Welcome, 2021! – and a Round-Up of Pedagogy Sessions at this week’s AALS Annual Meeting

Dear readers, authors, commenters, and friends far and wide: Happy New Year! We look forward to another year of exciting and thought-provoking discussion with you through the Best Practices for Legal Education blog.  We begin 2021 with the AALS annual meeting, being held virtually, that you can access here.  The conference will include some fantastic […]


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Udacity raises $75M in debt, says its tech education business is profitable after enterprise pivot

Online education tools continue to see a surge of interest boosted by major changes in work and learning practices in the midst of a global health pandemic. And today, one of the early pioneers of the medium is announcing some funding as it tips into profitability on the back of a pivot to enterprise services, targeting businesses and governments who are looking to upskill workers to give them tech expertise more relevant to modern demands.
Udacity, which provides online courses and popularized the concept of “Nanodegrees” in tech-related subjects like artificial intelligence, programming, autonomous driving and cloud computing, has secured $75 million in the form of a debt facility. The funding will be used to continue investing in its platform to target more business customers.
Udacity said that part of the business is growing fast, with Q3 bookings up by 120% year-over-year and average run rates up 260% in H1 2020.
Udacity said


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Kahoot picks up $215M from SoftBank for its user-generated, gamified e-learning platform

After announcing a modest $28 million raise earlier this year, the user-generated gamified e-learning platform Kahoot today announced a much bigger round to double down on the current surge in demand for remote education.
The Norwegian startup — which has clocked 1.3 billion “participating players” in the last 12 months — has picked up $215 million from SoftBank, specifically by way of a “private placement to a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., through issuance of 43,000,000 new shares.” The placement was made at 46 Norwegian Krone per share, working out to NOK1,978 million (or $215 million), and the funding will be used for acquisitions and also to continue its expansion.
Kahoot is traded on the Merkur Market in Oslo — a stepping stone between being a fully private startup and a publicly-listed company — and today the company is trading more than 15% up on the news. At market open today, it was


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Dozens of Scientific Journals Have Vanished From the Internet, and No One Preserved Them

Eighty-four online-only, open-access (OA) journals in the sciences, and nearly 100 more in the social sciences and humanities, have disappeared from the internet over the past 2 decades as publishers stopped maintaining them, potentially depriving scholars of useful research findings, a study has found. From a report: An additional 900 journals published only online also may be at risk of vanishing because they are inactive, says a preprint posted on 3 September on the arXiv server. The number of OA journals tripled from 2009 to 2019, and on average the vanished titles operated for nearly 10 years before going dark, which “might imply that a large number … is yet to vanish,” the authors write. The study didn’t identify examples of prominent journals or articles that were lost, nor collect data on the journals’ impact factors and citation rates to the articles. About half of the journals were published by


Original URL: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/roJ8kUEoYJ4/dozens-of-scientific-journals-have-vanished-from-the-internet-and-no-one-preserved-them

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New Free Software Foundation Video Mocks Proprietary Remote-Learning Software

“Computer user freedom is a matter of justice,” argues a new video released Friday by the Free Software Foundation:

The University of Costumed Heroes is an animated video telling the story of a group of heroes falling prey to the powers of proprietary software in education. The university board acquires cutting-edge remote learning software that enables them to continue their operations online, but — [SPOILER ALERT] — it may sow the seeds of their downfall.

This video is the second in a series of animated videos created by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and this one is themed around our campaign against the use of proprietary remote education software. We must reverse the trend of forsaking young people’s freedom, which has been accelerating as corporations try to capitalize on the need to establish new remote education practices. Free software not only protects the freedoms of your child or grandchild by allowing


Original URL: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/7_nzRMHIB9s/new-free-software-foundation-video-mocks-proprietary-remote-learning-software

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Quizlet valued at $1 billion as it raises millions during a global pandemic

As millions of students and teachers shift to learn from home in response to the novel coronavirus disease, modern-day flashcard business Quizlet has raised $30 million in a Series C round led by General Atlantic.
Quizlet’s chief executive officer Matthew Glotzbach said that the new funding values the business at $1 billion, up five times from its last funding round in 2018. Quizlet’s total known financing is more than $60 million.

4 edtech CEOs peer into the industry’s future

The fresh funding comes off the heels of unprecedented usage for Quizlet, which connects students to virtual flashcards and study guides. Once a user makes a guide, they can share a unique link with friends and collaborate ahead of a test. School shutdowns due to COVID-19 have caused students to flock to the platform as they look for new ways to study, retain information and collaborate.
Students ask over 1 billion questions on Quizlet each


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GitHub launches new tools for teachers, including autograding

GitHub today announced new features for GitHub Classroom, its collection of tools for helping computer science teachers assign and evaluate coding exercises, as well as a new set of free tools for teachers.
The first of these is autograding, which does exactly what the name promises. Teachers can now add tests to their workflows that automatically test assignments and grade them accordingly. These tests then run automatically on every student repository. More importantly, though, teachers can also provide specific feedback with in-line feedback and automatic pull requests.
Autograding, of course, will save teachers quite a bit of time. At the same time, GitHub is also launching the Teacher Toolbox, a set of free tools for teachers that includes access to a number of development tools, tutorials, domain names and more. Among these free services are .TECH domain names, access to BrowserStack for on-device testing and the Termius SSH client. They also get


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Edtech startups prepare to become ‘not just a teaching tool but a necessity’

As Stanford, Princeton, Columbia and others shutter classrooms to limit the coronavirus outbreak, college educators around the country are clambering to move their classes online. 
At the same time, tech companies that enable remote learning are finding a surge in usage and signups. Zoom Video Communications, a videoconferencing company, has been crushing it in the stock market, and Duolingo, a language teaching app, has had 100% user growth in the past month in China, citing school closures as one factor. 
But Kristin Lynn Sainani, an associate professor of epidemiology and population health at Stanford, has a fair warning to those making the shift: Scrappiness has its setbacks. 
“[The transition to online] is not going to be well-planned when you’re doing it to get your class done tomorrow,” said Sainani, who has been teaching online classes since 2013. “At this point, professors are going to scramble to do the best they can.”
As the outbreak


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MasterClass founder launches Outlier, offering online courses for college credit

Aaron Rasmussen, co-founder and former creative director of MasterClass, has a new startup called Outlier.org. Like MasterClass, Outlier is bringing education online, but with a key difference — these are college classes offering real college credit.
The startup is launching a pilot version of its first two courses, Calculus I and Introduction to Psychology, for the coming fall semester. Each course is available for $400. (That covers all costs, including textbooks.)
Despite the .org name and address, Rasmussen said Outlier is very much a for-profit company, but he added, “We do want to make it clear that our goal is social impact. I believe in market solutions to problems. Coming up with a market solution to education, rather just relying on people’s charity, is far more durable.”
The problem in question is the cost of higher education. Rasmussen said that each year, 1 million students take a college-level Calculus I course in the United


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