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Flipped Classrooms


With the increase of classroom technology, teachers are finding new ways to structure their classrooms through the use of digital media. The University of Wisconsin’s Engineering cohort has adopted one such teaching style known as the “flipped classroom” method. In this method, the teacher sends lectures to their students to watch at home and then applies those skills in the classroom.

The University of Wisconsin’s first engineering cohort initially started with 4 flipped classrooms but has seen a rise in this style of teaching and even encourages teachers to adopt the model. This model challenges professors to provide the lecture videos, but in return, helps their students gain valuable communications and collaboration skills. Greg Moses, an engineering physics professor, has seen a positive correlation to student grades with this new system and even points out that they have a stronger mastery of the material.

In hopes of spreading the new and innovative classroom model, The University of Wisconsin hosted a workshop lead by their chair of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), John Booske. Over 30 other heads of the ECE department around the US attended and learned about the flipped classrooms and the positive effects of learning through blended instruction.

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Forget Accreditation, bring on College Audit!

Audits are familiar for companies and colleges. But can the same techniques now commonly used to assure investors, donors, and governments about spending practices also provide guarantees about the quality of education a college is providing?

As higher education as a whole is becoming more focused on results, the audit approach is becoming much more appealing. General Assembly this year made public a set of standard, developed by an auditor, on how it would measure itself on its educational results. Currently, the two criteria’s, job-placement and graduation rates, are just the current focuses. They hope to add additional ones. The company also released specific information and definitions about its plans to measure those outcomes. Specifically, what counts as a job? How does this go into calculating the placement rates?

General Assembly is a boot-camp style form of education. They teach students how to code and gives them the necessary skills to obtain a high paying job at a top tech company. However, this metric that they are creating could not be applied to a traditional four-year program. Specifically, the demographic and types of people are different. You could have people who have a bachelor but want to transition into programming choose General Assembly. They have more reason to graduate and do well as this determines their next career move.

However, that doesn’t mean that colleges can’t create their own auditing system. Traditional four year colleges would have more specific criteria list, but all the same this can help students know what they’re getting into and the reputation of their university.

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College Adaption towards the Networked Age

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Students are distracted more than ever in the classroom. They have emails to check, Facebook to browse, and to be very honest they just aren’t captivated in the classroom anymore. Students used to be much more respectful of the professor behind the podium, now they’re riddled with social media. Although Joshua Cooper Ramo believes that this isn’t because of the advancement of technology, but the shift in attitude towards college and authority figures in general. He is the author of No Visible Horizon in which comes from the time he was a stunt pilot. Some would say that from that experience he loves zooming out to get an aerial view of problems.

He argues in his newest book, The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks, that we’re in a time of change as significant and disruptive as the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution. Old Power centers are becoming less important than the new digital monsters like Facebook and Google, and computer algorithms are doing things that even their designers can’t predict.

He believes leaders today are making continual mistakes by assuming what worked in the old system, can work in this new networked era.

Simply as an example, we used to be what our resumes said we were, however now it’s who you are connected to. He believes in order to engaged students, the system must change. University and college leaders must take the reins and create a new system to accommodate for this fast-paced network era.

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Virtual Reality Steps into the Medical Field

With virtual reality on the rise, it’s not surprising that it would make its way into the medical field. At Stanbridge College in southern California, a new virtual reality lab is giving students an opportunity to witness and interact with holographic 3D models for their medical training. The lab is equipped with computers that contain software from zSpace, Cyber Science 3D and Cyber Anatomy 3D.

Students from the college’s Nursing, Occupational and Physical Therapy, and Veterinary Technology programs now have access to more than a thousand options of different models ranging from the cellular level up to human or animal bodies and body systems. According to a press release, “Using a stylus and 3D glasses, students can virtually ‘lift’ an object off of the zSpace screen, manipulating and adjusting it to see it at different angles and magnify it for fine details. Students can dissect layers and components of a model for a deeper understanding of interconnectivity.”

President of the college, Yasith Weerasuriya states that their goal as a school is to give their students every opportunity to learn in a way that fits their needs, and the lab is the perfect way to do that. She also states that: “We are very pleased to partner with zSpace Education Systems and expand our classroom technology initiative by adding virtual reality technology to our existing complement of high-fidelity human and canine simulation manikins, synthetic and real human cadavers, and world-class skills labs. This extension of opportunities for kinesthetic learning gives our students an advantage as they prepare for professional licensure and employment.”

Both students and instructors alike state that the models jump off the screen and into their hands, making it a valuable virtual resource to use. Students now have a better opportunity to understand the complex anatomy and illness of their patients.

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Online Education is Now a Global Market


When teaching online first started in colleges, people mused that competition for college students would one day be global. A student would be able to sit down at a computer and take a course literally from anywhere. This may have seemed crazy at the time, however now it’s become a reality. A global competition for higher education is here, and some of the more famous universities were the last to get into the act.

Although MOOC’s feel somewhat similar to an entire different entity to a University, educators actually believe that online learning does not explicitly mean just MOOC’s. There is a broad range of digital opportunities besides MOOC’s.

Although, not all universities believe that converting to online learning is a good thing. Specifically, universities that are deemed higher levels of education, don’t have to worry about their traditional schooling to be affected. They own a certain level of significance and awarded for their traditional education. They have a certain reputation that will help their traditional way of educating to thrive and be consistent. However, schools that are lower or middle-level tiers are more nervous. They don’t necessarily want to take away from the traditional aspect.

They now have to put more effort into this digital side in order to run with the pack, will the traditional side suffer? This all depends on the university and the course of actions they put in. However, this stigma can make universities falter in putting more resources into online learning as they are still attempting to make themselves known among the bigger schools.

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