"On a website that went live just after midnight this morning, organizers described Unizin as a sort of one-stop shop for digital education, supporting “flipped classroom[s], online courses/degrees, badged experiences for alumni, or even MOOCs if desired.”"
The universities minister has called for degree courses to have a major and minor option. But the UK could benefit from adopting other aspects of the US system, says Robert Segal
The comparison of universities must take into account, which this does not, a comparison of US high school with UK / European 6th form college/gymnasium.
The studies at US universities which comprise 2 years of general studies before a major is declared, are met at European upper secondary colleges. It is unfair to ask British universities to act like American ones, when the UK studies are based on students' elected A-level subjects, which again are based on elected O-level subjects. Much of the bredth-exploration that American students do during the first two years of university are done at pre-university schools in Europe.
In my experience, a student with a gymnasium background from Europe typically can skip the first two years of an American bachelor degree. Why? Because the studies the same student would encounter at a European 3-year bachelor degree would be more in-depth, focused on a major. In other words, at a higher level.
These three are equally used by professionals on a daily basis? Need to check those sources. This "quick" chart is indeed quick - but is it so comprehensible?
Pritchard's "Effective Online Learning" (2007) is a good source for clearly explaining learning theory and relating it to online instruction.
My research this year has shown nill online-only course design that achieves anything close to constructivism. The hybrid courses with part face-to-face and part online are the best models for motivating students.
However, no study showed learning was improved, in fact the opposite: learning was the same for the hybrid and face-to-face groups... yet the student self-assessment for the hybrid group was higher. In other words, the students who had some online component in their course had a higher perception of their abilities than did the classroom only students. But the actual abilities were the same for both groups.
Constructivism - needed for any subject in which independent critical thinking is the goal - is the hardest to achieve online. Only simulated classrooms where dialog and discovery, made through ongoing attempts and feedback is possible, come close to it.
In other words, beware MOOCS as a course design to be emulated.
Here is another side issue, or perhaps it is a central issue that has been pushed to the side: There is an ongoing decline in academic standards where, according to the Norwegian union of academic writers (NFFO), professors are no longer given publishing credit for their work that is used in MOOCS. Anything that is free is not considered juryed for tenure. At the same time, academic print journals are in the hands of global education companies who charge $3500 to even read and consider an article for publication. And professors are being reduced to the unstable and temporary status of adjunkt at many American universities. This is not a bright future for education.
If you've given up on reading paper books for the ease of your e-reader's screen, you may want to step back a bit. Neuroscience confirms that our brains use different areas to read on paper and screens, and you need to exercise both.
I love books; the weight in my hand, the captivating book cover that makes me wonder with curiosity about what is held within, and the simple mechanics of turning a page. But I am also a digital junkie. My smartphone beeps with sounds that are pinging, dinging, and popping 24 hours a day. And let’s …
Almost three-quarters of students who enrolled in the first year of online classes at Harvard and MIT were from outside the United States, demonstrating the global reach and growing popularity of the free, open courses. Of the 840,000 students who registered for online classes in the 2012-2013 school year at the two Cambridge universities, just 28 percent were from the United States, a new study by Harvard and MIT researchers has found. About 13 percent were from India, followed by the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, and Spain.
Global reach and popularity are all good and well, but what is happening to the hiring practices and course accreditation at American universities is not.
The studies I looked at in Iceland and the USA did not figure in costs for paying teachers to create courses. Is creating these courses paid work? Do professors get tenure credit for these courses? How does collective bargaining get affected? More and more universities are hiring adjuncts and cutting sections led by TAs.The research also shows that UNESCO's dream of OER (open educational resources) being shared by teachers and learners on a global basis is not tenable. Universities have to resort to creating their own OERs, as it is impossible online to find out if an OER has the right content and quality (hmm, sounds like why we have editors and publishers).
In massive open online courses the professor is not able to engage in discussion with the thousands of students enrolled at one time, and peer grading is often used. Who is guaranteeing the quality of learning? I think this is fine for courses taken on a hobby basis, for personal interest, or, for example, for teachers like myself wanting to expand our general knowledge in an area. But are these really the same as college courses?
I have just done some research on this topic, and it is close to my heart. I am myself taking an online degree, but one that was highly competitive to get enrolled in, with max. 11 students in each course. That is an ok model for online learning. Otherwise, the research shows that the worst possible educational environment is an online-only course. The next best is a face-to-face only course. The best model is a hybrid course that includes online and face-to-face elements. But - and here is the clincher - the online elements need to be using a technology that is integral to achieving the specific learning goals. Just posting lecture notes online or giving online tests is not making use of the true nature of online learning.
So what about these massive open online courses at Harvard and MIT, and other major universities? There is no denying the jaded fact that offering them has become part of a school's marketing profile. How the school is going to regard them is another matter. According to one study, 70% of professors teaching online courses did not think students should be given credit for them. Another study showed a 90% attrition rate in free, open online courses. Some researchers believe that is ok, since the nature of open, online courses is that students explore, get a taste, expand their horizons. So dropping out is part of the game.
At the same time, students are beginning to demand that attending these courses should give them clout and credit when applying for a degree. What I am afraid of is that international students are hoping to get more out of these courses than the courses, by their nature and design, and even their intent, can offer.
The University of Southampton has launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), giving people the opportunity to explore Portus, the ancient port of Rome. 'Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient ...
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