The second innovation that came to mind was the edX, https://www.edx.org/, site that hosts online courses and classes from partner institutions. A complete list of schools and partners can be found at https://www.edx.org/schools-partners. The site was founded by Harvard and MIT. It is a great resource for those wanting to experience an online class or add credentials to a resume. The site also has verified certificates and course series. I plan on trying out one of the introductory computer science class to get a feel of how it works.
In a course I’m taking from University of West Georgia we were asked to write a couple of posts on our blog about innovative approaches to distance education/online learning. The first innovation that came to mind was mobile education. I first started experimenting back in 2009 when I got an iPhone 4 and the first gen iPad. Content creation and the ability to share and consume on mobile devices have come a long way since then. For example, the iOgrapher, http://www.iographer.com/, is a case for iPads that turns your iPad into a device for creating movies. There are lens, lighting and other accessories available to turn your iPad into a complete video solution. Being able to create content and share it on the go is pretty amazing to me.
Mobile devices are also handy for consuming content in online courses. Now with increased cellular speeds you can watch videos and share large files. Apps by LMS providers let students view course content and even complete quizzes and other assessments. My university, Lamar University, has subscribed to the Blackboard Mobile app. Blackboard Collaborate and Adobe Connect are a couple of solutions that are now connect mobile devices for synchronous lecture and screen sharing solutions.
Looking at the “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” report I gathered a few facts and highlights of distance learning in higher education. It is based of responses from more than 2800 colleges and universities.
“Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States is the
tenth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The
survey is designed, administered and analyzed by the Babson Survey Research
Group. Data collection is conducted in partnership with the College Board.
This year’s study, like those for the previous nine years, tracks the opinions of
chief academic officers and is aimed at answering fundamental questions about
the nature and extent of online education.”
Currently the primary delivery mode for delivering distance learning in higher ed is online. Other delivery modes used in distance learning include interactive video (two-way video), off-campus sites, telecourse and correspondence.
The study shows that about 32% of students take at least one online course. That number is comparable to numbers reported by our university.
Some of the concerns noted by the report are the lower retention rates and the belief in the lack of acceptance of online degrees by potential employers. One of the main concerns at our university is student authentication. We are currently partnering with ProctorU to offer another proctoring option to the faculty and students.
It was interesting that just 30.2% believed that their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education.
Massive open online courses, MOOCs, were kind of the buzz word last year but according to the report, online 2.6% have them, 9.4% are planning them, 55.4% are undecided and 37.2% say they are not interested. Our university will soon pilot a MOOC but no long term commitment has been instituted.
Two sites I use the a lot for my online classes are www.screencastomatic.com and www.wordpress.com. I use wordpress.com to host my course content and projects I am working on. WordPress is easy to setup and customize. It is a great way to host your content for current students in case of an lms outage or students that are interested in taking your course. I use screencastomatic to create the screen recordings for my courses. It is really easy to use and much cheaper than Camtasia. My students also use it to create tutorials and presentations for class.
Today I am signing up with Technorati to publicize “My Learning Community”. Technorati is a search engine for blogs. In order to get started, Technorati has to validate you as the author of the blog. A unique code must be inserted into a new blog post and published. The code has to show up in your blog’s rss feed too.
Once the blog post has been published, you have to click on a link at the Technorati site to notify Technorati to check your claim token. Hopefully the claim process will not take too long.
Today I found a nice piece of software to convert my MIDIs to MP3s. It is called Direct MIDI to MP3 by Pistonsoft. (http://www.pistonsoft.com) Other solutions I looked at required a real-time conversion but not Pistonsoft’s solution. You can also batch convert your files. I found this software very easy to use and converted files quickly.
Microsoft Photosynth, http://www.photosynth.net, is a collection of tools that lets you create 3d panoramic images. The tools include a mobile app for iOS devices for capturing and uploading images, a desktop app stitch together images stored on your desktop and the photosynth.net site to host and share your images. The great thing about it is the service and apps are free.
Box is an easy to use file sharing service that I use to share files in my courses and for my projects. Files can be shared from your desktop computer or mobile device. Box also includes collaboration tools so others can contribute to your shared folders. The Box service is located at http://www.box.net.
After you sign up for the free account, you are ready to start uploading and sharing your files. You have 5 gigs of storage with the free account. Paid accounts give you more storage, security and branding options. A complete list of features can be found at http://www.box.net/features/complete_list.