Adaptive learning technology comes to STEM courses

The education giant Pearson and the adaptive learning company Knewton have been working together for nearly two years, launching a product powered by Knewton’s technology in the fall of 2012 to help college students in math, reading, and writing courses.


Pearson and Knewton are expanding their adaptive learning courses to include biology and other science courses.

The focus on foundational courses was no accident, and reflects the use of adaptive learning technology as a whole. Now the two companies are pushing the technology in a new direction.

They’re expanding their MyLab and Mastering products to include courses in biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, physics, finance, and accounting. The expansion marks a noted shift toward courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

“We’re branching out from the college readiness courses into these pre-professional courses,” said Paul Corey, Pearson Higher Ed’s president of science, business and technology.  “They’re the gateway courses for pre-med, pre-engineering, pre-nursing, pre-business.”

Knewton collects millions of data points from the more than 11 million college students using My Lab and Mastering to inform models that can be broken down to help with individual learning.

If a student is struggling at biology, maybe it’s not because the student is inherently bad at science, but because he never really learned algebra, the data could find.

The software can then recommend additional assignments in that area.

Take our poll on Page 2 and see why Pearson and Knewton are branching out to more advanced courses.


Emerging Artist, Engineer and Producer ron [k] Chosen as Winner of HARMAN’s Lexicon Endorsee Quest 2013

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Recently crashing onto the music scene, emerging artist, engineer, and producer Ron Kelly, better known under his pseudonym ron [k], has finally garnered the exposure he’s needed to launch his career. Today, Kelly was recognized for his achievements as one of two winners of HARMAN’s Lexicon ‘Endorsee Quest 2013.’ The contest was designed to recognize individuals who have experienced success working with Lexicon. As a winner, Kelly will receive $1,000 in credit towards the purchase of additional Lexicon gear and will be featured on the homepage.

Gravitating towards the world of engineering at an early age, in 2000 Kelly was first able to upgrade his home studio to the professional level with Lexicon’s Lexiverb reverb plug-in for ProTools and the PCM 81. Kelly proudly still loves and uses his PCM81 for intricate/otherworldly effects he crafts for his music. By 2005, his career had led him to enter the post-production world as a re-recording mixer and sound designer where he became well versed with the Lexicon 480L unit, using it on everything from film and television to theatrical trailers and video games. , Kelly’s recent single ‘Stripped’ will be featured in an upcoming film directed by Joel Soisson entitled ‘Cam2Cam.’

“I’ve done shoot outs with other similar high end pro audio reverb/multi-effects processors and not one of them touches the sonic quality that Lexicon produces or the unparalleled technology that is implemented in the design of all their products,” commented Kelly. “Lexicon pioneered digital reverb. They wrote the book on it, they know what they’re doing and they do it better than anyone else!”

“We wanted to show our support for artists like ron [k], so we decided to let our Facebook fans make their best pitch on why they should get an endorsement. We looked at a lot of fantastic submissions, but Ron’s passion really shined through. We are excited to give him a chance to show everyone what he can and does do!” stated Noel Larson Market Manager, Portable PA, Tour and Recording, HARMAN Signal Processing.

For his prize, Kelly has chosen the PCM Total Bundle reverb/effect plug-in. “Whether it’s the PCM Total Bundle of plug-ins or Hardware, it will be put to immediate and excellent use for both studio and live effects processing,” explained Kelly.

The quality and features are everything when it comes to the gear Kelly selects. For an up and coming artist like Kelly, price is also an important factor in every purchase. “This is another place Lexicon excels. In my opinion all of their products are well worth more than the price tag they sell for,” said Kelly “Whether you’re on a smaller budget or you’re at a level of blank check spending privileges, Lexicon’s product line is going to deliver the best bang for your buck, hands down.”

HARMAN ( designs, manufactures, and markets a wide range of infotainment and audio solutions for the automotive, consumer, and professional markets. It is a recognized world leader across its customer segments with premium brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, and Mark Levinson® and leading-edge connectivity, safety and audio technologies. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 14,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $4.3 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.


Print management cuts costs, boosts security

Looking to control the cost of printing without hindering productivity, one college found huge success with a print management solution from Canon.


The print management solution has saved nearly 500,000 sheets of paper and an estimated 16,293 pounds of greenhouse gases per year, officials say.

The Commonwealth Medical College needed a way to control the cost of printing for staff and students without hindering their productivity. Officials found what they were looking for and more with a print management solution from Canon that has solved all of their needs—while saving nearly 500,000 sheets of paper and more than 16,000 pounds of greenhouse gases per year in the process.

With three regional campuses across northeastern Pennsylvania, The Commonwealth Medical College was formed in 2009 to address a projected shortage of physicians in the area. During the accreditation process, it was discovered that the school’s fleet of multifunction devices didn’t meet its security and usability needs. For instance, the devices didn’t support authentication using their Active Directory domain, leading to problems with access permissions—and making an already complicated print and scanning process even worse.

College officials wanted devices that would integrate easily into their existing IT infrastructure, require little maintenance, and be highly intuitive for students to use with minimal training. They also wanted to give students a print budget for each semester, plus a way to replenish funds as needed.

“We needed reliable devices that could be available 24-7 for students and faculty, and that would minimize the amount of staff time necessary to manage them,” said Doug Carroll, IT director for The Commonwealth Medical College. “We also wanted to automate the way students could track the balance in their [print] account, provide estimated costs for output, and a dependable process to pay for additional output from anywhere, at any time—whether it was late at night, a weekend, or a holiday.”

College officials considered installing coin-operated devices; however, they determined these wouldn’t be sufficient, because they would require continual servicing and cash would be the only means of payment. If the payment device was full, out of service, or sufficient change wasn’t available, students wouldn’t be able to print what they needed—especially during off hours.

“After careful consideration, [we] determined that a solution [consisting] of Canon imageRUNNER [and] imageRUNNER ADVANCE multifunction systems and uniFLOW [print management] software was the most flexible,” Carroll said. “It aligned perfectly with our core mission of educating aspiring physicians using innovative techniques and cutting-edge technology.”

Officials decided that a diverse mix of eight imageRUNNER and imageRUNNER ADVANCE multifunction systems would address the print, copy, scan, fax, and send needs of the college most efficiently. Canon’s comprehensive lineup of multifunction devices made it easy to identify the ideal device for each location, based on anticipated volume and required capabilities.

To facilitate walk-up operations, students and staff are issued a proximity card to identify themselves. Users swipe their cards at the device for secure authentication by the uniFLOW print management software’s log-in application, providing access to the set of features they’re permitted to use. Within the uniFLOW application, users can view all their pending print jobs, review the cost to be applied against their budget for better visibility and spending control, and release each job as needed.

When a student’s print budget reaches a low threshold or has been exceeded, uniFLOW immediately sends an eMail to the student with a direct link to PayPal, letting the student add additional funds 24-7, without requiring any staff intervention. Once payment has been successfully processed, the student’s account is credited, and he or she can resume printing or copying.

The solution has provided an easy way for students and staff to manage their print needs securely, while also cutting costs. In fact, Canon’s uniFLOW Printing Intelligence Reports demonstrate that students and staff have embraced the new technology and are helping the college achieve its “Go Green” goals.

The college’s newsletter highlights users who have made the largest contribution toward becoming a paperless environment—and when printing is required, the most recent report showed nearly 75 percent of all print jobs were done as double-sided pages. This has saved nearly 500,000 sheets of paper and an estimated 16,293 pounds of greenhouse gases per year, officials say.


Top 3 solutions to cheating in online education

Online learning advocates, in their advocacy for more investment in web-based courses, have run into a counterargument time and again: cheating among online students drains legitimacy from the nontraditional classes.


Browser lockdown technology is one way to fight online cheating.

Cheating in online classes have proven a contentious issue, even as universities devise ways to fight cheating and more proprietary options crop up every year.

The proliferation of massive open online courses (MOOCs) has further stoked the online cheating debate, with MOOC detractors pointing to academic dishonesty as a reason to remain skeptical of the new online form.

Here’s a rundown of the four most common — and popular — ways colleges, universities, and MOOC platforms are battling against cheating in online courses.

Keystroke monitoring software: Instead of relying on passwords or fingerprint scans, many online programs and some major MOOC platforms are exploring the use of technology that recognizes and identifies keystroke patterns. Pace University researchers who delved deep into the potential of keystroke technology charged they could accurately identify a student in more than 99 percent of tests.

“… The keystroke biometric seems appropriate for the student authentication process,” the Pace researchers wrote. “Stylometry appears to be a useful addition to the process because the correct student may be keying in the test answers but a coach could be providing the answers and the student merely typing the coach’s words without bothering to convert the linguistic style into his own.”

Halting cheating the old-fashioned way: Faculty members concerned that students are consulting Google’s everlasting well of knowledge during MOOC quizzes, tests, and final exams can cut down on cheating by simply creating multiple forms of an exam – potentially a simpler solution than the high-tech anti-plagiarism programs that can detect keystrokes and monitor students’ actions during online tests.

How serious is online cheating? Take our poll on Page 2.


BYOD security challenges are old mortarboard for universities

Businesses coping with security issues stemming from employee use of personal devices for company work are only experiencing what universities have grappled with for years, CSO Online reports.

“Many of us in higher ed find it very funny when we see how BYOD has dominated so much of the security press lately,” Mike Corn, chief privacy and security officer at the University of Illinois (UI) at Urbana-Champaign, said in an interview. “We view that with amusement because Bring Your Own Device has defined our environment almost since the beginning of personal computing.”

The magnitude of BYOD at a university the size of UI would likely give a corporate security administrator fits. Not only is there a large annual turnover rate — some 10,000 new students arrive on campus each year — but each has an average of 3.5 personal devices in tow.

“We work in an environment where we’re used to having a huge number of personally owned devices on the network,” Corn said.

While most universities have had their students use their own hardware for years, a big bump in corporate BYOD occurred in 2010 when tablets began to proliferate. “When the iPad came on the market, everyone brought it to work and expected to do work on it,” Gord Boyce, CEO of ForeScout Technologies, said in an interview. “Universities have always had students bring their own devices, but they have less control over those endpoints.’

One reason universities have less control over those endpoints is because a higher education network needs to be more open than a corporate network. “Because of our nature, the idea of throttling information is anathema to us,” Corn said.

That can pose security problems, not only for the university but for vendors trying to address those problems. “When we bring some of these appliance vendors in and begin pumping some of our network traffic through a device, they ask us, ‘Why are you pumping white noise through my device?'” Corn said.

Because of the nature of universities, the amount and variety of traffic on our network has a completely different flavor to it than a corporate network, Corn explained.

Read more


University offers first synchronous massive online course

The University of Texas at Austin is proud to introduce the world’s first synchronous massive online course (SMOC) in fall 2013, the university’s news service reports.

Introduction to Psychology (PSY 301) presents a rare opportunity for students not enrolled at the university to register for a course at the same time as regularly admitted students and take part in an innovative online structure that incorporates a new approach to teaching and learning.

Registration is available online at Class begins Thursday, Aug. 29.

Presented by the College of Liberal Arts, PSY 301 is taught by Samuel Gosling and James Pennebaker, two award-winning professors from the university’s Department of Psychology. Gosling and Pennebaker will hold class Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. live on the Internet. The course incorporates new research into how students learn — a topic of study in the course.

“We want to teach students how to learn,” said Gosling. “The design of this course draws on what we know of the psychology of learning. Much of what makes this course so cutting-edge is that the methods we will use to teach this course will help further the research into finding the most effective ways students learn in the 21st century.”

PSY 301 is now open for registration to students of the university, students at other institutions of higher education and those seeking an opportunity to sample new innovations from The University of Texas at Austin. Participants earn three hours of transferable academic credit that will appear on an official transcript of the university. Registration for Introduction to Psychology is being administered by University Extension at

PSY 301 also breaks from tradition by not incorporating conventional exams or textbooks. Instead, students will be assigned to read and view free online articles and videos and take weekly benchmark quizzes that assess learning and help students set individual study goals.

One way that Pennebaker believes people learn is through humor. “When you laugh, you remember,” he added. The course, while thoroughly academic, will also attempt to entertain.

Read more


Professors still view MOOCs skeptically

The New York Times calls 2013 “the year of the MOOC.” But massive open online courses still fail to get high marks from most educators, Scientific American reports.

In a recent survey of more than 2,200 professors, only one in five thought that online courses could be as effective as classroom curricula. Their biggest concern: limited interaction between teachers and students.

… Respondents linked MOOC credibility to whether an online course was offered by an accredited school and to a student’s ability to receive credits. Faculty skepticism isn’t surprising. New technologies often turn crafted products and services into bland commodities, something no teacher wants. On the other hand, resistance to change, especially when it involves computers, tends to be a losing strategy in most fields.

An important wrinkle in the data: much MOOC criticism comes from faculty who’ve never taught an online course.

Read more


Three things you might not know about tablets on campus

The revolution, according to many in educational technology, was supposed to be televised on tablets.


Students said they want more class assignments available on tablets.

eCampus News staffers are constantly reporting on the latest trends in how tablets are used in higher education, interviewing those who advocate tablet usage above all else, and those skeptical of the transformational power of the mobile devices.

Below are three stories that might surprise educators and college students who see tablets as the unquestioned wave of higher education’s future.

One in five college students use tablets to study: The presence of mobile devices has exploded on college campuses over the past five years, though just 19 percent of students say they use tablets and ubiquitous smartphones for educational purposes. Those findings and others detailing digital trends in higher education were found in a recent survey conducted by and Millennial Branding.

The report, “The Future of Education,” found that 84 percent of student respondents said they use a computer to study, while just one in five students regularly studied on their Apple iPads, iPhones, and myriad other mobile devices.

See Page 2 for our poll and two more facts about tablets that might surprise you…


Udacity says pass rates rising in SJSU MOOC experiment

When San Jose State University partnered with massive open online course provider Udacity to provide low cost MOOCs for credit, it was heralded as a “game changer” by California’s governor.


Sebastian Thrun

One semester later, the initiative was suddenly “paused” after as much as 75 percent of students were failing some of the courses. Now, SJSU Plus, as the program is called, is making an apparent comeback less than two months after it stalled.

Pass rates for the courses sharply increased during the summer semester’s attempt, Udacity co-founder Sebastian Thrun announced in a blog post, with some rates even surpassing those of their on-campus counterparts.

“To all those people who declared our experiment a failure, you have to understand how innovation works,” Thrun said. “Few ideas work on the first try. Iteration is key to innovation.”

In SJSU Plus’ elementary statistics course, the pass rate rose from 50.5 percent to 83 percent.

The college algebra course saw its percentage of students who passed jump from a quarter to nearly three quarters. The entry level math course improved the least, with a pass rate of 29.9 percent up from the spring’s 23.8.

Two new Udacity courses were offered in the summer. A general psychology course had a pass rate of 67.3 percent and an intro to programming course had a success rate of 70.4 percent. 2,091 students enrolled in the courses.

See Page 2 for what changes Udacity and San Jose State University made to SJSU Plus this time around.


Datamark Boosts Student Enrollment Marketing Using KXEN’s Predictive Analytics

Datamark Increases Response Rates of Direct Mail and Digital Marketing Campaigns by as much as 200 Percent

August 28, 2013 – San Francisco, CA – KXEN, the leading provider of predictive analytics for business users, today announced that Datamark, the leader in data-driven enrollment marketing, has successfully deployed KXEN’s InfiniteInsight® to improve lead quality on direct mail and e-mail campaigns for leading universities. Student campaigns using predictive models built with KXEN on average see a 40 percent response rate increase, with some campaigns realizing an increase of up to 200 percent and millions of dollars in additional tuition revenue.

“We partner with best-in-class companies to help us provide the best in digital media solutions to our clients. By allowing us to bring predictive modeling in-house and control the segmentation and implementation of our direct mail and digital marketing campaigns, KXEN has become an invaluable partner,” said Barry Cunningham, Director of Data and Analytics for Datamark. “We have witnessed fantastic results with KXEN’s easy-to-use, automated solution which has allowed us to better target students for our marketing campaigns and scale with the needs of our business in ways that simply would not have been possible with traditional, handcrafted approaches.”

KXEN’s InfiniteInsight® is used to build predictive models which prioritize lists of individuals who match a school’s specific demographic and who have a high propensity for enrollment. KXEN analyzes “Big Data” in the Datamark Knowledge Center, a proprietary system which compiles over 225 attributes that describe prospective university applicants including lifestyle, demographic, census, consumer and other data from 450 different data sources.

“Datamark understands the value of big data analysis to boost business results,” said John Ball, CEO of KXEN. “We’re committed to bringing to our marketing service partners such as Datamark, a predictive analytics solution that can address the individual business demands of their clients and produce results easily, quickly and accurately.”

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About Datamark
Since 1987, Datamark has delivered innovative, data-driven marketing exclusively to higher education. The company provides marketing advisory research services, full-service lead generation and management, and conversion marketing solutions designed to reach, engage and motivate prospective students. Focusing on performance and visibility into the student enrollment cycle, Datamark helps schools drive higher return on their marketing investment.

About KXEN
KXEN is revolutionizing the way companies use predictive analytics to make better decisions on petabytes of big data. Based on patented innovations, the company’s flagship product, InfiniteInsight® and its pure cloud-based platform, Cloud Prediction™, delivers orders of magnitude improvements in speed and agility to optimize every step in the customer lifecycle – including acquisition, cross-sell, up-sell, retention and next best activity. Proven with over 500 deployments at companies such as AAA, Allegro, Bank of America, Barclays, Belgacom, CBS Interactive, ING Direct, Lowe’s, Meredith Corporation, Mobilink,, PT XL Axiata, RealNetworks, Rhapsody, Rockwell, Rogers, Sears, Shutterfly, Stage Stores, U.S. Cellular and Vodafone, KXEN solutions deliver predictive power and infinite insight. KXEN is headquartered in San Francisco, California with field offices in the U.S., Paris and London.