The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Category: Online Learning (page 1 of 4)

Brandeis announces commitment to open source movement

Brandeis University and Open Source Initiative to launch new educational partnership
Resources designed to fill key skills gaps as open source industry matures.

PORTLAND, OR – Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) will partner with The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) to provide new educational offerings for the open source community, the university announced at OSCON 2019. 

As more companies start leveraging Open Source Software to reduce costs, decrease time to deployment and foster innovation, the organizations that have realized success as open source consumers are now extending their participation within open source communities as collaborators and contributors. This shift can create new challenges to traditional business processes and models, requiring dedicated policies, programs and personnel to ensure that the investments in open source projects produce the desired benefits while still aligning with the values of the open source communities. The Brandeis GPS-OSI partnership will help address the growing demand for expertise within organizations seeking to authentically collaborate with, and productively manage, open source resources. 

“Understanding how to assess, engage, and contribute to open source communities while also delivering value to your company is the next generation skill set employers are looking for,” said Patrick Masson, general manager of the Open Source Initiative. “We’re thrilled to work with Brandeis to help continue the incredible growth of open source software and projects.”

Learn more about the new specialization in Open Source Technology Management

True to open source software process and principles, the educational offerings coming out of the partnership will be crowd-sourced and jointly developed by an advisory board comprised of university curriculum development experts and senior open source advocates from Amazon, Red Hat, Bloomberg, Twitter and other leading companies. 

“Brandeis GPS is known for developing programs that keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in technology,” said Dr. James La Creta, the university’s chief information officer and chair of the Master of Science in Technology Management program. “Much like the other graduate programs at Brandeis GPS, open source technology’s flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness makes it extremely desirable for organizations. It yields a better quality product, creates a culture of collaboration, and attracts curious and innovative talent that all CIO’s covet.”

Courses and other initiatives are currently in development, and the university expects to announce more information about the first open source educational program later this year. Visit www.brandeis.edu/open-source to learn more.

About Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies
Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) offers fully online, part-time graduate programs, specializations, and professional development courses in today’s most in-demand fields. With graduate programs that include Technology Management, Information Security Leadership, User-Centered Design, and Digital Innovation for FinTech, Brandeis GPS strives to provide programs that empower students to be on the leading edge of advancements in technology and innovation. 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. 

About The Open Source Initiative

Founded in 1998, The Open Source Initiative protects and promotes Open Source Software, development and communities, championing software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure, stewarding the Open Source Definition, and preventing abuse of the ideals and ethos inherent to the open source movement. The OSI is a public charity with global vision based in California. For more information about the OSI, please see, opensource.org.

The Power of Learning Experience Design

By Carol Damm

Carol DammHow would you like to go on a week-long retreat to Hawaii, all expenses paid, with your colleagues to put together a framework to enable programmatic changes to how you offer your courses? This was what we termed an outrageous solution presented by a team of instructional designers and instructional technologists at a recent workshop I organized on Learning Experience Design in Higher Ed. We challenged the attendees to move outside of their comfort zone and to not let existing practice within higher ed to frame their thinking.

Featuring Brandeis University’s Brian Salerno, Gary David from Bentley University, and Melissa Kane at Brown University, the NERCOMP workshop’s goal was to show participants why and how they should be integrating learning experience design as a practice in higher ed.

Learning experience design applies user-centered design methodologies along with a deep understanding of cognitive psychology and learning sciences to creating impactful and transformative solutions for learners and the wider ecosystem within which learning happens. User-centered design methods have been adopted across industries because the approach effectively enables out-of-box thinking to identify problems and generate new solutions. At the same time, the approach remains grounded by keeping primary stakeholders — whether users or learners — at the center of the process.

So, while an all-expense paid trip to Maui would not be happening, these creative minds hit on an essential component of bringing about mandated change within a department: the faculty would need to work together to determine how to meet the mandate and the university would need to provide support for this effort by contributing to an attractive experience or focused time frame within which they can shape how they will meet this challenge. In order to improve the learning experience, those who construct that experience will need support.

The solution that the team provided incorporated other innovative practice as did all of the presentations made that day; whether supporting a faculty member who needed to revise a course based on student feedback, creating a professional development course for a diverse population of working professionals, or creating an IT solution to improve the student experience in a learning management system.

If you are interested in reviewing the slides of the presentation or reviewing some of the resources, you can find out more here.

 

Carol Damm is the Director of Programs and Assessment at Brandeis GPS and an adjunct faculty in the MS in Learning Experience Design program.

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

Graduate School Admissions FAQ

Applying to graduate school when you’re working full time can seem like a daunting task, but many universities are leveraging the latest edtech to make the application process run as smoothly as possible.

At Brandeis GPS, our online application allows prospective students to upload resumes, statements of goals and other key admissions elements directly to our  online system.  One item that does need to be submitted externally is your official transcript, which we encourage you to submit electronically.

Please see below for some FAQs our admissions team often receives about the application process.

Do you require the GMAT or GRE?

No! If you decide to apply to GPS, do not worry about these exams: we do not require them for admission. We don’t feel like they speak to the nature of what is required to excel in our programs.

Does Brandeis GPS accept electronic transcripts?

Yes, we do accept electronic transcripts as long as they are official. This is the easiest and fastest method for both the applicant and us.

How should I send electronic transcripts?

Provide your school(s) with our email address: gps@brandeis.edu. We’ll confirm with you once the documents are received.

What address should I use for paper transcripts?

These should be sent directly from the school(s) to our mailing address:

                  Brandeis University                

                  Graduate Professional Studies

                  415 South Street, MS 084

                  Waltham, MA 02453-2728

We’ll let you know when we receive them.

Do I need to submit transcripts if I transferred courses?

Yes, we require official transcripts for all colleges/universities attended.

What if my program of interest is not related to what I studied in undergrad?

While some applicants may have studied an undergraduate major relevant to their desired graduate program, many have not. Make sure to highlight your professional skills, certifications and expertise in your application. You’ll be able to do this through your resume and statement of goals. (Please note that some programs may have specific requirements, which you can see by clicking on your program of interest here.)

How can I check the status of my application items?

At any time, you can login to your applicant status page once your application is submitted to see what items are pending: Login

<<Start your GPS application>>

Please feel free to contact our enrollment team any time. We understand the commitment it takes to apply for a master’s degree, and we’re happy to walk you through the steps and answer any questions that you have.

The best discounts for online students

From retail to technology to travel to entertainment, student discounts provide you with many ways to save. At Brandeis GPS, all students receive student ID cards that you can use in addition to your .edu address to obtain discounts. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best discounts available to graduate students:

Retail:

Whether you’re looking for professional attire or something to wear on the weekend, you’ll want to check out the following student deals on clothing and other items:

A with an arrow

AmazonUsing your student (.edu) email, get 6 months of free Amazon Prime Student (trial) then 50% off the annual Amazon Prime subscription fee. Get unlimited free Two-Day shipping as well as special offers and promotions.

EXPRESS: Get 15% off both online and in-store. Simply register and verify your student status with UNiDAYS.

J.Crew:  Get 15% off in-store purchases with a valid student ID.

Tommy HilfigerGet 15% off your online purchase by confirming your eligibility through SheerID.

Nike SwooshNike: Get 10% off your online order by verifying your student details through SheerID.

Travel:

One of the benefits of an online graduate program is that you can do your work from anywhere. For discounts on the go, read about the following student travel deals:

CheapOair.comFind cheap tickets and save big with CheapOair’s student deals and promotions.

Logo for American AirlinesStudentUniverse/American AirlinesStudentUniverse and American Airlines have teamed up to offer students great prices for inexpensive travel. See link for more details.

E-Z Rent-a-Car: Save 10% using the code 7192E. Coupon expires on 01/01/2019. See link for participating locations.

Electronics & Technology:

Technology is essential for students, especially those taking courses online. Here are some top discounts to use for completing coursework and beyond:

Microsoft and window logoMicrosoftStudents can get Office 365 for free (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and now Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools) and save $200 on Surface Pro and Surface Laptop plus 10% off Surface accessories.

AdobeGet over 60% off Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps plan in your first year.

DellSave on select computers and earn up to 6% back in rewards through Dell University. Get free expedited shipping on your purchase as well as other exclusive offers.

News & Entertainment:

We know you have a life outside the classroom and may want to take some time to relax and stay updated on relevant news. Here are some ways to stay connected:

Bloomberg Businessweek: Students can get 12 weeks of all-access and digital access for $12.

Round red circle with the economistThe Economist: Students can get 12 weeks of print and digital subscription for just $12.

The New York TimesStudents can save on print and digital subscription. Get 4 weeks free then $1 a week for Basic Digital Access.

The Wall Street JournalGet up to 50% off the annual student rate or pay $15 for 15 weeks.

The Washington Post: All students are eligible for a 50% discount on digital subscriptions. Sign up with your .edu email address and verify with SheerID to activate the Academic Rate.

Green circle with 3 lines and spotifySpotifyPay only $4.99 for Spotify Premium, Hulu Limited Commercials, and SHOWTIME. Simply provide your student email when prompted during registration.

Learn more details and read about other student discounts available here.

 

If you’d like to learn more about other benefits of a Brandeis GPS education, contact our admissions team at 781-736-8787 or gps@brandeis.edu

Online learning tools that foster interactive coursework

Woman typing on computerThere is a common misconception that online learning cannot be as interactive as in-classroom learning. With today’s instructional design technology however, this is simply no longer the case.

The Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, produced by Digital Learning Compass, in partnership with OLC, Pearson and Tyton Partners, indicates that online participation in graduate-level coursework is on the rise. The report found that the number of total students taking at least one online course increased by 11 percent between 2012 and 2015.

To meet this demand, graduate programs are responding by developing tools and technologies to keep their online classrooms interactive.

All Brandeis GPS programs are fully online and asynchronous, allowing a lot of flexibility for students throughout each week. Instructors use a number of digital tools to enhance their students online learning experience. These are some of the new tools that Brandeis GPS is using this year:

Mahara ePortfolio

Mahara ePortfolioThis fall, Brandeis GPS is adopting Mahara as it’s new ePortfolio tool. ePortfolios allow students to compile and preserve their submitted assignments from course-to-course and create a web-based collection of their work products and program accomplishments. The inclusion of ePortfolio assignments within GPS courses will allow students to learn more deeply through self-reflection and to illustrate the skills they acquire through their participation in the program to current and prospective employers.

Select courses within the Strategic Analytics, Information Security Leadership, Health & Medical Informatics, and Software Engineering programs will feature ePortfolio assignments this fall. Then throughout the year, Mahara will be rolled-out more broadly to all GPS programs.

VoiceThread

Voicethread Online ToolVoiceThread allows instructors and students to engage in voice and video based asynchronous discussions. Users can post discussion responses that include webcam video, images, audio, and text uploaded from their browser or mobile devices and can reply to classmates’ or instructors’ posts with voice, video, image-based, and/or text responses. VoiceThread creates an opportunity for students to engage in rich audio-visual discussions and group activities, and allows instructors to provide voice and video based feedback on students posts and assignments in an asynchronous setting.

VoiceThread has officially been adopted as a university-supported teaching tool following a successful Teaching Innovation Grant supported pilot spearheaded by GPS Instructors Kim Round, Carrie Miller, and Carol Damm and Brandeis Arts & Sciences professor Kathrin Seidl last year.

For more information on GPS courses or graduate programs, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787 or check out our website.

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.

How to “master” online graduate school over the summer

From kindergarten through undergrad (and even some graduate programs), students around the world look forward to getting outside and enjoying the summer sun.  For part-time, online graduate students however, “school’s out for summer” doesn’t necessarily apply — and this can be a very good thing.

Non-traditional graduate programs will often offer summer terms in addition to the standard fall and spring semesters. These options allow students who are working full-time the opportunity to complete their graduate programs even more quickly.

Brandeis GPS offers four 10-week sessions each year, with classes beginning in July, October, January and April. The upcoming July 2018 session, which is technically called Fall 1, runs from July 18 through Sept. 25.

Computer and drink at the beach

Some students may balk at a course that overlaps with scheduled vacation and travel, but taking classes from July to September doesn’t have to hinder any of your exciting summer plans. GPS courses are fully online and asynchronous, meaning that students can access their coursework from any location and timezone. Here are some tips for balancing your course load with your summer beach trips, European excursions and mountain views:

  • Plan as far in advance as you can and be realistic. Read through the course’s syllabus right away to take note of your big assignments, final projects, and exams. Check your calendar to see if you have any important events or travel coming up during the term so you can manage your time around them. If you know you’re spending a week away or have a particularly busy weekend coming up, plan to complete your readings or discussion posts as early as you can. Be honest with yourself about how much time you’ll need for your coursework each week, and build a schedule that’s feasible for you.Sunset over the water
  • Take advantage of technology. Your online courses are mobile-friendly. Keep your mobile devices charged, and take advantage of courses that offer textbooks you can download to your favorite e-reader.
  • Don’t be afraid to disconnect. Summer travel will often involve long plane, train, and car rides with little to no WiFi access. With some advanced planning and downloading, you can take advantage of these long blocks of time to catch up on your coursework, so when you arrive at your destination, you can relax and enjoy yourself.

Good luck to everyone taking our Fall 1 courses, starting in July! For more information on GPS courses or graduate programs, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787 or check out our website.

Countdown to Commencement 2018

It’s that time of year again! A new set of students from Brandeis University’s division of Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) are preparing to walk across the stage in front of 275 friends and family members and receive the master’s degrees they so diligently worked toward.

GPS is thrilled to see our soon-to-be alums progress to the next phase of their professional development and career advancement. We extend an additional congratulations to the inaugural class of graduates from the Digital Marketing and Design and User-Centered Design programs, both of which launched in 2015.

This year’s commencement ceremony will take place on the Brandeis University campus on May 13, 2018, and will feature the following speakers/honors:

  • Tom Gerace, commencement speaker. Tom is the founder and CEO of Skyword, a Boston-based content marketing firm. An expert in strategic storytelling, Tom recently co-authored the best-selling book Storynomics and leads Storynomics Seminars in cities throughout the world. Early in his career, Tom served as a senior business analyst at the Harvard Business School, where he wrote the first case studies on the emergence of the internet in 1995.
  • Steve Boardman, student speaker. Strategic Analytics graduate Steve Boardman is a senior technology consultant for iDoxSolutions, Inc. Based in Charleston, South Carolina, Steve has more than 25 years of experience implementing, delivering and supporting enterprise IT solutions for a wide variety of industries. He currently focuses on cloud-based application architectures and business intelligence and analytics solutions.
  • Meredith Bazzell, Rabb School Outstanding Teacher Award recipient. An instructor in the Digital Marketing and Design program, Meredith has more than 13 years of marketing experience in healthcare, construction, higher education, retail, manufacturing, and technology. Meredith currently serves as the manager of customer experience for global communications at Asurion in Nashville, Tennessee.

We look forward to sharing more commencement-related updates as the day gets closer. Follow along with us here on the blog and at #GPSclassof2018.

 

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. 

Brandeis GPS programs recognized for high quality education, affordability

Education research publisher, SR Education Group, recently unveiled their latest rankings for top online colleges and universities, and Brandeis GPS received high rankings for its Project and Program Management, Software Engineering, and Strategic Analytics master’s degrees.

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