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Articles: Classroom

iPad

On January 19, Apple held a much-hyped education event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City where the company revealed its move into the textbook distribution market with the release of the iBooks 2 and iBooks Author apps.

Notable for its higher ed implications, iBooks Author is available as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create iBooks textbooks and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Education technology experts weigh in on how this could change how professors disseminate information.

artist painting

Futurist Richard Florida moved the needle with his book The Rise of the Creative Class (Basic Books, 2002)—establishing creativity as a 21st century learning and earning skill, and a driving force of economic growth, jobs creation, and cultural enrichment in today’s competitive global society.

College campuses have long been accused of being bastions of liberal thought. But the most recent Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) survey of the nation’s entering students at four-year colleges and universities shows that current freshmen, at least, are arriving on campus with their own more liberal beliefs than previous classes. “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011” shares findings that students are more accepting of everything from same-sex marriages to affirmative action.

Student retention is a big problem that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. About one-third of college students fail to obtain a degree six years after taking their first college course, and the United States is no longer in the top 10 list of countries with the highest graduation rates, according to the College Board. The drop-out rate affects long-term economic prosperity nationwide. This is particularly true in an age where knowledge, creativity, and innovation are key drivers in a globalized economy.

Tim Goral

Everyone remembers the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indiana Jones, with his iconic Fedora and bullwhip, narrowly escapes from a Peruvian temple with a stolen golden idol, avoiding the path of a rolling boulder and a band of arrow-wielding Hovitos tribesmen. In the next scene, we see Dr. Jones home again, teaching an archaeology class at “Marshall College.” He stands before the class in a bowtie and glasses (which, oddly, he doesn’t seem to need for the rest of the film). 

Today’s universities with campus-wide, robust mobile broadband networks have secured an edge in marketing to technology-centered young adults. These young adults have embraced smartphones and are using applications that enable life on campus to be more secure, navigable, and fun. Apps are everywhere. They boost campus security by opening doors to residence halls, broadcast real-time audio and video to emergency dispatchers, use QR (Quick Response) codes to traverse campus grounds, and help students to meet up, check grades or assignments, and receive weather and class cancellation alerts.

Capture in High Def

Textbooks for rent

In this digital age, at a time when everybody is tightening their belts, it should come as no surprise that students are buying fewer textbooks. How many fewer? Two recent surveys show that 70 percent of students polled at the University of California, Riverside say the rising costs of higher ed have caused them to skip buying textbooks altogether. And findings from a 2011 Pew survey, “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” indicate that 62 percent of college presidents anticipate more than half of textbooks used by their undergraduates will be digital within 10 years.

At Pitt Community College (N.C.), online learning is about more than just putting in-person course content onto the web. Officials have created a system that emphasizes preparation for students and instructors. The institution will even be launching a certification program for professors wanting to enhance their online teaching skills. “We don’t want online courses to be a barrier to success in any way, for anyone,” says Don Hazelwood, director of instructional technology and distance education. “We all have to work together.” Despite efforts such as these, barriers are common.

Social networking, online banking, entertainment... There’s an app for that—and for everything else you can think of. When it comes to higher ed, there’s an app for that, too. From behind-the-scenes mobile CRM apps to in-your-face athletic program apps, campus administrators are developing ways to make students’, administrators’, and faculty members’ lives a bit easier (or just more fun).

webcam

Imagine being a student in a class listening to your professor as she writes on a whiteboard at the front of the room. She asks a question and you faintly hear a voice, but you can’t see who it came from or understand what was said—because you’re sitting at your desk participating in class through your webcam.

Mainstream colleges and universities could benefit from increased use of assistive technologies for learning, but there are some educators who feel that allowing students to use assistive technology is like cheating.

As someone who works at a college where these learning tools are used every day in every class, I’d like to clear up this major misconception. These tools simply facilitate learning, and all of us, different and “normal” learners alike, should understand what the tools can do for us.

Programs in entrepreneurship aren’t new on college campuses.  But, the mindset that college graduates may find it easier to create their own jobs rather than find one is new.

Last month, Professional Media Group, owners and producers of the EduComm conference, announced a new name for the conference’s 2012 incarnation: UBTech.

When it began in 2003, EduComm’s focus was on the convergence of AV and IT in higher education. But as the years went by, EduComm sessions increasingly reflected the disciplines and topics covered in University Business magazine and its companion web seminar series.

Proposals are in from institutions vying to build a tech campus in the “city that never sleeps” as part of the “Applied Sciences NYC” initiative. It’s the beginning of an effort to bring New York City to the forefront of technology start-ups and innovation. The request for proposal was announced in July by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other members of his cabinet, and the initiative will provide a university, institution, or consortium city-owned land and up to $100 million to cover building costs.

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