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Articles: Teaching & Learning

The experience students have on campus is what will keep them coming back, both while enrolled and after. But even if they love their classes, that joy can be overshadowed by frustration dealing with student services offices. The new report “Making the Grade: Optimizing the Higher Education Student Experience” from Oracle checks in on how administrators and students think higher education institutions are doing. The good news: 60 percent of students surveyed say their school meets their customer service expectations.

An infographic by OnlineColleges.net analyzes today’s students’ study habits, as well as grade inflation, to suggest that college grading may be getting easier. Whatever the case, grading methods have certainly changed over the years.

James Wollack, director of University of Wisconsin-Madison testing and evaluation services and an expert in educational measurement, says grading used to be dominated by test scores: fail a final and you’d flunk the course.

Sitting back in our local air-conditioned movie theater, on a sweltering hot summer day watching Andrew Garfield scale a sky-scraper in 3D, we are reminded of a recent graduate fast-forwarding from the world of for-profit animation education to the emergent career field of game design.

The Future of Video in Education Summit

Video is changing the way we teach, learn, and do business on campus. How can you harness the power of online video—from lecture capture to campus events to student-generated content—to create new value? That was the focus of the Future of Video in Education Summit preceding UBTech 2012. Sponsored by Sonic Foundry, the summit examined those questions in a series of presentations and panel discussions.

Recognize and Nurture Different Kinds of Minds

Educator, inventor, author, and perhaps the most famous person with autism in the world, Temple Grandin addressed higher ed administrators in UBTech 2012’s opening keynote—during which she called out politicians, top-down thinkers, and bullies and inspired the crowd with her experiences and perspective on everything from how labels hurt kids to how educational institutions should allow those with hands-on experience to teach, even without a teaching degree.

In May, MIT and Harvard announced a $60 million joint venture, called edX, to develop an open-source platform to deliver online courses. The descendant of MIT’s OpenCourseWare project that made the institution’s course materials freely available, edX offers significant improvements. For one thing, unlike OCW, edX will host full MITx and Harvardx faculty-led courses, with certificates of mastery at completion. In July, edX announced the addition of UC Berkeley to the project, and the formation of the X-University Consortium.

Switchers and Scalers

The VM0808H 8x8 HD matrix video switch from ATEN is capable of routing up to eight HDMI sources to a maximum of eight HDMI

What technologies and features do higher education favor for digital signage and video and web conferencing deployments? And what can be done to ensure that these technology purchases are used wisely? Here’s what is happening on the AV technology scene.

It’s been a surprise to see how eager many college trustees, foundation officers, and government officials are now for the same freedom students and faculty members enjoy on campus to try out new ideas. Many have become enamored with the idea of “disruptive innovation,” drawn from Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997). Arguing that incremental change is often inadequate when organizations face altered circumstances, he asserts that disruptive innovation is the best way to re-position an organization. His main examples relate to hard disk drives and excavators.

At Rollins College (Fla.), we’re always looking for new ways to enhance student learning experiences. A signature feature of liberal arts schools is the intimacy and strength of engagement in the classroom. With this philosophy, you might assume that virtual classrooms don’t have a place at Rollins. But technology’s role in higher education isn’t synonymous just with distance learning and online courses. Technology is a tool that can enrich the liberal arts learning experience and make it more meaningful.

Physical bookstores are in decline, and the signs of this are everywhere. Border’s demise was the most prominent recent example but countless small independent bookstores around the country are experiencing the same fate.

Anywhere Amplification

Indiana University sees an opportunity to capitalize on the growing market for nonprofit workers with a formal School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Officials say nonprofits already account for 9 percent of U.S. wages and salaries, and are expected to grow as government and corporation philanthropy declines.

According to one recent study, nonprofit organizations with revenues of more than $250,000 will hire up to 640,000 more executives by 2016.

When President Obama set the goal of increasing the percentage of the population that has some postsecondary education, the assumed focus was on two- and four-year degrees. A new report, “Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees,” from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce makes the argument that certificates should not be overlooked.

Apps help new students build social bonds and keep up on campus news.

Students and technology go hand in hand, especially when you hand out smartphones at orientation. Seton Hall University (N.J.) did just that with Nokia Lumia 900 smartphones during orientation in June. “It’s an exciting time here at Seton Hall,” says David Middleton, assistant vice president for administration and executive director of the university’s Center for Mobile Research and Innovation. “This is part of an ongoing effort we’ve been taking on for a few years,” he says, adding that students also receive a PC.

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