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Custom Learning from an App

Article Source: Campus Technology at https://campustechnology.com/articles/2016/12/21/building-an-app-store-for-learning-tools.aspx?admgarea=News

 

Gone are the days where the teachers or professors stand in front of a large class and lecture for hours on end. Gone are pencils and pens and replaced with all new high tech tablets and small computers. While many look at how to improve the students’ learning by giving more and more new tech, the University of North Carolina (UNC) has a different approach. They want to focus at the core issue, how to teach.

Why make it a cookie cutter design to learning for faculty when students want and need custom learning? UNC developed a custom-made app store for their faculty members called “Learning Technology Commons”. The idea behind this is to help give and promote innovation via custom education. Matthew Rascoff, one of the creators of this idea states “the enterprise model of a single system adopted by a campus and imposed on educators is the wrong way to think about supporting it in scale.” AKA, what is in place now doesn’t work. He also states that technology moves at a fast past where everything that is current can become obsolete the next day. This is very true, look at any of the new smartphones or computers that came out last year and compare them to today. Two or more years ago, are considered old technology. His idea is to make education the same way. Have faculty use this app store to up vote ideas that have been tested and work in the classroom and bring in that custom education aspect, and to change and develop new ideas at the same time. An example of this could be one professor might need help explaining a difficult principle of chemistry and find someone who has a better way to explain it but also has pre-made learning tools that can help the students succeed.

To learn more about this please visit the main article on Campus Technology.

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A Personal Assistant for Students

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“It’s not due yet. I still have time!” Says the majority of students on any college campus. That procrastination has really made students suffer by adding more stress to their lives as well as lower quality of work. Luckily there is a solution in the making. Avi Badwal and Chris Wessells have teamed up to help create “Insight” a mobile app. This app is a personal assistant app but with a twist. This app is targeted to help students succeed in the rigorous environment of college. The app claims to do this by tracking students personal schedules but also syncs to the school’s database and has a small artificial intelligence (A.I.) unit built in. Wessells states “Generic personal assistants aren’t very effective for our students, because they are not tied in with our Student Information System or our Constituent Relationship Management System. To do something more powerful, we connect Insight with those two systems.” The A.I. unit is used to give the student more targeted and personalized services based on their individual needs. The student would create a profile and set in what classes they are taking and what study habits they use. They can track class rosters, details, locations and instructors. The app can also show semester analytics such as how the student spends their time during the semester and gives feedback on academic performance based on the grade report.

With 100,000 completed tasks in the first year, the app is becoming the next best way for students to succeed in school. The app has features such as time tracker for personal and academic tasks, checking assignments, responses to notifications and an emotion tracker to help monitor stress levels throughout the quarter.

While the app is only for University of San Diego students using iOS, this app may be coming to all major campuses soon.

To learn more about this technology visit the main article here.

Faculty Support

According to a recent Campus Technology 2016 Teaching with Technology survey, about a third of educators do not feel sufficiently supported in their use of technology on campus. The poll surveyed faculty members across the country about the technology used for their teaching and learning, what they wish for, and what they see in the future.

Although, it seems as if most faculty don’t need that much help. The majority of educators surveyed were confident in their ability to use technology with a solid 79 percent saying that their skills in tech are “maxed out” or they had the knowledge to “get the job done”. While on the other end, less than 3 percent acknowledged that they have tech skills that are “below average” or nonexistent. However, the faculty aren’t always confident in their students. More than half of the teachers, 52 percent, state that their students are only average in terms of technology; while 39 percent said that their students are either excellent or above average.

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A science faculty member at a community college in Nebraska emphasized that while students have skills in games and Facebook, they are almost clueless about school or office software that is used for work rather than entertainment. When help is needed, about 30 percent of the instructors go the help desk or IT department before using another source. That’s followed by a 29 percent that use online resources, peers, and instructional technologists. The instructor from Nebraska stated that the survey isn’t fully represented, with self-service training as his choice. At his institution, Lynda.com is made free to all faculty and is a video streaming course service that “helps when trying to learn new tech skills, which we can then share with our students.”

A faculty member from the library of an Indiana university advised there be integration of instructional designers into academic departments. She also suggested that we stop viewing online classes as something new because by now, they should be a “part of the regular teaching landscape.”

For more information, please visit the main article here.

Faculty on the Fence About Providing Computing Devices to Students

20160928facultysupport4devicesSome colleges have the wonderful service of providing laptops or a tablet for students who don’t have access to one, or who have simply forgot theirs. It is a service that students value and use quite often. But in a recent survey by Campus Technology’s Teaching with Tech survey, about a quarter of the faculty (23 percent) support the institution providing devices to their students. 30 percent like the idea of having devices available, but only for those who reserve it. Still, the majority of instructors are favoring the idea of providing devices to an extent, making the overall count of those in favor, to 85 percent. A third of the instructors (33 percent) are leaning more towards the “bring your own device” model or BYOD; while another third (34 percent) will go with this approach with some uncertainties. While this may be an issues at colleges and universities that require a computer device in class, there are those that do not have to worry, as six in ten, or 56 percent of colleges or universities do not require students to bring a laptop or another computing device with them to class.

Another survey was done regarding a student’s access to internet. On average, according to Campus Technology’s research, about 82 percent of students have access to internet at home. It was found though, that 69 percent of faculty believe that between 51 and 100 percent of students have access to the internet. They have the presumption that students in college or a university are able to use the campus resources to get their school work done.

According to a professor from a New York college, this is not sufficient for those students who do not have internet access. He suggests that institutions should start including an “internet access package” along with the tuition.

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

Instructure and Microsoft add Integration between Canvas and Office 365

Having a connection between Office 365 and Canvas will greatly impact the lives of students and teachers. Not only will it be easier to submit assignments and such, but all of these applications are created in the cloud, therefore minimizing the use of personal storage.

If you don’t know what Office 365 is, it’s quite similar to Google Doc’s however it is created by Microsoft and boasts their current Microsoft Office applications, all using web browsers and all data stored is in the cloud (also quite similar to Google Docs).

The new integrations that users will be able to use are:

* Submitting files directly from Office 365 to specific Canvas assignments

* Access Office 365 through canvas SpeedGrader to add feedback (This is important for teachers as there was a bit of a disconnect for specific comments at certain spots of a paper)

* You can link Office 365 documents anywhere on Canvas

* Directly connect Office 365 documents in course modules

* Collaborate with other peers in class using any type of Office documents

* Grade and create assignments in OneNote and push those grades to canvas

* Signing into one, means signing into Office 365 as well

This integration will make using Canvas and Office 365 easier in terms of collaborating both programs together.