Graphite – A service to connect Teachers to Educational tools
To alleviate the issue of navigating through a maze of tools and services, Common Sense Media has recently launched a service graphite.org to aggregate, categorize and review the varying content that the internet offers for teachers. What is unique about graphite is that it provides a system of rating and insights on the given content by a community made up of teachers. This opens up a wide avenue for any teacher to quickly find and access a particular app or find new content to enhance their existing classroom sessions.
The site lists content such as apps, websites and games in a neatly categorized way that will help in getting the most out of this site in the simplest way. The review for content is very precise and the information is provided in a very intuitive way. The reviews are directly written in form of their application to the classroom and are very clear in nature. One more important feature is the “field notes” section where teachers can comment on how they incorporated the content and how it was useful to them. This is a very nifty feature that will be very useful for any potential teacher scouring to find a better way to teach,
It is also interesting that this project has earned the respect and backing of Bill Gates. Yes the siteñ was created by a non-profit Common Sense Media with backing of Bill Gates and Chicago philanthropist Susan Crown.
I think that this is a very good initiative and has the great potential for any educator who wants to bring the wonder of the web to the classroom.
Saberi and co-founder Farnaz Ronaghi, both natives of Iran, started NovoEd in January 2013. The online learning platform that integrates elements of social media was originally developed as an in-house Stanford program called Venture Lab.
NovoEd was originally a Stanford operation called Venture Lab that allowed faculty to put classes online with a platform designed for team projects and collaboration. In January, Saberi took a leave of absence from the university to launch the company with co-founder Farnaz Ronaghi, who was a Ph.D student. “There was so much demand from the outside,” Saberi, a Stanford management and engineering science professor who built the platform over several weekends in 2012, told me. “We also had such rapid growth within Stanford that there was no choice but to spin out.”
The company is backed by Costanoa Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kapor Capital, Learn Capital, Maveron, Ulu Ventures and a number of angel investors. The amount of capital raised is not yet public. Previous online education startups born out of Stanford, Coursera and Udacity, raised $22 million and $21 million, respectively, when they turned their Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) into independent companies.
NovoEd aims to support collaboration among students. Co-founder and CEO Amin Saberi says that it doesn’t matter how many people are part of the lecture aspects of classes but the sweet size for collaborative groups is between 4 and 10 people. Completion rates on NovoEd have been relatively speaking high: 17% of the students who sign up complete a class (and half of those who finish the first assignment also finish the class.)
Since it debuted earlier this year, NovoEd reports that 458,600 students (in 152 countries) have taken its classes. More interesting: NovoEd says that 56,190 project teams have been formed and that they’ve created about 1,500 businesses (or at least a marketing page and pitch deck) via NovoEd.
NovoEd is also using the data generated by students’ activities to both help match them with the most suitable teammates–and most intriguingly–to improve the assessments of their work. “If you have a submission from a certain [person’s] profile, who would be the right person to match the assignments so they can give the ‘most accurate’ evaluation and feedback,” Saberi says. By “most accurate,” Saberi means an evaluation that most closely corresponds to what the professor (or say, the professor and a small number of top assistants) would be likely to give.
NovoEd offers a mixture of free and fee-based programs. (NovoEd splits any revenue with the course provider). Students can earn certificates of accomplishment.
Click Here to view the courses offered by NovoEd.
- Semi-synchronicity: Most MOOCs allow students to go through the course as a ‘semi-synchronous’ cohort of learners. That means each week the group receives the same assignment of video lectures, readings, quizzes and/or threaded discussions, but each member completes that course work on his or her own time. The design of semi-synchronous cohorts provides learners the opportunity to motivate each other as they go through the program.
- Course design: “Flipping the classroom,” or swapping classwork with homework, was first made popular by Khan Academy, and is one of the defining features of MOOCs.This way, the most of the learning happens not through a professor lecturing but by giving students access to course materials and having them study and explore them at home. Then in class, they put their new knowledge to work with role-plays, use cases, and exercises.
- Credentials: Many MOOCs offer college credit or certificates of completion, which help to legitimize and formalize the learning. At leading MOOC providerCoursera, 14 percent of courses offer verified certificates, for which registration costs between $30 and $100 depending on the course’s length and content. Seventy-five different Coursera courses offer verified certificates, through what the company calls its ‘Signature Track,’ and five of those offer college credit eligibility – they include Pre-Calculus and Algebra from UC Irvine, Calculus fromUPenn, and from Duke one class on genetics and evolution and another on bioelectricity.In the workplace, certificates function as an incentive for employees to complete optional training or skill development courses, because they’ll have something to show for all their work.
According to a survey of participants in courses on the Canvas Network,
- 76% students said they signed up because of the topic,
- 75% because it was free,
- 61% for professional development, and
- 44% because they wanted to find out what MOOCs are all about.
- It turned out that 72% of those who enrolled were themselves professional educators.
Students who enroll in massive open online courses (MOOCs) enroll mostly out of sheer interest in the topic, and when they don’t finish it’s often because life got in the way. The survey, conducted in May and June, polled 1,834 people from the Canvas Network registration database, including 696 who had just enrolled and 1,138 who had completed MOOC courses.
Although not a major motivation at time of enrollment, the study did find that credentials or college credit could increase MOOC completion rates. About two-thirds of respondents said they would be more likely to complete a MOOC that offered a certificate or transferable college credit. About 10% who didn’t complete noted lack of incentive as the main reason. Although the survey didn’t necessarily capture a representative sampling of all those who dropped out, of those who said they did not complete a MOOC, 68% said they got too busy and 20% said they lost interest. “Time is a very valuable commodity, and things do come up. When the course is electronic or virtual, it’s easier to walk away than it would be from an in-person engagement.”
The study also found that only 60% of incoming students planned to participate in MOOC discussion forums, but 72% of those who completed the course wound up engaging in online discussions. Students who were highly engaged in discussions were six times more likely to complete a course, according to the survey. Of the incoming students, 30% had taken a MOOC previously, most commonly with Coursera (81%), followed by another Canvas Network course (36%), an edX course (22%) or one from Udacity (20%). Many were building on prior higher education, meaning a four-year degree (19%), a master’s (37%) or a doctoral degree (11%).
“They tend to be lifelong learners or people who have advanced degrees already,” said Misty Frost, Instructure’s VP of marketing. “They’re people who are interested in learning — and interested in learning interesting things.” If they find that the material is not interesting, it’s easy enough for them to drop the course, she said. Perhaps that’s why the Canvas Network’s number-one course is one on “Gender Through Comic Books.” “It has that edutainment value,” Frost said. Instructure worked with Qualtrics to poll students in an effort to better understand what attracts MOOC students. The LMS provider is in the MOOC business to support its customers who want to experiment with the medium, she said.
edX, launched in Fall 2012, is a massive open online course (mooc) platform founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The two institutions have contributed $30 million each to the non-profit project. edX was developed on MITx, a similar project launched by MIT in 2011.
The idea was to offer online university-level courses in a wide range of disciplines to a worldwide audience at no charge. The “learning platform” has been developed as open-source software and made available to other institutions of higher learning that want to make similar offerings. EdX was open sourced on June 1, 2013. There are plans to allow other schools to offer courses on the edX website also. Certificates of successful completion are offered at no cost but not course credit Neither MIT nor Harvard students may take the online courses for credit; they will be used to enrich their learning experience. In addition to educational offerings the project will be used to research learning and distance education.
Seven courses were launched in the initial offering in fall 2012. The design of a viable business model for sustainability of the enterprise is in progress. Now edX offers interactive online classes in subjects including law, history, science, engineering, business, social sciences, computer science, public health, and artificial intelligence (AI).