How digital courseware can ease students’ financial worries

More than 20 million students are currently enrolled in a 4-year degree program, and 7 in 10 students will graduate with not just a degree, but with student loan debt, too.

Digital tools can bring about new and positive change when it comes to higher-ed affordability, said Michael Hansen, chief executive officer of Cengage Learning, in a recent post.

When 38 percent of students say they earned a poor grade and 20 percent say they failed a course, all due to inability to afford the course materials, the focus should turn to education access and how funding restricts that access for many students, Hansen wrote.…Read More

In the event of an emergency, could you reach your traveling students, staff, and faculty?

Imagine a scenario where a group of faculty and students are traveling. Pretty typical, right? Now imagine that destination unexpectedly becomes the epicenter of a 6.4 magnitude earthquake. Immediately, the you ask yourself: Do we have anyone there? Who are they? Are they ok? How can we quickly confirm the faculty and students’ safety? How can we provide support for those who need it? What will we tell their frantic families?

This is every administrator’s worst nightmare. On any given day, you likely have faculty that are halfway around the world facilitating research; student athletes traveling to sporting events in another state; or even a choir traveling across town for a concert. Regardless of the distance traveled, as an administrator you have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure their safety and security always–whether there is an incident or not.

Incidents can scale from something as simple as someone getting sick or having an allergic reaction to unexpected political unrest. Regardless, you need to be asking yourself, am I ready? Do I know where all the traveling students, faculty, and staff are right now? Do I have the systems in place to quickly communicate with my students and staff? Do they know who to reach out to for help?…Read More

Are campuses delivering the kind of app students want?

A large majority of students (87 percent) said they want their higher-ed institution to be technologically savvy, according to a new survey from software provider Ellucian.

Tech savviness is even more important for nontraditional students (93 percent) and those working full time (95 percent).

The survey, Students Are Looking for Personalized Digital Experiences: Do Colleges Deliver?, reveals that 97 percent of participating students said technology outside the classroom is just as important to their success as technology inside the classroom.…Read More

Want an inclusive student experience? Yes, there’s a campus app for that

Post-secondary institutions today are as diverse as the cities they’re located in. But diversity has its challenges, especially when it comes to keeping students engaged and promoting an inclusive student experience. As college graduation rates are declining, it is more important than ever for higher education institutions to focus on retention strategies. While many major universities talk about improving graduation rates, University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is actually doing something about it.

According to an article in UTSA Today, UTSA received a five-year, $3.25 million Title V collaborative grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2015 to create the PIVOT for Academic Success Program. The program aims to prepare, inspire, validate, orient and transition (PIVOT) students, including increasing the number of first-time, full-time Latino, low socioeconomic and first-generation students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

This investment comes at a critical time as, according to a recent Pew Research study, Latinos still lag behind other ethnicity groups in obtaining four-year degrees. The study revealed that as of 2014, only 15 percent of Latinos ages 25-29 had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 22 percent of African Americans, 41 percent of Caucasians and 63 percent of Asians.…Read More

Tough questions we wished we’d asked about digital signage

When working with technology we encounter many struggles, and in some cases are faced with the unknown factors that come along with a constantly evolving work front. Over the last few years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of digital signage, from installation to content creation. I can say with confidence that I’ve made many mistakes along the way. But with each stumble, I’ve learned valuable lessons that I can now share.

In early 2015, I was given the task of upgrading our outdoor electronic sign. An old dinosaur, the giant pixelated LED display had come to the end of its cycle. While fluent in indoor digital signage, I was completely lost when it came to hardware of this scale. I did my research around town looking for any and all LED signs. Meeting with several vendors, I created a plan of action that was discussed with my team. When I received the OK to move forward, it seemed as if everything was going to go smoothly.

Boy, was I mistaken!…Read More

Do closed captions impact student learning?

Though most students using closed captions and transcripts on video and multimedia say they are a valuable learning tool, the resources are not regularly available to students who might need or want them, according to a national study from Oregon State University.

Surveyed students said nearly all of their courses contain some video content both online and in face-to-face environments.

But when asked about availability, 30 percent of respondents said closed captions were available for “all,” “most,” or “many” videos, and 27 percent said closed captions were available for “just a few” or for “none” of the videos in their courses. 27 percent of students were unsure about the availability of closed captions, and 18 percent were not sure about transcript availability.…Read More

U. Portland nets increased media coverage

Video department uses NewTek’s TriCaster Advanced Edition and 3Play for professional broadcast

In 18 months, the University of Portland ramped up an in-house video department and delivered a Portland Pilots women’s basketball game live on TV.

Using a NewTek TriCaster 860 multi-camera production system with TriCaster Advanced Edition, and a 3Play™ 425 slow motion/instant replay server, the department is on track to produce eight Pilots home games this season along with monthly 30-minute shows “Portside With The Pilots” for the Comcast SportsNet Northwest.

Led by Jose Nevarez, the 18-person Portland Sports Network team – consisting of mostly students – is able to deliver high quality professional coverage that would typically require a 40-person team from a production company.…Read More

Barnes & Noble acquires digital platform LoudCloud

Move will expand reach of digital education services.

Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., a contract operator of bookstores on college and university campuses across the United States and a provider of digital education services, announced a plan to expand its digital services.

In response to evolving higher education market conditions, the company has announced a plan designed to reduce and manage digital expenditures, while at the same time maintaining high quality digital products. The company has partnered with VitalSource, part of the Ingram Content Group, and has acquired LoudCloud Systems, Inc. The strategy also includes restructuring its Yuzu operations.

This collaboration will allow Barnes & Noble Education for a seamless transition with a Yuzu-branded product, ensuring students have an excellent digital reading experience and access to a broad digital catalog.…Read More