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UWB LT Blog Included as a “Must-Read” by EdTech Magazine

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We’re proud to report that this blog was included in The Dean’s List: 50 Must-Read Higher Education Technology Blogs, an article by EdTech Magazine highlighting 50 fantastic educational technology blogs. Learning Technologies is absolutely honored to be included among some incredible writers and institutions. We are also pleased to see that some of our favorite edtech blogs made the list, and are excited to explore and discover new ones!

We have a great team here at UWB Learning Technologies, and we couldn’t do it without one another! Thank you to all of our readers and Edtech Magazine for including us in this list. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing!

BenchPrep

benchprep

Are you a student who is not a fan of tests? Do you wish you could have a chance to improve your test taking skills? Now you can, with the new app BenchPrep! This app is an online learning platform built to help students prepare for all sorts of tests. Tests like: standardized tests, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, ACT, SAT, and much more. The goal behind BenchPrep is to make studying be accessible and personalized for everyone whether it is through smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Thanks to BenchPrep’s interactive learning environment that it provides, it allows the users to study anywhere at any time. Students are given access to rich materials from a variety of different publishers, all at their fingertips.

BenchPrep creates a unique and  interactive learning environment. It allows students to study any time. It is the only test prep solution that allows students to study on the internet, using IOS or Android. With BenchPrep, students can access material from a number of different publishers in one place. A student can pay one fee and keep using the app again and again throughout the course of their academic career.

One of the greatest things about BenchPrep is the flexibility it provides for its users. For those who started on the tests on computer and happen to run out of time before completing, no worries! You can continue with your study on another computer or any other device and continue where you last left off.

For more information on this app click here.

Textbook to Digital Magazine?

Flipboard Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Flipboard)

A problem that some professors are noticing is that textbook material gets outdated – especially on topics like current events or ones that change quicker than a textbook can be published, such as business. The solution that some have found, is to use Flipboard, which is a collection of stories that are put together in magazine-format on an app. From this, users can create customized magazines from news outlets, social network sites, and other more up-to-date sources that allow for a more engaged interface. According to Lyna Matesi, a teacher in management, leadership, strategy, learning and development and ethics at the University of Wisconsin, her students love Flipboard and how it helps in her class where the textbook might lag such that it provides fresher and controversial topics.

Linda Bernstein, a teacher in journalism and social media at Long Island University Brooklyn, uses this app with her students to give them a chance to touch upon their potential career. In this specific class, budding journalist students are given a chance to “edit” a publication by using the editing tools provided on Flipboard. This app also lets students grab information from the primary source by ‘flipping’ in posts from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook onto their own magazine page.

Steven Hornik, a teacher in  Advanced Accounting Information Systems at the University of Central Florida uses Flipboard as way for his students to find current event articles to discuss in class. He has found that this platform gives students a sense of pride in the look and feel of the page, and gives them more ownership over what they are doing. Hornik states that Flipboard has given students the chance see changes from semester to semester depending on the news and it gives a good timeline view of the subject.

All three professors reported that they were pleased that former students kept using Flipboard in their career or continued to curate magazines that were started in class. Others even recommended its use in other teachings. Flipboard is a free and useful way to collaborate in a group project due to its easy way to collect a variety of information from various resources and to be able to communicate with others through the app. It’s convenient because of its access through your phone, and is an organized way to find information, not only for class purposes, but for your own entertainment in current events as well.

For more information, visit the main article here

Free Online Courses: A Positive Experience

Yes, free online courses are now being offered by universities. Karen Harpp, a professor at Colgate University, has opened her course, “The Advent of the Atomic Bomb,” to university alumni and others who make a special request to join. Harpp believed it would be hard for today’s students to imagine living in 1945, experiencing a world war, or for most, serving in the military. With online classes, alumni have the opportunity to share their experiences, which can lead to class discussions getting more interesting.

The first time the online course opened Colgate hoped to enroll 238 students, but it surpassed that goal with 380 alumni. Another course that was offered, “Living Writers”, had 678 alumni enrolled. Ms. Harpp noticed that alumni who had graduated after 2000 were very interested in having access to the course material but less interested in engaging with the students. Older alumni from the Class of 1980 and earlier were most excited to talk with current Colgate students, challenging them on their thoughts and opinions on nuclear warfare. Colgate calls its class and others like it “fusion” courses because there are in-person courses for Colgate students with an additional online component that brings in alumni. The goal of these classes is not just to involve alumni, but to also invite the community to engage with students through online technology.

Now more universities are using free online courses as a form of engaging students with personal experiences that deal with the course content. Harvard University began offering such courses to graduates last year and the University of Wisconsin at Madison plans to offer six courses for their alumni. Now courses are being opened to the community and to various book clubs. With the help of technology and open dialog students receive a new and convenient way to promote “lifelong learning” while incorporating the community.

For more information on this topic visit the link below.

Fabris, Casey. “One Reason to Offer Free Online Courses: Alumni Engagement.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. N.p., 12 Jan. 2015. Web.

Open-Source Learning: Next-Gen Knowledge

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In 2006 a man by the name of Richard Baraniuk introduced the idea of open-source learning during a Ted Talk presentation. Baraniuk does not hold sole ownership of the idea, however what he presented was an alternate avenue by which the way we learn could evolve. Open-source learning is defined by Baraniuk as a database in which teachers across the world can share course-materials, lesson plans and data while constantly being peer-reviewed by their professional colleagues. Baraniuk envisioned a world where not only the cost of learning would be greatly reduced but the efficiency of learning and the scope of students learning would be raised substantially.

Fast forward into 2015 and the landscape of learning has changed drastically. Online classes have been integrated into most community colleges and universities, student textbooks can now be found online and information has definitely become more free-flowing between both professors and students alike. With that said Baraniuk’s vision is far from being realized. The idea of open-source learning was built on the premise of being a free route (emphasis on free) to educate and develop philosophies, so that those in underdeveloped regions with limited access to resources could in fact receive a similar education to those in well developed areas. Of course in the U.S. where a capitalistic system reigns, free is never truly free.

Today there are plenty of websites that promote open-source learning, which is a positive increase from where education was in 2006. With that said the system is not without its flaws. Often times an open-source website allows for free use, however in order to access certain features one must pay a certain amount per month, going against the whole idea of “free”. Some websites provide a basic design layout for teachers to use however if not satisfactory to the teacher’s needs then a third party coder or designer would need to be brought in to deliver a new design and regularly update code which can prove costly. These are just a couple of drawbacks open-source learning has come to encounter over the years. As students, educators and people who are overall hungry for knowledge what do you think of open-source learning? Will it improve? Will costs be raised? Lowered? Please leave thoughts or comments as this may very well be where education in the future goes.

For more information on this topic, visit the link below.

http://www.academyofmine.com/open-source-learning-management-system-lms/