MOOCs Influence Traditional Higher Ed Classrooms

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 07/11/2013 - 10:04am.
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MOOC fever is apparently still rampant...professors from a wide range of legal, business and management fields share lessons (in this article) learned from teaching these massive online courses that they are now applying in their traditional classes.

Highlights from these professors' findings listed in the above article include:

1) More "chunking" of content, based on findings that point to a 15-minute attention span sweet spot

2) More visuals... almost all professors interviewed cited that they would incorporate more visual elements in their traditional classes

3) Time/$ savings... one professor in particular felt that by integrating MOOC units into his traditional class he can greatly cut-down on the time and course load needed to graduate (is his institution really on-board with this plan?)


mSchool Inspiration... Versal

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Wed, 07/10/2013 - 10:20am.
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While searching the interwebs for High Five leadsa for New Learning Times I came-across an interesting interactive, online and crowd-sourced learning platform, Versal. Read the article on the platform here.


1) Simple, intuitive UI/site design

2) Crowd-sourced online learning is a fresh idea

3) No programming necessary, creators can access insertable widgets and other plug and play elements

4) "Think, Create & Share" seem like clear action items for an online course creation experience... again, very simple/straightforward call to action.

What are your thoughts? Anything to learn from/apply to our own research into the future of online learning and mSchool?


Is MindMixer the Discussion Board of the Future?

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Tue, 07/09/2013 - 12:03pm.
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As this article explores, an urban planning professor recently embedded a "town hall" discussion board platform into her MOOC on Coursera (with a bit of code integration from Coursera). The chosen platform, MindMixer, has been traditionally used by municipalities to engage citizens around planning decisions, however, the application seems to have the following benefits for learning-focused discussions in online spaces:

1) Topics are open, but directed by facilitator (as the professor explains, this can be problematic)

2) The platform is highly social

3) Multimedia can be easily included and accessed

I am excited to explore this platform further in the context of mSchool and EdLab inititiatives that might integrate a discussion board.


MIT Invites You to Spy on Yourself

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Mon, 07/08/2013 - 10:29am.
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I couldn't resist sharing this... MIT has developed, Immersion, a platform that allows users to easily play NSA and "spy" (really just visualize) their email/social media behavior.

Try-out-out and see for yourself... as we continue to develop and think about both data display, utility and personal identity in the context of the future of learning, it is interesting to explore this new way to visualize your own metadata.

Thoughts?! Useful? Useless? Nice to look-at?

Thanks NPR Money blog and Andrew Jay Schwartzman's Daily Item for this lead! Also, this blog could be a great potential lead to share our UFR curriculum?


Should the Government Set-up Trust Funds to Cover College Tuition?

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Mon, 07/08/2013 - 10:07am.
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Newark's "super man" mayor, Cory Booker, has proposed an initiative that would require the Federal Government to deposit $400 a year into a college-focused trust fund for each child whose parent's qualify for an earned income tax credit.

Do you feel that this proposal is a viable solution to the education gap in the US? Why or why not? If a young person decides to attend a free or low-cost online training program instead, can they use the trust's money to cover expenses?

Read the full article on the


Pearson's First "Catalyst" Cohort

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Wed, 07/03/2013 - 9:33am.
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Pearson Catalyst (check-out this blog post I wrote on the announcement of their accelerator back in February) just announced their first cohort of startups to incubate. What do you think? Are these new companies potentially right on-the-edtech money or just-off? What elements do you feel will help them to either succeed or fail in the tricky, fickle vertical?

It is interesting to note that in exchange for $$$ and support these companies are all engaged in "Catalyst Challenges" for Pearson. For example, Ace Learning Co.'s challenge is listed as, "MOOC Premium Content-as-a-Service Catalog and Access." This is a very interesting model of support and value for both parties!


Meta Descriptions & Social Structured Data 4 SEO

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 4:40pm.
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Hi Everyone! I am currently working on a new meta description for NLT for Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines and thought I would share some great new resources I discovered along the way.

Here is a really helpful blog post that lays-out site meta description tag best practices.

Some highlights:

1. Search Terms. Don’t forget that keywords matching the users query will be matched in bold and therefore draw the eye’s attention to your result and increase your chances of click through.

2. Brand message/strap line. An important differentiator in a crowded marketplace. Really, what sells you? Be honest now.

3. Compelling marketing message. AHA! The last bastion of traditional marketing! Write something that markets the contents of this page.

4. USPs/value adds/discounts/offers.

5. Make it unique. If you don’t, Google Webmaster Tools will tell you off! It must be unique to the contents of the page.


"Primed Need" and Audience Seating

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Tue, 06/25/2013 - 9:44am.
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Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 9.42.52 AM

I came-across this article and thought of both our seminar and Demo Night seating arrangements. Are we "priming" our audience to receive the info presenters are sharing? Does this matter in a non-sales context? In the classroom? What role do you feel seating configuration plays? If you feel it matters, how can we optimize our seating configuration? This seems apropos to yesterday's seminar, which covered the LMS/seating chart intersection.


Event Recap: #G4C13

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 06/20/2013 - 5:29pm.
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I attended the last day/evening of the 10th annual Games for Change conference yesterday (Look-out for the "Seen in NY" on New Learning Times soon!). It was an invigorating experience full of interesting panels, new connections and a general feeling of inspiration and hope. Why? Because there are clearly so many individuals who believe in the power of games to help change minds and improve minds.

Event overview:
The event was held in the subterranean World Stages space in the low-50's. Featuring neon panels and "futuristic" touches and fonts (see pics below) the space felt more like a Battlestar Galactica set, rather than a typical conference space (in a good way).

Panels and presentations were held in theater spaces and they lent themselves well to people both attending and presenting (great acoustics/lighting etc.). The event's planners included standing tables and spaces to prop laptops for impromptu gatherings and spontaneous meetings. This was actually one of the best parts of the conference for me... I was able to have a few "free-wheeling" conversations with attendees and new contacts that have GREATLY enriched my professional network and understanding of the EdTech arena.


Event Recap: EdTech Women NYC Breakfast at Google

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Thu, 06/20/2013 - 4:00pm.
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I am excited to be a charter member of the @EdTechWomen's group founded by Noodler, Sehreen Noor Ali. The group first met at SXSW in Austin (I wasn't there, but heard it was epic!) and the second meeting was held at General Assembly. Most recently, group member Lisa Jiang (new Google+ for Education lead!), offered-up Google's NY offices and specifically the Google cafeteria for an Edtech Women's breakfast!

The previous meeting was more structured (almost a "speed dating" approach) and this most recent breakfast was more informal, with members talking about their work and their needs in the space. The next meeting will be at PolicyMic for a $20 marketing-focused writing workshop! I will keep you updated!

Here are some pics from the breakfast:

Google Neon!

photo (77)

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