Sunday, September 30, 2012

NPR > Online Education Grows Up, And For Now, It's Free

Online education isn't particularly new. It has been around in some form since the 1990s, but what is new is the speed and scale in which online learning is growing.

In barely a year, many of the most prestigious research universities in the world – including Stanford, Caltech, Oxford and Princeton — have started to jump onto the online bandwagon.

Those universities now offer classes through consortiums like Coursera, a tech company that's partnered with more than 30 of the top universities in the world to offer online classes from its course catalogue — for free. Other companies offering online courses include Udacity and edX.


Duration > 18:14

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Purdue Passport > Digital Badges Show Students' Skills Along with Degree

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Digital badges, icons that represent academic achievements or skills smaller than a college degree, are an increasingly popular way for universities to acknowledge the breadth of student learning.

Kyle Bowen, director of informatics in Information Technology at Purdue, says badges are an exciting new concept that is being adopted across higher education.
"Badges become a way to recognize learning in all of its forms," Bowen says. "Passport provides a platform for anyone who wants to deliver learning credentials. From creation of the challenge to creating the actual badge image itself, and then a way to display earned badges, it's all built into the platform.
Through their college careers, students gain knowledge and skills that may not be well-represented in their college degrees. A student may have learned practical skills such as knowing how to write HTML code, have earned a prestigious scholarship or served as an officer in a student organization.
Purdue's Passport platform integrates with the popular Mozilla Open Badge Infrastructure, including Mozilla Backpack. This system, developed by the same organization that develops the Firefox Web browser, allows the digital badge to include metadata such as who issued the badge, how it was earned and when it was earned; users display their badges through the Backpack site. Badges are currently in use or in development at institutions such as MIT, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California-Davis and Seton Hall. Organizations outside of higher education are issuing badges, too, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The U.S. departments of Veterans Affairs and Education, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the movie studio Disney-Pixar.
Purdue's Passport platform consists of two apps: The Passport app allows instructors to set the steps, or challenges, a student must achieve to earn the badge. The app also allows an instructor  or adviser to create a badge by choosing from several templates.
The second part of the platform is Passport Profile. This is an app designed for tablets that allows users to display their badges, both Passport badges as well as badges from their Mozilla Backpack.
Among the first uses of badges at Purdue will be for students who have successfully completed courses through nanoHUB-U, a collection of short courses in nanotechnology offered online to an international audience.
Passport and Passport Profile are two of six classroom apps created by the Purdue Studio project. The apps can be used by instructors or students to enhance the traditional classroom experience.
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Sunday, September 2, 2012

ELI Webinar > Digital Badges and Meaningful Microcredentials > October 15 2012 > 1 PM ET


Join Malcolm Brown, ELI director, and Veronica Diaz, ELI associate director, as they moderate this webinar with Jonathan Finkelstein, founder and executive producer of LearningTimes, and director of the BadgeStack Project.

We will explore how informal and nontraditional learning environments are impacting how we think about education. In particular, we'll discuss peer-to-peer learning trends and unpack the need for microcredentials and badge-empowered learning, which Finkelstein is pioneering as part of major initiatives with groups such as the Smithsonian Institution, the New York City Department of Education, Yale University, WCET, and programs for schools, museums, libraries, and other nonprofit organizations across the globe. Finkelstein will share examples of new educational programs and online communities that leverage digital badges to build ongoing relationships with learners, foster engagement, and acknowledge learning that often goes unrewarded or unrecognized. Badges also help learners showcase discrete skills and competencies that have value in their current professional and social lives. We’ll look at how even formal educational programs can leverage the benefits of microcredentials.

Source and Links to Registration (ELI Members Only) and Resources Available At