Citation maker

My students are currently working on proposals for their final projects in my program and one of the things they need to do is use APA formatting. There are great tools out there like Endnote, however, Endnote carries a $250 price tag if not offered by your university. So there are free tools out there and one that I personally like is called the citation machine. It’s very simple to use and you just enter in your information and it create the bibliography for you. Here is the link While not nearly as sophisticated as Endnote is does do the job.

Faculty Regalia

Each year students graduate with advanced degrees and faculty are required to attend those graduations. Thus students and faculty need a graduate robe, otherwise known as academic regalia. These regalia can be quite expensive. In fact at my alma mater, Penn State, the regalia costs $699. That is usually quite expensive for a student. It is also expensive for faculty who usually do not have nice plush salaries (who am I kidding none do). But there are cheaper options out there. There are tons of sites that offer them for $300 or so. But again, I felt this was too expensive for a piece of cloth that I felt I could sew together if I was motivated enough. So after an exhaustive search, I found a company that sells them for $100-$200 depending on what you want. I believe I got mine for a total of $150 with shipping and that included the gown, hat, and hood. It is really nice quality too and came with 3-4 days of ordering. I usually do not promote a brand or website but figured this was useful for faculty. I thought it was a scam at first because it was so much cheaper than other sites but after doing a google search found out they were legit and now can confirm that they are as I have my gown in hand. Well here is the site: http://www.economycapandgown.com/

Australian university to issue 11,000 iPads next year

Some excerpts from the article:

“The University of Western Sydney said in a statement that it plans to distribute 11,000 iPads next year to every new student and member of the faculty “to support learning and teaching innovations across the curriculum and in informal learning environments.””

“The iPad initiative is part of a curriculum overhaul at UWS that will stress “flexible study options” and “a blended learning model,” The Australian reports. Traditional lectures will be augmented by a more interactive learning approach, Krause said.

“Mobile technologies will be a key part of this strategy,” she said. “We want to support our academic staff to make the most of iPads and custom-designed apps in class so that, even in the largest lecture theater, students have access to just-for-me, just-in-time interactive learning experiences.””

My thoughts:

While I am personally more inclined to use laptops over tablets because they do so much more, I think things like this can be very beneficial if implemented correctly – and that is the key. If they just buy professors and students a bunch of iPads, I would not expect much good to come out of them…at least not a large % anyway. Now if they train the professors and students how to use them, provide good resources, and support, then it could be an awesome initiative.

Minnesota Bans MOOCs….then doesn’t

Last week the state of Minnesota banned MOOCs. Why? Apparently they have a law that states that any university trying to operate within their border must meet state standards (as in get approval to operate). This would be OK if Minnesota had some kind of quality program but my guess is that the people in charge are not even educators and that there are companies that stand to lose money if the state pushed to get MOOCs out. Here is an excerpt from the chronicle:

“The state’s Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It’s unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution:

Notice for Minnesota Users:

Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.”

Source: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/minnesota-gives-coursera-the-boot-citing-a-decades-old-law/40542

Apparently, facing backlash from the higher ed community, Minnesota plans to ignore the law and let these programs exist within its borders – http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/facing-backlash-minnesota-decides-to-allow-free-online-courses-after-all/40588

Now there are a lot of good issues here. First, these MOOCs are free and offer no credit….plus they are online. How could a state really police them? Should a state really be able to police what is on the internet? On one hand you have states rights and on the other you have a state telling its citizens what they can and cannot see online which brings up a whole host of issues. I would not be surprised if we see more of these types of situations in the very near future so keep your eyes peeled:)

MOOCs: MoocDonald’s article a must read

Massive open online course’s (MOOCs)…..I see some advantages, disadvantages, and learning and research opportunities within their domain but am still undecided as to what my predictions are for them and how they will impact education so I am holding off writing about that. But I did read an article yesterday by one of my favorite faculty (Dr. Kyle Peck) from Penn State University and think it is a very good read. Dr. Peck is an expert in this field (probably more than anyone else I know for this kind of thing), he has both corporate and education experience, has managed his own charter school, has served in management at the university, and has worked with many many school districts, so he knows his stuff. I do have to say I really like some of the ideas coming out of this article:

“Most of us have options when it comes to food.  We can buy groceries and make choices in terms of quality — from junk food to organic, from Captain Crunch to granola and corn dogs to kale.  When we eat out we can grab fast food, stop at a chain restaurant, or choose a fine dining experience.  We can eat there, eat in our cars, or take it home. We can finish it off at home as a midnight snack.  Different options make sense at different stages of our lives, and on different days, and these choices have implications in terms of cost, time, social interactions, and ultimately, in terms of overall wellness.  For billions of less fortunate others, however, options are few and a next meal is not guaranteed…..” rest of article here

How to find scholarships

Decent article on Mashable this morning on how to find scholarships. While it doesnt go into much detail its a great starting point for those looking for money to attend college (who isnt?).

Article: “You’ve worked hard to make it into college, and now comes another challenge — getting funding. Of course you can — and should — call your campus’ financial aid office to find out what scholarship, loan and grant information they can provide you with. It’s also wise to do a little searching of your own. And don’t count yourself out if you don’t have excellent grades, some sites award scholarships based on luck.

There are only a few free web tools that are actually useful in the search for college scholarships. Fastweb, is the first stop for online scholarships and a household name with families who’ve been Výsledek obrázku pro scholarshipthrough the college process in the past 10 years. The site has 50 million registered users, of whom 9 million are active users of the site. Fastweb has 1.5 million scholarships worth about $3.5 billion.

Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Fastweb.com and an expert in financial aid, tells Mashable less than 0.3 percent of students enrolled in four-year institutions were able to get a free ride due to grants and scholarships. 

“Your chances of winning a scholarship if you’re going to a four-year institution are about 1 in 8,” he said, adding the amount for that one winner averages about $2,800 per year. Yet, it’s important to lessen your college debt since it will most likely stay with you for years after graduation.”………..

Link to the rest of the article

UNCW MIT Orientation

Students in the MIT program, remember that today is our orientation. It will begin at 4pm and end at 6pm. Please come and join us for refreshments (yes free food), introductions, and to hear from us faculty about our program!

http://uncw.edu/ed/mit/