The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Category: Industry Insights (page 1 of 4)

What’s next for EdTech

Education technology is constantly evolving alongside the development of new tools, processes and resources. Each year, an expert panel of community members publishes the NMC Horizon Report, which lays out the latest trends and developments in EdTech and identifies new impacts on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry.

This year’s key findings include:

  • In the short-term, a growing focus on measuring learning and new learning spaces;
  • In the mid-term, an increase in open educational resources and the rise of different forms of interdisciplinary studies; and
  • In the long-term, advancing cultures of innovation and cross-institution and cross-sector collaboration

The report predicts that analytics technologies and makerspaces will likely influence EdTech in 2019. Within the next five years and beyond, educators can expect to see the adoption of more adaptive learning technologies and artificial intelligence, mixed reality and robotics.

Be at the forefront of EdTech

Brandeis University is proud to offer master’s degrees for practitioners seeking to make an impact on the future of education technology:

MS in Instructional Design and Technology

MS in Strategic Analytics

MS in Robotic Software Engineering

Brandeis GPS programs are part-time, and 100% online. To learn more about our master’s degrees, request more information or contact the GPS office: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu.

FinTech in Boston

With hundreds of startups and some of the world’s largest asset managers, custodial banks, and insurers, it’s no surprise that Boston is a hub for financial technology. Boston is home to many companies in the financial services industry, large and small, including Circle, MassMutual, Flywire, and FinTech Sandbox. In the upcoming week, September 10-14, 2018, these organizations and more will come together for Boston FinTech Week 2018. The theme of this year is: Moving Beyond Volatility.

As part of a collaboration between Boston’s accelerators, institutions, startups, universities, firms, and co-working spaces, events will highlight content on new models and technologies that move markets forward. Throughout the week there are more than 35 free events across downtown Boston celebrating FinTech innovation. Events range from Fintech for Social Impact to Innovation in Insurance. See the full list of the events taking place and register for each event individually here.

For those in the financial sector looking for the technical skill-sets necessary to build a FinTech career, Brandeis GPS will be offering the following course this fall: FinTech: The Evolution of Technology for Financial Services. The 10-week, fully online course will explore FinTech as a solution to challenges facing an inter-connected global marketplace. It will address the evolution of the financial industry landscape, the challenges and opportunities this new era presents, and the drivers behind the change.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech, or would like to explore technology for FinTech as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

The ABCs of SEM

According to Internet Live Stats, Google currently processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, which amounts to 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Digital marketers know that web users arriving on Google’s search engine results page are looking for specific information based on the keywords they searched for. Search engine marketing (SEM) is a tactic marketers can use to get their products or services in front  of these users as searches are happening in real-time.

People looking at chartsThe idea behind SEM (also known as paid search, or pay-per-click marketing) is to anticipate the types of keywords a target market is going to search for, and strategically optimize a paid search budget to bid on those keywords. By also including the keywords in Google ads and on landing pages, marketers can earn one of Google’s top ad spots on the search engine results page, placing an ad among users who have already expressed an interest in searching for a product or service.

For professionals looking to build their search engine marketing skills, Brandeis GPS will be offering Principles of Search Engine Marketing during our October 2018 session. The fully online, 10-week course will explore ad creation, keyword expansion, landing page optimization, monitoring, bid management, and analysis. It will also explore search engine optimization, and how that strategy can enhance and complement paid search campaigns.

Students will learn the back-end technology behind search engines and how people use search engines to find information, and will then explore ways to position relevant content within those searches so that their products or services become part of the searcher’s decision process. Students learn about and evaluate SEM methods including content creation, keyword strategies, website programming, pay-per-click advertising, digital marketing optimization, and social media. As part of the course, students use Simbound, a digital marketing simulation, to create their own SEM campaign including forming objectives, strategy, budget allocation, tactics, and measurements to monitor progress.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 Master’s degree programs. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Digital Marketing and Design, or would like to explore paid search as part of your own professional development, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Brandeis GPS students continue collaboration on statewide MATTERS data project

According to the State Technology and Science Index, Massachusetts is the most high-tech state, with top tier-institutions for higher education producing a highly skilled workforce and innovation economy.

What is MATTERS?

Logo for the MATTERS projectMATTERS™ is the Massachusetts’ Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System.  MATTERS was created to measure the strength of the technological environment in Massachusetts and compare it to other states. It was developed by faculty and students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) under the guidance of the Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC) to compare Massachusetts’ competitive position to it’s 15 peer technology states.

The MATTERS peer states include the 10 “Leading Technology States” from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s annual Innovation Index and the top 5 states in the Milken Institute’s State Tech and Science Index. The MATTERS performance index ranks each state along talent, tax (financial climate), cost of doing business, and quality of life by using a weighted average of key metrics in each data category. The goal is to make Massachusetts the most desirable state to grow a high technology business by using the data from the MATTERS™ project to drive public policy that will enhance the state’s strengths and draw in businesses.

How is Brandeis GPS Involved?

Starting in January 2016, Stephen Gentile, former chair of the MS in Strategic Analytics and a current GPS instructor, created a program for GPS  students to curate MATTERS data. The course is now taught by Travis Dawry, who took over as instructor in fall 2016. In each iteration of the course, students are selected based on a variety of factors including their academic performance, professional experience, and leadership abilities.

The role of the GPS team includes:

  • Developing, documenting, and receiving approval for the scope of work from MHTC project sponsors
  • Evaluating, analyzing, and transmitting MATTERS data from multiple sources
  • Proposing and executing extension projects to enhance MATTERS analytics capabilities
  • Effectively communicating the project’s status, issues, risks, and results to MATTERS stakeholders
  • Creating or enhancing the methodology to maintain the MATTERS system and developing a proposed work plan for the next offering of the course

Since the launch of the program, Brandeis GPS students have:

  • Analyzed the current MATTERS state indices and suggested changes to the metrics and weighting across all four of MATTERS’ index categories
  • Compared Massachusetts infrastructure spending to that of its peer states
  • Evaluated traffic to the MATTERS website itself using Google Analytics data

There is now a system in place for data versioning and issue tracking, via a private GitHub repository, so the Brandeis GPS team is able to coordinate with the MHTC and WPI points of contact asynchronously throughout the semester.

How can you participate?

The Brandeis GPS course that works with MATTERS data, Special Topics in Strategic Analytics, will be taught during our Fall 2 session starting in October. It is open to students who are matriculated in our 100% online MS in Strategic Analytics program, which aims to help students master the technical and strategic skills necessary to transform data analysis into insightful, data-backed stories to influence key decision makers. The 30-credit part-time, flexible program is designed with equal focus in both the art and science of data in its seven required courses and three electives. After graduating from the program, students should be able to identify patterns and trends within big data, interpret and communicate results to stakeholders of various levels, and leverage data to inform strategic decisions. Samples of our Strategic Analytics courses include Business Intelligence, Analytics and Strategic Decision MakingFoundations of Data Science and Analytics, and Data Quality and Governance.

How do you apply to Brandeis GPS?

If you’re interested in applying to the MS in Strategic Analytics, we offer rolling admission, so you can apply and be accepted at any time. However, there are recommended deadlines if you are seeking admission for a specific term. You should submit your application by Wednesday, September 12 for Fall 2 admission with courses starting in October. Those interested in the program who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still take up to two online courses without officially enrolling. This is a great opportunity to get to know our programs and approach to online learning. Course registration is open now for our Fall 2 classes starting in October. Learn more about our MS in Strategic Analytics, and preview our Strategic Analytics courses here. You can also contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

The value of professional communications

World Cloud of RCOM102 Course DescriptionEveryone needs to communicate – it’s what connects us to others and how we share our ideas. Communication with others is key for success in all aspects of life, both with personal and professional relationships.

Professional communication can be verbal or non-verbal, encompassing the articulation of one’s thoughts and/or body language during meetings, in public speaking scenarios, or via email. Regardless of what industry you’re in, it is important to master so-called “soft skills” such as effectively communicating if you’re looking to advance into a more senior-level leadership position.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top five personal qualities or skills potential employers seek are:

  1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
  2. Strong work ethic
  3. Teamwork skills (works well with others, group communication)
  4. Initiative
  5. Analytical skills

Communication skills frequently make the top of the list for what qualities employers look for in all industries. Actions that professionals can take to become more successful communicators include:

Active listening 

It is important to concentrate on the message that someone else is communicating and exhibit behaviors such as eye contact to demonstrate your interest. Active listening also includes asking clarifying questions to ensure you fully understand what the person is expressing to you. If you listen closely, you will be able to analyze information from others better and more effectively respond to it.

Encouraging interaction through non-verbal cues

A lot of messages are communicated between people without any talking. Non-verbal signals such as posture, hand gestures, and eye contact impact how others will perceive you and your message.  For example, when speaking to a larger group, even a smile that shows confidence will go a long way towards engaging others. It is important that your non-verbal cues match up with the message you are trying to get across.

Being clear and concise

Whether expressing your opinion or asking questions of others, it is critical to get to the point quickly. Stating your ideas in a straightforward way will allow others to more easily understand what you are saying.

Using persuasive reasoning

There are often times when you may have an opinion that is different from someone else, but you have to agree to go forward with one. In times like these, using logic and reason to demonstrate the strengths of your perspective will go a long way. This means providing everyone with the facts and sharing relevant examples.

Knowing your audience

You’ll communicate with people differently depending on their backgrounds, professional titles, and experiences. It will be helpful to know what your audience is expecting from your interactions, so you can surpass those expectations.

Ultimately, there are many steps that you can take to improve your communication skills. One way to learn more is to take a professional communications course. Brandeis GPS offers part-time, online courses for adult learners looking to build professional development. Contact us for more information about our professional communications courses: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

Right kind of graduate study can give current biotech staff boost we seek

In their June 4 op-ed, Mayor Marty Walsh and Vertex Pharmaceuticals President, CEO and Chairman Dr. Jeffrey Leiden make a compelling case for strengthening the biotech workforce pipeline in Massachusetts. Establishing strong public-private partnerships with Boston Public Schools is a necessary strategy for developing and retaining young talent for the state’s growing biopharmaceutical sector.

It is equally important, however, that we not overlook alternative pipelines for workforce development. Professional master’s degrees can help research assistants, engineers, lab technicians and other qualified biotech professionals transition into the more advanced bioinformatics positions that Massachusetts relies on to remain competitive.

As we continue prioritizing investments in economic growth and innovation, we must remember that there is more than one educational pathway toward closing the biopharma skills gap. The right type of graduate education can equip professionals who already have a foothold in the industry with the technology and expertise to advance their careers, producing a new wave of talented employees who can take on this complex and incredibly important work.

 

This letter first appeared in the Boston Globe on June 10.

UXPA Boston Student Recap | Part 2

Brandeis GPS was a proud sponsor of the 2018 UXPA Boston annual conference. This week, we’re featuring a two-part series on how the conference was experienced through the eyes of two students in the MS in User-Centered Design. Read Part 1 here.

By Craig Cailler, as told in his own words:

The Boston Chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association held their annual conference at the Sheraton Boston Hotel on Thursday, May 10, 2018. I have attended this event for many years and watched it grow from a few hundred people hosted at local university, to over one thousand people attending sessions occupying multiple ball rooms in a large hotel in downtown Boston. This year was something special as the team at UXPA Boston was able to promote an appearance by industry veteran, Rolf Molich, from DialogDesign in Denmark in Europe. President of UXPA Boston, Dan Berlin, posted this to his Twitter account about the occasion, “Rolf Molich presenting CUE-10 results at #UXPABOS18 makes me feel like we’ve finally hit the big time.” It was truly a special moment for the team, and the conference, as they prove again that this has become one of the premier annual events with the industry.

This first session I attended this year was, “CPUX – A Serious (and Usable?) European Attempt at Certifying UX Professionals” presented by Rolf Molich. The International Usability and UX Qualification Board is composed of UX professionals from across Europe that develop and maintain the curricula for the purpose of introducing usability to new practitioners, keeping active practitioners current and establishing common terminology and technologies across the industry. The CPUX offers several levels of certification, covering topics such as Human-centered design process, Definitions, Understanding of context of use, User requirements, Design solutions, Usability tests and Inspections and user surveys. During the session, Rolf “quizzed” the audience with sample questions used in the certification process using an online live polling software. Rolf closed out the session by telling the audience that the team at UXQB were looking for sponsors here in the United States to begin providing this training, so keep your eyes out for future CPUX classes in our area.

I was also introduced to several new tools as part of other presentations. In the session entitled, “Through Their Eyes: Using VR to Simulate Retinal Diseases”, Jessica Holt-Carr and Weiwei Huang walked the audience through the process they used to build empathy for disabled users who suffer with visual impairments by using low vision simulation kits. Jessica and Weiwei explained how they used an Android application called SimViz (In My Eyes – iOS alternative) in conjunction with a hand-made cardboard device that held the mobile device comfortable on participants while blocking out all light sources. Jessica summarized the benefits of this approach as:

  • Identifies accessibility barriers
  • Seeing the world from their view
  • Raises awareness to the issue

In another session entitled, “Digital whiteboarding and other techniques for remote collaboration and ideation”, the team of Kristina Beckley and Ethan Perry from IBM spoke to the audience about a digital whiteboarding tool called “Mural” as part of the presentation. They discussed how they used the tool to collect input from global team members as part of their global design process that includes “Hills, Playbacks and Sponsor Users”. They provided the audience with some best practices based on their use of the tool including…

  • Timebox the process
  • Make sure people are contributing
  • Setup separate rooms, 8-12 people each

UXPA Boston Student Recap | Part 1

Brandeis GPS was a proud sponsor of the 2018 UXPA Boston annual conference. This week, we’re featuring a two-part series on how the conference was experienced through the eyes of two students in the MS in User-Centered Design. Read Part 2 here.

By Roslyn Jones, as told in her own words:

I had a great experience at the UXPA Boston conference. There were so many great professionals and organizations to network with. My most important takeaways derived from the organization networking space, Making Websites Readable discussion and the Mentoring forum.

Within the organization networking space, I was able to connect with multiple companies that were either offering User Experience (UX) job positions or showcasing tools valuable to the UX industry. The pictured MPACT game-like persona builder, which is picture below, is a creatively innovative tool that aids teams in creating persona profiles. The representatives at each table were so pleasant and were eager to speak to each attendee about the services that their businesses provide. Also, it was a pleasure meeting student advisor Daniel Mongeon at the Brandeis GPS table. As I continued to explore the different tables, I stumbled upon the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), an academic, professional, service based engineering organization. It was great connecting with them and speaking with other conference attendees about its purpose.

The Making Websites Readable session provided methods to enhance the readability of a website in a fun and engaging way. They incorporated storytelling, comic strips, and a web-redesign exercise to deliver their 7 Tips for Web Style. The session started off with an animated reading of a Pearls Before Swine comic strip, which was nothing short of entertaining. This led us into analyzing a poorly designed website created specifically for this demonstration. I like how Jen Kramer and Martha Nichols continuously engaged the audience, maintained high energy throughout the presentation and presented takeaways that were short, simple, and useful. Their 7 Tips for Web Style are:

  1. Keep it short
  2. Add snappy headings
  3. Find your focus
  4. Make a list
  5. Get specific
  6. Adjust visuals
  7. Use your words wisely

During the Mentoring Session, I obtained perspectives from two professionals who have years of UX experience. Our mentee group consisted of seven individuals who are new to UX.  Throughout this session we received great tips on how to position ourselves to impress a manager or other UX hiring executive. My key takeaways from this session involved tips for figuring out how to make yourself more marketable in the field. This includes, being able to communicate with industry professionals, understanding and portraying knowledge of the process, showcasing your relative skills, and participating in events that strengthen and highlight these relative skills.

Susan Carman brings decades of expertise, leadership to Health and Medical Informatics

Susan Carman, HMI chairBrandeis GPS is thrilled to announce the hiring of Susan Carman, MS, CHCIO, PMP, as program chair of the online MS in Health and Medical Informatics.

In her role as chair, Susan serves as the subject matter expert for the program, providing the industry insights that keep the program’s curriculum and outcomes current and relevant.

Susan is the Chief Information Officer at UHS Hospitals and has served in the healthcare information technology and informatics industry for a total of 28 years. Prior to her current role, Susan was the VP of Information Technology at Wingate Healthcare, implementing an EMR system and building a HIPAA security plan for their 19 Post Acute Care facilities.

Susan spent 15 years of her career at Medical Information Technology (MEDITECH) implementing Electronic Medical Records throughout the U.S. and Canada. She transitioned to the Healthcare Provider sector in 2004 starting with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and more recently at Hebrew Senior Life, leading her team to complete the implementation of Stage 6 EMR system. Susan is certified as a Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) and Project Manager (PMP) and is an active member of HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) and CHIME (College of Healthcare Information Management Executives). She is also an active participant in the Executive Mentorship Program with ACHE (American College of Healthcare Executives). Susan completed her Master’s degree in Healthcare Informatics at the University of Massachusetts in 2013.

Learn more about the part-time, online Master’s of Science in Health and Medical Informatics here.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.

From student to commencement speaker to alumna

In 2015, Brandeis GPS profiled Kara Wasnewsky (Noonan), a now alumna of our Instructional Design and Technology master’s program. We spoke with Kara again in 2017 as she was getting ready to give her commencement speech last May. Now, almost a year later, we sat down with Kara and talked about her accomplishments and current job as an Instructional Designer at Regis College in Weston, MA.

In her role, she works one-on-one with faculty to design online and hybrid courses as well as offer guidance on integrating technology into the classroom. She also facilitates professional development workshops around instructional design and technology.

Read on for Kara’s thoughts on her journey to instructional design in her own words.


On her journey to instructional design:

Instructional design didn’t hit my radar until I started working for Pearson, an educational publisher. My role at the time was to project manage the development of media for their large courseware products, but what I really wanted to do was design them. Design strategy came from the instructional designers, so I set my sights on becoming an instructional designer. 

As I finished my coursework in instructional design, I started considering opportunities outside of my current company and decided that I would like most to work directly with higher education faculty to design courses.

On what she finds particularly rewarding about working as an instructional designer in higher ed:

I have worked with a couple of faculty who were nervous about teaching online when they first came to work with me. Many of them did not believe that online courses could be as effective as the face-to-face courses they have been teaching. It is so rewarding to see these faculty start to get excited about their online courses and what they can do in the learning management system.

On the impact her Brandeis GPS degree made on her career:

What I learned in Brandeis’ Instructional Design and Technology program was immediately transferable to my role as an Instructional Designer. In the program, I learned the process of designing effective instruction, which is the same process I have the faculty implement for their courses. 

Most importantly, I learned what the role of an instructional designer is and can be, which has been integral to my success. On my first day, it was expected that I knew the role and what I needed to do, and it is up to me to provide the strategy for moving instructional design at Regis forward.

On advice to those considering a career in instructional design: 

To be successful in a role like mine you do need to be knowledgeable about instructional design and the common technologies used for instruction in a higher education setting. My advice for anyone considering instructional design is for them to pursue it. It is a challenging profession, but it is a lot of fun. There are a lot of exciting things happening in this field, especially in higher education.


It’s been great to talk with Kara over the years and see her evolve from student to commencement speaker to an accomplished instructional designer.

To learn more about the part-time, online MS in Instructional Design and Technology, contact our enrollment team at gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time master’s degrees and professional development courses in today’s most in-demand fields. With four 10-week sessions each year, students can complete their degree in as little as 18 months. Courses are led by industry experts who deliver professional insights and individualized support. Brandeis GPS is dedicated to extending the rigorous academic standards that make Brandeis University one of the top institutions in the country to a diverse population seeking to advance their careers through continuing studies. Brandeis is a medium-sized private research university with a global reach, dedicated to first-rate undergraduate education and the making of groundbreaking discoveries. The university’s 5,700 undergraduate and graduate students are motivated, compassionate, curious, and open to exploring new and challenging experiences. 

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