Gainful Employment, Digital Brain, Access for Blind, Skype, Open Ed, Free Legislative Webinar and PLE Course, Tuition

AACC Asks Colleges Call to Submit Comments on “Gainful Employment” Regulations
Aug. 25, 2010

George Boggs, president of the American Association of Community Colleges, has asked community colleges to submit comments to the Department of Education regarding its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “gainful employment” before the Sept. 9, 2010 deadline.

“On July 26, ED released an NPRM that could potentially limit student aid eligibility for programs designed to lead to gainful employment. The proposal is targeted at for-profit institutions, and it is keyed to student debt loads and loan repayment. But, as proposed, the rules could also negatively affect some community college programs. The July 26 regulation builds on a previous NPRM published by ED on June 18. In that regulation, ED proposed new institutional reporting and disclosure requirements for programs leading to gainful employment. Among other things, these new reporting requirements included graduation rates, student debt loads (for private and institutional loans), and placement rates.”

Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime
by Matt Richtel
Aug. 24, 2010, The New York Times

. . . “ ‘ Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,’ said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, ‘you prevent this learning process.’ ”

“At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. Even though people feel entertained, even relaxed, when they multitask while exercising, or pass a moment at the bus stop by catching a quick video clip, they might be taxing their brains, scientists say.” . . .

Blinding Technology of Online Learning
by Steve Kolowich
Aug. 23, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“In the meantime, advocates for the blind are worried that it is becoming harder for the assistive technology used by blind students to keep pace with advances in educational technology. “Dynamic” e-learning content — e.g., graphics that change as a user rolls over or clicks on different parts — could present huge challenges to blind students, says Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation for the Blind, or NFB. Figuring out how translate static tables and diagrams for blind students was trouble enough, he says; it is not yet clear how to deal with newer, more interactive e-learning objects that may soon pervade online education.” . . .

“The chances of a successful lawsuit might become clearer sometime in the next year or two. The Department of Justice has suggested that it might soon articulate exactly what kind of legal recourse blind and otherwise disabled students have with respect to the accessibility of online courses. Last month, the department issued several notices (see http://www.ada.gov/anprm2010.htm ), saying it is collecting public comment on a number of topics related to accessibility and the Web in preparation to lay out the specific obligations of various institutions under federal law.” . . .

Learning Beyond Walls: 21 Skype Resources
by Shelly Terrell
Aug. 22, 2010, Teacher Boot Camp

. . . “Most of the teachers had been reluctant towards technology but Skype is one of those fantastic free tools that gets teachers new to technology motivated to try the technology. For this reason, I love to show teachers and administrators Skype. Skype is one of the top tools I introduce to teachers, administrators, and my students. This tool has tremendous learning potential, is free, easy to use, and has incredible buy-in. . . . In the process of training teachers to integrate Skype effectively with their classes and using Skype to get my German students to interact with students worldwide, I have found several incredible resources. Feel free to share these resources with other teachers. Consider showing Skype to teachers taking the first steps with technology and who may be very reluctant to try integrating technology in their classrooms.

Abandoning an Experiment
by Scott Jaschik
Aug. 20, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Rice University Press is being shut down next month, ending an experiment in an all-digital model of scholarly publishing. While university officials said that they needed to make a difficult economic decision to end the operation, they acted against the recommendations of an outside review team that had urged Rice to bolster its support for the publishing operations. Some supporters, in fact, are in discussions about raising private support to continue the press as a scholarly publishing outfit that might not be attached to any single university. Many supporters of academic publishing had high hopes for the Rice project, which was launched in 2006 with the goal of merging the quality and rigor of scholarly peer review with the convenience and low cost of digital publishing. The demise of the project led to immediate speculation about whether the Rice experience suggested difficulties for the economic model or if other factors may have been decisive.”

A Graphic Text
by Iza Wojciechowska
Aug. 20, 2010, Inside Higher Ed

“Jeremy Short’s students read comic books in class. Then they take exams, do well, and finish the semester with an understanding of the fundamentals of business management. In an effort to make dry content more interesting, Short co-wrote a set of two graphic novels together with Talya Bauer, professor of management at Portland State University, and Dave Ketchen, professor of management at Auburn University. The second of their books was released this summer.” . . .

Openness as Catalyst for an Educational Reformation
by David Wiley
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “For the authors of content, resources, courseware, or textbooks, being open is about overcoming the inner two-year-old who constantly screams: “Mine! You can’t have it! It’s MINE!” Unfortunately, modern law and college/university policy tend to enable this bad behavior, allowing us to shout “Mine!” ever more loudly, to stomp our feet with ever less self-control, and to hit each other with ever harder and sharper toys. Throughout our tantrums, society soothingly whispers that unbridled selfishness is a natural and therefore appropriate feeling. Regrettably, some educators and administrators have allowed themselves to be swayed by the siren song: “It’s OK. Be stingy with your lecture notes. Don’t share your slides. They’re yours. Sue those students who posted their class notes online. It’s legal. Go ahead.” By contrast, the idea of openness reminds us of what we knew intuitively before society gave us permission to act monstrously toward one another.” . . .

“In fact, those educators who share the most thoroughly of themselves with the greatest proportion of their students are the ones we deem successful. Does every single student come out of a class in possession of the knowledge and skills the teacher tried to share? In other words, is the teacher a successful sharer? If so, then the teacher is a successful educator. If attempts at sharing fail, then the teacher is a poor educator. Education is sharing. Education is about being open.” . . .

Questioning the Future of the Open Student
by Vicki Davis
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “Open students want to learn and peruse the landscape and need to have validated proof of their learning. However, with unaccredited organizations selling diplomas and with the proliferation of charlatans free of peer accountability, seasoned educators know that we must progress toward a true model of open education — but with boundaries that preserve and increase excellence in education. As John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison note in The Power of Pull: ‘On one hand, we can’t make progress without first making sense. The myriad of surface changes can quickly distract and disorient us. On the other hand, making sense will not help us unless we can use our understanding to craft a journey that will honor where we are today and help us to make progress in measured and pragmatic steps.’ ”

“MIT’s OCW has emerged as one of the leading sources of open content, but as online content increases exponentially, how can a prospective student determine the quality of various sources? Although the sources are free, students are spending a valuable, finite resource: their time.” . . .

Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning, and Engagement
by Dave Cormier and George Siemens
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

. . . “Growing complexities in all areas of society indicate an increased need to consider networked, holistic, and integrated models of knowledge and learning. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world served by higher education. Solving complex problems is simply not possible in the solitary, ‘expert model’ of higher education. Open courses provide educators and learners with an opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge, and mindsets needed to participate in complex, ever-shifting real-world situations in which coming to know is as important as knowing.”

“Open courses are not a new way to pass on knowledge from the initiated to the acolyte. Rather, they are an acknowledgment that passing knowledge from one to another is not, and has never been, the primary goal of the academy. The academy seeks to grow knowledge by engaging learners and members of society in a discussion, an exploration. Open courses permit educators and a global network of learners to participate in research, learning, and sense-making around a given topic. In opening our doors to collaborative participation, we are making a value judgment about what we want higher education to be and are also, perhaps, opening the door to new research, learning, and business models of our own.”

To Share or Not to Share: Is That the Question?
by Maria H. Andersen
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

“When we discuss terms like open textbook, open courseware, and open source, a common theme emerges: sharing content that might otherwise be protected under intellectual property laws. The use of open materials by faculty is something of a continuum, with those who closely guard their intellectual property and privacy on one end, with faculty who seek out and use open content and technologies in the middle, and with those who actively contribute to open content on the other end. However, to say that concerns over intellectual property or privacy are the defining characteristics of open faculty would be a mistake.” . . .

Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle
by Brian Lamb and Jim Groom
July/August 2010 EDUCAUSE Review

“Has the wave of the open web crested, its promise of freedom crashed on the rocks of the proprietary web? Can open education and the corporate interests that control mainstream Web 2.0 co-exist? What does “open educational technology” look like, and does it stand for anything? Do higher education institutions dare seize a mission of public service in fostering an open web worthy of the name? Can ambition and idealism prevail in an age of economic austerity? Finally, what is the role of the open educational technologist — that is, the ‘open ed tech’? It’s premature to publish an obituary for openness in educational technology just yet. But it’s also foolish to assume there will be a happy ending to this story.” . . .

Video: Voices From the Front Lines of Online Learning
by Marc Parry
Aug. 9, 2010, Chronicle of Higher Education

At a distance-education conference here, Wired Campus asked a half-dozen professors, technologists, and administrators to share the struggles of teaching online. Here’s what they said.

In the old days, you might have heard about the difficulty convincing professors of the value of online education. That can still be tough — some resisters, according to one online-training expert, fear they won’t be able to display their expertise in online classes. But as acceptance of online education grows, with distance courses getting more popular and mainstream, colleges face new challenges. These run the gamut from coping with stress on student services to navigating the shift from developing courses alone to building them in teams.

Free AACC Webinar On Legislative Agenda For The Fall
Sept. 8, 2010 – 2:00 to 3:00 pm Eastern Time

The American Association of Community Colleges will hold a free webinar Sept. 8 to recap recent legislative developments and look ahead at what remains on the agenda for the fall. Topics will include the upcoming request for proposals for $2 billion in federal grants under the recently passed Community College and Career Training Program, proposed “gainful employment” regulations, extending tax credits for students, the White House community college summit, the new federal Education Jobs Fund, prospective fiscal year 2011 funding for key programs and the Dream Act, a bill that includes language pertaining to undocumented students.

Free Open Course: Personal Learning Environments, Networks, and Knowledge
Eight Weeks: Sept. 13, 2010 – Oct. 31, 2010

In the last five years, the twin concepts of the personal learning environment (PLE) and personal learning network (PLN) have been offered as alternatives to more traditional environments such as the learning management system (LMS) and institutionally-based courses. During that time, a substantial body of research has been produced by thinkers, technologists and practitioners in the field. Dozens of studies, reviews, conference presentations, concept papers and diagrams are now available.

Personal Learning Environments, Networks, and Knowledge is a course sponsored and organized by the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI) at Athabasca University. Stephen Downes and Rita Kop from the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Learning and Collaborative technologies group, Dave Cormier from University of Prince Edward Island, and George Siemens from TEKRI are course facilitators.

To facilitate this process, course facilitators will maintain the following levels of course support:
* a course wiki, which may be edited by participants, describing the course outline
* a daily newsletter, which will aggregate student blogs, Twitter posts, and discussion posts
* each Sunday readings and resources will be posted to the wiki and (on Monday) to the Daily
* a Moodle discussion forum, read and responded to by course facilitators
* Wednesday Elluminate session, usually featuring a relevant guess speaker
* Friday Elluminate session, as a weekly review with course facilitators

Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in the United States: Fall 2009 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2008-09, and 12-Month Enrollment 2008-09
National Center for Education Statistics
August 2010

Women continued to earn more associate’s and bachelor’s degrees than men in 2008-09 — a gender gap of 16 percent for four-year degrees and 24 percent for two-year degrees. This First Look presents findings from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) fall 2009 data collection, which included three survey components: institutional characteristics for 2009-10 — such as degrees offered, type of program, application information, and tuition and other costs; the number and type of degrees conferred from July 2008 through June 2009; and 12-month enrollment data for the 2008-09 academic year.

• Among four-year institutions, private for-profit institutions reported the highest average price of attendance during 2009-10 for students living on campus — about $36,700. This is higher than the average for private not-for-profit institutions, at about $34,200. Public institutions reported an average price of attendance of approximately $18,600 for in-state students living on campus and $27,700 for out-of-state students living on campus.

• Between 2000-01 and 2009-10, four-year public institutions reported a 46 percent increase in average in-state tuition and required fees and a 34 percent increase in average out-of-state tuition and required fees. Over the same ten-year period, four-year private not-for-profit institutions reported a 31 percent increase and private for-profit institutions reported a 20 percent increase in average tuition and required fees. (All averages were adjusted for inflation).

• Institutions reported a 12-month unduplicated headcount enrollment totaling 27.4 million individual students. Of these, 23.7 million were undergraduates, 3.5 million were graduate students, and 197,000 were first-professional students.

• Of the 2.6 million degrees awarded by four-year institutions, 42 percent were awarded to men and 58 percent to women. Of the almost 574,000 degrees awarded by two-year institutions, 38 percent were awarded to men and 62 percent to women.

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Gainful Employment, Digital Brain, Access for Blind, Skype, Open Ed, Free Legislative Webinar and PLE Course, Tuition

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