The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Tag: Technology (page 1 of 3)

Cloud Computing

Data hubs are becoming increasingly virtual. According to the most recent annual cloud computing survey by North Bridge venture partners, 50 percent of organizations had either a cloud-first or cloud-only policy and 90 percent used the cloud in some way. As the cloud continues to grow, it is essential that software engineers looking to advance in their field have a working knowledge of cloud-based services.

Brandeis GPS will be offering Cloud Computing as a part-time, fully online course this October. During the 10-week course, students will explore cloud-based services, using internet-based software suites such as Google Docs or Salesforce.com, through platform-based systems (PaaS), such as Microsoft’s Azure environment, that make it easy to focus on developing new apps or services, to complete cloud-based infrastructure (IaaS), such as Amazon’s Web Services.

The course also explores how use of the cloud changes how we “do” IT. Cloud-based services are especially well-suited to Agile development and Lean Startup thinking. This leads to new ideas such as DevOps and “continuous deployment.” In addition, use of SaaS security systems changes how we integrate systems, how we handle identity and access management (IAM), opening up new threats and new opportunities to keep data secure. Finally, the course looks at how the cloud enables us to work with more data than ever before, “Big Data”— NoSQL databases and scalable infrastructure (e.g., Hadoop).

Throughout the course, students will learn how to evaluate the various cloud-based services and how to communicate that evaluation to decision-makers in the organization.

It also includes a hands-on practicum using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Students will explore the most common features of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and how IaaS, overall, differs from older paradigms of systems management and program architecture.

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

  • Describe the major categories of cloud-based services and the major trends in cloud computing and be able to explain the impact of cloud computing on the role of corporate IT;
  • Describe new roles and approaches to software development tuned to the cloud, starting with DevOps and the idea of continuous development;
  • Assess specific services, evaluate whether or not they are appropriate to specific challenges, and plan their implementation, where relevant;
  • Describe how the cloud has enabled enterprises to rethink how data are gathered, analyzed, and processed, using NoSQL databases, and scalable infrastructure such as Hadoop;
  • Evaluate security challenges in the cloud and understand current best practices;
  • Successfully carry out backup, system imaging and disaster recovery;
  • Successfully set up, monitor, and maintain a reasonably complex web-based service on Amazon Web Services (the course practicum).

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 Master of Software Engineering, or would like to learn more about cloud computing for 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 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:

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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

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.

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.

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 Top 5 Robotics Trends You’ll See in 2018

Robotics technology has proven to evolve at a rapid pace. In 2015, Uber began testing the first of its self-driving cars, and in 2016 it launched 16 self-driving SUVs in San Francisco. With the innovations of today providing just a small glimpse into future advancements, the robotics industry eagerly has its sight set on 2018. As we roll into the new year, we’ve got our eye on five particular trends that we think could characterize the next robotics wave.

Continue reading

Ask the Expert series recap with Barbara McNamara

On April 19, we hosted Barbara McNamara, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency, for our Ask the Expert series. Ms. McNamara captivated us not only with her deep knowledge of the information security industry, but also by her life story and the doors she has opened for other women in technology.

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A graduate from Regis College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College, Barbara McNamara was the first woman named Deputy Director of Operations of the National Security Agency in 1994. In 1997, she became the agency’s Deputy Director and was just the second woman to hold that position. Three years later, she received the U.S. Intelligence Community’s highest award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. At the time, she was one of the highest-ranked women in the U.S. intelligence community.

“People have been protecting their communications since the War of Independence”

Following an introduction by Michael Corn, the chair of the MS in Information Security Leadership program at GPS, Ms. McNamara discussed the history of information security in the United States. She talked about the critical role information security played during the World Wars, particularly focusing on advances in cryptography and code-breaking that occurred during World War II. She then covered the NSA’s role in protecting national security during the decades that followed — this period was characterized by a struggle to get information security equipment to field-based members of the military. While Ms. McNamara constantly stressed the importance of defending and protecting information as technology continuously evolves, another running theme from her conversation and concluding Q&A session is that those with a background in information security industry are “very wanted” and valued by many industries within the workforce.

“People in information assurance are about to enter the most exciting and challenging times of their lives.”

Our Ask the Expert event ended with a Q&A that addressed questions ranging from the measures current high-level security agents take while traveling abroad to U.S. preparedness for a cyberwar to Ms. McNamara’s career advancement in a male-dominated field. Ms. McNamara quipped that despite no plans to write a book, the title of her memoir would be “In a Man’s World.”

It was a pleasure to host Ms. McNamara at GPS and we look forward to our next Ask the Expert event.

Watch our Ask the Expert recording here

Brandeis GPS students play key role in a new statewide data initiative

By Stephen Gentile

With a vast network of start-ups and a haven of biotech and pharma companies, and dozens of institutions of higher learning it is no secret that Massachusetts is one of the most tech-advanced states in the country. According to Gov. Charlie Baker, we now must leverage the state’s technology and economic progress and increase its competitiveness.

Brandeis GPS is partnering with the Massachusetts High Technology Council (MHTC) in support of this cause. A coalition of pro-growth advocates is developing and launching a unique online resource that measures how the state ranks nationally among other states.

Why MATTERS matters

The new system, MATTERSTM (Massachusetts’ Technology, Talent, and Economic Reporting System), was developed by students and faculty from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), with assistance and guidance from an Advisory Board formed by MHTC. MATTERS creates profiles of each of the 50 states based on key parameters related to talent, tax, business climate and quality of life. It then compiles national rankings data and dozens of cost, economic and talent metrics to see how Massachusetts ranks in comparison to other states.

The data MATTERS generates helps Massachusetts private and public sectors identify and drive legislation that maximizes the state’s strengths (source).

MA state profile. Source: http://matters.mhtc.org

MATTERS MA state profile (source: http://matters.mhtc.org)

How Brandeis GPS fits in

In January 2016, as program chair of the Strategic Analytics program, I led a team of GPS students in a project to research, cleanse, and load MATTERS data. Each academic term, we will continue this process by building a MATTERS team, selecting participating students based on their previous academic performance in the program, professional experience, and leadership abilities. The GPS data curators conduct meetings with MHTC, WPI, and other stakeholders; define a scope of work for the course, and culminate their work on the project with a final proposal that outlines next steps and possible deliverables for the next GPS research team. The MATTERS team reviews and approves each proposal before the next term begins.

The inaugural GPS team spearheaded the following milestones:

  • Evaluating and taking inventory of all data sources
  • Compiling and transmitting updated data from all relevant sources; the WPI team used this data to test MATTERS version 2.0, which MHTC announced this spring.
  • Creating and documenting the methodology to maintain MATTERS data, including on-going processes, workflow among stakeholders, and data update schedules

Looking ahead

Our work has been essential in establishing processes and procedures that ensure MATTERS is working with high-quality data, but there is still much to do. Data curation goes beyond organizing and cleansing data — it can also set up a construct for the broader user community to access quality data in a reproducible manner, which guarantees its usefulness for future research. Additionally, data curation will facilitate a better collaboration between organizations as the source data will be improved “on the edge” before it enters the MATTERS clearinghouse.

Detailed plans for the summer 2016 MATTERS course are now underway, as we look to re-evaluate all data sources, document our methodology, and enhance the workflows and collaboration with WPI and the MHTC teams.

Stephen Gentile serves as Director, Project Management Office at Babson Capital Management LLC. He is also the chair of the Strategic Analytics program at Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies and teachers courses in their Strategic Analytics and Project and Program Management programs.

7 Innovative #EdTech Practices You Can Implement at No Cost

The Americas Society and Council of the Americas invited me to discuss scalable innovative practices for education with experts and leaders dedicated to advancing and shaping the political, economic, social and cultural agendas of the Western Hemisphere. The purpose was to take what works in New York City and bring it to other education systems.

Here are some ideas I shared that global leaders can bring back to their countries.

1) Online Learning Communities for Education Resources

It is no longer okay for companies to provide teachers with just a product. Today we ask companies whose products we use, like Google, PBS, and Common Sense Media to develop online learning networks comprised of their staff and NYCDOE educators who use the product. Communities on sites like Google, Facebook, and Edmodo allow educators to connect with one another to share ideas, best practices, troubleshoot issues, and more.  A member from the NYCDOE and from the company participate in the group to provide appropriate support as needed.

Teachers love it.

Alone, exhausted, and unseen become connected, energized, and recognized.

2) Partnering with Companies to Develop Expertise within The System

Have you ever been to a classroom and seen a SMARTboard serving as a bulletin board or known that teachers were barely scratching the surface when it comes to using certain technologies? Technology without pedagogy is a waste of money.

Today companies must be held accountable to do more than just sell tools and resources to schools. They must come with an important additional component to grow capacity across the district. That component is a no-cost program that creates and connects teachers across the district who are power-users of the same resources so they can become area experts supporting others back in their school and districts.

Participants become experts and share their skills and knowledge by:

  • Supporting colleagues in their schools and districts
  • Modeling and speaking about best practices in effective technology integration
  • Providing professional learning
  • Offering feedback to companies that help to ensure resources meet student needs
  • Building the external profile of the DOE by contributing to blogs, websites, and other media
  • Developing innovative classrooms for inter-visitations
  • Presenting at conferences and workshops

Products are no longer stand alone. They come with training and support that helps ensure their successful use.  You can learn more about this program here.

3) Technology Single Point of Contacts (Tech SPOC)

Every school designates a single point of contact for technology who can participate in professional learning opportunities, receive information about technology (i.e. via a newsletter and website), and join an online community for anytime/anywhere support.

4) One Stop for Technology Professional Learning Opportunities

Sounds simple, but until recently we didn’t have a central place on our website where all learning opportunities were placed. Now there is one online place to find both internal and external opportunities such as workshops, institutes, conferences, meet ups, and webinars.

5) Incorporate Student, Educator and Parent Voice

One of the most important scalable practices that can be effectively implemented in any school system is to incorporate the voice of students, staff, and parents. Do this not only by speaking with all stakeholders, but also asking them to be a part of the rules, policies, guidelines, curriculum, and learning that takes place in your school or district. For example, our professional learning opportunities are created with and reviewed by a professional development team of educators who test the work and materials with their students then provide us with feedback.

Our Social Media Guidelines for students were created by interviewing more than one hundred students and numerous educators and parents. We then reached out to the stakeholders to help us create the guidelines in a format they choose.  In this case infographics. Once created, we go back to the stakeholders and get feedback then update. We created guides for parents and teachers and professional development. You can see them at schools.nyc.gov/socialmedia.

6) Partner with Students for Learning

While educators are expected to be experts in pedagogy, it is smart to tap into the intelligence of students when it comes to technology. Invite students to be creative with technology. Make a chart of favorite tech tools and indicate who your class experts are. If educators want to be in the know, there is a great free site from Common Sense Media called Graphite.org that rates and reviews digital resources.

7) Embrace Social Media for Students

If we want to run for office, run a business, or change how things are run where we work, live, or play we must be savvy in the use of social media. It is crucial for college, career, and life success. Stay tuned for my next post, to learn some ways to do this right.

So, what do you think? Could some of these practices be put into place where you work? Are there challenges or concerns that are in the way of you implementing these practices? What are some scalable practices that are successful where you work?

Original post available here

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Brandeis expands online course offerings with Learning Analytics graduate certificate

New fall program combines data analysis with the expanding field of online learning

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Brandeis University’s Graduate Professional Studies division (GPS) will launch a fully-online graduate certificate program in Learning Analytics in September 2015, the university announced today.

Designed to be completed in 1.5 years or less, the program is for professionals with strong backgrounds in education, instructional design, or institutional research. Cross-disciplinary in nature, the certificate will provide students with the foundational tool sets and theory of business intelligence and data analysis. These skillsets are necessary for evaluating the effectiveness of courses, programs and instruction, and prepare students to fill a highly in-demand skills gap in a burgeoning job market.

“As the learning analytics field continues to evolve, it is more important than ever before to use the technology and data we have available to us to understand and, ultimately, enhance the learning experience,” said Brian Salerno, director of Online Learning and Instructional Design at Brandeis GPS.

The five-course, 15-credit certificate program draws heavily from two existing Brandeis GPS master’s degrees: Instructional Design and Technology and Strategic Analytics. Applicants are expected to possess a post-graduate degree in a related field as well as three years of relevant work experience.

In addition to the new Learning Analytics certificate, Brandeis GPS offers eight fully online part-time master’s degrees, including Strategic Analytics, Bioinformatics, Health and Medical Informatics, Instructional Design & Technology, and Software Engineering. All Brandeis GPS programs are asynchronous, providing students with a flexible and convenient approach to completing their degree.

Students interested in applying to the Learning Analytics certificate program should complete their application by Aug. 11, 2015. Students also have the opportunity to take a course prior to applying for admission. Registration for the summer 2015 term opened on April 14, with courses beginning May 20. For more information about Brandeis GPS, please visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

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