The Curry School of Education at University of Virginia Selects Chalk & Wire’s Assessment Platform

Ridgeway, Ontario – Chalk & Wire, the most trusted higher education assessment platform, announced today that the Teacher Education program at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia (UVA) is now using its assessment platform and ePortfolios to effectively demonstrate student learning outcomes.

The Curry School selected Chalk & Wire based on the company’s ability to collect and analyze student learning data – far beyond accreditation purposes – through sophisticated assessment technology. Chalk & Wire will offer a highly flexible and customizable platform to evaluate student learning including video assessments.

Critical to the professional growth of students at the Curry School, video assessments allow professors to give both recorded audio and text feedback to students based on video clips of their instruction to help them improve their teaching skills.

“We are committed to data-driven decision making and Chalk & Wire’s philosophy and commitment to higher education assessment struck a chord with us,” said Linda Boone, administrative manager, UVA’s Curry School of Education. “From surveys to ePortfolios to research and reporting, Chalk & Wire offers all of the assessment tools we need to more efficiently analyze student learning.”

Additionally, Chalk & Wire will allow students at the Curry School to create their own professional ePortfolios to help them demonstrate their abilities to potential employers, a requirement for all teaching candidates.

“The Curry School is ahead of the curve as far as recognizing that ePortfolios can be used as a pedagogical tool to help students learn in a very collaborative manner,” said Geoff Irvine, CEO, Chalk & Wire. “Additionally, collecting student learning data will help them further strategic curriculum planning and support their broader teaching and learning goals.”

Chalk & Wire offers higher education institutions a comprehensive, campus-wide platform that includes ePortfolios, forms, surveys, assessment processes, analytic, live reporting and accreditation management.

For more, visit www.chalkandwire.com.

About Chalk & Wire

With a market-changing, research-based approach to higher education assessment, Chalk & Wire has helped institutions demonstrate student competency and improve the evaluation of learning outcomes for nearly 20 years. To increase the validity of assessment data, Chalk & Wire’s market-leading assessment platform is built on its CoreValidity™ process, which drives alignment between faculty and leadership through a unified assessment language and raises inter-rater reliability earlier in the process. Chalk & Wire takes a consultative approach to helping institutions prove their value and efficacy as well as their ability to prepare students for their post-graduate pursuits. For more, visit www.chalkandwire.com.

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The EDvantage Adds 800 New Resources For Fall Semester

Arlington, Va. (Sept. 4, 2014) – With the college semester underway, faculty are looking for new ways to engage students in class. The EDvantage, a free online resource hub for educators, announces the addition of more than 800 resources to its content library for the 2014-15 school year. The update brings the total number of content available to nearly 3,000 items.

New resources have been added to subjects including economics, philosophy and history. A new website feature also highlights the most popular resources, so faculty can identify what pieces of content have been most effective for their colleagues. Resources are curated from across the ideological spectrum to help students develop critical thinking skills by approaching topics from different perspectives. The EDvantage also includes textbook guides to help find the right content to pair with college courses.

“We spent the summer uploading new resources to help make it easy for faculty to find timely content to include in their courses,” said Josh Owens, director of The EDvantage. “Using videos that break down complex topics with help from pop-culture touchstones, faculty will capture student attention and drive discussion.”

The update includes the video “How They Beat the Oregon Trail IRL” and the article “Five Reasons Why Stoicism Matters Today.”

Launched in October 2013, The EDvantage curates high-quality content, including videos, articles and supplemental learning guides, so instructors can spend less time searching and more time teaching. With thousands of resources available, The EDvantage helps make the lesson planning process more efficient and innovative.

About The EDvantage
The EDvantage is a free online resource hub for educators. The online portal curates high-quality resources, including videos, articles and supplemental learning guides, so instructors can spend less time searching and more time teaching. Designed to provide educators with creative supplements, The EDvantage is a dynamic resource for professors and high school teachers looking to expand their lessons beyond the traditional textbook. Resources embrace views from across the ideological spectrum, encouraging the development of critical thinking skills. The EDvantage is a project of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. For more information, visit www.theEDvantage.org.

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Choosing the right apps for cognitive success

As educators, we need to review and promote apps that strengthen cognition, especially for memory-afflicted students

promoting-right-rememberWhen Alice woke up, and realized she didn’t really fall into a rabbit hole, she convinced herself that it was only a bad dream about a strange place with lots of curious things.

She didn’t quite remember what happened the day before at all and perhaps it was because she wasn’t fully aware of the event that caused her memory loss. This might sound somewhat like the beginning of the well-known story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”; however, this is a different Alice and a very different story.

The example above, partially explained begins one day in the regular day life of a ten year old girl named, Alice, and what happened to her one summer afternoon. Typically, every summer she visits her grandmother’s farm, and on the day of her visit, the neighborhood kids were all riding their bicycles and challenging each other to fun, dirt road races.

Unknowingly, she had taken a path over some unknown rocky terrain, which was a washboard, where she hit rocks and catapulted off her bicycle, landing on her head. Not realizing at the time, she had suffered a minor concussion, got back onto the bike and rode quickly back to her grandmother’s house complaining of a head ache.

It wasn’t until the second week of school was when she actually began having difficulty with concentration and consequently her school work was not being completed as accurately as reflected in her last, successful school year’s record and she was becoming more forgetful and complaining of frequent headaches. Alice’s teacher observed her educational and behavioral challenges, and recommended a possible evaluation and meeting.

(Next page: Using apps for cognition training and memory help)

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The makings of a “One Day University”

Top university professors launch single-day “universities” for adult learners

day-university-adultBonnie Blank is about 40 years older than a traditional college student, but she hasn’t stopped going to class.

One Day University is an adult education program, offered throughout the country, that recruits top university professors to lecture at single-day learning opportunities. Through the program, Blank has been able to quench her thirst for learning without signing up for a full semester.

She plans to attend one such event Sunday at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The event is sponsored by The Inquirer.

As of Wednesday morning, 80 seats were still available for purchase. Founder and executive director Steven Schragis said those interested need to sign up by the close of business Friday.

The full-day event will last from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a lunch break at 1. Leading the hour-long lecture sessions will be 11 professors from Swarthmore College, Georgetown University, Brown University, American University, the University of Pennsylvania, and other colleges and universities.

Schragis said One Day University has a return rate of nearly 70 percent among students, and events in Philadelphia have been successful: The city “is one of the best groups. It’s an all-star team – no kidding.”

“The fact that these sessions are packed says that Philadelphia is the right place for an event like this,” said Leonard Steinhorn of American University. He will present his lecture “1968: The Extraordinary Events of a Memorable Year.”

(Next page: What the profs will teach; attendee reaction)

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How to recruit and retain faculty for online and blended learning

New case study offers 8 replicable strategies to get faculty buy-in and enthusiasm for online initiatives

faculty-online-universityUniversity initiatives to provide more online and blended learning courses are becoming increasingly crucial for today’s alternative education-minded students. However, without faculty buy-in, these initiatives may never come to fruition. However, one university says it discovered eight replicable strategies to recruit and retain faculty.

With only 14 percent of undergraduates attending universities full-time and on campus, and 90 percent of academic leaders agreeing that it is likely that a majority of all higher-ed students will be taking at least one online course in five years’ time, it’s no surprise that many universities are considering offering online and blended learning courses.

One such university, Armstrong Atlantic State University—a public comprehensive institution that is part of the University System of Georgia and enrolls over 7,000 students, of which 80 percent live off campus—in 2011 created an Office of Online Learning to work collaboratively with administration, deans, faculty, and IT to expand the university’s online and blended learning offerings, with the goal of increasing enrollments for summer 2012.

After a climate assessment, the Office developed several one-hour workshops and a four-week “Boot Camp” for course development for faculty…the only problem was, only five faculty attended.

According to Amy Heaston, chief of staff for the Office of the President, after several meetings with the deans, department chairs, and faculty, the Office of Online Learning found that increased involvement and additional data and feedback from the faculty would be needed to build the online and blended learning infrastructure.

(Next page: Problems of, and resolutions for, faculty buy-in)

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New higher-ed app boosts collaboration in real-time

Lucidchart aims to improve the professor-student learning dynamic through interactive charts and diagrams

lucidchart-application-higherHigher-ed faculty and staff are always looking for new time-saving tools to deliver instruction more efficiently and effectively.

If you’re searching for new and innovative ways to present complex material to students, you might want to take a closer look at Lucidchart.

Launched in 2010 by Lucid Software, an web-based diagramming app with more than 2 million users, Lucidchart aims to boost collaboration between professors and students.

Similar to Google Docs sharing functionality, Lucidcharts provides the ease of collaborating in real-time with students—eliminating back-and-forth revisions—and allows professors to provide feedback throughout the entire lifespan of the design project.

Have you heard of Lucidchart, and would you consider implementing it in the classroom? Share your views in the comments section below and join the conversation on Twitter @ecampusnews.

(Next page: How is does it work—and what are the benefits?)

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A transfer-only university system?

State funding pressures could “radically reduce” university’s mission

transfer-university-fundingCould California State University one day limit enrollment to transfers, admitting burgeoning numbers of community college students but turning away new freshmen?

The idea sounds far-fetched, but that scenario was raised Tuesday (Sept. 9) by trustees who cautioned that insufficient state funding could radically reduce the mission of the nation’s largest university system.

The warning came during a discussion of the preliminary 2015-16 budget, which predicted growing demand for the 23-campus system. The Cal State system drew a record 761,000 applications for the fall 2014 term.

Much of that demand, officials said, is likely to come from community college transfers for two reasons: increased state funding is expected to boost two-year college enrollment by 60,000 students this year, and increased numbers of community college students will earn associate degrees for transfer, which guarantee admission to a Cal State campus.

After years of budget cuts and enrollment declines, funding for the Cal State system is increasing under Gov. Jerry Brown’s multiyear plan that calls for an additional $119.5 million each for the Cal State and University of California systems in 2015-16.

But that number is $116.5 million short of what the Cal State system says it needs for operations, including a target enrollment increase of about 12,000 students. About half the students who qualify for Cal State entry but are turned away end up at community colleges, further increasing the transfer numbers, officials said.

(Next page: The makings of a “train wreck” for university mission)

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How online communities can create a ‘connected campus’

Schools that implement online communities are becoming ‘connected campuses,’ which creates value at each stage of the student lifecycle

connected-campusThe social phenomenon is impacting every facet of higher education.

In an increasingly competitive market, forward-thinking colleges and universities are integrating social concepts and practices—including online communities—to redefine the admissions process, engage alumni more deeply, and transform the learning experience for both on-campus and remote students.

These efforts enhance the long-term value of student and alumni relationships with the institution.

What is an online community? An online community is an interactive, often gated website or part of a website that typically is owned by an organization—in this case, a college or university.

An online community leverages social software technologies (including blogs, forums, and groups) to enable interaction between people on topics of mutual interest and is commonly integrated with back-office systems. Online communities offer many opportunities to find, connect, interact, and engage students in building a relationship across the student lifecycle while driving measurable business value and tangible results.

The opportunity for higher education

In higher education, the student relationship lifecycle begins when a prospective student begins considering various institutions and applies for admission, and it continues through the learning experience, graduation, job seeking, and into their chosen profession. Today, this lifecycle is characterized as fragmented and largely unmanaged from a social perspective, which creates opportunities for colleges and universities to provide a cohesive student lifecycle community experience.

Currently, individuals are interacting from the perspective of two primary social personas: Personally Social and Professionally Social. Online communities give higher-education institutions the opportunity to bridge that gap and create a new persona: Academically Social.

(Next page: Understanding what each of these personas means—and how colleges can leverage them in their online efforts)

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  • Personally Social: Personally social individuals are actively engaged in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. They are connected to people like themselves and use social media to find, subscribe to, and connect to people and businesses in new ways. These users leverage community input for key decisions like selecting a university. The question arises: How can academic institutions embrace these same concepts and reach personally social users?
  • Professionally Social: Professionally social individuals tend to be alumni and/or adult learners who are active on professional networks like LinkedIn. They initially find jobs by leveraging their academic contacts and then build a professional network to develop additional business opportunities and advance their careers. This raises the question: How can academic institutions leverage their online presence to connect more deeply with professionally social users?
  • Academically Social: Academically social individuals are academic “customers” that freely share their opinions on courses, professors, and campus life. They are able to seek, join, and create communities and groups where none exist and influence the decisions of others. These users embrace social technologies to improve their education experience through an online community environment.

Academic institutions have an opportunity to demonstrate an understanding and ability to help students apply to college, enhance their learning experiencing during their time on campus, and ease their transition into the professional world—while also keeping them them engaged after graduation.

Value at each stage of the student lifecycle

Some higher-ed institutions are embracing a more holistic social business model to serve the “Academically Social” persona. These pioneering institutions are now engaging their students and stakeholders across the student lifecycle from recruitment and admissions, to active students and faculty, to alumni.

This provides an opportunity to create value at each stage of the student lifecycle:

  • Recruitment & Admissions: An online admissions community can increase applications from qualified students and boost conversion rates, reduce traditional media spending, engage influencers such as parents and counselors, enhance a school’s reputation, and streamline the enrollment process.
  • Active Students & Faculty: Communities can streamline the student onboarding experience, improve student satisfaction, and enable virtual study groups and peer support while crowdsourcing research and innovation.
  • Alumni: Alumni communities can improve engagement—which in turn increases donations and participation—while also boosting referrals, facilitating student mentoring, capturing success stories, and providing a platform for professional networking.

The ‘connected campus’

Colleges and universities that implement online communities are becoming “connected campuses,” regardless of their number of students or geographic reach. Students at a connected campus are well connected to their peers and faculty, course materials are interactive and can be shared between individuals and groups, study groups can take place across geographic boundaries, and all facets of the online community are easily accessed from a mobile device.

For more information on how online communities can create connected campuses, visit www.7SummitsAgency.com.

James Davidson is vice president of digital and community strategy for 7Summits.

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When innovative higher education policy doesn’t work—and what to do

New series of reports reveal state efforts to boost college access and attainment found lacking

research-state-collegeSigh. Innovation through experimentation, as all scientists know, happens through failure(s), and according to a new series of papers from The American Academy of Political and Social Science, almost all of the 50 states are experiencing ineffectiveness through policy experimentation concerning higher education.

The 11 research papers, published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, examine state policy initiatives in higher education that have been developed since the Great Recession to today.

Taken as a whole, says the Academy, the new research does not paint a pretty picture of the current state of higher-ed in the U.S.

In summary of the 11 papers, researchers found that despite “considerable experimentation aimed at improving access to college and attainment of degrees, the 50 states often have been ineffective in broadening college opportunities and graduation rates for their residents. In many cases, states pursue policies that just don’t work.”

And, according to their analyses, researchers say the main cause of ineffectiveness in policy is due to political and leadership turn-over, causing instability in implementation.

(Next page: The stunning findings of the reports)

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