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emPower eLearning: September 2010

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Healthcare workforce training receives $130M boost

WASHINGTON – The federal government will give the healthcare workforce $130.8 million in grants, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday. The awards include $50.5 million for state-of-the-art training equipment and technology, such as e-learning tools, video, audio and interactive learning systems and simulators.

Six areas are targeted: primary care workforce training, oral health workforce training, equipment to enhance training across the health professions, loan repayments for health professionals, health careers opportunity programs for disadvantaged students, and patient navigator outreach and chronic disease prevention in health disparity populations.

The grants include $88.7 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"An adequate healthcare workforce is the linchpin for reforming our healthcare system to ensure greater access, improve the quality of healthcare and cut overall costs in the long term," said Sebelius. "Today's awards not only will provide more training opportunities for people interested in a health professions career, but also will support equipment purchases and faculty development to expand and enhance the quality of training."

"With an aging and increasingly diverse population, we need to prepare our health professionals to meet the challenges of providing healthcare in the 21st century," said Mary K. Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which oversees the programs. "This includes ensuring diversity in the workforce, and that well-trained professionals practice in areas of severe need."

Expanding the Primary Care Workforce

Training Programs in Primary Care - $42.1 million ($31.5 million Recovery Act)
Grants will support family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics programs, including curriculum development, faculty development, didactic and community-based education, and training in underserved areas for primary care residents, pre-doctoral students, interdisciplinary and inter-professional graduate students, and physician assistant students.

Oral Health - $23.9 million ($6.7 million Recovery Act)
Funding will target workforce development programs for pre- and post-doctoral training for dental residents; dental faculty; loan repayment for faculty who teach primary care dentistry; and training for practicing dentists, or other approved dental trainees in general, pediatric, and public health dentistry and dental hygiene programs. Funding also includes $4.3 million to states to provide nine new grantees the opportunity to address their states' unique oral health workforce needs in underserved urban and rural areas. Grants are designed to strengthen the delivery of multidisciplinary comprehensive oral health care, integral to quality primary care.

Equipment for State-of-the-Art Learning

Equipment to Enhance Training for Health Professionals - $50.5 million (Recovery Act)
Funding from the Recovery Act will provide 208 awards to assist with purchasing equipment for training current and future health professionals across disciplines at the undergraduate, graduate, and post- graduate education levels. Awardees include academic health centers, area health education centers, centers of excellence, and other educational institutions that serve underserved and uninsured patient populations, rural communities, and minorities. Equipment purchases will expand current training capabilities by replacing outdated equipment and technology or purchasing equipment that previously was unaffordable.

Types of equipment to be purchased include e-learning tools such as video, audio and interactive learning systems that provide more distance learning opportunities; human patient simulators that give students the opportunity to improve clinical judgment and critical thinking; and mobile dental vans that provide training in delivering care to diverse segments of the population while bringing basic routine dental treatments to families unable to access care. It is estimated that more than 200,000 individuals will be trained, including health professions students, faculty and clinical practice providers.

Priming the Workforce Pipeline

Loan Repayment ($8.3 million)
Twenty-nine grants will be made to states that provide matching funds to assist health professionals in repaying their educational loans. In return, these individuals agree to provide full-time primary health services in federal health professional shortage areas for a minimum of two years. Health professionals eligible to receive funding include physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, psychologists, and social workers.

Health Careers Opportunity Program ($2.1 million)
Three grantees will receive funding to increase diversity in the health professions by developing an educational pipeline to enhance the academic performance of economically and educationally disadvantaged students, and prepare them for careers in the health professions. Eligible applicants included schools of medicine, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, allied health, and graduate programs in behavioral or mental health.

Patient Navigator ($3.8 million)
Funding will support 10 grants for patient navigator outreach and chronic disease prevention programs, typically supported by healthcare information technology, to develop and operate patient navigator services that improve healthcare outcomes for individuals with cancer or other chronic diseases, with specific emphasis on health disparity populations.

Grant recipients recruit, train, and employ patient navigators with direct knowledge of the communities they serve to coordinate care for patients with chronic illnesses. Eligible applicants include federally qualified health centers, health facilities operated through Indian Health Service contracts, hospitals, rural health clinics, and academic health centers.

State Total Grant Money Received
Ala. $2,807,339.00
Alaska $297,853.00
Ariz. $1,616,507.00
Ark. $1,233,954.00
Calif. $10,627,821.00
Colo. $1,055,432.00
Conn. $5,241,685.00
D.C. $2,333,422.00
Del. $100,000.00
Fla. $12,138,535.00
Ga. $2,600,413.00
Hawaii $1,250,907.00
Ill. $2,820,987.00
Ind. $1,369,056.00
Iowa $679,533.00
Kan. $2,233,602.00
Ky. $1,551,892.00
La. $2,005,253.00
Maine $822,796.00
Mass. $8,831,492.00
Md. $1,055,117.00
Mich. $1,902,808.00
Minn. $1,812,553.00
Miss. $404,492.00
Mo. $1,783,648.00
Mont. $843,591.00
N.C. $2,497,221.00
N.D. $509,880.00
N.H. $818,838.00
N.J. $1,024,894.00
N.M. $200,000.00
N.Y. $12,764,196.00
Neb. $999,676.00
Nev. $253,326.00
Ohio $4,569,323.00
Okla. $1,332,133.00
Ore. $656,185.00
P.R. $1,413,079.00
Pa. $8,600,981.00
R.I. $1,088,300.00
S.C. $2,927,888.00
S.D. $78,500.00
Tenn. $2,287,031.00
Texas $9,821,835.00
Utah $877,207.00
Va. $2,763,721.00
W.V. $1,338,740.00
Wash. $1,867,894.00
Wis. $2,400,331.00
Wyo. $298,950.00
Total $130,810,817.00

Source: healthcareitnews.com

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

How to Cut College Costs

Today i get one mail How to Cut College Costs and its really interesting info by Lynn O'Shaughnessy Writer, The College Solution, CBS moneywatch.com








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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quality in E-Learning

I had the pleasure of participating in a small symposium on quality in e-learning last week, organized by Athabasca University and the International Council for Distance Education. One of the things that bothers me about the quality issue is that only seems to reach the top of the agenda when e-learning is involved. The discussion seems to always start from the premise that the quality of e-learning is inherently suspect and we need to ensure it meets the same standard as our face-to-face instruction. In fact, there are no system-wide quality standards for teaching and learning in higher education and most higher education institutions rely almost entirely on student satisfaction and graduation rates as their measures of education quality.

Nonetheless, perception is often more powerful than reality and, according to Frits Pannekoek, President of Athabasca University, distance education and online learning is facing increasing restrictions around the world and its quality is being increasingly questioned. With this in mind, the 13 participants spent a day and a half exploring what the quality issues are, real or perceived, and what the key dimensions of quality should be. We used the Quality On the Line framework as a starting point. Although this was developed on 2000, we found the key categories still relevant:
  • Institutional Support
  • Course Development
  • Teaching/Learning
  • Course Structure
  • Student Support
  • Faculty Support
  • Evaluation & Assessment.
Trying to specify the actual benchmarks in each category proved to be much more difficult. At BCIT we have developed our own framework that took into account the Quality On the Line document as well as as several others. Ours is more course-specific, has more specific categories, and doesn't address institutional factors. The categories are:
  • Course Overview & Introduction
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Assessment
  • Course Materials
  • Learner Engagement
  • Educational Technology
  • Course Resources
  • Learner Support Resources
Coming back to my opening point, what strikes me about both these frameworks, and the quality in e-learning discussion more generally, is that most of the issues are also directly applicable to all teaching and learning. So if we are going to focus on quality and invest time and effort in developing standards, let's make sure they are not just applied to e-learning.

Here are some additional resources. Paul Bacsich, formerly of the UK Open Universityprovided these links to different quality frameworks:
Torstein Rekkedal from NKI Norway (one of Europe's largest online distance education institutions) provided these references:
  • Rekkedal, T. (2006): Distance Learning and E-Learning Quality for SMEs - State of the Art. In: Paulsen, M. & Vieira, V. (eds.): An Analysis of E-Learning Experiences in European Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, pp. 11-18. Bekkestua, NKI.
  • Rekkedal, T. (2006): State of the Art Report on Distance Learning and E-learning Quality for SMEs. 27 pages. Paper prepared for the EU Leonardo project, E-learning Quality for SMEs: Guidance and Counselling, May 2006.http://nettskolen.nki.no/in_english/elq-sme/ELQ-SMEStateofArt.pdf
  • Rekkedal, T. (2002): Quality Assurance in Norwegian Distance Education - the Background for NADE's Quality Standards with Reference to some European Initiatives. In: Hansson, H. (ed.): Eight Contributions on Quality and Flexible Learning. Report 1:2002, pp 27-53.Härnösand, Swedish Agency for Distance Education.http://nettskolen.nki.no/forskning/DISTUMQualityAssurance.pdf
  • Rekkedal, T. (1998): Quality Assessment and Evaluation - Basic Philosophies, Concepts and Practices at NKI, Norway: In: Rathore, H. & Schuemer, R. (eds): Evaluation Concepts and Practice in Selected Distance Education Institutions, pp. 39-65. ZIFF Papiere 108, Hagen: FernUniversität, 1998. http://www.fernuni-hagen.de/ZIFF/ZP_108.pdf
  • Rekkedal, T. (1996): Quality of Education Produced and Delivered by Different Institutions.In: Helsinki University of Technology: Open and Distance Learning - Enhancing Mobility in Europe, the Future with Socrates, pp B1-B9. Espoo: European Commission/Helsinki University of Technology. http://www.nettskolen.nki.no/forskning/30/quality.htm
  • Ljoså, E. & Rekkedal, T. (1994): From External Control to Internal Quality Assurance: The Background for the development of NADE's Quality Standards for Distance Education. In: EDEN: Human Resources, Human Potential and Human Development: the Role of Distance Education. Proceedings 1994 EDEN Conference, pp 153-166. Tallin: EDEN.http://www.nettskolen.nki.no/forskning/17/tallinn.htm
  • NADE - Norwegian Association for Distance Education (1993): Quality Standards. Oslo: NADE. http://www.nettskolen.nki.no/forskning/18/kvalen1.htm
  • http://www.bcitltc.com/2010/09/quality-in-e-learning.html

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Report: E-Readers, LMS Driving Growth in Higher Ed Mobile Learning

Although it's still a small segment of the overall ed tech market in the United States, mobile learning is growing in colleges and universities. According to new data released by market research firm Ambient Insightthis week, that growth is projected to be in the double digits in terms of dollar expenditures through 2014, driven by e-readers and mobile versions of learning management systems.

Excluding traditional computers (laptops, netbooks), the market for mobile learning technologies in the United States was $632.2 in 2009 across all sectors. That gave the United States the lead in mobile educational technology adoption for the first time, surpassing Japan, South Korea, and the UK, according to the new report, "The US Market for Mobile Learning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis." And that figure will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3 percent until it reaches $1.46 billion in 2014.

In overall mobile learning market size, academic institutions are lagging behind healthcare and behind private consumers, who are the most rapid adopters, particularly during economic downturns.

"The current US Mobile Learning market is being driven by consumers and healthcare buyers, who increased spending on mobile learning even at the height of the recession," the report indicated. "Consumers always gravitate to education and training during recessions. There is currently a boom in demand for secondary, career, and vocational education in the US. It is not surprising that a great deal of the Mobile Learning content across the app stores pertains to topics taught in secondary institutions."

Ambient Insight projected that the CAGR for mobile learning technologies in higher ed--again, discounting traditional computing devices like laptops and netbooks--would be 11.7 percent over five years, from a modest $96.87 million in 2009 to a still-modest $164.7 million in 2014, when it will represent about 11.2 percent of the overall domestic market. That's more than a three-and-a-half point a decline from its 2009 share of about 15.3 percent. The growth in higher ed is also slower than the predicted compound annual growth rate in K-12 of 15.1 percent through 2014, though the overall volume in higher ed is still higher. (K-12 spending on mobile learning technologies will increase from $70.9 million in 2009 to $143.3 million in 2014.)

Some of the inhibitors for the growth of commercial mobile learning technologies in higher ed, according to the report, include free content oniTunes U and the development of free, home-grown mobile learning platforms at both individual schools and large education networks, such asAbilene Christian University, Boston University School of Management,Bridgepoint Education, Career Education Corp., and Walden University(part of Laureate International Universities Network).

But what's driving the growth, according to the forecasters, are learning management systems and electronic readers.

"A major catalyst in this segment is the emergence of native platforms designed for the higher education market," the report said. "For example, the products from Inkling, Emantras, Irynsoft, Blackboard, Multiply IT, andStreaMe are being marketed heavily to the academic buyers, particularly the higher education buyers."
The report cited Blackboard's mobile learning platform, Mobile Learn, as "the most significant product, in terms of a market catalyst."

However, players in open source are also helping to drive growth, according to the forecast. "The integration of mobile technology into popular open source platforms is also acting as a catalyst in the higher education segment. In July 2010, Moodlerooms and DubMeNowannounced a new platform called joule Mobile, 'an application that will extend the online classroom and deliver on-the-go access to joule, Moodlerooms’ enterprise learning management platform.' The platform is middleware supporting multiple mobile platforms, including Apple iPhone, RIM Blackberry, Android, Symbian, and Windows Mobile."

New tablet and e-reader device suppliers, including enTourage, Kno, andMobifusion, are also driving growth, Ambient Insight said.

One other--and as yet somewhat unknown--factor that could cause some disruption is Apple's iPad, along with the rest of the company's iOS devices.

Sam S. Adkins, Ambient Insight's chief research officer, told us that while it's too soon to say what kind of impact the iPad will have, "We are tracking it closely and will be able to plot market trends in a few quarters. I will tell you that 'the game is afoot,' and there is a growing onslaught on the college book store cartel. If you look at products like Inkling, which are essentially app stores that aggregate major educational publisher content, then you can see the new 'experiment' in selling direct to students/teachers. Cengage and CourseSmart already do that."

He further explained: "As you know, CourseSmart is a joint venture among leading educational publishers including Pearson, Cengage Learning,McGraw-Hill Education, Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group(Macmillan), and John Wiley & Sons. In the last year, they have completely overhauled their retail site as a Web store selling mobile learning directly to students. The iPhone/iPad viewer apps are free in the Apple App Store, but the fee-based mobile content is Web-based. They are bypassing the Apple App Store and the college book stores. ... [A]gain, it is too soon to tell, but this looks like an end run around the college bookstore ecosystem."

Ambient Insight's "The US Market for Mobile Learning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis" is available now. Further information, including an executive summary, can be found here.

Source: campustechnology.com

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