The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Tag: Online Learning (page 1 of 9)

Tips for building relationships with virtual classmates

All learning —even digital learning — is a collaborative experience. Online students have the unique opportunity to connect with peers from all over the country and the world. Thanks to constant advances in instructional design, social networking and UX/UI, students pursuing online graduate degrees have the same opportunities to build meaningful relationships with their classmates as their on-campus counterparts. Read on for our guidelines on how to maximize these virtual relationships.

1) Practice empathetic communication

Empathetic communication, or empathetic listening, refers to the practice of listening with the intent to understand the speaker’s frame of reference for how they experience the world. Thanks to the nature of online learning, you may find yourself in a classroom full of people with different communication styles, norms and cultural values. Common slang that you’re used to may not resonate with a peer from a different country. When it comes to scheduling, be mindful of different time zones. And while it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of needing to complete a group project on a deadline, try being mindful of varying professional or personal commitments your classmates may have outside of school.

2) Choose a program that prioritizes learning experience design and peer engagement.

Not all online programs are created equally. As you evaluate your options for an online master’s degree, make sure you are considering programs that provide an optimal digital learning experience that prioritizes student-to-student interaction. Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies uses the latest best practices in online course design to foster peer engagement, and has offered online courses for more than a decade. Additionally, unlike MOOCs and other online education providers, Brandeis GPS caps courses at 20 students.

3) Make time for social interaction.

Connecting with your classmates on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Slack will allow you to engage on a more informal level. Many people use these tools to share career insights and interesting articles and trends, so you’ll be able to expand your professional network and learn a bit more about your industry. You may even learn about an interesting conference opportunity or a new position to apply to.

In addition to social media, make sure you take advantage of your program’s online learning module. Students at Brandeis GPS use a special social forum to chat about non-course-related events, such as current affairs, sports, or regional networking opportunities.

4) Write with clarity

When it comes to any online interaction, clear and concise writing is critical for optimal communication. But writing with clarity involves more than writing with brevity. Being intentional with the words you choose, how you format your writing, and the tone you mean to convey is essential for fostering strong virtual relationships. Here are some examples of how to write with clarity:

  • Don’t over-complicate things: why use fancy words when simple ones will do? If you do use words that are likely to be unfamiliar to the bulk of your audience, make sure you define them. This relates back to empathetic communication.
  • Keep your paragraphs short in discussion posts or emails – try for one or two sentences per paragraph, if possible.
  • Keep your sentences short.
  • Leverage writing tools like Microsoft Word’s readability stats or the Hemingway App.
  • Avoid passive voice.

5) Take advantage of technology

Today’s technology makes it easy to collaborate. Make your group projects a more seamless experience with tools like:

  • Zoom, which allows for cloud-based video and audio conferencing
  • User-friendly project management apps for virtual teams like Asana or Trello
  • Google Drive, which provides free cloud storage for online documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more. Drive also has a chat feature, which allows teams to easily collaborate while all working on a document.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps

 

4 Reasons to Study Health and Medical Informatics

1. Innovate healthcare delivery and improve patient care. Today’s health and medical informatics professionals have the opportunity to truly impact patient care and healthcare delivery. As information systems within the health and medical industry grow more complex with evolving technologies, organizations need leaders who can stay on top of new ways to develop and implement IT solutions to improve patient care, protect medical data privacy, and leverage information systems to make more strategic decisions.

2. Earn a more competitive salary. Your investment in higher education will pay off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median salary for health informatics professionals with a master’s degree is $20,000 more than those with a bachelor’s. Additionally, specializing in health informatics can boost your career prospects. According to the University of San Diego, the average health IT professional can expect to earn $25,927.52 more than general IT professional each year.

3. Open yourself up to a variety of job options. There are many ways to apply a health and medical informatics degree. Graduates develop the skills necessary to create, manage and evaluate information technology systems that are constantly changing in response to new innovations. Health informatics career options range from consultants to informatics nurses to project managers, and professionals can find opportunities in hospitals, labs, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and more.

4. Join a growing field. The health informatics industry is growing fast. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth for health information technicians is 13% between the years 2016 to 2026, which is higher than the average growth rate for all occupations.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies offers a Master of Science in Health and Medical Informatics that prepares students to improve patient and healthcare outcomes as well as organizational performance and efficiencies . The 30-credit program is fully online and designed to support professionals who are working full time. Learn more here.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps

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.

Student Spotlight: Charlie D’Angelo

Student spotlight on Charlie D'Angelo from Northborough, Massachusetts. He is part of the Digital Marketing and Design Program and is a digital marketing manager at Boston Scientific. He has taken seven class. Movie theater or Netflix? Netflix. Favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate almond chip. If there were 25 hours in a day, how would you use that extra hour? Learn to play the piano. Mr D'Angelo says, "Digital marketing expertise is so important in today's business world, and my goals include being the most knowledgeable digital professional I can be to help Boston Scientific continue to grow."

Meet the newest GPS faculty members

Our July session is just around the corner, and we are excited to welcome the newest faculty members to Brandeis University. These industry leaders come to Brandeis GPS with expertise and established networks within their fields. We have no doubt that the knowledge and experience they bring will provide for meaningful learning opportunities in their online classrooms.

Michelle Venezia: Foundations of Project Management

Michelle Venezia is the Director of the Information System Division’s Project Portfolio Office at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She has 20+ years of global experience in business development and project management, spanning the  IT, healthcare, medical device and defense industries. She received an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, a BS in Industrial Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo and holds the Project Management Professional (PMP), Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP), and Portfolio Management Professional (PIMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Learn more about Foundations of Project Management here.

Timothy Song: Bioinformatics Scripting and Databases with Python

Timothy Song, MS, is a bioinformatics engineer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He works on creating tools for the cancer informatics pipeline and aiding oncologists in their research. His prior work includes analyzing Influenza viral diversity in human populations from next generation sequencing data. Learn more about Bioinformatics Scripting and Databases with Python here.

David Swiniarski: Perspectives on Information Technology

David Swiniarski, MBA, is a Managing Consultant with Norima Consulting where he leads strategic information technology programs and projects for clients in alignment with their firm’s business strategy. Leveraging his business architecture skills, he has successfully delivered programs and projects related to the strategic competencies of IT governance, transformation, risk management and regulatory compliance in the Financial Services industry. He received a MBA from Suffolk University. Learn more about Perspectives on Information Technology here.

Robert Lipscomb: Agile Software Development

Robert “Kirk” Lipscomb is a Technology Manager with 40 years of experience in software development. Currently API Development Manager for Fiserv, a major FinTech company, Kirk has owned a software consulting firm and has managed development teams in a variety of industries. He has a strong track record of successful agile transformations, even in industries like defense contracting where he managed a team supporting military operations on-site in Baghdad, Iraq. Kirk has a BS in Computer Science from Texas A&M and an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Colorado. Learn more about Agile Software Development here.

Sarah Pagliacio: User Experience Design

Sarah Pagliacio, MA, ALM, is the Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at Black Pepper, a digital strategy consultancy that provides customer research, user experience design, and usability testing services. Sarah leads a team that delivers award-winning large-scale content-managed websites and complex mobile and desktop web apps for higher education, financial services, not-for-profit, and healthcare organizations. Her research interests include artificial intelligence and machine learning in Shakespeare and the user-centered design process. She received her BA and MA in psychology from Boston University and an ALM in English Literature from Harvard Extension School. Learn more about User Experience Design here.

Daniel Pineo: Machine Learning

Dr. Daniel Pineo has over 15 years of broad expertise developing advanced machine learning, computer vision, and artificial intelligence algorithms. He specializes in developing robust, high-performance algorithms for bespoke hardware platforms. He works as Director of Algorithm Development for L3 Technologies, and prior to that was Senior Principal Research Engineer for BAE Systems. Learn more about Machine Learning here.

Dragan Grigorjev: Risk Management in Projects and Programs

Dragan Grigorjev, MBA, PMP, CSM, is a Senior Technical Program Manager in Information Technology Services Industry. He leads all aspects of program management for strategic initiatives that transform the global enterprise business systems. His responsibilities include establishing best practices, governance frameworks, PMO standards, procedures, and quality objectives including metrics and KPls for assessing progress of strategic technology programs. Learn more about Risk Management in Project and Programs 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.

 

The importance of UDL

By Lance Eaton

Lance Eaton HeadshotAccessibility has been an important issue within education for decades and increasingly, one that is causing many institutions to revisit some of their daily practices and educational tools.  As more institutions leverage digital technology in their learning environments, some are coming up short in making sure all students can equally access such learning experiences. Since making learning experiences accessible to all students is legally required, institutions are more actively pursuing the practice known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

UDL is a conscientious effort to create learning experiences (everything from individual readings and assignments to entire courses and programs) accessible to a larger range of people, regardless of challenges they might face with regards to their physical, social, mental, and emotional abilities.  Implicit with UDL is the idea that there are many artificial barriers we often create that make it improbable or impossible for students to successfully learn and complete a course.

Universally Designed Picnic Bench

A universally designed picnic bench

To help people think about the challenges and opportunities of leveraging UDL to make courses more accessible, we have recorded this webinar along with a website with resources to help others more effectively develop learning experiences from which all people can benefit.  

View webinar  |  Learn more about Accessibility and UDL

Lance Eaton is an instructional designer and faculty development specialist at Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies. His previous work includes working at North Community College and Regis College as instructional designer. He is currently working on his PhD in Higher Education from University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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.

Image Source: Virginia State Parks

Looking back: the growth of Python

Since Guido van Rossum first released Python to the public in 1991, it has become one of the fastest growing major programming languages and established itself as the defacto language among varied scientific communities.

Python is particularly valuable to today’s forward-thinking industries and technologies, including data science and machine learning. Its intuitive platform makes it appealing for new programmers, yet it can also serve as a tool for more complex purposes.

Some of the features of Python include:

  • Minimal keywords, simple structure, and a clearly defined syntax
  • Code that is much shorter than former industry-leader JavaScript
  • A broad standard library that is portable and compatible on a number of hardware platforms
  • A mode allowing interactive testing and debugging of pieces of code
  • Tool customization for efficiency using added low-level modules

Master Python Programming

Brandeis GPS offers multiple online courses that teach the programming language specific to certain industries: Python Programming (FinTech), Bioinformatics Scripting and Python Programming (Bioinformatics), and Python for Robotics and AI  (Robotics). All three courses are available for professional development as long as students can demonstrate previous basic experience with a programming language (or undergraduate-level coursework).

Brandeis GPS offers rolling admission to our 12 fully-online master’s degree programs, so you can apply and be accepted at any time. However, we do have recommended deadlines if you are seeking admission for a specific term. The deadline to apply to our Spring 1 session is Wednesday, December 19. You can apply here. Those interested in taking a course who do not yet wish to pursue a full master’s degree can still take up to two online courses without officially enrolling.

To learn more about GPS courses or graduate programs, check out our website or contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Disease

Biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations are increasingly viewing bioinformatics as an integral part of their research processes. Biomedical industries are seeking to make use of vast amounts of genomic data to produce complex and accurate biological models.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Disease  as a part-time, fully online course this October. The 10-week course will introduce students to the basic concepts of molecular, cell, and developmental biology. It will cover classic genetics, from Mendelian inheritance to quantitative and complex traits, associations and population genetics. It will address the anatomy and function of genomes from humans and model organisms. Using the Human Genome Projects as an example, students will learn sequencing and mapping technologies. Basic sequence analysis methods will be introduced, along with techniques to navigate genome browsers and other relevant databases.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Navigate genome browsers and databases relevant to genetics and genomics.
  • Analyze pedigrees and apply genetics to identify disease associations.
  • Use techniques of physical and genetic mapping and sequencing.
  • Use comparative genomics to detect homologous sequences within and between organisms and to define evolutionary relationships.
  • Predict possible consequences of mutations and genetic variation within and outside of genes.
  • Use examples from developmental biology, human disease and immunology to illustrate genetic control mechanisms and mutations.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online master’s degrees. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Bioinformatics, or would like to explore molecular biology to fill a bioinformatics skills gap, contact the  GPS office for more information or to request a syllabus: 781-736-8787, gps@brandeis.edu, or submit your information.

The influence of laws and ethics on digital learning

Woman and man looking at computerDigital learning is becoming increasingly common in classrooms of all ages. As K-12 and higher ed classrooms explore innovative online learning technologies and techniques, the modern workplace can also adapt instructional content to online and mobile platforms for learning and development. According to eLogic Learning, in 2015 the Learning Management System market was worth somewhere around $165 billion. At a 5% increase every year, that puts it on track to hit almost $240 billion by 2023.

Instructional designers work to use design thinking, evidence-based science, and pedagogical principles to develop adaptive and accessible digital learning experiences. Nowadays, that includes navigating the evolving legal landscape and ethical code that goes along with it.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Digital Ethics & The Legal Landscape of Instructional Design during our 10-week long Fall 2 session, starting in October. The fully online course will explore the legal issues arising from intellectual property, copyright law (including the fair use exception), the TEACH Act, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It will also look at federal laws related to learners with disabilities and help students to develop strategies to ensure accessibility for these online learners.

During the course, students will also examine how to best protect online learner privacy rights of education records in compliance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students will apply these laws to realistic scenarios that may arise in the design setting and develop best practices to minimize risk of liability.

After examining the laws in place, students will explore the ethical challenges that arise in practice, including the creation of instructional materials that support a diverse learner audience, implications of the “digital divide,” and conflicts of interest stemming from opportunities for personal gain outside of the employment relationship. They will compare and contrast legal standards with ethical values with respect to the development and implementation of online instructional materials and use their knowledge to design their own ethical code relevant to their professional goals.

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online Master’s degree programs. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Instructional Design and Technology or would like to learn more about digital ethics 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.

How to keep the peace and move projects forward in the workplace

Conflicts of interest are common, both in professional environments and daily life. It is important to know how to handle them, in order to get along with and move forward with the people around you – especially as a project or program manager. The ability to accommodate others is a vital skill that all successful business professionals should possess.

Resolving conflicts has become increasingly complex with an increase in virtual teams and the globalization of project management. Virtual teams must approach conflict resolution differently as cultural differences, interests, and values can all influence negotiation strategy and tactics.

Conflict Resolution Word CloudBrandeis GPS will be offering Negotiating and Conflict Resolution during our Fall 2 session, starting in October. The fully online, 10-week course will provide students with a framework to understand the basis of conflict, select an appropriate conflict resolution strategy, and employ tactics that optimize results for both individuals and organizations. During the course, students will explore different characteristics of negotiation including the two fundamental strategies, frames of reference, value creation, value claiming, and the impact of both tangible and intangible factors on the negotiation process.

The course will highlight the challenges that virtual teams present at each stage of the conflict resolution process. Negotiation is a soft skill that benefits from practice of the concepts in addition to learning the theory, so extensive role play of virtual group negotiations are incorporated into the course.

By the end of the course, students will have the skills to develop a systematic plan to negotiate with colleagues, bosses, clients, other stakeholders, and external groups of all kinds. They will be able to:

  • Analyze the characteristics of a negotiation situation and develop strategies for conflict management
  • Execute the fundamental strategies of distributive bargaining
  • Analyze different positions taken during a negotiation and handle hardball tactics
  • Prepare for communications in negotiations and analyze the opponent’s communication tactics
  • Identify frames in negotiation, managing emotions and perspectives, and identifying cognitive bias
  • Apply power to strengthen negotiation and manage influence during a negotiation process
  • Evaluate ethical and unethical tactics
  • Execute culturally responsive negotiation strategies

At Brandeis GPS, you can take up to two courses before enrolling in one of our 12 online Master’s degree programs. If you’re interested in exploring the MS in Project and Program Management, or would like to learn more about negotiations and conflict resolution 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.

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