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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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Take a Trip to the Future of the Ocean

Climate change is adamant, and yet, some people are still having a hard time believing it is happening. Well seeing is believing, and at Stanford, you can use a free virtual reality program to explore a world where climate change kills off coral reefs. The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience, a Virtual Human Interaction Lab, is a free science tool a part of Stanford that transports students to the sea floor then fast-forwards to the end of the century. This is when scientists have predicted that many of the coral reefs we have today are corroding through ocean acidification. The hope is to change people’s point of view and behavior in the world through a virtual reality experience.


The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience is a 360-dregree video project that addresses the problem of global warming and how it impacts the ocean and the lives it caries. It’s also a tool that allows viewers to explore the deep-sea and collect samples.

The simulation starts with putting the user into heavy traffic where they can they follow carbon dioxide molecules. They then float from car tailpipes leading to the sea where they’re absorbed. The user then steps into the waves and moves around the coral as time passes and they get to experience what it’s like as it loses its life and the acidity levels in the water increase. A narrator will explain what’s happening as this happens and tell them to do certain actions, such as a species count.

This software was created in partnership with marine biologists Fiorenza Micheli and Roy Pea from Stanford and Kristy Kroeker, from the University of California. It took two years to recreate a virtual replica of an actual rocky reef that exists around the island of Ischia in Italy where underground volcanic cents have been emitting carbon dioxide into the reef. The data that was collected from this reef has allowed researchers to measure and predict the impact this will have on marine life as time passes.

Lawmakers in Washington DC also got to experience this VR at a non-profit event, Ocean Conservancy. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island states that: “This simulation shows in rich detail the damage carbon pollution inflicts on our oceans. I appreciate the Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience for calling attention to the peril our oceans face and what we must do to protect them.”

For more information, please visit the main article on Campus Technology.

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.

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

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.

For more information, please visit the main article here.