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Higher Ed News
Updated: 11 min 41 sec ago

Big shakeup: Universities weaving this field into most campus departments

9 hours 34 min ago

The significant sustainability issues of our day present some of the greatest challenges for the next generation. Indeed, the world that our next generation will inherit and live in will be far different from the one we live in today. Ecosystem changes resulting from climate change, water scarcity, ocean acidification, ecosystem destruction, nitrogen and phosphorous

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Stunning market data predicts the future of online learning

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 1:00am

Today's colleges and universities know that online learning is a must for satisfying the learning demands of a rapidly changing student body. Now, recent market data exposes just how big the business of online learning really is, as well as how much it’s expected to grow in the near future, and which components of online learning are expected to bring in the most revenue.

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How Purdue blew fundraising records out of the water-in 1 day

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 1:00am

Purdue University is a large research university based in West Lafayette, Indiana, and each year we host a fundraiser called Purdue Day of Giving. The event invites the Purdue community to come together for 24 hours to grant opportunities and transform lives.

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State greenlights new funding model for universities

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 9:55am

State funding for Kentucky's public colleges and universities will be determined by how many and what types of degrees its students earn under a policy finalized by state regulators.

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Why do college students have 6th-grade writing skills?

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:00am

Clear and effective communication skills, including writing skills, are among the most-desired job skills articulated by employers seeking qualified job candidates. But what happens when college graduates write at a middle school level?

The importance of developing strong writing skills, and a noticeable decline in those skills, are not new issues. For more than a decade, studies have observed that students are deficient in effective oral and written communication skills, they have documented companies' struggles to find job applicants with acceptable writing skills, and they have pointed out students' inability to score at proficient levels when it comes to literacy.

A team from StudySoup, a peer-to-peer learning marketplace, set out to measure the effectiveness of students' writing skills at institutions across the county. The results are described in a StudySoup blog post.

The team used the Hemingway app to analyze hundreds of written documents submitted to the StudySoup marketplace to gauge students' writing levels.

The app evaluates writing samples for clarity and readability and checks for problems including overly-complex phrasing, long sentences, passive voice, and more.

Next, the app assigns two readability scores for each document.

The first score measures the content's grade level using a readability algorithm, which determines the lowest education level needed to understand the writing.

The StudySoup team's evaluation found that student-submitted content scored an average of 12.35, or a 12th-grade level. But other schools fell well below that average, and some fell as low as 6.63--a middle-school level.

The second score is a rating scale based on "good," "OK," or "poor," and it judges how clearly a document is written by pointing out sentences that are difficult to read.

Of the 20 schools from which writing samples were analyzed, 12 received a majority score of "poor."

An increase in "informal" writing, such as that found on social media platforms, could contribute to students' weak writing skills. Varying school district funding for writing programs could play a role as well, leaving students in poorly-funded districts with ineffective writing skills when they enter college.

According to the blog post, 71.5 percent of employers say written communication skills are very important--but 27.8 percent of employers report new job entrants with four-year degrees are deficient in the necessary written communication skills needed for the workplace.

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New gaming technology for learning now available to colleges and universities

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:00am

Technology for a University of Michigan learning approach that employs video game-style strategy made its way to the market this week.

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Are computer science students more prone to cheating?

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 1:00am

As interest in computer science grows, thanks to a thriving tech and start-up industry and due to encouragement from successful entrepreneurs and celebrities, so, too, does the potential for academic dishonesty, according to an in-depth New York Times article.

The article observes that while computer science courses have swelled with students hoping to snag high-tech jobs or positions at start-ups, this enrollment increase has led to more cheating, as students "borrow" code from friends or copy it from the internet.

Contributing to the problem:

Coding takes time, and many students fall victim to the temptation to copy code from various online resources--often posted by someone who has taken the computer science course in the past
Programmers are collaborative in the professional world and often share code; some course professors' policies allow students to talk about coding problems but prohibit them from sharing code itself--a practice that can confuse students
Consider the frequency outlined in the article:

More than half of last year's alleged academic code violations at Brown university involved computer science
In 2015, up to 20 percent of students in a single Stanford computer science course were flagged for potential cheating
The Harvard Crimson reports that at Harvard, more than 60 students in the university's Computer Science 50 course were referred to the school's honor council for allegations of academic dishonesty, including plagiarism
A UC Berkeley professor discovered that in just a single year, roughly 100 or 700 students in one class had collaborated on or copied code
To read more about whether educators believe computer science courses truly have above-average cheating rates, and to learn about penalties for cheating and the solutions computer science professors have put into place, read the entire NYT article.

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Top 4 uses for blockchain in higher ed

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 1:00am

As new technologies emerge, they often help make things more convenient for users. One such instance of this is the use of Blockchain in University IT. Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, is a method of storing and tracking information that might change the face of Higher Ed as we know it. While Blockchain implementation in

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These are the top 10 workforce skills students will need by 2020

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 1:00am

Today's workforce, as nearly everyone knows, is increasingly global. And with that global nature comes fierce competition--students will need an arsenal of skills in order to stand out from their peers.

According to a recent McGraw-Hill Education survey, just 40 percent of college seniors said they felt their college experience was helpful in preparing for a career. Alarmingly, that percentage plummeted to 19 percent for women answering the same question.

That same survey also found that students in STEM majors were the most likely out of any group to report that they are optimistic about their career prospects (73 percent).

According to data from the nonprofit Institute for the Future, there are 6 drivers of change in today's workforce:

1. Extreme longevity: People are living longer--by 2025 the number of Americans older than 60 will increase by 70 percent
2. The rise of smart machines and systems: Technology can augment and extend our own capabilities, and workplace automation is killing repetitive jobs
3. Computational world: Increases in sensors and processing makes the world a programmable system; data will give us the ability to see things on a scale that has never been possible
4. New media ecology: New communication tools require media literacies beyond text; visual communication media is becoming a new vernacular
5. Superstructured organizations: Social technologies drive new forms of production and value creation, and social tools are allowing organizations to work at extreme scales
6. Globally connected world: Diversity and adaptability are at the center of operations--the U.S. and Europe no longer hold a monopoly on job creation, innovation, and political power

Next page: An infographic illustrates today's in-demand skills

These 6 drivers are leading employers to seek out new and unique skills--skills that are quickly becoming some of the most in-demand in the workforce.

The top 10 workforce skills of 2020 include:

1. Sense making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed. The Drivers: Rise of smart machines and systems

2. Social intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions. The Drivers: Rise of smart machines and systems, globally connected world

3. Novel and adaptive thinking: Proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based. The Drivers: Rise of smart machines and systems, globally connected world

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New toolkit aims to help campus leadership this year’s most pressing challenges

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 1:00am

The New Media Consortium (NMC), a not-for-profit organization focused on education innovation, is releasing the Scaling Solutions Across Higher Education Toolkit: The NMC Horizon Project in Action, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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College presidents: These 3 skills are mandatory for survival

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 1:00am

Higher-ed leadership is changing, and college presidents must have deeper and broader skill sets to meet increasingly complex demands, according to a new report from the Aspen Institute Task Force on the Future of the College Presidency.

“America's colleges and universities and their presidents are facing more challenges than ever—especially in light of dramatic political, demographic, and technological changes,” noted Freeman Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “The next generation of leaders will need increasing preparation and support to succeed.”

The report comes from a variety of higher-ed institutions, and a panel of 35 university and college university presidents issued the new recommendations.

During deliberations, Task Force members recognized that college presidents will need to navigate change as they apply new skill sets to new challenges.

“What the field needs now, what our institutions need, is leadership for impact. This requires a different orientation, a different set of gifts, and a willingness to stand creatively in the tension between institutional and societal interests. The conversations contained in this paper are a good indication that this new kind of leadership is already beginning to take shape.”

Three trends are prompting the need for immediate action, the leaders said:

• Enormous turnover of college presidents and senior leaders resulting from a wave of retirements
• A shrinking pool of people interested in the presidency who hold positions that traditionally precede the presidency
• Inadequate systems for preparing diverse and non-traditional candidates for the presidency

Moving forward, the "college president of the future" will likely need skills to help bring about change, use new technologies to create value for students and the university community, and will need to clearly articulate the institution's vision to garner public support.

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2017 Ranking: The 25 Best Online Liberal Arts Colleges

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 1:00am

College Choice, an authority in college and university rankings and resources, has published a ranking of the 25 Best Online Liberal Arts Colleges for 2017.

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Faculty: 7 ways to avoid social media mistakes

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 1:00am

According to faculty at various universities, there are two main ways that social networking sites are causing new concerns and considerations for faculty and institutions: frictionless sharing and context collapse.

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UCLA releases data, steps for better diversity on US campuses

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 1:00am

The Racial Heterogeneity Project today issued its report that offers a conceptual lens and actionable steps for organizations, institutions, and states to improve data practices and more accurately capture and represent the nation’s racial and ethnic diversity.

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Should HED use this popular K-12 assessment?

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 1:00am

A test to measure students’ writing skills during four years of college should be used by all colleges and universities, according to a researcher at Rice University.

The researcher found that Rice undergraduates’ writing skills improved 7 percent over their college years, and college-ranking websites could help prospective students narrow their college search by providing information on how students improve skills such as writing during their education at various schools.

The 7 percent improvement during the four-year college span that researchers found over a nine-year study period was based on measurements of Rice undergraduates’ expository and persuasive writing skills.

The study is highlighted in the article “Improvement of Writing Skills During College: A Multiyear Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Study of Undergraduate Writing Performance,” which appeared in a recent edition of Assessing Writing.

“Colleges and universities seldom perform such before-and-after comparisons to see how much -- or whether -- students improve over their college years,” said James Pomerantz, a professor of psychology at Rice and a co-author of the study. “If you scour the web looking for information about how well students progress while pursuing degrees at America’s colleges, you will be hard-pressed to find a single school that provides this information.”

Pomerantz said that college-ranking systems compare schools mainly on factors such as graduation and retention rates, but noted that these rankings can be improved simply by lowering the standards required to receive a diploma. He also noted that rankings rely heavily on schools’ reputations, which can be out of date and are deeply subjective. And while standardized test scores on entering students may be objective, Pomerantz said, top-ranked schools accept students who are so talented and well-prepared to begin with that their successful graduation and subsequent careers seem all but preordained.

“Thus it’s not clear whether selective colleges can claim any ‘value added’ credit -- whether students graduate in better shape than they arrived at college,” he said. “This is why we were interested in creating a study to evaluate how student skills improved. Writing ability seemed like a good place to begin, since it’s a fundamental skill, and one that future employers look for closely in college graduates.”

In addition to finding that Rice undergraduates improved their writing skills, Pomerantz and his fellow authors determined that this improvement was consistent for both male and female students and for those individuals majoring in both natural sciences and engineering as well as students majoring in humanities and social sciences. The finding held whether the testing was done longitudinally (tracking students over their college careers) or cross-sectionally (taking a snapshot of upper- and lower-class students at one moment in time).

The study was conducted on 303 Rice undergraduates between 2000 and 2008 and used a method modeled on clinical trials for new medicines, including random selection of subjects and blind scoring of writing samples by Educational Testing Service professionals who were unaware of the purpose of the research. The test consisted of Rice undergraduates writing answers to multiple prompts designed to tap their expository and persuasive writing skills. Students wrote their responses in campus lecture halls under timed conditions, on a fixed time of day and day of year. Their responses were then transcribed so factors such as handwriting skill would not affect their scores.

“While it is reassuring to learn that the major investment of time and effort in college -- not to mention the large financial investment -- pays off in a measurable way, more questions remain,” Pomerantz said. “How much do students improve in other skills, such as quantitative reasoning and critical thinking? Do students improve as much these days -- with our new teaching resources and learning technologies -- as they did 20 years ago? And how does the improvement measured at Rice compare with that at other institutions?”

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Global ranking: US universities are most prestigious in the world

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 1:00am

Times Higher Education (THE) has today published its World Reputation Rankings, a reputable list of the world's most prestigious universities compiled from research insight from leading global academics.

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5 ways to use the Internet of Things in higher ed

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 1:00am

There’s no doubt that the Internet of Things is developing swiftly, and that it can be used in many creative and innovative ways. Experts forecast between 20 and 100 billion connected devices will be on the market by 2020, with market expenditure increasingly accordingly. But what does the IoT mean for Higher Ed? Here are five ways that the Internet of Things can be used on your campus to engage, interact, and connect with your users.

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How can STEM universities keep pace with a lightning-fast industry?

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 1:00am

Today’s world changes fast; it only takes a few days for new technology to be adopted and become the norm. This accelerated timeline of innovation can make it hard to keep up—even for tech professionals.

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Latest higher ed innovation aims to enhance adult learning programs

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 1:00am

To further its vision of providing meaningful learning, credentials and work for every adult, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has launched a new way for colleges and universities to measure and improve their support of its adult students: Adult Learner 360™.

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New analytics will reveal online cheating patterns

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 1:00am

Drawing on information from hundreds of thousands of students at colleges and universities nationwide, examiDATA leverages sophisticated analytics to provide colleges and universities with actionable insights on the test-taking patterns of their students.

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