education's digital future

in the news

When the teacher and poet Taylor Mali declares, “I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face,” he testifies to the powerful ways teachers can use emotions to help students learn and grow. Students -- and their parents -- put a great deal of trust in college educators to use these powers wisely and cautiously. This is why the unfolding debacle of the Facebook emotional contagion experiment should give educators great pause.

Should we worry that technology companies can secretly influence our emotions? Apparently so.

There’s a lot on this blog about the flipped or inverted classroom, and it’s primarily from the mathematics and STEM perspective. I am often asked how the inverted classroom might look in the humanities or social sciences. I’d like to welcome Jeff Schramm, an associate professor of History and Political Science at Missouri University of Science and Technology, whose guest post today details his use of the flipped classroom in a history of architecture course. Enjoy! –rt

Carnegie Mellon University’s receiving a grant to study MOOCs is no surprise. But the source’s identity is bound to raise eyebrows.

Google announced on Tuesday that it would give Carnegie Mellon $300,000 in each of the next two years through the Google Focused Research Award program. Google can fund the research for a third year at the same price if it chooses.

In October 1993, in his first major speech as president of Yale University, Richard C. Levin talked about the importance of Yale’s becoming a “world university.” Great universities have a responsibility to drive global change, he said, and they achieve that primarily by nurturing future leaders and world-changing research inside their walled gardens.

Way back in 1978, Frenchy in Grease was unceremoniously dubbed a beauty-school dropout. But what if she took a MOOC today on midcentury follicular art? Might we call her a beauty-school “collector”? What about a beauty-school “bystander”?

Maybe, thanks to a new quantitative study of MOOC engagement released on Wednesday by Cornell and Stanford Universities. After tracking the behavior patterns of more than 300,000 students enrolled in Stanford-based Coursera courses, the authors created a “taxonomy of engagement” to differentiate between different types of MOOC participants.

ould an online degree earned in six to 12 months bring a revolution to higher education?

This week, AT&T and Udacity, the online education company founded by the Stanford professor and former Google engineering whiz Sebastian Thrun, announced something meant to be very small: the “NanoDegree.”

Before Harvard and MIT released data last month on their first 16 edX MOOCs, we already knew a few things: Millions of people register for massive open online courses, though far fewer receive certificates of completion. Most MOOC participants already have a college degree, even those outside the United States. But there was a lot we didn’t know, especially about who took different types of MOOCs and how much of the course content they viewed. This information may be valuable to those looking to design and lead successful MOOCs.

Massive open online course providers are collecting troves of data about their students, but what good is it if researchers can't use the information?

Administrators at the Georgia Institute of Technology are optimistic but “not declaring victory” after one semester of its affordable online master’s degree program in computer science. While the program has been well-received by students, administrators are still striving to solve an equation that balances cost, academic quality and support services.

Pages