On average, it will cost $55,600 to attend Princeton, Penn, Michigan or Stanford next year. But now you can enroll in online courses at all four universities online for free.
The universities won’t just be posting lectures online like MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, Yale’s Open Yale Courses and the University of California at Berkeley’s Webcast. Rather, courses will require deadlines, evaluations, discussions and, in some cases, a statement of achievement.
“The technology as well as the sociology have finally matured to the point where we are ready for this,” says Daphne Koller, a co-founder of Coursera, the for-profit platform classes will run on.
“This is a group that didn’t grow up at a time when there weren’t browsers,” Koller adds. “They have the mental state that allows them to say, ‘I’m willing to get a good portion of my education online.’”
Coursera grew out of an experiment in Stanford’s computer science department that opened up a handful of classes to non-Stanford students via the Internet. The online students received a signed letter from the instructor (but no credit) upon completion.
Both Koller and her co-founder Andrew Ng taught classes in the experiment, which ended up enrolling between 100,000 and 160,000 online students in each class. Ng says that more than half of the 160,000 students in his class attempted one particular problem, and about 23,000 of them completed the work.
Koller and Ng are the second pair of Stanford professors attempting to scale the idea past Stanford. The first pair launched a portal for online classes called Udacity last year.
Stanford professors are not the only group pushing the limits of free, virtual education. University of the People, for instance, enrolls more than a thousand students in 115 different countries in its free degree programs. For-profit learning site Udemy has recruited professors from universities such as Stanford, Yale, Northwestern and Dartmouth to teach video-based courses on its free platform.
MIT announced its plans for online courses in December and launched its first class this March.
Research suggests that online learning can be just as effective as classroom learning. In a 2009 report based on 50 independent studies, the U.S. Department of Education found that students who studied in online learning environments performed modestly better than peers who were receiving face-to-face instruction.
When it comes to creating open online courses that reflect the classroom experience, however, it pays to be a professor of computer science. Coursera’s founders are well equipped to solve problems such as automatic grading, peer grading and 1,000-student class discussions that make an online class size of 100,000 students manageable.
But no matter how elegant the solution, universities don’t believe their course offerings on Coursera will ever equate to the $55,000 classroom version — or they would not agree to give them away.
“I don’t think any of these universities think their value proposition to their students is the lectures,” Koller says, citing interaction with peers and professors as one reason students would still want to pay $55,000 for courses they can access online for free.
A startup called 2tor has helped universities such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Southern California monetize their virtual classrooms. Those programs grant degrees, but limit class size and charge standard tuition.
Coursera announced on Tuesday that it has raised a $16 million round of funding, which means that it will also be installing a business model at some point. But Ng and Koller say the company will not charge for classes.
“It opens doors to people who wouldn’t have had them opened otherwise,” Koller says. “Education is a real equalizer, even if it doesn’t come with a degree attached to it.”
On-Demand Online Learning Catching on in the Workplace
On-demand online learning in the workplace is the perfect tool for addressing the needs of a variety of learners across generations. Investing in online learning options for workers is a cost-effective way for companies to retain top employees and meet individual training needs at the same time. Whether an employer is looking to train a sales staff on a new software platform, introduce new customer service protocols to existing employees, or engage a team in topics geared toward group cohesion, online learning offers the on-demand versatility needed to help employees succeed.
Inside the World of On-Demand Online Learning
Consider a situation where an employee has just been assigned to a new team charged with a specific goal such as identifying and implementing ways to increase bottom line performance of a new project. The project manager built a team that s/he thought could work well together, one that has a diversified way of looking at a problem, and one that has a wide range of skills. The challenge is that each team member brings a slightly different skill set and industry “language” to the project.
In order for the project to progress efficiently, the team leader needs everyone to “speak” a common language and share a common knowledge base. To help facilitate group cohesion and improve communication, the team leader may enroll the team in a series of online courses about topics integral to the success of the project. While there will most likely be a timeline for course completion, each team member can engage in the training materials through a mobile device whenever they want and wherever they are. This attractive feature of on-demand online training adds great versatility and convenience to the learning experience.
The beauty of on-demand online learning is that it is so flexible. A manager can send the team a brief webcast and follow up with an email discussion question. The team leader can assemble on-demand online materials that may include a simulation or group activity to use in a face-to-face real time session, but the materials can also be viewed repeatedly on a mobile device for months afterward. Overall, employees enjoy learning with on-demand because its blended course environment is engaging, relevant, and flexible.
On-Demand Online Learning Addresses the Needs of all Learners
In addition to being convenient, on-demand online learning is built with a deep understanding of how learners retain new material. The latest in brain-based research shows that today’s learners need breaks at regular intervals and need to receive the information in a variety of ways in order to improve retention of knowledge. Additionally, the best long term retention of new ideas happens when a learner feels comfortable and engaged in the process. Today’s reputable online courses provide a great diversity of online learning tools such as videos, webinars, audio feeds, and mobile courseware to reach learners. These applications are also conducive to a great many learning styles.
Not only does on-demand online learning make it easier to employers to offer training to employees more effectively, it also allows a learner to engage in training that is conducive to the most natural way the brain learns. This makes on-demand online learning a wise investment all around. While learning in this blended way, might seem most familiar to the Millennials out there, it isn’t just the early career professionals who find this learning format useful.
50% of college classes will be taught online
Liz Kolb (@lkolb)
The Stanford Education Experiment Could Change Higher Learning Forever
The history of distance learning
Stanford faculty collaborate to improve online education
Professors are building new software to simplify lecture recording, host course material online, spark discussion among students and teachers and share Stanford courses. Others are testing these new tools in the classroom.
BY MELISSAE FELLET
Several Stanford faculty members are working together to improve online education at the university by developing new software and testing it in the classroom.
The collaboration unites three experimental online education efforts: ClassX, a video processing platform that facilitates lecture recording;CourseWare, an online course hosting site with social networking features; and Open Classroom, a web platform designed to share Stanford lectures freely with the world.
The researchers are combining the three programs into one. The unified system should be available to the Stanford community by the fall quarter, said computer science associate professor Andrew Ng, creator of Open Classroom. The software will eventually be available to other universities as well, he said.
“We’ve known for many years what we wanted to do for online education,” Ng said. “We just needed to build the software to make it work.”
Traditionally, a professor delivers one long lecture each class session. In large classes with hundreds of students, there’s often little back-and-forth questioning between students and the teacher.
Online courses increase information availability for students. Prerecorded lectures can free up class time for more interaction between students and teachers. Students help each other in discussions similar to a comment thread on a social networking site. And supplemental interactive lessons can help reduce disparity among students with different educational backgrounds.
Stanford computer science Professor Daphne Koller tested CourseWare and ClassX during a sophomore-level programming class. She posted recorded lectures online and used class time to cover problems, host guest lecturers from the tech industry and review material her students found difficult.
Students watched each lecture in 10- to 15-minute “chunks.” A multiple-choice question followed each chunk to help reinforce the concepts. Koller posted weekly quizzes online as well. The short tests require students to think about the material, rather than listening passively to a lecture. Studies have shown information retrieval enhances learning.
Koller made attendance at scheduled class time optional, but students came. She said the audience for these sessions was higher than typical televised courses she’s taught, where the lecture was presented in one 75-minute video.
After polling her students when the course was over, Koller said about two-thirds of them told her they preferred the new format compared to a traditional in-person lecture. Nearly all found the video quizzes “very helpful.”
Koller recorded her classes by videotaping a lecture or drawing on-screen with an LCD tablet while she narrated an explanation.
Software developed by electrical engineering professor Bernd Girod and students simplifies lecture recording. A commercial camcorder captures the lecture. The professor uploads the video to the ClassX server, which processes the video for interactive streaming during playback. The viewer needs only a web browser to zoom and pan around the room while watching the video online. The ClassX team released the code as open source software in April.
Ng developed the tablet-recording program. It displays a slide from a presentation. Teachers draw on a graphics tablet, an electronic device used by digital artists, and the drawings appear on screen immediately as if they were writing on a chalkboard. They narrate the lecture using the computer’s microphone. A camera looking at the screen over the teacher’s shoulder records the video.
Ng also created some of the software for the interactive quizzes in the recorded lectures.
Facilitating discussion online
When Koller presented her idea for a new teaching method to her colleagues, computer science professor John Mitchell realized he had a web interface that could help her distribute videos to her class and encourage student discussion.
CourseWare is a public website that houses many Stanford courses. Professors control the visibility of any material placed on their course pages, restricting access to Stanford students or releasing it to the world. Many course management systems used at other universities limit any access to registered students.
CourseWare allows faculty to upload video and handouts, create interactive quizzes and track discussions among students and teachers.
In Koller’s class, students often helped each other when a classmate posted a question. The instructor or a teaching assistant confirmed or clarified the answers.
Mitchell had seen this student interaction early in the site’s development. “This was one of the biggest indications that we were on to something,” he said.
CourseWare housed 10 courses in spring quarter, including computer science, political science, education, biochemistry and psychology.
Mitchell plans to make the site available to other universities over the web. He hopes faculty teaching similar courses at different universities will use the site to collaborate and share material.
Supplements for introductory courses
Professors around the university are beginning to adopt portions of this three-pronged technology in their classrooms, especially instructors in large introductory science, engineering and math courses.
Cammy Huang-DeVoss, course coordinator for the large introductory biology courses, is using the tablet recording and interactive quiz technology to develop lessons that enhance the lectures. Before a lecture on DNA, for example, students will watch an online video about the chemical bonds in DNA. It’s a way for the instructors to cover extra material, reinforce concepts from other classes and help unite students with different science backgrounds.
The biology teachers plan to launch their new online supplements in the middle of the fall quarter. “We hope the use of this technology can help close the gap between students of different backgrounds, and perhaps reduce the dropout rate from these fields, especially for under-represented groups,” Koller said.
Advantages of online education
Online lectures have some advantages over the traditional in-person instruction. They allow students to control the pacing of a lecture – they can speed it up or instantly replay the material.
A large library of online classes could allow students to personalize their education, Koller said. Students could combine many different lecture chunks to create courses tailored to their interests and abilities.
Analytical programs built into the course-hosting system could allow faculty to monitor a course in real time, tracking student progress and adjusting their teaching techniques to maximize effectiveness throughout the quarter.
Ng has found that his colleagues are receptive to these online teaching methods. “We try to deliver a better education. Every professor wants to do that,” he said.
Melissae Fellet is a science-writing intern at the Stanford News Office.
Daphne Koller, Computer Science: (650) 723-6598, email@example.com
Andrew Ng, Computer Science: (650) 725-2593, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Mitchell, Computer Science: (650) 723-8634, email@example.com
Dan Stober, Stanford News Service: (650) 721-6965, firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Education – A Top Scoring Option for Career Enthusiasts
Submitted by Robert Williams – An Educational Content Writer From The United States
The question that is making career enthusiasts curious these days is whether education pursued through internet can brighten one’s future? The majority of answers to this question might not sound good since there are many who still believe that traditional education is best. However, reality says that online education is the happening academic trend that has given rise to extensive paths painted with the colors of success and prosperity. Yes, it’s true as statistics have also shown an inclination towards online education in the past few years.
Developments in technology are rising with the passage of time, and therefore the old drab classrooms have now become technically polished. So, why will you not take the opportunity to educate yourself by participating in virtual classrooms instead of heading to your campus on a daily basis? Will you not like to involve in a healthy interaction with your instructor and overcome your reticence? Well, three decades have passed and now it’s high time to wipe off all the traditional learning concepts to which you were accustomed. E-learning is the technology which will smarten your career approaches and make you able to captivate big employers.
Some Notable Points to Consider regarding Online Education
In today’s world, it’s only technology that can get you to the pinnacle of success. In other words, we can travel, work, read, entertain and seek education online.
Those days no more exist when students after taking admission in schools and colleges had to run to the book stores and exhaust loads of cash in buying books and other academic necessities. Today, a few clicks can get you all these in no time.
Whether you are resting in your couch at home or travelling by train, your laptop always stays with you. Simply switch it on, connect your web browser, create an email id, visit your e-learning site, communicate your instructors, and there you go.
Traditional Education vs. Online Education
Did you ever imagine that the online fever will positively affect the global educational arena? We simply couldn’t imagine the usage of LCDs and DVDs in educating an individual. The old blackboards kept at classrooms have now been substituted by audio-visual applications and webcams in the majority of schools and universities. In fact, the governments of most of the existing nations under this universe have realized the need and importance of education for those who never make it possible to travel abroad or quit their work places. Distance learning therefore has been a super successful venture that has settled countless lives till date.
Benefits of Online Learning
Convenience – No pens, papers and books are required. Instead, a laptop along with a webcam can let you attend class right from your home.
Economical – Neither travelling expense to bear nor facing accommodation hassles. You just need to pay the course along with tuition fees for any distance learning course.
Independence – No strict orders for completing assignments. Rather, you will be given a certain time period long before so that you can take time and complete your respective project comfortably.
Accreditation – Earning an online degree from a reputed institution will certainly accredit you.
January 22, 2012
MIT Mints a Valuable New Form of Academic Currency
James Yang for The Chronicle
By Kevin Carey
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has invented or improved many world-changing things—radar, information theory, and synthetic self-replicating molecules, to name a few. Last month the university announced, to mild fanfare, an invention that could be similarly transformative, this time for higher education itself. It’s called MITx. In that small lowercase letter, a great deal is contained.
MITx is the next big step in the open-educational-resources movement that MIT helped start in 2001, when it began putting its course lecture notes, videos, and exams online, where anyone in the world could use them at no cost. The project exceeded all expectations—more than 100 million unique visitors have accessed the courses so far.
Meanwhile, the university experimented with using online tools to help improve the learning experience for its own students in Cambridge, Mass. Now MIT has decided to put the two together—free content and sophisticated online pedagogy—and add a third, crucial ingredient: credentials. Beginning this spring, students will be able to take free, online courses offered through the MITx initiative. If they prove they’ve learned the material, MITx will, for a small fee, give them a credential certifying as much.
In doing this, MIT has cracked one of the fundamental problems retarding the growth of free online higher education as a force for human progress. The Internet is a very different environment than the traditional on-campus classroom. Students and employers are rightly wary of the quality of online courses. And even if the courses are great, they have limited value without some kind of credential to back them up. It’s not enough to learn something—you have to be able to prove to other people that you’ve learned it.
The best way to solve that problem is for a world-famous university with an unimpeachable reputation to put its brand and credibility behind open-education resources and credentials to match. But most world-famous universities got that way through a process of exclusion. Their degrees are coveted and valuable precisely because they’re expensive and hard to acquire. If an Ivy League university starts giving degrees away for free, why would everyone clamor to be admitted to an Ivy League university?
MIT is particularly well suited to manage that dilemma. Compared with other elite universities, MIT has an undergraduate admissions process that is relatively uncorrupted by considerations of who your grandfather was, the size of the check your parents wrote to the endowment, or your skill in moving a ball from one part of a playing field to another. Also in marked contrast to other (in some cases highly proximate) elite institutions, MIT undergraduates have to complete a rigorous academic curriculum to earn a degree. This means there should be little confusion between credentials issued by MIT and MITx. The latter won’t dilute the value of the former.
MIT is also populated by academic leaders with the better traits of the engineer: a curiosity about how things work and an attraction to logical solutions. So MITx will be accompanied by a campuswide research effort aimed at discovering what kinds of online learning tools, like simulation laboratories and virtual-learning communities, are most effective in different combinations of subject matter and student background. MITx courses will also be delivered on an “open learning platform,” which means that any other college or higher-education provider will be able to make its course available through the same system.
The university is fortunate to have faculty who are comfortable working with technological tools and eager to try out new educational methods. Professors in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (Csail) are already experimenting with ideas like “crowdsourced” grading of computer programs, in which qualified Web users comment on student work. MIT also plans to retool its lecture videos to make them interactive and responsive to students’ academic progress. Anant Agarwal, director of Csail and a leader of the MITx effort, notes that “human productivity has gone up dramatically in the past several decades due to the Internet and computing technologies, but amazingly enough the way we do education is not very different from the way we did it a thousand years ago.”
Most important, MITx is animated by a sense of obligation to maximize human potential. Great research universities have vast abilities to distribute knowledge across the globe. But until recently, they have been highly limited in their ability, and willingness, to distribute authentic education. Before the information-technology revolution, the constraints were physical—you can fit only so many people in dorms and classrooms along the Charles River.
The Internet has ripped those barriers away. As MIT’s provost, L. Rafael Reif, observes, “There are many, many learners worldwide—and even here in the United States—for whom the Internet is their only option for accessing higher education.” Reif emphasizes that the courses will be built with MIT-grade difficulty. Not everyone will be able to pass them. But, he says, “we believe strongly that anyone in the world who can dedicate themselves and learn this material should be given a credential.”
This sensible and profound instinct sets a new standard for behavior among wealthy, famous universities. Elite colleges all allege to be global institutions, and many are known around the world. But it is simply untenable to claim global leadership in educating a planet of seven billion people when you hoard your educational offerings for a few thousand fortunates living together on a small patch of land.
There are also practical advantages for MIT in moving first. Already, the elite Indian Institutes of Technology has announced plans to join MIT’s open-education consortium. Building MITx on an open platform could make the university the global nexus of online higher education, which is the way most people are likely to access higher learning in the future. In the hunt for the best and brightest students around the globe, MIT won’t need to guess who’s in the top 1 percent of 1 percent—it can simply pick them out of the millions of students who will enroll in MITx.
Meanwhile, it will be fascinating to watch MITx mint a brand-new form of academic currency. What happens when it enters circulation? Will other universities accept it as transfer credit, or employers as proof of skills? How will those credentials affect the fast-growing market for online credits and degrees, much of which is driven by the expensive for-profit sector?
There is, of course, a great deal of work to be done before those plans are fully realized. University officials emphasize the need to monitor the results of the new classes to make sure the learning experience is up to par. Prices for students in impoverished regions will have to be worked out and protocols for minimizing fraud established.
But those are practical problems that can be solved with time, ingenuity, and experimentation. The real innovation of MITx, the breakthrough that may eventually put it among the pantheon of MIT’s achievements, is the generosity inherent in a privileged university’s giving away something that it could easily keep for itself. It is the act of a truly educational institution, in the finest sense of the word.
Kevin Carey is policy director for Education Sector, an independent think tank in Washington.
Is Online Learning the Solution?
The need for reform is at the top of many lists detailing current issues related to higher education. Concerns about ensuring quality and access, as well as funding and career preparation are all around us, discussed and debated by educators and administrators at all possible levels. Can online learning provide a viable response to these concerns?
Institutions: Saving while Expanding
A new initiative within the University of South Carolina (USC) system sheds some light on the challenges faced by higher education institutions today. The problems often include contradictions among priorities, such as meeting demands to cut operational costs, while also providing educational opportunities to additional student populations. Palmetto College, an initiative still in the planning stages, “aims to provide South Carolinians who may not be able to attend classes at one of the university’s campuses with access to higher education.” The program targets those students who already have two-year degrees, providing them with the option to complete bachelor’s degrees through online programs.
In addition to increasing access to education, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides also anticipates the program will be available at a lower cost than for-profit alternatives. The plan includes tapping existing resources across the system’s eight campus locations, eliminating the need for construction of new facilities and hiring new faculty members. Pastides recently asked the State Legislature for $5 million to fund the online Palmetto College, as well as $30 million to fund building renovations and deferred maintenance (estimated at $300 million) on the various campuses.
Faculty: Curriculum and Collaboration
California State University (CSU) Online, an effort led by the university’s Technology Steering Committee, has multiple goals that envision increased access to students who want or need higher education opportunities but are not able to attend campus-based courses, along with increased revenues from higher enrollment through expanded offerings. Among the prospective learners are high school students preparing for college, community college students anticipating transfer to four-year programs, military servicemembers, and state prison inmates.
While USC’s faculty voices are not yet heard regarding the Palmetto College initiative, instructors are weighing in on plans for CSU Online. There are questions regarding the design, development, and maintenance of the online programs and courses. Academic Senates, composed of faculty members on each campus, are stressing the need for faculty involvement throughout the process. CSU East Bay’s faculty senate recently requested that funding for the online initiative be halted until 80% of campus senates are in agreement and approve of the plans to move forward. Establishing and maintaining high quality courses online is a primary concern as the conversations about faculty involvement in planning and decision-making continue.
Students: Access and Convenience
In early 2011, the University of Washington (UW) launched the UW Online Initiative. This project is “a multifaceted effort that expands online access and will double online course enrollments to 24,000 within three years without using state funding.” A pilot project of the initiative, conducted with undergraduate students, found that 80% of those surveyed reported that they would recommend the online courses to their peers. Convenience factors, such as flexibility in scheduling around work obligations and reduced time spent commuting to campus, were important to students. Due to restructured tuition and fees, these students benefited from reduced costs. Online delivery also opened up additional “seats” in courses that normally filled quickly, preventing students from having to wait another term to enroll.
The students of UW echoed some of the same concerns and preferences expressed in a larger study of online learners conducted by Noel-Levitz. Their 2011 annual National Online Learners Priorities Report, [PDF] includes a list of online enrollment factors for two groups of students, those enrolled primarily online and those enrolled primarily on campus. Both groups reported “convenience” as the most important motivating factor for taking courses online. Both groups also identified “flexible pacing for completing a program” as the second most motivating factor for online enrollment, while the on campus group reported a tie with “cost” in second place.
Finding the Way(s) Forward
Online learning initiatives are not the only solution to all of higher education’s current problems, however, they can provide options for all involved to explore. As government agencies, colleges and universities, faculty members, and students continue to meet the many challenges they face, their effective use of technology may provide answers and innovative solutions along the way. We all can stand to learn from the lessons and recommendations resulting from these programs.
February 2nd, 2012 written by Melissa Venable
1/13/12 6:30 PM
#Highered #students, prepare yourself for the challenges you will face in #onlineed with these fantastic tips:bit.ly/wjQlge #edtech|||
Debating the ‘Flipped Classroom’ at Stanford
January 5, 2012, 12:35 pm
By Marc Parry
Stanford University got lots of attention for inviting the public to participate in a series of free online computer-science classes. One thing that’s drawn less notice is how some of the technologies that help facilitate those mega-classes are changing the experience for Stanford students learning the same subjects. Now a Stanford student is provoking a debate on those innovations, with a blog postcritiquing the rigor and format of the “flipped classroom” teaching method deployed in his machine-learning course.
In one version of that course offered to Stanford students, the traditional teaching format was inverted, with lectures presented through online videos and optional once-a-week class meetings devoted to problem solving with the professor. The videos, plus auto-graded assignments, were also offered to the public in the free online version of the machine-learning class. As of November, a staggering 94,000 people had signed up to take that course.
Feet & Hinges (and Other Literary Models) Artist Talks Series organised by Parveen Adams
In 1996, UCF established an institutional goal of expanding its services to include students who might not otherwise have access to higher education. The Center for Distributed Learning was created to leverage new opportunities for flexible, Web-based course delivery to benefit campus-based students as well as off-campus and distant students. UCF now offers over two dozen totally Web-based degree, degree-completion, and certificate programs, and hundreds of individual Web-based courses.
The Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) serves as the central agent for online learning at UCF, providing leadership in distance learning policies, strategies, and practices.
CDL’s primary websites are http://learn.ucf.edu which contains information and support materials for prospective and current students, and http://teach.ucf.ed, a resource for faculty and staff teaching online courses at UCF.
Dynamic growth, changing student demographics, an increasing need for accessible lifelong learning, and advances in information technologies have transformed the educational environment. The University of Central Florida responds to these trends by providing a wide range of distributed learning strategies that provide flexibility and access to academic programs and students. Our goal is to be leaders in the strategic application of new, leading-edge technologies for learning.
- UCF currently offers five undergraduate degree completion programs, and dozens of graduate degree andcertificate programs via online delivery.
- In the Fall 2011 semester over 27,000 UCF students enrolled in at least one web or video based course.
- In the Fall 2011 semester over 6,200 UCF students took only online classes.
- Since its inception, 914 faculty have completed IDL 6543, our flagship faculty development program for online instruction.
New Schemas for Mapping Pedagogies and Technologies
Gráinne Conole reflects on the implications of Web 2.0 for education and offers two new schemas for thinking about harnessing the potential of technologies.
Earlier this week, Inside Higher Ed’s Steve Kolowich looked at the success Stanford University has had this fall by offering 3 of its engineering courses online. The courses — Introductions to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Databases — were available on the Web for free; anyone could register, and hundreds of thousands of people did.
It’s hardly a new idea to put university course materials online. Indeed, MIT Opencourseware celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. (For an interesting look at how discussions about open education and online education have and haven’t changed over the past decade, I recommend reading the 2001 New York Times story announcing MIT’s initiative.)
But the focus of MIT and other universities that are part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium is just that — courseware. Course materials are freely available online — syllabi, notes, exams, handouts — and the material is licensed CC BY-NC-SA. But there is no access to the instructor. There is no interaction with other students (I should clarify: these things might happen, but it isn’t part of the OCW design and isn’t part of the university’s expectations or responsibility.)
The Stanford online experiment this fall is something different: there is interaction with the instructor. Although only the officially enrolled Stanford students actually got credit for the class, everyone else could still submit their homework, take the tests, and get a grade. And there is interaction with other students too. Various tech news sites, forums, and social networks pointed to suggestions, help and feedback for the course assignments.
Of course, Stanford isn’t the first university to open up its courses to online participants either. MOOCs (massively open online course) have been around for several years as well.
But the Stanford classes are something different from MOOCs too: the latter is more open, both in terms of the direction the course takes and in the licensing of the materials. (It isn’t clear how the 3 Stanford classes are licensed. While the Stanford Engineering Everywhere program is licensed CC-BY, there isn’t a clear designation on these latest online courses.) Also of note: the Artificial Intelligence course was co-offered / co-branded with Know Labs, an education startup co-founded by Professor Sebastian Thrun.
Stanford plans to offer more of its online classes next term, and it will be interesting to watch. Will they remain popular? Will the attrition rates be high or low (“just” 20,000 people completed the AI course, far fewer than the 160,000 who initially registered but still a huge number)? Will online learners continue to build out their own resources and communities to support one another? Will other universities follow with similar offerings? Again, read that New York Times story from 2001 linked above to hear the arguments for and against making educational content freely available online. How will universities handle the licensing of this course content? Will they spin out these programs into education startups?
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/some-thoughts-stanfords-online-cs-courses#ixzz1igBNschC
Inside Higher Ed
11/9/11 2:30 PM
Today’s ResearchSnapshot: Distance education provides a positive learning experiencebit.ly/d48w9thttp://www.allthingsplc.info/wordpress/?p=2046
Posted on April 6, 2011, by Laurie Robinson
By Laurie Robinson, PLC at Work™ associate
Over the past two years, I have been facilitating the PLC and common assessment work with the Bismarck Public Schools in western North Dakota. They are a cutting edge district with strong leadership at the top and committed principals at the 25 individual campuses, accompanied by a world-class Career and Tech Academy.
The focus of this blog is to share the use of a free district web program, Moodle, used to house the work being done by pre-K—12 departments and grade levels and create a common vision and common language across the district. It’s not only a place to store standards, curriculum maps, district calendars, communication forums etc., but it’s morphing into a place where PLC teams can chronicle their most recent work, and share documents with “job alike” colleagues.
Most importantly, it’s becoming a centralized and dynamic platform for instructional resources, active board flip charts, websites to enhance lessons, and a consistent tool for PLC and assessment communications. A gentle and gradual shift from textbook-heavy classrooms to a “laser focus” on the essential learning targets is evolving through the use of this 21st century tool.
To allow all teachers to maneuver comfortably on the site, ongoing “Moo Latte” sessions are being offered in real time and virtually to build capacity. Meta courses, a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous instructional modules, are being designed for students who can do their assigned work from any location and in any time frame. The list of course options are plentiful and diverse to meet the ever-changing needs of the 21stcentury student and educator.
As teachers work in content PLCs, they use Google docs to share the construction, editing, and analysis of common assessment and student work. The video contains astep-by-step demonstration of this program with tutorials.
In addition, the “Moodle Mentors” have accessed the zooming presentation editor tool, Prezi, to illustrate the shift from “text-heavy” to “tech-friendly” ways to deliver instruction through the video entitled, A Tale of Two Communities.
Productive conversations are being held regularly as the educator learning/doing gap decreases. Consequently, the goal is to take “pockets of excellence” and create “systems of excellence” using best practices. This is not only good work, it is the right work. And it’s work that sparks deep PLC conversations built around honesty, vulnerability, and the willingness to engage in action-research collaboratively, no matter what tools are used. Happy journeying!
11/6/11 5:58 PM
Khan Academy does not constitute an education revolution, but I’ll tell you what does wp.me/pFhGq-vv /via@wordpressdotcom
|Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom)
10/18/11 2:12 PM
RT @evmaiden: Building An Online Learning Communitybit.ly/qRszyq
How can an instructional designer (ID) leverage social interaction online to engage learners, increase exchange and dialogue, and get better results, without losing the purposeful focus provided by an instructor or traditional course content and structure? Many IDs are intrigued by the potential of communal experiences online, but there is a great deal of uncertainty about how to proceed. Here are a couple of cases that you may find interesting. Afterward, I offer a roadmap for producing similar results.
More students take advantage of ‘distance’ learni
When Tamar Berg lost her bookstore job in early 2010, she decided it was time to get her college degree.
“I thought, ‘OK, I’m almost 30 and I don’t have much to show except for a bunch of retail jobs,'” she said.
Nowadays, Berg spends her evenings at the University Center in Rapid City, taking classes through Black Hills State University. She is majoring in English, with a library media minor.
“I want to be a librarian when I grow up,” she said with a laugh.
Berg has joined a growing number of South Dakotans who use either online courses or the state’s three university centers to obtain a college degree.
A report presented to the South Dakota Board of Regents in Vermillion Wednesday showed a “strong five-year growth in enrollment” though distance education.
Total enrollment numbers as well as average enrollment numbers and total credit hours have increased each year for the past five years, according to the report. The student head count increased 12.2 percent in the past year alone, which translates to an increase of 1,943 students using either university centers or online classes during that 12-month period.
Tracy Mercer with the South Dakota Board of Regents said the majority of students opting for distance education are part-time undergraduates, taking fewer than 16 credit hours.
Many of them are “place bound,” perhaps with a family, which makes it difficult to relocate to a university campus, she said.
News that enrollment numbers are up doesn’t particularly surprise Bret Swanson, who teaches English and composition through BHSU at the University Center.
“These are the largest classes I’ve had,” said Swanson, who is also a member of the Rapid City Area Schools Board of Education. “I’ve seen a surprising number of younger students this semester.”
The University Center reports an increase in enrollment of 5.8 percent in the past five years. Statewide, the three centers – in Rapid City, Sioux Falls and Pierre – have welcomed 6,592 new students during that time period.
The number of out-of-state students who take online courses with South Dakota institutions has increased as well, up to 4,603 from 2,399 five years ago, according to the Regent report.
Swanson said nearly all of his students are working in addition to going to school. “All of them seem to be super busy,” he said.
The larger-than-normal number of younger students surprises him, but could be the result of a sluggish economy, he said. “Some of them are staying at home so they’re saving money,” he said.
It could also be the appeal of the University Center facility, opened in April on the east edge of Rapid City.
“We got a lot of press about the new building,” he said. Prior to its opening, students took their classes at both South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus and Western Dakota Technical Institute. The new facility puts classes in one central spot.
“We’ve got this brand new facility. Let’s use it,” Swanson said, happy to see the big classes. Swanson would also like to see more classes offered during the day for students.
For the time being, Berg continues to work part-time and carries 12 credit hours or four classes at the University Center. She said she is relieved to have the option. “I have lived in Spearfish before and meant to go to school then,” she said. But as a nontraditional student, the campus life intimidated her.
The University Center has proven a better fit.
“There are a lot more people my age,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who you are and what age you are, you can still go to school.”
19 October 2011
Internet-based degree programmes are gaining acceptance, but doubts remain about their suitability for graduate science.
When Lauren McBryde Gray began her graduate studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she was a chemist working at a biopharmaceutical company on the east coast of the United States, happily married and thinking about starting a family. Her busy schedule couldn’t accommodate the regimentation of on-campus courses. “It was important I bring in an income for my family, but I wanted to get my master’s to give me an edge in terms of my career,” says Gray. “I needed another option, a better option.”
That option was the university’s hybrid online master’s degree in chemistry. The innovative Corporate MS Chemistry Program offers online courses to professionals working at partner companies. Students learn online and complete compatible research in laboratories at their workplace, supervised by two university professors and a senior colleague from the company who has a PhD. “It really turned out to be win–win,” says Gray
|Office EdTech (@OfficeofEdTech)
10/21/11 2:59 PM
Online Education in Graduate Science Studies – master’s program students can do research through remote & virtual labs:bit.ly/neCBlc