New open-source strategy would drop textbook costs to $0

These open-source textbooks have different features that electronic versions sold by traditional publishers

textbooks-open-sourceHolding a whiteboard, the University of Maryland-College Park students scrawled their complaints and posed for a picture.

“My name is Justin and I spent $114 on ONE textbook,” a student wrote. “My name is Jeff and I spent $736 on textbooks,” wrote another.

The images, posted online by the Student Government Association in recent months, are designed to highlight the rapid rise in the price of college textbooks over the past decade. This semester, the University System of Maryland is exploring ways to bring that cost to zero with “open-source” electronic textbooks — the latest experiment in changing the way students in Maryland and across the nation are taught.…Read More

Here’s how to reach your most social, tech-savvy students

Higher-ed institutions using YouTube, Snapchat to announce student’s acceptance

Copyright: Gil C/Shutterstock

In a trend that’s quickly catching on in many colleges and universities across the country, institutions are turning to trendy social media platforms to engage prospective students. The reason? The need to connect with a generation accustomed to smartphones and images.

One example is with a new University of Southern California Academy. Rather than traditional brochures or letters in the mail, students admitted to the new USC Academy received their acceptance announcements through innovative YouTube videos.

The USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation sent personalized video messages to accepted students filmed by the donors, Jimmy Iovine and Andre “Dr. Dre” Young.…Read More

How to make an online lab successful

Excelsior’s Online Writing Lab is successful because it links pedagogy with multimedia that engages, not just entertains

Excelsior-College-online-writing-labEarlier this month, Excelsior College launched a highly interactive, media-rich Online Writing Lab (OWL) and opened it up for free to the public.

If the more than 20 college campuses already incorporating the OWL haven’t proven its effectiveness, the Evaluation Consortium at the University of Albany has; its nationwide pilot study found the OWL boosted final student grades by 5 points.

The secret to the OWL’s success lies in its ability to bridge pedagogy with multimedia that engages, not just entertains.…Read More

4 ways to make your course more engaging

New method called ‘Connected Learning’ aims to make courses more engaging for youth

engaging-course-connectedMobile technology and its use in the classroom is booming across the country; but outside of the ‘cool tech’ aspect, many educators struggle to understand why students find tech-connected classrooms more engaging. A new method of teaching and learning explains that it’s not about the technology–it’s about the four principles behind it.

Connected Learning, an educational approach designed by the Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), says it harnesses the information age to make learning more powerful.

“For too many young people, particularly our most vulnerable populations, formal education is disconnected from other meaningful social contexts in their everyday lives,” explains AEE in a new brief. “The connected learning model posits that focusing educational attention on the links between different spheres of learning—peer culture, interests, and academic subjects—better supports interest-driven and meaningful learning in ways that take advantage of the potential of digital networks and online resources to provide access to an engaging learning experience.”…Read More

Professors: Here’s how to flip your classroom

Although the flipped classroom may not fit everyone’s teaching and learning style, the benefits are numerous

professors-flipped-classroom-benefitsEducators have been experimenting with and adopting new learning models now more than ever, as these innovative teaching strategies have the potential to enrich and advance student outcomes.

President Obama addressed this topic recently, noting that “a rising tide of innovation has the potential to shake up the higher education landscape,” while singling out flipped classrooms as one model among many worth considering.

With so many learning models emerging, many instructors are wondering if any of these new models are suited for their classroom and will live up to the hype to actually increase student success.…Read More

4 questions every institution needs to answer

New report on scarcity of “useful” postsecondary data details what questions higher-ed institutions should answer

questions, institutions, dataAccording to a new report, there are basic questions institutions, with access to internal data, need to be able to answer—for themselves and for prospective students and the community. It’s up to institutions, notes the report, to help combat rising college costs and stagnating rates of completion through better collection and dissemination of data.

The report, “Mapping the Postsecondary Data Domain: Problems and Possibilities,”produced by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says that while seemingly straightforward questions, such as “Which students have access to which colleges,” can’t easily be answered with current data available.

“A careful mapping of federal data systems against these questions shows that while we have a solid base of understanding in some areas, we fall far short in others,” notes the report.…Read More

10 rules for developing your first online course

These online rules discuss time management, web design and providing content in different formats.


Years of helping faculty pass to the dark side of online education have taught me a few simple rules that I brow beat (in a collegial way) into all new online teachers.

Rule 1: Provide Extra Detail in Your Online Syllabus
Most of us spend much of the first day of class going through the syllabus, taking time to elaborate on different points, and answering questions as we go along.…Read More

How to stop cheating in MOOCs

According to experts from the online exam assessment company Mettl, a good ‘assessment partner’ can curb MOOC cheating

MOOC-cheating-assessmentMillions across the globe are enrolling for massive open online courses (MOOCs) facilitated by major players such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.

India’s HRD ministry is also encouraging MOOCs to improve access of education to all corners of country with help from premier Indian institutes.

While MOOCs integrate concepts of instructional teaching along with eLearning for enhanced knowledge sharing, they’ve not yet started providing learners with credit score or assessment for a formal degree–just some ways to curb cheating.…Read More

6 ways states can stop failing higher education

New report reveals state policy can do better in helping people get a postsecondary education

Helping mostates-fail-higher educationre people get a postsecondary education is still a national challenge, one in which states are failing. However, thanks to a new report based on years of data, there are six distinct steps states can take immediately to help improve higher education.

States are failing to help people obtain a postsecondary education because they “have no plan for improvement,” says the report, “Renewing the Promise: State Policies to Improve Higher Education Performance,” by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE).

The wide-ranging study takes more than ten years of fragmented state higher education data, augmented by interviews with state policymakers, and synthesizes a series of policy recommendations relevant to all states.…Read More

Three ways to keep ‘Millennials’ engaged

Follow these tried-and-true tips for communicating with Millennials, or next-generation students who have grown up with technology

Growing up when online was always “in,” Millennials constantly consume information and media.

At more than 80 million strong, the Millennial generation is the largest age grouping in American history.

Growing up when online was always “in,” Millennials have earned a distinct reputation for the way in which they constantly consume information and media. Texting, search engines, online portals, chat, mobile and social media have all empowered the next-generation student to obtain information without ever having to speak with someone on the phone or in person.

Colleges and universities today face a serious challenge: They must offer services, support, and information that are readily accessible on a growing list of “round-the-cloud” engagement channels. Higher-education technology must be relevant and seamless across whichever channel each student prefers to engage.…Read More