How does it work? Professors save their course, give out homework and tests. Each video is translated into six to 10 foreign languages by student volunteers. Interactive platforms (quizzes, forums, peer reviews) engage the student users. And the machine “learns” from users’ suggestions. What is its economic model? Coursera is using what is known as the “freemium” business model: courses are free to access but students need to pay from 100 to 150 dollars to obtain their certification. In the long run, Coursera intends to connect both students and companies and become a recruitment network.
Does the technology assist students in achieving the objectives of the course? Does it improve outcomes? Increase learning? Improve access? As educators we should carefully consider the move toward mobile learning, including some key issues.
Harvard University is investigating about 125 undergraduates accused of jointly submitting responses, some word-for-word identical, on a spring take-home final exam in an introductory government class that prohibited collaboration.
Today, Latin America is participating more actively in the complex, competitive international economy. Brazil and Mexico are now counted amongst the world’s largest economies. Recent economic growth in many Latin America countries surpasses the US and much of Europe. More young people in the region have access to higher levels of education. If the region is to depend less on the north for innovation, technology, products, and ideas than in the past, local talent must be cultivated. This talent is less likely to flourish within the current pattern of university education that delivers and tests detailed knowledge of a single discipline.
According to the National Venture Capital Association, investment in education technology companies increased from less than $100 million in 2007 to nearly $400 million last year. For the huge generator of innovation, technology, and wealth that is Silicon Valley, higher education is a particularly fat target right now.
Excessive specialization has created a culture of expertise that has distorted higher education and had a negative impact on faculty members, students and the broader society. When education is more and more about less and less, it becomes counterproductive. Universities have moved at a glacial pace but change is now occurring at warp speed. The way knowledge and institutions are structured is not set in stone but changes with new technologies of production and reproduction.
Further education colleges are doing better than expected in attracting students from areas with low rates of higher education participation, but they also have higher-than-predicted dropout rates from some types of student. These are the main findings of a report from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Widening Participation and Non-Continuation Indicators for Further Education Colleges, released on 22 August.
Although universities are usually slow to change, in recent months several high-profile institutions have begun to experiment with offering courses to unprecedented numbers of simultaneous learners anywhere in the world for free. Long-term, sustainable funding is a concern. None of the major players has yet to establish a viable business model, although Udacity and Coursera are experimenting with several options. Udacity offers students the possibility of being connected with potential employers at no cost to students. They are also partnering with Pearson VUE to offer proctored exams for students participating in classes counting towards official certification. These exams will be offered for a “nominal fee.”
The idea of free online education and degrees has also garnered skepticism along with enthusiasm. Experts are concerned about the financial sustainability of such a purely non-profit model, and it seems that no clear answer is available, other than to charge students modest fees for certain aspects of their education.
A lengthy literature estimating the returns to education has largely ignored the for-profit sector. Students who complete associate’s degrees in for-profit institutions earn around 22 percent, or 11 percent per year, and we find some evidence that this figure is higher than the returns experienced by public sector graduates. Our findings suggest that degree completion is an important determinant of for-profit quality and student success. "Recent work assessing the costs of a for-profit college education (Cellini 2012) suggests that the earnings gains we find may be enough to offset the costs for associate’s degree completers, but this is likely not the case among dropouts or attendees more generally."
Though all of the previously mentioned MOOCs are not necessarily accredited, they do provide options for certification if the student fulfills the necessary requirements to become certified. So what does this all really mean for the traditional university model? With rampant unemployment and unprecedented student debt, higher education institutions of today are forced to evolve. So the free online class models may not necessarily be helping the universities bottom line, but can increase the overall recognition that the university receives in expanding their educational reach. It will be interesting to see how many universities choose to take part in the MOOC model and what results will actually come from students that are participating in these classes.
In our eating, we don’t choose one path or the other. Those of us who can afford to, combine meals at home with dining and take out. We base our decisions on many factors that change on a daily if not hourly basis. Education, I predict, will be more like that. Transcripts will be replaced by collections of badges that learners acquire, and they will get those badges from a variety of sources – learning some things in MOOCs and some in face-to face sessions designed to develop skills and refine performance into the nuanced expertise required for success in most fields. We won’t be buying “meal plans” or signing a contract with an “all you can eat” buffet. We’ll be recognizing an educational need and finding and engaging in options that make sense, personally.
Stanford University, the hotbed of education innovation, has just announced the creation of a new department and Vice Provost dedicated to online learning. It’s crystal clear that online learning is the future of education at this point … and Stanford is not messing around.
There’s a lot to unpack about learning analytics — everything from how student data is captured to how it will be used. For all of its promises — and there are many, as evidenced below — the two biggest areas of concern regarding using student data are around issues of privacy, as in who has access to student information and what are the possible negative ways that information could be used, and how student data might be used against educators. Privacy is addressed in this otherwise mostly positive infographic, created by Australia’s informED, which takes a crack at explaining all the different aspects.
The International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association cordially invites you to attend the 2013 International HETL Conference to be held at the University of Central Florida, in cooperation with the UCF Karen L. Smith Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. Early bird registration is open from June 23 to October 1, 2012. Regular registration is open from October 2 to December 15, 2012. On-site Registration is January 13 - 15, 2013.
The design of the site is clean and intuitive. It’s made for young people on the go. Students will be able to rate on a scale from one to ten stars their graduate programs in the areas most important to those in graduate school: Academic Rivalry, Athletics, Campus Housing, Campus Safety, Campus Food Services, Career Support, Education Quality, Extracurricular Activities, Faculty Accessibility and Support, School Use of Technology, Social Life, Student Diversity, Surrounding City/Town, and Transportation. Then, students can leave a short comment.
Whether it crosses your mind while you are still an undergrad or after you are years out of college, almost every college graduate contemplates going to graduate school. Whether it’s law school to get a jd or a phd program in sociology, the idea of having an advanced degree is something that many seriously consider. How can you avoid going to graduate school “just to go?” What are good reasons to go to grad school? Here are some of the better reasons to go to grad school.
There is a critical role that universities, with their units of continuing and professional learning can play in societal innovation for the future. This topic is quickly becoming an urgent need. We need to think ‘outside the box’ and quickly, in order to make this happen!
The dean of CLAS at The U of Connecticut mulls the prospects of a hot trend in higher education. His main idea is that for individuals working in higher education, staring at technological change and reading alarming editorials and features in the newspapers, there’s a temptation to panic. That’s a mistake -he argues. Good universities confronting technological change should play to their strength: a talent pool with a broad perspective and deep expertise. If we stay current, try new things, and keep a critical, but not overly critical eye on the opportunities, we’ll find that technology only makes us stronger.