The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Tag: innovation

Brandeis Innovation Showcase 2018

Discover the innovative ways the Brandeis community is changing the world at the Brandeis Innovation Showcase on Thursday, November 15. Held as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Showcase will include presentations and a reception featuring startups, inventions, social entrepreneurship, and scientific discoveries born out of the labs and classrooms at Brandeis University.

View of Innovation Showcase 2017Participants can network with the researchers, students, faculty and staff who are impacting business, sciences, technology and social sectors. Some of Boston’s leading innovation organizations will have booths that provide more information about their work.

Attendees will have the opportunity to join the entrepreneurial action and vote for a crowd favorite by “investing” in projects. They will experience the Brandeisian innovative spirit while networking with Boston’s innovation community.

Get your tickets for the event here and make sure to use the hashtags #DeisInno18 and #BrandeisInnovates on social media so we can follow along.

The Evolution of Technology for Financial Services

Woman in front of buildingThe increasing use of computational power, digital assets, and big data has ushered in a new era of innovation in the industry. Financial Technology, or FinTech, has advanced diverse areas such as payments, digital ledgers, foreign exchange, lending, insurance, investment advice, and wealth management. To understand these changes, we need to understand the application of technology and the economic value of these changes to the financial services industry as well as the agents catalyzing these changes. 

During our Fall 2 session starting in October, Brandeis GPS will be offering 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.

Throughout the course, students will debate FinTech innovation and entrepreneurship in the financial services sector through a combination of online discussions, case studies, group projects and guest bloggers. They will analyze well-known FinTech companies and discuss value propositions, competition, business models, and technology. They will examine recent trends and explore areas that are ripe for disruption in the industry.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the evolution of financial technology and its current relationship to the horizontal integration of accessibility to technology, decrease in cost in computing, and access to data
  • Discern the relationship between the advancements in financial technology and the benefits and concerns that these bring to the individual and to institutions
  • Compare current trends in financial technology to emerging trends and assess the opportunities and risks
  • Apply theories of artificial intelligence or machine learning to decision making and risk mitigation and discuss their merits and drawbacks
  • Develop a proposal that determines a currently unidentified need that can be empowered or met through financial technology

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 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.

Innovation Experts Discuss the State of Fintech

On Aug. 18, 2016, Brandeis GPS hosted a webinar led by Ashley Nagle Eknaian, chair of the new Master of Science in Digital Innovation for FinTech, with Jason Zaler, FinTech Partnerships Lead at PwC. This interesting and interactive discussion helped us celebrate the launch of the program, which is welcoming its first students this fall.

Just voted #36 in Onalytica’s list of top 100 FinTech innovators and brands, Zaler offered valuable insight into the evolving world of FinTech and the many industries impacted by this important technology. Zaler began the discussion by pointing out the many ways that most people use FinTech in everyday life through apps such as Venmo, Square, mobile banking apps, and robo-advice services. Because FinTech’s reach is constantly increasing, Zaler stressed the need to continuously reassess the industry.

“Learning so much about what was happening and seeing how fast it changed drove us to reevaluate the way we deliver insight and consulting,” Zaler said. “It propels us to develop a platform to provide that information to clients in real time.”

Zaler and Eknaian also discussed Fintech’s role in financial service institutions, technology companies, pay networks, and of course, FinTech startups. These groups are all trying to figure out how to best interact with one another to understand and maximize the new technologies available — to create the perfect marriage between financial institutions and technological innovation. The dialogue and new questions springing from these groups constantly draw many into this emerging field.

Competition with FinTech startups
Today in FinTech, some of the most important services exist on the backend of operations that consumers don’t often see. For example, FinTech services are used to clean up bank ledgers.

FinTech startups are essentially disrupters in the industry, knocking out other companies who would otherwise control this back-end technology. In order to help customers, big financial institutions are directly acquiring apps and cutting out big companies, making the process more efficient. As there is a lot of competition in this evolving industry, better products are constantly coming out for people to use on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s really an ecosystem where there’s a lot of movement, a lot of competition,” said Zaler. “The thing to be aware of is that as these companies jockey for a position, there is one benefit to the consumers: better products with better interfaces that you can use in your daily lives.”

Keeping customers through FinTech
Today, banks are working toward keeping their customers from the time they open their first account in college to an eventual retirement. To carry customers through their banking journey, banks now offer FinTech services for each stage of a customer’s experience. Zaler noted that customers today use an average of three to five FinTech products, so banks want to make sure their FinTech app stays on their customers’ phones.

FinTech around the world
FinTech is now a global industry, with major hubs in Silicon Valley, New York, London, Singapore, Israel, Dublin and Scandinavia. Regulations imposed on FinTech companies are what shape each country’s approach to FinTech throughout the globe. While Europe has more regulations that prevent FinTech companies from partnering with banks, the regulatory policies in China focus on making it easier for FinTech products to come to market, which causes major fraud issues and mistrust of these products in potential customers. With 30 percent of FinTech companies now under investigation in China, companies need to convince people they’re trustworthy before they can even begin to directly market their products.

Zaler also went on to discuss the benefits of large financial institutions relying on startups for services. He noted that there are three ways to think about how financial institutions can get FinTech services:

  • Buying them from another provider
  • Partnering with another company
  • Building their own

While many companies do opt to build their own or partner with other companies, often startups are cheap and have already developed the technology the large financial institution is looking for, making it more cost effective to just buy the technology.

This webinar, held in conjunction with the announcement of the new MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech at Brandeis GPS concluded with Zaler giving suggestions of how to stay up to date with FinTech news through following key influencers on Twitter and using the Denovo site, built by his company, PwC.

Innovations in digital marketing at SXSW 2016

By Lauren Hindman

Each March, more than 70,000 representatives from the music, film and tech industries descend upon Austin, Texas, for SXSW. Considered one of the world’s top tech conferences (yes, this is the one credited with generating Twitter’s success), the two-week festival is dedicated to exploring the latest trends and strategies in the digital media space.SXSW’s famed interactive conference includes hundreds of events each day and features speakers from established technology leaders and emerging companies alike. I had the opportunity to attend SXSW Interactive in 2015, but I found this year’s experience even more valuable — both from a professional perspective as the senior director of marketing for the Texas Stars, but also for my role as an instructor with Brandeis GPS’s Digital Marketing and Design graduate program. I currently teach Writing for Digital Environments, and the panels that I attended related directly to several course topics: audience targeting, storytelling techniques, social media strategies and user-generated content.

Marketing to moments: a new outreach strategy

One particularly insightful panel I attended, Marketing to Moments that Matter, featured Ann Mack, head of content and activation for global consumer insights at Facebook. Mack talked about how marketing strategies have moved beyond targeting by demographics and even by passions and interests. Today, with the ubiquitous nature of mobile in our lives, marketers need to focus on the particular moments that people experience on a daily basis. Mack shared some compelling statistics about the millions of moments shared through mobile devices any given minute, and designated those moments into three categories for strategic outreach:

  • Landmark moments (marriage, children, college graduations)
  • Annual moments (holidays and birthdays)
  • Everyday moments (cooking, losing a phone)

Mack’s takeaways for the audience resonated with the digital media writing strategies we had covered in class: be personal in your messaging, be precise in your targeting, and be persistent with your strategy.

Sports fashion, Grumpy Cat, and great writing’s place in a visual world 

Not only did the topics covered at SXSW directly relate to my digital writing course, but the course seemed to follow me to the conference. Each week in our discussion forums, students choose organizations to analyze based on that week’s topics, and I was excited to run into two companies that students had studied during my SXSW experience. Less than a week after a student had critiqued a marketing email from Fanatics.com, I sat in on a panel with their vice president of marketing, Ryan Donovan. After listening to him speak about their marketing strategies and challenges, I was able to relay that information back to the class as a follow up to our discussion forum.
SXSW1-catconcoctions-e1458308732542Another student had analyzed Friskies’ digital media presence, and when I saw that Grumpy Cat was making a SXSW appearance on behalf of the cat food brand, I waited in more than an hour-long line (all for the benefit of the class, I swear!) to get my photo taken with Internet-famous cat and experience their #CatConcoctions digital campaign first hand. I’ll be using this campaign as a case study during our user-generated content week to demonstrate ways that brands can encourage consumers to post content on their behalf.

The biggest benefit to attending SXSW Interactive is having the ability to get a pulse on the digital media trends that other companies are focusing on. Even as digital media moves toward focusing more on the visual through photos and videos, I heard the words “storytelling” and “authenticity” in multiple panels this year. To me, this emphasizes the fact that organizations still need great writers and creative thinkers on their digital teams.

My time at SXSW 2016 was a definite success, and I am so excited to be able to share what I learned with my GPS class and immediately implement those ideas into my teaching. While I’m constantly reading about the latest developments in digital media, there’s nothing quite like being able to sit in a room with the experts, hear them talk, and ask them questions about issues I am tackling both in the workplace and in the classroom.

Lauren Hindman is the senior director of marketing for the Texas Stars and an instructor in the Digital Marketing and Design program at Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies.

Learn more about the online master’s degree in digital marketing at Brandeis here.

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SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: New England College of Business-Two Positions

spotlight-CHANGED-300x200SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

WhereNew England College of Business: Boston, MA

Position: eLearning Instructional Designer

The eLearning Instructional Designer role is a professional, team-centered position responsible for the design, development and implementation of online courses in the Canvas learning management system. The eLearning Instructional Designer creates and implements effective online courses, researches and evaluates emerging instructional technologies and tools, and models effective design practices. This position requires an individual to work with a high level of independence, have strong project management, communication and collaboration skills, and a passion for creating innovative educational solutions for students and faculty.

Job Duties:

  • Work collaboratively with Program Chairs, faculty subject-matter experts, and eLearning team members to design, develop, evaluate, implement, and maintain effective online college courses in the Canvas learning management system.
  • Provide instructional design assistance to faculty SMEs, recommending appropriate tools and course design structure.
  • Film and edit video clips and audio files to incorporate in online courses. Identify and edit graphics for use in instructional materials.
  • Manage and complete projects within a specified timeline while prioritizing and working on multiple projects simultaneously. Excellent time management skills are required.
  • Facilitate the sharing of new learning, instructional techniques, and instructional technologies,including emerging technologies in creative and collaborative ways.
  • Keep current on changes to the LMS; deliver pertinent information to the team.
  • Look for ways improve process & procedures; troubleshoot LMS issues as needed

Qualifications: 

  • Bachelors degree in Instructional Design, Educational Technology, or a related field; Masters degree preferred.
  • 3+ years eLearning instructional design experience working with various learning management systems; experience working in higher education a plus.
  • Graphic design and audio/video editing experience required. Experience evaluating, selecting, and/or using emerging instructional technologies.
  • Excellent written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills used to communicate effectively with people at varying levels of computer literacy.
  • Specialization in one or more of the following: project management, instructional design, using dynamic and interactive tools, knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Adobe Creative Suite, Camtasia, Captivate, Photoshop, Web 2.0 tools, Dream Weaver and other related applications.
  • Knowledge of adult learning principles, constructivism, facilitation and learner-centered activities in an online environment preferable.
  • Personal Traits – Ability to be creative, flexible and innovative in course design. Ability to successfully manage multiple projects simultaneously. Strong out-of-the-box thinking is a must. Ability to work collaboratively with Program Chairs and faculty subject matter experts. Demonstrated ability to work both independently and as part of a development team. Willingness to work a flexible schedule that may include some nights and weekends.

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and cover letter with salary requirements to the careers site.


Position: Junior eLearning Instructional Designer

The New England College of Business (NECB) eLearning team is seeking an eager Junior eLearning Instructional Designer looking to grow his/her skills and become part of our collaborative team! This position offers the opportunity to work in a fast-paced, innovative, and creative environment. The Junior Instructional Designer role is a professional, team-centered position aiding in the design, development and implementation of online courses in the Canvas learning management system. The Junior ID works closely with the eLearning Instructional Design team to develop necessary multimedia and course resources. The Junior ID collaborates with Instructional Designers and Program Chairs in order to administer the setup of courses for both graduate and undergraduate and assists with Tier 2 help desk support for students and faculty.

Job Duties: 

  • Provide Canvas learning management system support to ensure proper course setup for undergraduate and graduate sessions.
  • Aid in course document maintenance and course integrity.
  • Film and edit video clips and audio files to incorporate in online courses. Edit graphics for use in instructional materials.
  • Design course elements, as directed by Senior Instructional Designer.
  •  Assist team members with new course builds and training projects. Excellent time management skills are required to handle simultaneous assignments.
  • Work with Program Chairs and Instructional Designers to evaluate and update existing courses.
  • Provide Canvas Administrative support and training to faculty, staff, and students as needed.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelors degree in Instructional Design, Educational Technology, or a related field.
  • 0-2 years experience in administrative duties as well as Instructional Design knowledge in an LMS system in Higher Education is preferred.
  • Excellent written, oral, interpersonal, and presentation skills used to communicate effectively with people at varying levels of computer literacy.
  • Detail oriented with evidence of creativity, attention to detail, and collaborative approaches to work.
  • Graphic design and audio/video editing experience is a plus.
  • Knowledge of adult learning theory, instructional design, and/or technology-mediated learning.
  • Interest and willingness to explore new tools and uses of technology to support learning
  • Personal Traits – Ability to be creative, flexible and innovative in course design. Ability to manage multiple projects at once and meets deadlines. Strong attention to detail.

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and cover letter with salary requirements to:

Paula Bramante

Senior Vice President, Center for eLearning Excellence

paula.bramante@necb.edu

 

 

 

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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Inside Boston’s Ed-Tech Ecosystem: 8 Players to Watch

written by: Caroline Lyle, BostInno

To learn about our brand new Masters of Science in Online Instructional Design and Technology degree program, register for the next Virtual Open House this Wednesday, July 23rd at 7pm.  

The world doesn’t function as it did a decade ago. Everything from how we communicate, read articles, watch television, even how how we date, has been transformed by technology. It shouldn’t shock, then, that in this hyperconnected world where we walk around with encyclopedias in our pocket, how we learn is also evolving.

In recent years, online education has exploded, not only for the convenience it provides, but for the tremendous potential it presents. As a global source of knowledge and hub of connections, the web opens numerous opportunities to enhance learning. Emerging online programs and platforms have introduced new models for connecting teachers, students, and other stakeholders to optimize the learning experience.

The innovation is only beginning. Educational technology presents a goldmine of opportunity for both academics and entrepreneurs. For telltale evidence of ed-tech’s promising future, one need look no further than the astounding amount of capital being poured into the space. In just the last three months alone, investors have contributed more than $559 million into the ed-tech industry, and this past quarter, investments reached a record-breaking high.

“Investments exceeded $1.25 billion, marking the second straight year the ed-tech sector crossed the billion-dollar line,” BostInno reported.

Leading the ed-tech revolution is Boston. The city’s booming tech scene and renowned institutions of higher education have made Boston an incubator for ed-tech startups, many of which have expanded to reach students and teachers around the globe.

Go inside Boston’s ed-tech ecosystem and meet some of the most influential disruptors born here in the Hub. Some are fledgling startups; others established companies, but all are agents of change, leveraging technology to transform education as we know it.

1. edX

edX

Founded by Harvard and MIT ,edX is a massive online learning platform striving to increase access to education for everyone, everywhere. EdX makes Ivy League learning available to all by partnering with 32 higher education institutions including Stanford, Wellesley, UC Berkeley, and several schools outside the United States. Most recently, the company partnered with Facebook for the new initiative SocialEDU, bringing online education to the unconnected world starting with Rwanda. EdX also expanded the platform to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

2. Boundless

Boundless

Most students are all too familiar with the exorbitant price of textbooks. Quite often, it’s an expense many simply can’t afford. Boundless believes the materials needed to learn should never be a luxury. In 2011, Boundless launched to democratize education by making textbooks affordable for all. Originally offering online textbooks, Boundless has expanded to offer a vast suite of cloud-powered educational resources for both teachers and students. A recent partnership will integrate Boundless’ content library into Top Hat’s cutting-edge, collaborative teaching platform, allowing teachers to edit and curate content in real-time. The company has raised a total of $10 million in venture funding and reaches more than 3 million students and educators.

3. LearnLaunch

LearnLaunch

LearnLaunch is a key catalyst driving Boston’s booming ed-tech scene. The nonprofit strives to support local ed-tech startups in New England, mostly through their accelerator program,LearnLaunchX, which graduated a fresh class of ed-tech startups in May. When visiting LearnLaunchX, Mayor Marty Walsh commented,”the future really is here in this room.”

4. Lexia Learning

While Boston’s edLexia Learning-tech boom is only a couple years old, one company was a pioneer in educational technology decades before the recent wave of startups. Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts,Lexia Learning is a globally renowned reading technology company focused on improving students’ literacy. Since it was founded 29 years ago with private funding and grants obtained from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Lexia Learning has continually evolved, innovating the most cutting-edge ways to use technology to build students’ reading skills. In 2008, Lexia earned the EdNet Impact Award for outstanding contributions in education industry. In 2013, it was acquired by Rosetta Stone.

5. Panorama Education

Panorama Education leverages the power of Big Data to help schPanorama Educationools address pressing problems. Panorama provides a survey and analytics platform to conduct surveys either online or on paper and collect constructive feedback. Over 4,000 school districts, charter networks, and state governments use the platform to solve such issues as parent involvement, bullying prevention, school safety and student engagement. Last October, Panorama received $4 million from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s organization Startup:Education and is using the funds to grow their team.

6. EverTrueEverTrue

EverTrue provides a better way for the educational community to connect. Their mobile platform not only serves as an alumni networking hub, but also enables institutions to tap into donor databases and easily fundraise. Following EverTrue’s graduation from Boston Techstars, the company raised $1.3 million, plus an additional $5.25 million in March of 2013. The growing company set up shop in a new office in the Seaport at the end of last year, and continues to show promising growth.

7. peerTransfer

peerTransfer is one of the fastest-growing companies in the Hub. The company saw 400 percent growth last year, expects 200 percent growth in 2014, and has raised a total of $21.2 million.

peerTransfer is on a mission topeerTransfer fix the unfair and broken international tuition payments system. Using peerTransfer, students can simply and securely pay for tuition and fees using their home currency. With so many students getting ripped off, peerTransfer fulfills an urgent need for both students and schools. The company now works with over 350 schools and is on track to process $1 billion this year.

8. Flashnotes

Flashnotes is an online peer-to-peer marketplace for buying and selling class study materials. After raising $1.5 million last year, Flashnotes has Flashnotesexpanded to include live video tutorials, offering another medium for students to improve their grades and/or make money. In the past year, the company has acquired Moolguides, NoteUtopia, and raised an additional $3.6 million. Over 200 schools are on Flashnotes platform and the company continues to experience high growth month after month

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