Also from yesterday’s inbox…
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RESEARCH-BASED ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
We had an Abstract: In this paper, we explore roles that mobile technologies can play in supporting students’ transition to second and third year of university degree study, specifically along articulation routes from completing a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) at college. Articulating students face particular challenges associated with, typically, adjusting to the demands of moving up a level in their academic studies, acclimatising to an unfamiliar academic culture, and integrating into an existing cohort of students. Message of Support, a project funded by the Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife and Borders Regional Articulation Hub (ELRAH), developed a range of SMS, podcasts, and DVD resources, drawing on the voice and experience of existing students, in order to support new students and staff in their respective parts in the articulation journey. Through a process of action research, it was found that such resources can aid the transition process by offering timely con tact, reassurance, and information to students as well as valuable development materials for staff. Responses to the challenges of using mobile technologies as support mechanisms for articulating students were identified. Additionally, other areas of transitional support provision outwith tertiary education were identified. The Message of Support project is sharing lessons learned and helping to inform good practice in this context. Interpersonal Relationships course, a large class, around fifty students, working collaboratively in groups where students from different degrees, academic years, and ages, most of them deaf, tried, and to some extent were able, to communicate. We analyze this example of how diversity can be an asset and how learning management systems can act as mediators to overcome the challenges of diversity and the barriers of emotional isolation. We were carrying out a participatory action research project, within a blended learning environment supported by Moodle, to develop collaborative and personal pedagogical strategies to improve the inclusion and engagement of higher education students in their own learning and evaluation. We were using content analysis of the online discussions held by the students, of the reflective descriptions of the classes, of the students’ e-portfolios, and of the interviews with the students. The paper describes how, in the context of this project, we have discovered that a learning management systems can be a powerful mediator in promoting the inclusion of deaf students and in establishing emotional bridges across gaps that face-to-face environments are sometimes unable to span.
The Electronic Journal of e-Learning
It has been widely recognised that transition into higher education (HE) can be challenging for incoming students. Literature identifies three main areas where students may benefit from support: social, practical and academic. This paper discusses a case study that explores the potential of a social networking environment to provide support in these areas during students’ transition into HE. The Learning Development Unit (LDU) at Bucks New University has previously addressed transitional issues through pre-sessional campus-based programmes. However, to provide opportunities for a wider range of students, the LDU launched Startonline in 2010. This online pre-sessional environment used the social networking platform Ning to provide new students with access to non-subject-specific academic activities (e.g., critical thinking), social networking tools and practical information. As a pilot, the aim was to observe where students focused their attention and explore the affordances of a social networking environment for facilitating transition. Startonline ran for the month leading up to the beginning of the academic year, during which time around 300 students signed up and participated. Quantitative analysis of platform user data was conducted and student and staff participants were interviewed, providing useful qualitative data. Findings highlighted that students’ engaged intensely in social and informational aspects of the environment, but remained resolutely uninterested in generic academic activities. There was, however, considerable self-directed interest in finding subject-specific information and learning activities. Direct, personal involvement of subject-teaching staff seemed the determining factor in take up of these aspects. Social networking platforms are already used by students to maintain social capital and access emotional support from existing social networks when leaving secondary school. This project highlights that, equally, such environments also provide powerful opportunities for students to establish social networks as they transition into higher education. Lessons have also been learned with regard to effective pedagogical strategies for engaging students academically in social networking environments and areas identified for future research.
The Electronic Journal of e-Learning
This research reports a two-phase descriptive study of young children’s engagement with ebooks conducted in Head Start classrooms. Phase 1 focused on the development of a typology as an analytic framework for observing engagement with ebooks in different formats (shared book; independent book browsing) and across devices (stationary touch screen; handhelds). Converging extant research categories with videotaped observations of ebook reading from classroom samples (n=12 children), a typology was derived using qualitative analytic procedures. It consisted of three categories (control, multisensory behaviors, communication) and 11 salient behaviors of children’s engagement with ebooks. Phase 2 applied the typology to a comparable classroom sample (n=24 children) to obtain descriptive observations of children’s engagement with ebooks in teacher-led ebook reading at the touch screen and child-led ebook browsing/reading with handheld devices (iPad; iPod). Potential influences of behavioral regulation levels on children’s engagement with ebooks were also explored. Results supported the typology as a fairly reliable and manageable framework for analytic purposes of description and enumeration, yielding descriptive evidence of children’s engagement with ebooks in the sample. In brief, control varied with format, which in turn influenced the distribution of multisensory behaviors and types of communication. Level of behavioral regulation influenced control.
Journal of Interactive Online Learning
IN THE NEWS
As mayor of Rancho Mirage, Calif., Scott Hines is in charge of a town of about 17,000 people in the Coachella Valley. As the chief operating officer of World Education University, a new company that says it “will forever alter the landscape of post-secondary education” by offering free courses online, Hines is now in charge of the personal information of about 50,000 prospective students and more than $1 million in seed funding.
Inside Higher Ed
Imagine a university degree that is like a passport: a subject from Swinburne stamped alongside another from Sydney University, with courses from overseas colleges such as Stanford or Harvard thrown in. You could earn your degree without travelling further than your laptop, and far more cheaply than on campus.
Open Universities, Australia
The Saylor Foundation has nearly finished creating a full suite of free, online courses in a dozen popular undergraduate majors. And the foundation is now offering a path to college credit for its offerings by partnering with two nontraditional players in higher education – Excelsior College and StraighterLine.
Inside Higher Ed
As enrollment has rapidly increased in free online classes, also known as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOC’s, students are increasingly forming groups, both online and in the real world, to study and socialize.
Analysis of Millions of Leads Identifies Surprising Attributes Most Likely to Make a Prospect Convert to a Customer
The Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University today released the 10th edition of its annual global university ranking – 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Harvard University remains the number one in the world for the tenth year.
The Center for World-Class Universities
Branch—a startup created by two Twitter cofounders—hovers in a space between a private, lengthy e-mail thread and a public stream of tweets.
MIT Technology Review
Farhad (Fred) Saba, Ph. D.
Founder and Editor
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