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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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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.

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Online Education is Now a Global Market


When teaching online first started in colleges, people mused that competition for college students would one day be global. A student would be able to sit down at a computer and take a course literally from anywhere. This may have seemed crazy at the time, however now it’s become a reality. A global competition for higher education is here, and some of the more famous universities were the last to get into the act.

Although MOOC’s feel somewhat similar to an entire different entity to a University, educators actually believe that online learning does not explicitly mean just MOOC’s. There is a broad range of digital opportunities besides MOOC’s.

Although, not all universities believe that converting to online learning is a good thing. Specifically, universities that are deemed higher levels of education, don’t have to worry about their traditional schooling to be affected. They own a certain level of significance and awarded for their traditional education. They have a certain reputation that will help their traditional way of educating to thrive and be consistent. However, schools that are lower or middle-level tiers are more nervous. They don’t necessarily want to take away from the traditional aspect.

They now have to put more effort into this digital side in order to run with the pack, will the traditional side suffer? This all depends on the university and the course of actions they put in. However, this stigma can make universities falter in putting more resources into online learning as they are still attempting to make themselves known among the bigger schools.

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Teaching Diversity Online is Possible

A professor at the Sam Houston State University, Rebecca Bustamante, says students have a tendency to shut down when talking about race during class discussions. This can pose a challenge when teaching a course about diversity issues. It gets even more difficult when the course is then taught online.

Courses in diversity are nothing new, they are a standard in education and educational-leadership programs. Although professors who teach them haven’t had many problems, they understand that personal attacks and conflicts are a possibility. It is a critical to build an online community and establish trust to keep the course on track.

Professors also say that students are much more open and honest about their thoughts and experiences, and this could be from the online environment. It also frees students from the awkwardness of confronting difficult topics in person.

Although there are pros to the situation, there are also cons. Teaching diversity through an online format is not ideal. An assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln believes that, “Being face-to-face, you are actually able to hear and see the passion, not having that face-to-face connection inhibits the class a little bit.”.

Although another assistant professor at the Sam Houston State says it is doable. The general consensus is, that although online learning can pose a challenge, it’s up to the professor to create innovative ideas to properly teach students.

In this case some professors turn to using video to bring body language into the online classroom. One professor at West Virginia University, says that she requires students to all gather at the same time over an online video conference system, which allows them to have a real-time discussion and get to know one another.

Although teaching diversity online might be difficult, there are remedies. All it takes is some time and effort and setting guidelines for students.personal

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Faculty on the Fence About Providing Computing Devices to Students

20160928facultysupport4devicesSome colleges have the wonderful service of providing laptops or a tablet for students who don’t have access to one, or who have simply forgot theirs. It is a service that students value and use quite often. But in a recent survey by Campus Technology’s Teaching with Tech survey, about a quarter of the faculty (23 percent) support the institution providing devices to their students. 30 percent like the idea of having devices available, but only for those who reserve it. Still, the majority of instructors are favoring the idea of providing devices to an extent, making the overall count of those in favor, to 85 percent. A third of the instructors (33 percent) are leaning more towards the “bring your own device” model or BYOD; while another third (34 percent) will go with this approach with some uncertainties. While this may be an issues at colleges and universities that require a computer device in class, there are those that do not have to worry, as six in ten, or 56 percent of colleges or universities do not require students to bring a laptop or another computing device with them to class.

Another survey was done regarding a student’s access to internet. On average, according to Campus Technology’s research, about 82 percent of students have access to internet at home. It was found though, that 69 percent of faculty believe that between 51 and 100 percent of students have access to the internet. They have the presumption that students in college or a university are able to use the campus resources to get their school work done.

According to a professor from a New York college, this is not sufficient for those students who do not have internet access. He suggests that institutions should start including an “internet access package” along with the tuition.

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