Hey, Princeton: Consider competencies

This post was first published on the Next Gen Learning blog.

princeton-universityWith A’s doled out in almost half of all undergraduate courses—compared to only 15 percent in 1961— have grades become meaningless?

Ten years ago, Princeton University began limiting the A-range awards in each course to 35 percent. In recent news, the university is likely to reverse efforts to curb grade inflation and instead allow academic departments to set their own grading standards. Such shifts in policy, however, appear to be solutions to the wrong question.

Grade inflation policies simply underscore the inadequacy of grades as proxies for student learning. With learning standards that are disparate and subjective from professor to professor across every single course in the approximately 4,700 degree-granting institutions in the U.S., it is no wonder that grades are poor indicators of student learning. With no agreed-upon standardized unit of learning, there is no useful metric that can translate across institutions, state borders, and employers.

Much of this comes down to the interdependent architecture of postsecondary institutions—the way each facet of a college is designed and made to work only within the brick-and-mortar campus itself. Credits are not easily transferable between institutions; moreover, the financial incentives are not in place for colleges to integrate innovations that would speed up degree completion and lessen the impact of students’ foregone wages in the pursuit of their degrees. The inability of traditional institutions to evolve from interdependence to modularization is a complicated transition with which companies in all industries grapple.

(Next page: Fusing technology with mastery-based learning)

tags

BREAKING: U.S. News rankings get major updates

Today’s rankings and profiles reveal crucial metrics like campus crime rates, student loan defaults

us-news-rankingsIn what could be considered a smart move for U.S. News & World report, the publication’s 2015 college rankings are, for the first time, including statistics on student loan defaults, campus crime, as well as heavily weighting factors part of the methodology that include graduation and retention rates.

The 2015 edition of the rankings—also U.S. News’ 30th edition of the “Best Colleges”—includes data on nearly 1,800 schools in the nation, and outcome-related measures account for 30 percent of the rankings and are the most heavily weighted.

2015 rankings include categories such as: “Best Value Schools,” “Campus Ethnic Diversity,” “Economic Diversity,” “Up-and-Coming Schools,” “Best Undergraduate Teaching,” as well as all of the more traditional rankings the publication is known for.

Discussing the recent shift to more value-based rankings, as well as the focus on student loans, Anita Narayan, education editor, said “How to plan and pay for college is a challenge parents around the country face each year. Our…resources are designed to help families more easily navigate this complex process, from saving for college and understanding financial aid options to paying off student loans.”

“Over the past 20 years, more than 31 million students have dropped out of colleges, according to a recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center,” explained Susannah Snider, education reporter for U.S. News. “That’s why choosing a college that fits academically and financially is so important.”

(Next page: The rankings and how the new focus works)

tags

New: Demographics decide Millennials college choice

Survey gives higher education insights that could affect future efforts to woo high school seniors

demographics-high-schoolMillennials who grew up as unwitting subjects of niche marketing and narrow-casting are taking the lessons they’ve learned since childhood to the college selection process.

A new national survey of college students presents some surprising results. For example, African-American males were less influenced by financial aid/scholarship awards than white females were. And Hispanic males were much more inclined to pick a school based on where a friend is going than Hispanic females were.

Students of color across the country reported that college fairs and emails from the admissions offices were key information sources. Simultaneously, those sources didn’t even rank for white students.

Surveyed students from the South, who will be sophomores this fall, cared more about “appealing college traditions” than did New England students, who were more focused on “international/global experiences.”

The findings are mined from an online research visualization tool loaded with data from Lipman Hearne’s newest study, “The Super Investigator Goes  to College,” which captures the responses of more than 2,300 students across the U.S. The results are available without cost, and any user can “order up” their own queries by selecting their own parameters (such as type of institution and college setting) to examine the exact insights they want about these students.

(Next page: More fascinating results)

tags

Nominations Now Open for the 30th Annual SIIA CODiE Awards

Washington, D.C. (September 8, 2014) – The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and information industries, today opened nominations for the 2015 SIIA CODiE Awards. The 2015 CODiE Awards feature 14 new and updated categories, reflecting the dramatic changes in technology and business models impacting the software and information industries. The CODiE Awards have been the premier award for the software and information industries for 29 years. The awards program has three tracks organized by industry focus: Content, Education and Software.
Content: The SIIA Content CODiE Awards showcase the information industry’s finest products, technology and services created by, or for, media, publishers and information services providers.

Education: The SIIA Education CODiE Awards showcase applications, products and services from developers of educational software, digital content, online learning services, and related technologies across the K-20 sector.

Software: The SIIA Software CODiE Awards showcase applications, products and services that are developed by independent software vendors (ISVs) for use in business, government, academic, or other organizational settings.

“For the past 29 years innovators in the software, education and content industries have showcased what excellence looks like,” said SIIA President Ken Wasch. “We are truly excited to see what they bring to the judges this year.”
Winners will be announced in May and June and celebrated during a special event for each category segment. More information on these events will be posted on the CODiE Awards website as it becomes available.

For more information about the SIIA CODiE Awards, visit http://www.siia.net/codies. To see how some recent CODiE Award winners describe their achievement, watch the Attributions to Success Video Series.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 800 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age. For more information, visit www.siia.net.

About the CODiE™ Awards
The CODiE™ Awards, originally called the Excellence in Software Awards, were established in 1986 by the Software Publishers Association (SPA), now the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), so that pioneers of the then-nascent software industry could evaluate and honor each other’s work. Since then, the CODiE Awards program has carried out the same purpose – to showcase the software and information industry’s finest products and services and to honor excellence in corporate achievement.
###

tags

University of California, Berkeley Supports Research Program Growth with Modern Financial Platform from Oracle

Redwood Shores, Calif. – September 8, 2014

News Summary
The University of California, Berkeley upgraded to Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials 9.2 and implemented Oracle’s PeopleSoft Grants to achieve greater visibility into collections and spending. The new platform will help the university accurately prepare for continued growth in research programs while enabling faculty researchers to plan more effectively and improve program performance.

News Facts
•The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), US News & World Report’s top-ranked public university in 2014, upgraded its financial management system to Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials 9.2 and implemented PeopleSoft Grants, PeopleSoft Contracts, and PeopleSoft Project Costing to significantly improve and automate business processes that support its research initiatives.
•The PeopleSoft 9.2 upgrade uses a modern user interface that improves user interactions and workflow processes, helping to streamline the deployment of the grants, contracts, and project costing applications.
•The upgrade included 30 functional enhancements and reduced customizations by more than 20 percent, thereby cutting the cost and complexity of future upgrades.
•Huron Consulting Group, a Platinum level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), partnered with UC Berkeley throughout the implementation and completed the upgrade work stream of the project under budget and three weeks ahead of schedule.
•With the upgrade completed, UC Berkeley deployed PeopleSoft Grants in July 2014 to achieve better integration with PeopleSoft Financials, enabling faculty researchers and administrators to track grant award milestones, monitor spending and expenses to ensure they stay within billing limits, meet sponsor reporting deadlines, and accelerate invoicing for a system that managed more than $700 million in research funding in 2012-2013.
•UC Berkeley plans to add functionality through 2015, including new user interface enhancements, an integrated student system designed to deliver a single source of student data, and improved data for the university’s business intelligence initiative.

Supporting Quotes
•“Through our upgrade to Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials 9.2 and implementation of PeopleSoft Grants, UC Berkeley achieved significant user experience improvements,” said Delphine Regalia, assistant vice chancellor and controller, UC Berkeley. “The intuitive interface allows for easier navigation, providing finance department users and researchers with access to focused content that helps them perform their jobs more efficiently. The upgrade project team worked closely with Huron Consulting Group and Oracle to significantly reduce customizations by taking advantage of new features in 9.2. This can lower the cost of ownership by reducing the in-house maintenance effort and the test cycle times required to stay up to date with current releases.”
•“We are delighted to work with UC Berkeley to simplify its administrative processes so it can focus on its core education and research objectives,” said Cole Clark, global vice president of education and research, Oracle.
•“As a leading academic and research institution, UC Berkeley was focused on deploying a more integrated financial management system and taking advantage of the latest functionality available from Oracle. We enjoyed working with the team at Berkeley to complete the upgrade and implementation of PeopleSoft Grants and deliver significant process and system improvements for the campus,” said Jason Moebius, managing director, Huron Consulting Group.

Supporting Resources
•Oracle in Higher Education
•Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials 9.2
•PeopleSoft Grants
•PeopleSoft Contracts
•PeopleSoft Project Costing
•Oracle Higher Education on Facebook
•Oracle Higher Education on Twitter
•Oracle Higher Education on LinkedIn
•Oracle Higher Education on YouTube
•Oracle Higher Education on Diigo

About Oracle
Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.

Trademarks
Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

# # #

Contacts:
Katie Barron Janice Clayton
Oracle O’Keeffe & Company
+1.703.364.2448 +1.443.759.8151
katie.barron@oracle.com jclayton@okco.com

tags

FSR Expands Infrastructure Line of Wall Box Solutions With Introduction of PWB-353

Open Face Design Facilitates Quick Access To Cables

Woodland Park, NJ – FSR, leading manufacturer of a wide variety of products for the audio/video, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, continues to expand its infrastructure line of Wall Box solutions with the introduction of the PWB-353 Wall Box unit. Featuring an open face design with a white interior and white extended trim ring, rather than a closed cover, this model facilitates quick access to cables and connectors without cover removal.
The PWB-353 features multiple knockouts for power and openings for up to six single IPS connector plates. At 3-inches deep, it is designed for use in 3-inch or 4-inch stud walls. The extended trim ring provides a clean appearance while covering rough cuts in the drywall created during installation.
“We are always pleased to be able to offer industry professionals working in the audio/video markets cost-effective solutions that help make their jobs easier,” said Jan Sandri, FSR president. “With our new PWB-353 Wall Box unit, we are confident that we are doing just that. The PWB-353 offers, among many other things, an open face design that lends itself well to quick and easy access to cables and connectors. Users can even add LITE-it to easily provide lighting.” FSR’s new award-winning LITE-IT securely fastens to any ferrous metal surface and easily provides lighting in floor, wall and ceiling boxes, or anywhere a work light is needed.
Key features of the PWB-353 Wall Box include: A rugged 16 gauge steel back box, simple installation
features, quick access to cables and connectors, multiple knockouts in a variety of sizes and included hardware.
The PWB-353 is shipping now. As always, all FSR products are made of durable materials in the USA.

About FSR
FSR, established in 1981, manufactures a wide variety of signal management and infrastructure solutions for the audio / video, datacom, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, including floor, wall, table, and ceiling connectivity boxes, as well as a full line of interfaces, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, seamless switchers and HDBaseT & CAT-X signal delivery solutions.

The company is an Energy Star Partner and complies with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to demonstrate its deep commitment to preserving the planet. FSR offers live 24/7 technical and sales support throughout the country from expertly trained technicians and sales representatives. For more information: www.fsrinc.com.

FSR Contact: Jan Sandri
973-785-4347 • sales@fsrinc.com

Press Contact: Desert Moon Public Relations & Advertising
Harriet Diener
845-512-8283 • mailto:harriet@desertmoon.tv

tags

FSR Launches Next-Generation Matrix Switcher

Company Extends Line of Cost-Effective and Easy to Use Solutions For An Array of Pro-AV Applications

Woodland Park, NJ — FSR is once again extending its range of innovative Pro AV solutions with the launch of its new, next-generation matrix switcher. Joining the company’s switcher line of products that already address the needs of all types of users, FSR is now introducing its DV-HMSW4K-88 Matrix switcher, which routes eight HD sources to any eight HDTV displays.

The new FSR DV-HMSW4K-88 Matrix switcher supports 1080p full HD up to 4K plus all 3D formats, along with multichannel digital audio formats such as PCM, Dolby® True HD and DTS-HD® Master Audio™. Switching and other commands can easily be implemented using the front-panel push buttons, IR remote control, RS-232, or via TCP/IP.

“FSR has always had a dynamic range of product offerings, enabling us to accommodate so many markets with smart technologies and solutions, including our complex matrix switchers, which are cost-effective, easy to use and reliable,” said company president Jan Sandri. “To this end, we are thrilled to be able to extend our line of matrix switchers by introducing the new DV-HMSW4K-88. With so many great features, we can support the many needs of AV professionals in a wide variety of applications.”

Among its many features, the DV-HMSW4K-88 supports resolutions up to 1080p@60Hz, 48-bit deep color, 4k@30Hz; allows any source to be displayed on multiple displays at the same time; allows any HDMI display to view any HDMI source at any time; allows PCM, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD master audio pass through HDMI output; offers multiple switching mode, push-in button, IR remote control, RS-232 control, and TCP/IP control; offers easy installation with rack-mounting ears; offers full 3D pass through; is HDCP compliant; and includes 9 IR receivers, 8 IR transmitters, a handheld IR Remote Control, and power supply.

About FSR
FSR, established in 1981, manufactures a wide variety of signal management and infrastructure solutions for the audio / video, datacom, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, including floor, wall, table, and ceiling connectivity boxes, as well as a full line of interfaces, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, seamless switchers and HDBaseT & CAT-X signal delivery solutions.

The company is an Energy Star Partner and complies with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to demonstrate its deep commitment to preserving the planet. FSR offers live 24/7 technical and sales support throughout the country from expertly trained technicians and sales representatives. For more information: www.fsrinc.com.

FSR Contact: Jan Sandri
973-785-4347 • sales@fsrinc.com

Press Contact: Desert Moon Communications
Harriet Diener
845-512-8283 • mailto:harriet@desertmoon.tv

tags

FSR to Increase Marketing Efforts With Promotion of Donnell S. Johnson to Executive Position

JOHNSON RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL FACETS OF MARKETING FUNCTIONS

Woodland Park, NJ – FSR, an industry-leading manufacturer of products for the Pro AV market, is pleased to announce the promotion of Donnell S. Johnson to the position of marketing manager. Jan Sandri, FSR president, announced the details from the company’s headquarters in Woodland Park, NJ, noting that in his new role, Johnson is responsible for creating an initiative for expanding and strengthening the company’s brand image on both a corporate and product level.

In his new position, Johnson will oversee the functions of the company’s marketing team, as well as all phases of on-site tradeshow management from pre-convention thru the completion of the move-out, expand the company’s Web and print content development, manage FSR’s SEO campaign with Google Analytics (optimized Website links, keywords, Meta tags, etc.), continue to extend the company’s strong, visible social media presence and develop concepts with viral potential, and plan and execute a series of email campaigns.

“Donnell has been with FSR since 2009, and has been working hard to continuously find new ways to expand our marketing efforts, from print to web and digital initiatives. We are quite pleased to extend Donnell’s role even further here at the company so that he can continue to develop new marketing programs and campaigns,” said Sandri.

Johnson has spent most of his professional career growing with FSR, starting at the company as a corporate intern and most recently, assistant manager global communications. He holds a Bachelors of Marketing degree from Berkeley College.

“I am honored to take on the role of marketing manager with such a well-respected company as FSR,” says Johnson. “I have been working with an outstanding team of people for the past five years and feel proud of the high-quality products we develop; it just makes the job so much easier. This move will allow me to continue to expand FSR’s marketing initiatives as well as focus on the company’s digital marketing efforts from social media growth to email campaigns. It is definitely a challenge I’m up for.”

About FSR
FSR, established in 1981, manufactures a wide variety of signal management and infrastructure solutions for the audio / video, datacom, education, hospitality, government, and religious markets, including floor, wall, table, and ceiling connectivity boxes, as well as a full line of interfaces, distribution amplifiers, matrix switchers, seamless switchers and HDBaseT & CAT-X signal delivery solutions.

The company is an Energy Star Partner and complies with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to demonstrate its deep commitment to preserving the planet. FSR offers live 24/7 technical and sales support throughout the country from expertly trained technicians and sales representatives. For more information: www.fsrinc.com.

FSR Contact: Jan Sandri
973-785-4347 • sales@fsrinc.com

Press Contact: Desert Moon Public Relations & Advertising
Harriet Diener
845-512-8283 • mailto:harriet@desertmoon.tv

tags

Tools4ever Launches Blackboard Learn Building Block

Partnership will help schools streamline their Identity Management
LYNBROOK, New York – Sept. 5, 2014 — Tools4ever, a global provider of identity and access management solutions, announces a new collaboration tool for Blackboard Learn™, Blackboard Inc.’s market-leading learning management system (LMS).

Blackboard Learn is the cornerstone of Blackboard’s teaching and learning solutions that help districts drive change from student-centric innovations in the classroom to more effective professional development. Tools4ever offers a connection from its User Management Resource Administrator (UMRA) solution to Blackboard Learn. This connection allows school districts to automate and streamline their identity management, which reduces the time and resources the IT department spends dealing with account management issues. Specifically, system administrators can automate the creation, movement and the de-provisioning of employee and student accounts, so that no manual action needs to be taken.

The UMRA – Blackboard Building Block allows school districts to eliminate manual inputs of data from their Student Information System (SIS) into their Active Directory and will instead automatically manage the lifecycle of the user accounts across the enterprise within AD and Blackboard Learn. The connector currently allows for the complete lifecycle management of user accounts and roles within Blackboard Learn and will be extended to include classroom schedules if clients request the functionality.

In reference to the new partnership, Dean Wiech, managing director at Tools4ever said, “Our integration with Blackboard Learn will allow us to combine our resources to provide a superior solution for our customers. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership for many years to come.”

To learn more about UMRA and other connector please visit: http://www.tools4ever.com/software/user-management-resource-administrator/connectors/

To learn more about Tools4ever partnerships please visit:
http://www.tools4ever.com/about-tools4ever/partners/

About Tools4ever
Tools4ever is the undisputed identity and access management market leader, with more than one million user accounts managed on a daily basis. Tools4ever supplies a variety of software products and integrated consultancy services involving identity management, such as user provisioning, role-based access control (RBAC), password management, single sign-on (SSO) and access management. For more information, visit www.tools4ever.com.

tags