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The Bulletin

Does your school not have many options for blended courses? Why don't you create one?

BlendKit2017, a new partnership between EDUCAUSE and the University of Central Florida will help educators do just that, eCampus News reports.

The five-week MOOC will help faculty and instructional designers to learn the ins and outs of a successful blended course.

The course began on Feb. 27 and registration is still open to all learners. eCampus News reports that the course will include peer assessment, blogging opportunities, weekly webinars, step-by-step guides and interactive group exercises.

The course is free and those interested can follow along with the progress by following #BlendKit2017.

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After a historic vote, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the new secretary of education on Feb. 7, 2017.

After a tied 50-to-50 vote in the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence cast the first ever tiebreaking vote in a cabinet nomination, The New York Times reports.

As a long-time proponent of school choice in K–12 education, DeVos' position on other issues, particularly those in higher education have been unclear.

eSchool News reports that in the past, DeVos has been an advocate for educational technology as a way to help students have a choice in the way they learn.

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When raising money, good timing is essential. That’s why Michigan State University uses Big Data tools from IBM — SPSS, Cognos and Watson — to identify not only who is more likely to support its mission, but also the best way to approach them.

MSU gathers 177 touchpoints for each stakeholder, combining university records with data from potential donors’ tweets, Facebook comments and other social media activity. It then runs sentiment analysis to determine if potential donors feel positive about the university and might be likely to make a financial investment.

“IBM’s predictive analytics tools enable us to focus our gift officers on the right relationships at the right time,” says Monique Dozier, MSU’s assistant vice president of advancement information systems and donor strategy.

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Sales of augmented and virtual reality headsets will rise 108.3 percent by 2020, says a new report from International Data Corp. A projection on Campus Technology reports that with this growth rate, 76 million units of AR and VR technology will be shipped in 2020.

“The more affordable VR devices will continue to lead the market in terms of volume. However, IDC expects AR headsets to pick up momentum over the forecast as more affordable technologies and more original equipment manufacturers enter the market,” reports IDC.

In 2016, 10.1 million VR headsets were sold and Campus Technology reports this number is expected to reach 61 million in 2020.

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Despite their changes, higher education libraries remain a vital part of campus, in part because notions of what a library can be are always evolving, says Joan Lippincott, associate executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information. She points to several roles that colleges and universities have developed within their new and renovated libraries:

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One of Microsoft's biggest announcements at its annual developer-focused Build conference on Wednesday was the practical applications for Conversations as a Platform

During the conference's opening keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Conversations as a Platform could revolutionize business productivity and give transactions a personal flavor. By combining voice and image recognition technologies with artificial intelligence APIs, Microsoft's engineers have created applications Nadella referred to as "chatbots" that can assist users in anything from an everyday business transaction to helping the blind visualize the world around them.

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John King Jr. was confirmed Monday as the new US Secretary of Education.

The vote to confirm king was passed Monday by the Senate in a 49-to-40 vote.

King has served as acting education secretary since December, after former secretary Arne Duncan stepped down. Before joining the US Department of Education in 2015, King was the education commissioner of New York State.

In a statement, President Barack Obama applauded King's confirmation.

"In this role, John will continue to lead our efforts to work toward high-quality preschool for all, prepare our kids for college and a career, make college more affordable, and protect Americans from the burdens of student debt," says Obama. 

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Google's Chrome browser is slated to receive an update soon that will speed web page load time.

Chrome's development team has been rolling out a series of updates in recent months that speed up the browser. But a new update will build in a new compression algorith called Brotli could provide a dramatic improvement, up to 17-25 percent faster page loads, according to a Google+ post. 

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Microsoft announced that as of Jan. 12 it will no longer be providing technical support and security updates for its Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 web browsers. The company is encouraging customers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 11 or to Microsoft Edge, its new web browser that comes with Windows 10.

If customers stick with older versions of the web browser they could be exposing themselves to security vulnerabilities and malware, Microsoft says.

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