Tag Archives: Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree

University of Pennsylvania study: MOOCs are not bringing the level playing field to education that many thought

24 Nov

Moi wrote in MOOCs are trying to discover a business model which works: Jon Marcus reported in the Washington Post article, Online course start-ups offer virtually free college. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend
The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1
Whether MOOCS can develop a business model is discussed in the Economist article, The attack of the MOOCs: An army of new online courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a viable business model? http://www.economist.com/news/business/21582001-army-new-online-courses-scaring-wits-out-traditional-universities-can-they
https://drwilda.com/2013/07/21/moocs-are-trying-to-discover-a-business-model-which-works/

Steve Kolowich reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, MOOCs Are Largely Reaching Privileged Learners, Survey Finds:

Most people who take massive open online courses already hold a degree from a traditional institution, according to a new paper from the University of Pennsylvania.
The paper is based on a survey of 34,779 students worldwide who took 24 courses offered by Penn professors on the Coursera platform. The findings—among the first from outside researchers, rather than MOOC providers—reinforce the truism that most people who take MOOCs are already well educated.
The Penn researchers sent the survey to students who had registered for a MOOC and viewed at least one video lecture. More than 80 percent of the respondents had a two- or four-year degree, and 44 percent had some graduate education.
The pattern was true not only of MOOC students in the United States but also learners in other countries. In some foreign countries where MOOCs are popular, such as Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa, “80 percent of MOOC students come from the wealthiest and most well educated 6 percent of the population,” according to the paper.
In other developing countries, about 80 percent of the MOOC students surveyed already held college degrees—a number staggeringly out of proportion with the share of degree holders in the general population.
“The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most—those without access to higher education in developing countries—are underrepresented among the early adopters,” write the paper’s six authors…
http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/moocs-are-reaching-only-privileged-learners-survey-finds/48567

Edward Luce of the Financial Times chimed in writing in the article, Moocs are no magic bullet for educating Americans.

Luce writes:

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/141591a0-5399-11e3-9250-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2ldNWNaPf
Where does all this leave the Moocs? As the techno-optimists keep pointing out, we can now download the Library of Congress and Ivy League lectures for free. A few motivated groups, such as older employees trying to keep pace, reservists in the US military and ambitious youngsters in places such as India, tend to finish online degrees. But most people, including Mr Thrun’s enrollees, rapidly lose interest. The real challenge facing US educators, in other words, is to motivate the unenthused majority. This is far easier said than done. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.
Insurance companies call America’s millennial generation the “invincibles”, because the young rarely worry about their health. But I prefer Mr Cowen’s moniker of the “limbo generation”, since they are worried sick about their financial prospects. The newest portion of the US workforce is saddled with more than $1tn of debts in a market that isn’t paying. Those who thrive in this less forgiving world will be savvy enough to tap the boundless resources they can get from Moocs in particular and the internet in general. Alas, Udacity’s setback reminds us that they are almost certainly in a minority. At best computers can offer a partial answer to America’s education crisis. Though we tend to cost more, the rest of it is down to human beings.
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/141591a0-5399-11e3-9250-00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz2lanl53pU

Citation:

Nov 23 at 8:39 PM
The MOOC Phenomenon: Who Takes Massive Open Online Courses and Why?
Gayle Christensen

Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania
Andrew Steinmetz

Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, University of Pennsylvania
Brandon Alcorn

Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania
Amy Bennett

Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania
Deirdre Woods
Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania

Ezekiel J Emanuel
Office of the Provost, Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Department of Health Care Management, University of Pennsylvania

November 6, 2013

Abstract:
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) have commanded considerable public attention due to their sudden rise and disruptive potential. But there are no robust, published data that describe who is taking these courses and why they are doing so. As such, we do not yet know how transformative the MOOC phenomenon can or will be. We conducted an online survey of students enrolled in at least one of the University of Pennsylvania’s 32 MOOCs offed on the Coursera platform. The student population tends to be young, well educated, and employed, with a majority from developed countries. There are significantly more males than females taking MOOCs, especially in BRIC and other developing countries. Students’ main reasons for taking a MOOC are advancing in their current job and satisfying curiosity. The individuals the MOOC revolution is supposed to help the most — those without access to higher education in developing countries — are underrepresented among the early adopters.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, Online Education, Distance Education
working papers series

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Verifying identity for online courses https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/verifying-identity-for-online-courses/

Will ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCS) begin to offer credit? https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/will-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-begin-to-offer-credit/

Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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MOOCs are trying to discover a business model which works

21 Jul

Moi wrote about MOOCs in Can free online universities change the higher education model?
Often these online ventures will offer a certificate or badge to show completion of a course of study. Education Portal defines the difference between a certificate and diploma:

Certificate Overview
A certificate is earned by a student after taking a series of courses relating to a subject. Students often earn certificates to get a step ahead in the professional field of their interest and certificates may be offered in similar programs as degrees. For instance, there are certificates in business, literature and technical programs. In some technical programs, a certificate may be required.
There are also graduate certificates, often taken either alone or alongside a graduate degree program. In some programs, the student may use his or her electives to fulfill a certificate in order to make him or herself more desirable to a potential employer.
Certificate programs taken alone are similar to associate’s degree programs. However, they take less time because core academic programs are not required.
Diploma Overview
Diplomas are similar to certificates but often earned at clinical schools. For instance, a diploma of nursing is offered as an option besides an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. This diploma program is only offered at hospitals with specialty programs that provide training. A diploma often takes two years and involves as much clinical work as classroom.
Degree Overview
An academic degree can be earned at many levels, including associate’s, which takes two years, bachelor’s, which takes four years, master’s, which is two years beyond a bachelor’s degree, and doctoral, which is several years beyond a master’s degree.
A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take core courses to support a more rounded education. For instance, at many universities, those earning their bachelor’s degree are required to take English, math, science, philosophy and history. Earning a degree also opens up many more potential doors to the student than would a certificate or diploma. Many careers require that the student has earned at least a bachelor’s degree; several career options require more than this. http://education-portal.com/articles/What_is_the_Difference_Between_a_Certificate_Diploma_and_Degree.html

Some online universities are awarding badges.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy reports in the U.S. News article, Digital Badges Could Significantly Impact Higher Education:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation recently announced that it was launching a competition that will award $2 million to companies and organizations that can develop workable digital badges and badge systems.
The digital badge concept has gained friends in lofty places. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, NASA administrator Charles Bolden and other high-level business, philanthropic, and technology leaders attended the kick off of the digital badge competition announcement. Duncan, who called the digital badges a “game-changing strategy,” had this to say: “Badges can help engage students in learning, and broaden the avenues for learners of all ages to acquire and demonstrate—as well as document and display—their skills.”
Americans could earn badges through skills and knowledge that they get in a variety of ways including informally, through their workplace, open courseware and other online classes, and even traditional colleges. http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/10/04/digital-badges-could-significantly-impact-higher-education

https://drwilda.com/2012/01/23/can-free-online-universities-change-the-higher-education-model/

Jon Marcus reported in the Washington Post article, Online course start-ups offer virtually free college. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend
The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Whether MOOCS can develop a business model is discussed in the Economist article, The attack of the MOOCs: An army of new online courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a viable business model?

DOTCOM mania was slow in coming to higher education, but now it has the venerable industry firmly in its grip. Since the launch early last year of Udacity and Coursera, two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete. Meanwhile, the MOOCs have multiplied in number, resources and student recruitment—without yet having figured out a business model of their own.
Besides providing online courses to their own (generally fee-paying) students, universities have felt obliged to join the MOOC revolution to avoid being guillotined by it. Coursera has formed partnerships with 83 universities and colleges around the world, including many of America’s top-tier institutions…..
Besides the uncertainty over which business model, if any, will produce profits, there is disagreement over how big the market will be. Some see a zero- or negative-sum game, in which cheap online providers radically reduce the cost of higher education and drive many traditional institutions to the wall. Others believe this effect will be dwarfed by the dramatic increase in access to higher education that the MOOCs will bring.
Mr Feerick predicts that the market will be commoditised, spelling trouble for many institutions. But Anant Agarwal, the boss of EdX, reckons the MOOC providers will be more like online airline-booking services, expanding the market by improving the customer experience. Sebastian Thrun, Udacity’s co-founder, thinks the effect will be similar in magnitude to what the creation of cinema did to demand for staged fiction: he predicts a tenfold increase in the market for higher education.
Sceptics point to the MOOCs’ high drop-out rates, which in some cases exceed 90%. But Coursera and Udacity both insist that this reflects the different expectations of consumers of free products, who can browse costlessly. Both firms have now studied drop-out rates for those students who start with the stated intention of finishing, and found that the vast majority of them complete the courses.
Besides LearnCapital, a Silicon Valley venture firm, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, the participants in Coursera’s $43m fund-raising included Laureate, an operator of for-profit universities. Doug Becker, its boss, reckons that many established universities will soon offer credits towards their degrees for those who complete MOOCs. He thinks this will drive a dramatic reduction in the price of a traditional higher education, that will reduce the total revenues of existing providers by far more than the revenue gained by the start-ups. Still, if MOOCs reduce the cost of higher education by one-third, as he predicts, yet only earn for themselves 1% of that benefit, that would “still be a very nice business,” he says.
http://www.economist.com/news/business/21582001-army-new-online-courses-scaring-wits-out-traditional-universities-can-they

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Verifying identity for online courses https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/verifying-identity-for-online-courses/
Will ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCS) begin to offer credit? https://drwilda.com/2012/11/14/will-massive-open-online-courses-moocs-begin-to-offer-credit/
Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

Where information leads to Hope. ©  Dr. Wilda.com
 
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©
 
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
 
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                      http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
 
Dr. Wilda Reviews ©   http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
 
Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

Will ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCS) begin to offer credit?

14 Nov

Moi discussed online college courses in Do online badges give a more realistic appraisal than grades?

The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Often these online ventures will offer a certificate or badge to show completion of a course of study. Education Portal defines the difference between a certificate and diploma:

Certificate Overview

A certificate is earned by a student after taking a series of courses relating to a subject. Students often earn certificates to get a step ahead in the professional field of their interest and certificates may be offered in similar programs as degrees. For instance, there are certificates in business, literature and technical programs. In some technical programs, a certificate may be required.

There are also graduate certificates, often taken either alone or alongside a graduate degree program. In some programs, the student may use his or her electives to fulfill a certificate in order to make him or herself more desirable to a potential employer.

Certificate programs taken alone are similar to associate’s degree programs. However, they take less time because core academic programs are not required.

Diploma Overview

Diplomas are similar to certificates but often earned at clinical schools. For instance, a diploma of nursing is offered as an option besides an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. This diploma program is only offered at hospitals with specialty programs that provide training. A diploma often takes two years and involves as much clinical work as classroom.

Degree Overview

An academic degree can be earned at many levels, including associate’s, which takes two years, bachelor’s, which takes four years, master’s, which is two years beyond a bachelor’s degree, and doctoral, which is several years beyond a master’s degree.

A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take core courses to support a more rounded education. For instance, at many universities, those earning their bachelor’s degree are required to take English, math, science, philosophy and history. Earning a degree also opens up many more potential doors to the student than would a certificate or diploma. Many careers require that the student has earned at least a bachelor’s degree; several career options require more than this. http://education-portal.com/articles/What_is_the_Difference_Between_a_Certificate_Diploma_and_Degree.html

Some online universities are awarding badges. Lynn O’Shaughnessy reports in the U.S. News article, Digital Badges Could Significantly Impact Higher Education. http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/10/04/digital-badges-could-significantly-impact-higher-education https://drwilda.com/2012/01/23/can-free-online-universities-change-the-higher-education-model/

https://drwilda.com/2012/10/21/do-online-badges-give-a-more-realistic-appraisal-than-grades/

Nick Anderson reports in the Washington Post article, Exploring credits for free online courses:

The American Council on Education, which represents university presidents, said Tuesday it is teaming with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the free online education provider Coursera on an initiative to seek answers to those questions.

The announcement is the latest sign of the emerging influence of what are known as mass­ive open online courses, or MOOCs. Millions of people this year have tried out MOOCs on Web sites such as Coursera, edX, Udacity and others.

MOOCs are an intriguing, innovative new approach that hold much promise for engaging students across the country and around the world, as well as for helping colleges and universities broaden their reach,” Molly Corbett Broad, president of the council, said in a statement. She said the council is eager to help answer questions such as whether the free online courses can “increase learning productivity.”

Under the initiative, Coursera will pay the council a to-be-determined fee to evaluate the credit-worthiness of a selection of its courses. Coursera, a for-profit company, hosts about 200 courses from 33 prominent institutions. Among local participants are the universities of Virginia and Maryland and Johns Hopkins University.

Broad said the council also is in discussions with edX, a nonprofit MOOC venture led by MIT and Harvard University, about possible analysis of its courses.

The universities that offer MOOCs have not said that they intend to award credits for them. But a recommendation from the council that the courses are worthy of credit would be a key step toward helping students obtain transfer credit from other schools. Another key step would be to arrange proctored exams to verify student work….

Some university presidents are skeptical.

C.L. Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California, said his school will not offer free online courses. He said he worries about how much students learn through MOOCs and whether their achievement can be verified. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/exploring-credits-for-free-online-courses/2012/11/13/ccdcbac8-2d8f-11e2-89d4-040c9330702a_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

See, College Credit Eyed for Online Courses http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/14/education/moocs-to-be-evaluated-for-possible-college-credit.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Jeffrey R. Young reports in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, American Council on Education May Recommend Some Coursera Offerings for College Credit:

ACE also announced on Tuesday that it will set up a Presidential Innovation Lab that will bring together college leaders to discuss the potential of MOOC’s and new business models for higher education. The lab is supported by an $895,453 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of about $3-million in new MOOC-related grants announced Tuesday.

The review process by the council will be “similar to the way regional accreditation works,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE. Professors will look at the content, teaching methods, “evidence of student engagement,” and other elements of MOOC’s to see if they appear equivalent to that taught by an accredited college, she added.

To pass the council’s test, Coursera will make a few changes in the courses for which it seeks certification. For instance, ACE requires an “authentication of identity,” said Ms. Broad, meaning that Coursera must have some kind of proctored examination or other way to prove that students are who they say they are.

For the courses in the pilot project, Coursera will form partnerships with online proctoring companies that use Webcams and special software to monitor tests remotely, said Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera. Students hold up their ID’s to a Webcam during an appointed exam time, and an employee from the proctoring company checks them to verify identity, and then watches students take the test to make sure they aren’t cheating.

Meanwhile, the proctoring company uses software to monitor the students’ activity to make sure they aren’t just Googling the answers. Ms. Koller expects the cost of the proctoring to be less than $30 per exam.

The remote-proctoring strategy differs from an identity-verification system used by other providers of MOOC’s, including edX, a nonprofit started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Udacity, a start-up company competing with Coursera. Both of those organizations say they will use a series of testing centers run by Pearson, which will require students to travel to a test center to take final exams in person, if they want a certificate of completion.

Related Content

http://chronicle.com/article/American-Council-on-Education/135750/?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Verifying identity for online courses                                            https://drwilda.com/2012/04/15/verifying-identity-for-online-courses/

Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? https://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART © http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                            http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                                https://drwilda.com/

Do online badges give a more realistic appraisal than grades?

21 Oct

Moi discussed free online universities in Can free online universities change the higher education model?

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn have written With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the U.S. Department of Education’s new site about college costs. As college becomes more unaffordable for more and more people, they are looking at alternatives to college.

Jon Marcus reports in the Washington Post article, Online course start-ups offer virtually free college:

An emerging group of entrepreneurs with influential backing is seeking to lower the cost of higher education from as much as tens of thousands of dollars a year to nearly nothing.

These new arrivals are harnessing the Internet to offer online courses, which isn’t new. But their classes are free, or almost free. Most traditional universities have refused to award academic credit for such online studies.

Now the start-ups are discovering a way around that monopoly, by inventing credentials that “graduates” can take directly to employers instead of university degrees.

If I were the universities, I might be a little nervous,” said Alana Harrington, director of Saylor.
org
, a nonprofit organization based in the District. Established by entrepreneur Michael Saylor, it offers 200 free online college courses in 12 majors.

Another nonprofit initiative is Peer-to-Peer University, based in California. Known as P2PU, it offers free online courses and is supported by the Hewlett Foundation and Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox Web browser.

A third is University of the People, also based in California, which offers more than 40 online courses. It charges students a one-time $10 to $50 application fee. Among its backers is the Clinton Global Initiative.

The content these providers supply comes from top universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Tufts University and the University of Michigan. Those are among about 250 institutions worldwide that have put a collective 15,000 courses online in what has become known as the open-courseware movement.

The universities aim to widen access to course content for prospective students and others. At MIT, a pioneer of open courseware, half of incoming freshmen report that they’ve looked at MIT online courses and a third say it influenced their decision to go there.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Often these online ventures will offer a certificate or badge to show completion of a course of study. Education Portal defines the difference between a certificate and diploma:

Certificate Overview

A certificate is earned by a student after taking a series of courses relating to a subject. Students often earn certificates to get a step ahead in the professional field of their interest and certificates may be offered in similar programs as degrees. For instance, there are certificates in business, literature and technical programs. In some technical programs, a certificate may be required.

There are also graduate certificates, often taken either alone or alongside a graduate degree program. In some programs, the student may use his or her electives to fulfill a certificate in order to make him or herself more desirable to a potential employer.

Certificate programs taken alone are similar to associate’s degree programs. However, they take less time because core academic programs are not required.

Diploma Overview

Diplomas are similar to certificates but often earned at clinical schools. For instance, a diploma of nursing is offered as an option besides an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. This diploma program is only offered at hospitals with specialty programs that provide training. A diploma often takes two years and involves as much clinical work as classroom.

Degree Overview

An academic degree can be earned at many levels, including associate’s, which takes two years, bachelor’s, which takes four years, master’s, which is two years beyond a bachelor’s degree, and doctoral, which is several years beyond a master’s degree.

A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take core courses to support a more rounded education. For instance, at many universities, those earning their bachelor’s degree are required to take English, math, science, philosophy and history. Earning a degree also opens up many more potential doors to the student than would a certificate or diploma. Many careers require that the student has earned at least a bachelor’s degree; several career options require more than this. http://education-portal.com/articles/What_is_the_Difference_Between_a_Certificate_Diploma_and_Degree.html

Some online universities are awarding badges. Lynn O’Shaughnessy reports in the U.S. News article, Digital Badges Could Significantly Impact Higher Education. http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/10/04/digital-badges-could-significantly-impact-higher-education                                                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/01/23/can-free-online-universities-change-the-higher-education-model/

There is increasing pressure on colleges to look at ways of containing college costs.

Jeffrey R. Young has written an interesting Chronicle of Higher Education article, Grades Out, Badges In:

Grades are broken. Students grub for them, pick classes where good ones come easily, and otherwise hustle to win the highest scores for the least learning. As a result, college grades are inflated to the point of meaninglessness—especially to employers who want to know which diploma-holder is best qualified for their jobs.

That’s a viewpoint driving experiments in education badges. Offered mostly by online start-ups, the badges are modeled on the brightly colored patches on Boy Scout uniforms but are inspired primarily by video games: Just as most video games offer ways for players to “level up” frequently, to keep them excited, most education-badge projects involve rewarding achievements more fine-tuned than passing (or acing) a course. In a remedial math course, for instance, a badge might be awarded for mastering a concept, whether “surface area” or “median and mode.” Or badges might certify soft skills not usually measured at all in college courses, like teamwork or asking good questions.

So what if colleges replaced grades with badges?Erin Knight, leader of an education-badge project run by the Mozilla Foundation that provides a platform for students to display such badges on their Web sites, argues that grades shift students’ goals from learning to earning, because the stakes are so high when the result of an entire course is reduced to a single letter.

“If you tell people in a class to blog because they’re going to get a grade for it, they will do that,” she said in a recent interview in The Chronicle’s technology podcast. “But the types of interaction and participation you’re going to see are going to be very different than if it’s organic and people feel like they’re a community of learners and really want to contribute and have their own voice.”

One key benefit of education badges could simply be communicating what happens in the classroom in a more employer-friendly form…

employers do end up hitting the “like” button on badges, they may challenge the need for traditional college degrees altogether. If a student can sew enough patches on his or her online résumé from courses at a variety of institutions, why stay at one place for four years just to get a certificate suitable for framing? http://chronicle.com/article/Grades-Out-Badges-In/135056/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Study: What skills are needed for ’21st-century learning?’ https://drwilda.com/2012/07/11/study-what-skills-are-needed-for-21st-century-learning/

Online K-12 education as a cash cow for ‘Wall Street’ https://drwilda.com/2011/11/21/online-k-12-education-as-a-cash-cow-for-wall-street/

Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Producing employable liberal arts grads                              https://drwilda.com/2012/04/01/producing-employable-liberal-arts-grads/

Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping https://drwilda.com/2012/03/24/borrowing-from-work-schools-teach-career-mapping/

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Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges?

17 Sep

Moi discussed free online universities in Can free online universities change the higher education model?

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn have written With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the U.S. Department of Education’s new site about college costs. As college becomes more unaffordable for more and more people, they are looking at alternatives to college.

Jon Marcus reports in the Washington Post article, Online course start-ups offer virtually free college:

An emerging group of entrepreneurs with influential backing is seeking to lower the cost of higher education from as much as tens of thousands of dollars a year to nearly nothing.

These new arrivals are harnessing the Internet to offer online courses, which isn’t new. But their classes are free, or almost free. Most traditional universities have refused to award academic credit for such online studies.

Now the start-ups are discovering a way around that monopoly, by inventing credentials that “graduates” can take directly to employers instead of university degrees.

If I were the universities, I might be a little nervous,” said Alana Harrington, director of Saylor.
org
, a nonprofit organization based in the District. Established by entrepreneur Michael Saylor, it offers 200 free online college courses in 12 majors.

Another nonprofit initiative is Peer-to-Peer University, based in California. Known as P2PU, it offers free online courses and is supported by the Hewlett Foundation and Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox Web browser.

A third is University of the People, also based in California, which offers more than 40 online courses. It charges students a one-time $10 to $50 application fee. Among its backers is the Clinton Global Initiative.

The content these providers supply comes from top universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Tufts University and the University of Michigan. Those are among about 250 institutions worldwide that have put a collective 15,000 courses online in what has become known as the open-courseware movement.

The universities aim to widen access to course content for prospective students and others. At MIT, a pioneer of open courseware, half of incoming freshmen report that they’ve looked at MIT online courses and a third say it influenced their decision to go there.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/online-course-startups-offer-virtually-free-college/2012/01/09/gIQAEJ6VGQ_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

The New York Times reported about the online education trend in the article, Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/education/25future.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Many free online colleges are not accredited. As an example, University of the People states this in their catalog:

RECOGNITION

At present, University of the People is not an accredited institution. The University is in the process of preparing the necessary materials to apply for accreditation from an agency recognized by the U. S. Department of Education. At this time no assurances can be given as to when, or if, accreditation might be granted….

NOTICE CONCERNING THE TRANSFERABILITY OF CREDITS AND CREDENTIALS EARNED AT OUR INSTITUTION

The transferability of credits you earn at University of the People is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the degree you earn in either the Computer Science or Business Administration program is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the credits or degree that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your course work at that institution. For this reason you should make certain that your attendance at this institution will meet your educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which you may seek to transfer after attending University of the People to determine if your credits or degree will transfer.

Contact Information

For questions or comments, please contact: info@uopeople.org

http://www.uopeople.org/files/Pdf/university_catalog.pdf

Before signing-up for any course of study, people must investigate the claims of the institution of higher learning regarding graduation rates and placement after completion of the degree. The U.S. Department of Education has an accreditation database and you can always check with the department of education for your state. Back to College has a good explanation of College Accreditation: Frequently Asked Questions

Often these online ventures will offer a certificate or badge to show completion of a course of study. Education Portal defines the difference between a certificate and diploma:

Certificate Overview

A certificate is earned by a student after taking a series of courses relating to a subject. Students often earn certificates to get a step ahead in the professional field of their interest and certificates may be offered in similar programs as degrees. For instance, there are certificates in business, literature and technical programs. In some technical programs, a certificate may be required.

There are also graduate certificates, often taken either alone or alongside a graduate degree program. In some programs, the student may use his or her electives to fulfill a certificate in order to make him or herself more desirable to a potential employer.

Certificate programs taken alone are similar to associate’s degree programs. However, they take less time because core academic programs are not required.

Diploma Overview

Diplomas are similar to certificates but often earned at clinical schools. For instance, a diploma of nursing is offered as an option besides an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. This diploma program is only offered at hospitals with specialty programs that provide training. A diploma often takes two years and involves as much clinical work as classroom.

Degree Overview

An academic degree can be earned at many levels, including associate’s, which takes two years, bachelor’s, which takes four years, master’s, which is two years beyond a bachelor’s degree, and doctoral, which is several years beyond a master’s degree.

A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take core courses to support a more rounded education. For instance, at many universities, those earning their bachelor’s degree are required to take English, math, science, philosophy and history. Earning a degree also opens up many more potential doors to the student than would a certificate or diploma. Many careers require that the student has earned at least a bachelor’s degree; several career options require more than this. http://education-portal.com/articles/What_is_the_Difference_Between_a_Certificate_Diploma_and_Degree.html

Some online universities are awarding badges. Lynn O’Shaughnessy reports in the U.S. News article, Digital Badges Could Significantly Impact Higher Education. http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/the-college-solution/2011/10/04/digital-badges-could-significantly-impact-higher-education                                                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/2012/01/23/can-free-online-universities-change-the-higher-education-model/

Doug Ward posts the article, Why Online Education Has Gained Revolutionary Momentum at PBS Media Shift:

The rush to create large, free online classes has generated anxiety at universities around the country. With finances already tight and with a surge of movement toward online learning, universities are being forced to move quickly to change centuries-old models of learning. Terms like historic, seismic and revolutionary now pop up in descriptions of the challenges that higher education faces in the coming years….

Technology leads the way

Internet connections, computers and cellphones have become faster and cheaper, providing easier access to online material and creating the potential to speak with, work with, and learn from nearly anyone in the world. Information, once something people had to seek out, now flows relentlessly to them. In education, lecture capture and lesson creation have become easier and cheaper, and online storage has made retrieval cheap and easy. Free tools like Moodle, Jing, YouTube, and Twitter have provided new means of information sharing and collaboration. Smartphones and the iPad have provided portable means of accessing and creating information, making learning more portable than ever…

College costs have skyrocketed

The expense of higher education has risen more than 550 percent since 1985, pricing many students out of the market even as a college degree becomes more important than ever for reaching the middle class. At the same time, the cost of technology has dropped, allowing more people easier access to the Internet and to resources for learning….

Convenience attracts students online

Online and hybrid education offers students freedom to work through course material when and where they want, and at their own pace, repeating material if needed, and reducing the amount of time they sit passively in large lectures…

Teachers innovate for a digital generation

Educators have been experimenting with technology, sharing ideas and collaborating as they try to find ways to reach a generation of students that has grown up with computers, cell phones, Xboxes, Nintendo and other electronics. K-12 schools, especially, have shown increased interest in using games, phones, iPads and other unconventional means to engage students in the classroom. Social media have accelerated the spread of ideas, spurring even more innovation.

Online and hybrid education offers new means of engaging students through interactive lessons, videos, animations, games, discussion boards and chats. These are all familiar and comfortable technologies for a generation of students that has grown up with ubiquitous technology….

Digital education offers a broad reach

Online education allows universities to reach students who can’t or don’t want to move to a physical campus, eliminating physical boundaries for recruitment and making nearly anyone anywhere a potential student.

Distance education is nothing new. It has existed for more than a century in the form of correspondence courses taken by mail. Radio and television allowed educational material, often lectures, to be broadcast, and educational shows such as “Sesame Street” combined education and entertainment…

For-profit colleges compete for students

The University of Phoenix and other for-profit colleges have attracted millions of students and millions of dollars in tuition with online courses. This has caught the attention of traditional colleges and universities, which see many potential students slipping away. Some critics of traditional education have even indicated that a degree matters less than tangible skills, and have suggested using certificates, badges and other means as a way to authenticate those skills….

Big online courses gain notoriety

New organizations such as Coursera and edX have made headlines by attracting large numbers of students, large investments of capital, and commitments from big-name universities. That has increased the buzz about online and hybrid education, especially as new deals have been struck and new money has flowed to the organizations.

The success of large online courses, or MOOCs (for massive open online courses), at attracting students and capital, and the success of for-profit colleges have sent many colleges and universities scrambling to avoid the perception that they lack vision or the ability to change in an era of digital learning. No university wants to look like an also-ran….

College budgets keep shrinking

Administrators are looking to online education and technology in general as a means to save money. Budgets have been squeezed, especially at public institutions, even as fixed costs remain high.

Bowen and his colleagues at Ithaka S+R offer one of the more persuasive arguments about potential cost savings through more efficient use of technology, personnel, and facilities. Upfront costs are higher as courses are developed, they say, but once a hybrid course is created by a faculty member, additional sections can be added using less-expensive adjuncts and teaching assistants….

Where is this headed?

The move toward technology-aided learning will only accelerate in coming years. Many K-12 schools have been investing heavily in tablets and other technology in hopes of reducing costs on textbooks.

Others have embraced a bring-your-own-device model, which draws on students’ growing ownership and use of cell phones, laptop computers and tablets. Many schools are also investing in tools such as lecture capture, high-speed wireless networks, cloud computing, and social networking, and combining technology-aided education with classroom work.

Despite these many changes, online education is unlikely to push aside a traditional four-year on-campus degree in the near future. That “college experience” allows students to make connections with faculty members, to work closely with peers and teachers, to improve their critical thinking, and, perhaps most importantly, to mature as they live away from home for the first time. With technology changing the way younger students learn, though, and with more new options for learning popping up constantly, universities have no choice but to adapt and make it clear to students what they offer over the myriad online alternatives.

Doug Ward is an associate professor of journalism and the Budig Professor of Writing at the University of Kansas. He is the author of “A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research” and a former editor at The New York Times. You can find him online at www.kuediting.com and www.journalismtech.com, and follow him on Twitter @kuediting.                                                                                                   http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2012/09/why-online-education-has-gained-revolutionary-momentum255.html

With any education opportunity the prospective student and their family must do their homework and weigh the pros and cons of the institution with with the student’s goals and objectives. In answer to the question of whether online college is a threat to traditional bricks and mortar universities, it depends. The market will answer that question because many students do not attend college to receive a liberal arts education, but to increase employment opportunities. If the market accepts badges and certificates, then colleges may be forced to look at the costs associated with a traditional college degree.

Related:

Online K-12 education as a cash cow for ‘Wall Street’ https://drwilda.com/2011/11/21/online-k-12-education-as-a-cash-cow-for-wall-street/

Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Producing employable liberal arts grads                       https://drwilda.com/2012/04/01/producing-employable-liberal-arts-grads/

Borrowing from work: Schools teach career mapping https://drwilda.com/2012/03/24/borrowing-from-work-schools-teach-career-mapping/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©