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Analytics for student learning during pandemic

The University of Wisconsin, Madison implemented data analytics tools to ensure students are learning from their classes, which has become especially important to assess student engagement in online learning during the pandemic, UW’s student learning team said in an event last week. The university’s Direct Evidence of Student Learning initiative allows instructors better understand how students are doing in their classes, according to the university. And having real-time data on student performance allows instructors to take immediate action to help students who are struggling in class at a time when many universities are concerned over student engagement with online learning during the pandemic, according to institutional surveys. “Faculty need to know that students are learning,” said the university's Saundra Solum. Betsy Foresman has the story.

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Google invests in digital skills at HBCUs

In its latest move to promote racial equity, Google has announced it’s investing $1 million in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to develop digital-skills workshops at historically Black colleges and universities. The nonprofit group, which provides scholarships and job readiness training to students at HBCUs around the country, will help Google design a digital-skills program with the goal of reaching 20,000 students by next fall. Called the “Grow with Google HBCU Career Readiness Program,” training will include subjects like design thinking, project management and brand building — but also soft skills, like communication and running effective meetings. “Whether you’re going to Ohio State or you’re going to Spelman, the reality is workforce skills aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom,” said Andrea Horton, chief programs officer at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Colin Wood reports.

Self-swabbing COVID-19 kiosks pop up

Texas A&M University has set up walk-up coronavirus testing kiosks to increase the accessibility of COVID-19 testing and to improve data collection, which will be used to inform the university’s outbreak prevention strategy, the university announced last week. The three outdoor walk-up testing locations, created by the coronavirus testing company Curative, are to help the university’s COVID-19 testing program better identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The kiosks will be available to Texas A&M’s more than 64,000 students and approximately 10,000 faculty and staff currently on campus. “If you want to control a pandemic, you really have to have an aggressive testing program, and you need to be able to test everybody,” said Angela Clendenin, an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Betsy has more.

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