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Articles: Classroom

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008.

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008, had been “happily retired” before assuming the leadership role at the Teagle Foundation in July. The New York-based foundation’s grant-making is focused on improving undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

Working in Groups
Vaddio’s GroupSTATION, designed for mid-to large-size meeting spaces, allows up to 20 people to share a PowerPoint presentation, stream a training video from YouTube, or collaborate with remote participants. Users can connect a laptop or tablet directly into GroupSTATION, which consists of two main components: a table-based MicPOD dock, and a wall-mounted sound bar that incorporates an HD camera in its center. The MicPOD Dock functions as a microphone, speakerphone, and user interface. www.vaddio.com

At the end of this spring’s TV season, CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” was the highest rated sitcom. Focused on the lives of two physicists, an aerospace engineer, a neuroscientist, and a waitress, the success of this pop culture comedy gives us a creative perspective on the serious contributions engineering and math majors make to our petroleum industry—and to fueling energy production sustainability.

It’s hard to follow higher education news these days without seeing a reference to MOOCs. The online learning platforms from edX, Coursera, Udacity, and others were launched to great fanfare over the last two years. Proponents praise them for their potential to change education, while critics chalk them up as more hype than hope.

A teachable moment is something all good educators welcome. It is a critical time during which learning about a particular topic or idea becomes easiest. The Fossil Free divestment campaign at post secondary institutions across North America provides superb teachable moments for educators.

Remedial programs across the country are getting overhauled by educators and lawmakers hoping to keep more two- and four-year college students on track for graduation.

The changes come as research shows that while many community college students are made to take—and pay for—at least one remedial course before they start compiling credits, those who take the courses are more likely to leave school without earning a diploma.

Pearson Education President Dave Daniels bristles when he hears the word “outsourcing” used to describe contracts colleges and universities sign with outside vendors to develop online curriculum.

“The word ‘outsource’ to me is real pejorative,” Daniels says. “It sounds like the school is saying, ‘Here, take it and bring it back to us.’ When it really is a collaboration. People think there’s this big, bad for-profit giant coming and taking over.”

Although the in-house work in preparing traditional classes to be taught online can be overwhelming, the vast majority of colleges and universities do not to use third-party vendors for online course development. Ottawa University, based in Kansas but with locations across the country, has its own curriculum design studio, says Brian Messer, vice president of online.

At the height of allergy season, Forbes projected a $14.7 billion profit margin for over-the-counter allergy medications alone. Over the past year, the American public got a rare look into the alleged unethical and deceitful business, hygiene, medical, and pharmacy practices at the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts.

In any endeavor, it is prudent to begin with the end in mind. This strategy proved to be successful throughout my business career, which culminated in a position as a managing director at Merrill Lynch. When I turned my attention to business education, I decided to once again start at the end.

Many institutions with a single traditional brick and mortar campus are diversifying the methods for delivering their programs by going online, developing hybrid courses, and even establishing centers at locations off-campus. In his UBTech featured session, “Using Multiple Delivery Methods to Reduce the Cost of Higher Education,” Alan Walker, former president of Upper Iowa University, will discuss the challenges and cost benefits of strategic diversification.

When students in an honors business and professional communications course at Robert Morris University (Pa.) conducted research on textbooks, a survey revealed that 14 percent of their peers knew at least one student who dropped out of school because he or she could not afford to pay for textbooks. And when administrators learned of that finding, they took action.

Toughpad Tablet

Tim Goral

Earlier this year work began on a document that, at the very least, formalizes expectations and minimum standards for schools and students venturing into online learning. With the growth of MOOCs and distance learning, we are entering a time when these alternate forms of learning will supplement and in some cases supplant traditional education models. Universities recognize that they need to find ways to provide cost-effective, quality education to an expanding base, even as their own funding gets slashed.

Tony Bates

Tony Bates is the author of 11 books in the field of online learning and distance education. In addition to his most recent title, Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Co. 2011), Bates moderates a widely read blog about online learning and distance education resources at www.tonybates.ca. Popular with audiences at education conferences around the world, Bates will be a featured speaker at UBTech 2013 in Orlando.

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