Archive for April 20th, 2011
Connective learning is the main way humans have always been learning so it cannot be challenged. However, connective learning in a digital world that hugely increases the number of possible connections does pose several challenges to learners, teachers, and educational institutions. These challenges must be met because learners are availing themselves of this digital connectivity anyway (and at times any way). Ignoring this fact won’t make it disappear.
Today, cloud-sharing and storage startup Dropbox announced that it’s rocketed to 25 million registered users globally, a massive 525% increase since January 2010, when the San Francisco-based company recorded 4 million users. Even more impressive? Users on the site are saving more than 200 million files per day on the free service, which allows consumers to share files online from anywhere with an Internet connection–computers, tablets, smartphones, and so on.
CourseSmart has released a new mobile electronic textbook app for Android OS-based smart phones and tablets, CourseSmart for Android 1.0.
Pearson has released an update to Equella, a digital repository for higher education and K-12. The latest release, version 5.0, gains new interface enhancements, as well as support for customizing dashboards and building portlets. Equella, aside from serving as a repository for learning objects, also provides content authoring and content management functionality, including a Web-based WYSIWYG HTML editor that can be used to create both static and dynamic HTML pages. The digital repository offers search by keyword, content type, and metadata; hierarchical browsing; and federated search across external repositories.
CourseSmart and Pearson eCollege have partnered to provide more than 20,000 electronic textbooks, custom products, and other digital materials through a single sign on. All the titles are available through Pearson’s learning management system, Pearson LearningStudio, with no implementation fee. Pearson LearningStudio, delivered as software-as-a-service, is an online learning platform that allows instructors to provide students with content and the ability to communicate and collaborate inside and outside the classroom. It also features assessment and analysis tools for improving retention, identifying at-risk students, and managing learning outcomes.
Pearson has launched CourseConnect 2.0, the newest version of the company’s suite of online courses for higher education. CourseConnect is Pearson’s library of comprehensive online courses built around Pearson textbooks. Courses include syllabi, assignments, assessment questions, media, interactive activities, and modifiable content. They are customizable by content, scope, sequence, and individual element and can be used in any learning management system. Each course also includes an Instructor Resource Guide with segments on how to teach online and tips for engaging online students, facilitator tips, and discussion topics.
Sooner than expected, a course system has been launched from Blackboard and McGraw-Hill Higher Education that blends course management from one company with content from the other. First publicly announced in January 2011, the new offering, which has no particular name, provides users with a single point of access for online courses, materials, and learning tools.
Even with backers among the faculty, e-portfolio initiatives can be slow to take hold across university and college campuses. What does it take to encourage adoption? One professor who’s championing a faculty-driven e-portfolio initiative at the University of Cincinnati shares some of his insights.