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Digital Education

Video Observation is helping Professors Grade Themselves

Video observation is not a new concept on a college campus; though typically, it’s used for athletes, rather than professors. But this could be changing, according to a study done at Harvard University that suggests that this same tactic could benefit educators. In an article by Erin McIntyre, in Harvard’s two-year study, video observation was found to improve a teacher’s evaluation in several ways. Additionally, video-recorded performances were found to be more productive rather than on an in-person review. Feedback was more specific and educators got the chance to watch themselves interact with students. While Harvard’s studies focused only on the educators of K-12, there are several colleges and universities that already offer video observations to their faculty in order to improve their teaching.

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At the University of Michigan, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) encourages faculty members to obtain feedback in several ways.  These include student questionnaires, self-reflection and peer observation, as well as video observation and confidential reviews with its staff to faculty throughout the university.

At Harvard, through their Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, any educator can request a video recording that they can then review it with a trained consultant.

At the University of Colorado at Boulder, they consider video observations so important that students are required to do two in order to complete the Graduate Teacher Program. Students use the videos as a basis for a self-assessment and an improvement plan.

As research continues to strongly support the value observations, a video camera in the classroom may be just as common as a camera on the football field.

For more information, please visit the article here

ESports Scholarships Increasing With Each Institution

The University of California, Irvine has created a League of Legends scholarship beginning in Fall of 2016. For some background, League of Legends is a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) online game. It is arguably one of the most popular games in the world and is huge on college campuses. By the start of 2016, six different private schools have developed scholarships based on the game and there are hundreds of student-run clubs dedicated to it. This topic is quite controversial due to the definition of “sports”, since people don’t understand how a game can be considered a “sport.”

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Photo Credit: Polygon.com

League of Legends is run by their developers Riot Games, who made the thirteenth spot on the best places to work in 2015 according to Glassdoor.

Riot Games will be helping this by providing funds for a new PC café on campus for all students to use. This café will be built similar to Korean PC cafes and will offer “premium League of Legends experience.” Riot is hoping that more schools will come on board and start their own scholarship program.

This scholarship will be offered to 10 students for up to four years at UC Irvine. Specifically, the university wants to embrace the gaming community. By doing so they hope that students will be able to compete in the Campus Series that Riot Games offers.

For more information, visit the article here.

Virtual Reality Facilitates Higher ED Research and Teaches High-Risks Skills

Developers coded the earliest simulation for aerospace and medical uses in the late 1970s, now online learning has given virtual learning new importance. DiVE, allows users to enter a virtual environment. The upgraded DiVE features six Dell T7400 workstations. Now students can learn with 3D effects and high quality graphics. Multiple people can experience high-fidelity simulators.  DiVE allows instructors to bring the world to their students.

Duke University built the Duke immersive Virtual Environment in 2005 and recently upgraded it in 2015. The University of South Alabama (USA) also has a Simulation Program similar to Duke’s. Researchers or students who want to use DiVE at USA need to through a certification process. The certification includes an hour training course and then an assessment.

DiVE opens new possibilities to researchers. At USA, Kopper, an assistant research professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, shared the example of a neuroscience research project that uses simulated Olympic trap shooting to explore how people improve at the precise task. The participant performs the task in the DiVE while neuroscientists monitor the brain activity with an electroencephalogram.

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Photo by Vanderbilt University

The DiVE lets researchers gather detailed data that would be difficult and risky to capture otherwise. Simulators like the DiVE can help students majoring risk-intensive and high-pressure conditions fields learn through a virtual reality. Whether you plan to use the DIVE or any other type simulation institutions desire it is important to use the simulation for service learning, teaching and research. When colleges and universities use simulators well they develop graduates what are prepared for the adversity that awaits them in their careers.

Click here to read more.

Free Textbooks!

There is no question about it, college textbooks are expensive. The U.S. Department of Education has announced an “Open Education” or #GoOpen initiative and ran its first “@GoOpenExchange” to get schools and educators committed to use open educational resources (OER). Institutions such as Ithaca College, The College of William & Mary and Santa Barbara City College are all pushing their schools to adopt OER. The following sources offer free quality digital content to use in your courses without worrying about the price tag.

College Open Textbooks

The College Open Textbooks Collaborative, a collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, is affiliated with more than 200 colleges. This collaborative aims to bring awareness about open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. Resources include training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks. COT offers links to free textbooks by subject, from anthropology to statistics.

Open Textbook Library

Open Textbook Library offers textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. All the books can be downloaded for no cost or printed at a low cost. This catalog is supported by the University of Minnesota Center for Open Education within the College of Education and Human Development, the library of textbooks pulls titles from multiple sources.

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Photo Credit: Open Textbook Website

Merlot II

The MERLOT project began in 1997, is the grandfather of OER, managed through the California State University System. The current catalog offers nearly 29,000 science and technology resources, 4,600 resources for math and statistics, 8,300 results for humanities and 9,400 for education. These resources are not only textbooks; you can also find case studies, assessment tools, online course modules, journal articles, quizzes, simulation and tutorials.

ORE promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. With these helpful resources we can ensure more students have access to the textbooks they need to be successful.

For more information, click here

“Everyone Pirates”: Higher Ed Students Increasingly Seek Free Learning Materials

As textbook prices skyrocket and the internet makes producing and sharing digital files easier by the day, students are increasingly turning to illegal means to access their learning materials. A recent study says that as few as one in five students use fully legal sources for their textbooks. Nearly a quarter admitted that none of their textbooks or other material were acquired from a legitimate source.  Most students cite the high price of textbooks as the primary reason for downloading unlicensed material, saying, “Is it unethical to want to be educated or is it unethical to charge so much [for textbooks]?”

(Photo Credit: Google Images)

(Photo Credit: Google Images)

A common narrative surrounding modern students is that they are capable of finding whatever material they need, from whatever online source possible. But many students included in the survey say they don’t know how to access illegal resources: it usually needs a level of ingrained research ability or word-of-mouth sharing to be able to find unlicensed material online. Other students find work through unofficial, potentially illicit channels, without realizing that this access can make them subject to legal action. Many students in both groups expressed jealousy for students that could knowingly access unlicensed textbooks. In other words, the overwhelming consensus among those surveyed was that “pirating” textbooks was morally justifiable, if unfortunate.

The researchers in the South African study hope that its results point to the importance of the creation and use of “Open Education Resources,” or OERs, which are learning materials that are specifically given licenses that encourage free sharing and use. In this way, students and instructors both can avoid the hassles of dealing with proprietary textbooks and the resulting piracy.

For more info, visit the article here.