"It used to be difficult to gauge students' prior knowledge," according to biology professor Peter Coppinger, who teaches at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. "But now, I can ask a question pertaining to the day's lecture material, get a response, and--right there--I can assess whether to slow down and cover [something] in great detail, or do a cursory overview and go on."
Scantron has released an update to Class Climate, its course evaluation system designed for higher education. The new version sports new customization options, tracking, and batch management capabilities, among other new features.
Moodle has released an update to its open source learning management system. Moodle 1.9.5 adds a number of gradebook improvements, new administration features, and several security enhancements. Moodle has also released an update to the 1.8 branch, version 1.8.9, which includes several fixes and security improvements.
Ed tech developer SoftChalk has released SoftChalk V5, an update to the company's authoring suite for instructional content.
ePortfolios today are largely institutional reporting tools--assessment management applications. A new professional organization, called AAEEBL, aims to address two additional areas with ePortfolios.
Dominican University of California has increased response rates for its course evaluations by implementing Scantron's Class Climate course evaluation software as a Blackboard Building Block.
The University of Michigan will soon make a new interactive classroom response system available to faculty--one that was developed in house and uses laptops in place of classroom clickers.
Desire2Learn has released new versions of its Learning Environment, Learning Repository, and ePortfolio software, as well as Desire2Learn 2GO, a new mobile application for Blackberry.
Following an 18-month evaluation of classroom response systems, Loyola University Chicago has begun using iclickers to increase student participation in classes.
Recently, some universities have decided to end their laptop programs for students because of the economic challenges facing those institutions. But what has been the effect on students? There's no clear or consistent answer.