The race to define data science as an undergraduate course

Since the acceptance of the Internet as a reliable source of information, much hype has surrounded distance education and getting online degrees. Proving to be cost effective, distance education is a popular choice among recession-stricken undergrads as it prevents them from drowning in student debt. The opening of a new platform has forced schools to look at the current demand for courses and find ways to match. One unexpected development is that students are moving away from the traditional choices of going to college to study business, medicine, or law, and making careers out of what they know best: the Internet.

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In a similar field to statistics and actuarial science, data science is the analysis of information that modern technology creates. This refers to a range of things including consumer behavior, software demand, and decision making based on statistics gathered in the digital realm. An already lucrative opportunity, teaching the future generations to obtain and interpret data science is likely the education sector’s “next big thing.”

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While, so far, only a small number of colleges offer data science degrees, the program is gaining the attention of the bigger schools. The list already sees Ivy League and equally high-ranking universities creating data science programs at the undergraduate level. The highly regarded Columbia University will go a step further and offer new graduate and certificate programs that are heavy on data.

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As a leader who encourages alternative education, Frank Biden would advocate the expansion of school curriculum to include training for a growing business sector. Read more discussions on America’s education system by visiting this Facebook page.

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Students and campus safety

Multiple incidents of campus violence have long eroded the idyllic notion of the school being as secure as a second home. In response, the U.S. Department of Education met with several student representatives from various schools in the country to speak about steps to ensure community and campus security.

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Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Red Lake High School, and Sandy Hook Elementary School—what do these four educational institutions have in common? They experienced violent attacks that left a considerable number of students and faculty dead or injured. The shooters were mostly young people and in some instances were students from the school. Additionally, they almost always killed themselves after their rampage.

School violence statistics are alarming. While steps have been taken before to mitigate, if not obliterate, the possibility of them occurring again, incidents continue every year. This March, students representing various coalitions against violence conversed with Arne Duncan, ED Secretary, and David Esquith, director of the Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS), to put forward their recommendations for school security.

The students agreed that prevention is the best solution. As Yuki Diaz, a youth organizer of Padres y Jovenes Unidos, put it, school administrators should “promote positive measures such as positive behavior intervention and restorative justice.” The body recognized the importance of guidance counselors, social workers, and psychologists in strengthening the stand against campus violence.

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The damage has been done, and there is no way to undo it. The lives lost cannot be brought back, and while injuries can heal, the memories of these tragedies will remain. There is however, a way to stop acts of violence from happening again and to spare future generations from the experience. With enough effort and the right actions, it is possible to eradicate campus violence once and for all.

Frank Biden promotes effective and secure education for the youth. Visit this Twitter page for more updates about him.

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Is there a biological indicator for learning disabilities?

Mind                                            Image source: goodlearners.net

Learning disabilities are largely misunderstood conditions. Because symptoms are scattered on a range and appear similar to signs of misbehavior, it is commonly thought that a “learning disability” is simply a medical label for a lazy or disobedient child. Diagnoses, too, are inconsistent, with some physicians prescribing high doses of daily tablets and claiming a change of diet and sleeping patterns will resolve the disorder. Still, one common question research tries to answer is whether learning disabilities can be diagnosed not by how a child performs in a series of tests, but simply by screening a blood sample.

learning-disorder                                            Image source: thinkbuildliveblog.com

In a recent study conducted by researchers from Northwestern University, it was found that an involuntary biological process could actually be responsible for the symptoms of dyslexia. The findings show that a clear correlation exists between compromised reading and the way a person’s brain interprets sounds. This includes how language skills are encoded and how meaning from audible communication is formed. The study concludes that a simple MRI scan can detect whether a child has abnormal brain activity when hearing and interpreting heard instructions. The results of the MRI scan can therefore help pinpoint if the child is susceptible to dyslexia or other reading disorders. Rather than having to conduct a series of tests, it appears one scan may be able to detect if a child needs preemptive assistance for learning disability.

Kindergarten Students Learning to Tell Time                                            Image source: languagedelaynetwork.com

Learning disabilities manifest very similarly to behavioral disorders and sometimes go hand in hand. Frank Biden and Mavericks High provide alternative learning programs for at-risk and dropout students. Read more about the link between learning disorders and at-risk children on thisTwitter page.

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Prioritizing student accomplishment focused on qualitative results

In schools today, great emphasis is placed on pushing students to achieve more. The ideal is the straight A student who shows motivation in all of his or her subjects and who is driven to produce many positive results across all measures of achievement.

Some educators believe that the emphasis on producing results and making students pursue as many A grades as they can may distract them from the learning process. Learning is treated as an instructional product instead of an educational process that allows students to explore their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the priority on high marks may put some undue stress on many students, which ends up preventing them from performing well in school.

This is why Frank Biden and his peers at Mavericks High believe that a shift in attitude toward the learning process may be necessary. Encouraging high grades is important, but it must be done side by side a push for other accomplishments.

Image credit: fastweb.com

Image source: fastweb.com

When educators place more emphasis on guiding their students to find what motivates them to study and achieve excellence, it makes a greater impact on the attitude of each student toward their own learning experience. No longer is it just a pursuit of a high mark or some immediate goal. It becomes their own quest to take charge of their own future, and their time in school becomes more meaningful to them. When students are self-motivated, the results that educators desire for should follow naturally.

Links to more articles on the education sector’s issues may be found on this Facebook page.

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The downside of suspension as punishment

An article recently published on Time.com has revealed that many school districts still continue to use out-of-school suspensions, even for minor infractions. The problem, however, is that while it is popularly used as a disciplinary action, it has become increasingly apparent that suspensions fail to accomplish the desired outcome in the student and may, instead, exacerbate the issue at hand.

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One of the reasons for its failure should be obvious when adults take into account the nature of the punishment. It is essentially giving students a few days off from school and it does not truly feel like punishment, especially for those who already dislike school.

In addition, the grades of an already underperforming student punished in this way will further decline because he or she is made to miss more school work and the effort needed to catch up may become too great for the student to put up with.

To a certain extent, the report adds, it is understandable why schools choose this method of punishment especially for problem students whose antics can sometimes disrupt classroom activities. However, not dealing with the issues that cause students to misbehave will undoubtedly cause more problems in the future.

Therefore, the challenge that now befalls modern educators is that they need to find ways to discipline at-risk students or to recognize the causes for their misbehavior and provide help in any way that they can in order to make sure that no student is left behind.

Frank Biden is involved in Mavericks High, an educational institution that specializes on providing alternative programs for at-risk and dropout students.

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Forbes: Private Company Solves US Education Problem

Education as a problem requires the cooperation of all the sectors involved to be solved.  Here, the efforts of a private company to help solve the education-related problems of the U.S. are discussed:

 

The government spends millions of dollars and countless hours trying to fix our stumbling education system,progress is slow, and lasting change seems unlikely. Higher education is expensive, and only getting more so.

Many students face barriers to getting the education they really want — but today, through a collaboration model, a group of top universities and an emerging education technology company have unveiled a way to literally fix our education system. A few years from now, we may look back and say this was the day when the upper echelon of higher education finally figured out how to open their (virtual) doors to thousands of the nation’s brightest young stars and, in the process, permanently redefined what it means to go to college.

The company redefining the system is 2U, a small yet transformative technology company based in Landover, Maryland. Formerly known as 2tor, 2U partners with top-tier universities to create best-of-breed online education programs. The company — one of the highest-funded tech startups in the U.S. — has already partnered with the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Washington University in St. LouisGeorgetown University, and other prestigious colleges and research universities for fully-accredited master’s degrees in Nursing, Social Work,Business, and other disciplines.

Now, 2U is taking its service even further. Today, a group of renowned universities announced plans to launch, in partnership with 2U, Semester Online, a program which will offer access to the best courses and faculty in the world, taught in small, live digital classes, for actual credit from the schools.

The roster of participating schools is impressive:Brandeis University, Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Notre Dame, University of Rochester, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University and Washington University in St. Louis are the founding members of the initiative. Courses will be delivered through an online classroom and interactive platform developed by 2U.

The state-of-the-art courses will offer undergraduates the same faculty and curricula as their in-person counterparts. Students can participate in discussions and exercises, attend lectures, and collaborate with peers–getting as close to the on-campus class experience as is currently possible on the Web.

While the program won’t be launched until next fall, it’s my belief that this partnership illustrates a turning point for both startups looking to deconstruct the physical barriers to educational excellence and students looking for an easy, accessible way to earn their degrees at America’s most admired universities.

2U has already shaken up the online education industry with their graduate programs, and now they’re set to change the game for undergraduates. With the proven results in the graduate degree world clearly established, over time one can expect Semester Online will set the stage for an entirely new generation of online academic options.

As these types of high-quality online programs successfully eliminate barriers to elite education–like time, place, and the cost of facilities–the education system as we know it could be redefined forever.

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The marshmallow test and the guidance of a mentor figure

One of the most popular psychological experiments today is the marshmallow test as it is funny to observe and it has some serious implications. The experiment, which asks young children to resist eating the marshmallow in front of them in exchange for a better reward later on, suggests that the children who were able to resist temptation are generally the same ones who will end up more successful later in their lives. These are the kids expected to grow up as better students, healthier adults, and more successful professionals.

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More recent studies, however, have revealed that it was not the complete picture. It was true that the children who had good self-control early on had better chances of achieving success. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the children who weren’t able to resist the treat have no chance of ever developing the same level of self-control. The fact is that the environment they grow up in also sets their expectations on what they get out of exercising restraint.

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This highlights the importance of that guidance that educators impart on the young people under their care. These professionals hold a lot of responsibility because, aside from the parents, teachers also have the power to shape the attitudes of the youth. If they don’t do their work properly, then they are hindering the students from developing the right attitude that will help them reach their goals in life.

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Conversely, when they act as good mentors to the young people they teach, they are contributing to the efforts to increase the number of young people who will definitely attain their dreams in the future.

Frank Biden is the founder and president of Cygnus International, LLC, a real estate development and consulting firm. He is also involved in Mavericks High, an educational institution that specializes on providing alternative programs for at-risk and dropout students.

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