TED-Ed is launching a suite of tools that allow teachers to design their own web-assisted curricula, complete with videos, comprehension-testing questions, and conversational tools. TED-Ed provides a template — think Power Point slides, with populate-able fields — that teachers can fill in with customized content: lesson titles, lesson links, student names, embedded video, test questions, and the like. Once saved, a lesson generates a unique URL, which allows teachers to track which students have watched assigned videos, how they’ve responded to follow-up questions, and, in general, how they’ve interacted with the lesson itself. Teachers can customize the lessons they create on a student-by-student basis, using the TED-Ed platform both to track individual student progress and to tailor questions to student interests and skill levels. The site offers real-time feedback to students, letting them know when they get answers right and providing hints when they get answers wrong.
At community colleges, enrollment in online programs is growing at a faster pace than in traditional courses, and that means new challenges for administrators who must now provide student services and other support in a virtual realm. That’s according to a new survey by the Instructional Technology Council. In this year’s survey, college administrators ranked “adequate student services for distance-education students” as their greatest challenge, raising it two spots from No. 3 in the previous year’s survey. For the past seven years, “support staff need for training and technical assistance” has been the biggest obstacle identified by administrators answering the survey. Other challenges included adequate assessment of distance-education classes, compliance with new financial-aid requirements, and operating and equipment budgets.
YouTube holds a rich trove of videos that could be used in the classroom, but it’s challenging to transform videos into a truly interactive part of a lesson. So the nonprofit group TED has unveiled a new Web site that it hopes will solve this problem—by organizing educational videos and letting professors “flip” them to enhance their lectures. The new Web site, unveiled today, lets professors turn TED’s educational videos—as well as any video on YouTube—into interactive lessons inspired by the “flipped” classroom model. The site’s introduction is the second phase of an education-focused effort called TED-Ed, which began last month when the group released a series of highly produced, animated videos on a new YouTube channel.
A modern knowledge economy thrives on highly trained workers. The way to get them, obviously, is through education – from basic reading skills for some, to mastery of algorithms for others. It thus would seem a basic public good to provide that learning at little or no cost to students, which most advanced countries do. But America has turned post-high-school education into a taxpayer-subsidized business – a business not unlike real estate at the height of the housing bubble. Think Americans owe a bundle on their credit card balances? They have $693 billion on their plastic, while they owe over $1 trillion on student loans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
A recent hot topic at Baruch has been hybrid and online teaching and learning. It has been a hot topic because there is a plan to teach several introductory courses online. According to the Registrar, a hybrid course encompasses one-third to two-thirds of online instruction, whereas an online course has at least two-thirds of online instruction. During the fall 2009 semester Baruch entered this online teaching realm by offering three fully online courses and one partially online course. However, about 2,000 students were enrolled in hybrid and online courses by Fall 2011. Demand for these courses grew quickly and worked to cater to the demand. On May 17, 2010 Baruch’s Committee on Online and Hybrid Education released a report concerning pedagogical efficacy, characteristic pitfalls in the area of ethics and academic honesty, and practical strengths and limitations of hybrid and online education.
The most provocative aspect of massively open online courses, or MOOCs, is how massive they can be. Last fall, several Stanford professors drew nearly 200,000 students to a series of free computer science courses, an experiment that spawned two companies. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology opened its first massive online engineering course this spring to the tune of 120,000 registrations. But for Jim Groom, an instructional technologist and adjunct professor at the University of Mary Washington, open online courses are not about scale and efficiency. They are about imagination and anarchy.
“Blended learning and online learning can not only maintain student educational performance, but enhance it,” says Aaron Brower, vice provost for teaching and learning. “To do it right requires time, efforts and some start-up costs, and Educational Innovation is ready to provide help and support with those challenges.” Henke is one of many educators on campus who are innovating to expand the university’s reach to nontraditional or distance learning audiences through weekend, evening, online and blended courses, although their approaches are different.
You can’t beat free, but are free online courses offering students anything they will actually be able to use in the future? After all, you get what you pay for right? Well that may not be entirely be true for some no cost online courses.
Following the launch of MIT’s online education course, students have praised the innovative approach at the head of a revolution in remote learning. The free MITx course offers students across the world the chance to access courses through the US university’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). The first course is called “Circuits and Electronics”, also referred to as 6.002x, and received a wave of popularity upon its launch in March. Registrations for the course soared after the announcement with 120,000 signing up. The course runs until 8 June, but MIT has started providing feedback from some of its enrolled students. As can be seen here the course has been very well received, and it offers a glance at the potential future of further education, or indeed at any level.
The University Senate discussed UConn’s plans to bolster, centralize and expand the university’s online courses program at its final meeting of the academic year on Monday. Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Sally Reiss said UConn aims to be known for the quality of its online options, rather than the quantity. The university hopes to more effectively engage international students and commuters by developing a centralized website for UConn’s so-called e-campus. “It will never replace face-to-face instruction, it will enhance it,” Reiss said. For this summer, online courses offered through UConn filled up within 48 hours, Reiss said, and some reached capacity in one hour.
Blackboard has introduced an open enrollment option for CourseSites(TM), letting instructors open registration so any number of students can sign up for courses they are teaching with the free, fully-hosted and supported online system. In addition, the company has added mobile support, giving over 200,000 CourseSites users access on a range of the world’s most popular smartphones and mobile devices. With the open enrollment option, any number and any type of student can register for an instructor’s course, making CourseSites an ideal platform for open teaching initiatives, community outreach efforts and collaborative research programs that have become increasingly popular in education. “During the past decade, the world has become wide open for learning,” said Dr. Curtis Bonk, a Professor of Education at Indiana University who is using CourseSites to launch an open course this month on learner-centered approaches to blended and online instruction. “With CourseSites and other initiatives, Blackboard is making great strides in fostering this idea of opening up education opportunities beyond traditional boundaries.”
After a successful pilot program last summer, the University will expand the number of online courses offered for credit through Yale Summer Session this year. The University will offer nine Yale College courses online for credit — up from two last year — that will be open to both Yale students and those from beyond the Yale community at a cost of $3,150 each, the same as other Summer Session courses held on campus. Dean of Yale Summer Session William Whobrey said the online courses, which are still in an experimental phase, “mimic the effects of a seminar” by allowing students and professors to interact via video chat and instant messaging. “This is an opportunity for Yale students to get credit towards their degrees even if they’re not in New Haven,” Whobrey said. “I’m sure there are students and faculty who prefer to be in the class and to see each other face-to-face, but this isn’t meant to replace that.”
Have you signed up for the Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success course? This course, to be taught by Dr. Curtis Bonk on Blackboard’s CourseSites, is designed to “provide both theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to improve motivation, retention, and engagement within blended and online courses.” The course starts in 4/30, and runs for 5 weeks.
Even in my on-campus course, I sometimes feel like I’m turning a firehose of information on my students . . . . we cover evolution, ecology, behavior, physiology, reproduction, anatomy, conservation and other topics all within a single quarter’s course, with a taxonomic scope spanning more than 30,000 species! I am hoping that I’ll still be able to teach this information effectively in an online format, but doing so still a involves a lot of reading assignments and recording of lectures, neither of which really play to the strengths of the online format (such as facilitating interactions between students). Hopefully the course will still meet its objectives and prepare the students for higher-level classes that more closely target the pinnacle of Bloom’s pyramid!
“It is very exciting and scary and it’s really important for Stanford to get it right, because a lot of places are looking to us,” said Satz, the Marta Sutton Weeks Professor of Ethics in Society, in a question-and-answer session following presentations on programs offered by the Stanford Center for Professional Development, Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies, Stanford on iTunes U and Coursera. “I know we don’t really know which way is the right way to go,” Satz continued. “One thing I’m interested in is that the first three programs are in-house programs and Coursera is an out-of-house program. MIT, which is also thinking this through, with MITx, [its online education initiative] is doing an in-house version. Provost John Etchemendy said: “We are being very careful to preserve our options. So we haven’t made a decision on that question. Everything that we’re doing is experimental.” Etchemendy said two of the three free online courses offered last fall by Stanford were in-house efforts. (Currently, the Coursera website lists 11 Stanford courses.)
Five prestigious U.S. universities will create free online courses for students worldwide through a new interactive education platform dubbed Coursera, the founders said. The two professors of computer science at Stan-ford University also announced that they had received $16 million in financing from two Silicon Valley venture-capital firms. Coursera will offer more than three dozen college courses in the coming year through its website at coursera.org. Courses will cover topics such as Greek mythology, neurology, calculus and contemporary American poetry. The classes are designed and taught by professors at Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.
The University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) was among the first institutions to bring computer science training online, beginning in 2006. Today, online enrollments in its undergrad and graduate computer science programs exceed on-campus enrollments. One UIS student who pursued online studies is Michael Bernico. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science, completing the master’s online. Today he works as a researcher investigating new technologies at a large insurance company. “For our profession, for IT, online learning works really well,” said Bernico. “Learning is just part of our job anyway, so we’re really good at teaching ourselves,” he said. Here is a closer look at four programs that are changing the nature and cost of tech education.
The course I am revising is a course I am currently teaching on campus. I often find myself thinking about how to best replicate my on-campus instruction and assessment in the online environment. However, as I am learning more and more through this course more I am seeing that they really are separate environments. While the course objectives and student learning outcomes may be the same I think I need to think less about replicating the on-campus experience and thinking more about how I can work within the online environment given the tools and resources provided to meet the objectives and learning outcomes specified.
The private, nonprofit, accredited and mostly online university was established in 1997 by 19 governors, including then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. It offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in high-demand fields, such as information technology. Mark Milliron, 44, the Austin-based chancellor of WGU Texas, discussed the university’s competency-based approach to student learning, its growth projections and other matters in a recent interview with the American-Statesman. Here is an edited account. What are your main offerings?
We have 50 degree programs in education, health, IT (information technology) and business. We’ll take that degree pathway and break it down into what’s called competency units — basically what a student needs to know and be able to do. Ours is a learning-progression model. After you learn something, you move on to the next thing you have to learn. A student pays one flat rate, about $3,000 every six months. They progress based on the amount of effort and time they put in.
When Allison Torbiak sat down in her ﬁrst-year psychology class at the University of Manitoba two Septembers ago, she was surprised to hear the woman at the front of the room announce that their Monday and Friday lectures would be replaced by online recordings of two professors talking over lecture slides. The class would meet only once per week, on Wednesdays, for a seminar led by this woman, a graduate student—and not a professor. While many of her almost 200 classmates seemed excited, Torbiak says she was disappointed. “I was looking forward to the big auditorium with lots of kids.” She wondered, “How will I stay motivated without a real live professor?”