"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young." - Henry Ford

Learning and Success

Learning increases the chance of serendipity--

Founders: Learning should be your top 2013 New Year’s resolution - The Next Web: "Your knowledge can make the difference between failure and success. Learning a new skill can also increase the chance of serendipity, the “magic” moment when seemingly unrelated concepts form an orignal thought in your head.
. . . Udacity offers a range of free online courses from top University professors. A few of the top courses include: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (CS271): Includes machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, robotics, and natural language processing. How to Build a Startup (EP245) by Steve Blank: You’ll learn the key steps of the Customer Development process. How to identify and engage the first customers for your product, and how to gather, evaluate and use their feedback to make your product, marketing and business model far stronger. Also worth subscribing to is Venture Lab – a series of startup courses online from Stanford University, for free."

COLSD: "In “Public Online Charter School Students: Choices, Perceptions, and Traits,” Paul Kim, Flora Hisook Kim, and Arafeh Karimi, of Stanford University, attempt to begin generating an explanation as to why students decide to enroll in online schools. Enrollment in online learning is increasing rapidly, by approximately 20% every year. It is obvious why parents are drawn to online learning: such programs offer individualized programs and progress reports that can be viewed by students, parents, and teachers, leaving no one in the dark as to how a given student’s education is progressing. However, it is not clear why students are turning to online learning.  According to the authors, “students who consider online education do not necessarily understand what may actually be required in online learning. As a result, students often discover that online learning requires much more active participation and a much higher level of self-regulation.” "

The Minerva Project and the Investment Bubble in Online Education | MIT Technology Review: "Harvard, by many measures the most prestigious college in the U.S., has been at it for nearly 400 years. Ben Nelson, founder of an online education startup called the Minerva Project, says he can do equally well in just three.
Minerva is one of the least-publicized but also most well-funded and audacious of the current crop of online education startups. Funded with $25 million from Benchmark Capital—one of the well-known venture-capital firm's largest-ever investments—Minerva says it will begin accepting applicants in 2015 for an entirely Web-based college program. The resulting undergraduate degree, it promises, will have all the prestige of anything the Ivy League can offer, but at half the cost. Many people would dismiss Minerva's notion of some sort of instant online Harvard as the fever dream of someone who had sat through one too many TED talks. But the for-profit company's assumptions about how the Internet will change education can be found, to varying degrees, in most of the scores of startups now getting venture money to do instruction online. . . ."

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Facing the Unknown in Online Learning

Facing the Unknown in Online Learning - Getting Smart by Beth Purcell: "Sometimes it is simply the unknown that leads people to question online learning. However, when they take the time to see first-hand how it works and the many benefits students gain from having engaged parents serving as learning coaches alongside certified teachers, they often become strong supporters.  As online learning grows in popularity and is offered as an option to families in more and more states, we encourage people to ask questions in order to better understand this learning model, just as they do with so many other innovative tools and technologies that are improving lives
in many other ways.

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30 Myths About eLearning That Need To Die In 2013: "For as long as eLearning has been around, it has been haunted by the voices of those who aim to criticize its authenticity, viability, and quality. But is it true? Do students of traditional institutions boast more success than those who’ve chosen distance learning?
It’s time for some of these myths to die.
1. The technology is unreliable . . . "

A revolution in digital online learning « Online Learning Update: "A revolution in digital online learning
by Anka Mulder, South China Morning Post - Much of the answer lies in realising the full potential of digital technology and the internet. They already provide access to vast resources of information, most of it free. But not all this data is reliable, and even credible information is only a stepping stone to real knowledge. That’s why, a decade ago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology made all its educational materials available online – for free. About 300 educational institutions have followed since, including Delft University of Technology, where I am secretary general. "

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Online learning is Education's Digital Future

Growth for online learning - Education's Digital Future - Stanford ...
MOOCs may have snared most of the headlines, but traditional, credit-based online learningcontinued to chug along just fine last year, thank you very much.

School Design May Affect a Child's Grades | Wired Science | Wired.com: "The 751 pupils using 34 classrooms across seven primary schools in Blackpool were studied over the 2011-12 academic year by the University of Salford’s School of the Built Environment and architecture firm Nightingale Associates. Standardised data — such as age, gender and academic performance — were collected on each child at the start and end of the year, while each classroom was rated for quality on ten different environmental factors, such as orientation for natural light, shape, colour, temperature and acoustics.
The results, published in Building and the Environment, revealed that the architecture and design of classrooms has a significant role to play in influencing academic performance. Six of the environmental factors — colour, choice, connection, complexity, flexibility and light — were clearly correlated with grade scores."

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Education Platform Lynda.com Raises Round Of Funding

After 17 Years, Education Platform Lynda.com Raises Its First Round Of Funding, $103M From Accel & Spectrum | TechCrunch: "Yet, with its sizable new chunk of funding, the company’s biggest growth potential lies in international markets. As of now, Lynda.com’s content is English-only, so going forward, it will be investing heavily in diversifying and localizing its existing content and potentially adding a handful of international studios to the 20-odd video studios it operates in the U.S. Operating its own production and studios is more capital intensive, but it also assures a higher quality presentation of its content, which in turn appeals to the teachers and experts who help create that content. In turn, when many online video platforms don’t compensate educators or rely on set-your-own-price marketplaces, Lynda has found success in an old model. Once teachers and experts are vetted, they get an advance for their work, meaning that they have a guaranteed paycheck. They can then supplement that base pay with a share of the revenue generated by their content based on the video’s popularity. Ultimately, it’s proven to be an attractive model to teachers, as nearly 20 percent of its 250 educators earn their entire annual income from Lynda.com."

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Smaller Paycheck Awaits New MBAs

Cost of College: For Newly Minted M.B.A.s, a Smaller Paycheck Awaits - WSJ.com: " . . . eight months after receiving his M.B.A. from the University of Louisville, Mr. Vonderweidt, 36 years old, hasn't been able to find a job in the private sector, and continues to work as an administrator at a social-service agency that helps Louisville residents obtain food stamps, health care and other assistance. He is saddled with about $75,000 in student-loan debt—much of it from graduate school. "It was a really great program," says Mr. Vonderweidt. "But the job part has been atrocious." Soaring tuition costs, a weak labor market and a glut of recent graduates such as Mr. Vonderweidt are upending the notion that professional degrees like M.B.A.s are a sure ticket to financial success. . . ."

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Coursera Step Toward Monetization - Students Can Earn Verified Certificates

Coursera Takes A Big Step Toward Monetization, Now Lets Students Earn “Verified Certificates” For A Fee | TechCrunch: "Stanford professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng launched Coursera last year to give anyone and everyone access to courses from top-tier universities — for free, online. At launch, the startup offered courses from a mere three institutions, but today, things have changed, as Coursera’s platform now hosts over 200 courses from 33 top international and domestic schools and reaches over 2 million students around the globe. It has the makings of a transformational concept, offering content only from the most reputed departments, professors and universities, bringing that experience online and giving the key to the masses. . . . Beyond the fact that Coursera has raised $22 million in venture capital (the same is true of Udacity), MOOC platforms haven’t yet been able to create substantive business models. Perhaps unfair for Coursera, being less than a year from launch, but an oft-voiced concern nonetheless. Meanwhile, beyond Udacity and edX, startups like the open LMS platform, Instructure, and online degree program specialist, 2U, have made legitimate strides into the MOOC space, offering a blend of free, MOOC-style and for-credit courses. Both have partnered with top-tier universities, offer quality content and tech and have succeeded in setting the table for supplementary revenue streams. (“Supplementary” because both created their course networks as extensions of their original businesses — something Coursera doesn’t have the luxury of doing.) . . . "

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Grading Schools

Schools Get Taste of Own Medicine - WSJ.com: "Schools long have graded students. Now they are being graded themselves, as a growing number of states assign them A-to-F scores to evaluate their performance. The results can be surprising. Eliot Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla., has been well-regarded by parents for years, in part for its high scores on state achievement exams. The school draws young families moving into the historic Brookside neighborhood that surrounds it. So parents and administrators were stunned when a new state report card last autumn gave Eliot a "C" on an A-to-F scale. Stephanie Coates, a mother of two Eliot students, called the ranking an "unpleasant surprise" and said she isn't convinced the state "assessed what's going on with Eliot very well." In the past two years, at least 10 states, from Arizona to North Carolina, began handing out letter grades to schools and, in some cases, districts. Modeled after an accountability program pioneered in Florida by then-Gov. Jeb Bush in the late 1990s, these systems gather reams of data, feed the numbers into complicated formulas and spit out letter grades. The formulas typically take into account test scores, graduation rates, attendance and progress among the lowest-achieving students."

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Colleges Caught in Value Trap

In other words, the college and university hyper-inflated, government student-loan financed, exorbitant costs may be coming to an end--

Colleges Caught in Value Trap, Study Finds - WSJ.com: "Moody's also attributed the enrollment decline at some public universities to a "heightened scrutiny of the value of higher education" after years of tuition increases and stagnating family income. The credit-rating firm said in its report that more students are "increasingly attending more affordable community colleges, studying part time, or electing to enter the workforce without the benefit of a college education." Private universities and colleges with lower credit ratings, as well as smaller public universities, reported the most enrollment pressure, according to Moody's.
"We have a more informed class of college consumers," said Bonnie Snyder, founder of Kerrigan College Planning in Lancaster, Pa. "Everyone today knows someone who went to college and ended up with a career that didn't justify the cost. They see college as a more risky investment.""

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Bay Area students opting for cyberclassrooms

More Bay Area students opting for cyberclassrooms - SiliconValley.com: "While many parents struggle to get their kids out from under the covers, dressed and off to school, Erinn Watson's daughters are always on time for class. . . . Catey and Aiden Watson, of Concord, are among the growing number of students in the Bay Area and across the country getting their education online through virtual public schools. The Watsons, a Coast Guard family, were unfamiliar with local schools when they moved from Anchorage, Alaska, this year.
"This seemed like the best option, so we decided to go ahead and do it," Erinn Watson said. But as online K-12 schools grow in popularity, questions abound about accountability, high dropout rates and the possibility that they will siphon public funds away from brick-and-mortar schools. "(Online schools) are a big trend in education, but nobody really knows what to make of them yet," said M.D. Roblyer, an education professor at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who has studied Web-based schools. "The opportunity is there. The experience can be as good or better than face-to-face, but the teachers have to be qualified and the students have to be ready to learn online." The majority of cyberschools, which obtain charter status through local school districts, are publicly funded but privately run, in some cases for profit. About 14,000 students in the Bay Area enrolled in virtual public programs during the 2011-12 school year, according to the state Department of Education, a 10 percent increase from the previous year. Many families are drawn to the individualized education available through Web learning, said Mina Arnold, program coordinator for California Virtual Academies, the state's largest network of online schools. . . ."

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Boundless Books Gives Away Free Online Textbooks, Faces Lawsuit

Boundless Books Gives Away Free Online Textbooks, Faces Lawsuit | MIT Technology Review"Startup companies offering knockoff textbooks are attracting students, and lawsuits. Ask Ariel Diaz why he's taking on the college textbook industry and he'll tell you, "Quaternions." Quaternions are a number system used for calculating three-dimensional motion, popular in computer graphics. And Diaz needed a crash course to help him with a consulting gig after his online video platform startup, Youcastr, had failed. He started with Wikipedia and found it was surprisingly good at explaining this complicated mathematics. Diaz, who still resents how much he'd paid for textbooks in college and graduate school, realized he'd hit on his next business idea. In 2011, he started Boundless Learning, a Boston company that has begun giving away free electronic textbooks covering college subjects like American history, anatomy and physiology, economics, and psychology. What's controversial is how Boundless creates these texts. The company trawls for public material on sites like Wikipedia and then crafts it into online books whose chapters track closely to those of top-selling college titles. In April, Boundless was sued by several large publishers who accused the startup of engaging in "the business model of theft.". . ."

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Massive Open Online Courses in the Developing World

Massive Open Online Courses in the Developing World | MIT Technology Review: "When prominent U.S. universities began offering free college classes over the Web this year, more than half of the students who signed up were from outside the United States. Consider the story of one of them: Carlos Martinez, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of El Salvador. Last spring, Martinez enrolled in a class on electronic circuits offered by edX, the $60 million collaboration between MIT and Harvard to stream “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, over the Web. He thought it was so good that he began traveling around El Salvador to convince others to join the class and launched a blog in English to document his adventures as his country’s first “MOOC advocate.”. . . "

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Webcam Proctors Watch Students in Online Courses

Webcam Proctors Watch Students in Online Courses | MIT Technology Review: "How can you tell if an online student has done the work? That’s where webcam proctoring comes in.The boom in online education has created a job that didn’t exist a few years ago: remote test proctor.

More than 100 of them work for ProctorU, a fast-growing startup founded in 2009. Sitting at computers in ProctorU’s offices in Hoover, Alabama, or Livermore, California, the proctors use webcams and screen-sharing software to observe students anywhere as they take a test or complete an online assignment. As the students do the work on their computers, the proctors watch to make sure they don’t cheat.

It’s a simple idea that could prove critical for the expansion of online education. Over the last year, several top universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and MIT, have begun offering free college courses to all comers (see “The Crisis in Higher Education”). . . . "

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Online learning can be pricey

Online learning can be pricey
San Antonio Express
It can cost a school between $75,000 and $200,000 to “translate” a course into an online format, she said. “The cost is highly dependent on the course material,” Thorne said. “But the idea thatonline learning is always less expensive is false.” For ...

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Stanford MBA Price Highest in the World

How much higher?

Stanford MBA price tag hits $185K: Highest in the world - Fortune Management: ". . . Stanford's Graduate School of Business has leapfrogged the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and Columbia Business School to become the most expensive two-year MBA program in the world, according to an analysis by Poets&Quants. This year, Stanford is telling applicants that the estimated cost of its two-year, full-time MBA program is a whopping $185,054, a new record. That is some $18,242 more than Stanford said it would cost an MBA student only two years ago, when Columbia was the school with the most expensive MBA program in the world. At that time, Columbia estimated that the cost to attend its MBA program was $168,307, while third-place Stanford's price tag was $166,812. In just two years, Stanford's estimated cost of the degree has risen by 10.9%, though the estimate includes a $4,000 global study trip. Harvard Business School, Stanford's No. 1 rival, now costs over $20,000 less in estimated charges, even though it is in pricey Boston. . . . ."

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