Educational Technology

Flipping Lifts Learning Outcomes in Science Course

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 00:40

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A five-year experiment among students taking an upper-level undergraduate science course found that the flipped and active model improved student outcomes, particularly among females and students with lower grade point averages. The research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Yale University suggested that the better outcomes were a result “in part [of] students interacting with course material in a more timely and accurate manner.” The results were reported in the December 21, 2015 issue of CBE Life Sciences Education.

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No More Pencils, No More Books

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 00:35

By Will Oremus, Slate

The students in Whelan’s class are all using the same program, called ALEKS. But peek over their shoulders and you’ll see that each student is working on a different sort of problem. A young woman near the corner of the room is plugging her way through a basic linear equation. The young man to her left is trying to wrap his mind around a story problem involving fractions. Nearby, a more advanced student is simplifying equations that involve both variables and fractions. At first glance, each student appears to be at a different point in the course. And that’s true, in one sense. But it’s more accurate to say that the course is literally different for each student. Just a third of the way through the semester, a few of the most advanced students are nearly ready for the final exam. Others lag far behind. They’re all responsible for mastering the same concepts and skills. But the order in which they tackle them, and the pace at which they do so, is up to the artificially intelligent software that’s guiding them through the material and assessing their performance at every turn.

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Managing Macs & PCs in Online Courses

Educational Technology News Blog - Wed, 11/04/2015 - 00:28

by Anastasia Salters

As universities often think of online course delivery as entirely web-based, the requirements to take an online class are often minimal and list Windows and Mac OS as equivalent choices. This will continue to present challenges for any project-based class that takes advantage of the computer as a tool, and not just a web browser. The web browser has served as a great cross-platform equalizer for the delivery of many types of content, and in-browser production tools (such as the Twine 2.x) are growing in sophistication. However, downloadable software still provides levels of interface and capabilities not yet easily replicated on the web. I believe bringing project-based learning to online courses is an essential part of making them meaningful for students who are engaging in a technologically-mediated educational environment. However, until true cross-platform support for software becomes standard, we must take into account these different platforms and knowledge levels when designing any such content.

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