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On the Clouds!


Colleges and universities are finding that the cloud is an ideal environment for serving modern technology to modern day students. Using the cloud students will have easy access to course material at their fingertips to help them succeed in higher education.

The cloud gives students more ways to learn such as providing 24/7 course resources on any mobile device in a faster and easier way. Since students learn at different times, in different ways, and in different environments, the cloud provides assignments, learning supplements, self-paced tests, and other aids accessible when needed. With 24/7 access students are not restricted to library or office hours. What the cloud does is it takes advantage of modern technologies to provide a database where students can access up-to-date information. The cloud eliminates data silos, so students and faculty aren’t constantly tracking down information from multiple sources. Students also have multi-user communication, which enable collaboration and ways to learn beyond a traditional textbook or classroom lecture. In the end the cloud’s goal is not to keep up with modern technology, but to help improve student success by providing fast, easy, and reliable course material.

Schools that are taking advantage of modern technologies have noticed that the cloud offers an effective and cost-efficient experience for student resources. Meanwhile providing students with more ways to learn in an easy fast way.

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Penn State Technology Allows Faculty and Students to Build Their Own Textbooks from OER

Faculty, staff and graduate students at Penn State University cleverly came up with a way for other faculty and students to create their own online textbooks through a tool called BBookX.

Users would simply have to type in keywords related to their subject material, then BBookX will gather information from open resources regarding those keywords. Since this tool is only in its pre-release state, it currently runs on top of Wikipedia. However, once it has reached a wider release, it will support more Open Educational Resources (OER) repositories. Kyle Bowen, director of Education Technology Services in TLT, assures that “expanding future use will be a key part of our success”


The tool allows students and faculty to create textbooks chapter by chapter. Once the resources have been loaded, users can rearrange the material however they like through a click and drag interface

A huge advantage of this tool is that students will save a lot of money from textbook costs and they will be able to personalize their learning through building the textbooks themselves.

Although the primary focus of the tool is towards college students, K-12 students and faculty are able to use it as well. A public demo is not yet available, however developers are searching for “schools and organizations that would be interested in partnering and supporting future research.” There is yet to be a confirmed release date.

For more information on this topic, visit the article here.

Enhancing online learning through MOOCs

Universities are looking for opportunities to experiment with new programs. Many colleges have “double-dipped” by joining both Coursera and edX, two major platforms MOOC provides. When MOOC released their new platform at least 10 of the institutions that first partnered with Coursera joined edX. Not a single edX institution has gone the other way. After adding the University of Michigan to the list of charter memebers, edX has recruited all of the Coursera’s earliest partners. The institutions include the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Stanford University to name a few.

Coursera has a promising business model in Specializations, such as career-focused courses. Edx, has its own benefits, in addition to its code serving as the foundation for other platforms it also provides institutions with the opportunity to experiment with online learning, as a part of face-to-face education. Alan M. Garber, the Provost of Harvard University, shared that edX provides institutions with the opportunity for dialogue, collaboration and innovation. The dean of Penn Graduate School of Education explained that edX provides partners with the opportunity to experiment with the rapidly changing online learning space.

EdX sets itself apart because it has a nonprofit status. Each platform MOOCs creates, on Coursera and edX, provides different platforms that reach a verity of different student population allowing course material to be distributed as widely as possible.


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How Technology Can Drive Active, Perpetual Learning

Jeremy Petranka has found a way to make classroom engagement more interesting and captivating – even outside of class. Petranka is an associate professor at Duke University and has integrated a new product called Yellowdig into his Strategy class.

Yellowdig is a platform where students can post links, photos, notes and discussion posts as a news feed. Students can up-vote posts, and those that do get up-voted will gain more “influence”. Petranka thought that his class should have had more collaboration and make use of the advancing technology that is engulfing the lives of students these days. He says that the right technology is “designed for students; mirroring their use habits, patterns and preferences; and resembling they applications that they already know and love”.

Petranka reassures that the integration of this new technology into the classroom won’t move the whole class online – it would just be a separate classroom experience. As students are posting discussions and posts about the week’s topic, professors are able to check in on what topics students seem most interested in.

He concludes that this new product has brought out positive results as learning became more natural and familiar to the students. According to him, a lot of his students commented, “I wasn’t sure at first, but once I jumped in I completely got it.”

For more information on this topic, visit the article here.

Lecture Capture App For Canvas


Professors, do you wish there was a way to record, edit and upload lectures from your phone to Canvas? Thanks to Collaaj it is now possible. This is an app that is exclusive for users with iPhones or iPads and comes with game changing features that are easy to use. After installing Collaaj into the Canvas environment, you will be ready for to approach any last minute lecture capture or video issues that come your way.

Collaaj allows the instructors to record just about anything; things such as: slides, videos, presentations or audio. The company says that the application is capable of recording from three different cameras, all at the same time. The software then goes through PowerPoint presentations and collects as well as indexes text, allowing the students who are actually viewing the video to search on a given term and be able to locate it inside the lecture recording. Once the recording is finished, it’s “live encoded” in order to make it available almost instantly to its viewers and is also uploaded to a “cloud-based or on-premise Campus YouTube” repository, left for the school to use. Collaaj apps are available in the iTunes app store,

If you would like to make your experience much simpler, download Collaaj today. It’s one of the newest apps created for Canvas and is built for easy use and for professors everywhere. But to figure out more about it before you buy it, click on the link above and find out more about what Collaaj can offer you.