The integration of information and communications technologies (ICT) in higher education, especially in North America and Europe, has reached a tipping point, where one is hard-pressed to find a classroom utterly devoid of any digital
technology. in the developing world, distance education models are increasingly being implemented in postsecondary schools, particularly to promote the development of professional skills. This special issue reviews some distance education models and sheds light on how the exponential growth of on- line social interactions via increased adoption of web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, and purposeful games has impacted student learning and instructional strategies in post-secondary schools from an international perspective. we critique the most common theoretical underpinnings for distance education and report some empirical evidence of how web 2.0 technologies are being em- ployed to improve performance in higher education
classrooms in Canada and abroad.
Too many university supervisors and administrators criticize the absence of lesson closure, a dubious assessment practice likely caused by the improper use of Madeline Hunter’s lesson plan model (PDF) as a de facto checklist of eight mandatory teaching practices -- anticipatory set, objective and purpose, input, modeling, checking for understanding, guided practice, independent practice, and closure -- a custom that Hunter decried in 1985 (PDF). Although it offers multiple benefits, please don't view closure as a professional must-do.
Higher education institutions are hubs of research and intellectual activity, employing experienced scholars and
schooling the future workforce. As such, they are also often the instigators of positive changes or shifts in the outside world around them. As climate change and pollution have become a reality and a threat to our nation’s future prosperity, higher education institutions have been proponents of green initiatives, often leading the way in environmental construction, practice and purchases.
In addition to protecting the environment, green practices can go a long way in helping schools operate more efficiently and cost-effectively — measures that are desperately needed during tight fiscal times. This paper will look at some of the green trends happening in higher education today as well as the practices — including strategically purchasing technology
— that colleges and universities can employ to lower costs, become more sustainable and help the environment.
Being Green in Hard Times
The recession and its attendant effects on the budgets of higher education institutions has understandably deterred
initiatives and projects proposed during flush economic times. However, green initiatives continue to be important in higher education — spurred on by backing from the federal government. President Obama has made clear his priorities of addressing climate change — in part by reducing greenhouse gases — and lowering energy consumption.
Colleges and universities are stepping up to the plate. The higher education sector is now the largest purchaser of wind energy in the U.S. and 500 schools have institution-wide sustainability or environmental committees. In addition, 300 campuses have conducted campus sustainability assessments, with hundreds more working to implement assessments.
Higher education leaders are demonstrating their dedication to environmentally sound practices and serving as an example to the private sector and the general public. The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) is a network of over 650 college leaders who are working to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations and to promote research and education efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the Earth’s climate.
Community colleges are also working to be more sustainable despite difficult financial times. Results from the Center
for Digital Education’s 2010 Digital Community Colleges Survey showed that higher education institutions are continuing myriad efforts to put sustainable practices in place.
According to the survey:
• 54 percent of responding colleges have instruments to
measure energy efficiencies;
• 60 percent use e-waste recycling efforts and Earth-friendly
• 27 percent of responding community colleges are pursuing transparency about their carbon footprint — a 16 percent increase since last year.
The University community has an interest in improving the happiness and well-being of graduate students for a straightforward reason: to enable graduate students to do their best work. Balanced, happy people are more productive, more creative, more collaborative, better at pursuing long-term goals, more likely to find employment, and more physically and psychologically resilient, among other things. Positive emotion is associated with curiosity, interest and synthetic thinking. In contrast, depression is associated with loss of interest, helplessness, difficulty concentrating and remembering details, and worse. For more on this, see Part VI, “The Objective Benefits of Subjective Well-Being,” from the World Happiness Report.
Many higher education institutions use student satisfaction surveys given at the end of a course to measure course and instructor quality. But is that really a true measure of quality?
All things being equal, an instructor who teaches a rigorous course will likely score much lower than an instructor whose course is a little less demanding. Then there’s the whole timing of the satisfaction surveys. For the most part, students are simply glad the course is over (even if they liked it) and put little thought or time into completing the survey. Unless of course they know they failed, in which case you will get a detailed assessment of how you are boring, inflexible, out of touch, or otherwise unfit to teach.
No wonder surveys get such a bad rap. If end-of-course evaluations are the only surveys you use, there’s a lot more you can, and should, be doing. Done correctly, surveys can delivertremendous insight into what’s working, what’s not, and why. This special report features 10 articles from Online Classroom, including a three-part and a five-part series that provides stepby-
step guidance on how to use surveys and evaluations to improve online courses, programs, and instruction. You’ll learn when to use surveys, how to design effective survey questions, why it’s important to ensure anonymity, and the advantages and disadvantages of Web-based surveys.
Articles in Online Course Quality Assurance: Using Evaluations and Surveys to Improve Online Teaching and Learning include:
• Online Teaching Fundamentals: What to Evaluate, parts 1-3
• Course and Instructor Evaluation: If It’s So Good, Why Does It Feel So Bad?
• Getting Evaluation Data through Surveys: What to Consider before Getting Started
• Using Surveys to Improve Courses, Programs, and Instruction, parts 1-5
If you’re dedicated to continuous improvement, this special report is loaded with practical advice that will help you create more effective surveys before, during, and after your courseends.
This study investigates the relationship between approaches to studying and course completion in two online preparatory university courses in mathematics and computer programming. The students participating in the two courses are alike in age, gender, and approaches to learning. Four hundred and ninety-three students participating in these courses answered the short
version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). Results show that students demonstrating a deep approach to learning in either course are more likely to complete. In the mathematics course, a combination of deep and strategic approaches correlates positively with course completion. In the programming course, students who demonstrate a surface approach are less likely to complete. These results are in line with the intentions of the course designers, but they also suggest ways to improve these courses. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that ASSIST can be used to evaluate course design.
Ontario's youth are among the best educated, most diverse and digitally connected in the world.
Our investments in education, social development and inno-vation helped them weather the recent economic downturn better than their counterparts in many developed countries.
Yet the unemployment rate for Ontario youth remains unaccept-ably high and more than double that of workers aged 25-64. For young people facing multiple barriers to employment – Aboriginal youth, recent immigrants, visible minorities, and young people with disabilities – the rates are even higher.
Our future prosperity depends on giving young people the right skills, experiences and supports they need to succeed in today’s global economy.
That is why we’ve developed an unprecedented $295 million Youth Jobs Strategy that aims to help young Ontarians develop their career skills, find employment, or be their own boss.
And to help tackle this challenge and ensure success, we’re partnering with employers, educators, industry, labour and not-for-profits.
Unable to cope with the transition from secondary school to postsecondary school or the new pressures of first year, a number of students at Ontario’s universities and colleges withdraw before they graduate. What leads them to leave is still under discussion. One possibility is that they lack what are called emotional and social competencies that are often linked to academic success and retention.
Emotional Intelligence Interventions to Increase Student Success was a project undertaken at Fleming College that aimed to improve the emotional and social competencies of first semester students through the modification of a Technology Career Essential course.
The ACCC 2009-2010 survey of Aboriginal programs and services demonstrated that most colleges and institutes across the country offer targeted programs and services for Aboriginal learners. Many are expanding their reach and working with Aboriginal communities to deliver tailored post-secondary programs.
The following case studies, collected in 2011-2012, show that colleges and institutes are creating partnerships for future generations by reaching out to Aboriginal youth through innovative recruitment activities and by supporting adults’ access to learning and employment opportunities. Based on a commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal learners, colleges and institutes operate as institutions of inclusion, and provide the support services needed for student success. Programs
delivered in partnership with Aboriginal institutions ensure the specific needs of Aboriginal communities are met. The promotion of Aboriginal culture, art and knowledge is achieved through awareness activities on campuses and specialized programs that teach and celebrate Aboriginal worldviews. Programs in Aboriginal governance prepare the leaders of tomorrow.
The hidden truth about literacy in Canada
Many people find it difficult to believe that Canadaâ€”one of the leaders among the G8 industrialized nationsâ€”has a literacy problem. However, statistics show that nearly half of all adults in Canada lack the kind of prose literacy skills that are required to cope in a modern society. The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) first drew attention to this situation more than three years ago in the pages of its State of Learning in Canada: No Time for Complacency report. That report revealed that more than 48% of all Canadian adults (those over the age of 16) had low prose literacy skills, meaning that they have difficulty reading, understanding and functioning effectively with written material, according to the OECDâ€™s International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS).
In 2008 CCL went further, challenging the common belief that adult literacy rates in Canada were improving. Its
landmark report, Reading the Future: Planning to meet Canadaâ€™s future literacy needs, explained that as a result of a number of demographic trends (population growth, aging population and immigration rates) Canada will likely witness little to no overall progress in adult literacy rates over the next two decades.
According to the reportâ€™s projections, by 2031 about 47% of adults will have low prose literacy skills (below IALSS
Level 3) meaning that the face of low adult literacy in Canada will remain virtually unchanged for years to come.
The report also provided regional literacy projections as part of its interactive PALMM1 tool, a free online program that gives users the ability to calculate and compare future literacy rates for 10 provinces and three territories.
As we work to improve life outcomes for young people, their voices must guide our efforts. The report that follows includes the results st-ever, nationally representative survey of young people’s perspectives on mentoring. Core to our collective work is the fundamental belief that children and adolescents should receive the supports they need and deserve — including consistent and caring relationships with adults. By asking 18- to 21-year-olds across the country to share their opinions on and experiences with mentoring, they shared their realities with us: while the mentoring needs of our young people are not being fully met, for those with quality mentors, there is a powerful effect on their life trajectory.
While discussions on the value of education often focus on economic gains, the social returns to education are vast and can be reaped at both the individual level (e.g., better health) and societal level (e.g., lower crime rates).
Based on a combination of new and existing analyses, this paper explores the individual benefits and disadvantages associated with education, focusing on civic engagement; health/happiness; crime; and welfare/unemployment. The findings clearly suggest that investing in education has both individual and social benefits. While no causal link can be made between level of education and the returns examined, it is evident that those with some form of postsecondary education (PSE) often fare better than those with no more than a high school education.
What will the landscape of international higher education look like a generation from now? What challenges and opportunities lie ahead for universities, especially “global” research universities? And what can university leaders do to prepare for the major social, economic, and political changes—both foreseen and unforeseen—that may be on the horizon? The nine essays in this collection proceed on the premise that one way to envision “the global university” of the future is to explore how earlier generations of university leaders prepared for “global” change—or at least responded to change—in the past. As the essays in this collection attest, many of the pat-terns associated with contemporary “globalization” or “internationalization” are not new; similar processes have been underway for a long time (some would say for centuries).1 A comparative-historical look at universities’ responses to global change can help today’s higher-education leaders prepare for the future.
A consortium of six colleges in Eastern Ontario have been working together for the past eight years to support faculty as they work to design, review, and revise curriculum at both the program and course level. Eight cohorts of faculty from the contributing colleges have participated in a two-part program called Aligning and Building Curriculum (ABC). In fall 2008 this group launched an ABC Curriculum Resource Project. Phase 1 of the project focused on developing a website to house a variety of curriculum resources, tools, and web links that are useful to ABC participants as they engage in curriculum work. The resources are organized to support a conceptual framework for curriculum design (Curriculum Road Map) that was developed by this group to frame curriculum work in college programs. More information about the program can be found on the program website at http://innovation.dc-uoit.ca/abc/.
In 2009-10, with the support of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) funding, the participating colleges were able to build on this work to engage ABC participants in using a knowledge exchange network (ABC-KEN). ABC-KEN allowed them to share knowledge about curriculum and to contribute to the expansion of curriculum resources available to ABC
participants and to others working on curriculum in Ontario’s colleges. Curriculum information, tools, and links to curriculum cases and the ABC-KEN site can be found on the ABC Curriculum Resources website at http://abcresource.loyalistcollege.ca/index.htm.
Given the success of the 2009-10 project, which provided insights into the use of a knowledge exchange network to mobilize, shape, extend, and share knowledge and tools for aligning and building curriculum, the ABC Planning Team was eager to address an additional research question:
How can curriculum resource materials (policies, tools, processes, and practices) used in Ontario’s community colleges be identified, shared, adopted, and extended to build capacity for curriculum development in the college system?
Student wellness is an essential component of academic success in higher education and subsequent opportunities in the labor market. The Ohio State University Office of Student Life’s Student Wellness Center uses a model that includes nine key dimensions of wellness: career, creative, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, physical, social and spiritual.
Social media, when used in a corporate setting, represents a balancing act of rewards and risks for IT, business and senior management in virtually any organization or industry:
â€¢ Rewards in the context of new business opportunities that can be created, the competitive differentiation that a company can enjoy from intelligent use of social media, the ability to build customer loyalty, and the new channels of communications that open up with current and prospective customers. Risks from the inappropriate content that can be posted on social media sites, the malware that can enter a network through short URLs or phishing attacks, and the failure to retain
important business records posted on social media. In short, although social media is a relatively new communication and information management channel relative to more traditional tools like email or instant messaging, the same fundamental
management requirements apply: social media must be monitored for malware and inappropriate content, and relevant business records sent through social media must be retained and easily accessible for as long as necessary.
There are four important points made in this white paper:
Social media management â€“ by virtue of the sheer numbers of social media users and the importance of the applications for which the technology is used â€“ cannot be ignored by corporate decision makers.
Social media creates a number of potential risks for firms of any size and across all industries. These risks are focused primarily on a) the ingress of malware that could wreak financial or other havoc in an organization; b) the potential for employees to post content that could harm their employer; and c) not retaining business records that must be preserved to satisfy legal, regulatory or other obligations. Any organization â€“ whether or not it sanctions the use of social media must develop detailed policies focused on how and when social media can and cannot be used. The technologies exist to monitor and archive social media content in a way that can minimize corporate risk â€“ every organization should evaluate and deploy technologies that will meet their requirements.
Section 2 concerns the ways in which teaching and learning at a distance is being transformed in various international and practical contexts. Arguably, distance education has been characterised by transformation since its earliest correspondence days through to the integration of online media. Tony Bates pursues this latter theme in his opening chapter for the section where the range of new media and their implications and transformative features in distance education and from distance education to mainstream educational practices are discussed.
Distance education, however, is not merely educational which is particularly mediated by communications media; it is also an approach to education in which the educators, designers, support staff and students are engaged differently and often for purposes that have particular social and policy imperatives. As Liz Burge and Jody Polec argue, there are elements of change and consistency for the people involved which can be tracked through the evolution of distance education from its inception. Chère Campbell Gibson explores the ways in which non-formal education in the United States have been transformed by both new technologies and the changing circumstances and needs of the population for non-formal education, especially as lifelong learning.
There is a lot of talk about high levels of youth unemployment and underemployment and the increasing difficulties faced by young Canadians as they seek to make a successful transition from education to work. But talk is cheap, and significant government and employer action has been notably lacking.
This report details some key dimensions of the youth jobs problem. It highlights the Conservative government’s cuts to federal youth employment programs and calls for concrete action now, from both government and large employers to create more and
better jobs for young Canadians.
We are urging the development of a bold Youth Job Guarantee that would ensure those under age 25 have access to a good job, paid internship, or training position within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.
As Canada confronts growing competition throughout the world, the human resources supporting our business enterprises are becoming ever more important.
Canadian businesses began to report serious problems finding the workers they needed as the Canadian economy slowly grew out of the recession.
The evidence is clear. The demographic shift resulting in retirements, a deepening shortfall of skilled workers and the growing mismatch between the skills needed and those available has evolved into a skills crisis. The Canadian economy faces a deep structural problem.
2012 has been the tipping point for many Canadian businesses confronting skills and labour shortages. A critical issue that had been hidden by the recession is now fully apparent.
RBC Economics Research depicts the overall gap that will develop as the number of workers available is outpaced by those needed over the next 20 years.
Despite the tremendous growth of distance education, retention remains its Achilles’ heel.
Estimates of the failed retention rate for distance education undergraduates range from 20 to 50 percent. Distance education administrators believe the failed retention rate for online courses may be 10 to 20 percent higher than for face-to-face courses.
As an increasing number of colleges and universities identify online education as a critical component to their long-term strategy, the issue of retention can no longer be ignored. It is mandatory for everyone who touches the distance learner to understand why these students leave their online courses, and what it will take to keep them there. Featuring a collection of top articles from Distance Education Report, this new Faculty Focus special report provides practical strategies for improving online student retention, engagement and satisfaction. Articles include:
• 11 Tips for Improving Retention of Distance Learning Students
• Understanding the Impact of Attrition on Your School
• Taking a Holistic View of Student Retention
• Eight Suggestions to Help You Get Your Retention Act Together Now
• Online Mentoring Builds Retention
• Nine Truths about Recruitment and Retention
• Finding Helpful Patterns in Student Engagement
With the strategic importance of distance education courses on the rise, this report will help you understand the key variables that impact the retention of your web-based students and adopt proactive strategies proven to mitigate potential retention problems.