Earlier this year I bought a Groupon deal for an indoor skydiving session. I’m not sure why I bought this particular deal, especially since I’m deathly afraid of heights and this just didn’t seem like something I would willingly do. Nevertheless, I suited up this weekend and took on the challenge! Even though it was not real skydiving, it was just as frightening as I would imagine it to be, it felt so real and with the video and fan blowing, the instructors had very seamlessly simulated reality. I even had that crazy sinking feeling in my stomach the whole time!
This got me thinking about Jacksonville State University‘s ability to simulate the experience of actually being in class…when in fact one third of their student body is taking their classes online. JSU is successfully creating an online version of the traditional classroom because they understand that to really connect and communicate with their students, they need to “reach the students where they are,” and incorporate a synchronous component to their online classes. Not only are the students able to attend the class lectures online, but they are able to connect with faculty using education technology for office hours, questions on assignments – all in real-time, all online. So that scary sinking feeling that you’ll be called on when you haven’t completed your assignments/reading for the week? Yup, it is just the same. Just as real – only your peers might not be able to see you actually turn red.
Mark Edmundson, a professor of English at University of Virginia, wrote an Op-Ed called, “The Trouble with Online Education,” which appeared in last week’s New York Times. Timing of the op-ed coincides with UVA’s recent announcement that they would be developing and offering online courses with Coursera. To boil down the article, Edmundson says he thinks of online education as a one size fits all experience, yet thinks of traditional learning experiences as that of a jazz composition. In response, Josh Kim published an open letter to Professor Edmundson exposing some of Professor Edmundson’s incorrect assumptions and confusion, which you can read here: An Open Letter to Professor Edmundson.
I was lucky enough to attend the “Julie and Julie” session at BbWorld 2012! Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, and Julie Young, President & CEO of Florida Virtual School shared their thoughts on Personalized Learning. Both agree that students are looking for ways to use technology in order to make learning more relevant and successful according to their own individual needs, goals, and preferences. And, both mention that children are using mobile phones, social networks, and the internet with such increasing frequency that it is becoming a must for schools to incorporate these tools into a student’s learning, instead of shutting them down.
Can you guess what student profile this describes?
In 2010, Professor Sharon Feaster began offering Connect Anatomy & Physiology to her students as an extra study tool. Professor Feaster was hesitant to require McGraw-Hill Connect and have her students go to two course websites – Blackboard Learn and Connect – so she made it optional for students.
As soon as the Blackboard integration became available, she immediately jumped on board and started requiring her students to use McGraw-Hill Connect. As a result, she experienced significant improvements in course and exam pass rates, demonstrating the effectiveness of Connect and LearnSmart on student learning. In addition, she saw a 29% reduction in course withdrawals, which she assumes is a result of fewer students feeling compelled to withdraw because they were succeeding in the course.
Read this case study to find out why Professor Feaster credits Connect with having made a real difference for her students.
For years it seemed, the rest of the world was hooked on SMS – while Americans were slow to adopt the technology. But is that really true today? Is the US still behind, or have we caught up?
Consider: of the 5.6 trillion text messages sent around the world last year, 2.3 trillion were sent by Americans – that’s over 40 percent of total global SMS traffic.
Consider: the average US mobile subscriber sent over 660 texts annually – that’s more per capita than any other country on Earth.
Those are some of the remarkable statistics you can find in this infographic from Blackboard Connect, “Rising Text: Do you have the tools to meet the challenge?”
A seismic shift has occurred in the way Americans communicate – and it’s happened while we weren’t watching. Sure, if you pay a teenager’s cell phone bill, you won’t be surprised to learn that young people send over 3,400 texts every month. But did you know that 65 percent of Americans say they ‘need’ SMS, and 45 percent say they can’t live without it?