Textbook Dollars, Peer Assessment & More in This Week’s EdTech Report

Textbook Dollars, Peer Assessment & More in This Weeks EdTech Report

Each week, Boundless keeps up with the biggest edtech news and brings you the highlights.

How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up
via US News and World Report

Spending $200 on a textbook at the college bookstore is not exactly a student’s idea of a good time. Once the book is paid for though, where do the dollars go? According to data from the National Association of College Bookstores:

  1. 77.4 cents of every dollar goes back to the publisher
  2. 21.6 cents of every dollar goes to the bookstore for personnel costs and operation

It’s no wonder students are turning to creative textbook alternatives and replacements.

Calculating a Degree’s Value 
via Inside Higher Ed

Can you actually track what a college degree is worth? The National Technical Institute for the Deaf has worked with the Social Security Administration to develop a data set on 14,000 students who have applied to NTID since 1968. The data allows the teams to analyze students who graduated, those admitted who didn’t attend, those who dropped out, and even those who weren’t admitted.

Only the Social Security Administration has access to the information about specific students, but data is intriguing. According to Inside Higher Ed, the findings show:

Once their careers were established, graduates of the institute earned significantly more more than non-graduates. Graduates were also far less likely to rely on Social Security programs for the disabled, suggesting a high degree of economic independence.

4 Lessons from the First Semester of the Flipped Classroom
via EdCetera

Still debating flipping your classroom? Learn from chemistry instructor Alan Earhart’s first year experience. Earhart says he was hesitant at first, but wanted to try something new to help his students. He has four important lessons for educators to take away. Our favorite? “Give students a carrot.” This way, you’ll give them homework goals with readings, videos, or podcasts that count as part of their class credit.

The Problems with Coursera’s Peer Assessment 
via Hack Education

There’s been a lot of chatter about Coursera’s assessment model recently—and several accusations of students cheating in class.  Edtech blogger Audrey Watters gives an in-depth account of her feelings on peer assessment. Some of the problems Coursera students are encountering include:

  1. Variability of feedback: In classes with hundreds of participants, differences in grading styles are likely to exist.
  2. Anonymity of feedback: No one knows who is assessing their work or whose work they’re assessing. Anonymity is good—until you want clarification on your grade.
  3. Lack of community: If the “peers” in peer assessment aren’t really peers in any traditional sense, how to they form a community?

The Siege of Academe
via Washington Monthly

In Silicon Valley, the tide is shifting as disruptive technologies attempt to breach the walls of higher education. From a new elite university to electronic textbooks to professional credentials, an army of edtech plays are marching forward in the fight to change higher ed as we know it. Warning: Be sure to dedicate enough to this piece; it’s a long report but worth the time if you have it.

Think we’re missing any important news? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo by Flickr user werwin15

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