OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 10, 2011

From OLN News
Today's newsletter is a bit different - it is compiled entirely from Nancy Ragias's quality OLN-News mailing list. This newsletter publishes infrequently, but it's very good. This issue in particular deserves a wider audience. Enjoy.

Education Institutions Worldwide to Benefit From Strategic Combination of Datatel and SunGard Higher Education
Press Release, Datatel, August 9, 2011.

"Datatel and SunGard Higher Education announced today that they have signed definitive agreements to combine businesses and operate as one company focused exclusively on serving education institutions. This strategic combination brings together two education industry specialists into one company with increased breadth and scale to meet the needs of institutions worldwide. Over 3,000 employees will be dedicated exclusively to delivering solutions to education institutions in 40 countries."

"As a result of the combination, current and future customers will benefit from a broader portfolio of products and services as well as collaboration, creativity and sharing of best practices across an expanded global community of education professionals. Importantly, the combined company plans to continue investing significantly in the proven solutions customers rely on and to accelerate research and development to build new solutions to solve the evolving challenges institutions face."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Research]

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Blackboard + Quality Matters Furthering Excellence in Faculty Development and Course Design
Press Release, Blackboard, August 9, 2011.

"Blackboard Inc. today announced a partnership with The Quality Matters(TM) Program (QM), an independent not-for-profit organization focused on identifying and promoting core principles and effective practices for quality online education. Recognized as a leading provider of online education quality assurance and evaluation, QM develops research-supported standards, evaluation tools and procedures. Together, Blackboard and QM will work to arm institutions and educators with resources, tools and best practices for online instruction, course design, assessment, student engagement and accessibility. The new offerings are available today and include the QM Program Overview and Applying the QM Rubric training." . . .

"Under terms of the deal, Blackboard Consulting(SM) staff will be trained by QM and will offer support in faculty development and course design, specifically structured to help institutions implement sustainable, scalable programs grounded in QM's effective practices and core principles. Through the exclusive partnership, the resources of the leading provider of learning management systems and the leading provider of design standards for distance learning courses will offer clients a complete solution to their consulting needs for quality online courses to improve the online education experience."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility, Traditional and Online Courses, Blackboard Inc., Research, Quality, Experience, Assessment, Online Learning]

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Standards for Online Course Design Adopted by Blackboard
Grace Hall, Quality Matters, August 9, 2011.

"The Quality Matters Program is proud to announce that Blackboard Inc. has become QM's first learning management system subscriber. Under this agreement, Blackboard will adopt QM standards internally and recommend the QM standards for course design to its thousands of client institutions. As a result of the partnership between Blackboard and QM, Blackboard professional staff will be trained by QM to deliver the Applying the QM Rubric training and QM Program Overview to Blackboard ConsultingSM clients. Blackboard client institutions who choose to include course design consultation in their engagements with Blackboard will become QM subscribers. The terms for the new subscribers will be equivalent to institutions that subscribe through statewide agreements."

"The partnership with Blackboard does not affect QM's educational non-profit status. QM will continue to serve institutions using other commercial, proprietary and home grown learning management system platforms. QM standards will remain platform neutral. This agreement will increase QM's visibility and broader adoption among Blackboard's clients. The agreement moves QM closer to its goal of becoming the consensus national standard for online course design in education, and it supports QM's mission to foster the integration of best practice standards to improve the quality of online education." . . .

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Blackboard Inc., Quality, Online Learning]

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Emerging Trends in LMS / Ed Tech Market
Phil Hill, e-Literate, August 9, 2011.

“. . . [Blackboard’s] position of being a safe bet is now gone, they are picking up only a handful of new LMS clients, while they are losing hundreds of LMS clients per year. The theme behind these observations is that Blackboard’s future prospects ‘are having and will have a major impact on the overall LMS and educational technology market, affecting educational customers as well as technology vendors and their investors. If you misread Blackboard’s strategic direction, you might misread the upcoming changes in the educational technology market.’ ”

Put another way, as Lou Pugliese commented in a post by Michael Feldstein on the LMS Market – ‘Typical disruptive markets (Clay Christiansen) are repeatable events exist where (a) over-served customers consume a product or service but don’t need all its features or functionality (b) there is broad based industry concern about the effective use of overly complex, expensive products and services (c) features that are not valued and therefore are not used and (d) decreasing price premiums for innovations that historically created value but in the current market are now irrelevant. The street will eventually see it this way no matter how you NPV a business’s customer base. . . . I would argue that there is an exact parallel here and the education market is not immune to the same disruption experienced in other markets.’ “

“What I believe we are seeing in 2011 is a transition to a market no longer dominated by Blackboard and other players’ reactions to Blackboard. This new market that is emerging will look quite different from the market we have seen for the past 6 – 8 years, and we should no longer view this as an evolving market, but instead view it as a market being disrupted, with new competitors and new dynamics.” . . .

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Blackboard Inc., Experience, Online Learning]

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Amazon to Rent Kindle Textbooks
Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post, August 9, 2011.

"Students can rent a textbook for any length between 30 and 360 days, with options to extend or buy. You may not want to even think about textboooks right now, but back-to-school is coming whether you like it or not. On Monday, Amazon announced that it will begin renting textbooks on the Kindle, much to the joy of your average college student’s back and posture. Most importantly, however, the digital texts are likely to help their wallets as well. The online retailer promised savings of up to 80 percent with a flexible plan that lets students have their digital copies for between 30 and 360 days."

"Students can also extend their rentals for a short a time as a single day or opt to buy the book. The deal even works if you’re a margin-doodler, er, dedicated annotator like me, since you can save your notes to the digital Kindle file and even view them on your tablet, smartphone or computer later. Amazon will even let you access those notes and highlights after your rental has expired. Competitor Barnes and Noble also has a digital textbook rental service, which lets you rent books for a term of 60, 90 or 130 days to download onto a computer."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Books]

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Online and Incomplete
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, August 9, 2011.

. . . "a new study urges caution to those who believe that online education is a panacea for educating more community college students. The study finds that students who enrolled in online courses -- controlling for various factors that tend to predict success -- were more likely to fail or drop out of the courses than were those who took the same courses in person. Notably, there was not a gap in completion between those enrolled in hybrid and in-person courses. Further, the students who took online courses early in their community college careers were slightly but statistically significantly less likely than were other students to come back for subsequent terms. And students who took higher shares of coursework online than did their peers were slightly but statistically significantly less likely either to finish a degree or certificate or to transfer to a four-year institution."

"The study was by Di Xu and Shanna Smith Jaggars of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College of Columbia University. Their analysis is based on a large cohort -- the 51,000 students who entered community and technical colleges in Washington State in 2004. And the study is similar to one on students in Virginia, adding to the researchers' belief that the trends are real and potentially troublesome in that increasing numbers of community college students are enrolling online."

"The study notes that enrollments of community college students in online courses have grown at a rapid pace, from just over 700,000 in 1997-98 to 5 million in 2006-7, with every indication that the numbers have continued to soar. And the authors note that there are good reasons for community colleges to embrace online education, especially "to accommodate the need for flexibility among their student population, many of whom hold part- or full-time jobs."

"In keeping with that theme, the authors don't suggest any abandonment of online education. Rather, they urge community colleges in Washington State and elsewhere to consider steps that would improve the chances of success of some online students (while encouraging others to try face-to-face instruction). Among the recommendations:" . . .

Also see "Community-College Students Perform Worse Online Than Face to Face," by Ryan Brown, July 18, 2011, Chronicle of Higher Education

See "Online and Hybrid Course Enrollment and Performance in Washington State Community and Technical Colleges (CCRC Working Paper No. 31)"

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Vocational Education, Research, Online Learning, Attrition]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.