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Harvard's online business school would like a word

Institutions of higher learning were forced to rush their courses online this year, in some cases jamming curriculums that had been honed over decades in the classroom into a remote-learning format. Recognizing a demand for guidance on how to run online courses that are effective and engaging for students, Sue Crowley, the senior director of program services at Harvard Business School Online, last week detailed the best practices gleaned by her university from six years of practice. Check out her top tips for top-tier online content.

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With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

U. Houston partners with Microsoft on workforce

The University of Houston had partnered with Microsoft in a new initiative that will train students and professionals across Texas in digital and technical skills to create new economic opportunity. he Microsoft Accelerate program, launched in collaboration with the University of Houston College of Technology, as well as several other education organizations, including the Texas Education Agency, Dallas Independent School District and the nonprofit National Math and Science Initiative, will develop several training programs to address STEM engagement for K-12 students, professional development for educators, workforce development for high school and college students, as well as working professionals looking to enhance their business and technical skills. Betsy Foresman has more.

Universities have some work to do on data privacy

Universities’ pandemic response plans have increased the amount of personal data collected on students and increased institutions’ need for a cohesive and transparent data privacy strategy, data privacy experts said during Educause’s conference last week. And while using data to ensure the health and academic success of students has become important to guide institutions through the challenges of the pandemic, institutions also have a responsibility to communicate with students on how data is being used for their benefit and to establish trust between the institution and students that data privacy is being maintained, Sean Burns, a researcher at Educause said during the online event. “Privacy is kind of all over the place in higher education,” Burns said. “There are a lot of different ways that institutions are approaching it.” Betsy has more details.

A case study in university analytics

IT and institutional research teams at the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed a data analytics platform last year, just in time to support urgent planning efforts that arose as the pandemic began spreading last March. In a session during Educause’s online conference last week, university leaders explained the evolution of the project, which included a major strategy shift, and how the data platform has come to play a major role in how administrators make decisions across a wide range of university functions. “That locked in [institutional research] data was no longer locked in,” said Barb Chalfonte, executive director of strategic analytics at Amherst’s institutional research office. “People had good ways to get in and start working with it and answering their own questions." Colin Wood has the story.

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