April 17, 2013, 4:05 pm
Imagine more than 1,000 nurses learning how to use defibrillators at once, each delivering shocks to a single patient. If a patient dies, the instructor is immediately told which nurse failed, and the nurse then tries again, but with more assistance.
It’s not a process patients would want in the real world, but it’s one example of what can be done virtually with a new online-learning portal called Smart Sparrow, said Dror Ben-Naim, the start-up company’s founder.
Smart Sparrow, which was officially launched on Tuesday at the Education Innovation Summit, in Scottsdale, Ariz., is an online-learning platform that allows anyone to create what Mr. Ben-Naim calls adaptive content. “The stress is on anyone,” he said.
Mr. Ben-Naim compared the portal to Adobe Creative Suite. Instead of an array of tools allowing users to produce creative content, Smart Sparrow provides tools …
April 16, 2013, 3:31 pm
Students in Ghana using NovoEd at an internet cafe.
The field of massive-open-online-course providers is becoming crowded. That’s even more so at Stanford University, where Udacity and Coursera, two of the largest providers, got their start.
Now there’s a new platform to add to the list. NovoEd, which officially opened on Monday, will begin offering seven courses to the public next week, as well as 10 private courses for Stanford students.
Amin Saberi, a Stanford professor and the start-up company’s founder and chief executive, said there’s a key difference between NovoEd and existing MOOC options: peer interaction.
“With this transition from brick-and-mortar classes to online learning, you shouldn’t lose the social, collaborative aspects of learning,” Mr. Saberi said. “It should be able…
February 4, 2013, 3:47 pm
MOOCs and tablet computers top the list of emerging higher-education technologies in this year’s “Horizon Report,” by the New Media Consortium.
The report, which has been released each year since 2004, describes six technologies that are expected to influence learning and teaching during the next five years. The technologies are divided into three tiers of varying time horizons: near term, midterm, and far term.
MOOCs and tablet computing are both expected to enter mainstream use within the next year, the report says. Learning analytics, and the ideas of “game and gamification,” are listed in the second tier, of two to three years. Three-dimensional printing and wearable technology are classified in the third tier, of four to five years.
Surprisingly, MOOCs have never before appeared in a “Horizon Report,” though the technology was mentioned last September as a far-term…
February 1, 2013, 5:45 pm
Course-management systems have become crucial to the everyday operations of colleges so gradually that many users may not think about it all that much. That is, until the lights go out.
A number of institutions had a rude awakening this week, when Desire2Learn, which makes a course-management system used by many colleges, saw what one top official described as the biggest malfunction in the company’s history.
Desire2Learn was moving its clients’ data from the servers of one “cloud” storage provider to another, when sometime on Tuesday a technical glitch triggered errors and outages across its entire network of higher-education, public-school, and corporate clients.
About 25 percent of the company’s clients were affected, according to Jeff McDowell, Desire2Learn’s vice president for marketing and business development. The company does not know what percentage of those…
January 2, 2013, 2:27 pm
Articles about how free online courses, or MOOCs, could disrupt higher education dominated the headlines last year here at the Wired Campus blog, and they were the most popular with readers as well. Several articles about e-textbooks also topped our list of most-read articles of 2012, highlighting what has been a time of change, and anxiety, for colleges and universities.
Coursera and Udacity appear most frequently in this year’s top headlines. Both offer MOOCs, or massive open online courses, and both were founded by Stanford University computer-science professors who are now on leave. Together, they now claim more than two million students, though some of those sign up but never complete work in the courses.
The most popular episode of our monthly Tech Therapy podcast highlights another anxiety among college leaders—how much raw time all this personal technology use eats up….
December 13, 2012, 7:01 pm
Martin Bean, vice chancellor of the Open U., says the new venture will have a “distinctly British” twist.
Earlier this month, one of Britain’s top newspapers noticed a glaring absence on the British education scene: MOOC’s. “U.K. universities are wary of getting on board the MOOC train,” read The Guardian’s headline. Two institutions, the Universities of Edinburgh and London, have recently signed on to offer massive open online courses via the American company Coursera. Yet in Britain, said the newspaper, “there is scarcely a whiff of the evangelism and excitement bubbling away in America, where venture capitalists and leading universities are ploughing millions” into MOOC’s.
That’s changing. Some leading British universities on Friday announced plans to offer free online courses through a new company being…
December 4, 2012, 3:06 pm
Students looking for massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, have many options, with a growing number of providers and course titles. A handful of Web sites have popped up over the past few months to help students find courses they’re interested in, much as a restaurant-goer might turn to Yelp. Some of the sites let students review the MOOC’s they’ve taken, incorporating their views into the sites’ overall guidance.
One new directory, Course Buffet, was started two months ago by Bruce Bolton, out of his frustration over trying to compare the quality of online resources. The site lists more than 500 courses from various MOOC providers, and each course is assigned a difficulty level (Psychology 100, for example), to help students move from easier to more difficult material. He hopes to turn a profit by selling advertising, such as by sending offers from certification companies to…
November 8, 2012, 6:31 pm
Bob Greenlees, director of operations at ShuttleCloud, makes his pitch at the Educause business competition.
— Educause held its first business competition
this week, bringing a dose of American Idol
to its annual conference here.
Leaders of 10 education-technology start-ups had eight minutes each to pitch their business plans in front of an audience, get grilled by a panel of venture capitalists, and then face a popular vote online. The big prize: marketing help from Educause and Google.
The start-ups’ chief executives, most of them in their 20s and 30s, talked fast, and when asked by the expert panel what their biggest obstacles were or how they could succeed when others had failed, most answered in slick sound bites that had clearly been rehearsed.
Their mission was to clearly state a problem in…
November 5, 2012, 1:00 pm
Pearson, a major textbook publisher, continued its push into digital education on Monday by introducing a service that allows instructors to create e-textbooks using open-access content and Pearson material.
A beta version called Project Blue Sky will begin in the spring with the help of Gooru, a nonprofit search engine. When an instructor enters keywords for the subject he or she is teaching, the system sends back a list of Pearson content, free educational content, and material from other commercial providers.
The instructor can then pull together material from various sources into one e-book—two chapters from a published textbook, three videos from MIT’s OpenCourseWare, and a research study from Harvard University, for example. The instructor can also upload his or her own material, like a syllabus for the course. The system then calculates a price for the Pearson and…
November 1, 2012, 5:00 am
Two software companies that sell course-management systems, Blackboard and Instructure, have entered the race to provide free online courses for the masses.
On Thursday both companies plan to announce partnerships with universities that will use their software to teach massive open online courses, or MOOC’s. The companies hope to pull in their own college clients to compete with online-education players like Udacity and Coursera.
Instructure has released a new platform called Canvas Network, which allows colleges and universities to offer free courses. A dozen institutions have already agreed to deliver courses on the platform, including Brown University and the University of Washington.
The courses, which will begin in January, are a “response to the MOOC phenomenon that’s been going on,” said Josh Coates, chief executive of Instructure. The courses—20 of them, for…