Big deals: New programs tackle counterfeiting, support teacher development, and enhance distance learning

George Mason University’s Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) announced its second annual Bring Down Counterfeiting Hackathon. This event awarded $50,000 in prizes last year in a policy-focused competition that attracted over 200 registrants from around the world. This year TraCCC is partnering with the US Chamber of Commerce Global Innovation Policy Center to challenge teams from U.S. academic institutions, companies, or other affiliations to design and propose novel technical and policy solutions that prevent counterfeit and pirated goods from entering the stream of commerce and reaching the hands of consumers. They are also seeking tools that help recognize the spoofing of official US government websites, trademarks, and other services. The hackathon has announced a grand prize of $20,000 for the best solution presented. Strategy and analytic firm Blue Clarity returns to administer the competition.

This year, challenge organizers are looking for novel technical solutions such as new technology to advance counterfeited product identification devices or advanced algorithms to secure supply chains and identify counterfeit goods. The most desirable solutions should have direct applicability to stated challenges that government agencies like the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and others are actively working to overcome. 

Dr. Louise Shelley, Director of TraCCC at George Mason University explains TraCCC’s commitment to studying and addressing the industry-wide, global challenge of counterfeiting: “Counterfeiting is a crime that affects us all. This hackathon will bring students together with policymakers, academic institutions, domain and private sector experts, and other professionals to raise awareness of the threats and generate powerful new ideas to stop this criminal activity. The results will also be used to inform our ongoing research on counterfeit and other criminal supply chain networks.”…Read More

More than just AI—Kathe Pelletier of EDUCAUSE on the 2023 Horizon Report

Key points:

  • Expert panelists identified AI as a trend and key technology in higher ed, all before ChatGPT exploded
  • Beyond AI, however, are trends around students demanding more flexibility, plus political or environmental trends that might influence campus operations
  • See related article: IT leaders are critical for a positive student experience

Who knew this century could see an acronym as pervasive, and scary, as COVID-19? Congratulations AI (let’s assume I don’t have to spell that out for you). Its advent has taken over society’s consciousness—for better or worse. And the education space is front and center as either the greatest benefactor or the first victim of our new AI overlords.

Thankfully, the experts involved with the EDUCAUSE 2023 Horizon Report are on the case, clarifying and specifying the potential and pitfalls of not only AI but other ascending models of higher ed learning like Hyperflex. Their methodology as described in the report:…Read More

5 roles university libraries will play in the future

Universities are seeking ways to innovate and keep up with the changing expectations of students and faculty, and university libraries are no different.

Academic libraries are good at adapting as they try to meet students and faculty who learn differently and who have varying expectations for what their university library is.

As physical space, available funding, and student needs change, university libraries will have to adapt to meet different needs and campus roles.…Read More

3 best practices from VR implementation across departments

While many professors recognize virtual reality (VR) as an emerging classroom technology, some still struggle with how to incorporate it into their curriculum. There’s a default view that VR is only good for virtual field trips or in specific departments like computer science or media production. The truth is that VR is quite easy to produce and can be effective cross-discipline; it shouldn’t be pigeonholed as appropriate for only certain departments. VR is already being used for many real-world applications–hiring, training, marketing/sales, medical purposes, entertainment, and more–and is worth considering for many different university departments.

For instance, Emporia State University (ESU) in Kansas first used our platform to capture a 360-degree historical reenactment by their venerable history professor, Dr. Joyce Thierer. History seems an unlikely starting point for proving the value of VR, but the reenactment took place off-campus, and the school wanted to preserve the performance going forward in the most realistic fashion possible.

Using VR transports the viewer of that application to a close-up view of the performance, immersing them in all the sights and sounds without field-of-vision limitations. And using a VR headset to view it fully captures the audience’s attention, not allowing for the usual distractions that accompany something like watching a YouTube video on your laptop.…Read More

Survey: Students sing praises for digital learning tech

Ninety-four percent of students in a new survey said digital learning technologies have helped them retain new concepts, and 53 percent said they prefer classes that use such tools.

McGraw-Hill Education’s fourth annual Digital Study Trends Survey, compiled by Hanover Research, includes responses from more than 1,000 college students.

Sixty percent of surveyed students said they think digital learning technologies have improved their grades, and one-fifth said those technologies significantly improved their grades. Students in STEM majors were the most likely to say technology has positively impacted their grades.…Read More

Is higher ed facing an IT house of cards?

Twenty years ago, a connected college experience might involve cable television, rudimentary internet capability and the latest in flip phone technology. Fast forward to today, and students expect uninterrupted, lightning-fast connectivity from the device of their choice to support both their academic and community experience.

Is this quest for connectivity built on a virtual house of cards?

Technology proliferation has placed enormous pressure on the underlying IT infrastructure that keeps Wi-Fi operating, servers humming, videos streaming and data percolating. Within many institutions, one vital aspect of those operations–the storage foundation–is crumbling under the weight of growing demands. With budgets stagnant and resources limited, universities are stuck in a difficult position and finding it increasingly difficult to respond to student and faculty pleas for the latest and greatest apps.…Read More

#9: 6 essential technologies on the higher ed horizon

[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on February 15th of this year, was our #9 most popular story of the year. Happy holidays, and thank you for tuning into our 2017 countdown!]

Tablets are just the beginning of Natural User Inerfaces (NUIs) in college and university settings; and any institution interested in remaining relevant in the next five years should start redesigning their learning spaces to better promote collaborative learning. These are just some of the revelations part of the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative’s (ELI) 2017 Higher Education Edition of the annual Horizon Report.

The report, which decides which trends and technologies will have a dramatic influence on higher ed in the next 5 years thanks to a panel of 78 education and technology experts from 22 countries on 5 continents, aims to help inform the choices that institutions are making about technology to improve, support, or extend teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher ed across the world.…Read More

3 ways that the cloud can cut sky-high costs of higher ed

It takes enormous resources to power the digital backbone of colleges every day. Among other costs, universities foot the bill for computing power, digital storage, internet access and proprietary software to meet the needs and expectations of students, administrators and teachers. Expectations are high for an always-on digital environment that supports online learning, mobile apps and modern HR and finance systems.

The cost of building and running the IT infrastructure to meet these needs can be reduced with an effective cloud computing strategy. When done right, adopting cloud services and applications can lead to greater cost savings as well as an improved student/faculty experience.

Here are a few practices to apply:…Read More

The 5 must-have pillars for campus-wide student success

Higher education enrollment rates are experiencing challenges as students, many of whom are nontraditional students, struggle to meet personal, financial and professional demands. But following a few key steps can bolster student success.

With these challenges in mind, higher-ed institutions must be able to invest in student success in order to differentiate their campuses and programs and sway prospective students.

A new resource from D2L offers student support strategies to help institutions improve retention rates, retain nontraditional and first-generation students, use student data to inform decisions, and create student success plans.…Read More

Why combining assessments and LMS technology is essential

Assessments are more than just measuring how well students are doing in particular subjects in school, and they can actually improve student learning. In fact, frequent assessments can have a positive impact on a student’s education from kindergarten through college. While this may make some educators cringe, the reality is that test-enhanced learning, or testing as an aid to learning, has evidence of effectiveness dating back nearly 100 years (Roediger III, McDaniel, & McDermott, 2006).

Testing can help students better retain and recall what they studied, not only for the final exam, but as part of their overall educational development. This is the “testing effect,” or the phenomenon where taking a quiz can enhance later retention of studied materials, and its effectiveness has been demonstrated many times over. Students who take quizzes shortly after they study show better performance on a final test relative to students who only study without taking a practice quiz, even when no feedback is given on the quiz (Roediger III, McDaniel, & McDermott, 2006).

The testing effect, also known as retrieval practice, practice testing, or test-enhanced learning, needs a place in today’s modern learning. It can be implemented in modern learning management system (LMS) and assessment management system (AMS) technologies, like Gauge, to help improve student learning, from their first day in kindergarten to their last day of earning a university degree.…Read More

Oops! We could not locate your form.