CODUR presented at EDEN and CIDUI conferences

Prof. Albert Sangrà, coordinator of the CODUR project and Director of the UNESCO Chair for Education and Technology for Social Change, and members of the team Montse Guitert and Juliana Raffaghelli attended the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN) Annual Conference held in Genova (17-20 June) and the International Conference on University Teaching and Innovation held in Girona (4-6 July).

In both conferences, the objectives were two-fold: a) to present the CODUR project with its initial online indicators to be included in university rankings and to promote the debate about the evaluation of the online dimension inside the university ranking system, and b) to conduct an interactive workshop where the participants could give their feedback about the new set of indicators created by the CODUR project.

The CODUR project is leading to its end, but the number of impacts (both institutions and people) are growing remarkably.


International Seminar on Evidence-based research: methodological approaches and practical outcomes. Insights for Online Education


Last November, 21 and 22, the International Seminar on“Evidence-based research: methodological approaches and practical outcomes. Insights for Online Education” was held in Barcelona.
The international speakers invited shared their different perspectives on the topic, touching upon research and ways to get reliable evidence, learning analytics as a mainstream of evidence gathering, policy and the way that evidence can play a role on policy systems.
By clicking on every title you will be able to download the presentation of every speaker.


JAIRO H. CIFUENTES MADRID, TELESCOPI – Network of Observatories of Good Practices on Strategic University Management in Latin America and Europe 


Evidence-based Institutional Research: Gathering data for measuring impact



RICHARD GARRETT, The Observatory of Borderless Higher Education


Researching Online Learning… Reflections on Techniques and Sources



EMMANUEL (MANNY) JIMENEZ, 3ieImpact – International Initiative for Impact Evaluation


Systematic Review of the Effects of Interventions to Improve Education in Developing Countries


DONATELLA PERSICO, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche (ITD) – Italian National Research Council (CNR)


There is no such thing as context free evidence




FRANCESCA POZZI, Istituto Tecnologie Didattiche (ITD) – Italian National Research Council (CNR)


Will the future of Higher Education be evidence-based?



PAUL PRINSLOO, University of South Africa – UNISA


Learning analytics in a time of an insatiable thirst for data and evidence: A provocation



KATIE ROSE, Centre for Public Impact


Decoding Government Effectiveness



OLAF ZAWACKI-RICHTER, University of Oldenburg


Relevance and rigour – towards evidence-based practice in education

Art Schools Go MOOC, With a New Online Platform

Teaching free courses in the arts as MOOCs had bee tried before via Coursera, but it did not work out well, so its authors frustrated by limitations of the Coursera platform,  just left  it – until now.

The new virtual art school Kadenze has teamed up with 18 institutions, including Stanford and Princeton Universities, to create a digital platform designed for  arts courses. According to a company co-founder, Perry R. Cook, an emeritus professor at Princeton, the platform will be multimedia rich and allow students to create online portfolios, upload music files and scanned art, watch videos, and participate in discussion forums.

Kadenze will initially offer about 20 courses on subjects including music, art history, and technology and art. Students will enroll in courses and watch videos free, but if they want to submit assignments and receive grades and feedback, they will have to pay $7 a month. There will be courses offered for credit, for fees of $300, $600 or $900 a course.

Kadenza’s founders anticipate that Kadenze’s courses will attract a broad range of students, but that the primary interest will be from artists, performers, and those interested in going to art school.

Read in full:

Fake Diplomas, Real Money

An Insight into the Scam of Diploma Mills

Allen Ezell “Accreditation Mills” book cover

“Very little in this virtual realm is real”. This is how New York Times describes the network of alleged education institutions offering fake accreditations run by Axact, a software company in Pakistan. Aggressive sale agents cajole clients seeking real education into enrolling for coursework that never materializes. Ruses include impersonating American government officials and using tricky names for institutions, such as Barkley or Columbiana . Shoaib Ahmed Saikh, Axact’s founder and chief executive, is supposed to be using benefits from fake degrees to fund his own media group, BOL. Allen Ezell, a retired FBI agent, explains the fraud with further detail in his book Accreditation Mills.

Most of the clients seeking real education are scammed and pushed to pay large amounts of money under very diverse threats. However, such an established business wouldn’t be generating dozens millions in profits every year since 1997 without people willing to pay for fake degrees, hoping to secure a promotion or pad their résumé. People keen to buy certificates are the main driver of those companies, clearly degrading the reputation of online Education.

Read more:

Technology and Higher Education: challenges and opportunities for coming years

nmcLast month the New Media Consortium (NMC) released its annual Horizon Report which identifies six key trends accelerating technology adoption in higher education and six challenges hindering its adoption. The NMC is a not-for-profit organization stemming from the confluence of higher education institutions, museums and companies that centers its research activity on emerging technologies.

The report divides the trends accelerating ed tech adoption into fast, mid-range and long-range trends. Fast trends are the growing perception of online learning as a viable alternative to some forms of face-to-face learning, and the gradual emergence of new learning environments. As for mid-range trends, the report identifies the credit increasingly gained by the open education resources and the growing use of data left by students on the internet, which helps improve the educational experience. The long-range trends are the ever more positive attitude of universities towards change (especially the one driven by technology) and the boost of cooperation among higher education institutions.

The six challenges impeding ed tech adoption in higher education are divided into solvable, difficult and wicked challenges. Solvable challenges are digital literacy, a skill addressed in school that encompasses the need to blend formal and informal learning. Difficult challenges are those concerning the emergence of the myriad ways of communication and interconnection and the difficulties when it comes to personalizing learning. Finally, the competition between new and traditional models of education and the lack of rewards for teaching are labeled as wicked challenges.

All in all, some trends repeat over the years, while others disappear or change to a greater or lesser extent. Technology and Education have become two inseparable realities that affect each other. Education is undergoing a seamless reshaping process, clearly influenced by technology, while the potential of technology cannot be detached from the traditional dynamics of bricks-and-mortar higher education institutions.

The report can be found here.

European Commission Code Week: skills for the 21st century

 EC’s efforts to promote digital skills among EU population, especially among young people and long-term unemployed, are redoubling. Code skills are expected to be increasingly demanded in the labor market, and the Commission will host the Code Week (October 11-17) this year and is inviting to organize events all across Europe.

Ambassadors for each country have been selected to engage with local communities and organizations. Schools, companies and NGOs are asked to organize events within this campaign.

Activities could be manifold: coding events for kids/teenagers/adults, workshops in local schools organized by coders; coding workshops hosted by businesses and non-profit organizations, fun coding challenges for students, etc.

Get to know your country’s ambassadors

Find events in your country or add one

Read also this article of  Cathy Davidson and Mark Surman on web literacy:

Call For Papers: Special Issue on E-learning

Journal of Information Technology and Application in Education (JITAE) is an international open-access and refereed journal publishing the latest advancements in information technology and application in education. Research areas include e-learning and knowledge management, evaluation of learning technologies, mobile learning or informatics for social inclusion, among others.

The Journal has  released a Call for Papers with focus on e-learning, which submission deadline is May 15. Subject areas include many fields, which can be found on the Journal’s website.

You might be interested in submitting your original articles to this Special Issue.

Harvard, MIT Launch MOOC Student Visualization Tools

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the two institutions behind the massive open online course provider edX, on Thursday released a set of tools that visualize the age, gender, location and level of education of their almost 2 million MOOC users.

Called Insights, the tools were developed by Sergiy Nesterko and Daniel Seaton, research fellows at HarvardX and MIT, respectively. In a news release, Nesterko said Insights “can help to guide instruction while courses are running and deepen our understanding of the impact of courses after they are complete.”

A side-by-side comparison of HarvardX and MITx’s enrollment numbers shows Harvard’s MOOCs have attracted more than 1 million users to MIT’s roughly 820,000. More than one-third of Harvard’s MOOC students are in the U.S., compared to about one-quarter of MIT’s. The only other country to register in the double digits among either institution is India, whose students account for 15.5 percent of HarvardX’s total enrollment.

Similar to the student bodies at the physical campuses, MITx students are more likely to be male — 66.2 percent to HarvardX’s 59.5 percent. They are also younger — MITx’s median age is 27; HarvardX’s, 28 — and, by a few percentage points, less likely to hold a postsecondary degree. MOOCs are still dominated by students who hold such a degree, however. Among MITx students, 64.6 percent hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and for HarvardX, those students make up more than two-thirds, or 67.8 percent, of the total enrollment.

Insights will be made available to the member institutions in the edX consortium.

Read more:

Horizon 2014 Report Is Out: 6 Technologies Will Change Colleges in Coming Years

The six technologies and the changes they’re expected to bring are detailed in“NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition,” a 52-page document  comprised by the 56 international experts.

In a nutshell, the following trends and time horizons were identified by panel members:

 *  The two most imminent, within 2 years,  are the integration of social media into every aspect of college education and life and the blending of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning with face-to-face instruction.

 *  In 3 to 5 yearsdata-driven learning and assessment will have its maximum impact on campuses, helping to personalize learning and improve performance measurement. Also listed as having its greatest impact in three to five years is a shift toward “learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content.”

 * Two trends were identified  as long-range, with  their biggest impact is still 5 or more years away: the continuing evolution of online learning and universities’ shift to more agile “approaches to teaching and learning that mimic technology start-ups.”

For each of the trends the panel identified, the report offers examples and a further-reading list, as well as a discussion of whether the changes affect leadership, policy, practice, or some combination of the three.

The format of the report is new this year, providing these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership and practice:

See also:

30 Mln in Private Funds Raised by Instructure, a New Generation LMS Provider

Some months ago we already pointed out the trend of the growth in private capital in Education. Yesterday, Instructure, a company that has developed Canvas, a LMS platform, announced today that it had won $30-million in venture-capital funds. Some observers said the company was gaining ground on Blackboard, which has long dominated the market for learning-management systems.

Instructure has changed the LMS market. Most of the other vendors—their original product architectures came out 10 years ago or more.  Instructure has been part of a new wave of LMS.”

A week ago, experts of Brown University had a webinar during which they discussed five lessons they learned in their search for an open access LMS and why they ultimately selected Canvas as their LMS for their MOOC “Exploring Engineering”. They claim that Canvas has allowed them to create a more interactive course that engages students and keeps participation high rather than merely providing lectures and quizzes.

The choice of which platform a university or college uses to manage their online  and offline courses is, at the present time, wider than ever before. As the learning-management systems market evolves and grows, companies offering these services seek for private investment in order to gain market share.

Read more: