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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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Distance Learning Is the Solution for Rural Institutions

Digital equity is a big topic in K-12 schools, but small, rural colleges and universities have a bigger issue to tackle around technology. They have to enable students in rural colleges to enjoy the same resources and opportunities as students in urban institutions. In Anderson, S.C., Forrest College attracts students from rural areas as far as an hour’s drive away. Because of this distance, students that run into issues with transportation or sickness will miss out on class. Now, with distance learning solutions, they are able to attend class wherever they are. Students will simply Skype in and watch lectures live, or they may ask an instructor to record class sessions using lecture capture technology to be viewed later.

This is only one of the problems that is faced, and there are a number of challenges that rural colleges have, according to Randy Smith, president of the Rural Community College Alliance. They lack the large population base and resources of urban areas, which means less potential faculty members and fewer mass transit options. Faculty shortages, especially in fields such as nursing, welding and culinary arts, are a huge issue. “It takes a unique person with an advanced degree and teaching experience who wants to live in a rural area,” says Smith, who organization advocates for the country’s 589 rural and tribal colleges and their 3.4 million students.

Transportation is also a big issue for students living in areas with little or no public transportation. The majority of students will drive an average distance of 25 miles to get to class. Most rural colleges must provide fast internet connections on their campuses, and online for distance learning courses. This will allow students to the most learning opportunities and convenient access to education.

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Image from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2017/02/distance-learning-bridges-digital-divide-higher-education

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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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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Image Source: https://openclipart.org/detail/227637/shadowed-modern-minimalist-mobile-icon

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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