Education startup OnlineDegree.com makes the first year of college tuition-free — from forbes.com by Richard Vedder

Excerpt:

If you were told that an educational institution existed that would enable you to earn a year of college credit at zero financial cost and with minimal hassle –from a for-profit private entrepreneurial venture — you would no doubt be suspicious. I receive several pitches a week from individuals trying to promote all sorts of innovations, so I was especially dubious of this proposition – until I talked to Grant Aldrich, the fellow who helped initiate this project, and after reflecting a bit on modern internet-based businesses.

Hundreds of millions daily use at zero cost an immensely popular social media platform, Facebook. It provides much joy to user’s lives. Moreover, Facebook, Inc. has, of this writing, a market capitalization of $539.6 billion and its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is at age 34, one of the richest people in the world. I suspect Grant Aldrich thinks that the Facebook model can be replicated successfully in higher education. Aldrich’s website (https://onlinedegree.com) will provide users with free, high-quality online college-level courses, financed through advertising, sponsorships, etc., much like Facebook and Google do.

The venture is brand new and modest in scope and is just now ready to launch its project.

 

He is bringing market-based capitalism to higher education without the crutch of government-subsidized student loans.

 

Yet Aldrich claims that he is not out to destroy traditional higher education, but rather to revitalize and support it. Students ultimately would go from his online courses into traditional schools, saving at least 25% of the cost through credit transfer, making traditional education significantly more affordable and viable.

 

 


The information below is from Grant Aldrich, Founder of OnlineDegree.com (emphasis via DSC)


Rather than bypassing traditional universities like the MissionU’s or Coursera’s, we have a disruptive solution to innovate within higher ed to combat student debt and bring students back to a collegiate path.

Here’s the quick summary: At OnlineDegree.com, anyone could receive credit, up to their freshman year of college, completely tuition-free. All from home, on their own schedule, no pressure, and no applications.

We offer students free college-level courses and work with accredited universities across the country to award college credit for the courses students take.  With many options to complete their entire freshman year equivalence, there are potential pathways to receive up to 44 units of recommended semester credit at over 1,400 colleges throughout the US…and growing.

By understanding the predicament that working adults have, it’s obvious that the current educational system hasn’t made it simple or easy enough for them to go back to school.  They’re busy, can’t afford it, and have a lot of anxiety taking the first step.  We’re changing that.

Further information is below.



Who Are We?

OnlineDegree.com is a team of startup veterans, leading academics and PhDs (from NYU, West Virginia University, Georgetown, etc). We’ve been working for over 2 years to make higher education more affordable and accessible for everyone. It’s been an incredible adventure to combat entrenched roadblocks and norms. More about us here:

How it Works
Students take as many college-level courses as they’d like on gen ed topics like Psychology, Robotics, Computer Programming, Marketing, History and many more…free. We’ve then worked with participating accredited universities across the country like Southern New Hampshire University, Excelsior College and others, so students can receive college credit for the courses they’ve taken. In addition, there are pathways to receive credit at over 1,400 schools in total throughout the US.

Our courses are:

  • Online and Available 24/7 – No class schedules, no fixed times, and completely self-paced.
  • Easy to Get Started- No applications, No entrance exams, and most importantly, No tuition.
  • Interesting and Top Notch- Our professors are experts in their respective fields with PhDs and advanced degrees. The courses are incredibly interesting.
  • Recommended for over 44 units of semester credit by the NCCRS

Why Is This So Disruptive?
Working adults now have a “bridge” to start their path back to school in 1 minute instead of 1 year in some cases…regardless of their finances or busy schedules. They can test drive different courses and subjects on their own schedule, be better prepared for college-level coursework at a university, and potentially receive college credits toward their degree. Given the common unfortunate student perception that applying directly to a community college or 4-year is intimidating, inflexible and/or costly, we’re more like “wading” into the pool rather than expecting everyone to jump in.

How Have We Made It Free?
We will always be 100% free to students…we’re not going to compromise on that. We’re exploring a marketplace for tutoring, Patreon, Kickstarter, university sponsorships/advertising, private grants, and many other avenues. We are bold enough to look outside of the traditional tuition paradigm to ensure we don’t exclude anyone from participating. There are all kinds of ways to keep the lights on without charging students or sacrificing educational quality.

Why Now?
Despite overwhelming demand to go back to school in the face of eroding manufacturing jobs, robot automation, and a quickly modernizing economy, millions of working adults are still not going back to school at a traditional university. The key is to understand the predicaments of the working adult: accessibility and affordability. Other marketplace offers that circumvent higher education have become increasingly popular. We’re solving this by removing all of the barriers to enable that first critical step in starting back towards a traditional university.

 


Also see:

 


 

 

 

6 Reasons Blended Learning Works — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpts:

6 reasons why blended learning is so effective in higher education:

  1. Improved instructional design
  2. Increased guidance & triggers
  3. Easier access to learning activities
  4. Individualized learning opportunities
  5. Increased engagement through social interaction
  6. Time on task

 


From DSC:
Notice the use of teams of specialists in the improved instructional design section:

  1. Improved instructional design. Blended courses (like online courses) may be more intentionally designed than face-to-face counterparts, if only because institutional initiatives for blended courses often involve instructional designers or educational technologists who support the faculty in a scheduled redesign process.

 


 

 

 

Topic Sheet – Fun Math Activities for Parents to Prevent the Summer Slide — with thanks to Jennifer Harrison for this resource
Tips and ideas for parents with young children (PreK-6) to practice math, boost skills, AND have fun

Excerpt:

Thursday, May 17, 2018 — For stories on the Summer Slide, math education experts at ORIGO Education have compiled a list of activities and resources for parents to do with their young children.?

The Summer Slide is a very real issue, especially in mathematics instruction where students lose an average of 2.6 months of learning.

Quotes
From Debi DePaul, elementary mathematics consultant from ORIGO Education

  • “Summer is an ideal time to mix fun with learning. Parents can mix up math in the kitchen, on the sidewalk, even at the beach!”
  • “All children, but especially young children, need to keep practicing math in summer. But, this practice time should be fun!”
  • “Parents can turn playtime into learning time with some simple tweaks on the classic games and toys.”
  • “The best math activities involve using multiple senses like smell and touch. This multisensory play time cements deeper understanding of fundamental math skills like recognizing proportions, estimation skills, measurement skills, and number sense.”

Additional Ideas 

  1. Download the ORIGO EducationNum Fu apps in addition, subtraction, multiplication or division for free on the App Store.
  2. Sort, Count and Stack Legos – Sort Legos by color or shape. Stack and measure height of different Lego stacks.
  3. Mix and Match Buttons – Group buttons by color. Make piles of 5 and 10 and add.
  4. Grocery Store – Make lists with quantities needed. Count and subtract from a list as items are added to the cart.
  5. Egg Carton – Mark egg carton slots 1-12. Insert two marbles, close the lid and shake. Open and add the two numbers together wherever the marbles land. Numbers can also be multiplied or subtracted.
  6. Tell time using a clock with hands.
  7. Practice adding and subtracting with Monopoly money.
  8. Use different shaped geometric shaped cookie cutters to cut and make patterns in Play-doh
  9. Sculpt 3-dimensional shapes
  10. License Plate road games: Add up total numbers or closest to a target number
  11. Play card games like Blackjack
  12. Count dots on a group of Dominos and add, match dots on groups of 2s, 3s and so on
  13. Play Cribbage
  14. Visit a museum and create number- or shape-themed scavenger hunts

 

 

From DSC:
Low-stakes formative assessments offer enormous benefits and should be used extensively throughout K-12, higher education, L&D/corporate universities, in law schools, medical schools, dental schools, and more. 

Below are my notes from the following article – with the provided emphasis/bolding/highlighting via colors, etc. coming from me:

Duhart, Olympia. “The “F” Word: The Top Five Complaints (and Solutions) About Formative Assessment.” Journal of Legal Education, vol. 67, no. 2 (winter 2018), pp. 531-49. <– with thanks to Emily Horvath, Director of Academic Services & Associate Professor, WMU-Cooley Law School

 


 

“No one gets behind the wheel of a car for the first time on the day of the DMV road test. People know that practice counts.” (p. 531)

“Yet many law professors abandon this common-sense principle when it comes to teaching law students. Instead of providing multiple opportunities for practice with plenty of space to fail, adjust, and improve, many law school professors place almost everything on a single high-stakes test at the end of the semester.” (p. 531)

 

“The benefits of formative assessment are supported by cognitive science, learning theory, legal education experts, and common sense. An exhaustive review of the literature on formative assessment in various schools settings has shown that it consistently improves academic performance.” (p. 544)

 

ABA’s new formative assessment standards (see pg 23)
An emphasis on formative assessments, not just a mid-term and/or a final exam – which are typically called “summative assessments.”

“The reliance on a single high-stakes exam at the end of the semester is comparable to taking the student driver straight to the DMV without spending any time practicing behind the wheel of a car. In contrast, formative assessment focuses on a feedback loop. It provides critical information to both the students and instructor about student learning.” (p. 533)

“Now a combination of external pressure and a renewed focus on developing self-regulated lawyers has brought formative assessment front and center for law schools.” (p. 533)

“In fall 2016, the ABA implemented new standards that require the use of formative assessment in law schools. Standard 314 explicitly requires law schools to use both formative and summative assessment to “’measure and improve’ student learning.” (pgs. 533-534)

 

Standard 314. ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING
A law school shall utilize both formative and summative assessment methods in its curriculum to measure and improve student learning and provide meaningful feedback to students.

 Interpretation 314-1
Formative assessment methods are measurements at different points during a particular course or at different points over the span of a student’s education that provide meaningful feedback to improve student learning. Summative assessment methods are measurements at the culmination of a particular course or at the culmination of any part of a student’s legal education that measure the degree of student learning.

 Interpretation 314-2

A law school need not apply multiple assessment methods in any particular course. Assessment methods are likely to be different from school to school. Law schools are not required by Standard 314 to use any particular assessment method.

 


From DSC:
Formative assessments use tests as a learning tool/strategy. They help identify gaps in students’ understanding and can help the instructor adjust their teaching methods/ideas on a particular topic. What are the learners getting? What are they not getting? These types of assessments are especially important in the learning experiences of students in their first year of law school.  All students need feedback, and these assessments can help give them feedback as to how they are doing.

Practice. Repetition. Feedback.  <– all key elements in providing a solid learning experience!


 

“…effective assessment practices are linked to the development of effective lawyers.” (pg. 535)

Low-risk formative assessment give students multiple opportunities to make mistakes and actively engage with the material they are learning.” (p. 537)

Formative assessments force the students to practice recall. This is very helpful in terms of helping students actually remember the information. The spaced out practice of forcing recall – no matter how much the struggle of recalling it – aids in retaining information and moving items into longer-term memory. (See Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, & Mark A. McDaniel). In fact, according to this book’s authors, the more the struggle in recalling the information, the greater the learning.

Formative assessments can help students own their own learning. Self-regulation. Provide opportunities for students to practice meta-cognition – i.e., thinking about their thinking.

“Lawyers need to be experts at self-regulated learning.” (p. 541)

The use of numerous, low-stakes quizzes and more opportunities for feedback reduces test anxiety and can help with the mental health of students. Can reduce depression and help build a community of learners. (p. 542)

“Millennials prefer interactive learning opportunities, regular assessments, and immediate feedback.” (p. 544)

 


Ideas:


  • As a professor, you don’t have to manually grade every formative assessment. Technology can help you out big time. Consider building a test bank of multiple-choice questions and then drawing upon them to build a series of formative assessments. Have the technology grade the exams for you.
    • Digital quizzes using Blackboard Learn, Canvas, etc.
    • Tools like Socrative
  • Alternatively, have the students grade each other’s work or their own work. Formative assessments don’t have to be graded or count towards a grade. The keys are in learners practicing their recall, checking their own understanding, and, for the faculty member, perhaps pointing out the need to re-address something and/or to experiment with one’s teaching methods.
  • Consider the use of rubrics to help make formative assessments more efficient. Rubrics can relay the expectations of the instructors on any given assignment/assessment. Rubrics can also help TA’s grade items or even the students in grading each other’s items.
  • Formative assessments don’t have to be a quiz/test per se. They can be games, presentations, collaborations with each other.

 


For further insights on this topic (and more) from Northwestern University, see:

New ABA Requirements Bring Changes to Law School Classrooms, Creating Opportunity, and Chaos –from blog.northwesternlaw.review by Jacob Wentzel

Excerpt:

Unbeknownst to many students J.D. and L.L.M. students, our classroom experiences are embarking upon a long-term path toward what could be significant changes as a trio of ABA requirements for law schools nationwide begin to take effect.

The requirements are Standards 302, 314, and 315 , each of which defines a new type of requirement: learning outcomes (302), assessments (314), and global evaluations of these (315). According to Christopher M. Martin, Assistant Dean and Clinical Assistant Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, these standards take after similar ones that the Department of Education rolled out for undergraduate universities years ago. In theory, they seek to help law schools improve their effectiveness by, among other things, telling students what they should be learning and tracking students’ progress throughout the semester. Indeed, as a law student, it often feels like you lose the forest for the trees, imbibing immense quantities of information without grasping the bigger picture, let alone the skills the legal profession demands.

By contrast, formative assessment is about assessing students “at different points during a particular course,” precisely when many courses typically do not. Formative assessments are also about generating information and ideas about what professors do in the classroom. Such assessment methods include quizzes, midterms, drafts, rubrics, and more. Again, professors are not required to show students the results of such assessments, but must maintain and collect the data for institutional purposes—to help law schools track how students are learning material during the semester and to make long-term improvements.

 

And/or see a Google query on “ABA new formative assessment standards”

 

 

 

Skill shift: Automation and the future of the workforce — from mckinsey.com by Jacques Bughin, Eric Hazan, Susan Lund, Peter Dahlström, Anna Wiesinger, and Amresh Subramaniam
Demand for technological, social and emotional, and higher cognitive skills will rise by 2030. How will workers and organizations adapt?

Excerpt:

Skill shifts have accompanied the introduction of new technologies in the workplace since at least the Industrial Revolution, but adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will mark an acceleration over the shifts of even the recent past. The need for some skills, such as technological as well as social and emotional skills, will rise, even as the demand for others, including physical and manual skills, will fall. These changes will require workers everywhere to deepen their existing skill sets or acquire new ones. Companies, too, will need to rethink how work is organized within their organizations.

This briefing, part of our ongoing research on the impact of technology on the economy, business, and society, quantifies time spent on 25 core workplace skills today and in the future for five European countries—France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom—and the United States and examines the implications of those shifts.

Topics include:
How will demand for workforce skills change with automation?
Shifting skill requirements in five sectors
How will organizations adapt?
Building the workforce of the future

 

 

Assistive technology to help students with developmental delays succeed academically — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Developmental delays can affect almost every area of a child’s life. This broad issue can cover any possible milestone that a child doesn’t meet according to the expected timeline, including speech or movement. While children with developmental delays can still be successful, it will require some additional help from patient teachers. Educators would do well to research the available assistive technology that can help to bolster a child’s education and encourage academic success.

What tools are available to help students compensate for their developmental delays? Here are just a few of the top technologies that parents and teachers have found to be successful in the classroom.

 

 

Assistive technology to help students with articulation disorder succeed academically — from thetechedvocate.org by Matthew Lynch

Excerpt:

Some students encounter extraordinary challenges when it comes to forming the sounds of everyday communication. This may be due to a structural problem with the mouth or a motor-based issue. Collectively, these difficulties are considered to be articulation disorders. They can make classroom education extremely hard for both teachers and students. However, there are some ways that teachers can help students with articulation disorders still succeed academically.

If you want to help your student with articulation disorder succeed, you will need some of the best assistive technology available. You can see the recommendations for the top assistive technologies used with this disorder below.

 

 

 

Writing Resources from the “State of Writing” — from stateofwriting.com with thanks to Mary Bennett who mentions that this site is an “incredibly useful resource with tips and its own collection of writing and grammar guides.”

Some of the useful sections include resources regarding:

  • Dictionaries and Thesauruses
  • Style Guides
  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Etymology
  • Quotations
  • Writing various genres
  • Foreign Languages

 

 

The World Will Be Painted With Data — from forbes.com by Charlie Fink

Excerpt:

The world is about to be painted with data. Every place. Every person. Every thing. In the near term this invisible digital layer will be revealed by the camera in your phone, but in the long term it will be incorporated into a wearable device, likely a head-mounted display (HMD) integrating phone, audio, and AI assistants. Users will control the system with a combination of voice, gesture and ring controller. Workers in factories use monocular displays to do this now, but it’s going to be quite some time before this benefits consumers. While this coming augmentation of man represents an evolutionary turning point, it’s adoption will resemble that of the personal computer, which took at least fifteen years. Mobile AR, on the other hand, is here now, and in a billion Android and Apple smartphones, which are about to get a lot better. Thanks to AR, we can start building the world’s digital layer for the smartphone, right now, without waiting for HMDs to unlock the benefits of an AR-enabled world.

 

 

 

12 hot augmented reality ideas for your business — from information-age.com
Augmented reality is one of the most exciting technologies that made its way into the mass market in the recent years.

Excerpt:

In this article we will tell you about other ways to use this technology in a mobile app except for gaming and give you some augmented reality business ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Google Maps is getting augmented reality directions and recommendation features — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg
Plus, the ability to vote on restaurants with friends

Excerpt:

The new AR features combine Google’s existing Street View and Maps data with a live feed from your phone’s camera to overlay walking directions on top of the real world and help you figure out which way you need to go.

 

 

 

VR Travel: Virtual Reality Can Show You The World — from appreal-vr.com by Yariv Levski

Excerpt:

The VR travel industry may be in its infancy, but if you expect to see baby steps leading to market adoption, think again. Digital travel sales are expected to reach $198 billion this year, with virtual reality travel apps and VR tours capturing a good share of market revenue.

Of course, this should come as no surprise. Consumers increasingly turn to digital media when planning aspects of their lives, from recreational activities to retirement. Because VR has the power to engage travelers like no other technology can do, it is a natural step in the evolution of the travel industry. It is also likely to disrupt travel planning as we know it.

In this article, we will explore VR travel technology, and what it means for business in 2018.

 

 

From Inside VR & AR

HP Inc. is teaming up with DiSTI to create VR training programs for enterprise customers. DiSTI is a platform for user interface software and custom 3D training solutions. The companies are partnering to create maintenance and operations training in VR for vehicle, aircraft and industrial equipment systems. DiSTI’s new VE Studio software lets customers develop their own virtual training applications or have DiSTI and HP professional services teams assist in designing and building the program. — TECHRADAR

 

 

 

HP and DiSTI to enhance enterprise training through VR solutions — from techradar.com by Nick Rego
Global alliance will combine HP’s VR solutions with DiSTI’s advanced development platform

Excerpt:

HP Inc. today announced an alliance with the DiSTI Corporation, a leading global provider of VR and advanced human machine interface development solutions, to address the growing demand for high-impact, cost-effective VR training.

The two companies will work together to develop unique VR training solutions for enterprise customers, with a specific focus on maintenance and operations training for complex systems such as vehicle, aircraft and industrial equipment.

 

 


Addendum:


  • Why 360 Video and Virtual Reality Matters and 5 Great Ways To Use It — from  mediamerse.com
    Excerpt:

    It’s a different approach to storytelling: Just as standard video is a step up from photography in terms of immersiveness, 360 video and VR amp this up considerably further. Controlling what’s in the frame and editing to hone in on the elements of the picture that we’d like the viewer to focus on is somewhat ‘easy’ with photography. With moving pictures (video), this is harder but with the right use of the camera, it’s still easy to direct the viewer’s attention to the elements of the narrative we’d like to highlight.Since 360 and VR allow the user to essentially take control of the camera, content creators have a lot less control in terms of capturing attention. This has its upsides too though…360 video and particularly VR provide for a very rich sensory environment that standard video just can’t match.

 

 

 

Khan Academy’s Free LSAT Prep Program Draws Jeers, Cheers — from law.com by Karen Sloan
The highly anticipated program, created in conjunction with the organization that makes the law school entrance exam, is set to go live June 1.

Excerpt:

A major player in free online education is poised to release its Law School Admission Test prep program, but the traditional LSAT prep industry says it isn’t sweating the new competition. At least not yet.

The council announced its collaboration with Khan Academy in March 2017, citing a desire to help aspiring law students for whom private test prep is financially out of reach. Private LSAT prep services cost anywhere from $200 or more for instructional videos to $1,500 and upward for in-person classes.

 

Alexa creepily recorded a family’s private conversations, sent them to business associate — from usatoday.com by Elizabeth Weise

Excerpt:

In this instance, a random series of disconnected conversations got interpreted by Alexa as a specific and connected series of commands.

It doesn’t appear that the family members actually heard Alexa asking who it should send a message to, or confirming that it should be sent.

That’s probably a function of how good the Echo’s far field voice recognition is. Each speaker has seven microphones which are arrayed so the cylindrical speaker can pick up voice commands from far away or even in noisy rooms with lots of conversations going on.

Amazon says it is evaluating options to make cases such as happened to the Portland family less likely.

But given that Forrester predicts by 2020 almost 50% of American households will contain a smart speaker, expect more such confusions in the future.

 

 

 

 

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