The Georgia Institute of Technology organized a national media roundtable Thursday to discuss the current state of online learning in higher education and how technology will help shape its future.
Provost Rafael L. Bras hosted the event, “Technology and the Future of Online Higher Education,” at the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s headquarters in New York City.
There was universal agreement that technology maneuvered higher education to a new trajectory where teaching and learning are changing for the better. Panelists were optimistic about a new student-centered approach to higher education and agreed that massive open online courses (MOOCs) paved the way for that new path.
“What we’re talking about is bringing education to many more students,” Bras said.
Panelists included the leading online platform providers – Anant Agarwal, the CEO of edX; Vivek Goel, the chief academic strategist for Coursera; and Sebastian Thrun, the CEO of Udacity.
Other panelists included: Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education; Dewayne Matthews, vice president for Strategy Development at the Lumina Foundation; Jason Palmer, deputy director for Postsecondary Success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Amin Saberi, CEO of NovoEd; Scott Smith, the senior vice president for Human Resources Operations at AT&T; and Nathan Urban, the interim provost at Carnegie Mellon University.
In addition to Bras, other Georgia Tech panelists were: Nelson Baker, dean of Professional Education; Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities; and Zvi Galil, dean of the College of Computing.
Joining the panelists were several reporters, who asked questions and helped guide the conversation. The reporters were: Nichole Dobo, The Hechinger Report; Tim Goral, University Business; Devon Haynie, U.S. News & World Report; Natalie Kitroeff, Bloomberg Businessweek; Melissa Korn, The Wall Street Journal and Tamar Lewin, The New York Times.
Galil and others touted Georgia Tech’s online Master of Science degree in Computer Science, which launched in January and currently enrolls more than 1,268 students. The degree is a collaboration among Tech, AT&T and Udacity.
The program’s low tuition cost — $6,600, compared to $46,000 for out-of-state tuition for an on-campus degree — has made it accessible and affordable to many students.
One of the more engaging discussions focused on how to improve access for all students. The panelists noted there are tremendous opportunities to expose more students to college and help them succeed.
These opportunities have yet to be achieved, but they are achievable, Bras said.
“A lot of things we think we can not do with technology we can do and, in fact, are already doing,” Bras said. “We are on the right track. The future is bright.”
Learners now have the opportunity to enroll in 18 new Specializations—a targeted sequence of courses designed to build high-demand skills and subject matter expertise. Specializations were introduced in January 2014 as a solution to rethink how individuals seek timely, relevant education to further their lives and career in an evolving market environment.
Many skills that are critical today did not exist 15 years ago. It’s often difficult for a working adult to go back to school and get a degree,” says Coursera Co-Founder and President Daphne Koller. “We are working with our university partners to create a new, targeted unit of education that’s more than a single course and less than a full degree, which can help people rapidly acquire expertise in a new and relevant topic.”
Over the past nine months, we have seen a surge in worldwide demand with more than 1.5 million learners participating in Specializations. We’ve also seen the number of Verified Certificates (VCs) issued in 2014 double in volume due to Specializations. Over 60% of all learners earning a Verified Certificate share it on LinkedIn to boost their profile.
"Faculty from our nationally ranked computer science, advertising, and business departments are pooling their expertise to create in-depth experiences that will give learners eminently marketable skills in cutting-edge fields, validated with a certification. The opportunity to share our insights and vision of these rapidly evolving areas with such a broad and committed audience is an exciting prospect for us." Deanna Raineri, Associate Dean, Illinois
Coursera has also seen a great response from universities, professors and companies looking to join forces and be at the forefront in creating new pathways to career success. To bridge the gap, Specializations offer a unique final project that allows learners to apply what they’ve learned to relevant, real-world scenarios. For example, the final project in the Data Science Specialization offered by Johns Hopkins University is in collaboration with the predictive text analytics company, SwiftKey. Learners have the opportunity to work with SwiftKey engineers to develop text prediction systems. Coursera has also partnered with Google to highlight the top 5 Android final projects in the Google Play store—a tangible way to immediately demonstrate your skillset in an impactful way.
"We see data science as a core competency, like reading or writing or math. What started as a meeting of the minds at JHU turned into a brand-new set of classes created specifically for Coursera. We've been astounded by the learner response, and by the quality of the work being produced. To be able to create something that caters to aspiring data scientists across disciplines who want to take the next step in their careers brings a whole new definition to being an educator who has an impact on the world.”
“We envision new credentials for the 21st century, and are working closely with our partner institutions, as well as private sector companies, to make this vision a reality,” explains CEO Rick Levin. So whether you aspire to be a Project Manager, a Cloud Computing expert, a Digital Marketer or want to master any field, build your skills fast with Specializations.
Improving Business Finances and Operations - University of Illinois
Digital Marketing - University of Illinois
Cloud Computing - University of Illinois
Data Mining - University of Illinois
Interaction Design - University of California, San Diego
Introduction to Project Management Principles and Practices - University of California, Irvine
Business Communication for Career Readiness - University of California, Irvine
Practical Management for Career Readiness - University of California, Irvine
Business Tools for Career Readiness - University of California, Irvine
Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business - University of Maryland
臺大土木CAD/BIM專項課程 - Nanyang Technological University
程序设计与算法 Fundamentals of Programming and Algorithms - Peking University
Become a Social Scientist: Methods and Statistics - University of Amsterdam
Perception, Action and the Brain - Duke University
Content Strategy for Professionals in Organizations - Northwestern University
Human Computer Interaction: User Experience and User Interface Design - Georgia Institute of Technology
Statics & Dynamics: Foundations in Engineering - Georgia Institute of Technology
Healthcare Informatics & Data Analytics - Georgia Institute of Technology
Over the past 15 years, courses that use a mixture of face-to-face and online learning methods, such as blended, hybrid, flipped, and inverted courses, have gained many supporters and skeptics in higher education. Studies that compare mixed method courses to face-to-face or online courses have conflicting results: some find improved learning outcomes and some find no significant differences. This talk argues that these conflicting results are due to inconsistent or vague definitions of hybrid, blended, flipped, and inverted courses. To address this problem, the Mixed Instructional eXperience (MIX) taxonomy was developed to define these terms based on two pedagogically relevant dimensions: how instruction is delivered and what type of instruction is delivered. Using the MIX taxonomy to re-classify courses, analysis of this literature revealed four themes in the results that illuminate how different teaching methods affect learning outcomes. The findings of this analysis both validate the taxonomy as a tool to categorize courses and further knowledge in this field.
Richard Lipton, a professor and the Frederick G. Storey Chair in Computing in the School of Computer Science, added a second major award to his credentials this year as he was recently named the winner of the 2014 Knuth Prize for his contributions to the foundations of computer science.
In receiving the award, Lipton was cited for “inventing new computer science and mathematical techniques to tackle foundational and practical problems in a wide range of areas in graph algorithms, computation, communication, program testing, and DNA computing.”
The Knuth Prize is jointly presented by ACM’s Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory (SIGACT) and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on the Mathematical Foundations of Computing (TCMF). The award will be presented at the Foundations of Computer Science (FOCS) Conference in Philadelphia, PA, from Oct. 18 to 21, where Lipton will give the Knuth Prize Lecture.
Earlier this year, Lipton was elected to the 2014 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. With the Knuth Prize, Lipton joins a short list of extraordinary computer scientists.
“The Knuth Prize means a great deal,” Lipton said. “It is very exciting to be recognized by your peers for work that spans over 40 years. I feel very special and thankful to have been selected.”
Lance Fortnow, chair of the School of Computer Science, offered his praise:
"Dick's work has had a major impact in quite diverse areas across theoretical computer science and has heavily influenced many researchers including myself. I can think of no one more deserving of this award."
In presenting the award, the selection committee cited:
- Lipton’s development of the planar separator theorem. Working with Turing Award winner Robert Tarjan, Lipton created a “divide-and-conquer” approach to solving difficult network problems by breaking problems into two or more sub-problems of the same or related type.
- Lipton’s pioneering work in the design of algorithms that make random choices in order to solve computational programs. He showed that when working with complex algebraic problems, it was sufficient to check a program by running it against randomly chosen but related inputs and comparing the results for consistency.
- His development of a fundamental theorem in circuit complexity with Richard Karp, another Turing Award recipient. This demonstrated that NP-complete problems are unlikely to be solved by the best algorithms even with specialized hardware.
- His status as an early developer of communication complexity, the study of the number of bits of communication needed for agents to solve computational tasks, and in DNA computing, which uses the combination and replication of the vast numbers of DNA strands that fit in a test tube as a basis for parallel computation.
The Knuth Prize is named in honor and recognition of Turing Award winner Donald Knuth, professor emeritus at Stanford University. Knuth is well-known for his ongoing multivolume series, The Art of Computer Programming, which played a critical role in establishing and defining computer science as a rigorous, intellectual discipline.
Lipton earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Case Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He taught at Yale, the University of California in Berkeley and Princeton before joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 2000.
Lipton explores one of the most daunting puzzles in computation theory in his blog Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP and recently published his second book based on the blog, People, Problems, and Proofs: Essays from Gödel's Lost Letter, which he co-authored with Kenneth W. Regan of the University of Buffalo.
The Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) has opened a new Studio/Innovation Lab located in the Klaus Advanced Computing Building.
The digitally enabled classroom and production studio is jointly managed by C21U and Georgia Tech Professional Education on behalf of the Provost. The space offers the ultimate studio experience for faculty and instructors producing MOOC content and experimenting with innovative educational approaches.
The lab allows instructors to experiment with new forms of blended or flipped classrooms. It also allows for interaction with an external group, and is ideal for presentations, interviewing remote experts, and bridging global classrooms.
“This facility is intended as an experimental laboratory for pedagogical innovation,” said Rich DeMillo, director of C21U. “If there are things you want to try as a Georgia Tech faculty member, come to us with your ideas and let's talk. We're looking for innovative things that can't be done in other classrooms.”
“One obvious example is to use the space for flipped classrooms. It will enable instructors to watch what students do in such an environment and allow for the possibility to capture a lot of learning data and relate them to pedagogy,” he added.
The Klaus studio works in tandem with the main production complex for interactive instructional media at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Tech Square. While the studios are similarly outfitted with many shared features, each possesses its own unique menu of extra options.
The state of the art facility includes a highly connected classroom, control room, and broadcast quality studio, as well as a dedicated support team. At this time there is no cost for faculty to use the space.
Interested parties should email email@example.com for more information on touring the space or to make a reservation for its use.
Join the staff of C21U in wishing Paul M.A. Baker good luck and continued success as he transitions into his new role as the Senior Director, Research and Strategic Innovation at Georgia Tech's Center for Advanced Communications Policy (CACP).
He will continue to serve as a contributing researcher for C21U.
Mike McCracken, C21U's emeritus director of Online Course Development and Innovation and Principal Research Scientist has retired after 30 years of service to Georgia Tech.
He was honored on campus by the many faculty and staff members he had worked with over the years.
Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities was the keynote speaker at the Colorado University (CU) Spring Online Symposium 2014 in Denver on May 22.
Regular people are using readily available tools and technology to make extraordinary things. DeMillo spoke to teachers, designers and technologists as they explore the Maker movement in the context of teaching online.
The physical implications of the digital transformation of higher education are becoming visible.
Rich DeMillo, a former dean of the College of Computing, last week was named as the first Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Chair of Computing, the newest endowed chair for the College.
Alan Warren, vice president of engineering of Google and vice-chair of the College of Computing’s Advisory Board, announced the College’s newest endowed chair last year, naming it for his parents, Charlotte and Roger Warren. Last week, the Board of Regents formally approved both the establishment of this chair and DeMillo as its first holder. Warren is also a Georgia Tech alumnus, having earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics in 1978.
At the time he offered the endowment, Warren said Georgia Tech holds a special place for his family, particularly since his parents met here when Roger Warren was earning a chemical engineering degree and Charlotte Warren was a nursing student at the former Crawford Long Hospital.
"After being at Georgia Tech, you want to be able to give back," Warren told Georgia Tech's Campaign Quarterly last August. "The question is, at what time, and how to go about doing that. There were a lot of pieces that went into this being the right time and the right thing to do."
Last week, the final piece fell into place with the approval of DeMillo as the first chair. DeMillo’s long career of scholarship and leadership in computing includes a six-year tenure as the Imlay Dean of Computing from 2002 to 2008, as well as his current role as director of the Center for 21st Century Universities. He was also recently named as one of the first fellows of the Lumina Foundation, a private foundation focused on education.
“I am thrilled and honored to be the first to hold the Charlotte B. and Richard C. Warren Chair,” DeMillo said. “Alan Warren has been an important guiding voice in the College and a source of wisdom and support for me when I was dean. So holding the chair that bears the names of his parents has special meaning for me personally.”
“I want to both congratulate Rich for this well-deserved honor and to Alan Warren for his generosity in endowing this chair,” said Zvi Galil, the current Imlay Dean of Computing. “It’s especially appropriate for Rich to be the first Warren Chair since he recruited Alan to our Advisory Board. I look forward to creating more endowed chairs so we can appropriately recognize our most accomplished senior faculty.”
Lumina Foundation recently appointed Distinguished Professor Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) at Georgia Tech, as one of its inaugural Lumina Fellows. Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to designing and building a more accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system.
As one of four Lumina Fellows, DeMillo will help the foundation achieve some of the objectives outlined in its 2013 to 2016 Strategic Plan. Specifically, they will focus on the foundation’s Goal 2025: to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality college degrees, certificates and credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
“It's a great honor to be selected by Lumina for this important role,” DeMillo said. “Reaching Lumina's 2025 goal is a challenge for all of us in higher education, and it will take innovation on a large scale to be successful. I look at my role as painting futures for colleges and universities. The alternative is to be left behind as the rest of society figures out how to meet the challenge.”
As a former dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, DeMillo founded C21U in 2011 and continues to direct this “living laboratory” for fundamental change in higher education. Also as chair of the Provost’s Council for Educational Technology, DeMillo is responsible for educational technology innovation on the Georgia Tech campus. He is a frequent speaker on higher education and the author of Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities, published in 2011 by MIT Press.
DeMillo joins three other thought leaders as the first group of Lumina Fellows for an initial two-year appointment. Together the fellows will, through various forms of public communication, enrich the conversations about college attainment and provide recommendations for policy makers, higher education and business leaders and other important stakeholders to help the ability for the United States to dramatically increase college attainment levels.
The other fellows include:
- Bridget Terry Long, academic dean and the Xander Professor of Education and Economics at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
- Charles Kolb, president of the French-American Foundation.
- Margarita Benitez, interim director of the Emerging Leaders Group at the American Council of Education.
“Mobilizing a broad cross section of society is critical if we are to reach Goal 2025,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “The four Lumina Fellows represent a variety of talents and backgrounds, which will help us address the challenges in system redesign and in rethinking policy to dramatically increase education attainment in the United States—the only acceptable outcome if the country is to maintain a competitive workforce and a healthy democracy.”