October 21, 2011, 1:57 pm
Philadelphia—Start-up technology companies have some gripes about higher education. One is that universities routinely make it hard for the public to access basic data, like course catalogs and book prices at the campus bookstore. Another is that when trying to sell services to a college, like a Web service that allows faculty members and students to organize and share their research and online readings, companies can’t find the people who make the purchasing decisions.
Those complaints got a high-level airing Thursday at Educause, at a round-table discussion with Aneesh Chopra, the U.S. chief technology officer, who cautioned them that the gathering was not a pity party and “we are here to get things done.” Also listening was James H. Shelton III, the assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement at the Department of Education. University CIO’s were also in the…
October 20, 2011, 4:09 pm
Philadelphia—When Pearson officials talk about their new learning-management system, OpenClass, they like to mention Google. They note that the software is distributed through Google’s App marketplace, and say that it was inspired by Google’s popular e-mail and Web services platform. Pearson drops the company’s name so much that many college officials assume that Google is jointly building the new system, something that officials have long speculated that the search company might one day do.
But other than routine help it gives to any app in its marketplace, Google is not directly involved with the new learning-management system, and Google officials say they have no plan to jump into developing learning software.
“There were some misleading headlines with the Pearson’s announcement,” said Tim Drinan, a Google spokesman, when asked to clarify the nature of the…
October 20, 2011, 9:01 am
Philadelphia—The University of Southern California places a premium on synchronous online education. Students fire up their Webcams and participate in live virtual classes.
But those live video feeds are opening a debate about classroom decorum, pushing the university to create new guidelines for “Netiquette.”
Barking dogs, wailing babies, a naked spouse—all have made cameo appearances in USC online classes, said Jade Winn, head of library services for USC’s education and social work schools, during a talk about online education at the Educause conference here.
Ms. Winn recalled one pajama-clad student who rolled over in bed, turned on a Webcam, and tried to attend class lying on a pillow. Another distraction: students crunching bowls of cereal.
“It’s just a whole level of being in someone’s home, that you don’t take into consideration,” Ms. Winn said in an…
October 19, 2011, 4:51 pm
Philadelphia—Technology is unbundling the university. In five years, students will mix online and in-person courses, professors will rely on new course formats and modules from multiple colleges, and the library will be dispersed. On Thursday a panel of Chronicle reporters will talk about these trends at the Educause tech conference here. We’ll dig into the big challenges presented by each of these changes, and we’ll share stories about how universities are successfully dealing with them.
Most of the 5 p.m. panel, moderated by Senior Editor Josh Fischman, will consist of a Q&A with the audience. But if you can’t join us in Philadelphia, we still want to hear from you online. Watch a live video stream of the session here. Ask us questions on Twitter using the hashtag “unbundledU.” Or share your thoughts in the comments below.
To kick off the conversation, we’ve put…
October 19, 2011, 12:01 am
Philadelphia—When Pearson, the giant education publisher, announced last week that it was launching a free, cloud-based learning management system called OpenClass, the news prompted tough questions from college technology officials. Would this system accommodate other popular software? Who would have control, Pearson or the colleges? Would it be hard to integrate the product, which will be released later this year, with a student information system?
Wednesday at Educause, the higher-education technology meeting here, Pearson began answering some of those questions—although some of the answers remained a bit vague. In an early-morning statement, it announced partnerships between OpenClass and Turnitin, the popular plagiarism-detection software, and CourseSmart, the e-textbook and digital course materials company. As for some of the other queries, The Chronicle put them to Matt…
October 19, 2011, 12:01 am
Professors who use Blackboard’s software have long been forced to lock their course materials in an area effectively marked, “For Registered Students Only,” while using the system. Today the company announced plans to add a “Share” button that will let professors make those learning materials free and open online.
The move may be the biggest sign yet that the idea of “open educational materials” is going mainstream, nearly 10 years after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology first began giving away lecture notes online. Blackboard made the change after college officials complained that the company’s software, which more than half the colleges in the country use for their online-course materials, was holding them back from trying open-education projects.
The president of Blackboard’s learning division, Ray Henderson, plans to send an e-mail to customers today that effectively …
October 18, 2011, 12:48 pm
Several colleges that have been trying out iPads in the classroom will be sharing their experiences at the annual Educause conference, which kicks off Tuesday in Philadelphia. The officials plan to talk about what they’ve learned, though most still say it’s too soon to judge the long-term potential of tablets in teaching.
At least four sessions at the conference focus on teaching experiments with Apple’s popular gadget, and The Chronicle caught up with the presenters to get a preview of their planned remarks.
Pepperdine University, for example, has been experimenting in a few courses, where some students are given iPads loaded with reading materials and applications, and others stick with laptops and traditional printed books. The initial findings show that iPads increase engagement and collaboration, acting as a facilitator for more easily sharing information, rather than the…
October 17, 2011, 6:15 pm
One sign of the growing presence of technology on college campuses is the rising numbers at the annual meeting of Educause, which kicks off Tuesday in Philadelphia. This year more than 7,300 people are signed up to attend, up from 6,500 at last year’s meeting.
The bulk of the attendees work as technology leaders on campuses, though many others represent the 266 tech companies setting up booths at the show to persuade colleges to use their products to support teaching, research, or administrative functions. (This year’s attendance is not technically the largest ever, but officials say it is “near peak,” which in this economy, counts as a kind of record.)
The Chronicle’s Wired Campus team will be there to file reports on new ideas, as will representatives of the ProfHacker blog.
All week long, the conference will offer sessions on campus technology trends—so many that…