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Synthesis 2013

Dartmouth Strategic Planning

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Virtual Lab Experiment

The California State University System is spending $17.2 million on education technology to break the so-called course bottleneck that prevents students from advancing, prompts some to drop out and consumes state resources. By investing in virtual labs to end in-the-flesh lab experimentation for students who are not biology majors, Cal State will reduce personnel costs and increase course capacity. Rivard, Ry. "Virtual Lab Experiment." Inside HigherEd, 23 May, 2013. Read article »

Laptop U: Has the future of college moved online?

A commentary on the current MOOC landscape. The arguments for the perceived benefits and drawbacks of MOOC's are explored. Heller, Nathan."Laptop U." The New Yorker, 20 May 2013. Read article »

Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden

Educators are harnessing online materials to meet the toughest challenges in Higher education: giving more students access to college, and helping them graduate. Lewin, Tamar. "Colleges Adapt Online Courses to Ease Burden." New York TImes, 29 April 2013. Read article »

Are our universities ready for a paradigm shift?

“Is the time right for significant change – perhaps even a fundamental paradigm shift within higher education?” “There is no question that calls for fundamental change within higher education abound.” “In commenting on the economic challenges we are experiencing today, Arthur Levine of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation described the change as a shift from a ‘national, analogue, industrial economy’ to one that is ‘global, digital and information-based.’” Hughes, Julia Christensen. “Are our universities ready for a paradigm shift?” The Globe and Mail, 11 March 2013. Read article »

Measuring the MOOC Dropout Rate

A study of a Fall 2012 MOOC is beginning to shed light on the high dropout rates commonly associated with massive open online courses. The Duke study reveals that the simple formula for determining dropout rates - comparing the number of students who register to the number who finish- may not capture underlying trends in the motivations of MOOC students. “I wouldn’t say we have one dropout rate for all of them,” says Jennifer DeBoer, an MIT postdoctoral associate who is working on another study to categorize people who take MOOCs. “We have different students who are participating for different reasons.” Education technology consultant Phil Hill may be one step ahead of DeBoer- he has created four categories of MOOC users: “lurkers,” “drop-ins,” “passive participants” and “active participants.” Rivard, Ry. “Measuring the MOOC Dropout Rate.” Inside Higher Ed, 8 March 2013. Read article »

Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers

In January Coursera unveiled Signature Track, a service designed to confirm online students’ identities by matching photo IDs with webcam shots and by identifying their unique keystroke typing patterns. Since then other technologies have emerged for combating online cheating, such as remote proctoring through the use of webcams. In this model, a remote proctor warns a student via videoconferencing software when his or her eyes start to wander, “just as a classroom monitor might tell students to keep their eyes on their own papers. For an overwhelming majority of people, that warning suffices, said Jarrod Morgan, a co-founder.” In another model, test-takers are recorded by camera and then, later, proctors independently watch a faster-speed video of each student. Eisenberg, Anne. “Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers.” The New York Times, 2 March 2013. Read article »

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We want to scour the world to try to find those things that strike us as truly forward-looking. President Jim Yong Kim

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