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Building a Better Blueprint for E-Books

Professors at the Brookdale Community College decided to make use of the fact that students are on their phones a multitude of times throughout the day. Mike Qaissaunee, chair of the Engineering and Technology department at the Lincroft institution thought that he could deliver academic content into their phones which would lure them to using their devices to academics.

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The E-MATE project created three e-books to be integrated into the students’ iPhones: Fundamentals of Light and Lasers, Introduction to the Automated Warehouse and Essential Mathematics for Engineering Technicians. Professors will be able to make their e-books more engaging by customizing it with widgets and interactive content.

E-MATE is also aware that not all students have iPhones, so they accommodate by having PDF formats of the e-books. That way, students are also able to access the books offline. Students and professors would also be able to save more money through e-books as they would not have to pay for the hard-cover prices. Professors with Apple devices would also be able to create their e-books for free.

Students have voiced their opinions about e-books and agreed that it has helped them learn material easier. The interactivity makes students more engaged in the content, and those who find difficulty in reading text would not have to worry as much.

For more info, visit the article here.

Big Data, Meet Big Achievement: Bringing Predictive Analytics Into the Classroom

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Collecting data on students is nothing new- LMS systems across schools almost uniformly record information on student achievement. But only recently have schools started applying this data to help their students get ahead. Colorado State University found that they substantially increased graduation rates when they began to use their data to help find students who needed academic assistance. However, degree-auditing systems often are finicky and hard to use, and give information that can sometimes be incorrect. An example can be found in UW’s own DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System), which often incorrectly categorizes or misrepresents student progress or achievement. This makes academic planning difficult for both students and academic advisers. On top of that, these data-driven tools rarely properly augment the other tools that academic advisers use to help students stay on track.

That may be about to change. A series of acquisitions and mergers in the education data analysis space may suggest that the multiple systems may also be integrated in the near future- and as new standards for software and new ways of applying data are put into effect, educators must make sure to stay ahead of the curve.

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Adding More Technology Reduces the Costs of Teaching?

The hype and excitement over technology-based learning environments have taken universities by storm. Universities are now looking into ways to incorporate online and hybrid courses in order to help students who need this convenience but educators also believe that once universities get a good handle on technology-based classes it will overall save them money and reduce the cost for students.

However, after the hype has dissipated, Randall Bergen, assistant to the president of Bethel University, has found that adding more technology hasn’t necessarily meant reduced spending for universities. This has left him discouraged and the hype has worn off.

Although online and hybrid courses would be most convenient and reduce the sizes of classes, it could also jeopardize the organization of discussion based courses such as liberal-arts related majors.  Most educators believe that to fully make implementing technologies more cost efficient there needs to be a model or change in how the university is structured. This would cause the entire institution to change and to add more time and dedication to educating professors and getting their faculty the technology tools they need to be successful.

However, for courses that are math and solutions based, universities have the greatest opportunity to not only have automatic grading of homework, but also quizzes and timed exams. Though this might insinuate opportunities in cheating. But by cutting most of the time that professors would use on grading, they could be teaching multiple classes of the same subject to allow more students in these specific courses.

There is no particular solution thus far, however with more collaboration with other universities, there can be a cost-reducing use of technology.

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Modeling Classroom Success: Teaching with 3D Printers

The UWB Makerspace is up and running, but many schools are looking at programs that teach how to use 3D printers as well as provide 3D printing tools to their students. XYZprinting just announced their new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) program, a curriculum exchange program aimed at K-12 teachers, using 3D printed materials and techniques in the classroom.

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Most of the interesting stuff is on the college level, where it’s being used in a variety of applications for research. This is where most of the curricula being developed across the industry is focused, as well. Stratasys (the 3D printer manufacturer) has also developed a college-level curriculum for 3D printing, focusing on its benefits and philosophy as a platform but also on practical concepts. UWB remains ahead of the curve in 3D printer access and utility, but it will need to continually reinvent itself over the coming months and years to stay on top of emerging technologies. For example, Virginia Tech follows a vending-machine style format for 3D printing that somewhat resembles Dawg-Prints: Students swipe their card before printing the materials they need, and are billed from their student account.

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4 Trends That Will Recharge Higher Ed IT in 2016

Campus Technology performed a survey to point out technology trends that would impact leaders and professors for this new year. Below are the four topics they found.

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Embracing Virtual Augmented Worlds: The general public will be more exposed to virtual reality and augmented reality. Google, Microsoft, Sony, HTC and Facebook will be releasing their own VR devices to transport users to programmed worlds. Besides entertainment, VR is also being used to help people in critical conditions. Burn patients at the University of Washington Harborview Burn Center go through VR trials to distract them from the pain. VR cams are being set in refugee camps to provoke empathy and aid. Frog Design, a design and strategy firm, wrote that VR would connect those “otherwise isolated people and groups…rather than getting lost in virtual fantasy, [they find themselves] more deeply connected to reality.”

Threat Intelligence Permeates Security: Experts have predicted that the basic problems of cybersecurity will still be present. Users will still have some of their sensitive data stolen. Organizations would be targeted by hacktivists who want to damage the reputation of their victims. As a result, these organizations will try to use predictive modeling to have a more active defense.

Caring for the customer: Organizations will be focusing on the level of importance given to the customer experience. Forrester Analyst Brian Hopkins predicted that spending in business technology will double this year. One of the areas of investment will be hyper personalization which compiles data about customers to create a fuller picture of who they are and better serve them.

Present Tense Replace Future Tense: Institutions have found it important for people to breathe and take a break from their work. This helps employees refresh their brain, reduce stress and anxiety, find a measure of balance and deepen their thinking. Some articles have advised people to stop and collect themselves before going to meetings or starting work.

For more info, visit the article here