The Babson Survey Research Group, an organization that tracks online enrollment, notes that between 2012 and 2016 the percent of online enrollment in universities increased 17.2 percent while overall enrollment decreased. But that expansion doesn’t necessarily correlate with how the public perceives the quality of online courses, historically questioned for its lack of rigor and limited measurable learning gains.
A Gallup poll conducted back in 2015, found that 46 percent of Americans “strongly agree” or “agree” that online colleges and universities offer a high-quality education—up 30 percent from when the poll was conducted in 2011.
However, researchers caveat these findings, noting that these perception changes happen within particular pockets and are sometimes the result of strategic practices, such as universities not listing the medium of learning on student transcripts.
The last academic leader perception survey released by the Babson Research Group was in 2016.
“We’ve had more and more of the group in the middle that said, ‘I’m not sure’ move into a pro online learning stance,” says Seaman, speaking of the academic leaders he surveyed in the past. “The negative group [those who viewed online learning negatively] had not wavered at all. The positive group did not waiver at all, but we had a steady migration flow of academic leaders in the middle.”
Lowenthal has also researched student perceptions of online learning in the past, finding that learners tend to give such courses more negative evaluations than in-person courses. He says that the findings may represent the lack of experience some educators have teaching in online classrooms. He expects that to change over time, noting that good teachers in person will eventually become good teachers online.
Flipped classrooms seem to be growing exponentially
Robert Talbert, a professor of mathematics at Grand Valley State University and author of the book Flipped Learning. Talbert recently tabulated how many scholarly articles are published each year about “flipping” instruction, meaning that traditional lecture-style material is delivered before class (often using videos) so that classroom time can be used for discussion and other more active learning.
More professors are looking to experts to help them teach. (Though some resist.)
By 2016, there were an estimated 13,000 instructional designers on U.S. campuses, according to a report by Intentional Futures. And that number seems to be growing.
There’s also a growing acceptance of the scholarly discipline known as “learning sciences,” a body of research across disciplines of cognitive science, computer science, psychology, anthropology and other fields trying to unlock secrets of how people learn and how to best teach.
And what does it mean to teach an age of information overload and polarization?
Perhaps the toughest questions of all about teaching in the 21st century is what exactly is the professor’s role in the Internet age. Once upon a time the goal was to be the ‘sage on the stage,’ when lecturing was king. Today many people argue that the college instructor should be more of a ‘guide on the side.’ But as one popular teaching expert notes, even that may not quite fit.
1. Determine what the customer craves and deliver it. In the case of college and university students, there are limits. Balancing student wants and desires with what they actually need to be successful students and engaged citizens can, in fact, be extremely challenging. “The customer is always right” philosophy practiced by many businesses simply does not fit with the mission of postsecondary institutions. Instead, the role of educators is to advance and apply knowledge, facilitate the exploration of ideas, foster cognitive dissonance, prepare students as lifelong learners and productive workers, and even, hold them accountable for their actions or inactions. Ideally, the college experience should be transformational—helping students become the best person they can be. With that said, failing to align teaching methods, curriculum, academic programs, and institutional services with the needs and expectations of students is a perilous path.
2. Create unexpected value. Incumbent institutions tend to focus on known problems (e.g., student attrition causation factors, poor service delivery, cumbersome processes, undersubscribed programs, insufficient class availability). True disruption seldom occurs in this space. Creating value where it did not exist before or was not expected spawns disruption. In the private sector, such intuitive value ideation is seen in Disney’s “Imagineering” the attractions in its theme parks, Apple’s invention of the iPhone, and Airbnb’s alternative to staying with the multitudes at expensive, disturbingly uniform hotel chains. This is what the authors of Blue Ocean Strategy characterize as swimming in the “blue ocean”, where there are few, if any, competitors (Kim, W. C. & Mauborgne, R., 2005). No disruptor is found in the “red ocean” crowded with similar competitors.
3. Avoid being average. If your school is one of the elite, well-known few, with highly selective admissions, it is not average. However, the vast majority of colleges and universities do not fit this profile. They have to find other ways to distinguish themselves. A capstone student experience, an innovative curriculum, guaranteed internship placement or study abroad, digital career portfolios, or a unique pricing model represent just a few examples. While it would be ideal to find something that makes your institution distinctive throughout the nation or the world, that is highly improbable. A more attainable goal is to position your institution uniquely among your direct competitors.
4. Identify the potential for expansion. As it relates to student enrollment growth, expansion opportunities are usually found within one or more of four domains: (1) thorough penetration of your existing primary market, where the institution and its academic programs have a strong presence, (2) the introduction of new programs into your primary market, (3) promotion of the institution and existing programs in a new market, and (4) diversification—new programs and new markets. Each domain has inherent risks and potential rewards. Risk levels are illustrated in Figure 1 and are described here.
Primary market penetration possesses the lowest risk, requires the least investment of resources, and has the fastest return on investment. Depending on an institution’s primary market, this domain also may produce only modest new enrollments. Option two, mounting new programs in an institution’s existing primary market has risks associated with conducting the proper market research to determine student and industry demand as well as market saturation. Another common risk relates to the degree to which new program offerings are adequately promoted. An obvious upside to this domain is that the institution already has visibility in the market. Takingthecurrent program array to a new marketrequires the time and resources to develop a presence where none has previously existed. Sending recruiters to a new territory once or twice a year is woefully insufficient. Creating such visibility requires a sustained physical presence with area recruiters or alumni volunteers, targeted advertising, networking with schools and other organizations in the region, and strategic partnerships. Finally, diversification carries with it the highest level of risk because it involves assuming all the risks of launching new programs in a market with no prior visibility. If executed effectively, however, this domain can generate an abundance of new students.
5. Disruption always comes at a cost. It is true that your institution may create a disruption by leveraging existing technologies and human capital. Yet, no organization can avoid the cultural and real costs associated with unlearning old ways, creating new programs and business models, scaling innovations, or marketing a new approach. These costs must be weighed judiciously against potential benefits of such a paradigm shift. Once a decision is made to pull the trigger, the change process must be managed carefully with the upfront inclusion of key stakeholders.
6. Equate disruption with innovation, not extinction. The rise of educational disruptors can be unsettling. If disruption is simply perceived as a threat to the way of life in the academy or ignored, the results will be devastating for many higher education institutions. Conversely, if disruption pushes college leaders and enrollment managers out of their comfort zone and they reinvent their institutions, the educational experience of students will be greatly enhanced. In a time of creative destruction, the winners are those who exert extraordinary efforts to go beyond traditional norms, which is not always the early adopters of a new educational model or practice.
7. Successful disruptors pursue four disciplines simultaneously. The four disciplines translated into the higher education lexicon include low costs, relational connections with students, program innovations, and rapid time-to-market. Of these, student connections is the only discipline college and universities excel at consistently. To thrive in a future with a seemingly infinite number of nimble disruptive innovators, educators must compete in the other three disciplines as well.
The survey findings are from the responses of 109 deans of four-year colleges and universities in March and April 2017. Of the respondents, 61 percent were from public universities and 60 percent have been in their jobs at least five years.
Deans were divided on whether faculty members get enough support in teaching courses online–43 percent said faculty are getting shortchanged in how much help they get in rethinking their courses and teaching with technology, while 40 percent said they believe they are getting enough support and 14 percent are neutral.
One-third of deans agree online courses are comparable to face-to-face courses, and roughly the same proportion said they disagree.
Thirty-seven percent of college deans surveyed described the pace of change at their own institutions as “too slow.” Deans surveyed cite lack of money being the biggest hurdle to change, followed by resource constraints on faculty and staff and a resistance or aversion to change.
Technology is changing higher education, but the greatest value of a physical university will remain its face-to-face (naked) interaction between faculty and students. Technology has fundamentally changed our relationship to knowledge and this increases the value of critical thinking, but we need to redesign our courses to deliver this value. The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom. New technology can increase student preparation and engagement between classes and create more time for the in-class dialogue that makes the campus experience worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver. Students already use online content, but need better ways to interact with material before every class. By using online quizzes and games, rethinking our assignments and course design, we can create more class time for the activities and interactions that most spark the critical thinking and change of mental models we seek.
From attending class to talking with peers and professors, and from going to the local bookstore to having everything on a laptop in a dorm room, students on campus typically have a more “organic” learning experience than an online student who may not know how to best access these features of a higher education in an entirely mobile setting.
The essentials for getting started
Computer terms (Android) (Apple): Online learning means you’ll need to know basic computer technology terms. Both apps are free and break down terms ranging from words like “cache” to “hex code,” all in layman’s language.
Mint (Android) (Apple): Online learning students are usually financially savvy, looking for less expensive alternatives to traditional four-year tuition. This app allows students to keep careful track of personal finances and spending.
Study Tracker (Android) (Apple): These paid apps help track the time spent on courses, tasks and projects to help online students better manage their time and be able to visualize unique study patterns with the aim of ultimately improving efficiency.
Wi-Fi Finder (Android) (Apple): It’s a no-brainer: If you’re learning online and on-the-go, you’ll probably need to find a connection!
To access actual courses (LMS)
Blackboard Mobile (Android) (Apple): Access all courses that are integrated with Blackboard’s LMS.
Canvas (Android) (Apple). Access all courses integrated with Canvas by Instructure.
Moodle (Android) (Apple): Access all courses integrated with this open-source learning platform.
My note: No D2L in this list, folks; choose carefully in 2018, when MnSCU renews its D2L license
For access to files and remote annotation
Documents to Go (Android) (Apple): Students can access the full Microsoft Office suite, as well as edit and create new files without requiring a cloud app for syncing.
Dropbox (Android) (Apple): This app allows students to access any-size files from their computer anytime, anywhere. My Note: Google Drive, SCSU File space as alternatives.
iAnnotate (Android) (Apple): Read, edit and share PDFs, DOCs, PPTs, and image files.
Instapaper (Android) (Apple): Recall websites for research purposes; strip away clutter for an optimized view of content; and read anywhere, since no internet connection is needed.
Marvin (Apple): A completely customizable eBook reader that includes DRM-free books, customizable formats, layouts, and reading gestures, as well as highlighting and annotations tools. Considered one of the best replacements for the Stanza app, which is now discontinued.
Pocket (Android): An app that allows students to save websites, blog posts, videos, and other online resources to access at a later time. It also saves the information to the device, meaning no internet connection is needed.
Wolfram Alpha (Android) (Apple): Considered the scholar’s version of Google, this app is a search engine that reveals precise information for natural-language searches. For example, if you ask “What is the graduation rate for Harvard?” the engine will bring up exact numbers with citations and suggestions for similar queries.
For online communication with peers and profs
Dragon Dictation (Android) (Apple): Create text messages, social media posts, blog posts and more by using your voice (speech-to-text). According to the company, Dragon Dictation is up to five times faster than typing on the keyboard.
Evernote (Android) (Apple): Whenever you look at a list of education apps, Evernote is usually listed. This app allows students to scribble notes, capture text, send notes to computers and other users, and much more for ultimate multi-media communication.
Hangouts (Android) (Apple): Google’s social network shines for its own online video chat solution, which lets teachers, students and third-party experts easily videoconference in groups—it’s even been used to broadcast presenters live to packed auditoriums. My note: desktopsharing is THE most important part. Alternatives: SCSU subscription for Adobe Connect. Skype also has desktopsharing capabilities
Quora (Android) (Apple): Ask questions to experts including astronauts, police officers, lawyers, and much more to receive industry-insider responses.
Smartsheet (Android) (Apple): An app that allows students to create task lists and assign deadlines to share with remote group/team members.
Tom’s planner (Web): A Gantt chart-based, online planning tool that uses color-coded charts to reveal work completed and many more features for project management.
a number of recommendations for helping online programs attract students, including:
Cater to students’ career goals. “Since online students are so career focused, understanding which programs will best educate students for the job market is critical to online program success,” the researchers noted;
Make sure admissions offices provide fast responses to online students, as well as upfront figures on financial aid and transfer credits; and
Adapt online access to accommodate mobile technology.
He called to radically change the Russian model of education, beginning with kindergartens and ending with universities.
«We are trying to reproduce the old Soviet, absolutely worthless education system, we nephelem in children huge amount of knowledge», — said the head of Sberbank, adding that to change the model of education we had yesterday.
Herman Gref also stressed that he did not believe in the effectiveness of online education.
His statement also implies that in General, Russia has become a «non-downshifters»: was among the States that «lose», which did not have time to adapt our economy and entire social system to a new reality.
he got it totally right. It is pity that he talks only about Russian education. It will be even more sad, if the US education does not dig into his words
Gref has included Russia in the list of countries of downshifters