Eduventures Encourages to Re-Think Online Learning While Analyzing Scenarios

IBL News | New York

Colleges and universities face an uncertain future for the fall semester, amid the sharpest economic contraction in nearly a century.

Higher education research company, Eduventures has weighed out the variables for enrollment scenarios for Fall 2020. Essentially, a severe downturn can happen, with a 30% drop, but also, in the other extreme, with a surge of 10%.

Eduverntures’s “Fall 2020 Enrollment Scenarios” report highlights the “broadening view that a college education is increasingly essential for at least a middle-class lifestyle,” and with this perspective states that “in the Great Recession of 2007-09 traditional-aged undergraduate enrollment grew about 3% in fall 2007 and fall 2008.”

The graphic below reflects Eduventures’ five enrollment scenarios for fall 2020.


On the positive scenario, Richard Garrett, Eduventures Chief Research Officer at Eduventures, explains that “if federal stimulus, subsidizing either schools or families or both, is strong enough to match the scale of the downturn, many households will regard school as welcome continuity and an investment in the future. Since many jobs open to high school graduates will be unavailable mid-pandemic, a strong stimulus will persuade more young people than normal to enroll.”

Also, “if schools can reimagine the traditional undergraduate experience online—going beyond the standard online playbook aimed at no-frills adults to encompass cohort bonding and extra-curricular—then fall 2020 might be (almost positively) positioned as a creative hybrid of community solidarity and educational futurism.”

“When other funding sources, notably states, the stock market, and philanthropy, are in doubt, schools need an online vision and reality that justifies standard tuition and funds financial aid.”

“This might prove to be a heavy lift: not simply to transition from emergency remote instruction to good online learning practice but to re-think, in a few short months, a modality that up to now most young people and many faculty members have dismissed out-of-hand.”

Richard Garrett predicts that “in almost any scenario, students will be more likely to study closer to home and at less expensive schools, favoring in-state publics and community colleges.”

Fully online institutions may also do well. If family finances are really strained, low-priced online course providers, like Straighterline and Outlier, may rise in prominence with students and parents calculating that banking some general education credits may be the best way to ride out the crisis and get a jump on fall 2021. An austerity-driven DIY mentality may take hold, boosting the appeal of noncredit, self-paced MOOC-type courses. Some firms have made their course catalogs available free for a limited time.”

edX Reports 100 Million Unique Enrollments After a Growth of 20 Million

IBL News | New York, the non-profit venture created by MIT and Harvard University in 2012, has reached a milestone of 100 million unique enrollments, after an increase of 20 million during the pandemic time. Anant Agarwal, CEO at edX, announced this achievement in a video message yesterday.

“Eight years ago, we started a movement when we launched our first course and since then have grown to 100 million enrollments and counting,” said Agarwal.

At the beginning of the year, edX reported 80 million unique enrollments and 24 million unique users, along with over 3,000 courses and 1.6 million certificates issued.

This data was included in a document titled the “2020 Impact Report.”

Databricks Launches a Program to Train College Students on Apache Spark and Other AI Tools

IBL News | New York

Databricks, a San Francisco-based company known for creating open-source Apache Spark, announced this week a free global program to help college students improve their skills in data science and machine learning.

The program, called Databricks University Alliance,  offers students access to tutorials, content, and training material on open-source tools, including Apache Spark, Delta Lake, and MLflow–the company reported in a blog post.

“Our goal with this program is to continue to help build the capacity of qualified and prepared data scientists, engineers, and analysts who can work with industry-scale data sets on public cloud environments,” said Matei Zaharia, Chief Technologist at Databricks and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University.

Databricks University Alliance has partnerships with Microsoft Azure and AWS.

GSV Ventures Creates an Online MBA in Entrepreneurship with Belhaven University

IBL News | New York

GSV (Global Silicon Valley) investor announced this week the creation of an Online MBA Program in Entrepreneurship, in partnership with Belhaven University.

It will be a 10-course degree, with classes offered in seven-week segments. Students will access to entrepreneurs and business leaders, and they will be able to test models and strategies learned in the classroom by creating a company, launching a real business, and pitching their venture in front of investors.

Studies show that 80% of high school students and 65% of college students want to start their own business or work for a startup.

“The GSV MBA is designed to fuel entrepreneurs with the knowledge, attitude, resources, and connectivity to not only survive but thrive throughout their startup’s evolution,” explained the creators of the degree. “The 10-course curriculum has been developed by highly experienced investors and entrepreneurs from GSV and its network of startups, investors, educators, advisors, and other leaders throughout the Innovation Economy.”

The first GSV MBA class is now forming for the summer.

“The GSV MBA compliments GSV Ventures, which invests in leading early and growth-stage digital education companies and the ASU GSV Summit,” Michael Moe, Founder, and CEO at GSV explained in a statement released this week.

“The front-edge entrepreneurial experience of Michael Moe and GSV has blended with the academic innovation of Belhaven University to create a degree option that makes it one-of-a-kind,” said Belhaven University President, Dr. Roger Parrott.

GSV has invested in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Snap, Lyft, and Spotify. Michael Moe has started and led businesses including GSV Asset Management, ThinkEquity, the ASU GSV Summit, GSVlabs, BizEquity, and EMG. Moe is also the author of two books, “Finding the Next Starbucks” and “The Global Silicon Valley Handbook.” Belhaven University serves 5,000 students and stands among Christian colleges and universities.

The College Board Responds to a Flood of Complaints About Malfunctioning of the Remote AP Tests

IBL News | New York

The College Board started yesterday a PR campaign through social media to counter a number of students’ frustration after they were unable to successfully submit their AP exam results.

On Wednesday, on the third day of the Advanced Placement (AP) first-ever remote test administration, the College Board attributed the glitches and server crashes to “outdated browsers” used by only 1% of students.

Yesterday, The College Board’s response was based on encouraging learners to try first a new exam demo.

Answers to those tweets showed the complaints of learners, requesting the cancellation of the test.

An online petition signed by over 6,000 students demanding the College Board “not to miss this chance to turn this difficult situation around by handling it with fairness and grace.”

The College Board insisted on a press release on late Wednesday by stating that “more than 456,000 students took exams that day and that, again, “less than 1 percent [were] unable to submit their responses.”, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing reported receiving dozens of complaints about problems with the AP tests, which will continue for 10 more days, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Also, reflected on a story yesterday this flood of criticism.


Over 35,000 Enrolled in an Online Course to Become a Contact Tracer for the Pandemic

IBL News | New York

The state of New York will be hiring thousands of contact tracers to fight the pandemic. Across the nation, an estimated workforce of 100,000 could be required.

These tracers in New York who will work in identifying infected persons’ contacts in order to break the chain of transmission, will be required to take and pass a free six-hours online course.

The course COVID-19 Contact Tracing, is now available on Coursera, and has been developed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with Bloomberg Philanthropies. Within days of its release on Monday, over 35,000 had enrolled.

The certificate class taught by Emily Gurley, an infectious disease epidemiologist and an associate scientist of Johns Hopkins, teaches the basics of interviewing people diagnosed with the virus, identifying their close contacts who might have been exposed, and providing them guidance for self-quarantine for two weeks.

“Even if you stop one or two new infections, you’re preventing many new cases down the line,” explained Emily Gurley.

The course is part of an ambitious push for contact tracing backed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and tycoon Michael Bloomberg, who recently announced plans to develop a large-scale statewide program in New York.

The program will include a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents in the state and is expected to have 6,400 to 17,000 tracers statewide depending on the projected number of cases.

“This new training course, which we’re making available online for free, will teach contact tracers how to do this work effectively—and help cities and states across the nation undertake these critical efforts,” Bloomberg said in a release.

Across the nation, an estimated workforce of 100,000 could be required to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen the economy, according to a recent report by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

“Other communities may similarly adopt this particular course, or maybe they’ll give students a few options,” Joshua Sharfstein, Vice Dean at the Bloomberg School, said during the briefing. “Anyone in the country can now take this course and get a certificate to demonstrate that they … understand these key aspects of contact tracing.”

The contact tracing course is divided into five sections or “modules,” covering:

  1. Basic information on the virus and COVID-19, including symptoms of infection and how the virus is transmitted
  2. Fundamentals of contact tracing, such as how to define a case, identify their contacts, and calculate how long a contact should isolate;
  3. Steps involved in investigating cases and tracing their contacts, including simulated scenes performed by professional actors who illustrate potential interactions that tracers may experience with infected individuals and their contacts
  4. Ethics of contact tracing, including balancing privacy and public health considerations, and examples of basic technology tools that can facilitate contact tracings, such as using text messaging for check-ins and reminders;
  5. Skills for effective communications in the tracing process, such as what it means to be an “active listener” and how to deal with common challenges that arise when investigating cases.

The class includes simulations of contact tracing calls to give trainees a sense of the complex personal dynamics at play with the strategy, including in some cases a reluctance to self-quarantine for two weeks.


NVIDIA’s DLI, with +200K Learners, Expands Its Training by Adding Instructor-Led Virtual Workshops

IBL News | New York

NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Institute (DLI) announced this week that it has started to offer instructor-led workshops remotely via a virtual classroom.

The learning branch of NVIDIA has already trained over 200,000 developers and data scientists globally on areas such as AI, accelerated computing, and accelerated data. Over 550 certified instructors have delivered the training.

“Over the past several weeks, DLI has delivered hands-on training to nearly 800 attendees during NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference,” explained Craig Clawson, Director at NVIDIA’s DLI.

In addition to these virtual workshops, learners have access to self-paced online courses via the DLI websiteUpon completion, participants can earn a certificate of competency to support their long-term professional growth.

Robert Daigle, AI Business and Innovation Leader at Lenovo Data Center Group, said that “DLI courses are key to unlocking the power for GPUs and enabling AI workloads.”

According to the company, more than 3,000 educators at universities worldwide have leveraged specialized training resources and teaching kits, including free online DLI courses with certification assessments.

DLI’s catalog included updated versions of the following courses this month:

  • Fundamentals of Deep Learning for Multi-GPUs
  • Deep Learning for Autonomous Vehicles — Perception
  • Medical Image Classification Using the MedNIST Dataset
  • Optimization and Deployment of TensorFlow Models with TensorRT
  • Deep Learning at Scale with Horovod
  • Modeling Time Series Data with Recurrent Neural Networks in Keras

Finally, more training delivery partners–such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Numerical Algorithms Group and QA–have been added to the existing network of educational services.

NVIDIA’s DLI platform is powered by New York-based IBL Education.


SXSW EDU Announces Its On-Demand Event with Speakers from the March Event

IBL News | New York

The South by South West (SXSW Edu) organization announced yesterday the creation of a virtual event, two months later, after its show in Austin, Texas, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SXSW EDU On-Demand features virtual sessions with the speakers that were scheduled from the original face-to-face event.

“While nothing can replace the magic of us being together, we are excited to host this virtual experience for our whole community. It is our goal to celebrate the community and stay connected, albeit digitally,” said Ron Reed, Founder and Executive Producer of SXSW EDU, in an email.

The schedule, located in this web address, was plenty of virtual talks, although almost none of them included a determined date and hour.

The first session was a 70-minute discussion on the science of human motivation conducted by the bestselling author Carol Dweck, and psychology professors David Yeager, and Mary Murphy. [Watch below]

Upcoming speakers will include authors Daniel Nayeri, David Bowles, Rose Brock, and Darcie Little Badger, along with Robin Hood CEO Wes Moore and WorkingNation’s editor-in-chief Ramona Schindelheim.

No further details were provided regarding the initiative.



edX Offers a 30% Discount on Professional Certificates, MicroMasters, and MicroBachelors

IBL News | New York announced on Friday that it will offer a 30% discount on Professional Certificates, MicroMasters, and MicroBachelors program to anyone who lost their job due to the pandemic.

“We are committed to providing an opportunity for people to re-enter the workforce as quickly as possible and with a stronger skill set than before,” wrote Anant Agarwal, Co-CEO at edX, in a blog-post. “We offer an innovative suite of stackable, modular credentials that deliver meaningful career impact,” he added.

The initiative, titled Workforce Recovery Acceleration Program, is also available for corporations and governments who want to help their displaced or furloughed employees to learn in-demand work skills in fields like data analytics, computer science, business and more.

According to edX data, 87% of people who complete a MicroMasters program and 81% who complete a Professional Certificate program state that they achieve a pay raise, a promotion, or a new job.

For earning the mentioned 30% discount, the aspirant needs to complete a form and submit an application.

NY’s Governor Hires the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Reforming the School System

IBL News | New York

The New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that the State will work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a plan to “reimagine and build back our education system better, as we prepare to reopen”. 

New York’s schools –which is the country’s school biggest system, with 1.1 million children– are closed for the year, and authorities are considering what should look like when they reopen.

Bill Gates is a visionary in many ways, and his ideas and thoughts on technology and education he’s spoken about for years, but I think we now have a moment in history where we can actually incorporate and advance those ideas,” said Cuomo, a Democrat.

The Governor did not outline the scope of the state’s work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a powerful player in the education space.

Some educators criticized Cuomo’s announcement, reminding the foundation’s failed initiatives. At least three organizations – New York State Allies for Public Education, Class Size Matters, and the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy – have already written to Cuomo and state education officials opposing the partnership.

New York State United Teachers President, Andy Pallott, said in a statement, “if we want to reimagine education, let’s start with addressing the need for social workers, mental health counselors, school nurses, enriching arts courses, advanced courses and smaller class sizes in school districts across the state.”

How the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be compensated is unclear. So far, this non-profit has exercised a notable influence in pushing certain education policies, such as the so-called education reform movement, along with the Common Core and other academic standards and teacher evaluation.

Other philanthropies lobbying for education reform are the Walton Family Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Emerson Collective.

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