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Learning Management

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

The word “class” really doesn’t do justice to what medical students attend in the newly renovated lecture theatre at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.

“It’s a production, which is so much better,” said Ed Hipditch, manager of classroom technologies with Memorial University’s Distance Education, Learning and Teaching Support (DELTS) department. “Students walk in and say ‘Wow!’ ­The wow factor is important when educating someone. It’s not just someone scribbling on a chalkboard.” ­

amx award logo

Innovation and initiative are integral to higher education success, but three schools recently stood out to judges of the 2011 AMX Innovation Awards. The University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine; Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada; and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey were selected from a field of over 500 nominations.

Most colleges and universities attending EduComm send one or two, sometimes three, people to the conference. Last June, Life University (Ga.) sent seven of its administrators and faculty to learn from the breakout sessions and see the latest higher education technology on the EduComm exhibit floor.

Future Shock

A doubting student of Italian once challenged "If English is supposed to be the lingua franca, how come there's no word in English for lingua franca?" Though English is still the most widely spoken language in the nation and elsewhere--the number of Spanish speaking citizens and visitors in the US is expected to grow exponentially in the decade ahead.

Engaged students are successful students. That is a well known fact on college campuses. The trick is encouraging that engagement, particularly for community college leaders. "About 80 percent of our students are low income," says Stephen Head, president of Lone Star College-North Harris (Texas). "Many of them are also the first in their family to attend college."

Call it the marathon without a finish line: As new network demands such as mobile computing and rich media increase, campus IT strategists are trying to keep running ahead, to ensure that their networks can meet the need.

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when trying to convey complex ideas. At Purdue University (Ind.), a home-grown smartphone app lets students easily incorporate mobile video components into class assignments and share them with teachers and other students.

Called DoubleTake, the app was developed by the university's information technology staff and is available through the iTunes App store. An Android-based version is in the works as well.

The growing trend toward three-year degrees in America has not been a quiet transition. Many of the major media outlets have covered the seemingly sudden phenomenon that will undoubtedly change the landscape of American higher education. Experts and politicians have sounded off on how the new model will redeem struggling institutions and answer problems associated with rising tuition costs.

As distance education programs expand at many colleges and universities, administrators are faced with a question: Is it better to have a centralized distance education office, or should individual departments handle distance education on their own?

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