A reckoning for 2U, and OPMs? — from insidehighered.com by Lindsay McKenzie
After online program management company 2U talked openly about its challenges, the company’s stock plummeted. Analysts say the company, and others like it, are down but not out.

Excerpt:

An hour before Chip Paucek, CEO and co-founder of 2U, held an investor call late Tuesday afternoon [on 7/30/19] , the online program management company’s stock was valued at $36.50. Over the next 24 hours, as investors responded to the news he delivered, its stock plunged to $12.80 — a decrease of almost 65 percent.

In that investor call, Paucek delivered a set of messages that wouldn’t have surprised many who watch the online education space closely. Online program management is a difficult business to be in. Online education is increasingly competitive, student acquisition and marketing costs are going up, and the regulatory landscape is becoming more complex.

Offering hybrid or fee-for-service options is something many OPM companies already do, but 2U has long been resistant to this change. It’s a significant shift in strategy, said Daniel Pianko, co-founder and managing director of University Ventures.

 

There has been long-running disagreement about whether fee for service or revenue sharing is the better option for institutions, said Pianko. “What’s really interesting is that 2U went from being the strongest proponent of the revenue share forever camp to effectively embracing the future of fee for service,” he said. “With the 2U move, we would expect a rapid move toward fee for service across the board.”

 

Also see:

 

 “How can technology be used at scale to address the massive re-skilling that’s going to be needed in the workforce going forward?”

— Kelly Fuller, a director at BMO Capital Markets who covers the ed tech sector

 

Alexa Skill Blueprints Publishing Now Available in Australia and New Zealand – Create and Publish a Skill, No Coding Required— from developer.amazon.com by James Ang

Excerpt:

We are excited to announce that now anyone can create and publish an Alexa skill on the Australian Alexa Skills Store using Alexa Skill Blueprints. Skill Blueprints enable you to create and share customised Alexa skills simply by filling in the blanks to one of the dozens of easy-to-use templates, with no coding required. Now you can publish skills created using Alexa Skill Blueprints to the Alexa Skills Store in Australia for customers to discover and use. We have also built new Skill Blueprints specifically for content creators, bloggers, and organisations so they can reach anyone with an Alexa-enabled device.

Create Fun Learning Tools
Whether you are a parent helping your child study or want to teach something you’re passionate about, Blueprints are easy tools to create new ways to learn. Use the QuizFlashcardsFacts, and Listening Quiz Blueprints to help teach new concepts, retain information, and prepare for the next exam. Add your content into the Skill Blueprint template without the need for any coding and make learning fun for everyone.

 

 

Dallas County Community College District Students Receive “GreenLight”? Toward Ownership, Lifelong Access of Academic Records — from linkedin.com by Timothy Marshall; with thanks to Mike Mathews for this resource out on LinkedIn

Excerpt:

(DALLAS) — Gone are the days of a lengthy and sometimes costly process to request educational records for job or college applications. Through its investments in groundbreaking technology, DCCCD is allowing students unprecedented access to their educational transcripts. This places students in the unique position to maintain lifelong digital ownership of their complete academic credentials, with the flexibility to use those records to propel them toward academic and career success.

DCCCD is pleased to announce a new partnership with Dallas-based GreenLight Credentials, a new secure digital locker. With GreenLight, DCCCD students will have wide-ranging access to their academic records anytime, anyplace, by simply clicking a button.

 

DSC: Holy smokes!!! How might this be applied to education/learning/training in the 21st century!?!

DC: Holy smokes!!! How might this be applied to education/learning/training in the 21st century!?!

 

“What if neither distance nor language mattered? What if technology could help you be anywhere you need to be and speak any language? Using AI technology and holographic experiences this is possible, and it is revolutionary.”

 

 

Also see:

Microsoft has a wild hologram that translates HoloLens keynotes into Japanese — from theverge.com by
Azure and HoloLens combine for a hint at the future

Excerpt:

Microsoft has created a hologram that will transform someone into a digital speaker of another language. The software giant unveiled the technology during a keynote at the Microsoft Inspire partner conference [on 7/17/19] in Las Vegas. Microsoft recently scanned Julia White, a company executive for Azure, at a Mixed Reality capture studio to transform her into an exact hologram replica.

The digital version appeared onstage to translate the keynote into Japanese. Microsoft has used its Azure AI technologies and neural text-to-speech to make this possible. It works by taking recordings of White’s voice, in order to create a personalized voice signature, to make it sound like she’s speaking Japanese.

 

 

 

5 Years Since Starbucks Offered to Help Baristas Attend College, How Many Have Graduated? — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

…nearly 3,000 Starbucks employees who have earned bachelor’s degrees online through the company-university partnership program.

 

The arrangement was possible logistically because Humberstone took her courses in business and environmental sustainability entirely online. And it was feasible financially because Starbucks and Arizona State University covered most of her tuition bill.

 
 

Pearson moves away from print textbooks — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly

Excerpt:

All of Pearson’s 1,500 higher education textbooks in the U.S. will now be “digital first.” The company announced its big shift away from print today, calling the new approach a “product as a service model and a generational business shift to be much more like apps, professional software or the gaming industry.”

The digital format will allow Pearson to update textbooks on an ongoing basis, taking into account new developments in the field of study, new technologies, data analytics and efficacy research, the company said in a news announcement. The switch to digital will also lower the cost for students: The average e-book price will be $40, or $79 for a “full suite of digital learning tools.”

 

Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends For 2020 –from forbes.com by Daniel Newman

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A faster WiFi for a faster world: Although WiFi 6 and 5G are completely different technologies, both will be bringing us much faster processing and wireless connection speeds in 2020. 5G and WiFi 6 working in concert will create the perfect end-to-end combination of ultra-fast connectivity for home and office. Expect download speeds up to 3x faster than were achievable with WiFi 5, but that isn’t the best measure of the new standard’s value. The real value of WiFi 6 will be its ability to extend faster data speeds to far more devices than WiFi 5 was able to manage.

 
 

How WiFi 6 is about to revolutionize the Internet of Things — from interestingengineering.com by John Loeffler
While 5G tends to get all the press nowadays, WiFi 6 is going to have as big an impact behind the scenes by powering a next phase of the Internet of Things.

Excerpt:

So what’s such a big deal about these new standards? The difference between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 is much like the jump from mobile’s 4G LTE networks to the new 5G networks rolling out this year and next.

The primary improvements will be in speed, connection strength, a wider spectrum of channels to operate in, and simultaneous streams. This means that there will be more room for each connection at an access point, allowing more devices to connect with less loss of bandwidth than current standards; these connections will be 37% faster than WiFi 5; and the ability of a WiFi 6 network to handle different data streams at the same time.

All of this adds up to a significant jump in speed over WiFi 5, allowing for up to 10 to 12 gigabytes per second of data transfer per connection, which opens up a whole new world of connected devices both at home, at work, and everywhere else in our lives.

 

 
 

The World’s First Full in VR Semester Course Taught by Survios CTO — from medium.com by Rahel Demant

Excerpt:

VR First is excited to announce its strategic partnership with Axon Park?—?the world’s first educational campus in VR. To kick things off, they are running a full semester course taught in VR. Launching this fall, the course will teach expert-level Unreal Engine VR development, taught remotely by Survios CTO and Co-Founder Alex Silkin with support from the Unreal Engine team.

To enable Axon Park’s commitment to diversity and inclusion through immersive education, VR First has signed a strategic partnership with Axon Park, an organization which maintains the largest network of VR lab enabled universities and science parks internationally. Together, Axon Park and VR First are announcing a needs-based scholarship program that will provide students with low cost or free access to VR hardware and resources through their partner network of 850 universities. With their expertise in VR/AR workforce education and regional tech cluster facilities, VR First is the international distribution partner for Axon Park training solutions to universities, businesses and governments.

 

 

Also see:

Axon Park -- in fall 2019, delivering the world’s first full in VR semester course

 

 

 

 Also see:

Microsoft is building a virtual assistant for work. Google is building one for everything else — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

Excerpts:

In the early days of virtual personal assistants, the goal was to create a multipurpose digital buddy—always there, ready to take on any task. Now, tech companies are realizing that doing it all is too much, and instead doubling down on what they know best.

Since the company has a deep understanding of how organizations work, Microsoft is focusing on managing your workday with voice, rearranging meetings and turning the dials on the behemoth of bureaucracy in concert with your phone.

 

Voice is the next major platform, and being first to it is an opportunity to make the category as popular as Apple made touchscreens. To dominate even one aspect of voice technology is to tap into the next iteration of how humans use computers.

 

 

From DSC:
What affordances might these developments provide for our future learning spaces?

Will faculty members’ voices be recognized to:

  • Sign onto the LMS?
  • Dim the lights?
  • Turn on the projector(s) and/or display(s)?
  • Other?

Will students be able to send the contents of their mobile devices to particular displays via their voices?

Will voice be mixed in with augmented reality (i.e., the students and their devices can “see” which device to send their content to)?

Hmmm…time will tell.

 

 
 
 

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