Colleges cut academic programs in the face of budget shortfalls due to Covid-19 — from cnbc.com by Jessica Dickler

Key points:

  • As colleges face extreme budget shortfalls, some institutions are cutting academic programs that were once central to a liberal arts education.
  • The University of Alaska system announced it will cut 39 academic departments in all, including sociology, creative writing, chemistry and environmental science.

 

Even before the global pandemic caused craters in the economy, some institutions were facing financial hardship after years of declines in state funding for higher education. A number of private schools had already made wrenching budget cuts, from curriculum changes to complete overhauls of their liberal arts programs.

 

From DSC:
A screenshot from the video (below) shows a new type of liberal arts program at Hiram College.

It could very well be that online-based learning turns out to save the liberal arts!!!!! How ironic is that!?!!

That is, many college presidents, provost, and faculty members — especially from smaller liberal arts types of schools — have disdained online-based learning for decades now. It was always viewed as “less than” in their minds…they didn’t want to go that route, as doing so would dilute their precious (and often overpriced) brands. (To be clear, this is not my view…but it was, and still is in many cases, their view.)

Anyway, it looks like more of these same folks will be losing their jobs in the next few years (if they haven’t already). At that point, we may see some of these same folks encounter a sudden paradigm shift. (A shift many of their colleagues have already gone through in prior years.) These same folks may come to appreciate that people will be willing to pay them for their knowledge — but only willing to do so at a much more affordable price…which will likely mean online.

Fewer people — especially when 47 million people in the U.S. alone have filed for unemployment over the last 14 weeks — can afford the cost of getting a degree. They are looking for inexpensive, convenient, efficient, effective means of reinventing themselves.

 

Huh…another potential irony here…it appears that colleges and universities are coming to know what many of us have known and experienced for years…and that is, the struggle to:

  • Reinvent oneself
  • Stay relevant
  • Survive
 
 
 

AI analyzed 3.3 million scientific abstracts and discovered possible new materials — from technologyreview.com

Excerpt:

A group of researchers have now used this technique to munch through 3.3 million scientific abstracts published between 1922 and 2018 in journals that would likely contain materials science research. The resulting word relationships captured fundamental knowledge within the field, including the structure of the periodic table and the way chemicals’ structures relate to their properties.

 

Knowing How to Study Can Mean the Difference Between Success and Failure for First-Generation Students. Here’s How Instructors Can Help. — from chronicle.com by Beth McMurtrie

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Some of the mistakes first-gen students make are common to undergraduates: They focus on re-reading and memorizing to absorb what they’re learning, rather than summarizing material in their own words, or quizzing themselves, which are more effective techniques. But many also carry the burden of imposter syndrome – feeling like they don’t belong in college – or simply don’t know how college works. That, says Horowitz, discourages them from seeking out their professors during office hours or heading to the tutoring center for help. As a result they may spin their wheels even more furiously as they fall behind.

Horowitz, who now works at Bard High School Early College Newark as a faculty member in chemistry, reached out to me after I wrote about the importance of helping undergraduates develop the metacognitive skills necessary to become effective learners. It turns out, she’s written a book about some of those strategies, tailored to the needs of first-generation students.

Horowitz designed the book to appeal to a mass audience of STEM faculty. “The most effective person to tell students how to study for a particular course is the instructor,” she says. “They can easily put little pointers in their classroom about how students should be studying. I believe that could be revolutionary for first-generation college students.”

Horowitz suggests putting study tips into the syllabus and then reviewing them in class. 

Explain how to use problem sets effectively.

In reading-oriented classes, she recommends that, after reading each chapter, students write a single paragraph that synthesizes and summarizes the material. And on tests she often lists the amount of time students should spend on each problem.

Reach out, she says. It will pay off for both of you.

“For most of them it’s a big sense of relief that they’re having a conversation with you,” she says. “Most have been suffering in silence for a long time.”

 
 

Research Posters Are a Staple of Academic Conferences. Could a New Design Speed Discovery? — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpts:

Scholars around the world share their latest research findings with a decidedly low-tech ritual: printing a 48-inch by 36-inch poster densely packed with charts, graphs and blocks of text describing their research hypothesis, methods and findings. Then they stand with the poster in an exhibit hall for an hour, surrounded by rows of other researchers presenting similar posters, while hundreds of colleagues from around the world walk by trying to skim the displays.

Not only does the exercise deflate the morale of the scholars sharing posters, the ritual is incredibly inefficient at communicating science, Morrison argues.

Morrison says he has a solution: A better design for those posters, plus a dash of tech.

 

 

To make up for all the nuance and detail lost in this approach, the template includes a QR code that viewers can scan to get to the full research paper.

 

From DSC:
Wouldn’t this be great if more journal articles would do the same thing?  That is, give us the key findings, conclusions (with some backbone to them), and recommendations right away! Abstracts don’t go far enough, and often scholars/specialists are talking amongst themselves…not to the world. They could have a far greater reach/impact with this kind of approach.

(The QR code doesn’t make as much sense if one is already reading the full journal article…but the other items make a great deal of sense!)

 

 

Survey: Students Choosing Online Programs Closer to Home — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

 

Mentioned in that article:

 

Also see:

“It’s encouraging to see that a majority of students who are studying fully online are reporting great value and satisfaction with their online programs which are largely tied to ambitious career goals,” said Todd Zipper, president and CEO of Learning House, in a prepared statement. “With an increasing population of savvier consumers with high expectations, institutions need to do better at offering more quality, diverse programs that are sensitive to cost in order to keep up with the growing demands of online college students.”

 

From DSC:
If, in the year 2019, most students say online learning is as good or better than face-to-face, what will they say come 2025?  2035? 

Many people will still prefer to have F2F-based learning experiences no matter what year it is. That said, as the innovation continues to occur mainly in the digital/online/virtual realms, F2F will likely find it harder and harder to compete. My advice to current faculty members? Get experience teaching online — and do so as soon as you possibly can.

 

 

From DSC:
First of all, an article:

The four definitive use cases for AR and VR in retail — from forbes.com by Nikki Baird

AR in retail

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

AR is the go-to engagement method of choice when it comes to product and category exploration. A label on a product on a shelf can only do so much to convey product and brand information, vs. AR, which can easily tap into a wealth of digital information online and bring it to life as an overlay on a product or on the label itself.

 

From DSC:
Applying this concept to the academic world…what might this mean for a student in a chemistry class who has a mobile device and/or a pair of smart goggles on and is working with an Erlenmeyer flask? A burette? A Bunsen burner?

Along these lines...what if all of those confused students — like *I* was struggling through chem lab — could see how an experiment was *supposed to be done!?*

That is, if there’s only 30 minutes of lab time left, the professor or TA could “flip a switch” to turn on the AR cloud within the laboratory space to allow those struggling students to see how to do their experiment.

I can’t tell you how many times I was just trying to get through the lab — not knowing what I was doing, and getting zero help from any professor or TA. I hardly learned a thing that stuck with me…except the names of a few devices and the abbreviations of a few chemicals. For the most part, it was a waste of money. How many students experience this as well and feel like I did?

Will the terms “blended learning” and/or “hybrid learning” take on whole new dimensions with the onset of AR, MR, and VR-related learning experiences?

#IntelligentTutoring #IntelligentSystems #LearningExperiences
#AR #VR #MR #XR #ARCloud #AssistiveTechnologies
#Chemistry #BlendedLearning #HybridLearning #DigitalLearning

 

Also see:

 

“It is conceivable that we’re going to be moving into a world without screens, a world where [glasses are] your screen. You don’t need any more form factor than [that].”

(AT&T CEO)

 

 

Making New Drugs With a Dose of Artificial Intelligence — from nytimes.com by Cade Metz

Excerpt:

DeepMind specializes in “deep learning,” a type of artificial intelligence that is rapidly changing drug discovery science. A growing number of companies are applying similar methods to other parts of the long, enormously complex process that produces new medicines. These A.I. techniques can speed up many aspects of drug discovery and, in some cases, perform tasks typically handled by scientists.

“It is not that machines are going to replace chemists,” said Derek Lowe, a longtime drug discovery researcher and the author of In the Pipeline, a widely read blog dedicated to drug discovery. “It’s that the chemists who use machines will replace those that don’t.”

 

 

 

San Diego’s Nanome Inc. releases collaborative VR-STEM software for free — from vrscout.com by Becca Loux

Excerpt:

The first collaborative VR molecular modeling application was released August 29 to encourage hands-on chemistry experimentation.

The open-source tool is free for download now on Oculus and Steam.

Nanome Inc., the San Diego-based start-up that built the intuitive application, comprises UCSD professors and researchers, web developers and top-level pharmaceutical executives.

 

“With our tool, anyone can reach out and experience science at the nanoscale as if it is right in front of them. At Nanome, we are bringing the craftsmanship and natural intuition from interacting with these nanoscale structures at room scale to everyone,” McCloskey said.

 

San Diego’s Nanome Inc. Releases Collaborative VR-STEM Software For Free

 

 

10 ways VR will change life in the near future — from forbes.com

Excerpts:

  1. Virtual shops
  2. Real estate
  3. Dangerous jobs
  4. Health care industry
  5. Training to create VR content
  6. Education
  7. Emergency response
  8. Distraction simulation
  9. New hire training
  10. Exercise

 

From DSC:
While VR will have its place — especially for timeswhen you need to completely immerse yourself into another environment — I think AR and MR will be much larger and have a greater variety of applications. For example, I could see where instructions on how to put something together in the future could use AR and/or MR to assist with that process. The system could highlight the next part that I’m looking for and then highlight the corresponding parts where it goes — and, if requested, can show me a clip on how it fits into what I’m trying to put together.

 

How MR turns firstline workers into change agents — from virtualrealitypop.com by Charlie Finkand
Mixed Reality, a new dimension of work — from Microsoft and Harvard Business Review

Excerpts:

Workers with mixed-reality solutions that enable remote assistance, spatial planning, environmentally contextual data, and much more,” Bardeen told me. With the HoloLens Firstline Workers workers conduct their usual, day-to-day activities with the added benefit of a heads-up, hands-free, display that gives them immediate access to valuable, contextual information. Microsoft says speech services like Cortana will be critical to control along with gesture, according to the unique needs of each situation.

 

Expect new worker roles. What constitutes an “information worker” could change because mixed reality will allow everyone to be involved in the collection and use of information. Many more types of information will become available to any worker in a compelling, easy-to-understand way. 

 

 

Let’s Speak: VR language meetups — from account.altvr.com

 

 

 

 

VR Lab! — from thejournal.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

When Tampa Preparatory School launched decided to turn a closet into a virtual reality lab, they had no idea how far their students would run with the tools, but that’s exactly what they did, sitting down to build their own educational apps to help visualize concepts in astronomy, chemistry and physics. In addition to the educational apps, built by students on their own initiative, the VR lab is also used for art classes and more.

Chad Lewis, director of technology at Tampa Prep, recently sat down with THE Journal to talk about the school’s experience with VR as an educational tool.

Tell me a little about having students design their own VR apps. Are there any benefits to it that surprised you?

Chad Lewis: Some surprising benefits included branching out beyond computer science into areas like chemistry and physics. This is an example of the amazing things students can do if given the opportunity to pursue their passions. They need time, space and resources as well as support and encouragement. 

 

 

The main thing is that they’re learning coding, 3D modeling, game development, collaboration, design thinking, etc.

 

 

 

 

In the process, one of our computer science students came up to me and said, “Mr. Lewis do you mind if I try to create some virtual reality apps using Unity?” and it really took off from there. The lab was a student-driven initiative.

 

 

 

Scientists Are Turning Alexa into an Automated Lab Helper — from technologyreview.com by Jamie Condliffe
Amazon’s voice-activated assistant follows a rich tradition of researchers using consumer tech in unintended ways to further their work.

Excerpt:

Alexa, what’s the next step in my titration?

Probably not the first question you ask your smart assistant in the morning, but potentially the kind of query that scientists may soon be leveling at Amazon’s AI helper. Chemical & Engineering News reports that software developer James Rhodes—whose wife, DeLacy Rhodes, is a microbiologist—has created a skill for Alexa called Helix that lends a helping hand around the laboratory.

It makes sense. While most people might ask Alexa to check the news headlines, play music, or set a timer because our hands are a mess from cooking, scientists could look up melting points, pose simple calculations, or ask for an experimental procedure to be read aloud while their hands are gloved and in use.

For now, Helix is still a proof-of-concept. But you can sign up to try an early working version, and Rhodes has plans to extend its abilities…

 

Also see:

Helix

 

 

Program Easily Converts Molecules to 3D Models for 3D Printing, Virtual and Augmented Reality — from 3dprint.com

Excerpt:

At North Carolina State University, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Denis Fourches uses technology to research the effectiveness of new drugs. He uses computer programs to model interactions between chemical compounds and biological targets to predict the effectiveness of the compound, narrowing the field of drug candidates for testing. Lately, he has been using a new program that allows the user to create 3D models of molecules for 3D printing, plus augmented and virtual reality applications.

RealityConvert converts molecular objects like proteins and drugs into high-quality 3D models. The models are generated in standard file formats that are compatible with most augmented and virtual reality programs, as well as 3D printers. The program is specifically designed for creating models of chemicals and small proteins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mozilla just launched an augmented reality app — from thenextweb.com by Matthew Hughes

Excerpt:

Mozilla has launched its first ever augmented reality app for iOS. The company, best known for its Firefox browser, wants to create an avenue for developers to build augmented reality experiences using open web technologies, WebXR, and Apple’s ARKit framework.

This latest effort from Mozilla is called WebXR Viewer. It contains several sample AR programs, demonstrating its technology in the real world. One is a teapot, suspended in the air. Another contains holographic silhouettes, which you can place in your immediate vicinity. Should you be so inclined, you can also use it to view your own WebXR creations.

 

 

Airbnb is replacing the guest book with augmented reality — from qz.com by Mike Murphy

Excerpt:

Airbnb announced today (Dec.11) that it’s experimenting with augmented- and virtual-reality technologies to enhance customers’ travel experiences.

The company showed off some simple prototype ideas in a blog post, detailing how VR could be used to explore apartments that customers may want to rent, from the comfort of their own homes. Hosts could scan apartments or houses to create 360-degree images that potential customers could view on smartphones or VR headsets.

It also envisioned an augmented-reality system where hosts could leave notes and instructions to their guests as they move through their apartment, especially if their house’s setup is unusual. AR signposts in the Airbnb app could help guide guests through anything confusing more efficiently than the instructions hosts often leave for their guests.

 

 

This HoloLens App Wants to Kickstart Collaborative Mixed Reality — from vrscout.com by Alice Bonasio

Excerpt:

Now Object Theory has just released a new collaborative computing application for the HoloLens called Prism, which takes many of the functionalities they’ve been developing for those clients over the past couple of years, and offers them to users in a free Windows Store application.

 

 

 

 

Virtual and Augmented Reality to Nearly Double Each Year Through 2021 — from campustechnology.com by Joshua Bolkan

Excerpt:

Spending on augmented and virtual reality will nearly double in 2018, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC), growing from $9.1 billion in 2017 to $17.8 billion next year. The market research company predicts that aggressive growth will continue throughout its forecast period, achieving an average 98.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2017 to 2021.

 

 

A look at the new BMW i3s in augmented reality with Apple’s ARKit — from electrek.co by Fred Lambert

 

 

 

 

Scope AR brings remote video tech support calls to HoloLens — from by Dean Takahashi

Excerpt:

Scope AR has launched Remote AR, an augmented reality video support solution for Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headsets.

The San Francisco company is launching its enterprise-class AR solution to enable cross-platform live support video calls.

Remote AR for Microsoft HoloLens brings AR support for field technicians, enabling them to perform tasks with better speed and accuracy. It does so by allowing an expert to get on a video call with a technician and then mark the spot on the screen where the technician has to do something, like turn a screwdriver. The technician is able to see where the expert is pointing by looking at the AR overlay on the video scene.

 

 

 

 

Virtual Reality: The Next Generation Of Education, Learning and Training — from forbes.com by Kris Kolo

Excerpt:

Ultimately, VR in education will revolutionize not only how people learn but how they interact with real-world applications of what they have been taught. Imagine medical students performing an operation or geography students really seeing where and what Kathmandu is. The world just opens up to a rich abundance of possibilities.

 

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2020 | Daniel Christian