Higher ed corruption is a global problem

educationdive | April 08, 2019

Corruption of some form — including unethical, inappropriate and even illegal practices — touches higher education in every part of the world, according to a new study from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's International Quality Group (CHEA/CIQG).CHEA/CIQG surveyed nearly 70 accreditation and quality assurance bodies (AQABs) about how they are responding to corruption (defined as intentional misconduct) in the regulatory process, teaching, student admissions and recruitment, assessment, credentials, and research and publication. Topics ranged from bribery — for example, to affect admissions, regulatory decisions or promotion —  to political interference in governance and misleading advertising.CHEA/CIQG said AQABs are working with local, national and international agencies to reduce corruption. The organization also noted the importance of working with journalists and nongovernmental organizations to bring issues to light while also acknowledging that it can be difficult for those tasked with quality assurance to "swim against the tide" when trying to eradicate corruption.

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Dictionary.com Acquires Skillo, Expanding Capabilities in Education with a Leading Learning Management System

Dictionary.com | October 19, 2021

Dictionary.com, the leading online and mobile English-language educational resource, today announced the acquisition of top-rated learning management system Skillo, an online platform that provides modern and intuitive training and coaching tools to clients. With more than 70 million monthly users and 5.5 billion word searches annually, Dictionary.com is the premier online dictionary, thesaurus, and education technology platform. The company's suite of educational products promotes learning for English language students, educators, and word lovers worldwide, providing access to millions of definitions, spellings, audio pronunciations, example sentences, and word origins as well as grammar coaching, virtual tutoring, writing activities, quizzes, and learning games. Recently ranked among the top learning management systems by SoftwareWorld, Skillo builds dynamic online training courses and provides insight with in-depth reporting tools, enabling clients to train their audiences seamlessly and effectively. By integrating Skillo with Dictionary.com, educators will be able to use, create, and share such educational materials as interactive lesson plans, activities, templates, and more for both remote and in-person learning. "I'm excited to see what Skillo can do with Dictionary.com behind us," said Andrew Colchagoff, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Skillo. "Dictionary.com's vision for superior learning experiences is perfectly aligned with Skillo's mission to provide the most intuitive platform to facilitate that learning. We look forward to building on our core capabilities as we enter this new phase." The acquisition marks the next chapter for Dictionary.com as the company broadens its offerings for current users and expands its suite of tools for education and corporate learning. Recent additions to Dictionary.com's services include its Dictionary Academy and Grammar Coach™ in addition to its wealth of educational content across the site. "Language and education are constantly evolving, and Dictionary.com is proud to lead the charge in creating the ultimate online learning experience. By leveraging the breadth of Dictionary.com's resources with the modern capabilities provided by platforms like Skillo, we will continue to create fun and engaging educational resources that grow with our customers." Jennifer Stevees-Kiss, CEO of Dictionary.com About Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com Dictionary.com is the world's leading online source for definitions, word origins, and a whole lot more. With virtual tutoring, educational word lists and flashcards, and engaging word games driven by the Dictionary Academy™, Dictionary.com opens the door to learning for millions of people. Thesaurus.com powers millions of writers every day with the world's largest and most trusted lists of synonyms and antonyms, plus expert grammar advice. Whether they're looking for the perfect word or utilizing Grammar Coach™ for help writing that essay, email, or school paper, writers trust Thesaurus.com to help them communicate.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

NTU Singapore steps into the future with Microsoft cloud-enabled Smart Campus

Microsoft | February 14, 2022

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, a research-intensive public university ranked among the world's top universities, has partnered with Microsoft to fuel innovation and transform the future of education with its cloud-enabled Smart Campus. With a digital-first strategy and the adoption of technologies such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone, NTU Singapore is set to accelerate innovation and thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. As of January 2022, NTU has successfully converted over 2,600 fixed phone numbers, to the Microsoft Teams Phone system. With the cloud-based phone system, calls become richer and more collaborative, as NTU employees can make and receive calls on their business number from all their internet-enabled devices, while using the same tool they use to chat and host video meetings. In addition to cost savings for the University, employees remain productive, as they can also seamlessly transfer their calls across multiple devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones. The cloud-based phone system was adopted in 2019, when NTU rolled out Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Teams Phone, enabling hybrid learning and remote work. At the height of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, the transformation to Microsoft 365 enabled the University to successfully shift within one week from more than 1,000 in-person lessons weekly to online learning for 30,000 students. Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Vice President for Administration at NTU Singapore said, "Innovation has always been core to the University's DNA. This digital transformation in partnership with Microsoft marks a significant milestone in our commitment to embrace a culture of innovation, promote maximum efficiency, foster sustainability and improving the lives of our students and employees through empowered learning and living experiences." Technology plays a key role in powering the 200-hectare campus, which includes a living lab of digital experiments - from running an autonomous electric bus to testing drones for Singapore's airspace. This forms part of the global university's 2025 vision in equipping its Smart Campus with cloud-first technology and agile infrastructure. As the university adapted to respond, recover and reimagine its future during the pandemic, NTU Singapore partnered with Microsoft to create and sustain an environment that fosters flexibility and innovation on and off-campus. "Fostering a culture of continuous learning in the education sector for our future is key as we keep pace with global changes that shape our education sector in Singapore. Universities like NTU Singapore are stepping in the right direction as they accelerate their digital learning ambitions, embrace change, transform our education system and ensure the readiness of our future workforce," said Lum Seow Khun, Director, Public Sector Group, Microsoft Singapore. Embracing trusted technology for quality learning and teaching experiences Before the onset of the pandemic, the institution marked its first step in cloud enablement, having embraced online collaboration and communications by adopting Microsoft 365. This foresight enabled NTU Singapore to swiftly adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic, and allowed the university to pursue uninterrupted learning and teaching experiences through virtual meetings and online lessons on Teams during the nation-wide lockdown in April 2020. The institution also recognised the importance of seamless collaboration between the faculty and students as they worked from the safety of their homes. Paving the path toward a future of education where agility is the norm, NTU Singapore's deployment of Microsoft 365 strengthens the University's future-readiness while creating student-centric learning environments. "We previously deployed Microsoft 365 to enable productivity on an intelligent and secure cloud. As it turned out, Microsoft 365 became indispensable during the COVID-19 circuit breaker season and now serves as the foundation for hybrid learning and teaching experiences that benefit both our faculty and our students." Alvin Ong, Chief Information Officer at NTU Singapore Connecting the NTU community – anytime and anywhere Microsoft Teams Phone, Microsoft's cloud-based phone system add-on for Microsoft 365, which links local landlines to Teams accounts, was another factor that enabled NTU Singapore to adapt quickly to remote teaching and learning experiences. Campus staff had the flexibility to take calls on their Teams-integrated mobile phones with the help of Teams Calling, a modern voice platform built on Microsoft Cloud, allowing them to make and receive phone calls from anywhere – including their desk and video phone, mobile phone, computer, or modern Teams displays. By eliminating the need for existing physical phone infrastructure, NTU Singapore enjoyed cost savings in equipment, maintenance, and international call costs from cross-border research center projects and the provision of online exams and classes for stranded students overseas. Aligned with NTU Singapore's 2025 vision to harness the power of digital technology to enhance learning, teaching and research, IT managers also leveraged Microsoft Teams and other integrated tools within the platform to create an asset tracking system for IT asset reviews and pre-emptive checks to be conducted more efficiently. The university is now able to allocate resources toward higher-value tasks and innovation, accelerating the institution's broader mission to be future-ready, agile and resilient. Facilitating change by empowering users With varying departments and different ways of working, NTU Singapore needed a flexible solution that could meet diverse needs from campus staff to local and foreign students. To address this, the institution opted for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone as it catered to two extreme types of users. These include tech-savvy professors who can program software and non-technical administrators who need simple tools, such as email and instant messaging. NTU Singapore also employed flight path planning, a friction-reducing strategy to help users embrace technology that could enhance their campus experiences. Transforming and shaping the future of education in Singapore Beyond Microsoft Teams Phone and Microsoft 365, the university plans to roll out its new cloud-based student management system built on Microsoft Azure, amongst other ongoing initiatives to leverage technologies like chatbots and AI. "With a partner like Microsoft, we are confident of achieving our ambitious agenda in our NTU Singapore 2025 vision," said Alvin Ong. With a successful user-empowered change management program and cloud enablement roadmap in place, the digitally connected university is well-equipped to realise its 2025 vision, leading the way in fueling innovation while shaping the future of education. About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, established jointly with Imperial College London. NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). Ranked amongst the world's top universities by QS, NTU has also been named the world's top young university for the past seven years. The University's main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore's healthcare district. Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Infosys Foundation USA Scales Online Learning Platform with Free Computer Science Modules for K-12 Educators

Infosys Foundation USA | August 18, 2021

Infosys Foundation USA, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to computer science (CS) and maker education across the U.S., announced today that it is adding four additional computer science modules for K-12 teachers to its digital learning platform, the Pathfinders Online Institute. Educators can now choose from over 30 unique courses and trainings geared to meet different skill-levels, grades and programming interests. The new offerings are meant to help ease teachers back into the classroom and STEM computer science learning loss after a year of remote and hybrid instruction. According to the 2020 State of CS Report, 28 states recently passed new laws to promote computer science education but not all mandated funding for professional development for teachers. Additionally, a recent study by the Kapor Center that surveyed over 3,500 PreK-12 CS teachers found that over a quarter of respondents felt limited by their own subject matter expertise and expressed a need for low-cost computer science professional development. The Pathfinders Online Institute addresses these challenges by providing educators with access to computer science curricula, innovative professional development and first-of-its-kind streamable K-5 lessons for educators with no computer science background at no cost. "Teachers have overcome insurmountable instructional challenges over this past pandemic year," said Kate Maloney, Executive Director, Infosys Foundation USA. "As they return to the classroom and seek to capture their students' imaginations, the Foundation is providing creative resources. This will help them bring leading edge computer science and making curricula to their classroom, so their students are equipped with the fundamental digital literacy required to succeed in a tech-driven world." Infosys Foundation USA is partnering with CS is Elementary, Raspberry Pi and BirdBrain Technologies to offer these innovative learning modules that will help educators enhance their computational fluency. The modules include: Kode5 with CS is Elementary (Grades K-5): Kode5 consists of a baseline computer science program for any school: a set of five on-demand courses that provide 20+ hours per grade of computer science education. Virtual co-teachers provide the instruction, while classroom teachersmeven those without experience, training, budget or special facilities manage and support students' experience. Programming Essentials in Scratch in partnership with Raspberry Pi (Grades 4-8): In this six-part course, educators will receive an introduction to block-based programming within the Scratch environment. Python and Robotics with the Finch Robot in partnership with BirdBrain Technologies (Grades 6-12): In this course, educators will be introduced to physical computing and learn how to use the Finch Robot across a variety of computer science concepts. The first 100 U.S. public and charter school teachers to apply will also receive one free Finch Robot 2.0. Design, Build and Code a Rover with Raspberry Pi (Grades 8-12): In this six-part course, educators will learn to build a physical project using the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller. The first 1,000 U.S. public and charter school teachers to apply will also receive a free Raspberry Pi Pico hardware kit. "The Covid education crisis showed that we can teach K-5 computer science via distance learning if we keep students continuously engaged and provide expert virtual co-teachers," said John Pearce, Executive Director, CS is Elementary. "Kode5 courses are built upon this concept, enabling scalable baseline K-5 CS instruction for any child in any school, grade, classroom, or family." "Robots are powerfully motivating CS learning tools that bring computer code to life, but they are most effectively used by teachers who are well-supported," said Tom Lauwers, Founder and CEO, BirdBrain Technologies LLC. "That is why we are so excited by this opportunity to offer educators a free course and robot with Infosys Foundation USA, to help teachers spark deep and joyful CS learning in their classrooms." "Supporting computer science and maker educators is a critical part of our work," said Matt Richardson, Executive Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation North America. "We're delighted to collaborate with Infosys Foundation USA on these free courses and to help students use newly-acquired skills in order to solve problems that matter to them." About Infosys Foundation USA Infosys Foundation USA was established in 2015 with the mission of expanding computer science and maker education to K-12 students and teachers across the United States, with a specific focus on increasing access to underrepresented communities. The Foundation achieves impact through delivering professional development programs for teachers, partnering with leading nonprofits, and delivering innovative media campaigns that inspire everyone to be creators, not just consumers, of technology.

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