Why one London university is now offering degrees in VR — from techrepublic.com by Conner Forrest
London College of Communication, UAL is launching a master’s degree in virtual reality for the 2018-19 academic year.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • London College of Communication, UAL is launching a Master of Arts in VR degree for the 2018-19 academic year.
  • The demand for VR professionals is growing in the film and media industries, where these technologies are being used most frequently.

 

From DSC:
Collaboration/videoconferencing tools like Webex, Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. are being used in a variety of scenarios. That platform has been well established. It will be interesting to see how VR might play into web-based collaboration, training, and learning.

 

 

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? [Eudy]

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? — from ej4.com by Ryan Eudy

Excerpt:

learning ecosystem is a system of people, content, technology, culture, and strategy, existing both within and outside of an organization, all of which has an impact on both the formal and informal learning that goes on in that organization.

The word “ecosystem” is worth paying attention to here. It’s not just there to make the term sound fancy or scientific. A learning ecosystem is the L&D equivalent of an ecosystem out in the wild. Just as a living ecosystem has many interacting species, environments, and the complex relationships among them, a learning ecosystem has many people and pieces of content, in different roles and learning contexts, and complex relationships.

Just like a living ecosystem, a learning ecosystem can be healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered. Achieving your development goals, then, requires an organization to be aware of its own ecosystem, including its parts and the internal and external forces that shape them.

 

From DSC:
Yes, to me, the concept/idea of a learning ecosystem IS important. Very important. So much so, I named this blog after it.

Each of us as individuals have a learning ecosystem, whether we officially recognize it or not. So do the organizations that we work for. And, like an ecosystem out in nature, a learning ecosystem is constantly morphing, constantly changing.

We each have people in our lives that help us learn and grow, and the people that were in our learning ecosystems 10 years ago may or may not still be in our current learning ecosystems. Many of us use technologies and tools to help us learn and grow. Then there are the spaces where we learn — both physical and virtual spaces. Then there are the processes and procedures we follow, formally and/or informally. Any content that helps us learn and grow is a part of that ecosystem. Where we get that content can change, but obtaining up-to-date content is a part of our learning ecosystems. I really appreciate streams of content in this regard — and tapping into blogs/websites, especially via RSS feeds and Feedly (an RSS aggregator that took off when Google Reader left the scene).

The article brings up a good point when it states that a learning ecosystem can be “healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered.” That’s why I urge folks to be intentional about maintaining and, better yet, consistently enhancing their learning ecosystems. In this day and age where lifelong learning is now a requirement to remain in the workforce, each of us needs to be intentional in this regard.

 

 

How blockbuster MOOCs could shape the future of teaching — from edsurge.com by Jeff Young

Excerpt:

There isn’t a New York Times bestseller list for online courses, but perhaps there should be. After all, so-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, were meant to open education to as many learners as possible, and in many ways they are more like books (digital ones, packed with videos and interactive quizzes) than courses.

The colleges and companies offering MOOCs can be pretty guarded these days about releasing specific numbers on how many people enroll or pay for a “verified certificate” or microcredential showing they took the course. But both Coursera and EdX, two of the largest providers, do release lists of their most popular courses. And those lists offer a telling snapshot of how MOOCs are evolving and what their impact is on the instructors and institutions offering them.

Here are the top 10 most popular courses for each provider:

 

Coursera Top 10 Most Popular Courses (over past 12 months)

 

edX Top 10 Most Popular Courses (all time)

 

 

So what are these blockbuster MOOCs, then? Experiential textbooks? Gateways to more rigorous college courses? A new kind of entertainment program?

Maybe the answer is: all of the above.

 

 

 

Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem — from edu2030.agorize.com
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

Excerpts:

The problem
Technology is rapidly transforming the way we live, learn, and work. Entirely new jobs are emerging as others are lost to automation. People are living longer, yet switching jobs more often. These dramatic shifts call for a reimagining of the way we prepare for work and life—specifically, how we learn new skills and adapt to a changing economic landscape.

The changes ahead are likely to hurt most those who can least afford to manage them: low-income and first generation learners already ill-served by our existing postsecondary education system. Our current system stifles economic mobility and widens income and achievement gaps; we must act now to ensure that we have an educational ecosystem flexible and fair enough to help all people live purposeful and economically stable lives. And if we are to design solutions proportionate to this problem, new technologies must be called on to scale approaches that reach the millions of vulnerable people across the country.

 

The challenge
How might we empower people to design their own learning journeys so they can lead purposeful and economically stable lives?

The Challenge—Reimagining the Higher Education Ecosystem—seeks bold ideas for how our postsecondary education system could be reimagined to foster equity and encourage learner agency and resilience. We seek specific pilots to move us toward a future in which all learners can achieve economic stability and lead purposeful lives. This Challenge invites participants to articulate a vision and then design pilot projects for a future ecosystem that has the following characteristics:

Expands access: The educational system must ensure that all people—including low-income learners who are disproportionately underserved by the current higher education system—can leverage education to live meaningful and economically stable lives.

Draws on a broad postsecondary ecosystem: While college and universities play a vital role in educating students, there is a much larger ecosystem in which students learn. This ecosystem includes non-traditional “classes” or alternative learning providers, such as MOOCs, bootcamps, and online courses as well as on-the-job training and informal learning. Our future learning system must value the learning that happens in many different environments and enable seamless transitions between learning, work, and life.

 

From DSC:
This is where I could see a vision similar to Learning from the Living [Class] Room come into play. It would provide a highly affordable, accessible platform, that would offer more choice, and more control to learners of all ages. It would be available 24×7 and would be a platform that supports lifelong learning. It would combine a variety of AI-enabled functionalities with human expertise, teaching, training, motivation, and creativity.

It could be that what comes out of this challenge will lay the groundwork for a future, massive new learning platform.

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

Also see:

 

ABA set to approve more online credits for law students — from law.com by Karen Sloan
Supporters say allowing J.D. students to take up to one-third of their credits online, including some during their first year, is validation that distance education can work in law schools.

 

7 things lawyers should know about Artificial Intelligence — from abovethelaw.com by Amy Larson
AI is here to make practicing law easier, so keep these things in mind if you’re thinking of implementing it in your practice. 

Excerpt:

6. Adopting AI means embracing change.
If you intend to implement AI technologies into your legal organization, you must be ready for change. Not only will your processes and workflows need to change to incorporate AI into the business, but you’ll also likely be working with a whole new set of people. Whether they are part of your firm or outside consultants, expect to collaborate with data analysts, process engineers, pricing specialists, and other data-driven professionals.

 

 

 


Addendum on 5/18/18:


 

  • Technology & Innovation: Trends Transforming The Legal Industry — from livelaw.in by Richa Kachhwaha
    Excerpt:
    Globally, the legal industry is experiencing an era of transformation. The changes are unmistakable and diverse. Paperwork and data management- long practiced by lawyers- is being replaced by software solutions; trans-national boundaries are legally shrinking; economic forces are re-defining law practices; innovative in-house law departments are driving significant value creation; consumer trends have begun to dominate the legal landscape; …

 

 

 

Immersive VR Education showcases the power of learning through virtual reality — from vrfocus.com by Nina Salomons
Pixar co-founder Loren Carpenter was ‘teleported’ live into a virtual classroom in the UK.

Excerpt:

Virtual reality (VR) has often been mentioned as the empathy machine, however it has many use cases. When it comes to memory and retention it looks like VR is not only useful for simulation but for education as well. Immersive VR Education teamed up with HTC Vive and Windsor Forest Colleges Group to create a memorable experience of virtual teaching.

On the April 25th ten students from Windsor Forest Colleges Group in the UK put on an HTC Vive headset and guided by David Whelan CEO & Founder of Immersive VR Education and Mike Armstrong, Senior/Lead Developer of Immersive VR Education using the free VR social education and presentation platform ENGAGE. ENGAGE allows users to hold meetings, classes, private lessons and presentations. Users can record, create their own lessons and presentations as well as allow users to interact with virtual objects.

 

 

 

 

 

The difference between Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality — from forbes.com Julia Tokareva

 

 

 


Addendum on 5/5/18


 

Oculus Go Has Arrived and It’s a Big Deal — from vrscout.com by Jonathan Nafarrete

Excerpt:

The $200 Oculus Go is the most accessible VR headset today.

Up until now, one of the biggest barriers to entry for VR has been price. Headset adoption has taken a conservative growth path, mostly due in part to high prices of PC-required systems or just requiring consumers to own a specific line of VR compatible phones to pair with mobile headsets.

But now the Oculus Go is finally here and it’s a big deal, especially for the millions of iPhone users out there who up until today have had limited options to get into VR.

Starting today, the Oculus Go standalone VR headset is available for purchase for $199. Available for sale on Oculus.com in 23 countries, you can also pick up one online from Amazon or in Best Buy Stores in the U.S. The Oculus companion app used for initial setup is available for both iPhone or Android devices.

 

 
 

 

 

The Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE)

QM and Eduventures have teamed up to conduct a multi-year study to examine the changing landscape of online education, provide results to those who can use them and help those involved with online education place their institution within a broader context and possibly influence strategic decisions and organizational changes. Please complete the form on this page to gain access to the 2018 CHLOE 2 Report.

The third iteration of CHLOE is scheduled for April 2018 and focuses on in-depth coverage of issues such as governance of online programs, blended learning and the influence of subject matter on the design and delivery of online programs. If you are a Chief Online Officer and wish to participate in the next CHLOE Survey, or if you wish to nominate the COO at your institution, please contact QM’s Manager of Research & Development Barbra Burch.

Date Published:  Tue, 03/27/2018

 

Also see:

  • Online Learning’s Complex, Fractured Landscape — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman — references new report from Quality Matters & Eduventures Research entitled “The Changing Landscape of Online Education: A Deeper Dive”
    Survey of chief online officers shows enormous variation in how colleges define and structure digital education, in terms of pricing, program structure and use of instructional design.

Excerpt:

A new survey of those who oversee online learning programs at their institutions reveals significant diversity in the online education landscape, from differences in colleges’ strategic goals in going online to how they structure and price their programs and how much they require/encourage faculty members to work with professional designers to craft their courses.

The report, “The Changing Landscape of Online Education: A Deeper Dive,” is the second such report from Quality Matters and Eduventures Research, leading them to dub it CHLOE2. (Inside Higher Ed and “Inside Digital Learning” covered last year’s report here and here.) One hundred eighty-two senior officials responsible for online education at their institutions responded to the survey (up from 104 last year), drawn roughly equivalently from four-year private, four-year public and two-year public colleges.

The survey explores a wide range of topics and issues, related to the administrative structure of online offerings, the economics of their programs and the role of instructional designers. Among the most interesting findings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
DC: Will Amazon get into delivering education/degrees? Is is working on a next generation learning platform that could highly disrupt the world of higher education? Hmmm…time will tell.

But Amazon has a way of getting into entirely new industries. From its roots as an online bookseller, it has branched off into numerous other arenas. It has the infrastructure, talent, and the deep pockets to bring about the next generation learning platform that I’ve been tracking for years. It is only one of a handful of companies that could pull this type of endeavor off.

And now, we see articles like these:


Amazon Snags a Higher Ed Superstar — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman
Candace Thille, a pioneer in the science of learning, takes a leave from Stanford to help the ambitious retailer better train its workers, with implications that could extend far beyond the company.

Excerpt:

A major force in the higher education technology and learning space has quietly begun working with a major corporate force in — well, in almost everything else.

Candace Thille, a pioneer in learning science and open educational delivery, has taken a leave of absence from Stanford University for a position at Amazon, the massive (and getting bigger by the day) retailer.

Thille’s title, as confirmed by an Amazon spokeswoman: director of learning science and engineering. In that capacity, the spokeswoman said, Thille will work “with our Global Learning Development Team to scale and innovate workplace learning at Amazon.”

No further details were forthcoming, and Thille herself said she was “taking time away” from Stanford to work on a project she was “not really at liberty to discuss.”

 

Amazon is quietly becoming its own university — from qz.com by Amy Wang

Excerpt:

Jeff Bezos’ Amazon empire—which recently dabbled in home security, opened artificial intelligence-powered grocery stores, and started planning a second headquarters (and manufactured a vicious national competition out of it)—has not been idle in 2018.

The e-commerce/retail/food/books/cloud-computing/etc company made another move this week that, while nowhere near as flashy as the above efforts, tells of curious things to come. Amazon has hired Candace Thille, a leader in learning science, cognitive science, and open education at Stanford University, to be “director of learning science and engineering.” A spokesperson told Inside Higher Ed that Thille will work “with our Global Learning Development Team to scale and innovate workplace learning at Amazon”; Thille herself said she is “not really at liberty to discuss” her new project.

What could Amazon want with a higher education expert? The company already has footholds in the learning market, running several educational resource platforms. But Thille is famous specifically for her data-driven work, conducted at Stanford and Carnegie Mellon University, on nontraditional ways of learning, teaching, and training—all of which are perfect, perhaps even necessary, for the education of employees.

 


From DSC:
It could just be that Amazon is simply building its own corporate university and will stay focused on developing its own employees and its own corporate learning platform/offerings — and/or perhaps license their new platform to other corporations.

But from my perspective, Amazon continues to work on pieces of a powerful puzzle, one that could eventually involve providing learning experiences to lifelong learners:

  • Personal assistants
  • Voice recognition / Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  • The development of “skills” at an incredible pace
  • Personalized recommendation engines
  • Cloud computing and more

If Alexa were to get integrated into a AI-based platform for personalized learning — one that features up-to-date recommendation engines that can identify and personalize/point out the relevant critical needs in the workplace for learners — better look out higher ed! Better look out if such a platform could interactively deliver (and assess) the bulk of the content that essentially does the heavy initial lifting of someone learning about a particular topic.

Amazon will be able to deliver a cloud-based platform, with cloud-based learner profiles and blockchain-based technologies, at a greatly reduced cost. Think about it. No physical footprints to build and maintain, no lawns to mow, no heating bills to pay, no coaches making $X million a year, etc.  AI-driven recommendations for digital playlists. Links to the most in demand jobs — accompanied by job descriptions, required skills & qualifications, and courses/modules to take in order to master those jobs.

Such a solution would still need professors, instructional designers, multimedia specialists, copyright experts, etc., but they’ll be able to deliver up-to-date content at greatly reduced costs. That’s my bet. And that’s why I now call this potential development The New Amazon.com of Higher Education.

[Microsoft — with their purchase of Linked In (who had previously
purchased Lynda.com) — is
another such potential contender.]

 

 

 

 

Grade Increase: Tracking Distance Education in the United States
Julia E. Seaman, Ph.D. | Research Director, Babson Survey Research Group
I. Elaine Allen, Ph.D. | Professor of Biostatistics & Epidemiology, UCSF
Jeff Seaman, Ph.D. | Director, Babson Survey Research Group

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Distance education enrollments increased for the fourteenth straight year, growing faster than they have for the past several years. From 2002 to 2012 both distance and overall enrollments grew annually, but since 2012 distance growth has continued its steady increase in an environment that saw overall enrollments decline for four straight years and the largest for-profit distance education institutions continue to face serious issues and lose their enrollments.

The number of distance education students grew by 5.6% from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 to reach 6,359,121 who are taking at least one distance course, representing 31.6% of all students. Total distance enrollments are composed of 14.9% of students (3,003,080) taking exclusively distance courses, and 16.7% (3,356,041) who are taking a combination of distance and non-distance courses.

Year-to-year changes in distance enrollments continue to be very uneven with different higher education sectors, with continued steady growth for public institutions, similar levels of growth (albeit on a much smaller base) for the private non-profit sector, and the continuation of the decline in total enrollments for the private for-profit sector for the fourth year in a row.

Distance education enrollments are highly concentrated in a relatively small number of institutions. Almost half of distance education students are concentrated in just five percent of institutions, while the top 47 institutions (just 1.0% of the total) enroll 22.4% (1,421,703) of all distance students. This level of concentration is most extreme among the for-profit sector, where 85.6% of the distance students are enrolled at the top 5% of institutions. Concentration rates for private not-for-profit institutions are lower, while public institutions show very low levels of concentration.

Distance enrollments remain local: 52.8% of all students who took at least one distance course also took an on-campus course, and of those who took only distance courses 56.1% reside in the same state as the institution at which they are enrolled. Virtually no distance enrollments are international: only 0.7% of all distance students are located outside of the United States.

The total number of students studying on campus (those not taking any distance course or taking a combination of distance and non-distance courses) dropped by over a million (1,173,805, or 6.4%) between 2012 and 2016. The largest declines came at for-profit institutions, which saw a 44.1% drop, while both private not-forprofit institutions (-4.5%) and public institutions (-4.2%) saw far smaller decreases.

The number of students who are not taking any distance courses declined even more from 2012 to 2016, down by 11.2% (1,737,955 students) by the end of the period. The private for-profit sector fared worse (down 50.5%) as compared to both private not-for-profit institutions (-9.5%) and public institutions (-7.7%).

 

 

 

 

 

Robots in the Classroom: How a Program at Michigan State Is Taking Blended Learning to New Places — from news.elearninginside.com by Henry Kronk; with thanks to my friend and colleague, Mr. Dave Goodrich over at MSU, for his tweet on this.

Excerpt:

Like many higher education institutions, Michigan State University offers a wide array of online programs. But unlike most other online universities, some programs involve robots.

Here’s how it works: online and in-person students gather in the same classroom. Self-balancing robots mounted with computers roll around the room, displaying the face of one remote student. Each remote student streams in and controls one robot, which allows them to literally and figuratively take a seat at the table.

Professor Christine Greenhow, who teaches graduate level courses in MSU’s College of Education, first encountered these robots at an alumni event.

“I thought, ‘Oh I could use this technology in my classroom. I could use this to put visual and movement cues back into the environment,’” Greenhow said.

 

 

From DSC:
In my work to bring remote learners into face-to-face classrooms at Calvin College, I also worked with some of the tools shown/mentioned in that article — such as the Telepresence Robot from Double Robotics and the unit from Swivl.  I also introduced Blackboard Collaborate and Skype as other methods of bringing in remote students (hadn’t yet tried Zoom, but that’s another possibility).

As one looks at the image above, one can’t help but wonder what such a picture will look like 5-10 years from now? Will it picture folks wearing VR-based headsets at their respective locations? Or perhaps some setups will feature the following types of tools within smaller “learning hubs” (which could also include one’s local Starbucks, Apple Store, etc.)?

 

 

 

 

 

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