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Free online courses that teach skills for Africa’s most in-demand industries

News & Thoughts - Wed, 2018-01-03 16:13

by Jackie Bischof, Quartz Africa

A number of universities across Africa are creating free online courses in the hope that they will democratize access to education, inspire more collaboration and networking between African institutions, and support access to education for women, among other benefits. Last year, Wits University became the first African university to offer MOOCs (massive open online courses) on edX, a platform established by MIT and Harvard. The University of Cape Town has a range of sessions on Coursera, from academic writing and social change, to the ethics of organ donation. Nigeria has experimented with creating MOOCs specifically for high school graduates who didn’t get into university on their first try.

Free online courses that teach skills for Africa’s most in-demand industries

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Where Technology Goes, So Too Must Culture

News & Thoughts - Wed, 2018-01-03 16:10

by Heather Chakiris, Evolllution

The shift to a student-centric institutional culture shows many different forms, from changes in curriculum design to shifts in service availability to the improved leveraging of data. From the perspective of students, one major tell that an institution has transitioned to a greater level of student centricity is in the personalization of communications and outreach, and CRMs have a massive role to play here. But the implementation of a tool does not a culture create. In this interview, Heather Chakiris reflects on the benefits CRMs bring to the table when it comes to delivering a personalized experience to learners and shares her thoughts on how the implementation of a CRM system must be accompanied by a broader culture shift to be truly effective.


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Tech giants taking on talent shortage, developing own curricula

News & Thoughts - Wed, 2018-01-03 16:05

BY DAN COOK, Benefits Pro

A recent study by the partner relationship management firm Impartner found that nine out of 10 respondents in the sales arena can’t fill available positions, and that the problem has intensified in the past year. Managers who have the good ones now realize they need to do what it takes to keep them, because finding a replacement on the open market is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. Many of these managers point to today’s educational system as the reason they can’t find well-rounded talent. Universities simply aren’t graduating highly trained professionals quickly enough—particularly in such fields as computer science, medicine and finance.


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5 Online Courses That Will Give You a Leg Up in the Job Hunt

News & Thoughts - Wed, 2018-01-03 16:03

By Brittany Hawes, Uloop

Students already have limited time so sometimes, the best way to learn new skills will be through online courses. So, which online courses are really going to give you the skills to give you a leg up in the job hunt? Read on to find out! (Note: You won’t have to pay thousands of dollars or search through dozens of YouTube tutorial videos to learn these skills!)


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Technology can bridge the gap in India’s Broken education system, Toppr CEO

News & Thoughts - Tue, 2018-01-02 16:25


Many of these ed-tech startups are not just focused on building a successful business, but are trying to address a serious problem that has been fundamental to the progress of our nation. Power technology startups, such as Toppr, are trying to bridge the gaps in our broken public education system, as India is ranked 92 in education among 145 countries, according to Legatum Prosperity Index. “Through the application of machine learning, it has opened up transformative possibilities to personalize learning in a country with over 315 million students, and a skewed student-teacher ratio. With the government’s aid, it can further bridge the gaps in the public education, and considerably improve its health,” said Zishaan Hayath co-founder and CEO of Mumbai based e-learning startup Toppr in an exclusive interaction with PCMag India.


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Why Is the Number of Women in Computing so Low?

News & Thoughts - Tue, 2018-01-02 16:24

Identifying the reasons for the dearth of women in the tech industry has provoked a substantial amount of debate among academics and industry analysts. Yet efforts to address the situation, unfortunately, seem to be reaping only the most modest success thus far. Jodi Tims and the organization she currently chairs, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women (ACM-W), are among those who have worked tirelessly on many different levels to confront these circumstances and effect positive change. Her position with ACM-W, and her experiences as a woman in computing, bring both relevance and value to her insights regarding the problem.


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Can digital equity close the achievement gap?

News & Thoughts - Tue, 2018-01-02 16:15

by Matthew Lynch, tech edvocate

Some education experts now say that digital equity could help to provide a level playing field for all students. If all students have access to the same technology, it could help to close the achievement gap. It has already been established that students without access to technology have trouble completing homework assignments. While more than half of teachers assign homework that requires internet access, there are millions of children who live in homes where they can’t get online. In theory, closing this digital divide could have tremendous effects for low-income students. Giving students from poverty access to technology certainly improves outcomes. Researchers at Stanford have found that, when used correctly, technology does indeed help boost test scores for low-income students.


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Is Online College for You? Answer 5 Questions to Find Out

News & Thoughts - Tue, 2018-01-02 16:06

by ANNA HELHOSKI, Nerd Wallet

Millions of college students enroll in online courses every year. Nearly a third of all college students take at least one online course, and one in seven students take online courses exclusively, according to the most recent data available from Babson Survey Research Group, which conducts national surveys annually on online learning in the U.S. But it’s not for everyone. If you’re considering an online degree program, ask yourself these five questions.


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Is your institution preparing students for future-forward jobs?

News & Thoughts - Tue, 2018-01-02 16:03

by Shalina Chatlani, Education Dive
During a visit to Education Dive’s office Tuesday, Fielding Graduate University President Katrina Rogers and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Orlando Taylor said college administrators must enhance students’ access to the STEM pipeline while looking ahead toward jobs of the future to determine what types of skills students may need.  Taylor said college leaders should be thinking about “a new kind of America in the global context,” asking forward-looking questions like “what does a scientist look like?” and “what types of problems in your community would you like to see solved?” He also said administrators need to consider how to get answers from diverse perspectives to drive research and student goals in positive ways.  Rogers said leaders must ponder what types of jobs may develop as automation gains steam, with particular emphasis on the kinds of tasks only humans can perform. Skills like thinking critically, working collaboratively and showing empathy will always require a human touch, and the onus is on higher ed leaders to help students develop those traits alongside technical skills.


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A VC Perspective – Staying Ahead Of Digital Curve

News & Thoughts - Tue, 2018-01-02 16:01

By njli Jain, Bizztor

Digitalization has been changing the society and our economies for the last twenty years and this evolution is gaining speed with the transformative powers of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things, Mobile and Blockchain technologies that are on course for a fourth industrial revolution. In simple words, Digital Transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society which is overwhelmingly good for improving the living standards, life expectancy and quality of life. Nevertheless, it can also disrupt the labor markets.

A VC Perspective – Staying Ahead of Digital Curve

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STEM must include focus on literacy, critical thinking as much as hard skills

News & Thoughts - Mon, 2018-01-01 16:25

By Roger Riddell, Education Dive
No matter how many extra letters get added to the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) acronym, the primary takeaway should be the need for equal consideration of all subjects and the importance of critical thinking and literacy across all areas, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.  Noting the recent inclusion of an “R” for reading alongside the “A” for arts (to create “STREAM”), K-12 education strategist Amy Brown writes that literacy’s importance is just as much (if not more) about being able to write, speak, analyze arguments and communicate effectively than it is about simply being able to read. Additionally, STEM should focus on teaching students to think critically and solve problems, so that they’re adaptable to any situation — a trait that will only become more important in an economy where the fields they enter could be disrupted and many of the jobs they’ll eventually hold don’t even exist yet.


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Harvard Medical School to Expand Online Medical Education in Egypt

News & Thoughts - Mon, 2018-01-01 16:20

by Harvard University
Harvard Medical School will offer online education to doctors-in-the-making and practicing clinicians affiliated with a pediatric cancer hospital in Egypt, the 57357 Children’s Cancer Hospital in Cairo. The coursework, part of Harvard Medical School’s innovative online learning program HMX Fundamentals, offers access to the knowledge and acumen of some of Harvard Medical School’s top physician-scientists and focuses on foundational subjects deemed fundamental for all frontline clinicians, not just specialists. “We are taking our knowledge beyond borders—a central tenet in the School’s philosophy—and are truly excited to offer access to a new group of learners,” said David Roberts, dean for external education at Harvard Medical School. “The materials and course work are ideally suited to help medical students and physicians in Egypt on their quest to improve pediatric health.”


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The 10 ‘Prime Directives’ of repairing and upgrading tech

News & Thoughts - Mon, 2018-01-01 16:18

By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, ZD Net

Now, I’m not going to try to fool you into thinking that I’m some “fixing guru” or “tech ninja.” I’m not. While I have a pretty high success rate when it comes to resuscitating things, I’ve had plenty of failures, too, and I’ve been responsible for letting the magic smoke out of a lot of devices by doing something daft. But, over that time, I’ve built up a set of rules that I keep in mind when fixing things. I call them the “Prime Directives,” not because I’m a huge Star Trek fan, but because they’re important, and bad things tend to happen when I violate them.

I present them here in no particular order.


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Is higher ed facing an IT house of cards?

News & Thoughts - Mon, 2018-01-01 16:04

BY NICK PSAKI, eCampus News

Technology proliferation has placed enormous pressure on the underlying IT infrastructure that keeps Wi-Fi operating, servers humming, videos streaming and data percolating. Within many institutions, one vital aspect of those operations–the storage foundation–is crumbling under the weight of growing demands. With budgets stagnant and resources limited, universities are stuck in a difficult position and finding it increasingly difficult to respond to student and faculty pleas for the latest and greatest apps. Compute and networking operations have continually exploited the performance rewards delivered by exponentially more powerful silicon chips. Now it’s time for data centers to take advantage of the same potential in their storage systems. So, are higher education institutions ready for a storage transformation? The short answer: they have to be, and the focus must be around creating a data platform designed for the cloud era.


Is higher ed facing an IT house of cards?

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Power and simplicity of Deep Learning Technology is great: Don’t get left behind

News & Thoughts - Mon, 2018-01-01 16:02

by Deepak Garg, Times of India

I was wrong in my understanding of the complexity of Deep Learning Technologies, because it turned out that it is very easy to learn and master these technologies. Very little math is required. Wonderful courses, Tutorials and help is available online. Deep learning platforms hide the complexity from the programmer, that results in a simpler code. You will be surprised to see the size of the code of various Deep Learning projects, if you compare them with classical applications and projects of computer Science. Soon, we will have tools where users will be able to play with various hyperparameters of any application they want to develop; without worrying about the inner details of the black box. So, I will appeal to our young generation in the colleges and universities to grasp this opportunity for their own benefit and start learning Machine Learning Technologies.


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Internet of Things to Tip $1 Trillion by 2020

News & Thoughts - Mon, 2018-01-01 16:01

By Joshua Bolkan, THE Journal

Global spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) will grow 14.6 percent in 2018, according to a new forecast from International Data Corp. (IDC), to hit $772.5 billion. The category will more or less maintain that upward trajectory throughout the prediction period, averaging a 14.4 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2021 and tipping the trillion-dollar mark in 2020. Hardware will lead the way among technology categories in IoT spending in 2018, accounting for $239 billion “going largely toward modules and sensors along with some spending on infrastructure and security,” according to a news release.


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Where is technology taking the economy?

News & Thoughts - Sun, 2017-12-31 16:23

By W. Brian Arthur, McKinsey Quarterly
We are creating an intelligence that is external to humans and housed in the virtual economy. This is bringing us into a new economic era—a distributive one—where different rules apply.  Technology can also help companies break out of the “teacher and classroom” (facilitator and workshop) model that so many still rely on, maximizing the value and organizational impact of what is taught and learned. Fast-paced digital learning is easier to embed in the day-to-day work flows of managers. Every successful leader tells stories of how he or she developed leadership capabilities by dealing with a real problem in a specific context, and our survey provides supporting evidence for these anecdotes: companies with successful leadership-development programs were four to five times more likely to require participants to apply their learnings in new settings over an extended period and to practice them in their job.


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Security in 2018: Buckle Up, This Isn’t Getting Any Easier

News & Thoughts - Sun, 2017-12-31 16:20

by Rob Marvin, PC Mag
Security experts discuss the trends to watch next year, from cryptocurrency hacks and ransomware to potential vulnerabilities in IoT devices and connected cars.  This was another rough year for online security. From the Equifax breach to full-on election hacking by a foreign government, major security problems affected nearly every industry, institution, and consumer in the country. We spoke to security experts from across the industry and rounded up 10 of the most prevalent security threats and trends to watch out for in 2018.


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Can CryptoKitties Teach the World About Blockchain?

News & Thoughts - Sun, 2017-12-31 16:15

By Ben Dickson, PCMag

The game lets you collect, raise, and breed unique digital cats on the Ethereum blockchain. No, that’s not a joke.  Benny Giang DMed me on Twitter in early October about CryptoKitties. “We put the first breedable kitties onto the blockchain,” Giang wrote, adding “This may sound like an ICO scam or a joke but it’s neither.” Although I’m still having a hard time finding value in this modern-day Tamagotchi, I believe the viral growth of CryptoKitties might have positive effects on the evolution of the blockchain industry. Pokemon Go was a silly fad too, but it brought mainstream attention to smartphone-based augmented reality (AR), which had, up to that point, been a fringe technology.


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When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online

News & Thoughts - Sun, 2017-12-31 16:10

by Shayna Cook, New America

This report aims to answer those last two questions, which represent new and unexplored terrain in early childhood education policy. To investigate the intersection of issues in teacher preparation, early childhood policy, and online degree programs, we synthesized findings from published reports on the state of teacher preparation, conducted interviews with experts, culled information from websites of institutions offering online degree programs, and analyzed national data sets on early childhood teacher preparation programs, as well as surveys of the early childhood workforce. We focused primarily on the segment of the early childhood workforce that is closest to achieving the bachelor’s degree credential and commensurate compensation: pre-K lead teachers. Our findings show how online degrees can provide teachers with greater access to programs, but also point to the need for better higher education data and the benefits of degree programs that provide teachers with financial supports.


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