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Feedback Studio by Turnitin

The infamous anti-plagiarism website has added a new feature! Turnitin Feedback Studio is a product that will emphasize feedback, easy use and accessibility. Renamed “FeedBack Studio”, this new function’s main point is to help instructors provide authentic feedback to improve their student’s writing.  It does this by giving instructors a single place to quickly provide direct feedback on all aspects of their students’ work.

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(Photo Credit: TurnitIn.com)

Some features of this new tool include:

  • New user interface that puts plagiarism prevention, feedback, and grading into one unified view
  • A responsive design that is functional on PC’s, tablets, and mobile devices
  • Expanded database and enhanced anti-plagiarism technology that indexes the most relevant and up-to-date content on the web, including content that is hidden behind JavaScript

In a survey conducted with more than 1,000 students, the students stated that they valued the feedback from their teachers in support of their learning.  Feedback Studio’s new interface allows educators to provide feedback on students’ papers from one window the entire time they edit and comment. Teachers also have the option to choose from over 75 pre-written comments like “citation needed” or “phrasing”.  Furthermore, the new version offers grading rubrics and voice feedback options.

Turnitin Feedback Studio is currently available to all Turnitin users and for on a per-student, annual subscription for new customers.

For more information, please visit the article here, or the Turnitin website

UCI Wireless Accessibility

WiFi is quickly becoming an expected standard for higher ed campuses. The University of California Irvine is one of 10 University of California schools, however Irvine was the only UC campus that didn’t have end-to-end wireless. UCI has 30,000 students, 9,000 of whom live on campus. These students need wireless connection for all their academic needs.

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(Photo Credit: Campus Technology)

When UCI was finally ready to roll out WiFi for student housing, the university partnered with CDW-G and Cisco for the project. Cisco provided the equipment while CDW-G organized the whole installation. Over a period of several months the UCI installed the needed wiring to support wireless access for four different undergrad communities, geographically located in four different areas of the campus, with an estimate installation of 1,300 access points. The goal was to locate the access points so that each student would have the best connectivity.

The IT team at UCI provides students with advice on how to remove viruses and malware from students’ devices and how to install the proper antivirus software and security tools. Funding the UCI project came from the campus Student Housing department. The campus is 50 years old this year.

“Listen to your students. They’ll tell you what services they need, the latest trends, and whatever other services they desire,” said Kevin Ansel, director of student affairs IT. By making wireless connection available throughout the school and campus housing students are able to stay connected with their academic work anywhere on campus.

For more information, visit the article here.

Blackboard Partners with ReadSpeaker

ReadSpeaker is the worldwide leader in online text to speech. In 1999, ReadSpeaker created the first-ever speech-enabling solution for websites followed by the first web-based platform for producing digital talking books. ReadSpeaker speech-enables content in 40+ languages and 100+ voices. All of ReadSpeaker’s products are web-based and work with all browsers (Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, Chrome, Lynx, etc.). Having their products be web-based allows users to avoid tedious downloads and allows users to access their products from any location.

ReadSpeaker has teamed up with Blackboard to make its text-to-speech technology more available to students around the world. Enabling text to speech is an important pillar of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Rather than reading through challenging articles, auditory learners can simply listen to the content on-demand. This not only benefits those who prefer to learn by listening, but also students that are language learners. Students with visual impairments and with certain learning disabilities will also benefit from ReadSpeaker and Blackboard’s collaboration.

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(Photo Credit: ReadSpeaker Website)

Blackboard is committed to improving accessibility to learners. Katie Blot, senior vice president of corporate strategy & industry relations at Blackboard, shared that the partnership between Blackboard and ReadSpeaker will help make learning more adaptable and accessible for educators and learners.

Text-to-Speech is opening doors to help students access higher education.

Click here to learn more.

‘Stackable” Degrees as entries to Graduate Programs

As the rates for graduate education increase and students are demanding for cheaper alternatives, some universities and colleges are experimenting with “stackable degrees.” The idea behind it is allowing students to start with a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), followed by a few more MOOCs to get an online certificate, followed by more courses to get a traditional master’s degree.

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The University of Illinois announced this type of degree recently. Starting in the Fall, students can enroll in an online master’s program in data science (which is closely collaborated with Coursera). The cost of the full master’s program is astronomically less than the price of an on-campus master’s program, costing only $19,200.

Because of the demand for students to get in STEM degrees and a university’s very little space, they will try to create these programs in order to accommodate more students, while saving them money.

The University of Illinois is not the only university that is experimenting. Massachusetts Institute of Technology also announced a similar program called “micro-master’s degree.”

This style of degree will help students also test out whether or not they want to go with just getting a certificate or go for the full master’s degree. This will align much better with their career goals.

For more information, visit the article here.

Competency-Based Courses Opening Doors to Higher Education

Competency-Based Education are courses designed around students’ mastery in a topic rather than around the amount of time they sit through a class. With most programs, students follow a carefully designed curriculum that leads them through specific learning objectives. Students are then required to complete a series of demanding tests, writing assignments and other assessments.

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(Photo Credit: Josh McCreery)

The University of Wisconsin-Extension offers UW Flexible Option, an outreach and e-learning option that opens the door to working professionals seeking to continue their education in one. The program offers everything from certificates to bachelor’s degrees. Students that use the Flexible Option allows them to learn what they need to and save money by not taking unnecessary courses

The IT department tracks students from the day they are enrolled, release new modules as they complete competencies, and send out automated student feedback. For students, the transition to this new learning model can be overwhelming. Flexible Option offers each student an Academic Success Coach who will answer student questions, offer advice, and help students create a learning plan and timeline. Institutions partnering with IT departments can build a fully supported competency-based program that puts students in control of their education by offering courses that students can personalize at an affordable rate.

Click here to learn more