Top 5 buzzwords in higher education technology circles

Educators, technologists, and campus decision makers who reside in the educational technology bubble speak the ed-tech vernacular like a second language, frequently using words and phrases wholly foreign to many in higher education.

Students have given high marks to the flipped learning model.

It’s not dissimilar to others in specialized fields whose daily jobs revolve around technical jargon that may sound like another language to those outside of ed-tech. Campus technologists, more often than not, must translate their field’s wonky language to campus officials who call the budgetary shots.

eCampus News staff writers get our daily dose of ed-tech language from our sources who fill us in on the latest in educational technology and upcoming trends that will impact the way technology is used in teaching and learning.

Here’s a rundown of the 10 most commonly heard buzzwords in higher education technology. Feel free to share your favorite — or least favorite — buzzwords in our comment section, or eMail managing editor Denny Carter at

1) Flipped classroom: It makes sense that “flipped classroom” has become so commonplace in higher ed chatter, as the once-experimental course model has taken hold in colleges and universities. Once pushed by higher education’s tech savviest educators and policymakers, the flipped model — which has students watch online lectures outside of class and complete homework in class — is now used, or will be used, in half of college lecture halls and classrooms, according to a survey released Nov. 19.

2) MOOC: The all-consuming massive open online course, which has become the most polarizing educational development in recent memory, has proliferated in various forms across campuses over the past couple years. The spread of MOOCs won’t stop anytime soon, much to the dismay of detractors throughout higher education. Forty-three percent of respondents to Enterasys’s survey said they planned on offering some MOOC courses by 2016, marking a significant jump from the 14 percent of institutions that offer MOOC courses today. Less than half of the schools that plan on offering MOOCs by 2016 will accept course credit from those classes, according to the report.

3) Adaptive learning: The idea that education should be personalized to give students the best chance of earning a degree isn’t new, exactly, but the application of technology to that pursuit has gained traction on college campuses. More than half of students at two-year colleges are placed in the wrong remedial courses, according to a 2012 report by the organization, and adaptive learning technology could be a solution. McGraw-Hill Education announced on Oct. 16 at the 2013 EDUCAUSE conference in Anaheim, Cal., that it found a new way of dealing with the problem – and it’s using adaptive learning technology that has been decades in the making.

4) Lifelong learner: The lasting pursuit of education has been a boon to online universities and non-credit bearing MOOCs alike. Online degree programs thrive on learners who seek a degree well past traditional college age, and a recent study showed that most MOOC students are well educated, meaning they’ve continued to seek education beyond their college degree.

5) Gamification: Educators, especially the tech-savvy ones, have leveraged the appeal of computer games to bolster teaching and learning on campuses large and small. We recently reported on an online computer game, McGraw-Hill Education’s “Government in Action.” Introduced earlier this year at South by Southwest Edu and more widely rolled out this fall, the game, in which students assume the role of a congress member and compete for political capital, has been a hit with students and educators.

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eCampus News Staff

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