Archive for the ‘University’ Category
The Ministry of Education recently announced that it would provide the online courses in Korea in a MOOC format, combining them with lectures conducted on-site. Minister of Education Hwang Woo-yea proposed the idea at a cabinet meeting on Feb. 3, 2015. “We will select around 20 high-quality classes in universities in Korea and begin the program at the end of the year,” he said. “By 2018, we will provide some 500 online courses.” Education experts have assessed that the implementation of the MOOC platform will have a tremendous impact on Korea’s education landscape. “This new system of learning in which students take lectures online and conduct discussions in class, so-called ‘flipped learning,’ will spread in many universities,” he said, adding that some universities have already changed their regulations by replacing traditional offline course credits with MOOC credits. Since 2013, Tsinghua University and Peking University in China have allowed students who have participated in the MOOC program to earn credit after passing designated exams.
Behind the lectern stands the professor, deploying course management systems, online quizzes, wireless clickers, PowerPoint slides, podcasts, and plagiarism-detection software. In the seats are the students, armed with smartphones, laptops, tablets, music players, and social networking. Although these two forces seem poised to do battle with each other, they are really both taking part in a war on learning itself. In this book, Elizabeth Losh examines current efforts to “reform” higher education by applying technological solutions to problems in teaching and learning. She finds that many of these initiatives fail because they treat education as a product rather than a process. Highly touted schemes — video games for the classroom, for example, or the distribution of iPads — let students down because they promote consumption rather than intellectual development. Losh analyzes recent trends in postsecondary education and the rhetoric around them. In an effort to identify educational technologies that might actually work, she looks at strategies including MOOCs (massive open online courses), the gamification of subject matter, remix pedagogy, video lectures (from Randy Pausch to “the Baked Professor”), and educational virtual worlds. Finally, Losh outlines six basic principles of digital learning and describes several successful university-based initiatives. Her book will be essential reading for campus decision makers — and for anyone who cares about education and technology.
The OER university (OERu):
- aims to widen access and reduce the cost of tertiary study for learners who are excluded from the formal education sector;
- is an international innovation partnership of accredited universities, colleges and polytechnics coordinated by the OER Foundation, an independent educational charity;
- does not confer degrees, but works in partnership with accredited educational institutions who provide assessment and credentialisation services on a fee-for-service basis;
- collaborates with the global WikiEducator network of educators in the formal sector for shared course development;
- is designed to cover the operational cost of institution-based OERu services on a cost-recovery basis (or alternate revenue sources).
- will provide pathways for students to achieve credible credentials for approved courses based solely on open education resources (OER), that is learning materials that have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others;
- optimises the visibility and impact of the community service mission of tertiary education institutions requiring less than 1% of institutional budget allocation of staff time and/or institutional resources.
Read also: OER university
Several pundits and think tanks, including the credit rating agency Moody’s and Pearson, argue that MOOCs pose a threat to smaller higher education institutions, as the online revolution favours elite institutions over the rest. Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun claims – perhaps hopefully in his case? – that by 2060 there will be 10 universities left in the world. A more plausible approach is to suggest that MOOCs create opportunities for smaller institutions because of their potential to increase international visibility and create new streams of revenue.
Top-ranking institutions appear to be in an advantageous position when it comes to online provision. The vast majority of students cannot access these institutions because of a selection process that admits only the brightest and the richest. MOOCs may gradually diminish the fee obstacle, thus depriving smaller universities of a big chunk of students. This makes more sense if you consider the power of the brand, which is important on the internet, particularly for students from the developing world, and you have a market that may come closer to an oligopoly.
“Education is the cartel that technology is going to break next” “Higher education is just on the edge of the crevasse … I think even five years from now these enterprises are going to be in real trouble”. So where once you chose one college or university and hoped that each semester there would be an interesting subject available to you, the availability of MOOCs means that anyone with an internet connection can choose a course from the world’s top universities. For the remote and distant learners I work with, or those in developing countries where university-level education is not universally accessible, it means something even more – being able to study at all, and world-class courses at that. The other example of Education defying its ‘slow to adopt’ past has been the rise of mobile devices and the increased access to content they engender.
A world where online learning is generalised and ends up replacing other education delivery modes could seriously impact the original purpose of a university. The development of online courses in lieu of university-based teaching also poses a more practical problem for the humanities. More than other university areas, the humanities depend on public funds for teaching students. If students can access online modules for free from Ivy League universities, they may not want to spend tens of thousands on a degree at a traditional university. The hard sciences can seek industry partners for research funding, while the humanities largely depend on government grants. In a system where ‘impact’ is increasingly driving research, this would be the death knell for many departments who would struggle to make a case for the short-term practical relevance of their research in a free-market economy.
Overall, I think it’s very clear that people will have more opportunity to access education, but much less clear how that education will translate into opportunity, particularly for those who weren’t born to successful, educated parents. And except for a few superstars, I think the shift would be unequivocally bad for tenured professors. The corollary, however, is that it would be unequivocally good for the legions who are lured into grad school by the chimera of a tenured professorship.
Would it be good for society as a whole? I tend to think that it almost always is when things get cheaper. But we will have to rethink how we fund important research, and quite possibly, about what the engines of mobility will be for strivers who start out in the bottom quintiles.
On average, students pay $35,000 a year for the privilege of being educated at a private nonprofit American college. In December of 2011, indebtedness among college graduates reached an all-time high of one trillion dollars. But with unemployment among 16 to 29-year-olds also sky-rocketing, many young people are wondering whether a degree from a prestigious university holds the same value today as it did for their parents’ generation.
“Americans are hungry for better alternatives, yet fearful of leaving the tried-and-true path,” wrote Think Tank blogger Jason Gots in a previous post. Andrew Rosen, chairman and CEO of Kaplan, believes passionately that online universities could fill that role.