The Rush to Provide Instruction Online

In this week’s Economist there is an article about the “rush to provide stand-alone instruction on line” in higher education title “Massive open online forces”.  Although the article focuses on higher education I think it is very pertinent because it is the students that live in this world that will soon be representative of our work force. Here are a few comments and thoughts (quotes shown by quotation marks) on  from the article that can be found at http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21595901-rise-online-instruction-will-upend-economics-higher-education-massive.

 Background

  • “Teaching has been constrained by technology”
  • “a student needed to be in a lecture hall to hear a professor or around a table to debate with fellow students”
  • “Innovation is eliminating those constraints”

Trends

  • “Online is replacing offline”
  • “Even those living on campus may nonetheless learn largely online, skipping lectures and only reporting for the final exam”
  • “the rush to provide stand-alone instruction online”

Economics

  • “adding students (in the old physical way) is expensive”
  • In the physical world…“lecturers can teach at most a few hundred students”
  • “The fixed cost of creating an online course is relatively high” but adding students is low

Style

  • I have been set totally against MOOCS (massively open online courses) due to their lack of interactivity, so it is really interesting to notes now how MOOCS are usually always associated with discussion forums and the chance to interactive virtually with the lecturers

Results

  • “An analysis of over 1,000 studies of online course results conducted by America’s Department of Education found that people who complete such courses do better on average than students in face-to-face instruction”

I strongly believe that this is the way of the of the future, and it is now a change management effort to transition everyone there rather than either a lack of technological capability or a question of “if”.

 

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