The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Tag: online education

Users are in control. Find out how to reach them.

First comes product or service, then comes user. Right? Unfortunately, this simple method no longer holds true in our user-driven society. In today’s world, the user always comes first.

In order to create a product or service with staying power, you need to first find out who your user is. Then, you need to find out what they want, how they behave, and their likes and dislikes.  User-Centered Design has become an integral element in the creation of just about any product or service.

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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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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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A First Look at the New Degree Transforming Online Education

Join us for a free webinar “Online Learning for Professional Development” on Wednesday, June 25th and learn more about Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies’ brand new Masters of Science in Online Instructional Design and Technology program at the Virtual Open House Thursday, June 26th

Education does not look the same as it did ten – or even five – years ago. Rapid technological innovation combined with evolving economy has made online learning much more prevalent. In many ways, the internet has democratized education, making it possible to learn anywhere, anytime and at a much more affordable price point.

By unlocking greater access to education, online learning has exploded. There is a massive demand for the convenience of web-based learning, and especially for high-quality programs that can match the rich experience of classroom learning.

The result is a tremendous expansion in the field of instructional design and technology, or the creation of dynamic learning content for online delivery. Organizations desire skilled professionals able to translate classroom curriculum into an engaging, instructive online education. They need instructional designers who understand how users interact with these online portals and how to optimize their learning experience.

But developing digital courses requires a dynamic skill set, not easily acquired from any single educational program or work experience.

Until now.

Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies has launched an innovative new program transforming the landscape of online learning: Master of Science in Online Instructional Design & Technology. Students will develop extensive knowledge of the theory and practice involved in bringing cutting-edge quality learning experiences to the web. From conception to execution, graduates will have the skills they need to design and develop industry-best learning environments and experiences.

Interested in innovating the next frontier of education? Here are six reasons you should pursue a career in instructional design.

Industry Demand

Industry Demand

The popularity of online learning has skyrocketed in recent years. The convenience of the web makes it possible for working professionals to advance their careers or update their skill set without having to put their job on hold.

 “As public and private interest and money flow into this space, the need for highly trained professionals versed in the art and science of instructional design has almost certainly never been higher,” said Jason Gorman, a member of the professional advisory board for Brandeis’ master of science in online instructional design.

The total job postings for employees with instructional design skills and graduate degrees has increased by 63 percent between 2010 to 2013, according to Brandeis’ Advisory Board, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above average growth as high as twenty percent for instructional design jobs between 2010 and 2020.

Opportunity for the pros: over 36,000 jobs will be created in just the next four years, according to the Bureau.

Dynamic Day-to-Day

Dynamic Day-to-Day

One of the most appealing aspects of instructional design is it is a dynamic field in which professionals are able to wear multiple hats in their quest to deliver cutting-edge educational experiences. Instructional design is about so much more than building cookie-cutter programs. It’s about understanding how we learn, harnessing technology to improve learning, and creating engaging and effective content to support educational objectives.

Instructional design is a multistage process that calls for a diverse of set of skills. Designers analyze past learning outcomes, and leverage that knowledge to design and develop enhanced instructional programs. They also partner with industry experts or professors to design the curriculum and produce content. They must even act as project managers to oversee how content, instructional tools, and technology integrate to create a dynamic learning environment.

Brandeis’ M.S. in Online Instructional Design & Technology equips students with an extensive and impressive skill set preparing them to meet the diverse demands of instructional design. Glance below to see a preview of promised program outcomes:

  • Apply evidence-based learning science and online pedagogical principles to the design, development, facilitation, and assessment of online courses and programs.

  • Design dynamic, adaptive, and interactive online multimedia-based instructional content and courseware.

  • Evaluate and integrate instructional technologies, platforms, and collaborative tools for use in diverse instructional settings and applications.

  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in the application of instructional design principles and technologies to respond to instructional challenges and emerging trends.

Collaboration & Creativity

Collaboration & Creativity

Far from a mundane profession, instructional design involves considerable collaboration and creativity. Instructional designers partner with industry professionals or academic professors who are experts on topics to to create optimal eLearning experiences. Together, they brainstorm ways to improve upon past programs, add interactive elements, and other measures to make the educational experience more engaging and effective. They also partner in content creation and management to ensure the best possible learning materials are integrated in the curriculum. The wealth of opportunities to get creative and collaborate with others makes instructional design exciting field.

Bridging Theory & Practice

Bridging Theory & Practice

Instructional designers exercise both sides of their brain to translate theory into practice. They must possess the soft skills needed to nurture a sophisticated understanding of how people learn. There is a theoretical science behind learning that should guide and inform the creation of online educational programs. Educational models like ADDIE and other pedagogical principles must form the blueprint of online course design.

But professionals must step beyond theory and apply these principles to build a product. They must master the practice of utilizing technology to develop courseware solve challenges.

The opportunity to put theory into action and see the tangible results is a stimulating and satisfying part of an instructional design career.

Opportunity Across IndustriesOpportunity Across Industries

While educational institutions represent a large portion of the instructional design field, it is far from the only industry implementing web-based educational programs.

“Instructional design has become a crucial skill set for both educational institutions and training and development organizations across a variety of industries and sectors,” said Brian Salerno, who chairs Brandeis’ new master’s program.

Numerous organizations need educational, training, and professional development resources to maintain a productive workforce. Online materials are a cost-effective way to address onboarding, internal training, and various other instructional needs in private, governmental, and nonprofit industries.

From higher education to giant corporations, opportunities are wide open for instructional designers.

Be on the Cutting-Edge

Be on the Cutting-Edge

Instructional designers are on the forefront of technological evolutions. Because they often operate in the trenches of development, they have early access to cutting-edge new tools and softwares as they strive to build innovative, forward-thinking web experiences. Brandeis’ new master’s program will train students to effectively implement tools and technologies to build industry-leading courseware. Once in the field, however, this knowledge will only expand as more sophisticated technology emerges in the future.

 Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies

Brandeis University's Division of Graduate Professional Studies

Brandeis’ game-changing M.S. in Online Instructional Design & Technology prepares students to be on the forefront of the next frontier in education and training. Not only will they develop a crucial skill set coveted by many organization, but be able to do so on their schedule in small, interactive online courses.

join Brandeis’ Brian Salerno for free webinar “Online Learning for Professional Development” on Wednesday, June 25th and learn more at Brandeis University’s next  Virtual Open House on Thursday, June 26th. 

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