Why Should We Build Classes Around Mobile Technology?

[In this Campus Technology article the use of mobile devices becomes the key for higher education students to become digital journalists. Ronald Yaros, a communications professor at the University of Maryland, describes how mobile technology is the key to engagement, student learning, and student success.]

Using an app he created, in classes he has configured around mobile technology, Ronald Yaros is preparing his students for a future that will revolve around their technological skills. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s information producers and consumers,” said Yaros, who is an associate professor at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. “In the past five years, we have seen tectonic changes in how younger people adopt, adapt, and utilize mobile technology for virtually every aspect of their lives. For the next five years, I’m interested in how evolving technology will continue to change the ways in which users interact with information.”

According to Yaros, without a systemic change in how we engage students in and outside of class, technology can be — and often is — viewed as getting in the way of learning.  “While we know that any device can distract from learning, we don’t know how to change the ways a device can be used for sustained engagement and more effective learning. That’s why we need a mindset shift to adapt a tool’s use to class meetings, assignments and activities that require technology.”

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Building a Business Model for MOOCs

[The Berklee School of Music in Boston has been a leader using distance learning to develop music skills for post-high school students. Recently they added a MOOC into their mix of offerings. The MOOC has been an incredibly effective tool getting more people aware of Berklee and providing a path to its online and on campus programs. More schools need to look at this business model that provides cost-effective strategies for people interested in learning new skills.]


By taking a very deliberate strategy to structuring their MOOCs, the Berklee College of Music has created an effective pipeline for their credit-bearing online courses and programs

By taking a very deliberate strategy to structuring their MOOCs, the Berklee College of Music has created an effective pipeline for their credit-bearing online courses and programs

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 70 years, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business, leading the way with the world’s first baccalaureate studies in jazz, rock, electric guitar, film scoring, songwriting, turntables, electronic production, and more than a dozen other genres and fields of study.

Berklee Online, the online continuing education division of Berklee, has been teaching music online for 13 years. Building on Berklee’s rich tradition of distance education—including mail-based correspondence courses in the 1960s and 70s that brought the likes of Alf Clausen, Gary Burton and David Mash to the college—Berklee Online was established in 2001. Our mission is to expand the reach of the college and provide music education opportunities to a global base of aspiring musicians. Over the years, we’ve developed a diverse portfolio of online offerings, from free to degree, all representing contemporary music and music-related studies.

Berklee President Roger H. Brown describes Berklee Online’s portfolio as a “Wedding Cake” of options for students. As you move up through the layers, the costs increase as does a student’s access to Berklee curricula and faculty in small, intimately sized cohorts.

In 2012, after teaching more than 75,000 students online, we became a partner institution with both Coursera and edX. This added a new bottom layer to our wedding cake of options: MOOCs.

Read more from The evolllution article.

Wearable Teaching?

Here’s an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education that outlines a new project at Penn State to use the Apple Watch as a data collection tool about student learning.

April 27, 2015 by

Even before the Apple Watch was released, professors and pundits began speculating on whether it and other wearable devices might play a role in college classrooms. On Monday researchers at Pennsylvania State University’s main campus announced that they would be among the first to test the device’s usefulness in the classroom.

The experiment will begin this summer, with eight Apple Watches the university purchased for the project. Penn State plans to expand the research to more students in the fall. We caught up with Kyle Bowen, director of education-technology services at Penn State, to hear more about the project, and his thoughts on the possible role of wearables in teaching and learning. Following is an edited version of the conversation.

Q. I understand a professor there will be experimenting with Apple Watch to measure student learning this fall. Can you briefly describe that project?

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