Using Social Media to Support Online Teaching

Even if you haven’t been a social media maven in the past, the recent shift to online learning is pushing all of us to use social media to its fullest.  Social media can be a great resource to turn to to gather information and inspiration about online education. Here are some tips to help you use social media to support your online teaching!

Facebook groups are a great way to connect with educators and see how others have made the shift to online learning. Meeting other instructors who are enthusiastic about your subject matter can help you transition more seamlessly to online learning and see your course topic in a whole new light!  Some of these groups have covered topics as diverse as teaching studio art online, teaching theater online, and more. No matter your subject matter, you can find other educators sharing ideas on creatively switching their classes to brand new formats.

Are you tweeting yet?! If so, Twitter can be another great place to gather ideas from other educators and connect with instructors just as passionate about online learning as you are. Searching for popular online education hashtags such as #EdTech and #OnlineLearning is a useful way to find new educational technology suggestions and online learning ideas.

Lastly, you can connect to a vast repository of resources through the POD Network’s Google Group – a forum that instructional designers and online instructors use to discuss and share resources on a large variety of online learning topics. The POD Network is a great place to ask questions and collaborate with instructors who are curious about the same topics that you are!

Online Learning isn’t a challenge, it’s an opportunity! An opportunity to get innovative about your class, engage your students in new and creative ways, and forge connections with like-minded instructors across the world. Online learning reminds us that one of the most powerful aspects of online education, and the internet as a whole, is its ability to connect us – and your class can be a force in accomplishing this!

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

4 Tips for Keeping Students Engaged in Online Learning

Your class has moved online and now that you’re comfortable with technology, let’s discuss new ways to keep the course engaging for you and your students.

Here are four EASY and essential tips for making your online assignments engaging:

  1. Virtual Office Hours (Mental Health Check-ins): Since learning has shifted online rapidly, it is important to consider the mental health of you and your students. One way to stay connected and check-in is by offering virtual office hours where students can drop-in and ask questions, or just chat about what’s going on in their lives. The more supportive we all are in this challenging time, the better the outcome will be in the long-run. Use Zoom, or another web conference platform to check-in weekly with your students. Check out this blog post from Oregon State University’s ecampus about Humanizing Online Teaching for some valuable insights on adding the human experience to online.

2. Build Your Online Presence: Although this is not the beginning of the semester it is the start of a brand new learning adventure for you and your student. Take this time to continue to emphasize peer to peer connections among your students. Here are some creative discussion topic ideas:

  • One word: asking students to post one word that describes them and their life, and then write a paragraph explaining why they chose that word.
  • Keeping busy: Ask your students to write a brief schedule of how they are spending their time at home. Ask them to share reading recommendations, online workouts, family friendly crafts and activities, and any other tips for staying positive during this time.
  • Two truths and a lie: have students post three fun facts about themselves – two true and one false, and have classmates guess which statements are which.

3. Think Differently About Assessments: Flexibility is key when teaching in an online setting, and sometimes traditional assessments are not necessarily the best ways to engage students. Think about other creative ways to assess your students’ performance including through the use of multimedia tools (e.g., VoiceThread), group research projects, and recording audio submissions instead of text-based assignments. These types of activities allow students to get creative and also promote critical thinking skills, so it’s a win-win for all involved.

4. Try-out a New Tech Tool– Now is a great time for self-discovery and being open to using new tools. Google digital education tools, ask your colleagues, or reach out to your Instructional Design team for support. There are a variety of quick and easy educational technology tools you can use in the online space that are engaging and fun to use! Check out previous blog post on 7 Tips for Going Online During the Covid-19 Pandemic highlighting some of these great tools.

Have fun, stay safe, be well! 

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

7 Not-So-Common Reasons Why I Love Teaching Online

The following is a guest post by Holly Owens, Assistant Director of Instructional Design with Online Education at Touro College and University System. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

This post was originally published on the Touro College Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Blog, a blog dedicated to exploring best practices in higher education. You can find a link to it here.

Listen to “Seven Not-So-Common Reasons Why I Love Teaching Online”

Recently I was reading Aaron Johnson’s book, Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies for a Successful Semester Online, and began reflecting on all the planning and time that goes into creating an online course. I have been teaching online since 2012 and hadn’t yet thought about why I do it. Of course, I love teaching, but why do I love teaching online? Yes, sitting at home in my pajamas with a cup of hot cocoa and saving on gas are pluses, but the reality of online courses, as anyone who has built or taught one knows, is that it takes an immense amount of time and multiple iterations to develop a really “good” online course.

Here are 7 not-so-common reasons why I loving teaching online:

Reason 1: I Like to Fail- Failure is not a feeling that everyone is comfortable with – I’m certainly not most of the time – but just as in a face-to-face classroom, some of your online lessons will fail. These failures become teachable and reflective moments for you as the educator. Admit to yourself and your students that the lesson, or module, did not go as you planned and try to do better the next time. Honestly, it all works out in the end, and your students will see you as human.

Reason 2: Growth as an Educator-Online teaching has taught me a thing, or two, about who I am as an educator. It has pushed me to be a better educator in the sense that I want to create a safe, diverse, and welcoming environment for all students: a place for all of us to learn and grow without the stigma surrounding failure.

Reason 3: It is Fun-I know what you are thinking-Did she really say it’s fun, and mention earlier it takes a lot of time to plan for online? Well, yes, I did say it is fun to teach online, and I mean it. Once you get past all the stages of planning, designing, modifying, and deploying the course, you find that you and your students actually can have fun and learn at the same time (Yes, really!).

Example from my course: The use of Zoom breakout rooms has really afforded the opportunity in my online synchronous course to have students do virtual group work. I put them in breakout rooms (a feature of Zoom) and assign each group a task to tackle. They then share their findings later with the other students. The beauty of this tool is I have the ability to jump in and out of the breakout rooms and check on students, which is the same thing I would be doing if I was deploying this activity in a face-to-face course.

Reason 4: I Want to Change Perceptions About Online Learning-I am sure you have heard some of the common misconceptions about teaching online, such as “online learning is inferior to that of face-to-face instruction,” or, “students do not learn as much in an online setting as they do in a classroom.” These misconceptions come from a place of misunderstandingfor those who have never genuinely experienced learning in an online setting, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. Online teaching and learning opens up a world of endless possibilities where you can reach students from all walks of life and change their lives!

Reason 5: It Is Personable-Online students are really unique and have an extensive amount of life experience. Many choose online courses because they want to learn, and otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do so. I find that by the end of the semester, my students and I have really developed a friendly little community of trust and respect for one another. The semester eventually ends, but former students will often reach out to me to say hi, or to tell me that they landed their dream job, and as an educator this is particularly rewarding.

Reason 6: It Just Keeps Getting Better-With technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and augmented realities (AR & VR) making their way into the education world, the possibilities of what you can do in an online setting are growing exponentially. Can you imagine having students perform a mock surgery together using augmented reality and submit their work for review and critique? So many exciting things can happen in a virtual setting, especially when you support it with the use of technology.

Reason 7: Pushing My Creative Limits- Remember what I said above about liking to fail? Well, out of these failures, I have created the most engaging and creative learning experiences online. I ask myself, can technology help here? What can I do differently? How can I get my students to understand this content and apply it to their lives? Online teaching has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to create some genuinely magical modules and this is why I love teaching online.

Author’s Bio: Holly Owens is the Assistant Director of Instructional Design with Online Education at Touro College and University System. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Do Learning Management Systems Actually Improve K-12 Outcomes?

The following is a guest post by Ehsan Memari, a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Today, organizations and academic institutes require robust and strategic learning management systems (LMS) that can automate manual processes of traditional tools. Effective learning management systems can empower departments and enable business growth, as well as further educational initiatives.

Over the years, LMS has become a vital tool to achieve enterprise learning objectives. It is no wonder the LMS market will be worth $22.4 billion by 2023. Learning management systems, for instance, can be used in several formats. You can use it as a formal, experimental, or social managerial compliance training program.

Moreover, the role of eLearning to generate revenue for enterprises continues to evolve. LMS personalizes feedback to promote a self-regulating learning process. In fact, LMS has been proven to increase the effectiveness of students’ and employees’ learning outcomes.

The Evolving Role of the Learning Management System

A revolutionary change in the LMS is the contextualization of the learning process for teachers and employers. The right LMS can enable increased interaction between instructors and learners. Consequently, a collaborative virtual learning experience improves outcomes for online learners.

Adoption of LMS by K-12 Schools

It is true – the skepticism towards LMS no longer exists. And why would it? The majority of institutions have successfully implemented the systems in higher education to improve student’s learning process. Similarly, LMS is now widely used by K-12 schools. It does, however, present an opportunity for researchers to learn the standardized testing process at such a scale.

What’s interesting is that the adoption of an LMS solution goes beyond higher standardized test scores. However, this effectiveness is interconnected with the cost and nature of the system itself. For example, an education system should have a proprietary system configuration, while an open-source solution is preferable for an organization.

Accurate Analytical Data

The success of an LMS solution is no longer determined or promoted because of favorable testimonials on a company’s website. Instead, analytical data presented in a study by Royce Kimmons shows that the open-mindedness of schools and organizations have led to result-oriented computer programs. As a result, LMS adoption has been found to have a strong link with school’s test scores.

Kimmons essentially wrote a computer program to determine if a K-12 school adopted a specific LMS. This program scanned every page of the school’s website for several keywords associated with the LMS. He involved many human researchers to test the accuracy of his program, who searched a limited number of school websites. 

Unlike the human researchers, the computer program was able to identify about twice as many systems. However, after additional investigation, the human researchers successfully confirmed about 97% of the info provided by Kimmon’s program.

Overall, Kimmon discovered that the adoption of a LMS had a slight, but statistically significant, positive effect on test scores.

Responsiveness of the Solution

It is imperative to understand that the positive effects vary from system to system. Nonetheless, the statistical data shouldn’t be the sole decision-making parameter for institutions to understand the constructive cause-and-effective relationship of LMSs.

Tracking and Reporting

Primarily, LMS has been deemed more efficient when it comes to tracking and reporting features. An integrated LMS solution can determine criteria and designated time to complete the task for improving the training efforts. You can apply the same LMS reporting rules when students or employees want to revisit specific topics to gain more information.

Change of Perception

Sure, people and official authorities may cling to preconceived beliefs. But the fact remains that modern online LMS solution increases your chances of improvement and achievement. Therefore, the implementation of new technology into a school or organization wouldn’t hurt the management or the regulated policies.

Ultimately, it comes down to schools’ willingness to move forward in one direction with an open-source LMS solution to garner better results. The outcome of the LMS can have a different impact because of the graduation rates and instructional methods.

What Lies in the Future?

As of now, xAPI has become a norm for the eLearning process among academic institutes. From data personalization to tracking progress, organizations have come to realize the true usefulness of learning management systems.

It is only fair that more development should be enforced to confirm more findings. Why? To create strong LMS features within the same technological infrastructure. As more institutions will be moving to an online management solution, it is important to find out exactly which strategic methods are most effective for the management.

Whether it’s the flow of information, data security, or maintenance of the network; learning management systems can undoubtedly deliver. Similarly, the cost-benefit ratio and scalability options have worked in favor of improving the outcome. Your choice of online training software, however, should be based on whether or not it covers your business’ needs in a limited time period.

The dilemma of choosing between an open-source or cloud-based LMS solution will also shrink. Though open-source is preferable by programmers and has a long history, the focus of attention should be the added features for your business.

Conclusion

Effective eLearning solutions are ideal for organizations that tirelessly operate under certain budget constraints. Besides, there’s an extensive amount of online material businesses can use to take care of the maintenance and functionality issues.

And using learning management systems for education means you get extensive community support on forums. Think of learning management systems as a stand-alone solution that can provide free online features and courses. It’s a tool that can modify and enhance user performance for good.

Author’s Bio: Ehsan Memari is a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software for organizations to train employees’ partners and customers. Ehsan is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D, and eLearning. Follow him on Twitter @ehsanmemari

Gamification and Game-Based Learning

The following is a guest post by Mary Colbert, a content creator specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

When discussing gamification and game-based learning there is often some confusion as to how they differ. Many people use the terms interchangeably but they are not the same. However they are often linked together so it isn’t always easy to separate them.

What is Game-Based Learning?

Game-Based Learning or GBL is using a game as part of the learning process. Some examples of GBL could be using monopoly to teach the basics of money management or playing scrabble to help improve vocabulary skills. However, today when people talk about game-based learning they are usually referring to digital game-based learning. Game-based learning teaches through repetition, failure and the accomplishment of goals which is basically the way players become good at video games.

What is Gamification?

In education gamification is the introduction of game-like elements into the learning environment to help motivate students and make the process more engaging. This is accomplished by taking some of the elements that make games fun and that motivate people to keep playing and using those elements in a learning situation. Some examples of gamification include:

  • Points/Badges : The use of points and badges provides tangible evidence of accomplishment
  • Immediate Feedback: Fast response to actions that are taken rather than waiting for a paper to be graded.
  • Levels/Quests: Provide missions and goals to be accomplished
  • Leveling Up: Indication of achievement and opening up of new missions, badges and activities
  • Collaboration/Teamwork: Accomplish a goal working with others

Although gamification involves using elements from games it doesn’t necessarily include playing games.

Benefits of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Game-based learning and gamification have been around for a number of years at the elementary and high school level. More recently it has been making its way into higher education as it offers a number of benefits to students:

  • Increased engagement: One of the most touted benefits of gamification is that it increases student engagement. Studies have shown that adding game-like features in non-game context increases student engagement. Increasing engagement also leads to greater retention as students relate better to material through practice rather than just reading or listening to a lecture.
  • Instant feedback: Receiving feedback immediately through dashboards and leaderboards tends to motivate students. They can view how they perform relative to their peers, which will often motivate them to retry tests and activities to achieve a better ranking. It also provides motivation to move ahead to further lessons.
  • Collaboration/Social Connection: For some students it isn’t easy to create connections with others in their class. Gamifying classes helps promote social interaction and encourages students to work together. Team competition is an excellent way to promote student collaboration.
  • Increase enthusiasm: For some students just learning is enough to generate enthusiasm but for many that is not the case. Gamification helps to generate more enthusiasm in students through badges and other types of rewards. It makes the learning process more fun for them.

Disadvantages of Gamification and Game-Based Learning

Gamification isn’t the perfect solution to every learning situation and there are some disadvantages.

  • Shortened attention spans: In some students the fast pace and immediate feedback can shorten attention span. It can also lead to discouragement with other parts of the student’s education that don’t provide that pace and feedback.
  • All about the competition: Students can become enamored with the competitive aspects of gamification and GBL and it becomes more about winning than learning.
  • Some students won’t be motivated: There will be some students that simply aren’t motivated by the gamification of learning. They may have some misconceptions about the process that prevent them from responding well to GBL. Other students may dislike the competitive nature of some aspects of gamification.

The gamification of a class or course doesn’t ensure it will be successful. How gamification is introduced will determine the type of impact that it has.

Gamified Education Online

Gamified education courses have already been introduced with great success online. Gamification and game-based learning work especially well with online education. The following are some examples of popular eLearning sites that use gamification successfully:

  • Duolingo: Duolingo is a language learning website with over 300 million users. They teach 22 different languages and use gamification in every lesson to make learning a new language fun.
  • Khan Academy: Khan Academy is a well known educational website for match, science and other subjects that use gamification to encourage and motivate students. Each answer is immediately scored and points are given if correct. Badges are also awarded
  • TedEd: TedEd provides all types of videos that are both entertaining and educational. They also have a web app that allows users to make their own video lessons that are actionable.

There are all kinds of game-based learning tools and gamification platforms available to educators now. Without a doubt this seems to be the wave of the future in education.

 Author’s Bio: Mary Colbert is a huge fan of gaming in general. Not only is she fond of gaming as a form of entertainment, she is a firm believer in the educational benefits of playing games.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Ways Online Students Can Create a Distraction-Free Study Zone

The following is a guest post by Bailey Caldwell, a freelance journalist specializing in education. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

Studying is hard for everyone. It’s difficult to get into the groove and hit a stride and where you study makes all the difference. For online students, getting into the zone can be especially tough since they don’t have the discipline of attending class in-person or the freedom to study on campus.

If you’re an online student, you need to create a distraction-free space where you can focus, push yourself, and still relax. But don’t fret! We’re here to help.

Here are five tips to get you started.

  1. Dedicate a study space.
  2. Get rid of distractions. 
  3. Take brief breaks.
  4. Switch up your playlist.
  5. Invest in fast, reliable internet.

#1. Dedicate a Study Space

Designate a space in your home as your dedicated study zone. Instead of bouncing between your bed, kitchen, or desk, pick a single spot you reserve solely for studying. Over time, your brain will recognize that space as a place to study, and it’ll become more natural to concentrate.

To start, make your space appealing. Hang up inspirational quotes. Bring in lots of lights. Add a plant or two. Create a space that you want to be in. If your apartment is an icebox or sweltering sauna, pick up a portable heater or fan to make it more comfortable.

Even if you’re at home all day, following your routine and getting dressed in the morning will help you catch your groove easier. The act of changing your clothes and starting your day as you would typically helps wake up your brain and signal that it’s time to get moving.

#2. Get Rid of Distractions

A distraction-free study zone can help you retain more information and produce higher-quality work. The only problem? It’s especially tricky for online students since they decide their schedule.

To start, put your phone on airplane mode. Turn off your phone, unplug from social media, and go offline while you’re studying.

The flash of a new text or ping of a new notification can throw off even the best of students. Before you dive in, put your phone on airplane mode or Do Not Disturb mode. This will disable any calls, texts, or notifications and still let you use your phone as an aid while studying. 

If you’re studying at home, put down your gaming console, iPad, or any other distraction. Keep them in a separate room or stash them out of sight. If you’re heads-down in a public area like a library or coffee shop, put some headphones on and steer clear of noisy areas. Find a private room or distance yourself from the crowd.

#3. Take Brief Breaks

Once you’ve created the perfect study space, get out of it. No, seriously. Even if it’s a stroll over to the kitchen or a walk around the block, taking periodic breaks while you’re studying will help you be more productive.

But here’s the caveat: keep your breaks short. Longer breaks make you more likely to get distracted. The point of a break is to rejuvenate your mind so that you can go back into studying refreshed and refocused. Do something that takes five to fifteen minutes—take a walk, make some food, call your mom.

If you’re writing an essay, taking a break enables you to write better. Stepping away from your screen allows you to look at the piece again with fresh eyes. It also helps you establish a healthy cadence. The faster you go, the more likely you are to burn out.

#4. Switch Up Your Playlist 

Swap country music for classical music. Or acapella for ambient noises. Studies show that classical music is the best music for studying. Classical, instrumental, and ambient sounds can help people better focus, retain more information, and spark creativity.

A little Bach never hurt nobody, right?

Classical music also helps put you in a more relaxed and positive mood. So even if you’re stressed about an upcoming project or exam, classical tunes can help cool you off.

(Pro tip: If the thought of listening to Mozart’s symphony bores you, try searching for the instrumental version of the songs you like.)

#5. Invest in fast, reliable internet

A stable internet connection is paramount to success in an online course. Don’t let a buggy connection disrupt your flow (or grade). Prevent your internet from going down by investing in fast internet.

Even if you prefer to study outside your home, it’s always smart to invest in reliable internet since you never know when you’ll need it. Plus, you can’t always bank on a coffee shop or neighbor’s Wi-Fi.

It’s also smart to look at your laptop’s storage limit. Make sure your laptop has enough storage to handle everything from Science 3600 to English 101. If you’re continually saving documents or archiving lectures, you’ll need it.

Author’s Bio: Bailey is a freelance journalist whose work focuses on all things tech, cybersecurity, and internet. She enjoys researching and learning about new resources and technologies.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How to Deal with the 5 Biggest Challenges of Online Learning

The following is a guest post by Sadi Khan, a content creator. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

E-learning is a little more than a decade old but it has grown immensely in this short period. The international online learning market is expected to be worth $325 billion by the year 2025.

The reason for this rising popularity is the convenience and minimal cost associated with online learning. It allows students or professionals to take courses that easily fit with their schedules. It is flexible and easily accessible. Plus, you can access the lectures or training material anytime to refresh your memory.

What are the biggest challenges of online learning? 

With many benefits, online learning comes with a few challenges. Luckily, these challenges are not insurmountable. Let’s see how you can deal with the 5 biggest challenges.

Challenge # 1: Digital Literacy 

While attending an online lecture or listening to informative audio is a simple task, one still needs a certain degree of technical proficiency. Watching a video is quite simple, but dealing with an online learning management system requires some understanding of technology. 

One has to log in to his or her account, participate in classes (submitting an assignment or partaking in discussion boards), and communicate with the teachers. If the person does not have basic digital literacy, he or she will find it difficult to make the most of that course. 

Solution:

The instructors or institutes usually provide detailed introductions and instructions regarding the lectures and learning material used in the course. Listening and adhering to these instructions is very important.

Opt for a course that provides technical support. Most online courses come with a full range of support services, including technical support by email, live chat, and phone. One can reach out to the faculty when he or she is facing a problem. Also, a person can avoid many issues by paying careful attention to how the instructor has advised them to navigate the course.

Challenge # 2: Poor time management and procrastination: 

A survey of 1500 online students revealed that flexibility and convenience are the two biggest reasons behind student’s choice of an online course. However, this positive aspect can quickly become a drawback.

Knowing that you can go through the lectures at any time, can lead to procrastination. You might start wasting your learning time in useless click-jumping and internet browsing.

Solution: 

Learn to manage your workload with your eLearning schedule. Make a timetable or class schedule and stick to it. If you have assigned two hours to online learning, make sure you are spending them on going through the course content or assignments. If social media or internet keep distracting you, either go offline while you are studying or use tools to block these sites. Several tools are available to block certain websites during a set period.

Avoid multitasking. Online learning needs to have a dedicated time. You cannot fit it in with other tasks like meals or spending time with your family. It will result in nothing but frustration. Focus on one task and then proceed to the next one. It will not only give you a sense of fulfillment but also helps with productivity.

Challenge # 3: Monotony 

Online learning can be boring. You don’t have classmates or teacher to interact. All you have are lengthy texts and video lectures that you need to go through. Even if the online format entails interesting content like infographics, and videos, things can still get monotonous. Students might eventually lose interest and drop out. 

Solution: 

Find a course that is dynamic, interactive, and fun. Teachers and institutes are getting better at creating more interactive courses and training methods. These courses have the right amount of challenges, videos, storytelling, and simulators to keep you going.

All these things can make it easy to continue with the training. Also, choose courses that offer a certificate or an acknowledgment, so you will have a motivating reason to complete the course.

Challenge # 4: Going Sedentary

The Internet has made it possible to study, work, or shop from home but it also comes with a lot of sitting and prolonged sitting can be as dangerous as smoking. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with serious health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some types of cancer.

Online learning is convenient but it also means that a person does not have to physically go to college or training institute. This increases a person’s screen time and adds to their sedentary lifestyle, which is detrimental to both physical and mental health.

Solution:

Do not spend hours and hours in front of screens. A simple exercise or activity like running can help you offset the risks of sitting for long hours. Take regular breaks and move away from the screen every 30 minutes or so. It is also important to have a proper desk and chair and a study area. Do not sit in your bed or couch with your laptop.

Challenge # 5: Technical Problems & Glitches 

Depending on where you are located, you can face issues like internet connectivity, hardware or software requirements, browser compatibility, and so on. These situations can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming. This is the reason online learning hasn’t been used to its fullest in developing or third world countries (where it can be the most beneficial).

Solution:

Make sure that you have gone through the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or ask the training provider about system requirements. Some courses require downloading specific apps or printing out the document. You need to make sure that you will not need a specific program or hardware that you cannot arrange. Don’t be shy of asking for technical assistance when you are facing a problem.

E-learning has a lot of advantages but there are some limitations as well. However, the benefits can easily outweigh the drawbacks. All you need is a good internet connection and you can start a course or degree program that will help with career advancement.

Isn’t that what you want?  

Author’s Bio: Sadi Khan got his Banking and Finance degree through a distance learning program. He currently writes on health and fitness-related topics on RunRepeat, an athletic shoes review platform.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

5 Things Online Institutions Need to Understand About their Students [INFOGRAPHIC]

The following is a guest post by Shristi Patni, content writer and Chief Content Officer at Raletta and PR Bulls, and Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Cute Insides and Fun Travellers. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

This infographic visually explores what community colleges and online institutions need to understand about their students.
Learners/individuals seeking a blended or online education have a specific set of needs and expectations that can be best handled by a learning management system. 

This infographic was made by Navrajvir Singh, content creator at Cute Insides and Fun Travellers.

Author’s Bio: Shristi is the Chief Content Officer at Raletta (Digital Marketing Agency), and PR Bulls (Content Marketing Agency). She enjoys writing about food, fitness, finance and everything in between.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

How AI can help Students in Online Education

The following is a guest post by Pete McCain, a technology startup enthusiast associated with App Velocity. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us

There was a time when we all were highly skeptical about online education because we couldn’t fathom a computer screen replacing our classrooms and the education ideals that come with them. But now examining the impact of online education, we can clearly see how eagerly we’ve embraced the idea of e-learning. It has levelled up education in the developed parts of the world and democratized education where schools and teachers couldn’t reach.

We’ve come a long way as far as online education is concerned. However, there’s a still long road ahead with many developments to come. One of the major developments on the horizon is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most passionately debated subjects in the world of technology. For some, it’s the biggest and the most dangerous threat to our world. While for others, artificial intelligence is the beacon of hope that will bring positive fundamental changes to our daily lives. Hold your horses whichever side you’re on as we’re not going to delve into this debate (and you can understand why).

It’s predicted that almost no industry in the world will be left untouched by AI, and Education is no exception. The latest report by TechNavio forecasts the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector to grow at a CAGR of 47.77% during the period 2018-2022.

This continuous rise of Artificial Intelligence in education is going to bring a bundle of good news for students and in particular, for the students taking their education online. Let’s explore 5 different ways AI is going to improve e-learning.

1. Custom-tailored Learning for Each Student

Artificial Intelligence is primarily driven by data. It collects information about the student from various sources to gain an extensive understanding. This data could include preferences, interests, strengths & weaknesses, past courses, etc. AI, depending upon the student, could put more emphasis on subjects that a student might be struggling at.

2. Feedback to Educators

No matter how good of an educator you are or how good the educational material is, there’s always room for improvement. However, it can be difficult to gain insight into what areas need improvement. Here comes AI. Through its algorithms, it will fetch data about topics that students have not understood properly and will give this feedback to the course designers and/or educators.

For example, if most of the students give a wrong answer to a certain question, then there’s a good possibility that they haven’t understood the topic clearly. AI will dig deep into the possible reasons behind it and will provide valuable feedback that will improve the quality of education.

3. AI Tutors: The Next Big Thing in Online Education?

One of the major arguments that go against e-learning is the lack of personal touch. No matter how much you love e-learning, this argument will always go against you. And you can’t deny that there’s a degree of truth to this as well.

This argument won’t hold water for much longer as AI is set to bridge this gap with AI tutors. Students will be able to turn to a robot (a computer program) to help them understand difficult parts of the course. This is surely great news for students as it’s no secret that AI tutor helps them learn better and faster.

This sort of technology is already in its pilot mode and your tutor could be on its way sooner than expected. Excited?

4. Smart Content

AI can produce the content of your textbook. Now, read the sentence again. Read it once again if you couldn’t absorb it. Yes, the robots are going to be much-much smarter than we expect them to be and they’re not only going to teach you but will design your learning material as well. And that’s not all as they will also produce virtual content such as video lectures to help you understand better. If you’re a visual learner like me, you couldn’t get more excited, could you?

One such example of such technology is Cram101, which has AI as its driving force and produces textbooks that are easier to understand and navigate. If you’ve had a hard time understanding a textbook (and I’m sure you have), smart content could be of immense help.

5. Adding Games to Your Education

Go back to your Kindergarten days and remember how your teacher used to teach you by making you play different games. Machine learning is going to do the same. Well, sort of. Many researchers and companies are exploring the possibility of constructing tactical games for students to speed up their understanding and make the process fun at the same time. There are plenty of apps available in the market which use a gamification approach i.e. Duolingo.

Gamification is crucial in education because our current methods of learning, namely reading and listening, are very limited in serving their purpose because of our human limitations. It’s been researched that learners recall only 10% of what they hear and only 20% of what they actively listen to. This number rises to 30% if you add visual presentations but not above that. However, if students are given the job to teach themselves through a game, they recall around a whopping 90%!

If I were a student, I’d be licking my lips (well, not literally) for such games. And you know what? Many are. Almost 80% of the students responded that they’ll welcome such learning, and so would you.

Last Word

We’ve witnessed massive changes in the way we eat, shop, communicate, and many other day-to-day aspects of our lives. And now, we’re on the verge of witnessing a remarkable fundamental change that will redefine our paradigms of learning. It’s no longer the question of ifs and buts, now only one question remains and that is ‘when.’

Author’s Bio: Pete McCain is a technology startup enthusiast, associated with AppVelocity – one of the best app development companies in Toronto. He has collaborated with more than 50 entrepreneurs – over the last decade – to maximize growth and contribute to technical excellence.

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.

Online Education and Coding: 5 Websites to Learn Coding for Free

The following is a guest post by Colin Simpson, a project management professional with experience in the IT industry. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.

Coding is not for everyone!” Said no one ever in the modern world. Gone are the days when coding was considered to be only for a few nerds who could spend endless hours in front of a computer screen. Today, coding is a fundamental life skill that helps freelancers, marketers, and entrepreneurs excel at what they are doing.

Coding for yourself is empowering. It allows you to transform your idea into reality. If you are a blogger, coding can help you create an intuitive blog. If you are an entrepreneur, coding can help you with your product idea. Also, coding is one of the popular Education Trends that will Shape the 2019-2020 Academic Year.

Why should you learn to code?

You must be thinking, why learn to code when there are programmers you can hire?

Well, when you code for yourself, you can reduce your dependence on others and execute your idea exactly like it is in your head. The added cost advantage can be a cherry on the top.

For many of us, having the basic programming knowledge will mean that any developer cannot fool you into thinking that an idea is impossible to convert into a program. When you know how to code, you can work on your vision without relying on anyone else.

Why are online methods a great way to learn coding?

The internet has been a great facilitator and has changed every aspect of our life- from shopping to entertainment. Similarly, when we think of education, online learning has completely revolutionized the domain. Anyone can learn using the internet without thinking about the distance, time or language barrier.

When we think of coding, there cannot be a better way to learn coding than the internet. For the instructors too, teaching coding via the internet is really easy. They can provide real-time support and relatable examples by using technology and connectivity, without any trouble of setting up and maintaining physical infrastructure. This way, a lot of resources and time get saved and teachers can concentrate on teaching, instead of other aspects.

Many companies prefer hiring developers who have learned programming on their own or via online learning. We also prefer such candidates and it helped us to become the top app development company in San Diego.

5 Websites to Learn Coding for Free

In the age of the internet, all you need to learn coding is just a reliable internet connection and a laptop. The rest you can discover and try on your own. Here are 5 amazing resources you can use to learn coding without spending even a single penny:

1. Code.org

One of the biggest coding resources on the internet, the website offers detailed guides and tutorials on how to code.

Code.org is really popular among amateur coders and aspirants who want to learn coding. This is because of the presence of several tutorials, applications and guides that are offered by Code.org partners, making the website a large repository of learning resources. Being a non-profit initiative, code.org aims to promote the concept of code learning among school and college-going children.

One can learn how to develop games for school children, JavaScript programming and a lot of other exciting things.

Apart from self-paced tutorials, the website also conducts specific lessons in the form of lectures by famous programmers and instructors for easy learning.

2. Codeacademy

Codeacademy has been used by more than 45 million people all over the globe to learn coding. An educational company that believes in making programming more engaging, Codeacademy offers useful courses in HTML, CSS, SQL, JavaScript, C++, Python, among other courses.

One can learn several technical aspects associated with coding through self-paced courses on a wide range of programming languages.

3. MIT Open Courseware

MIT Open Courseware is ideal for someone who has already cleared the basic stages and wants to learn advanced concepts. An initiative of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Open Courseware gives you a chance to take up language-specific courses on C++, MatLab, Java and other programming languages.

One can also learn more about programming concepts and other innovative technologies using the Open Courseware website.

4. Khan Academy

Khan Academy was developed by an educator, Salman Khan in 2006 and is one of the most genuine free eLearning platforms. There are several dedicated courses and video tutorials on the platform that can help you in learning how to code, how to create webpages with HTML, CSS.

A special program on the website, ‘Hour of Code’ also teaches students more about computer science and programming.

Students can share their learnings with other students and this kind of shared learning model creates more engagement. Apart from instructor-led courses, there are several specialized courses and learning material that you can utilize to create your own extensive code learning repository.

5. Web Fundamentals

A project by Google for web developers, Web Fundamentals has a large number of free resources like tutorials, guides and walkthroughs to learn the nuances of HTML5 coding. Being an open-source platform, one can use the HTML5 code to learn several aspects of advanced coding and programming.

Recommended for someone with basic programming knowledge, this website can serve as a useful resource if you want to refine your skills, grow as a programmer and achieve bigger things with your coding knowledge.

Wrapping Up

Learning to code is no longer an expensive ordeal. The online medium is quite an affordable way to learn coding. Anyone from a school-going kid to an adult can grasp coding fundamentals and use them to his/her benefit by learning to code online. Coding can be especially a useful skill if you plan to launch your own startup or wish to make a career in the STEM industry.

As it is said, a little extra knowledge is never harmful. So, you should not shy away from donning your learning hats and start learning to code, right away!

Author’s Bio: Colin Simpson is a competent project management professional with rich experience in the IT industry. He is currently working as a project manager at BlueKite Apps. Over the years, he has worked with startups and business owners to transform their ideas into digital solutions, and that experience has helped him to start writing on various aspects of the IT industry. You can find Colin on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iamcolinsimpson/

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.