Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) department of Design, Housing and Merchandising has created an innovative club to help its students visualize their designs in 3D. With recent advancements in virtual and augmented reality, OSU has created their first Mixed Reality Lab which incorporates Oculus, Razer, Samsung, and HTC VR technology inside of a 1,600 square-foot facility. “I was just introduced to 3D printing this semester” says Ashtyn Shugart, an interior design student.
VR headsets combined with 3D printers allows the students to transform their 2D designs into real physical objects making it easier to test the flaws or physics of their product. One student even expresses their gratitude at how simple it is to find the center of gravity of their product or explain a prototype using models of their product. Dr. Chandrasekera, an assistant professor of the department of Design, Housing, and Merchandising foresees practical uses of this technology in the workplace. “Our students will have an advantage, because they will be familiar with not only what these tools are, but also with their place in the design workflow” says Dr. Chandrasekera.
Since 2015, the lab has high hopes for further expansion and have already started collaborating with other departments such as Human Development and Family Sciences, Graphic Design, Business, and Mathematics. This form of collaboration also prepares the students for real world working environments where they will have to collaborate with other departments in order to complete a task.
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.
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.
The recent announcement by a number of universities on offering online courses for free and open to anyone heralds what some call as the beginning of a wave of MOOCs, or massively open online courses. Just what exactly is a MOOC and how does it differ from a typical distance learning course? The video below gives a good summary of how MOOCs work and why they are different from other models of distance learning.
Now more than ever, it is important to promote and enforce academic integrity. Online learning has opened doors for many and has changed the way people think about education. Although it has also raised the possibility of plagiarism and academic dishonesty, this should not be a deterrent from online teaching or learning. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has put together a guide called Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education, which contains tips for institutions, professors and students on how to promote academic integrity in an online learning environment. These tips are categorized under Institutional Context and Commitment, Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty Support, Student Support, and Assessment and Instruction.
Here are some especially helpful tips that we have highlighted from the document:
An article in today’s Seattle Times announces that the University of Washington along with nine other universities will be partnering with Coursera, an online start-up that specializes in offering free online university courses to anyone that wants to take a class. We’ve blogged about Coursera recently when the start-up first launched with its new business model of providing low-cost and free online courses for credits. Its proponents have picked up momentum in terms of partnering with a number of top-tier universities and its increasing number of offerings seem promising. Currently, students who sign up for a course on Coursera will have to commit certain blocks of time to completing assignments as well as interacting with other students. Quizzes are embedded with the course material online and data is consistently analyzed by the course system to see how students approach each question to solve it.
Addressing concerns over whether online courses would be as rigorous as a traditional course, David Szatmary, the vice provost for online learning at the UW, said that students “are being held to the same academic standards we require in our institutions” and that “Coursera is working only with top-tier institutions”. UW Computer Science professor Ed Lazowska also remarked that “Coursera courses from many universities will be woven into UW offerings one day, with students taking the classes online as homework and coming into a classroom for practice and discussions.”
It will be interesting to see how this project progresses especially with the UW now involved. We look forward to seeing future developments.