Key considerations for expanding the campus community with live streaming

Technology advances and competition have made live streaming easier than ever to deploy, but schools must be careful to pick a solution that meets their needs—and their budgets.

live-streaming-campusWith commencement season in full swing, parents and alumni are flooding campuses nationwide to partake in the festivities. For those unable to make the trek in person, many schools are now broadcasting the ceremonies via live streams, giving audiences a front-row view of the proceedings.

Live streaming is nothing new, of course, but industry changes in recent years have made the technology far more accessible to institutions of higher education. As a result, schools are expanding their live-stream operations to encompass everything from graduation ceremonies to musical events, sports, and religious services.

“Live streaming captures the excitement and power of now,” said Chris Knowlton, vice president and streaming industry evangelist at Wowza Media Systems, a Colorado-based company that specializes in the technology. “It’s more compelling than on-demand, particularly for events such as sports where you would likely hear details about a game before you watched it.”

This sense of excitement is important on a university campus, according to Ian Fritzsche, director of media services at Southeastern University, a Christian liberal arts school in Florida. “These live events really connect the community together,” he said. “People feel as if they can participate in the event.”

Southeastern streams its commencement ceremonies live each year, but its streaming efforts are focused most heavily on the school’s four chapel services each week. “The live stream is intended primarily for those students who can’t attend the service in person,” explained Fritzsche. “But it’s also a way to advertise the university and say, ‘Hey, if you’re thinking about coming to school here, take a look: This is what we’re about.'”

(Next page: Technology considerations and finding the right fit)


University’s new data platform will map student time

Illinois State chooses Informatica to harness analytics around students’ full potential

data-projectInformatica Corporation, an independent provider of data integration software, announced that Illinois State University (Illinois State) has made Informatica the cornerstone of its ability to harness data to enable student success.

Specifically, Illinois State has implemented Informatica PowerCenter as the data integration foundation of its multi-year “LEAPForward” project, which is aimed at optimizing student-oriented business and data processes and providing a platform for business intelligence and analytics to enable student success at the university and beyond.

Illinois State is using Informatica PowerCenter to create:
— A cohesive presentation of each student’s time at Illinois State – PowerCenter is handling the movement, conversion and cleansing of the university’s considerable base of historical student data (biographical, demographical, scholastic, etc.) from its soon-to-be-retired legacy mainframe to its new ERP-based Student System to provide a unified environment for accessing and leveraging student information.
— An enriched data environment for analytics – PowerCenter is also the data integration foundation for Illinois State’s new data warehouse, integrating, transforming and enriching data from multiple sources for use by administrators and staff for business and academic decision-making purposes.

(Next: How the program will make data more useful)


Differentiating technology instruction in the community college classroom

Approaching new semesters, community college’s teachers are confronted with a variety of levels of technology skills and fluency of their students. At first it can be difficult to ascertain what level the students are across the spectrum.  It may not be until you assign a writing assignment or one which requires internet research that you can identify large gaps of skills in using web applications, software or current operating systems effectively. I would like to recommend a few of the tools and strategies that I use to better understand my students and differentiate my instruction to meet their needs. Addressing student skills early can help find common ground with the use of technology and enable them to feel connected and part of a team.

Start group work with technology sooner than later in the semester

Engage students in group projects so that they can share skills while working together and engage more quickly with the technology needed in your course for projects. This is the perfect opportunity to help them learn a new tech skill together such as an online presentation with Google Presentations or even just develop a PowerPoint together. Some of the essential fluency skills such as creating, saving and uploading files is part of the collaboration of the group.

Provide a skill assessment of your new students

Identifying the essential skills students need to be successful with technology will help you focus on what you need to teach. Whether it is formal or informal, assess student technology skills based on your expectations for the course early. Create an online form/survey for students to take to identify high need areas such as knowledge of browsers, software, saving or how to navigate the web. Identify high need areas quickly and efficiently and address them with your instruction.

Use Google Docs for collaboration

Create and share work using Google Docs. Collaborate and share ideas around central topics and even if your course does not require technology you can integrate a valuable technology tool into your course. Google Apps technology, which enables students work in the cloud, also assists in commenting, editing, sharing ideas and projects efficiently.

Make screen-cast tutorial videos of often-used content materials

Presentations you use often or online documents you discuss or share can be short informational videos you host and narrate online. Provide access to students at home and school with your ideas and content. The additional time engaging with the videos can address  high need learning areas and increase efficiency of using class time for more meaning full engagement. Providing learning resources outside the classroom which can be revisited anytime can be the first step to “flipping your classroom”.

Show students the value of collaborating online & building their brand

Show students the value of their online identity and improve their LinkedIn profiles for job prospecting. Sit down with small groups of students and discuss the valuable skills they are acquiring. Highlight profiles of professionals in their field of study and discuss related skills.

Teach them to be efficient with Web 2.0 & 3.0 tools

Teach students to shorten and personalize links with tools like and organize commonly used links with sites like Diggo or Pinterest. Efficiency with the resources they collect online will help them stay organized and improve how they share resources and work. Show students the value of taking the resources they collect beyond your course.

Model technology-fluent behavior yourself

Provide a syllabus or assignment document conveniently at one web link for easy access; model ways other than email that the class can meet and collaborate (Webex, Google Hangouts) online. In the Northeast right now classes have missed several hours due to inclement weather, use this as an opportunity to find an effective way to share the weeks work.

The variety of backgrounds that students within community colleges are coming from makes it a challenge to always teach all students with technology. I hope this list has provided you with a starting point for better connecting with your students and improving their skills and supporting their learning at home and in the classroom.


MIT robots compete in ‘Hack to the Future’

Final robot competition in MIT’s course 2.007 pays tribute to classic time-travel movie

robots-MITThe future, as defined in the first sequel to 1985’s classic time-travel saga “Back to the Future,” is this year: 2015.

So, appropriately enough, that movie was selected as the theme for this year’s version of the annual competition that marks the end of the MIT mechanical engineering course 2.007 (Design and Manufacturing).

The popular head-to-head competition between student-built robots is an MIT tradition that goes back even farther than the three-decade old film — all the way back to 1970.

(Next page: Students’ designs)


4 ways universities are reinventing the study “abroad” experience

Successful institutions share their best practices when using technology to provide international experiences.

international-abroad-studentsAccording to a recent report from the American Council on Education (ACE), fewer than 10 percent of U.S. undergraduates currently participate in study abroad programs. But some innovative colleges and universities are aiming to change their participation rates by making the experience more accessible.

The reason why there are more than 90 percent of college students who never study abroad are numerous, claims ACE’s “Quick Hit” report. Reasons include cost, poor planning, fear, and lack of information, but also include limits places on course requirements by the student’s institution.

That’s why one of the core beliefs of ACE’s Center for Internationalization and Global Engagement (CIGE) is effective internationalization requires a “comprehensive institutional commitment delivered through the curriculum, research, faculty development, and active strategies for institutional engagement.”

It’s in this spirit of comprehensive strategizing that a handful of colleges and universities are developing unique approaches to broadening students’ access to an international experience, with many of these program specifically targeting low-income, first-generation students.

(Next page: 4 best practices in providing a successful tech-enhanced abroad experience)


4 major issues of the Higher Education Act reauthorization

Working groups will examine current issues facing higher ed as they work toward the 9th reauthorization of HEA.

higher-educationSenate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced several bipartisan, full committee staff working groups to address four major issues related to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

“The Higher Education Act we see today—a nearly 1,000 page law with an equal amount of pages devoted to higher education regulations—is simply the piling up of well-intentioned laws and regulations, done without anyone first weeding the garden,” said Alexander.

“I look forward to working with Senator Murray as we start from scratch in reauthorizing the Higher Education Act to find ways to best serve students and taxpayers by eliminating unnecessary red tape, saving students money, and removing obstacles to innovation in the best system of higher education in the world.”

(Next page: The four key Higher Education Act issues)


What new research says about unique teacher credentialing programs

Clayton Christensen Institute case study offers lessons from what it calls “cutting-edge” teacher education models.

teacher-credentialing-programIn a new study on teacher education, the Clayton Christensen Institute profiles credentialing programs and graduate schools of education that have emerged from the charter school landscape.

As the demand for quality teachers grows, and reformers across the country work to improve the teaching force as a key way to impact student outcomes, the study aims to provide insight into how schools can pioneer similar programs and navigate state policy and accreditation requirements on the path to developing new institutions for teacher education.

“Many teacher education programs that rely on traditional methods are not making the grade,” said author Thomas Arnett, a research fellow for the Institute. “These organizations have created their own customized credentialing programs and graduate schools of education in order to develop innovative models that train teachers more effectively through a common emphasis on creating strong connections between formal teacher education and the application of that education in K-12 classroom settings.”

Startup Teacher Education: A Fresh Take on Teacher Credentialing” profiles three institutions that went through their states’ approval processes in order to offer new approaches for training teachers, granting credentials, and awarding master’s degrees: High Tech High Graduate School of Education in San Diego, the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York, and Match Education’s Sposato Graduate School of Education in Boston.

(Next page: Findings from the study and recommendations from school leaders)


Higher-ed execs prioritize career outcomes

EAB releases annual Future of Online and Professional Education Survey results

career-outcomesImproving how institutions track career outcomes has emerged as the highest priority for senior executives of online and professional higher education programs, according to the annual Future of Online and Professional Education Survey from EAB.

This is a shift from previous years, when organizing and funding a new program launch was the top priority. EAB provides research, technology, and services to more than 1,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

In the survey, 95 percent of respondents expressed interest in better tracking graduates’ career outcomes. Schools are seeking to develop more sophisticated and inclusive metrics for career success.

(Next page: Why it’s important for campus directors to know how graduates fare in the workplace)


Where is scholarship headed in the digital age?

Two academics sound off on what open access really means in higher-ed today, and where the future of scholarship is headed.

open-access-scholarshipThe tenure system is still built on a publish-or-perish foundation, but what does it mean to “publish” in a digital age? How does an institution appropriately evaluate, and reward, a body of academic work that is collaborative, iterative, and communal in nature?

Two well-placed academics join this month’s eCampus News Symposium to discuss how higher education can adopt open access scholarship to the benefit of the faculty, the institution, and scholarship itself. Both writers argue that for open scholarship to truly take hold, cultural changes have to occur in higher education.

Understanding why scholarly publishing today is a cultural, not technological, issue

Dr. Frank Lowney, projects coordinator for the Digital Innovation Group at Georgia College & State University, argues that traditional academic publishing has been irrevocably disintermediated, and that institutions of higher education have no choice but to look beyond “revenue-driven publishers” to create cross-institutional, collaborative, peer-reviewed assessment systems.

“Even where traditional publishers continue to be involved, open access mandates dilute or negate the validation of academic work in the minds of many who serve on promotion and tenure committees. There are two models of open scholarship involving publishers: gold and green open access. Green OA is where an author publishes with a traditional publisher and then posts a version of that work on the web so that it is freely readable by any and all. Gold OA is where an author publishes with an OA publisher paying an article processing charge (APC) to cover the costs of publication, instead of that cost being covered, for example, by subscription fees to libraries.

The problem here is that Gold OA publishers needn’t exercise the same cautions in deciding to publish since the APC provides all of the income they can legitimately expect. Indeed, a new kind of publisher, one that exercises no cautions whatsoever, is on the rise. Beall’s List of predatory open access publishers shows the number of these organizations growing.

Similarly, Green OA publishers cannot expend as many resources on evaluating submissions as a closed publisher can because many of those who would have paid for access will now read the free open version instead. They simply don’t have the income to sustain a high level of scrutiny. Consequently, promotion and tenure committee members find it increasingly difficult to differentiate between green or gold OA publishing and vanity publishing.

Yet, they must find a way around this dilemma. Failure to find satisfactory procedures to value open scholarship will only serve to disadvantage an institution in the quest to attract and retain top academic talent…” Read the full essay here.

(Next page: How university libraries are making open access headway)


Scholarship Contest seeks innovative ideas

Video contest highlights how you would engage students if you were the instructor.

cengage-contestCengage Learning has launched the 2015 Instructor for a Day College Scholarship Contest. College students can show their skills and creativity by submitting a short video to express how to best engage classmates in the learning process.

Those interested should submit a creative, original video (1-2 minutes) demonstrating how they would engage students if they were an instructor for a day. The winning video will receive a $1,000 scholarship at their current institution for Fall 2015. Five runner-up videos will each receive a $500 scholarship.

What: Cengage Learning’s second annual Instructor for a Day College Scholarship Contest – students to submit a short video presenting how you would engage students if you were in front of the class for a day. First place winner receives a $1,000 scholarship with 5 runner up scholarship prizes of $500 each.

Who: Students enrolled in a two-year or four-year undergraduate program for the Fall 2015 term who are at least 18 years of age.

When: Entries must be submitted via before 11:59 pm on Sunday, June 14th, 2015. Independent judges will select finalists and their videos will be featured on the Cengage Learning website with a public vote to select the winner. Winners will be announced on July 23rd.

Why: To highlight the ways in which students would engage and inspire their peers if given the opportunity. This in turn will give further insight into today’s students and the best strategies to help them succeed.

For full program rules and to learn more about the Instructor for a Day contest, please visit

Material from a press release was used in this report.