Purdue University, students who score at least 60 percent on the final exam will receive an e-mail with a file attached. It will contain a picture of a blue-and-white circle, roughly one inch in diameter, embossed with the stylized image of an atomic force microscope bouncing a laser beam off a cantilever into a photodiode, which is how scientists take photographs and measure the size of very small (nanoscale) things.

 

The picture is a digital badge, a new type of credential being developed by some of the most prominent businesses and learning organizations in the world, including Purdue, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California, the Smithsonian, Intel and Disney-Pixar. The badge movement is being spearheaded by the Mozilla Foundation, best known for inventing the free Firefox Web browser, the choice of nearly one-quarter of all Internet users worldwide.

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Clay Shirky Blog: Napster, Udacity, and the Academy

Clay Shirky Blog: Napster, Udacity, and the Academy | Disrupting Higher Ed | Scoop.it

The story the recording industry used to tell us went something like this: “Hey kids, Alanis Morisette just recorded three kickin’ songs! You can have them, so long as you pay for the ten mediocrities she recorded at the same time.” Napster told us a different story. Napster said “You want just the three songs? Fine. Just ‘You Oughta Know’? No problem. Every cover of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ ever made? Help yourself. You’re in charge.”

 

The people in the music industry weren’t stupid, of course. They had access to the same internet the rest of us did. They just couldn’t imagine—and I mean this in the most ordinarily descriptive way possible—could not imagine that the old way of doing things might fail. Yet things did fail, in large part because, after Napster, the industry’s insistence that digital distribution be as expensive and inconvenient as a trip to the record store suddenly struck millions of people as a completely terrible idea.

 

Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere. First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt.

 

It’s been interesting watching this unfold in music, books, newspapers, TV, but nothing has ever been as interesting to me as watching it happen in my own backyard. Higher education is now being disrupted; our MP3 is the massive open online course (or MOOC), and our Napster is Udacity, the education startup.

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