What’s Dennis Reading? 1/14/15

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The digital degree
by The Economist

Universities have passed on the ever-increasing cost of going to college on to its students, as fees for private non-profit universities in America rose by 28% from 2000 to 2012, and have continued to increase. Higher education is now being introduced to massive open online courses, digitally-delivered courses that have advantages over the traditional university. MOOCs have low startup costs and allow students to choose the time and place to access a course. The low cost of providing courses—creating a new one costs about $70,000—means they can be sold cheaply, or even given away.

Completion, Quality, and Change: The Difference E-Portfolios Make
by Bret Eynon, Laura M. Gambino and Judit Török, Peer Review

The quality agenda of higher education is focused on learning and helping students develop as complex thinkers. Findings from the Connect to Learning project have found that e-portfolio initiatives could play a key role in resolving the tension between the competing agendas of rapid graduation vs. quality of education. E-portfolios were found to build student success in terms of retention and graduation, as well as the development of reflection and deep learning.

Taking Stock of Capstones and Integrative Learning
by Jillian Kinzie, Peer Review

The culminating experience of senior capstones are widely considered to be the final opportunity for expected graduates to acquire a comprehensive understanding of their educational experience. However, Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality, found that capstone experiences are largely descriptive, and while there is some evidence that capstones foster students’ abilities to apply and integrate knowledge, outcomes-based research is limited. While the scant research on capstones shows positive outcomes for students who participate, there is more to learn about the quality of these experiences and their contribution to integrative learning.

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