Last week, the American Council on Education agreed to review a number of massive open online courses being offered by elite universities and may recommend that other colleges and universities grant credit for their completion.
In a November 13, 2012 interview, Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy talks about the start and his inspiration to the free web-based education tutorial organization that he started in 2006. The tutorials are viewed by millions of people from around the world.
Continuing education units at big, name-brand universities may have less difficulty in attracting people through name recognition, but they must work very hard to distinguish their product for their prospective students.
A video lecture makes the bricks and mortar lecture obsolete but from a learning point of view, lecture-based education (from a theoretical standpoint usually put into behaviorism) is one of the least reliable methods of teaching or learning, perhaps the least reliable. There is an argument to be made that xMOOCs go beyond the lecture. Video lecture and sandbox space are examples of learning styles, the cognitive approach made famous (via multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner) in the early 80s. Someone could even try to say that the addition of message boards (and the encouraging of networking via social media) would be an example of social learning theory. These arguments would not stand up under scrutiny, but there is at least a conversation to be had that the xMOOC could, in its current state, deliver on these levels.
When you're looking to do something interesting with your class, the internet is the first place that most of us turn for help. Our friend the internet holds the keys to textbooks, web tools, teaching guides, lesson plans, apps, and more.
Founded in 2008 by a unique team of education veterans with unparalleled experience, 2U partners with preeminent institutions of higher education to deliver rigorous, selective degree programs online to students globally. Today, a group of the nation’s leading universities announced plans to launch a new, innovative program that transforms the model of online education. Consortium members include 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.
A consortium of 10 top-tier universities will soon offer fully online, credit-bearing undergraduate courses through a partnership with 2U, a company that facilitates online learning. The elite-branded, massive courses now being rolled out through Coursera and edX have set the stage for the 2U consortium, but the online courses from the consortium will not be MOOCs. The idea is to replicate not only the content and assessment mechanisms of traditional courses, but also the social intimacy.
A new report shows that the job market for new college graduates is expected to increase by only 3 percent. It also finds that many employers believe new graduates have a sense of entitlement and unrealistic salary expectations.
There are a few MOOC players such as Edx/Classto Go, CanvasNet and others who have a different model and are worth looking at. But surely, if we are serious about a social commitment to education that leads to a real qualification that will help make an actual change to peoples lives we should be looking at the OER University model.
The possibility MOOCs hold out isn’t replacement; anything that could replace the traditional college experience would have to work like one, and the institutions best at working like a college are already colleges. The possibility MOOCs hold out is that the educational parts of education can be unbundled. MOOCs expand the audience for education to people ill-served or completely shut out from the current system.
The college or university degree remains the major signal for an educated adult, and has been for centuries, but it is coming under increasing pressure and criticism; some even predicting the death of the degree and the end of higher education.
Semester Online is the first-of-its-kind program to offer rigorous, online, for-credit undergraduate courses through a consortium of top-tier colleges and universities. The program will be delivered through a virtual classroom environment and interactive platform developed by 2U, formerly known as 2tor. Here are some more facts about this program.
Soon we will hear about colleges struggling to stay alive much in the way many forms of print media are drowning in the online pool. Yet, perhaps this very trauma will be the thing that brings about badly needed change in higher education.
Degrees will remain the currency of higher education. The most recent evidence of this is the rapid progress MOOCs are making to conform to the degree economy. Degrees will undoubtedly evolve. While many employers today request college transcripts, particularly for entry-level positions, transcripts are used for degree verification, not as indicative of competencies or skills that may or may not match the employer’s needs. This is because transcripts are opaque to employers.
With lots of money, a businessman offers a new virtual university that aggregates what is already online. The model takes a different approach than that of high-profile providers of massive open online courses, or MOOC's, mainly in its role as an aggregator of online content into comprehensive courses. Instead of following a professor through a series of video lectures and peer-graded exercises on Coursera, for example, students in Saylor courses read, listen to, and watch material from different sources and grade themselves using answer keys.
How do you do more with less? That was clearly on the minds of attendees at this week’s American Marketing Association Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education conference in New Orleans. What’s generating the most interest right now in searches are small, non-profit schools, traditional non-profit schools with online programs, and the MOOCs.
Recent surveys of higher education consumers reveal they think a college education “works” when it offers programs that are in alignment with the regional workforce’s needs, course material that is relevant to the knowledge and skills employers (or graduate programs) seek, and meaningful experiences that lead to post-graduate success. So any creative concepts designed to promote “the product” must take into account these findings and accurately reflect product authenticity.
A free online math course being developed by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse could dramatically reduce the need for students to take remedial math when they start college and put them on a faster, less expensive track to graduation, the UW System announced.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities today announced a plan to build momentum among public universities and community colleges toward collaborating and advancing a new generation of college course wares intended to personalize students’ learning experiences and improve success rates. This works is being funded with a planning grant of $269,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The establishment will inevitably take a while to embrace new forms of postsecondary education. And it would be naïve to assume that the excitement around MOOCs means that they will solve all that ails higher ed. But it would be a big mistake not to give them a chance to unleash their potential. A pilot of ACE credit recommendations for Coursera classes (and soon EdX as well) is a key move toward respectability. Full-blown accreditation, if the establishment can seize the opportunity to maintain its relevance in the face of change, would be even better.
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