Archives for category: Online education

A look into the growing trend towards online tv channels

By Lory Martinez

YOUTUBE TV

Youtube, a site whose content varies from cat videos to educational how-to clips, will now be charging for subscriptions to some of the most exclusive channels it hosts .

This is in light of the current popularity of online streaming streaming sites such as HuluPlus and Projectfreetv.

I mean, as a college student, I might have a shared television set in my suite’s common area, but when I think about how much it’s actually used for watching TV shows, it’s kind of useless.  My suitemates and I use our TV as an external display for our laptops. I know others who use their Xboxes to stream Netflix. Even Netflix has added its own series of straight-to-online shows such as “House of Cards,” to join the growing trend toward instant web content.

It seems to be a very different world for programming these days. Gone are the days when you had to be home at exactly 8 p.m. each night to catch your favorite shows in prime-time.  Now that users can access so much of  that same content online, they don’t need their tv sets as much.

But when you can see your favorite shows and videos online, where does the revenue come from?

Enter Youtube subscriptions which allow creators of content from exclusive youtube channels of live networks like National Geographic  to expand thier audience online, at a small price.

Only time will tell if this well end up being better or worse for content creators, who could benefit or suffer from the fees to be put in place.

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Social Media Class

Social Media Class

A look into Social Media Majors and how they work.

by Lory Martinez

So you want to major in “Communications”, huh?

Well, you should know,  it’s more than just newspapers and blogs these days.

Several universities across the US are beginning to include “Social Media” in their approved course-load for students interested in communications.

I’m not sure how to feel about this.

I mean, it’s one thing to say you’re “proficient in social media platforms” on your resume; it’s another thing to actually have a degree in it.  It brings to mind an important question:

How do you even measure proficiency in “Social Media?” I always assumed that it consisted of  being active  on all major sites: Facebook, Twitter, Blogger,Tumblr, Yelp, Foursquare etc.

But there’s more to it. universities like Newberry College in North Carolina have taken “social media proficiency” to a whole new level. They’ve incorporated a variety of different programs into the BA in Social Media. According to Gizmodo.com, “The Social Media major [at Newberry] will be an original interdisciplinary program that will capitalize on the strengths of existing courses in Graphic Design, Communications, Business Administration, Psychology and Statistics. Four innovative courses, created specifically for the Social Media major, are also included in the curriculum.”

Considering the effect of social media on recent events in the mainstream media, it seems like the perfect time to revamp the journalism major. Ivy League universities already incorporate social media statistics in marketing courses for business majors. But those are summer courses, or six-week intensive seminars.

Creating a comprehensive major that includes all of the newest forms of communication seems logical.

However, how much can a student majoring in Social Media actually learn within a platform that is constantly changing? Because it’s so new, how many employers will take the major seriously? What do you guys think?

A look into education in 2013

by Lory Martinez

This is a classroom in 1950:

photo credit: “Leave it to Beaver

Students are all attention. Not an ebook in sight.

This is a classroom in 2013:

photo credit: collegiatetimes.com

Students “diligently” taking notes during a lecture course.

The second image looks familiar doesn’t it?

As a college student, I know this picture far too well. It’s a 300-person class. Lectures are posted on Blackboard. Attendance isn’t taken. The logic is, you can afford to tune out, minimize a mostly blank word doc, and log into Facebook.

But here’s the thing. The student pictured above might actually be doing homework. On Facebook.

Being “social-media savvy” is becoming increasingly valuable to businesses trying to expand their clientbases.

As a result, colleges across the country are beginning to recognize that incorporating this marketable skill in a degree might be the ‘biggest thing since sliced-bread’.

Here’s one of a few programs we will be discussing on this week’s The Media Review

Only on whrwfm.org

Tune in at 4p.m. Wednesday for an much-anticipated discussion on Online Learning.

University of Maryland to Offer Four Free Cour...

University of Maryland to Offer Four Free Courses Through Coursera (Photo credit: University of Maryland Press Releases)

A look into learning in 2013

By Alex Baer

Lenny Scaletta once famously asked, “What’s a mook?” To the fellas of Mean Streets, a “mook” is a loser or a schlub. But for many of us in 2013, “MOOCs” could be a saving grace.

What’s a “MOOC”, you ask? It stands for Massively Open Online Course, and is the newest addition to the e-learning community. In addition to providing assignments, readings, and videos, as in traditional distance education, MOOCs also offer open forums for interaction between students. Unlike online courses offered through a university, MOOCs are free, and open to anyone with Internet access.

Within the past year, MOOCs have skyrocketed in popularity. Coursera, whose founding happened just over a year ago, has over 3 million students, up from 1.7 million in November. Offering courses from over 30 universities from across the nation, including Duke, Columbia, and Princeton- Coursera’s clout grows stronger with each passing “semester”. My personal favorite is Canine Theriogenology for Dog Enthusiasts.

The SUNY system is also unveiling a new e-learning system. Dubbed “Open SUNY,” all online courses within the State University of New York system will be available to all of SUNY’s 468,000 students. Open SUNY is a drastically different system compared to its contemporaries, as it is not only built upon an existing public higher education network, it is also held to the same standards of that institution.

There are many benefits to a MOOC; as it is online, time zones and physical distances lose importance, learning happens in an informal environment, and you don’t need a degree. However, completion rates are usually incredibly low. Many courses see a sharp decline in student participation within the first week. Duke University knows this problem firsthand. In their first offered MOOC, “Bioelectricity: A Quantitative Approach,” almost 13,000 students registered. Just over half of those who registered watched at least one video, and only 346 students even attempted the final exam.

Not only do MOOCs suffer from the more frivolous types of academics, their very nature is proving to be a bit of a detriment. Although the Internet is the great equalizer of our day, making all users into potential MOOC students, it could also mask those who may not be completely ready for the level of work. As Coursera relies on students to grade one another, the grade you get from the single Mom in Portland might not be the same grade you would have gotten from that 17-year-old from Arlington.

In addition to MOOCs, there are other styles of e-learning. For instance, MIT, Harvard, Yale, and other prestigious universities have posted entire lecture series and entire courses in video lecture format on their channels, with no fee or membership needed, in everything from Boat Design to Game Theory to Robotics. Khan Academy is also a big name in the e-learning circuit, and has over 4,000 video lectures on everything from cosmology to healthcare.

The biggest drawback to MOOCs and the e-learning movement as a whole, is the lack of interaction. Services like Coursera have gone to great lengths to promote peer to peer activity, especially with respect to group discussions, but the convenience of online learning is also its Achilles heel. Despite your most valiant prayers and efforts, you can’t turn off and walk away from that Molecular Genetics lab, or your “dull-as-dishwater” Macroeconomics lecture.

MOOCs are easy come, easy go. You can sign up for as many as you please, but for the moment, your commitment is entirely up to you. This argument could also be said for traditional, brick-and-mortar post-secondary schools, but the repercussions are much heavier on that end. Free to sign up also means free to drop.

But whether you’re eagerly awaiting high school graduation, want to brush up on your organic chemistry, or just want to learn about the world around you, it’s just as easy as the click of a mouse. For an old-timer who remembers that phrase ending in “…opening up a book,” it’s a sobering reminder of the world we live in. But it is also a triumphant celebration of the drive to learn that burns within us all.