Lecture Capture: Lights! Camera! Action! — from CampusTechnology.com by John Waters

A solid article that includes the following list of lecture capture vendors (along with this excerpt):
Lecture capture isn’t a new concept. College and university professors have been videotaping their courses for about 25 years. But in the past 10 years–thanks to the advent of warp-speed processors, broadband connectivity, and cloud-based data storage–the technology for recording and publishing class lectures has evolved dramatically.  The current lineup of lecture capture solutions includes products that rely on proprietary hardware, specialized software platforms, web-based systems, and combinations of all three. Profiled below are a few of the principal vendors.

Reform the PhD system or close it down! : Mark Taylor — from The Center for Internet Research; posted by Reid Cornwell (emphasis DSC)
There are too many doctoral programs, producing too many PhDs for the job market. Shut some and change the rest, says Mark C. Taylor [Chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University in New York and the author of Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities (Knopf, 2010)]


The system of PhD education in the United States and many other countries is broken and unsustainable, and needs to be re-conceived. In many fields, it creates only a cruel fantasy of future employment that promotes the self-interest of faculty members at the expense of students. The reality is that there are very few jobs for people who might have spent up to 12 years on their degrees.

There are two responsible courses of action: either radically reform doctoral programs or shut them down.

The necessary changes are both curricular and institutional. One reason that many doctoral programs do not adequately serve students is that they are overly specialized, with curricula fragmented and increasingly irrelevant to the world beyond academia. Expertise, of course, is essential to the advancement of knowledge and to society. But in far too many cases, specialization has led to areas of research so narrow that they are of interest only to other people working in the same fields, subfields or sub-subfields. Many researchers struggle to talk to colleagues in the same department, and communication across departments and disciplines can be impossible.

If doctoral education is to remain viable in the twenty-first century, universities must tear down the walls that separate fields, and establish programs that nourish cross-disciplinary investigation and communication. They must design curricula that focus on solving practical problems, such as providing clean water to a growing population. Unfortunately, significant change is unlikely to come from faculty members, who all too often remain committed to traditional approaches. Students, administrators, trustees and even people from the public and private sectors must create pressure for reform.


From DSC:

  • Again, the phrase staying relevant comes to my mind, as does the word reinvent.  Academia doesn’t need to pour more fuel on the backlash that’s building up against it.


[Concept] The new “textbook”: A multi-layered approach — from Daniel S. Christian
I’ve been thinking recently about new approaches to relaying — and engaging with — content in a “textbook”.

For a physical textbook

When opening up a physical textbook to a particular page, QR-like codes would be printed on the physical pages of the textbook.  With the advent of augmented reality, such a mechanism would open up some new possibilities to interact with content for that page. For example, some overall characteristics about this new, layered approach:

  • Augmented reality could reveal multiple layers of information:
    • From the author/subject matter expert as well as the publisher’s instructional design team
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer that the professor or teacher could edit
      • Main points highlighted
      • Pointers that may help with metacognition, such as potential mnemonics that might be helpful in moving something into long-term memory
      • Studying strategies
    • A layer for the students to comment on/annotate that page
    • A layer for other students’ comments



For an electronic-based textbook

  • The interface would allow for such layers to be visible or not — much like Google’s Body Browser application
  • For example, in this graphic, comments from the SME and/or ID are highlighted on top of the normal text:





Advantages of this concept/model:

  • Ties physical into virtual world
  • We could economically update information (i.e. opens up streams of content)
  • Integrates social learning
  • Allows SMEs, IDs, faculty members to further comment/add to content as new information becomes available
  • Instructors could highlight the key points they want to stress
  • Many of the layers could offer items that might help with students’ meta-cognitive processes (i.e. to help them learn the content and move the content into long-term memory)
  • One could envision the textbook being converted into something more akin to an app in an online-based store — with notifications of updates that could be constantly pushed out


Addendum (5/26):


Separate and unequal

Separate and unequal — from InsideHigherEd.com by Dan Berrett

NEW YORK — Higher education’s own hiring practices are undermining one of its chief selling points: that a college education fosters upward mobility, several speakers said here Tuesday at a conference on academic labor.

In particular, it is the condition of adjunct faculty members, which was the subject of several sessions of the annual meeting of the National Center for Collective Bargaining in Higher Education and the Professions, that casts the harshest light on the gap between academe’s aspirations and its actual conduct.

“In order to maintain faith with higher education, you have to be able to confront the idea that a high proportion of the most educated portion of the population is having trouble making ends meet,” said Alan Trevithick, founding member of the New Faculty Majority and an adjunct who teaches sociology at Fordham University and Westchester Community College, during a session entitled “Contingent Faculty: Issues at the Table.”

“The non-tenure-track faculty make the tenure-track research positions possible,” said Robert Samuels, a lecturer in the writing programs at the University of California at Los Angeles and president of the University Council, American Federation of Teachers. The adjunct faculty serve this enabling purpose in two ways, said Samuels: they assume much — and in many cases, the majority — of the teaching load, thus freeing up time for full-time faculty to do research; and their lesser salaries for teaching highly enrolled undergraduate courses also result in net revenues that essentially subsidize other, more costly work at the university.

From DSC:

It will be interesting to see how the developing online-based exchanges/marketplaces affect the professional adjunct faculty member — who may already be teaching at a variety of institutions at the same time. My guess would be that they will be well positioned to move into this developing new landscape — if this landscape continues to develop in that manner.

Tagged with:  

Cal State University to cut enrollment, faculty, staff and more — from The L.A. Times by Carla Rivera
Facing an 18% cut in state funding, Cal State plans to reduce enrollment by 10,000, cut $11 million from the chancellor’s office and shrink campus funding by $281 million. No tuition hikes are planned, chancellor says.

Also see:

The facts on higher order thinking — from Faculty Focus by Maryellen Weimer, PhD

.Faculty Focus


I just read a study that pretty much blew my socks off. An article highlighting the details will appear in the March issue of The Teaching Professor. I’ll give you the nutshell version here. The researchers were interested in finding out if there was empirical evidence to support the frequent criticism that introductory courses are fact filled with little content that challenges higher order thinking. Beyond anecdotal evidence, this research team didn’t find much empirical documentation so, being biologists, they decided to look at introductory-level biology courses.

The Teaching Professor Conference -- May 20-22, 2011

.Some of the sessions being offered include:

  • Innovative Assessment Techniques
  • Teaching the Nontraditional Adult Learner
  • Designing Educational Experiences that Promote Deep Learning
  • Developing an Academic Honesty Program that Works
  • Modeling Writing for Developmental Learners
  • Computers in the Classroom: Evidence of Student Engagement (Not Distraction)
  • Fostering Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments
  • Integrating Emerging Technology in the Classroom and Beyond
  • Setting Up Your Hybrid Course for Success
  • Engaging Millennial Students in the Basic Course

Creating your web presence: A primer for academics — from The Chronicle of Education

This is a guest post by Miriam Posner, Stewart Varner, and ProfHacker’s own Brian Croxall. This post is an extended recap of a recent DiSC workshop on creating a web presence. You can watch a video of the whole workshop at the Internet Archive. Finally, this post has been adapted from one we posted on the Library Blog at Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Library. —bc

Thinking about how to create and maintain a Web presence might strike some academics as distasteful. After all, why should we go about marketing ourselves? Shouldn’t our work stand on its own? Didn’t we get an advanced degree because we were above such pettiness?

Tagged with:  

Toward a science of learning — from InsideHigherEd.com by Diana Chapman Walsh

In travels around the country, I’ve been seeing signs of a trend in higher education that could have profound implications: a growing interest in learning about learning. At colleges and universities that are solidly grounded in a commitment to teaching, groups of creative faculty are mobilizing around learning as a collective, and intriguing, intellectual inquiry.

This trend embraces the advances being made in the cognitive sciences and the study of consciousness. It resides in the fast-moving world of changing information technology and social media. It recognizes and builds upon new pedagogies and evolving theories of multiple ways of knowing and learning. It encompasses but transcends the evolution of new and better measures of student learning outcomes.

I know that this essay is loaded with fighting words. But I believe we need, and are now beginning to see, ways to reframe the problem of learning outcomes, ways that might galvanize positive energy and support within a faculty. Imagine “the administration” saying to faculty, in effect: We want you to be learning all you can about who your students are now, how they learn and what they need to know in order to be successful in a world that is changing faster than we can imagine much less anticipate. And we want you to have the resources and collegial connections you will need to make the pursuit of that question an exciting and fruitful complement to your scholarship. From learning science there are stunning advances that need translation before they can be brought successfully into classrooms, findings and possibilities that at least some faculty might find inherently fascinating if they were approached right, offered a supportive culture with meaningful incentives and rewards and scholarly payoffs.

Educause: The Changing Landscape of Higher Education— by David Staley and Dennis Trinkle
The authors identify ten fissures in the landscape that are creating areas of potentially tectonic change.

‘Social teaching’ company bets buy-in from Capella Education — from The Chronicle by Josh Fischman

The basic idea behind Sophia is to identify the best teachers for any concept, put their instruction for that concept online, and students all over the world can use these “learning packets”  free of charge. For example, a professor who has a really great lesson on how to factor polynomials can package that lesson—complete with video and any other materials—on Sophia, and search engines like Google will let students find it and use it.

From DSC:
Will the Forthcoming Walmart of Education turn out to be that we teach each other, free of charge? Online marketplaces and exchanges continue to appear; the game-changing environment — filled with disruption and change — continues to develop.

But know this, teaching is tough. It’s not easy, and it’s not an exact science; it’s also an art.

Our minds — and the ways in which we learn — are unbelievably complex. After decades of trying, scholars still do not agree on how we learn. There are numerous learning theories out there (still) and though we’ve come a long way, there are no silver bullets of the teaching and learning world.

So if you decide to be a teacher, you better get ready to spend some serious time honing your craft…otherwise, your ratings on these types of sites will plummet and few will see your modules/contributions. conversely, if you are an effective teacher, your ratings will reflect that and your contributions will be seen/linked to quite frequently — from people all over the world.

Also see:

Sophia -- a new online-based learning exchange

Excellent resource for understanding the basics of a various learning theories!

From DSC:
I’d like to thank:

  • Doug Lynch, Dr. Stanton Wortham, and Elliott Masie for recording these videos and for sharing their insights/expertise
  • The University of Pennsylvania for making these items available
  • Capella University for including the above resource in a course that I’m currently taking from Dr. Katherine Emmons entitled, “Learning Theory and the Educational Process.”

Note/correction from my original posting:

Doug Lynch and Stanton Wortham are not at Penn State, but rather they are at the University of Pennsylvania; Elliot Masie is an Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of Pennsylvania.

Biology professors use cloud computing to reach students — from The Chronicle by Tushar Rae

The pace has changed -- don't come onto the track in a Model T


From DSC:
If you doubt that…read on…

The New Normal: Universities Sponsoring Online High Schools — from EdReformer.com

K12 announced today that they are partnering with George Washington University to launch The George Washington University Online High School. This private high school will serve students from the US and countries around the world January 2011.

Students are constantly trying to find options that will set them apart from others and participating in this rigorous college preparatory program could be the key. In addition to the curriculum, students who attend an online high school connected to a University such as GWUOHS will have college counseling, personalized learning tools, test preparation, even guidance through the scholarship process.

GWU is not the only university sponsoring online high schools. Stanford has the EPGY Online High School. University of Missouri High School and The University of Oklahoma offer year-round and dual enrollment courses. Whether public or private schools, the possibilities are endless for students. Training for sports, starting a business, volunteering, working in the arts,  all can become easier by signing in to your online courses from the nearest computer.

Through major universities in partnership with online providers, students are reaping the benefits of university resources online high schools. It is interesting that we do not see this type of partnership more often.

MIT tries new approach for some OpenCourseWare (OCW) — from The Chronicle by Jeff Young

New MIT OpenCourseWare Initiative Aims to Improve Independent Online Learning — from the NYT by Aurey Watters of ReadWriteWeb

MIT OpenCourseWare is launching five new courses today that mark a new model for one of the world’s premier open educational resources. These OCW Scholar courses are designed for use by independent learners, and like the other material made available through MIT OCW, are freely available for anyone to pursue. These aren’t distance learning classes – there is no instructor, no contact with MIT, no credit. But the courses are meant to be stand-alone offerings, not requiring any additional materials for learning.

Technology Empowering Online Learning at Post-Secondary Level — from TMCNet by Beecher Tuttle

Times have changed, however. With lower budgets, limited physical space and new insight into the effectiveness of online learning, a myriad of highly regarded public and private colleges and universities have begun transitioning their curriculum to a digital world. In fact, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, one of the most well thought-of state institutions on the East Coast, recently announced its plans to offer its prestigious MBA program completely online. The business school’s dean told Mashable that the university made the move because it did not see online learning as a lesser form of education, if delivered properly.

Quick aside from DSC:

Re: that last sentence…please…let’s stop asking the question if online learning is as good as face-to-face learning. That question has been answered time and again.

The question now is, how will face-to-face learning begin to keep up and measure up to online learning as online learning begins to hit its real stride? We haven’t seen anything yet; and at this point, innovation is happening at much faster speeds in the online world. Those professors, teachers, and trainers used to working solely in the face-to-face teaching and learning environments better really start asking themselves how they will innovate, and how they will respond to the K-12 students (and employees) that are  changing right in front of our eyes!

New Web Venture Offers ‘Syndicated Courses’ — from The Chronicle by  Tusher Rae

Omnicademy, a for-profit institution conceived at Louisiana State University, hopes to allow professors to syndicate their courses this fall.

The company’s system will let professors upload material from courses they’re already teaching and offer the courses to students at other colleges through the Omnicademy site, said the company’s founder, Stacey Simmons, associate director for economic development at Louisiana’s Center for Computation and Technology.

Universities can review the courses and decide which ones they want to adopt and offer credit for. When students log into Omnicademy—using a .edu e-mail address—they will only be allowed to select from courses that have been approved by their institution.

If a student wishes to take a course offered through Omnicademy that is not on the list approved by his or her university, Omnicademy will negotiate on behalf of that student with the university, Ms. Simmons added.

2020 Vision — from neXtedu

The MEGATRENDS I see changing the Education Industry are:

1) The Knowledge Economy:
Prediction:  By 2020, Assessment becomes the currency for the Knowledge Economy, not where you went to school.  In other words, opportunity will truly be driven by what you know, not by where your degree is from.

2) Globalization:
Prediction: By 2020, there will be Global Schools like Avenues and Mosaica in the primary and secondary market and an acceleration of Global Universities will be driven by online offerings.  Moreover, study abroad will become a standard part of a college education (up from 1% of the students currently) and will even be an important feature for top-tier private K-12 schools.

3) The Internet: …Web 2.0 is truly about “democratizing” education, not only increasing access and lowering cost but also improving quality.
Prediction: By 2020, all college students will have a “blended” or “hybrid” learning experience, as will nearly all high school students.  Virtual School operators such as K12, Connections Academy and Florida Virtual have millions of students and Arizona State University Online becomes the largest University in the World.  The information that is made readily available by new media education sites such as Center for Education Reform’s “Media Bullpen” and the Education Breakthrough Network create a “dismantling of the Berlin Wall” moment for school choice, with a flood of opportunities coming to parents and students throughout the United States.

4) Outsourcing:
Prediction: By 2020, students in Charter Schools will have more than tripled from 3% to 10% of America’s student body, and it will become standard to integrate specialists, from foreign languages to mathematics, into the “traditional” school. Teach for America becomes a “for profit” as does KIPP, eliminating the ongoing need to raise tens of millions of dollars every year and instead utilize investor capital to sustain and grow their businesses.  I predict over 25% of Universities will have partnerships with outsourced providers to manage their online offering.  Several states will decide to “privatize” their public university system.

5) Consolidation:
Prediction: By 2020, the trend of less power and money from local coupled with a rationalization of the market will see many districts consolidate under either regional or state governance.   As many as 1/3 of the private colleges and universities will either “merge” with other universities or go away.

6) Demographics:
Prediction: By 2020, Education is the #1 national issue driven by minorities understanding that equal access to education is key to their future — and zip code shouldn’t determine a student’s earnings power.  Early stage childcare becomes much more of a national priority with leaders such as Bright Horizons being the model for how corporations and parents work together to provide the early learning needed to be “school ready”.  Gaming will be a standard component of core curriculum and supplementary learning with companies like Dreambox, Tabula Digita , Knewton and Grockit creating powerful adaptive platforms.

7) Network Effects:
Prediction:  By 2020, large learning networks are created in K12, Higher Ed and the Corporate Marketplace driven by gigantic network effects.  Platforms that support “apps” such as digital content, assessment, and social collaboration are supported by three or four large players.

8)  Freemium:
Prediction:  By 2020 some of the largest education companies will be “freemium” models with revenues driven by premium services, sponsorships and ads.  In a world where “assessment is the currency” for opportunity, freemium models that deliver high value knowledge at no cost or a fraction of the cost (like Academic Earth) will be very disruptive to high cost providers.

9) Open:
Prediction:  By 2020, most colleges and universities have abandoned their captive LMS and have adopted open solutions, and service providers such as RSmart and Moodle Rooms are thriving.

10) Brands:
Prediction:  By 2020, institutions with substantial brand equity will have multiple partners to leverage into cash to supplement endowments and flattish tuitions.  As with case studies from other sectors that have created network effects with freemium models, GLOBAL MEGABRANDS will be created with a number of education companies obtaining $10 billion plus market caps.

Arizona State University’s Education Innovation Network

The Education Innovation Network is an open innovation platform where entrepreneurs can find the resources to validate concepts, accelerate growth and reach transformative scale.

From DSC:
Again…do you hear the waves of change crashing on our shores? Do you sense the increased speeds of the “cars on the racetrack”?

The academy in hard times

Also see:

© 2021 | Daniel Christian