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VR Simulation’s Place in Medical School

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With the advancement of virtual reality comes many benefits. One of the most innovative and important ones, is its use in academics. As most schools do not have access to a real cadaver to practice on, VR and other similar types of technology provide a very effective way to teach students, particularly those in anatomy.

At Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, medical students are using VR simulators to study anatomy and pharmacology and work on virtual patients to practice their skills. The university has a Virtual Reality Learning Center, equipped with top-of-the-line VR tools such as the Anatomage Table. This virtual dissection table lets students learn about the human body from every angle.

At the University of Illinois at Chicago, medical students in geriatrics use Oculus Rift along with other software to immerse themselves in the experience. Samantha Bond, clinical assistant professor at the Chicago university states “VR is in this incredibly wild and exciting place right now, especially when it comes to education,” she says. “When you put students into that virtual environment, the subject they’re studying becomes a story about themselves. It can be an unbelievably efficient way to learn.” Add to that the fact that the technology is becoming more affordable, “and I think the possibilities are limitless.”

VR is steadily gaining way into the core of education, and it will not take long before it has a place at every university.

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Data Analytics Will Help Student Success

With technology, students have been able to empower their own education. Either it being a way to help boost their grades or attending classes despite other responsibilities or locations. The Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology hopes that all universities will take advantage of the possibilities technology can create for students. The Office of Educational Technology outlines a plan of how leaders in higher education should use technology to create “everywhere, all-the-time learning and ensure greater equity and accessibility to learning opportunities over the course of a learner’s lifetime.”

Even with the enrollment in higher education increasing over the years, technology still has the possibility of spreading access, boost retention and prepare students for the future. The Office of Educational Technology has provided design principles that could make institutions more student centered. Universities have been using predictive analytics to streamline the advising process and easily recognize struggling students. However, some schools are training students to work with data themselves, as a component of student-centered education, to prepare students for postsecondary work. At Northeastern University, students who participate in Level, a two month data analytics boot camp, work with employers on real analytics problems and leave the programs prepared to work with data.

Data can also help students towards their path to graduation, inside and outside of class. At Austin Peay State University, students use an analytics-powered course recommendation system called Degree Compass. This tool will help students choose the courses that best fit their talents and program of study for upcoming semesters. Adaptive courses that use analytics to provide real time feedback to educators have started to trend in higher education. With a more student-centered institution, there can be more of a targeted assistance towards students.

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Digital Course Materials is the Key to Bettering Higher Education

Higher education stakeholders believe that digital course materials are key to solving system wide problems. A survey by Pearson Education found that at least 84 percent of students, teachers and administrators said that a shift to digital could help with challenges they face. 82 percent also said that digital is the future, but only 56 percent said more than half of their institution’s courses are using some sort of digital courseware. Thomas Malek, the vice president for Channel partnerships for higher education at Pearson, says that the first step in adding more digital tools is more teaching. Instructors and administrators need to be taught about options and demand for more affordable course supplies.

“Institutions need to recognize that affordability issues are real and they cause students to fail when they can’t get course materials,” says Malek. According to NBC News, just as higher education has gotten more expensive, so have textbooks, by 1041 percent since 1977. With digital options, students could save over $100 per course. The demand is there and the students are prepared with the devices required to go digital. Pearson found that over 80 percent, of 18.6 million student in higher education, own either a laptop or a smartphone, and 50 percent own tablets.

If educators get 100 percent usage of a digital platform, there can be a tremendous impact in the amount of data that will be collected. On digital platform, it is easy to hold students accountable for their work. Faculty would be able to see what is going on with the learning in their classrooms through a homework dashboard. The data driven adaptive digital courseware has already been implemented at some universities. A study by SRI International found that adaptive courseware found cost savings and positive impacts on grades, as well as high levels of student and instructor satisfaction in two-year degree programs.

Source: http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2017/01/demand-digital-courseware-higher-supply-survey-says

 

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A New Personal AI Assistant For College

Legislación Tecnologica IA by Edgarodriguezmunoz is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Personal Assistant AI’s may soon come to college campuses in order to guide students through college. AdmitHub, a startup company has raised $2.95 million dollars in order to hire more AI engineers and hire more employees to be a part of its sales team. The company plans on spreading their chatbot program throughout college campuses throughout the US and internationally.

The conversational AI will be accessible to students 24/7 to guide them through engagement and provide them with expert advising. Chatting is achieved through text messages or Facebook Messenger which not only takes the workload off counselors, but also allows them focus on students that require more attention. The AI will be able to handle monotonous tasks such as sending out reminders, supportive guidance, and answering questions.

AdmitHub is already being tested on various large college campuses including Georgia State University, West Texas A&M University, and Bowling Green State University. Through its first year of release, it was able to handle 185,000 individual messages from 3,600 unique students. Their goal of implementing a widely used method of communication makes it easy for students to understand their software. Through its simplicity, the company hopes to provide students with on-demand access to college counseling, provide insight for college admissions officers, and help counselors focus on students the require more personal attention.

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Universities Should Update Their Course Code

Online higher education programs have seen a significant growth due to the rise of massive open online courses. An estimated 5.8 million students are enrolled in online courses, says the reports of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). The Conferences at New Prairie Press reports “The quality of faculty and instruction are critical to the success of any program, and even more so in an online based program, therefore, having an effective evaluation method that functions to both evaluate and mentor those who teach in an online setting is vital to the success of the program.” With the growth of more higher education programs, there does need to be even more faculty evaluation of the effectiveness of the instruction of that course.

OLC has maintained a Quality Scorecard Suite to establish benchmarking tools and standards to help schools evaluate the quality of their online courses. In December 2016, they announced the creation of three more scorecards to evaluation course design, instructional practice and digital courseware. OLC will continue to expand the Quality Scorecard Suite to support the efforts of educators in the pursuit of quality in the learning environment.

Online Learning Insights, says that surveys have found that many believe online courses are lesser quality than face-to-face courses. Online educators can and should handle their quality issues in the courses holistically. With OLC’s original scored, which focuses on administration of online programs, universities are able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their courses. Using evaluation tools regularly have helped online programs flourish in recent years, president of Baker College Online says. OLC has a greater amount of scorecards in their system that will help them identify the areas of improvement.

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