Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Online courses speeding catching city's fancy

Studying abroad and getting an international tag of reputed institutes on their resumes is a dream of many. But a few are able to realize it. However, with advancement of technology and the world turning into a global village, students studying in city colleges and even working professionals are getting hooked to online courses offered by foreign universities like Harvard, Stanford and MIT to get certificates and enhance their knowledge.From colour theories to mythology, sociology and healthcare, several websites such as and are offering online courses from foreign universities such as Harvard and Stanford as well as Indian institutes like IIT Delhi and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The courses are catching fancy of many. Several universities like Massachusetts Institute of Technology also have opened courseware that allows students from across the world to attend online classes ( One can study everything  from cryptography to epidemiology  absolutely free.

Jalaj Jain, an engineering student of SGSITS, has found fancy of doing courses that can enhance his knowledge and expertise. He said, Technology has made it easy to enhance your expertise and I am enjoying doing it. I have enrolled for various computer Science related online courses. You can sign up and get enrolled and choose topics of your choice.Preeti Mukati, a maths teacher at a city-based school said, "There are several sites that offer online courses from these universities. I have signed up for some other certificate courses in education, mathematics and accounting. Once you sign up, you are informed in advance when the course will begin so that you can free up your time.Working professionals who have got school-going kids, loans to pay and finding no way to take a break to pursue a course in the university are finding the online courses a right option. Kshitij Sharma, who runs his own company, completed an MS in Computer Science from Minnesota several years ago and has now signed for a course from Wharton on operations management, which he believes has helped him run his business better. "Honestly, I don't find too much of a difference between actually being there on campus and doing the course online. In fact, I think I am more focused now," says Sharma.

Though there are various international universities that are offering online courses, the ministry of human resources and development too has come up with a concept of online courses.Dr Narendra Chaudhary, a senior professor of IIT-I said, The ministry has developed the concept long ago where engineering students can enrol and choose courses of their choice to update their knowledge. Even working engineers too upgrade themselves through such courses.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

universities search at free online courses to complement conventional

 Michael Hwan didn’t have to pay for the Stanford University computer science and Economics and Management Science course he took online. The class on gamification  applying game techniques beyond games from the University of Pennsylvania was also free.Hwan earned a psychology degree in 2011 from Arizona State University but was thinking about going back to school. Instead, he signed up for two free online classes offered by Coursera, a company founded by Stanford professors that partners with dozens of universities to provide what are called massive open online courses, or MOOCs.

“I definitely feel like it puts the student in control of what they really want to learn,” Hwan said.These free online courses feature lessons by instructors from recognized universities. The courses are available to anyone with Internet access. Most MOOCs have no size limits, so tens of thousands of students are able to enroll in the same course.Arizona’s three public universities are moving to expand online degree options and the availability of online courses, but officials said they are exploring the potential of MOOCs to complement those efforts.None currently offers classes through Coursera or edX, another major MOOC initiative founded by Harvard and MIT, but Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University are working toward implementing MOOCs of their own. The University of Arizona is evaluating options to build on a series of early MOOCs it offered through iTunes U several years ago.

Northern Arizona University President John Haeger said that the school is trying to decide which courses it should offer as MOOCs. Haeger said he hopes NAU can begin implementing these types of courses by the summer or fall and that the university will discuss options with Coursera and others.Haeger said while MOOCs are disruptive to traditional models of education, they could potentially be beneficial to both universities and students.It offers the university a way to change its delivery system, and, in effect, it could lessen the cost of an undergraduate degree, which is in the students’ best interest, Haeger said.ASU is planning to debut a MOOC of its own in August, according to Phillip Regier, executive vice provost and dean of ASU Online.

Regier said ASU’s MOOC will be distinct from what other schools have offered. The course won’t replicate content of an existing ASU class but instead will span multiple disciplines, he said.It will showcase all of the areas around ASU and what the university does in terms of knowledge-creation,” Regier said.Regier said that the course will likely be offered on ASU’s own platform, rather than through an organization like Coursera. He added that that ASU has no plans to offer credit for the free course initially, or to offer existing ASU classes for free online.The University of Arizona offered a series of entrepreneurship courses for free on iTunes U in the past few years. Mike Proctor, dean of the Outreach College at University of Arizona, said the university is evaluating how it might be able to build upon that experience.

We’re not close to inking a deal with anybody,” Proctor said.Proctor said he thinks MOOCs have the potential to be both beneficial and disruptive.They might be both,” he said. “Time will tell how that plays out.Students who successfully complete a MOOC through Coursera or edX can earn a certificate of completion, but the American Council on Education is evaluating a way to determine credit equivalency for some Coursera classes, a step toward enabling students to earn college credit for these courses.ACE President Molly Corbett Broad said if the organization can determine credit equivalency, MOOCs have potential to break through barriers to college access.The MOOCs make it possible for the issues of time and location to be removed as barriers to a completion of a degree,” she said. “And because they are free they also address the escalating costs of higher education.Coursera co-founder and co-CEO Daphne Koller said that MOOCs, including those offered by Coursera, can provide education for people who are held back from going to school by financial, geographic or family reasons.We actually believe that this has the potential of increasing the number of people who get degrees in the United States,” Koller said.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

University Announces today that it will open its first permanent international education site in Italy

Kennesaw State University will open its first permanent international education site in Montepulciano, Italy, enabling the expansion of the study-abroad programs the university has conducted in that historic Tuscan city for the past 15 years.Under the rental agreement approved this week by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State will occupy 4,000 square feet in the soon-to-be restored and renovated historic Fortezza Poliziana beginning in fall 2014. Funding for the $520,000, 25-year agreement will be provided by private donations and the Kennesaw State University Foundation.This represents a major milestone for Kennesaw State’s international initiatives and our commitment to providing students high-quality, global learning opportunities, said KSU President Daniel S. Papp. Not only have we found a long-term home for one of our fastest-growing study-abroad programs, we are expanding the Kennesaw State brand internationally an exciting development as we approach the university’s 50thanniversary.

This week, Kennesaw State also earned the distinction of being named among the top campuses in the nation for student participation in study-abroad programs.  The Institute of International Education, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, annually publishes the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.  The just-released 2012 report ranked KSU 8thamong the country’s top 40 master’s degree-granting institutions in study-abroad participation. During the 2010-2011 academic year, 734 Kennesaw State students studied abroad.Kennesaw State’s study-abroad programs in Montepulciano have grown from serving eight students in 1998, to 76 in 2011.  Nearly 1,100 students and faculty have participated in study-abroad programs in Montepulciano since the program began. Participants include Kennesaw State’s students and faculty, as well as students and faculty from other University System of Georgia institutions with whom KSU partners.

To date, Kennesaw State officials have rented four classrooms in an unused wing of an elementary school outside of Montepulciano’s city walls to provide the program’s offerings. The Montepulciano study-abroad programs typically include courses in art, history, Intelligent Software Systems,literature, Italian and political science,Social Sciences,Master of Landscape Architecture through two regularly scheduled five-week summer sessions and occasional shorter fall sessions.  An intensive, 12-week foreign language program also is scheduled to begin in fall 2013.When finalized, the agreement will provide space in the Fortezza Poliziana for five classrooms, a program office, residential quarters for the program director, and a teaching kitchen for a proposed culinary program. The new facility will allow the program to offer longer, regularly scheduled fall sessions, shorter sessions during the May and August mini-mesters, as well as short-term courses during December.

Thomas H. Keene, Kennesaw State professor of history and a study-abroad program director in Montepulciano, is ecstatic about the plans and prospects for the new space. “The classrooms in the Fortezza will be a massive upgrade and will offer considerable advantages, including the safety and security of being in the central city,” Keene stated.The development of the rental agreement followed a visit to Kennesaw State University’s Georgia campus last February by officials of the City of Montepulciano and representatives of a consortium of more than 80 wine producers  the Consorzio Del Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano. The visit resulted in a resolution to complete negotiations with the University and the Kennesaw State University Foundation to provide the financial incentive to undertake the renovation and restoration of the Fortezza.  The rental agreement is the catalyst that will launch the project to restore the historic 18thcentury fortress.

When the project is completed, Kennesaw State and the wine consortium will each occupy most of an entire floor with common spaces reserved for public events, conferences and exhibitions, including those staged by Kennesaw State’s study-abroad faculty and students.We are honored to be a part of this historic partnership that will provide a phenomenal setting for our students to learn and engage globally, with the added benefit of witnessing our partners in this endeavor restore an important historical landmark in Italy’s beautiful Tuscan region,said Papp.Currently, University officials are considering proposals for a Great Books Honors Program in Montepulciano; as well as a program of non-credit short courses in art  painting, drawing, photography, print-making  and in Italian cooking, wine-tasting and art history, among others.The programming possibilities for this site are virtually limitless, said Keene, who has co-ordinated KSU’s Montepulciano effort from the very beginning.  “It presents a great opportunity to attract even more students to study abroad, and also allows us to offer these incredible learning experiences to our alumni and the larger community.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Most popular study abroad destinations

The University works in association with the Institute for International Studies and the Kentucky Institute for International Studies to offer students a ‘world of opportunities’ with its study abroad programs, held in the summer and during each semester.The Institute for International Studies provides support for international students and scholars, Murray State students studying abroad, international visits and community education.

Murray State also works with the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, a non-profit organization which strives to establish high-quality, low-cost, academically sound study abroad programs for students. The KIIS options for semester programs this year are to Caen, France, Regensburg, Germany or Segovia, Spain during the spring semester and Merida, Mexico during the fall semester.Pallavi Thadhani, a graduate from Murray State with a Masters in Business Administration from Corozal Town, Belize, studied abroad in Paris, France and London, England from January 2-January 10, 2012. He said his experience changed his life for the better in many ways.This was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life, Thadhani said. “I learned so much from executives of many world-renowned organizations and individuals on my study abroad trip. This trip required the MBA students to be open-minded and accept challenges and situations as they were presented. This experience definitely confirmed my dreams of aiming for a job that includes international traveling.”

KIIS offers thousands of dollars in scholarships each year. For its summer programs, KIIS provides one $500 scholarship for each program and in the fall and spring they provided one $750 scholarship to each program.Murray State encourages students of all fields to study abroad, especially students with majors and minors in a foreign language. Students studying a foreign language are encouraged to attend one of the many summer programs offered, which include countries such as China, France, Spain,Sweden, Tanzania and others. The programs range from 4 to 6 weeks in length.Bonnie Higginson, vice president of Academic Affairs, said she has seen many lives change as a result of study abroad programs.

For many students a study abroad experience can be life changing because they are immersed in another culture and have to step out of their comfort zone as they adjust” Higginson said. “I’ve seen a number of students who have even changed their career goal and career paths.Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, said the study abroad programs are one of the best opportunities at Murray State.One of the things that makes Murray State very unique is its array and variety of opportunities” Robertson said. “I think it is very important that students have the opportunity and that they take advantage of it because we are a very multicultural world and studying abroad will better prepare them for it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

DO the maths on study resource

The rapid rollout over the past year of massive open online university courses, or MOOCs, illustrates how university education is becoming a global commodity. While ­Australian universities face pressure to launch online courses, the Gillard government is aiming to increase the quality of university teaching and research. One of the goals listed in the Asian Century white paper released in late October was that 10 of our universities would be in the world’s top 100 and our school system would be in the world’s top five by 2025.

But universities are struggling to accommodate the surge in student numbers since the government relaxed restrictions on place numbers in 2010 as a result of the Bradley review in 2008. The Gillard government argues that funding for ­universities has increased. An Ernst & Young report released in July showed funding per student was $2000 higher in 2013 than in 2008. But the government will not loosen the ­antiquated regulations on fees that universities can charge ­students. Instead the talk is about extra government spending on education, such as the $6.5 billion in extra funding that the Gonski report recommended for schools.

Former head of the Commonwealth public service Mike Keating has raised the provocative idea that rather than increasing schools funding, we should cut it. Mr Keating’s belief that we are wasting money on schools and should divert the funds to vocational training has some support. Labor MP and former ANU economics professor Andrew Leigh and ANU researcher Chris Ryan showed in a 2009 study that despite a 10 per cent increase in real per-child school ­expenditure between 1975 and 1998, which paid for smaller class sizes, literacy and numeracy performance declined.As the gap between tax revenue and spending widens, it’s time to re-examine such ideas, because finding extra funds to deliver on the education goals in the Asian Century white paper will be difficult indeed. In July, Fred Hilmer, the University of NSW’s vice-chancellor and chairman of the group of eight universities, said if his university could charge students in better paid professional courses such as law and medicine 25 per cent more, the university would raise $30 million a year.If the government is serious about creating elite universities and high quality schools, it should change the present system of capping university fees and give them more market flexibility.