UAE Federal higher education institutions create history with mobile learning launch

The official launch marked the largest nationwide mobilization of mobile learning in higher education anywhere in the world; implementing the 3rd generation iPads .



Please connect with me if you are using mlearning.

Hybrid Online Learning Delivers

From the Bacon’s Rebellion web site (a great site you should check out!) is a  blog post supporting University of Virginia’s move to join Coursera, using the latest research from Ithaka S+R: Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials.

As the  University of Virginia has been embroiled in a battle over it’s actions–or, LACK of action–with jumping on the MOOC bandwagon (see my comments here: Experts: UVa.’s Coursera partnership far from an embrace of online learning (July 17th, 2012)).

An interesting read, Bacon’s Rebellion does a good job teasing-out the salient parts of the research.


“Vigorous efforts should be made to aggressively explore uses of both the relatively simple systems that are proliferating all around us, often to good effect, and more sophisticated systems that are still in their infancy. There is every reason to expect these systems to improve over time, perhaps dramatically, and thus it is not foolish to believe that learning outcomes will also improve.” – Conclusion from:Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials



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Tell me one good job you can get without a college degree?

Such was the question posed to me by a recruiter from one of our state colleges. I was eager to argue that many entrepreneurs,  programmers, and other service industries did not require college degrees but, agreed that current competitive trends made college–or an advanced degree granting institution (trades, etc), were important for a good job.

Gaining more knowledge is a sure-fire way to improve your life. With rapid changes in technology, the job market and careers, college is one of the many ways this can be accomplished, whether it’s a two-year community college, a four-year college or trade/technical school.

Provided college financing is within a person’s means and budget (See: College Grads: The New Debt Slaves and Colleges Suing Their Own Students For Repayment) more higher education can make a person more marketable and gives them more options in life.

The folks at Educated Rooster put together a nice little list:

 10 Reasons For Going Back To College

  1. Higher Paying Salary: A college degree drastically improves your career earning prospects. Research has shown that job applicants with degrees are more likely to land higher paying jobs with better health insurance and more vacation days.
  2. Increase Your Job Options: A college degree widens your spectrum of job options. College graduates have more job prospects because they acquire more specialized skills, knowledge, and expertise than non-college graduates.
  3. Personal Investment: Nothing in your life is more important than you. A college education broadens your horizons. A degree is an investment that will allow you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
  4. Networking: Social ties and your network reach are valuable assets in today’s society. College is a great place to meet new people whose interests are aligned with yours. It provides you with the opportunity to build connections with people from all over the world. The people you meet in college may be tomorrow’s CEOs and leaders.
  5. More Career Flexibility: More and more employers demand workers with post-secondary degrees. A degree gives you greater access to occupations and job opportunities.
  6. Competitive Edge: Going back to college can provide you with the edge you need in today’s rough economic times. College helps familiarize you with the latest advances within your field. It can potentially equip you with specific skills and knowledge that can give you an advantage amongst your peers.
  7. Job Security: Higher education levels have been proven to lead to better job security.
  8. Build your Confidence: Increasing your knowledge, skill-sets, and experiences can only help to make you a well-rounded individual. Exposing yourself to new topics and experiences will simultaneously enhance your self-esteem and your appeal to employers.
  9. Career Change: You may have hit a dead end in your current job or you came to the realization that it’s not what you desire to do with the rest of your life. A college degree can help you get hired at a higher level and more quickly rise through the ranks of your new career.
  10. Health and Happiness: You may find that once you have completed college you are happier, have less stress, and that both you and your children are healthier. Evidence shows that college graduates tend to be happier and healthier. They have more fun, more leisure time, and are more optimistic about their past and future progress. As a happy person you will be more motivated to pursue your goals, and you are more likely to earn more money

Are there more reasons to go back to college?





College Grads: The New Debt Slaves

Despite growing evidence of unemployed college graduates, under-employed college graduates (working a job that doesn’t require an advanced degree), and over a TRILLION dollars in College Debt, it concerns me that a “4-year College Education” is still being sold to high school students as their ONLY hope for success after graduation. Are students being sold into college debt slavery?

The college tuition costs of today are NOT the costs of yesteryear for many who advise young people AND, there are so many different options for learning, earning, and enjoying a career. [Full Disclosure:  All three of my own children attended college and, there was preliminary awareness and a plan in place prior.]

If a college graduate can’t get a job or, the job they do get doesn’t pay well, they’re not going to be able to pay on their expensive student loans. The consequences can have a long term impact never imagined–maybe even resulting in wage garnishments, judgments, or as the recent trend: Colleges Suing Their Own Students For Repayment.

What’s the solution?

I came across this article by Chriss W. Street and thought the supporting evidence from financial institution sites to be a compelling in confirming a scary, financial scenario.

 College Graduates Are the New Debt Slaves

With the estimated cost of attending a four year state college in America at $120,000, the average family of four should expect their children’s college to cost more than buying a home.  Even though only 24% of Americans believe college is affordable, 97% still believe getting a college degree is financially important to improve your life.  This optimism regarding the value of education has provided the justification for 60% of the 20 million students in college last year to borrow $42 billion from the United States government this year to stay in school.  But with the reward for a college degree falling and default rates sky-rocketing, many students and their parents will end up as the student loan debt slaves.

College tuitions since 1986 have risen by a breath taking 498%, compared to 115% for general price inflation.  The main driver for this hyper-inflation was the dramatic expansion of the Federal Stafford Loans since 1992, following Congress’ elimination of requirement that government-backed student loans be subject to parental income restrictions.  The most enticing aspect of these sub-prime loans is that repayment is deferred while a student is enrolled as at least a half-time student, then are subject to a grace period for six months after the student leaves school either by graduating, dropping below half-time enrollment, or withdraws.  The sudden access to billions of dollars in “free money” allowed highly unionized colleges to dramatically increase tuition rates without fear of driving away financially strapped under-graduates.

For students graduating this year with a four year degree, college sounded like a good financial investment when they first enrolled in 2008.  At that time, the median annual earnings of young adults with bachelor’s degrees was $46,000, versus only $30,000 for those with high school diplomas or equivalencies.   This means that on average, the bachelor’s degree salary beat a high school diploma by 53%.  But average salary means that half of graduates make more than $46,000 and half make less.  Eliminate engineering, economics and accounting degrees, the starting salary drops below $42,000.  Graduate with an education, sociology or creative arts degree and the starting salary drops below to $36,000.

In 1970, when the overall unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, unemployment among college graduates was negligible, at 1.2 percent.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that with the current national unemployment rate of 7.9%, unemployment for college graduates is substantially better at 3.7%.  But many college graduates over the Great Recession have been forced to “trade down” to take $9 an hour starting jobs at Wal-Mart, FedEx and Starbucks.

Student loans just passed the $1 trillion dollar mark and continue to be the fastest growing consumer debt in the United States.  The total percentage of Americans with 1 or more student loans has increased from 12.1% to 19% over the last seven years.  Average student loan debt was $17,233 in 2005, but the level has swelled by 58% to $27,253 in 2012.  In contrast, outstanding consumer credit cards and car loans balances in the U.S. actually shrank during the same period.

Lending to people who did not have to qualify to borrow and will not begin paying money back until after they have consumed the product, has created a colossal new sub-prime lending crisis.  Over the last two years, the default rate on student loans, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s quarterly credit report, rose from 8.5% in 2011, to 11% by September 2012.   The U.S. Department of Education reports the current default rate is 13.4% and estimates that 40% of student debt required to be in repayment status is not performing according to the original loan terms.

A generation of Americans has gone deep into debt for their education.  Some will pay-off their loans, but many will default or seek loan modifications.  Those defaulting on a student loans will face dire consequences, beyond a bad credit record — which can tarnish hopes of getting a car, an apartment or even a job.  Under law, the U.S. government can attach their wages, tax refunds and even inheritance.  Unlike other consumer borrowers with onerous debt, student loans are specifically ineligible for compromise or rejection under the United States Bankruptcy Code.  Going to college may still be the best time of a person’s life, but millions of students and their families are doomed to a life as student loan debt slaves.

Future of Higher Education Becomes Unclear As Free Online Courses Multiply

A quick interview by the New York Times with Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford–makers of the COURSERA platform–are adding 12 universities to  the online education venture they founded.


How could free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, benefit or be detrimental to society at large?

WHAT company recently announced that a dozen major research universities have joined forces with it to help expand and enhance online learning?
WHAT technological advances are expected to allow MOOCs to open higher education to hundreds of millions of people?

WHO are the founders of Coursera?

WHERE did a free online artificial intelligence course attract 160,000 students from 190 countries last year?
WHERE do two-thirds of Coursera’s students hail from?

HOW many students did Coursera register with its original partners?
HOW, for the most part, do the MOOCs function for students?
HOW do you think MOOCs could benefit society at large, and HOW could they be detrimental?

WHY did Richard A. DeMillo, the director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech, refer to this recent expansion in online learning as a “tsunami”?
WHY are grading and online cheating especially problematic for MOOCs?

WHEN have you or someone you know taken an online course?

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There can be no denying teenage reliance on their portable devices and Online provides a nice infographic on how college students are using their smartphones.

The dominant activity appears to be communication, although no data is presented on social media use.

If “idle time” is dominanted by smartphone use, is it still idle time?

I’ve just finished gathering data from a survey of high school students enrolled in elearning courses, on how they use their cell phones–there are some amazing results. Look for it in the future!