“Worth Reading” is a hand-picked weekly collection of new and not-so-new articles, ideas, events and other items for busy professionals in higher education that prefer to spend their reading wisely.
By Keith Hampson
An introduction a major project we are launching with our partners, drawing on support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of learning analytics and personalized learning in a variety of institutional contexts.
By Melissa Layne, Wallace E. Boston and Phil Ice
A useful discussion about the diversity of student life cycles. Learning data can dramatically improve our ability to track and predict student needs.
Excerpt: “During the past decade, the convenience of online learning has afforded postsecondary students of all ages the opportunity to attend and complete online programs—especially to those students who have full and/or part-time employment, dependents, and those maintaining busy schedules. The benefits of taking online courses include flexibility, convenience, and cost-effective educational opportunities anywhere and anytime. Despite these well-known affordances, postsecondary institutions offering online courses are also fully aware of the challenges concomitant with this learning environment—most notably, student retention. Numerous studies have approached the retention, progression, and completion issue from a variety of angles attempting to predict, classify, identify, and increase opportunities for students to reach their personal academic goals. Rather than repositioning and assuming a new angle, the authors of this study chose to fuse these well established–yet isolated angles. Therefore, the purpose of this study was (1) to identify significant student demographic predictors among students who dis-enroll (“stoppers”), reenroll (“swirlers” and/or “shoppers”), and/or complete their online program of study (“succeeders”), and (2) to calculate the variance among the significant predictors.”
Four decades before the MOOC, a 1970 essay anticipates the potential boon of an education by computer.
Excerpted: “Computer-aided instruction is often misleadingly described as ‘replacing teachers with computers.’ This interpretation implies mechanizing, rather than personalizing, education. Instead, we should strive for an interaction between teacher and student through the medium of a computer system. The goal is to make it possible for a teacher to provide individual guidance to many students instead of a few.
From “Computers in Human Society: For Good or Ill?” by MIT professor Robert M. Fano, from the March 1970 Technology Review.