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California Bill = Path Around Curricular Bottlenecks Through 3rd-Party Online Providers
As numerous mainstream and higher education media outlets have reported--for two, see the New York Times and Inside Higher Education--the California state senate president is poised to introduce a bill that would provide students with a pathway around curricular bottlenecks--introductory courses that they have to have to fulfill degree requirements, but for which they face long wait times to take due to limited capacity. This problem has been particularly severe in California as several years of state budget cuts have reduced institutional capacity to deliver must-have general education courses at the same time as demand for higher education has grown in the face of a difficult economic climate.
NFB Proposes Bill on Accessibility Standards for Digital Instructional Materials
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has released a fact sheet for proposed national legislation to enact a key recommendation of the Postsecondary Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Commission report released over a year ago. (For more on the AIM Commission, please see the end of this post.) NFB’s legislative proposal would have Congress direct the U.S.
UC Irvine Open Chemistry Initiative
Just in time for Open Education Week, Inside Higher Education reports the University of California, Irvine, (an Open Courseware Consortium member) has made the full course curriculum for an undergradate chemistry major, including video lectures, available online via its OpenChem initiative. As UCI describes it: "The selected courses include all required lecture courses that a UCI undergraduate needs for the Chemistry major.
Open Education Week, March 11-15, 2013
The second annual Open Education week will take place March 11-15, 2013.
Open Education Week is a five-day celebration of the global Open Education Movement, featuring online and local events around the world, video showcases of open education projects, and information. Its purpose is to raise awareness of both the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.
Sequester Impacts: Army, Marines Suspend Tuition Assistance
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) recently reported about another impact of the across-the-board automatic federal budget cuts known as the “sequester" that is likely to be of significant Interest to many EDUCAUSE member institutions. AASCU has learned that the Army and Marine Corps “have suspended active duty tuition assistance programs indefinitely as a result of sequestration.” (It is not yet known whether the Air Force and Navy will follow suit.) On the positive side, this suspension only impacts new tuition assistance awards; existing or already approved awards are not affected.
Latest State Authorization News from WCET
Friend of the blog, Russ Poulin of the WlCHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), recently posted a new blog entry on current and pending developments in state authorization reciprocity. Chief among them are the following:
ACE Concerned by Wyden-Rubio "Student Right to Know Before You Go Act"
Roughly a year ago, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced Senate Bill 2098, "The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act," which quickly gained Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as a co-sponsor. I posted an extensive review of the bill at that time, but the introductory paragraph from that post, which I've included at the end of this piece, covers the basics. Essentially, the bill would greatly increase the role of state longitudinal data systems (SLDSs) in higher education data collection and reporting, with the explicit goal of providing to the public employment and income data on recent graduates by not just institution, but by specific majors and programs within institutions.
E-Text Platform Provider's Accessibility Announcement
Last week, Courseload, an e-text platform provider that has consistently participated in the EDUCAUSE/Internet2 E-Text Pilot Series, announced that it had achieved major progress in making its platform's collaboration functions (e.g., peer and faculty highlighting and annotation) accessible in line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the technology accessibility guidelines established for federal agencies under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The E-Learning Policy Environment (Updated 02/14/13)
I presented a session entitled "The E-Learning Policy Environment" this January at the EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference (MARC) and just last week at the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) 2013 Annual Meeting. In the presentation, I review the factors I see as major drivers of the increased policy and regulatory focus on e-learning over the last few years, the key impacts and community responses to that increase in policy and regulatory activity, and some of the issues likely to rise in importance in this policy space in the near term. The slides from those sessions, which vary slightly due to some updates I made for the ELI conference, are available (under the session "Resources" tab) at:
Distance Ed Regulation Commissionâ€™s Work Continues
As highlighted before the holidays, in both a blog post and an EDUCAUSE Live! online presentation, the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, chartered by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), has been actively exploring the potential of a state authorization reciprocity agreement (SARA) model for right-sizing the burden of state regulation on online learning programs. The Commission will hold its final face-to-face meeting on Monday, January 14, in Washington, DC, to review and discuss a draft set of recommendations.