blue grass publishing » MOOC Fri, 06 Feb 2015 03:06:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tablet Computers: The ultimate educational tool Mon, 08 Sep 2014 15:34:57 +0000 Will tablet computers eventually render our trusty laptops and desktops obsolete when it comes to learning? The answer is probably. And sooner than you might think.

Now that smart phones have well and truly taken hold, a large proportion of the population in the developed world is already up to speed with their functionality and features.

Tablet computers work in a similar way, which means there’s little problem with anyone, no matter what their age, simply picking one up and completing all manner of tasks and research traditionally reserved for the desktop or laptop. This makes them ideal for use in education of all kinds and for all ages.

Lightweight, quick to respond and engaging, tablet computers are as appealing to a class full of infants as they are to a 40-year old who has decided to retrain as a web developer via MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), in his home office. And their versatility doesn’t stop there. The humble textbook still has its place and has served many a generation very well throughout the ages.¬†If you’d like to learn all of the ways technology can enhance education, visit this website.

But there are some subject areas and topics that are simply better taught and experienced with the help of tablet computers. Music lessons come to life when you can actually hear what you’re studying and follow the sheet music at the same time. Historic political speeches, such as that of Martin Luther King, are better understood when you can actually watch a video of it as opposed to simply seeing it on a page. Tablet computers¬†make learning come to life.

For older brains, which tend to be less absorbent than younger ones, learning via MOOC can be done in a way that suits their particular educational needs. Whether you’re learning on the commute, or in your own home, you can pause, replay and make notes to help you recall information.

Prices might still be at the less affordable end of the spectrum for schools and colleges, but there are leasing options available. And with brands upping the competition with new models all the time, prices are steadily being driven down.

Practical, engaging and portable, tablet computers are excellent tools for learning, whether you’re a teenager studying your socks off for a place at university or an interested adult who has decided to learn a new subject via MOOC.


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Tech Trends in Higher Education Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:13:27 +0000 The overarching technological trends in higher education and degree programs all pertain to one big idea: Access. Learners want access to coursework for a variety of reasons. Some simply want to test the academic waters while others want a document showing that they’ve achieved something. The one element that all of these learners have in common is that they now have the ability to reach out and participate in open access courses, which were devised with the modern student in mind.
A Step in the Right Direction
One of the bigger events in the history of open access courses was iTunes U. This section of iTunes provided users with downloadable recordings of college lectures from campuses all across the globe, including institutions in Europe and Asia. While the audio or video quality was sometimes a bit shaky, the fact that it was created opened the floodgates for more innovation in the open access market of academia.

The problem with iTunes U, however, was the lack of accountability. How would anyone be able to know if they had learned the material properly if they had no measure of success or feedback from educated professionals? Students could occasionally find the syllabus for courses, but they could not turn in coursework or email professors with questions. This aspect of iTunes U was later corrected by a new advancement in education, the Massive Open Online Course.

Structuring the New Classroom

Perhaps the biggest trend in higher education today is the advent of Massive Open Online Courses. While iTunes offers its iTunes U video and audio lectures for free, sites like Coursera and Udacity provide entire course content alongside an actual syllabus and professors who grade your work. In addition to having professors on hand, MOOC’s also provided learners with discussion groups and online forums to interact with other students in the course as well as the professors. These forums also allowed professors to assign “peer evaluation” work, in which a student was able to submit work to other students for critical feedback before submission to the course itself.

With topics ranging from Video Games and Learning to Experimental Genome Science, these courses provide dedicated learners the opportunity to follow a learning framework with real assignments and exams. Several of the courses even offer certificates of completion for students who perform well.

MOOC’s have become so popular and, in some cases, so well-defined that several universities have considered the possibility of applying MOOC credits to actual course credit. In the coming years, you could be enrolling for free courses online that would be applicable to a legitimate degree. MOOC’s have provided an opportunity for avid learners of all walks of life to access and participate in a revolutionary way of learning that opens the doors to greater things.

Watching the Clouds
In addition to MOOC’s and open access course materials, the next big trend in education is cloud storage. Cloud storage, which allows users to store and share information in online “storage units” has become popular as another means of providing open access to information. With cloud storage, a student can instantly share an assignment with another student. A professor can share a lecture with students remotely. Alongside MOOC’s, cloud storage has become a huge factor in the distribution of education, with many advances on the horizon.

The field of academia has changed to accommodate more tech savvy students.

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