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U Boot: A 21st Century Alternative to Graduate Degrees

Northeastern University has recently premiered a two-month course in data analytics, offering a huge amount of experience and a high-quality education at a low price—just without college credit. The program is intended for students who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to further their postgrad education, but don’t want to make the financial and temporal investment into a master’s degree. This also allows curriculum to change and shift as employers demand different skillsets.

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Private “boot camp”-style courses are nothing new, of course. Northeastern’s course is unique because it’s the first program to be offered as a supplement to (rather than a replacement for) more traditional degreed college, and it’s being brought by an accredited university of higher learning, rather than a third-party company.

There are a couple downsides to this sort of program, some more obvious than others. Currently, this is the only university to offer such content, and as a result, it may battle a stigma for some time as an inferior form of learning.

UW Bothell is currently seeking more classroom space for more traditional courses, but perhaps in the future this sort of boot camp program could be offered in tandem with our graduate curriculum.

For more information click here.

Western Oregon University Install NetApp Flash Storage

Western Oregon University has a new flash storage system. The new system has increased the school’s storage capacity and speed.

The University administrators use IBM Congos, which is a business intelligence software. Professors are using the Moodle e-learning system. The system will help instructors incorporate videos, online quizzes and other digital content into their courses.

The university began to experience a lag in their extensive media-rich teaching and learning systems. Only 250 of the university’s 5,200 undergraduate and 900 graduate students could log on all at once. Students also had delays logging on from their personal desktops and launched applications The university searched for possible solutions to fix the problem, which led to the  NetApp, a provider of data storage and management systems. The NetApp teamed up with Mountain States Networking to create the NetApp ef550 flash array.

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Picture by Clark College Libraries.

Western Oregon University reported that they are now able to support 10 times as many concurrent users of media-rich applications, with 95% percent less processing time. The backup times has also reduced from over an hour to only 9 minutes! Bill Kernan, CIO of Western Oregon University, reported that with the NetApp flash storage system the school is able to reach a capacity of more than 1,200 concurrent users, while providing excellent system performance campuswide.

Click here to read more.

Klaxoon

CES 2016 showed a host of new technologies, many of which could be used for education purposes. Perhaps the most interesting, though, was the Klaxoon box.

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This device creates its own Wifi network for instructors and students to connect to. Once connected, the instructor can prompt students to complete a variety of activities, including live polls, online quizzes, and competitive networked learning games. Students can quickly share their questions and comments, allowing the instructor to change lesson plans on the spot. Various analytics connect to each part of the experience, further helping instructors improve their lessons.

Computer-assisted instruction platforms are nothing new, but France-based Klaxoon aims to be the first and most intuitive way of enhancing in-person instruction. To that end, while up to a thousand students can connect online using the Klaxoon Cloud, most use is meant to go through the Wifi network generated by the actual device. This way, electronic devices in class (usually a source of distraction) can be leveraged as another way to help students connect to the course material.

Connection is quick, easy, and platform-agnostic: Users don’t need to install any additional software in order to use Klaxoon, and they can connect using everything from a laptop to a smartphone. Connection is directly to the device and doesn’t require additional Internet access.

The device is available for rent now, after undergoing real-world testing in companies like Schneider Electric and L’Oréal. It has also been tested at the University of Rennes, among others.

Find out more (and organize a demonstration of the device) here.

Speeding Up IT Support

The Valdosa State University in Georgia has been working to improve their IT service while reducing costs by launching a new program called TRU or Technical Response Unit. TRU trains student lab assistants to deal with more responsibilities such as regular maintenance visits.

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The training for TRU involved a one week orientation and teaches the students the specifics. Afterwards, they shadow an experienced technician for another week followed by an evaluation of their performance. During their regular maintenance visits, they go through a checklist of things to do such as checking the printer, the projectors and sound systems to be working for the next class.

The program has also set up TRU centers around campus since the student technicians are no longer based in computer labs. Sterling Sanders, assistant director of IT, mentions that “the secret is not keeping all of the student technicians in one location, but actually having different TRY center locations to maintain that 15 minute response time.”

The program also has a service catalog that keeps track of requests. The help desk looks at the task and if it is something simple such as installing a keyboard or mouse, a student technician can be sent immediately. If it something that would take longer, it would go to the Technical Support Services team.

In addition to those features, they’ve added IP Cameras, two way radios for communication, remote support systems, and cost saving tactics. Benjamin Li, coordinator of the IT department, mentions that “ensuring that the technology is functional for both the faculty teaching in the classroom as well as students working on their homework in a computer lab” will prove a difference in IT services.

For more info visit the article here.

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.