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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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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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From 2D Designs to 3D Models

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Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) department of Design, Housing and Merchandising has created an innovative club to help its students visualize their designs in 3D. With recent advancements in virtual and augmented reality, OSU has created their first Mixed Reality Lab which incorporates Oculus, Razer, Samsung, and HTC VR technology inside of a 1,600 square-foot facility. “I was just introduced to 3D printing this semester” says Ashtyn Shugart, an interior design student.

VR headsets combined with 3D printers allows the students to transform their 2D designs into real physical objects making it easier to test the flaws or physics of their product.  One student even expresses their gratitude at how simple it is to find the center of gravity of their product or explain a prototype using models of their product. Dr. Chandrasekera, an assistant professor of the department of Design, Housing, and Merchandising foresees practical uses of this technology in the workplace. “Our students will have an advantage, because they will be familiar with not only what these tools are, but also with their place in the design workflow” says Dr. Chandrasekera.

Since 2015, the lab has high hopes for further expansion and have already started collaborating with other departments such as Human Development and Family Sciences, Graphic Design, Business, and Mathematics. This form of collaboration also prepares the students for real world working environments where they will have to collaborate with other departments in order to complete a task.

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Technology Can Help Expand Creativity

The next generation of college students, Generation Z, has had technology as part of their life since birth. It should come to no surprise that 93 percent of students in an Adobe Education survey said that technology in the classroom was essential for their career preparedness. Eighty-nine percent also believe that creativity will also be a big part of their success. Colleges are already preparing for the needs of Gen Z students with programs that combine creativity and technology. Technology in higher education can help expand creativity in higher education and one way is helping designers innovate through engineering.

Staff from Parsons School of Design has already started reaching out to show how technology can help with problem solving in art and design. Noelia Bautista made a music box that could communicate with a computer using the Arduino open-course computing platform, which in turn inspired her to study to be an interior designer. She said that by engaging in the iterative design process, as well as user testing, sketching, and prototyping, she was able to cultivate the skills needed to tackle a wide range of design challenges. Tech-filled spaces also encourage new ideas and collaboration. Clemson University works on a partnership with Adobe to open a digital studio in their library to create a teaching, training and collaborative environment. Adobe even gives access to students to the Adobe Digital Studio, which gives an open access earning space on the Creative Cloud to ensure that students get the best digital tools needed to succeed.

Technology creates an entirely new Artistic experience. Rochester Institute of Technology announced the launch of their MAGIC Spell Studios which is a new building dedicated to supporting game development, film and animation and other digital media. The ways that people engage with games and interactive content is rapidly changing and the industry is more multi-faceted than ever. The school of interactive games and media will challenge students to build into new horizons that expand into the ever changing industry.

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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.

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