In a recent report written by the University of Washington’s Office of the Provost, President Michael Young expressed his vision for the University to become “Tomorrow’s University Today”, not only by adapting and responding to an ever-present change in education, but also by leading the change to explore new and exciting methods of teaching and learning that have yet to be discovered. This “change” has come in the form of online and hybrid class formats that have been adopted and utilized in an effort to provide a more digital, convenient, and innovative alternative for students to pursue their education at the University of Washington.
Examining the Future of Public Higher Education: The Pros and Cons of Online, Hybrid, and Face-to-Face Class Formats
Inside Higher Ed reported yesterday that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will fund an 18-month project assessing the impact of MOOCs in selected public universities in Maryland. The project will cost $1.4 million and will be run by nonprofit research group Ithaka S+R.
The goal of the project is to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of MOOCs, to see if they make a difference in student learning. Because MOOCs are comparably inexpensive to costs associated with traditional face-to-face classes, there could be great benefits to using MOOCs in a university setting. If the research results show equal or improved student learning, they could open many new doors for MOOCs and influence academia to rethink their role in formal education.
Ithaka S+R will watch these courses closely and measure their effects with, according to Robinson, “rigorous assessment[s] of how students fared using these technologies”.
With so many online courses out there, it’s hard to know where to start when looking for one. As of now, most people are hopping around to different content providers like OCW Consortium, Coursera, or CMU Open Learning Initiative to learn something new. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to search all online courses in one place?
While SkilledUp may not be all the way there yet (it’s still in beta), they’ve got the right idea. On the site, users can search for online courses by keyword, or they can choose to browse the courses by topic. Additionally, search results can be filtered by price and duration of the course.
Currently, SkilledUp seems to have the most courses on computing, design, and technical skills, but hopefully will expand into traditional academic areas in the near future. Having a search engine like this would save many online students time–possibly making sifting through Google and course provider after course provider a thing of the past!
The recent announcement by a number of universities on offering online courses for free and open to anyone heralds what some call as the beginning of a wave of MOOCs, or massively open online courses. Just what exactly is a MOOC and how does it differ from a typical distance learning course? The video below gives a good summary of how MOOCs work and why they are different from other models of distance learning.
Now more than ever, it is important to promote and enforce academic integrity. Online learning has opened doors for many and has changed the way people think about education. Although it has also raised the possibility of plagiarism and academic dishonesty, this should not be a deterrent from online teaching or learning. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has put together a guide called Best Practice Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Online Education, which contains tips for institutions, professors and students on how to promote academic integrity in an online learning environment. These tips are categorized under Institutional Context and Commitment, Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty Support, Student Support, and Assessment and Instruction.
Here are some especially helpful tips that we have highlighted from the document: