eLearning Digest No 169 – September 2018

Picture of conkers

The summer’s over, it’s back to school and conkers are falling from the trees outside my office window, so it must be time for the September edition of the eLearning Digest. Other recent editions are listed here.

This digest contains:

  • UK conferences & workshops
  • Online learning and adult education MOOCs
  • UK HE news
  • MOOC news
  • Commercial news
  • Industry news
  • Short news items

Professional Development

UK Conferences & Workshops

4
Oct
London Commissioning Content: Working effectively with authors and editors. [ALPSP]
6-7
Oct
London International Conference on Education, Teaching and Learning: Interdisciplinarity in a Knowledge-based Society. [CONAL]
9
Oct
London Higher Education Conference & Exhibition: Enhancing Student Experience in Higher Education. [GOVNET]
9-11
Oct
London Artificial Intelligence Conference: Putting AI to Work. [O’Reilly]
10
Oct
Manchester Curriculum confidence: Designing for digital capabilities in the curriculum. [Jisc]
16-17
Oct
Birmingham World of Learning Conference & Exhibition. [WOLCE]
16-17
Oct
London Internet Librarian International Library Innovation Conference. [Clayton Wright]
19
Oct
Walton Hall Computers & Learning Research Group (CALRG) 40th Anniversary Conference. [Rebecca Galley]
22-25
Oct
Dublin The Ireland International Conference on Education (IICE). [Clayton Wright]
26-28
Oct
London Mozfest: where passionate technologists, educators, and makers come together to explore the future of the open Web. [Mozilla]
30
Oct
Salford Widening Participation in Education Conference: Improving access and social mobility. [University of Salford]
30 Oct – 2 Nov Dublin The Universal Design and Higher Education in Transformation Congress (UDHEIT2018). [Clayton Wright]
31 Oct – 1 Nov Liverpool Advance HE’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference. [ECU]
5-6
Nov
London Wonkfest 18: two solid days of cutting edge debate and endlessly interesting discussion. [Wonkhe]
7
Nov
London An Introduction to Agile Project Management for Publishing. [ALPSP]
8
Nov
London The future for the legal education and training framework. [Westminster Forum]
15
Nov
London Next steps for improving STEM delivery at university. [Westminster Forum]
29
Nov
London Association of University Administrators (AUA) Autumn Conference 2018: Rising to the challenges of change. [Clayton Wright]
6
Dec
London Introduction to Higher Education. [AUA]
11
Dec
Online 2018 ALT Online Winter Conference. [ALT]
21-23
Jan
Oxford 8th Academic International Conference on Multi-Disciplinary Studies and Education – AICMSE 2019. [CONAL]
30-31
Jan
Birmingham STEM Conference 2019: Delivering Next Generation Teaching in STEM. [HEA]
2-4
Mar
Cambridge IEEE–2019 8th International Conference on Educational and Information Technology (ICEIT 2019). [CONAL]
27-29
Mar
London 2019 2nd International Conference on Big Data and Education (ICBDE 2019). [CONAL]
15
Nov
London Technology in HE: the future of learning environments, the use of AI and the impact of online courses. [Westminster Forum]
24-26
Jul
Belfast Twenty-Sixth International Conference on Learning. [CONAL]
10-11
Apr
Galway OER19 Recentering open: critical and global perspectives. [ALT]

Online learning and adult education MOOCs

24
Sept
6 wks x 7 hrs What future for education?, University of London [Coursera]
1
Oct
4 wks x 1 hrs Academic Integrity: Values, Skills, Action, University of Auckland [FutureLearn]
8
Oct
4 wks x 4 hrs The Online Educator: People and Pedagogy, The Open University [FutureLearn]
8
Oct
2 wks x 4 hrs Enhance apprentices’ experience with digital technology, University of Leeds [FutureLearn]
8
Oct
2 wks x 4 hrs Blended Learning Essentials: Digitally-Enriched Apprenticeships, University of Leeds/UCL Institute of Education [FutureLearn]
15
Oct
3 wks x 6 hrs Multimodal Learning Analytics, University of Texas [edX]
22
Oct
4 wks x 3 hrs Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching, University of Southampton [FutureLearn]
22
Oct
8 wks x 6 hrs Instructional Design and Technology: Learning Theories, University of Maryland [edX]
22
Oct
8 wks x 8 hrs Instructional Design: Digital Media, New Tools and Technology, University of Maryland [edX]
22
Oct
3 wks x 2 hrs Using Virtual Scenarios to create Effective Learning, St. George’s University of London [FutureLearn]
22
Oct
6 wks x 5 hrs Digitizing Higher Education, University of Texas Arlington [edX]
3
Dec
3 wks x 4 hrs Blended Learning Essentials: Embedding Practice, University of Leeds/UCL Institute of Education [FutureLearn]

Self-paced online learning and adult education MOOCs and BOCs

A selection of short courses can be found on the OU Learning Design self-paced learning webpage. These can be studied at your convenience to fit in with other commitments.


External News

UK HE

[BBC; Wonkhe]

Scepticism over how student finance is recorded may result in an overhaul of tuition fees. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is to decide if changes are needed in public reporting of student finance costs. Currently, student loans are not shown as a negative figure in public finances, making them seem invisible, even though the outstanding debt to the public purse is standing at £118bn and continues to rise. Even more shockingly, but not really a surprise, it is predicted that as much as 61% of loans for the 2017-18 cohort of students will be written off after 30 years at a cost of £28bn.

On the other side of student loans, students are being disadvantaged by the ‘one shot’ model that requires students to progress between qualification levels without a break of more than one year (less when moving from HNC to HND). This issue impacts the ability for institutions to widen participation. It’s also no surprise that the number of part-time learners over 30 studying Level 4 and 5 declined by 70 per cent between 2009/10 and 2016/17. These students are hit twice as hard by increasing fees and limiting access to student loans, contributing to the UK skills shortage.

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M(O)OC News

[Campus Technology; EdSurge]

Unable to keep up with the pace of change, employers seeking to provide staff with quality training on a budget are turning to MOOC provider Coursera for a catalogue of courses that meet their individual needs. Over 1,400 companies are hiring Coursera in this way has contributed to their growth, but what has become clear is that their model can cater for a whole range of individual and corporate needs.

Compared to MOOCs at the start of the decade, in 2018, fewer are massive and fewer are open. The whole face of MOOCs has changed considerably, partly for the better, partly not. The emergence of MOOC-based degrees is offering students more choice, but the availability of free education for the underserved – promised originally – has reduced in favour of monetization.

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Commercial News

[EdSurge]

Growth expected for UK-based Perlego, who offer subscriptions to access library content has raised $4.8 million of funding through Venture fund ADV and angel investors. Funds will be used to grow the company across the UK and Europe. Since its launch in January 2017, it has already signed up 650 publishers.

Meanwhile, New York City-based CIP Capital are investing an undisclosed sum in Carnegie learning who, as a result, will merge with New Mountain Learning—another CIP owned EdTech company. The combined operations will use the Carnegie Learning name which began at Carnegie Mellon University, in the 1980s, when researchers developed an adaptive-tutoring math system for use in high schools and colleges.

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Designing e-learning

[Forbes; ATD]

Almost sixty years ago, Donald Bitzer introduced the world’s first computer-based education system. Within ten years, that system could support 1,000 simultaneous users. Yet in 2018, e-learning is everywhere and available to anyone with access to a computer. After reaching a value of $107 Billion in 2015, the global e-learning market is predicted to reach a value of $325 billion by 2025.

While increased availability and future growth provides an incredible opportunity for learners, it creates challenges for providers in a growing competitive market—the key to success lies in design. Designing effective e-learning requires collaboration with subject experts and developers throughout the project, feeding into definition, planning, monitoring, evaluating and feeding into lessons learned. Design needs to take learners into consideration to ensure the end result caters for their needs and provides them with a supportive and engaging experience.

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 Who does online education really serve?

[EdSurge]

Even though online education increases access, the end result varies between learners. In an interview with two learning experts, EdSurge seek to discover who online education really serves. Research has shown that a large number of students engaging in distance online learning are adult learners, often balancing their studies with work and family commitments. It may therefore be somewhat unfair to compare retention and pass rates with younger learners continuing in face-to-face education. However, the real question should be how can educators support online learners better?

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Student performance alert systems

[Inside Higher Ed]

Monitoring individual students’ performance with tech may be of some benefit in certain settings, but it can’t support students with the causes of reducing performance like a tutor can. Trying to interpret data and guess the cause may even distract tutors from the job of teaching and has led to delays in addressing issues in time to help students when they need it. Multiple trials have had mixed results, but more needs to be known about the potential impact on student motivation when student-facing systems predict performance.

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Fear of being marked down?

[Inside Higher Ed]

It’s usually students who worry about their grades, but teachers and institutions feel it too. In an era of constant evaluation, league tables and satisfaction surveys, trying something new is risky and can create a barrier to innovation. It creates a conflict between setting trends and following them.

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The value of part-time study

[Wonkhe]

Part-time study benefits individuals and the economy as a whole. Many part-time students are already in work and looking to advance their current career or reskill and move into a new career. The skills developed through balancing study with work and family commitments are transferable and add to the value of qualifications gained. In monetary terms, completing a part-time degree in your late-thirties is associated with increased lifetime earnings for individuals and, for the Treasury, an increase in tax revenue.

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Students find digital solutions

[Jisc]

Students, as end-users, see different problems to university staff. This puts them in the best place to tackle issues that matter to them. Seven teams toom part in Jisc’s annual student ideas competition, each bringing along their own ideas for technological educational improvement based on experience. Two of the teams produced more than just a prototype, delivering app store-ready solutions including a quiz app that promotes interaction and monitors students’ receptiveness in lectures.

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Transforming HE with immersive technology

[Educause; EdSurge; EdScoop]

Development of immersive tech continues at a rapid pace, helped by the increased availability of inexpensive VR headsets. AR glasses are not so affordable yet, but development of augmented experiences continues. With the latest mixed reality headset delivered to developers last month, this is expected to be the next big breakthrough for education. Immersive projects are already delivering benefits in English classes, nursing, medical and science education, as well as enabling role-play simulations, but the future landscape includes virtual worlds controlled by AI to provide adaptive scenarios and experiences.


Shorts


And Finally…

[BBC]

One for sorrow, two for joy… we all remember that, but who remembers the part about the magpie being befriended by a whippet? Mike the Magpie from the Lancashire village of Sabden has hit the news this week accompanied by best friend Boo. Among many things not expected of magpies, Mike is a real chatterbox and likes to go down to the local pub for a drink.