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  • A MOOC course nominated for Emmy Awards
    The Coursera MOOC "The Kennedy Half Century" has been nominated for Emmy Award under the Best Instructional Programming category. The course is presented by Larry J. Sabato, professor at the University of Virginia. Read more...
  • Finland reforms its education system radically
    Scraping the traditional teaching-by-subject system, Finland embarks on an educational reform of teaching by topic or phenomenon teaching. They are really redesigning and rethinking their education system so that the students are prepared for the future with the skills that are needed. Read more...
  • A new form of International Hub by UC Berkeley
    University of California is creating its own global higher education hub at the Berkeley Global Campus at Richmond Bay. In this new form of international hub a group of leading foreign universities and technology companies will establish satellite locations. Berkeley is inviting foreign university partners to collaborate on research and the delivery of degree programs. Read more...
  • Udacity teams up with AT&T and launches "Nanodegrees"
    Udacity in collaboration with AT&T is offering its first degree program that could teach students the kinds of skills needed to win jobs in the employment market. This degree termed as "Nano Degrees" will be offered online and it involves less than a year of coursework, and costs about $200 per month. AT&T offers paid internships to some NanoDegree graduates and has committed to hire graduates of its NanoDegree program. Read more...

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  • Interview with Dr. Raj Raghunathan


    Dr. Rajagopal Raghunathan is the author of one the world’s most popular online courses, a MOOC offered by Coursera entitled ‘A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment’. He is Professor of Marketing at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. WUC interviewed him in the midst of his world tour sharing his experiences on how to develop and deliver successful educational content online.

    1. What are the major limitations of the current education system in preparing youth for life in the 21st century?

    Education systems vary by country and culture of course—e.g., the system in Germany, Netherlands and some other European countries allow for students to self select into “professional” vs. “skilled labor” tracks during high school. However, by and large, most education systems fail us by not providing an overarching framework for understanding why being educated is useful. I would imagine that most people would agree that education is useful because it helps enhance everyone’s well-being, and I think this overarching goal needs to be made explicit from Day 1 and reaffirmed through out one’s education. Courses on the topic of "well-being” need to find a way into the curriculum and should play a very central role.

    2. Is it possible to shift from a subject centered to person/student centered learning?

    Yes, we currently have the technology to be able to do so. Online platforms can more easily enable students to delve deeper into a particular topic of interest.

    3. What are the strategies to shift from passive to active learning?

    Students differ from one another in how they learn. Some students learn well by listening, others by reading, and most learn best by actually doing—or teaching to someone else. The online medium provides greater opportunities for active learning. For example, students could be asked to videotape the various things that they did for an assignment and upload it on to the course website. Or, they could be asked to teach a particular topic to someone who is not knowledgeable about that topic. And, of course, they could be periodically tested through “in video quizzes”; findings show that such quick tests can enhance learner-engagement and learning.

    4. What are the advantages of the online classes? What are your suggestions for creating an effective course?

    The online medium offers several significant advantages over the offline (face-to-face) medium. One such advantage is efficiency. You can convey more information per unit of time and add other elements like images and music that enhance learning. It’s easier to integrate quick assessments in online contexts. You can bring in guest speakers and subject matter experts more easily in online videos. It’s more expensive and effortful to do it in face-to-face contexts.
    That said, there are some key disadvantages of the online medium. It can be frustrating if the internet connection is bad. It also does not as easily allow for exchanges between learners. I think it is very important to have a few face-to-face meetings to complement the online content.
    The key element that will make an online course a success is that it needs to offer information in smaller bits than is typically done face-to-face. Given that the online medium has more reach and therefore attracts students from a more diverse set of backgrounds, the message needs to be communicated differently—more directly and using simpler language.

  • Envisioning the era of comprehension
    Ranjani Ravi

    Jargon is a serious academic problem, a growing problem that takes pride in incomprehensibility.

    Jargon is a necessary step in the evolution of scientific language. But it runs the risk of becoming too rigid and gibberish that the very purpose of defining things to make them comprehensible is lost.

    A recent Chronicle article reports that

    Last fall (Naomi Wolf and Sacha Kopp) started a program at Stony Brook University, a State University of New York campus, called "The Public Intellectual." In a four-session workshop, they "train faculty members and graduate students (and even undergraduates) in the skills of … writing and speaking about their work, on mass global platforms."

    This is a great initiative and may offer us the hope of comprehending the incomprehensible!

    But the focus should on understanding and learning for their own sake, not to become intellectuals. It should be on learning for the sake of knowledge.

    Courses with such a motive will work.

  • Higher Education – a Basis for Progress and Democracy in the Globalized World of the 21st Century
    Constantinescu, Emil
    A democratic society uses its elites for the common benefit, making them accessible to any citizen willing to use his talent and abilities to reach as far as possible on his chosen path. We must re-invent the school that takes into account every child’s and teenager’s talents, to offer them a customized path that will bring out the best of every student’s personality. Education accompanied by a radical transformation of the economy level, generates jobs according to the knowledge society and not to the industrial society characterizing the 19th century.
  • The Evolution of the Educational Paradigm
    Lindgren, Carl Edwin
    Creation of a new paradigm in education is a part of an on-going development factor of change which can lead to good or bad. The potential results are forthcoming, only due to future meta-theory constructs based on their foundations, methods, form, utility and their eventual sociological development and benefit to mankind.
  • The Dignitarian University
    Fuller, Robert W
    Societies that root rankism out of their schools and universities will lead the world in the twenty-first century, much as those that curtailed the abuse of rank in government led in the twentieth. No institution will remain dignitarian for long if it is not committed to coevolving with power.
  • World University: Global Strategy for Higher Education
    Engelbrecht, Jüri 
    In principle, universities should always be some steps ahead of the society, both in terms of education and research. Education in universities should equip graduates for activities in the future. Contrary to contemporary ideas about innovation, research is much wider when it includes studies about man, society and the world, culture and human perception.
  • Creative Consciousness
    Natarajan, Ashok
    Consciousness is creative. Value-based educational creativity can awaken and nurture young minds to develop and discover their own inherent capacity for knowledge in freedom. Education is society’s most advanced institution for conscious social evolution. Values are the essence of society’s knowledge for highest accomplishment. Education that imparts values is an evolutionary social organization that can hasten the emergence of that creative consciousness.

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