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online learning

Berklee College of Music Will Offer 120-credit Online Degree in 2014

In an article written by Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed, the Berklee College of Music will offer their two music programs, music business and music production, as fully online accredited bachelor’s degree programs.

Berklee, for some time now, has had established online courses and has made subsequent steps in bundling these courses together to create certification programs. They have now made the next major step in providing two full online degree programs where students can receive a bachelor’s degree in music business and music production at a reduced cost.

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How Different Students Adapt to Online Learning

OnlineCollege.org recently posted an interesting infographic based on research done by Columbia University’s Community College Resource Center. The study analyzed 500,000 courses taken by 40,000 students within 34 Washington State colleges.

The infographic breaks up student success by many different factors–race, age, gender, and experience going into the course. As you will see, it seems to be harder for some groups of students to adapt to the online learning environment…in fact, it claims that all participants in the study did less well in online courses than they did in traditional face-to-face courses.

Check out the infographic after the jump:

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Thomas L. Friedman and MOOCs

The prominent and effective uses of MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) has been both encouraging and illustrative of the wide acceptance, nationally and internationally, of integrated technology within the areas of higher education. It also presents a very promising perspective of how conventional classrooms and educational systems have welcomed and utilized these tools in creative ways that work to continually enhance the distribution, reception, and overall experiences of teaching and learning.

One instance of such use was explained in an article written last week by Thomas L. Friedman for The New York Times. Friedman speaks about his experiences learning about those who have used MOOCs in their own courses, including his friend Michael Sandel, and the impact that has come from being exposed to such a democratized approach to higher education.

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Two Big Issues with Online Learning

Here at Learning Tech, we’ve blogged a lot in the past few years about potential optimistic outcomes of online learning: how it could be beneficial to student learning, the cost saving aspects, etc. Although there is no doubt that online learning is changing the face of education, it is important to also address the challenges and issues that appear in an online learning environment. A recent article in the New York Times titled The Trouble with Online Learning brought attention to two major issues of online learning that cannot be ignored: student dropout levels and inability to accommodate to struggling students.

_MG_2195Student attrition rates in online courses are nothing to brag about. Research conducted by Columbia University’s Community College Research Center has shown that students who enroll in online courses are more likely to withdraw or fail from the course than students in traditional face-to-face courses. Considering that the idea behind online courses is setting up students for success, these results are frustrating. Larger courses offered on global or national scales have a 90 percent attrition rate. Additionally, students who struggle with online courses will likely
fall behind in their traditional courses (if they are taking them at the same time) as a result.

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Udacity Partners With San Jose SU for an Exciting MOOC Pilot

The New York Times reported last Tuesday that San Jose State University and online course creation company Udacity have announced a partnership. SJSU and Udacity hope to build for-credit online courses that could eventually save thousands of students in California the costs of traditional college courses.

What will make an online SJSU course so different from a traditional face-to-face course? Students will carry out lessons, quizzes and other classroom activity solely online. Students will also be connected with an online mentor for support during the course. Additionally, each of the three-unit pilot courses will cost only $150–far less than a traditional course at SJSU.

The program is partly in response to the alarming fact that over 50 percent of SJSU students don’t meet basic requirements upon entering the institution. The pilot program will feature remedial and college-level algebra, as well as basic statistics. Students from both SJSU and surrounding community colleges are eligible to enroll in the courses.

Hopefully, this pilot program will push support for online courses in both San Jose and eventually the state of California.