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Exploring edX 1.0

first_imgWhen Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced their intention last month to provide free, online education, the world listened. The unveiling of edX, the universities’ joint open-source platform for web-based learning, garnered buzz around the globe.The next question was obvious. What will edX — and the future of online higher ed — actually look like?On Thursday, Anant Agarwal, edX’s first president, offered some early answers at Harvard’s second annual IT Summit. Agarwal’s keynote address at the daylong conference, which also included a discussion of the University’s strategic information technology plan by the CIO Council and 30 afternoon panels and presentations, introduced an ambitious project that will require just as much effort and innovation from Harvard’s IT professionals as it will from traditional educators.“This really is an exciting time for all of us to be in IT and education, and it’s a particularly exciting time to be at Harvard in IT,” said Anne Margulies, Harvard’s chief information officer, who kicked off the summit at Sanders Theatre. “Together, MIT and Harvard are tackling the educational issue of our time: exploring how technology can really improve learning, and at the same time expand access to education around the world.”Anne Margulies, Harvard’s chief information officer, kicked off the summit at Sanders Theatre. “Together, MIT and Harvard are tackling the educational issue of our time: exploring how technology can really improve learning, and at the same time expand access to education around the world,” she said.Agarwal, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, led development of MIT’s earlier platform, MITx. As such, he was an obvious candidate for “the leader chosen to bring us all into this brave new world,” Margulies said.Agarwal shared some lessons gleaned from MITx’s first pilot course, “MITx 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics.” As he would be the first to admit, the model for edX is hardly set in stone.“Think of it as a not-for-profit online education startup,” he told his audience of several hundred.When the course launched in February, it signed up 120,000 students — more than the number of undergrads MIT has graduated in its 150-year history. “The numbers are truly planet scale,” Agarwal said.Of those enrolled, 20,000 took the first set of tests for the course, and 10,000 took the midterm exam. The low retention rate came in part because many casual students didn’t feel the need to take the tests, though many dropped out. Given the course’s suggested requirements — an AP-level physics course in electricity and magnetism, knowledge of basic calculus and linear algebra, and some background in differential equations — the five-digit enrollment numbers are still impressive, Agarwal said.“The courses we offer on edX are going to be Harvard hard, MIT hard,” he said. “They’re going to mean something.”Agarwal and his MITx team quickly learned to modify their best-laid plans according to student feedback. For lessons, students clearly preferred slightly messy, hand-drawn diagrams narrated by Agarwal — an intimate, digital facsimile of a professor’s chalkboard scrawl — to organized PowerPoint slides.“Students like informal stuff; students like stuff that is personal,” he said.To solve the problem of depersonalized instant grading and assessment, Agarwal and his colleagues discovered that “gamification is key.”When a student answers a question correctly on the site, a green checkmark appears next to the answer. Students, they found, will keep trying to answer a practice question correctly until they succeed in finding the answer, seeking the instant gratification of the green checkmark. Compared with students in a traditional, offline trial version of the course, MITx students were actually spending more time on assignments, thanks in part to instant results for their efforts, Agarwal said.“Immediate feedback is huge,” he said. “I think the green checkmark is going to become the symbol of online learning.”Students engaged with the course in other ways. Though Agarwal has a co-instructor and four teaching assistants, managing tens of thousands of students’ questions would be impossible with the limited staff. The course’s discussion section has thus far managed the problem by allowing students to post their questions, which other students can then up-vote to the top of the queue. Students get “karma points” for asking popular questions or for providing answers.“If you get enough karma points, you get to be an instructor,” Agarwal said, though he joked that he’s received “some complaints that they’re wielding authority heavy-handedly.”There have been some heartening successes beyond student engagement, as well. At first, Agarwal said, he struggled to persuade science and health publisher Elsevier to post parts of “Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits” online for free for the course’s students. The company balked, reasoning that giving away course materials would devalue the textbook.Elsevier ended up selling “every copy of the book in the world,” Agarwal said, due to high demand from the thousands of students enrolled in “6.002x.” Now the publisher is eager to partner with edX for future courses. It’s an instructive reminder, he said, that in the world of online, mass-scale education, the old rules — in publishing, in higher education, in teaching and learning — no longer apply.“There’s a lot we still need to learn,” Agarwal said. But “all the things they said can never be done, they can be done.”last_img read more

Campus strives to end the ‘R’ word

first_img“End the ‘R’ Word Day” is returning to campus for its second year to raise public awareness about the social prejudice faced by people with intellectual disabilities, now with celebrity endorsements and a national platform. “The point of the campaign is to educate the public, not to take away the rights of free speech,” said junior Soeren Palumbo, the campaign’s co-founder. “The word ‘retarded’ has a profound effect on people with intellectual disabilities and should be eliminated by social consensus, not by a legal means.”With Notre Dame’s service-oriented mentality, Palumbo said he hopes Notre Dame will be a leader in the campaign.“Notre Dame has an unprecedented service orientation toward people with disabilities, and people here want to make the world a better place for people with intellectual disabilities,” Palumbo said, “I want Notre Dame to be the jewel in the crown of this year’s events.”The official event began last year at the Special Olympics Winter Games when Palumbo and a Yale student came up with the idea to create an event to draw media attention and educate the public on the word “retarded” and its isolating effects on those with intellectual disabilities, Palumbo said.“We expected to get about a dozen schools involved in last year’s campaign and ended up [getting] 45 universities and even schools in other countries to participate,” Palumbo said.  He said he anticipates even more involvement this year as service organizations such as Best Buddies International Inc. and Push America have joined the effort.The campaign has also garnered celebrity involvement with “Scrubs” actor John C. McGinley as the main spokesperson.  Other celebrities involved with the campaign include Joe Jonas, Carl Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Alonzo Mourning.  These celebrities have shown their support by creating public service announcements in which they recite the pledge and post the videos on YouTube or other media outlets. This year, Palumbo said he hopes the campaign will gain national media engagements or a possible op-ed in a major publication like The New York Times to raise attention for the campaign to “Spread the Word to End the Word.” The goal is for people to sign pledges similar to Notre Dame’s pledge: “As a member of the Notre Dame community, I pledge to end my pejorative use of the word ‘retarded.’”At Notre Dame, students can participate by signing one of the banners that will be located in both dining halls during lunch and dinner, as well as in LaFortune Student Center from late morning to mid-afternoon. There will also be T-shirts available for $5.“We want to bring the event to students and to make it simple for them so it’s not something they have to work to do,” Palumbo said. “It’s something they carry with them.“Society gets a brighter, more enriched future to see what people with intellectual disabilities can bring to the table. It’s a powerful, humbling, spiritual affirmation to be a part of that.”last_img read more

Cultural Passport gets students off campus

first_img Each passport features a description of the location, hours of operation and some destinations even offer special discounts for Notre Dame students. The goal of the passport format, according to Crawford, is to get students to visit as many of the destinations as possible. At every location a student shows the passport, they will receive a stamp on the passport for that organization.  “I would have never thought to explore South Bend until I got my passport,” freshman Gina Rogari said. “I didn’t know we had some of those things around here.” “Our students should be able to leave this community that they’ve lived in for four years and tell people all about it,” he said.  “Besides, I think that when they visit some of these places, they will be blown away by what they see.” First created last spring, the Cultural Passport program was developed through a partnership with the College of Science and Mayor Stephen Luecke of South Bend. The program gives every student a cultural passport featuring 14 destinations in the South Bend area where students are encouraged to visit.  Each College has the passports and students are encouraged to go to their dean’s office and pick one up.  The Class of 2014 received their passports during Freshmen Orientation. Many of the freshmen said the passports have made them see there is a lot more to South Bend than just Notre Dame.  While many Notre Dame students may decide to study abroad and travel to far-off places, a new program on campus is encouraging students to seek out the marvels in the local community. Crawford and Mayor Luecke worked with each of the fourteen destinations to be included in the program. The Mayor’s Office agreed to print up a special certificate for any student who receives a stamp from every location in the passport.  But Crawford hopes that students participate in the program for different reasons.  “This is a nice and easy way to engage the community, and a very important one,” he said.  “I would hate to think that they would participate in this simply to receive a certificate.” “Before starting this program, I visited most of the places that are in the passports and I was fascinated by all these various organizations,” he said. “I started working with the Mayor’s office and together we compiled this list of fourteen locations that we encourage students to visit during their time here at Notre Dame.” When the program was conceived last year, it was initially only offered to a select group of students from the College of Science and was more of a “prototype” according to Crawford. However, the program has been expanded to include every undergraduate and graduate student at Notre Dame.  Crawford said the program will be reviewed at the end of the year and feedback will be solicited from the students who participated in the program to see if any changes should be made. Crawford said he has little doubt that the program will help bring new outlook to the students who take advantage of the program and the city of South Bend.  “I believe that all of our students need to graduate with not only a great education but actually knowing something about the community that they’ve lived in for four years,” Dean Gregory Crawford of the College of Science said.  Freshman Molly Shank said while she found the passport “helpful,” initially she wasn’t sure of its purpose. “There wasn’t a whole lot of explanation about the program,” she said. “They need to explain it better because I would definitely use it now.” Crawford said he came up with the idea when he realized how few Notre Dame students ever venture into the South Bend community.last_img read more

Writer explores politics of literature

first_imgIndian-born French writer Shumona Sinh discussed her novels and their relationship to the political and social environments of the countries in which she has lived and worked during a lecture Tuesday titled “Literature and Activism: The Challenges of Representing the Impoverished Immigrant Other” hosted by French and Francophone Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.“Any writing, poems or novels, when we are touched by a sentence or an image or a metaphor, the writer is putting something that was right under our eyes into a new light,” Sinha said.Sinha said she cares deeply about the topics on which her novels focus, so much so that she feels she must write about them.“For me, even if I wanted to write a very romantic novel, I am unable to,” Sinha said. “If I do not write about what I think, then I am being dishonest.“Think of a literary work as a big train. There are people getting off and going up and down; this is the human story. However, the thing that interests me is the engine, that is, the socio-political codes.”Sinha said she uses her writing instead of physical activism to affect people and initiate change.“I was in a political party that was a very restrictive organization,” she said. “I knew that if I joined something like that again, that it would crush me. Barriers would be placed around my work and I would be labeled as a certain kind of writer.“My work is with words. If there are two people that are touched by something that I have written, and they are able to think differently, then that’s not bad.”Sinha said she believes the private morals of individuals and the public morals of politics should be closely connected.“I am quite stubborn in that I have my value system,” she said. “For me, stealing is bad. Lying is bad. But in the same way, I understand the nature of today’s politics. However, if you start thinking as a citizen that everything is fake, that all politicians are liars, then there is nothing to hope for, nothing to depend on.”Graduate student Lauren LaMore said Sinha’s lecture prompted her to think about the correlations between literature and society and the possibility for words to generate actions.“It was very cool for me to hear a writer talk about how she engages in society and different issues through literature,” LaMore said. “I took away that even if you manage to reach one person, even for an hour, it could change their relationships and how they view the world, which means everything.”“This lecture is very much what Notre Dame tries to do,” she said. “They take a field of study and apply it and see how it can make a real difference.” Tags: French and Francophone Studies, lecture, literature, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Romance Languages and Literatureslast_img read more

Goat Workshop.

first_imgMiddle Georgia Goat Producers will sponsor a “Goat Basics” workshop Jan. 12 at the Houston County Extension Office at 733 Carroll Street in Perry, Ga.The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end by noon. Optional afternoon visits to goat farms will provide hands-on training in giving shots, worming goats and trimming goats’ feet.The free workshop is open to anyone. The sessions will be geared for people new to raising goats or just considering getting into the business.The sessions will cover fencing, housing, browse, medications and selecting goats. For more information, call Bill Haas at (478) 987-1789. Or e-mail him at ([email protected]).last_img

The Number – Feb. ’13

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The amount of the long-delayed Superstorm Sandy aid approved by the Senate onMonday, Jan. 28, 2013, three months after the storm ravaged Long Island,New Jersey and Connecticut. The package was approved 62-36.last_img

NAFCU commends FCC focus on scam robocalls, presses for CU relief

first_img continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NAFCU’s Ann Kossachev, in a letter Tuesday, reiterated the association’s support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) efforts to target illegal robocalls and urged more clarity and flexibility so credit unions can contact their members without fear of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).“NAFCU stresses the importance of targeting the bad actors engaged in such activities while recognizing that small, community-based, cooperative financial institutions, like credit unions, play no part in such illegal communications,” Kossachev, NAFCU’s regulatory affairs counsel, wrote in a letter to the FCC. “Credit unions do not harass consumers; their communications are simply an attempt to inform their members about essential financial information on their existing accounts.”Kossachev was responding to the agency’s request for further clarifications and comments regarding an earlier rulemaking to allow voice service providers to block certain calls originating from invalid or unassigned numbers, which would help target scam robocalls.last_img read more

ORVC Weekly Report (April 9 – April 14)

first_imgORVC Weekly Report (April 9 – April 14)Players of the Week.Baseball: Brent Turner – Rising SunSoftball: Lindsay Montgomery – Rising SunGolf: Hunter Mefford – SouthwesternGirls Track: Kinsey Price – Rising Sun and Lauren Lundergan – Shawe MemorialBoys Track: Luke Welch – South Ripley and Leon Kinne – Shawe MemorialORVC Report (April 9-14)Courtesy of ORVC Recorder Travis Calvert.last_img

Bulldogs Soccer Results

first_imgTuesday evening the Bulldogs traveled to South Dearborn for a match against the Knights winning 8-0.Our Batesville boys were eager to make up for a recent loss and started out the match with strong momentum. 35:39 We opened up with our first goal coming from combination play between JJ Kuisel and Kent Meyers on the right wing. Kent lofted the ball across into the left side netting. 31:55 Eli Pierson received a through ball down right sideline and crossed into JJ Kuisel for a one touch finish. 29:08 Joey Gutzwiller made a move on his defender creating space for a nice cross into the middle and Eli Pierson volleyed the ball out of the air into the net. 24:08 Eli Pierson ran onto a loose ball from a defensive mistake and his first shot bounced off the keeper, but he followed up and made the second shot. 2:19 The ball was sent in and the Knights defense struggled to clear it when Willy Sherwood with a nice follow up shot to goal. 1:12 Ian Powers lobbed the ball long to JJ Kuisel, who chipped the ball up, hitting the cross bar, and bouncing down into the goal.Second half continued, but rate of play slowed down. 13:42 in the second half JJ Kuisel dribbled in close to keeper and passed across to Eli Pierson for a one touch shot. The final goal of the match was at 11:27 when Ian Powers crossed to Willy for another one touch finish. The Bulldogs won their match 8-0 against the South Dearborn Knights. Saturday Batesville traveled to Shelbyville for an invitational tournament. In the first match Batesville played Anderson. The Bulldogs struggled to find possession against Anderson’s defense. 6:47 Batesville made a defensive mistake which gave Anderson a square ball in the back and lead to a close shot on goal. The second half continued and Anderson found their second goal when the ball was sent wide right and dribbled down for a 1v1 against the keeper. Batesville lost 2-0. The next match of the day was canceled due to opponent backing out of the tournament. Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Kyle Hunteman.last_img read more

After 0-for-13 start, Morrow carries Orange in crucial stretch of win over Northeastern

first_img Published on November 14, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjr Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img For one minute, Erica Morrow did what was expected of her. With Syracuse swapping leads with Northeastern late into the second half, SU needed a lift. It needed someone — anyone — to step up and take over the game. And Syracuse’s senior leader Morrow did just that. Despite an awful shooting night — 2-of-16 from the field — she put the team on her back for that crucial one minute. ‘I don’t think I had hit a shot all night, so definitely a relief for me,’ Morrow said. ‘But more importantly, to give us that cushion.’ In a span of 49 seconds, Morrow scored six points and had a steal. But it was the other 39:11 where she struggled, scoring just one point and shooting 0-for-13 from the field. Morrow’s night said it all for Syracuse, as the Orange trailed for most of the game against Northeastern — a team picked to finish dead last in the Colonial Athletic Association — before pulling out the win, 72-69.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text ‘This was a game where her heart and her determination and her physicality really overwhelmed the other team,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. But Syracuse’s win was no sure thing. And the Orange needed every contribution it got from its leader. Morrow’s 3-pointer with 4:01 to go gave SU a four-point cushion — its largest lead of the game to that point at 63-59. After Northeastern cut the lead back to one, she got to the line and made 1-of-2 free throws. And then, after missing a jumper from the corner, Morrow followed her own miss, sliding inside and making the putback to up the lead back to four. A Morrow steal with SU in its full court press right afterward led to two more points, giving Syracuse a 68-62 lead that it managed to hold on to for the final three minutes. ‘Coach has me up at the top of the press to get up and pressure the ball, try to get deflections, rattle the point guard a little bit,’ Morrow said. ‘I was just trying to execute.’ Execution on defense was a must for Morrow because she couldn’t find her shot all night. She took just five shots in the first half and missed them all. By the time she knocked down the trey with four minutes remaining, she was 0-for-12. Had she missed that 3-pointer, she would have been 0-of-13 and still scoreless. Those were her final stats in SU’s Big East tournament loss to Connecticut last season. But Northeastern isn’t the No. 1 team in the nation. These Huskies ranked 237th in the nation last season in scoring defense. Still, she executed in other ways. Morrow grabbed six rebounds, including four on the offensive end, contributing to the 37 offensive rebounds the Orange had on the night. And the rest of the Syracuse team picked her up, fighting for those offensive rebounds and scratching for a victory. ‘We’re a whole team, so we’re going to have each other’s backs,’ sophomore center Kayla Alexander said. In the final seconds of the game with Syracuse up 71-69, Morrow was fouled and sent to the line for two shots, with a chance to ice SU’s season-opening victory. The senior coolly sank the first. But Morrow, a career 72 percent free-throw shooter, clanked the second off the right side of the rim. Fortunately, SU won the scramble for the rebound as the final four seconds of the game ticked off, sealing the Syracuse victory. It was a finishing touch on a forgetful shooting night for Morrow. But it was also a night when Syracuse was able to get the win despite the off game for its leader. That may be the more important lesson for the Orange. ‘At the end of the day, it’s about the win-loss column,’ Morrow said. ‘We got the win, and I mean I tried to help my teammates as much as possible.’ [email protected]last_img read more