Artificial intelligence tells students what they’re doing right, wrong

Professors said the cloud-based system was 98 percent accurate in grading papers.

The cloud is outperforming teaching assistants in some campus lecture halls.

A cloud-based writing assignment evaluator used by a psychology instructor at Montgomery College in Rockville, Md., has largely eliminated the arduous task of grading hundreds of essays—a job that is usually left to teaching assistants in cavernous lecture halls.

Joe Swope, who has been using the program, SAGrader, for three years, said the tool evaluates students’ writing submissions by comparing the paper’s content to a predetermined answer outline designed by the instructor or professor.…Read More

Ed Department: Half of community college students need remedial classes

Duncan spoke at Montgomery College in Silver Spring, Md.

Community colleges should tailor remedial curriculum for students who are unprepared for introductory English and math courses, and in some cases, developmental classes “hinder” student progress, according to a report released by the Education Department (ED) during an April 27 virtual symposium.

ED Secretary Arne Duncan and Second Lady Jill Biden spoke to educators and students at a symposium broadcast on the internet from Montgomery College in Silver Spring, Md., a two-year school with more than 60,000 students on three campuses.

ED officials and educators who led sessions at the symposium outlined “bridge programs” for adult learners who want to return to college after many years in the workforce, and customizing those remedial classes that come with high costs to colleges, students, and taxpayers.…Read More

Lawmaker calls for investigation of College tuition policy

A Republican Maryland lawmaker urged a criminal investigation of Montgomery College on Wednesday, challenging the school’s longtime practice of giving resident tuition discounts to illegal immigrants, reports the Washington Post. Montgomery College allows illegal immigrants to pay the lower tuition afforded to county residents, as long as they have graduated from the county’s public schools. It’s an unusual stance: Some public colleges in the region don’t admit illegal immigrants as students, and those that do typically charge them higher non-resident rates because they cannot prove legal residency. Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) called Wednesday for state and federal prosecutors to investigate the community college’s tuition policy, which he said he believes violates federal law…

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Online education expert: Discipline is key

Peery says indentifying confused students is sometimes difficult for online instructors.
Peery says identifying confused students is sometimes difficult for online instructors.

Irresistible prime-time television and quick snacks that turn into 20-minute breaks are the ever-tempting enemies of online learning, according to Maryland’s distance educator of the year, who says proactive and dedicated students get the most out of web-based classes and the freedom they provide.

Tammy Peery, chair of the English Department at Montgomery College’s Germantown campus, was recognized as her state’s top online instructor March 4 by the Maryland Distance Learning Association.

Peery, a teacher at the three-campus, 60,000-student community college since 1999, grabbed the association’s attention with her role in developing Montgomery Common Courses, online classes that feature the same content for all students in different sections of a college course.…Read More