Sitting in front of a camera and giving a lecture to students you can’t see is intimidating. This is just one of the things that Tucker Balch has learned about the process of teaching a massive open online course (or MOOC) through Coursera.
“One of the reasons I enjoy teaching in front of students is because I can see if they’re getting the material, but lecturing online is like diagnosing an illness over the Internet. It’s a challenge,” said Balch, an associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing. “Instead of gauging reactions, I really have to pay attention to the online forums to see if people understand.”
In late October, Balch began teaching Georgia Tech’s first free class on Coursera to more than 40,000 students, ranging from retirees to high schoolers, around the world.
The course, Computational Investing Part I, runs eight weeks and focuses on how modern electronic financial markets work, why stock prices change and how computation can help people to better understand these issues. (Learn more about the course here.)
Balch’s interest in teaching a MOOC began last year after hearing that other institutions were offering them. He approached Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U), about teaching one, and the rest is history.
“I’ve had colleagues tell me that there’s much less support for teaching these types of courses at other universities,” Balch said. “I’m really proud of Georgia Tech for being bold enough to give this a try.”
Although Balch thinks that the ideal teaching environment is still a single professor teaching 20 to 30 students face-to-face, he also thinks MOOCs have a place in higher education.
“For example, teaching these courses allows us to reach a wider audience — including millions of people in India and China,” he said. “And it’s also a great marketing tool to reach high school students who might one day attend Tech.”
Balch selected the course topic because it’s fairly new, and he wanted to be one of the first to teach a course about it. The information taught in this class is based on a class that Balch teaches at Tech, which he has broken into two parts for Coursera. Each week, students view two modules, with each module being made up of four 5- to 12-minute lectures.
“One of the things I’ve learned is that lectures need to be broken up into short chunks of time, because it’s easier for students to process the material,” Balch said.
To keep students engaged, he tries to use visuals, such as pictures, as much as possible. In the future, Balch also plans to integrate interviews with people who work in investing fields (such as hedge fund managers and stock traders) into the lectures.
Students take weekly multiple-choice quizzes and complete optional code-writing projects throughout the course to assess their learning, and projects are peer graded by students in the class.
When it comes to cheating, Balch isn’t as concerned with the issue as he might be with a for-credit course.
“They have nothing to gain by cheating,” he said. “I suppose they could, but that would be like jumping to the end of a good book and skipping the good parts in the middle.”
The estimated workload for students is about five to seven hours per week. At the end of the not-for-credit course, all students receive a certificate of completion from C21U.
Although Balch has taught distance learning courses in the past, one of the things that was a surprise to him about teaching a MOOC is the amount of time he has needed to put into it.
“Multiply your estimate of time you’ll put into it by two,” he said. “I have spent about 15 to 20 hours a week on this course, because it takes time to make my material online-friendly. But I also realize that when I offer the course next semester, it won’t take up as much time, because I’m not starting from scratch.”
On Jan. 28, Balch will offer the course again, and several other Tech Coursera courses will also kick off. For more information about the Institute’s offerings, click here.
First coined in a 2009 Apple iPhone commercial, “There’s an app for that” has become a ubiquitous phrase in a smartphone-fueled world. A new campus initiative, GT Journey, hopes to curate campus applications, content, student research and immersive experiences for and by the Georgia Tech community.
The Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) launched the three-year initiative to develop a platform for creating and sharing apps, augmented reality experiences and other technological solutions.
“We view this as a living laboratory for inventing the future of the university,” said Beth Mynatt, director of IPaT.
During its first year, GT Journey will launch a student activity center for location-based apps and data services. The GT Journey support team will provide development tools and data, such as GTmob and Argon, and a physical App Lab where students of all majors and levels of expertise can work and collaborate.
In the future, GT Journey will recruit students and alumni to contribute ideas for applications and services. The eventual goal is to develop a thriving online ecosystem of applications, experiences and crowd-sourced content by drawing on the Tech community’s ideas, data and talent.
For now, developers can get started by building on GTmob, and even nondevelopers can contribute content to augmented reality campus tours and submit ideas to GT Journey.
Further opportunity exists for students to promote their creations in next month’s Convergence Innovation Competition (CIC). Participants will work with campus experts who provide data and domain knowledge, and winners will be able to put their apps or experiences into production for use by the campus community. The deadline to submit to the fall competition is Thursday, Nov. 1.
Georgia Tech’s EarSketch, a project that teaches high school students how to write computer code to create musical remixes, is adding a true musical guru to its team. EarSketch is partnering with Gimel “Young Guru” Keaton, who will work with faculty to create new audio content for the program. Keaton has engineered 10 albums for hip-hop superstar Jay-Z.
The announcement was made in Atlanta at the eighth annual A3C Festival, the largest hip-hop festival in the Southeast.
“Young Guru brings a new level of creativity and professional musical expertise to EarSketch,” said Brian Magerko, an assistant professor in the Ivan Allen College School of Literature, Media and Communication. “Atlanta high school students will have a chance to learn about computer science with help from one of the biggest producers in hip-hop.”
“I knew early in my career that giving back and teaching young people were my passions,” said Keaton. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for professionals taking me under their wing and teaching me the craft. EarSketch is the program that will spark the next great computer or music mind. I’m sure of it. This is why I wanted to be involved.”
EarSketch is a National Science Foundation-funded initiative that was created to encourage high school students to consider computer science careers. The program, now in its second year, is focused on minorities and girls, but with an approach that is intended to have broad appeal. EarSketch utilizes the Python programming language and Cockos’ Reaper, a digital audio workstation program similar to those used in recording studios throughout the music industry.
EarSketch was developed and is overseen by Magerko and Jason Freeman, an associate professor in the College of Architecture’s School of Music.
“Young people don’t always realize that computer science and programming can be fun,” said Freeman. “Students are using EarSketch to remix samples and loops to express their own creative musical ideas as they learn computer science principles.”
EarSketch had its first test run by Atlanta-area high schoolers during a Georgia Tech summer camp in July. The software and curriculum will be piloted this spring at Lanier High School in Gwinnett County as part of Lanier’s music technology program.
The Georgia Institute of Technology ranked 25th among the top 100 universities recognized in Times Higher Education’s 2012-2013 World University Rankings. The Institute was the top-ranked public university from the southern United States and ranked No. 5 in the world among its U.S. public institution counterparts.
In addition, Georgia Tech ranked ninth on the list of the world’s top engineering and technology universities and third on the list of public U.S. engineering and technology universities.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings use 13 separate performance indicators to examine a university’s strengths against all of its core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. All data are collected, analyzed and verified by global data provider Thomson Reuters.
For students looking for a new way to display their academic and extracurricular achievements, readabout.me may be the next frontier in online profiles.
The online system allows students who have earned certain achievements to build a profile and add badges to represent various activities and work experience. When completed, the profile is similar to a visual resume or LinkedIn page and can be used to promote students’ accomplishments throughout their time at the Institute.
The Institute issues notifications, which are essentially invites to readabout.me, when students earn Faculty Honors, make the Dean’s List, enroll as President’s Scholars or graduate. A brief, personalized news article accompanies each achievement on a student’s profile. This week, for the first time, Tech will issue a notice to all newly enrolled students, resulting in all freshmen having access to readabout.me.
Georgia Tech has long distributed announcements to hometown newspapers across the country, highlighting its students’ achievements using readMedia, the parent company of readabout.me. Now, students can capitalize on those announcements by claiming and completing their readabout.me profile when they earn an achievement from Georgia Tech. Part of readabout.me's goal is to help students enhance their online presence, letting recruiters and employers find positive, validated information — the "good stuff" — when students pursue a job hunt.
To claim your readabout.me profile:
- Look out for an achievement notification this week, retrieve one from the past or see if you’re included in Georgia Tech’s list of student achievements.
- Use the Connect to Facebook application to log in and edit your profile. If you don’t want readabout.me to publish anything on your Facebook profile, simply “X” out of both options in the dialog box that appears when connecting through Facebook, then click “Skip.”
- Once you’ve claimed your profile, save the link as a bookmark or favorite to easily return to it and update your activities. You can always edit your profile by clicking the blue “Login” button at the top left of your profile page, then the “Edit Profile” link on the top right of your profile once you’re logged in.
Making education more accessible — that’s what motivated Tucker Balch, an associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing, to teach a course through Coursera.
“In designing this course, I recognize that I’m not teaching an accredited Georgia Tech course,” said Balch, who will be teaching a six-week course titled “Computational Investing, Part I” that begins in late October. “Instead, I’m trying to take a portion of what I usually teach and make it accessible to a broad group.”
During last Thursday’s Town Hall on Online Education, Balch’s sentiments were echoed by each of four faculty panelists who shared their experience in developing a course for Coursera, which recently partnered with Tech and other prestigious universities to offer free courses for the general public. Since the partnership was announced in July, about 70,000 people have enrolled in Tech’s Coursera courses.
The event, hosted by the Office of the Provost, offered a forum for members of the campus community to discuss the future of online education at the Institute.
“We’re pursuing opportunities such as Coursera because we want to ensure that Tech has input into the online learning revolution that is occurring,” said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “I don’t think we have anything to fear — we’re not going to compromise quality — but we need to anticipate student needs.”
Bras was joined by Nelson Baker, dean of Professional Education; Donna Llewellyn, associate vice provost of learning excellence; and Rich DeMillo, director of the Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U).
“We’ve been doing this [offering distance learning options] for more than 30 years, so this isn’t brand new to us,” Baker said. “Our enrollment is close to 28,000 students annually.”
One of the advantages of using online teaching methods is that faculty members are able to reach more people with their ideas, which translates into greater exposure for their research and for Georgia Tech, he added.
Baker, Llewellyn and DeMillo emphasized each of their units are available to help faculty members craft and teach courses for online audiences.
“I’m hoping that everyone has an opinion that they will share,” DeMillo added. “Bring us your ideas, questions and criticisms.”
The town hall also provided an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the speakers and Balch and his fellow panelists: Irfan Essa, a professor in the School of Interactive Computing; Sam Shelton, a principal research engineer in the Strategic Energy Institute and Fatimah Wirth, an instructional designer in Georgia Tech Professional Education.
One of the first questions focused on how students might have more opportunities to cheat when taking courses online. Baker explained that his unit is experimenting with technology, such as eye retina scanners, that can hold students accountable.
“And if we’re teaching people who want to learn, they’re not going to cheat — they’re going to do what we ask,” Balch added.
Another question related to the quality of the courses. DeMillo responded by saying that it’s important to look at platforms such as Coursera and Udacity and understand that they have nothing to gain by offering courses that are low quality. For example, Udacity recently removed a course for this reason, he added.
Regents’ Professor Emeritus Ray Vito shared that the School of Mechanical Engineering is planning to offer students credit to take some of these noncredit courses. The plan is to get feedback directly from online learners regarding the pros and cons of these courses.
“It will provide us with information we can use to make some better decisions about how this might affect mechanical engineering education,” he added.
To watch the town hall in its entirety, click here.
Have questions about Coursera? The Center for 21st Century Universities is ready to answer them. The center has created an FAQ site devoted to the topic. Here are a few of the featured Q&As:
- What kinds of courses are best for Coursera?
The actual selection of courses is determined by faculty members. Our objective is to showcase Georgia Tech’s unique and innovative courses. That doesn’t mean that a course in biostatistics is not a good course to offer, but in general, standard courses or general education courses are low on the priority list.
- Who owns Coursera course content?
The Coursera agreement does nothing to modify employment agreements with Tech, so the exact answer depends on how and for what purpose the course was created. There’s more information related to this in the intellectual property (IP) definition of the faculty handbook.
- How much communication is there among instructors and Coursera students?
Direct communication will be on a limited basis due to the number of enrollees in these courses. The individual faculty member will determine the degree of interaction. Some faculty members plan on having end of the week chats or using summary questions as a means of reaching out to students.
Poised to enter its third decade as leader in the field, Georgia Tech’s top-ranked Graduate Program in Digital Media (DM) will make that transition under new leadership. At the same time, the Ivan Allen College School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC) which houses the DM program, also announces the formation of a new research center for media studies.
Alexandra Mazalek, associate professor in the LMC, is the newly appointed director of the DM program. LMC professor, Ian Bogost, who has led the DM program for the past two years, has been named Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Distinguished Professor in Media Studies and is charged with founding the Center for Media Studies. In addition to his appointment in IAC, Bogost is also now on faculty in the College of Computing.
“Ali Mazalek brings the best qualities for a position that demands dedication to excellence in graduate teaching and mentoring, highest standards in research, and a commitment to the multidisciplinary and collaborative atmosphere in our unit,” said LMC chair Richard Utz. “Ian’s leadership of the media studies center guarantees national and international attention to our unit’s mission to provide humanistic perspectives on a technological world.”
Mazalek is a graduate of the MIT Media Lab (M.S. & Ph.D.). Her research in computing and interaction design supports integration of the physical and digital worlds. She founded the Synaesthetic Media Lab at Georgia Tech, which works with a variety of physical sensing technologies to design embodied interaction platforms and also investigates the implications of those interactions for creativity and cognition.
“A distinguishing feature of our Graduate Program in Digital Media is the solid theoretical foundation we provide students for designing novel computational systems, combined with hands-on exploration and experience working with physical and digital materials, media, and technologies,” said Mazalek.
An award-winning designer and media philosopher whose work focuses on videogames and computational media, Ian Bogost is an influential thinker in both the game industry and research community. His research and writing considers videogames as an expressive medium, and his creative practice focuses on political games and artgames.
Bogost has already begun shaping a vision for the new media studies center. “Media Studies is a mature field that addresses all aspects of the role of media of all sorts in culture. It’s time for Georgia Tech to make its mark in this broad area.”
Bogost expressed his intention to interpret Media Studies in the way the Digital Media program has always operated: as a place for creation as much as history and criticism.
Janet Murray, who directed the Graduate Program in Digital Media from 2000 through 2010, says of the change in leadership: “It’s been exciting having Ian lead the group for the past two years, and it allowed us to take a fresh look at a lot of structures, re-energize them, and sharpen our focus. We are very lucky to have such a uniquely strong faculty in humanities-based digital design, and to be at Georgia Tech where cross-disciplinary collaboration is the norm.”
LMC’s graduate program in Digital Media has been a leader in offering academic degrees in the field, with the M.S. in Information Design and Technology founded in 1992, (now called the M.S. in Digital Media), and the Ph.D. in Digital Media founded in 2004. The program is also part of the interdisciplinary M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction, in conjunction with the College of Computing and the School of Psychology. The program already has numerous graduates working for companies such as Ideo, Google, IBM, Turner Broadcasting, and EA. In 2010 it moved its home to the third floor of TSRB, uniting the offices, graduate student carrels, and lab facilities, and enhancing its participation in the interdisciplinary GVU Center.
Scheduled to launch during Fall Semester 2012, Georgia Tech’s iTunes U presence will offer an additional channel for providing Georgia Tech's educational content online. iTunes U, a dedicated area of the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com), offers free audio and video content from leading educational institutions.
“iTunes U makes it easy for anyone to access amazing educational material from many of the country’s most respected colleges and universities,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Education is a lifelong pursuit and we’re pleased to give everyone the ability to download lectures, speeches, and other academic content for free.”
Initial Georgia Tech content offered on iTunes U highlights both academic and key research areas, including lecture series and public service announcements. Georgia Tech’s Institute Communications will work closely with the Libraries, Professional Education, CETL, C21U, and the colleges and schools to collect, vet, and post appropriate material to the Georgia Tech iTunes U site. For additonal information on submitting content for the Georgia Tech iTunes U site, please contact Mike McCracken.
The Georgia Institute of Technology has signed an agreement with Coursera to put their web-based courses online and create new opportunities for hands-on learning in the classroom.
"Georgia Tech is committed to using technology and advanced platforms to enrich and expand educational opportunities,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson. “Through Georgia Tech’s Office of Professional Education, we already offer courses to more than 25,000 students worldwide. Steps such as this agreement will enable even more students throughout the world to have access to Georgia Tech’s expertise, and help to meet the needs for lifelong learning.”
"It seems clear that higher education is currently experiencing the first ripples of a wave that could drastically alter the method, scope and scale of educational access and delivery, " said Rafael L. Bras, provost and executive vice president of academic affairs for Georgia Tech. "Georgia Tech has been in the business of offering online courses and education for some time. By joining Coursera we seek to expand our presence in that space, provide increased global access to our excellent educational products, experiment with new methods and ideas in the delivery of education and, most importantly, enhance the learning options and convenience for our own students."
Georgia Tech’s initial courses include Computational Photography, Computational Investing, Energy 101, Control of Mobile Robots and Fundamentals of Online Education. The Institute plans to add online courses across a range of disciplines to the online platform.
"The technological sophistication and expectations of today's college students drastically outpace their institutions," said Rich DeMillo, director of Georgia Tech's Center for 21st Century Universities. "By embracing innovators such as Coursera, who are the vanguard for the oncoming technological revolution, universities can not only improve student access to course content, but also fundamentally change core value structures such as student recruitment and retention, degree customization, and overall productivity and efficiency."
Georgia Tech Dean of Professional Education Nelson Baker also noted, “We are empowering people to learn, and are connecting and expanding our global learning community to meet the evolving needs of students worldwide. By adding courses via Coursera, we are further supporting an individual’s quest for wanting to be more competitive and competent whether that is in their studies at a university, in their place of employment or just to be members of an educated society.”
Other institutions partnering with Coursera are the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, UC San Francisco, University of Edinburgh, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Toronto, University of Virginia and the University of Washington.
“Coursera is dedicated to creating better educational opportunities inside and outside the classroom, and we could not do it without the blessing and commitment of universities,” said Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller. “We’re fortunate to have the support of these highly respected academic institutions as we move toward our shared goal of providing a high-quality education to everyone around the world.”
To date, Coursera has seen more than 680,000 students from 190 countries and more than 1.55 million course enrollments across its 43 courses.
Coursera is on a mission to change the world by educating millions of people by offering classes from top universities and professors online for free. Coursera's comprehensive education platform combines mastery-based learning principles with video lectures, interactive content and a global community of peers, offering students from around the world a unique online learning experience. Coursera has partnered with top-tier universities to provide courses across a broad range of disciplines, including medicine, literature, history and computer science, among others. Coursera is backed by leading venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, visit Coursera.org.
When it comes to gauging a student’s understanding of what’s going on in class, a video can be much more revealing than the average homework assignment.
“Students tend to stretch the limits of the collaborative nature of your average homework assignment and often arrive at the correct answer without understanding the material,” said Ed Greco, an instructor who coordinates half of the introductory courses in the School of Physics. “But when the assignment requires them to problem solve in a short video, it becomes very difficult to hide the gaps in their understanding.”
Greco began using the videos as a learning tool after attending a workshop sponsored by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. At the workshop, Greco met Jarrad Reddick, academic support manager for OMED: Educational Services, who was already using video as a way to urge calculus students to demonstrate their knowledge.
“I became interested in championing video use in class because my master’s thesis focuses on the integration of multimedia technologies into science, technology, engineering and math courses at Georgia Tech,” Reddick said. “In addition to providing Ed with support, I’m currently working with faculty from the schools of Mathematics and Biology to help them integrate video use into classes. And I’ve partnered with the Center for 21st Century Universities to work on other ways to employ video use in the classroom.”
This academic year, Greco gave students the option to submit a short video response to a physics-based problem for extra credit. Last semester, for example, he provided a viral video of people swinging on the world’s largest rope swing (visit tinyurl.com/7lhcdf7).
Approximately 20 percent of his students participated and created five-minute videos that modeled the physics of the swing. Students were asked to respond to questions including, “Where along the trajectory is the tension of the stretchy rope the greatest?”
Greco encouraged students to use whatever video camera was available, whether it was a camcorder or a cell phone. (The Library offers a variety of digital camcorders if students are in need of one: visit www.library.gatech.edu/gadgets.)
Reddick was available to help Greco’s students with the projects and encourages any student who has a question about creating a video to contact OMED for assistance.
“I think one of the greatest misconceptions about OMED is that we only serve minority students. In reality, we support all students,” Reddick added.
In addition to making a video to earn the extra credit, each participant also had to rank eight student videos, which Greco randomly assigned, from favorite to least favorite. The amount of extra credit earned was dependent on the student’s average ranking received from their peers.
“It’s important to emphasize to students that the videos will be judged on the quality of the physics, not the production quality of the video,” Greco said. “This prevents students from inflating their rankings with comedy or satire.”
Greco didn’t provide a specific rubric or solutions, just questions for students to keep in mind as they viewed each video. The problem itself was open in nature, so there was no correct answer, he added.
Each time Greco offers these assignments, he is able to improve the process.
“For example, last semester when I first tried this, I didn’t realize that most students will wait until the last second to submit their assignment, and this was problematic when it came time for students to upload their videos to T-Square,” Greco said. “T-Square couldn’t handle hundreds of students uploading and converting large videos all at the same time.”
To remedy the problem, this semester students were allowed to upload their videos anywhere on the web (e.g., to YouTube or Vimeo). The only requirement was that they had to provide a URL where the video could be accessed.
Another change that Greco will make next semester is to require the videos rather than make them extra credit.
“Students have been receptive to the videos being mandatory, with the understanding that I would need to dial back some other tasks related to the class, given creating the videos takes more time and effort,” Greco said. “And I’m willing to do this, because the videos are much more useful to me when it comes to ensuring that students are learning the material.”
The Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience announce a video contest, called "You on the Tube," to its community of students and faculty.
The goal is to creatively promote, in a fun and innovative way, the great research and other activities that take place throughout the diverse Institute community. The videos will be judged in four separate categories: humorous or musical, the "stuff" GT (or IBB) graduate students say, best demonstrated protocol, and K-12 educational/demonstration video (cell culture, e.g.).
Winning teams will win a free lunch at a restaurant in Tech Square and the winning videos will be loaded to the IBB YouTube Channel.
Deadline for all video submissions should be turned in at the IBB front office via jump drive, no later than June 30, 2012.
For complete contest requirements, CLICK HERE.
In an age where technology drives the pace of change, many universities are struggling to keep up with high-tech education alternatives. However, instead of ignoring the inevitability of change, how can institutions incorporate these disruptive technologies within the traditional university?
That is the question that Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) sought to answer with its first annual TechBurst Competition, where students were invited to create short, sharable videos that explain a single concept in an entertaining and compelling way while competing for $5,000 in cash prizes.
“As a living laboratory, C21U’s goal is to experiment with cutting-edge ideas in higher education by taking change that is occurring at the periphery, like Khan Academy, and incorporating it within an established university,” said Richard DeMillo, director of C21U. “TechBurst fits into that scheme because it takes your conventional lecture and breaks it apart so that it can be reformed and reused in new ways.”
C21U announced the winners of the competition during the TechBurst Awards Ceremony yesterday. First place went to the video “Constructing the ‘Perfect Cube’ in Biomedical Engineering,” created by Aaron Morris, Rachel Cornelius, Matt Duane, and Clair Matthews; second place to “The Physics of Gravitational Pull in Space” submitted by Sarah Lashinksy; third place to “Introduction to Circuits: Resistors, Capacitors and Inductors” submitted by Hunter Scott; and the crowd-sourced winner was “Chemical Combustion” submitted by Erin Lightfoot.
In its inaugural year, TechBurst’s pioneering approach to learning has provided C21U with some valuable lessons regarding technological innovation within the classroom. After introducing the concept of TechBurst, many Georgia Tech students and faculty were excited by the idea of a crowd-sourced learning tool.
“We were surprised at the number of professors who were interested in contributing to the project and incorporating TechBurst into their classrooms,” DeMillo said. “Students also expressed a desire to teach what they know to their peers, as well as to be educated by students who have struggled with the same concepts.”
However, TechBurst also faced interesting challenges.
“Since TechBurst videos are student generated, they’re not always correct, and that makes some traditionalists nervous,” DeMillo said. “However, that it is nature of experimentation. This is meant to be a start of a thread of conversations among students, where other students annotate videos and correct errors.”
DeMillo also said that as TechBurst evolves, it will be important to generate entire courses of material, particularly for upper-level STEM classes. While there is proliferation of instructional videos for lower-level courses online, hardly any videos exist for upper-level courses. TechBurst videos will be used to populate an online library, which will eventually house videos that explain every topic covered in undergraduate courses offered at Georgia Tech. In the mean time, C21U will continue to hold the TechBurst competition annually and hopes to involve more faculty and students.
“Testing new methods of learning and teaching is not always going to be a smooth process, but that’s inevitable when you’re one of the first universities to adopt a new model,” said DeMillo. “We need to shift the frame of reference from universities as preserves of tradition to drivers of innovation, and TechBurst is one of the ways we are attempting to accomplish that goal.”
Recently, the Institute for the Future had the opportunity to partner with Autodesk and Georgia Tech's Center for 21st Century Universities for an energetic day-long session exploring the new thinking that is emerging in the rapidly shifting higher education space.
A rich spectrum of viewpoints was explored by participants, from Will Wright on the future of games and education, to Howard Rheingold on new tools for self-directed learning and Jason Rosoff of Khan Academy on the implications of the explosion in online content. One of the best things about these kinds of events is the sparks that are created when the ideas of sharp, passionate people are put together in one place. For sessions like these, IFTF often relies on a graphic recorder, an artist who listens and creates a larger-than-life real-time visual record of the conversation.
Even for those not originally in attendance, these records can bring ideas together in powerful new ways, often reviving reviving some of those original sparks of the session at a glance. At the same time, they also can reward more in depth exploration. In the notes attached here, it is possible to follow the course of the discussion as participants first offered a few words to describe themselves and then immersed into a series of presentations from those looking at educational innovation in many different ways.
As we move into a period of massive disruption in higher education, it is encouraging to see the level of innovative thinking that is taking shape in this area.
For more information or to view the infographic generated by this event, please visit: http://www.iftf.org/ReDesigningEd2.
C21U officially welcomes Jessica Pater as a Research Associate with C21U. Aside from her role at C21U, Ms. Pater is the Associate Director of the Foundations for the Future (F3) program within the Georgia Tech Research Institute where she holds the rank of Research Associate. She is the Project Director for several educational programs including the Direct to Discovery (D2D) and Georgia CyberSafety Initiative (GaCSI). She has taught courses in the areas of digital citizenship, cyber-safety and cyberethics, technology applications in the classroom, and virtual worlds in education.
On September 8th, C21U Student affiliate Connie Chen and her assosicates won Best Picture at Georgia Tech's annual Campus Movie Fest Competition with her short film The Therapist. As a result of this win, The Therapist will be screened in Hollywood as well as the prestegious Cannes Film Festival.
Ms. Chen's previous works include the TechBurst announcement video which can be found here.
Dr. Paul M.A. Baker has been named as the new Associate Director for the Center for 21st Century Universities. Paul joins the C21U team from the Center for Advanced Communication Policy where he spent 10 years as Director of Research. Welcome to the team Dr. Baker!
Check out the Center for 21st Century Universitites' Director Rich DeMillo's new book Abelard to Apple: the Fate of American Colleges and Universities.
Summary taken from Amazon:
The vast majority of American college students attend two thousand or so private and public institutions that might be described as the Middle--reputable educational institutions, but not considered equal to the elite and entrenched upper echelon of the Ivy League and other prestigious schools. Richard DeMillo has a warning for these colleges and universities in the Middle: If you do not change, you are heading for irrelevance and marginalization. In Abelard to Apple, DeMillo argues that these institutions, clinging precariously to a centuries-old model of higher education, are ignoring the social, historical, and economic forces at work in today's world. In the age of iTunes, open source software, and for-profit online universities, there are new rules for higher education. DeMillo, who has spent years in both academia andin industry, explains how higher education arrived at its current parlous state and offers a road map for the twenty-first century. He describes the evolving model for higher education, from European universities based on a medieval model to American land-grant colleges to Apple's iTunes U and MIT's OpenCourseWare. He offers ten rules to help colleges reinvent themselves (including "Don't romanticize your weaknesses") and argues for a focus on teaching undergraduates. DeMillo's message--for colleges and universities, students, alumni, parents, employers, and politicians--is that any college or university can change course if it defines a compelling value proposition (one not based in "institutional envy" of Harvard and Berkeley) and imagines an institution that delivers it.
Hear Rich discuss his book in his Authors@Google talk.
Links to purchase the book:
The Center for 21st Century Universities is proud to announce the First Annual Tech Burst Competition. In this contest students will compete to win a substantial prize by creating a 10-15 minute video or other multimedia presentation of a specific academic topic. Each presentation should use compelling story telling, innovative media and inspired mentoring to explain their chosen subject matter. Look for more details and information about this competition on our website http://www.c21u.gatech.edu/techburst.
What is C21U offering and who can participate?
The Center for 21st Century Universities is proud to announce that in Fall 2011 Georgia Tech will offer its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for students interested in learning more about Instructional Technology. This course is open to anyone in the world, but only a select few—including students at Georgia Tech—are given credit for it.
What is a MOOC?
If you’re still reading, you’re probably asking, “That’s great. So what’s a MOOC?” A MOOC is a form of computer-mediated learning with each week’s lecturer providing course materials and discussion topics (streamed online) on that week’s theme. After each lecture, students are required to engage in the discussion; this can be in the form of a blog post, a vlog, a forum discussion or other interactions. Students will be evaluated based on their level of engagement within the community.
A MOOC differs from traditional distance-learning classrooms in a few key ways. In addition to allowing any interested parties to participate, all of the content produced from the course is shared by everyone involved. A MOOC is participatory—learners contribute to the class by building on the topics discussed, researching those topics further and then creating their own relevant content, which other students then comment on, critique, connect and share, creating a community of content shared by all.
What will the MOOC cover, and how will students be evaluated?
The direction this MOOC will take depends on who participates and how they interact. However, all discussion surrounding this MOOC will focus on the role of instructional technology in forming a student’s digital identity, the role of open learning communities (OLCs), and more.
Who is teaching the course?
Interested students can find a list of course facilitators plus many other details (course outline, discussion threads, blog posts, etc.) at the MOOC’s website: http://GTMOOC.com
How much does it cost?
Nothing! There is no cost to enroll.
Who is eligible to enroll?
Everyone. Like many Georgia Tech seminars, this MOOC promises to be of interest to undergraduate and graduate students alike, and all are welcome. And there is no class size limit—in fact, we invite all interested Georgia Tech students to participate. The MOOC is a 4-credit course divided over two semesters (2 and 2); the course numbers are CS 4802 ELT (CRN92449) and CS 8802 ELT (CRN92450). To register, visit the MOOC website: http://GTMOOC.com
If you have not already registered, here is what you should do:
- Subscribe to this blog, so that you can follow posts, comment on discussions and register your presence. There is a button in the side bar of this page for your convenience. If you do not want to be identified, then subscription is not required to participate in the MOOC.
- Visit this page to register for the MOOC
- If you are registered at Georgia Tech, visit your T-Square page for additional information.
- If you are part of the Georgia Tech community and would like to be added to T-Square, send an email message containing your preferred Georgia Tech email address to me with the subject line ADDME.
- Watch your email for updates and announcements
Who do I contact for more information?