One of the most frequently and persistently asked questions about online education is “does it work” or “is it effective.”
The question is meaningless because there cannot be any definitive answer for a number of reasons.
First, online education (and its variants such a online instruction, online teaching, distance education and distance learning) is a big umbrella that covers a wide array of different practices, which vary a great deal in terms of quality. Comparing the effectiveness of online education with face-to-face education has been the most common research approach to examine the effectiveness of online education. And the answer has been, for a long time, that there is no significant difference between the two. This answer, however, does not mean online is effective or not, it simply means there are plenty of effective and ineffective programs in both online and face-to-face education. In other words, the within variation is larger than the between variation.
Second, another reason that there cannot be a definitive answer to this question is the diversity of stakeholders in online education.
And unfortunately what works for one stakeholder may not work for the others.
Third, even within the same program and with only students as the stakeholder, there cannot be a definitive answer because no program can possibly have the same effects on all students equally.
Fourth, yet another reason that the question cannot have a definitive answer is the multiplicity of outcomes. Education outcomes include more than what has been typically measured by grades or tests.
Fifth, the rapid changes in technology that can be used to deliver online education add to the elusiveness of a definitive answer to the question. While pedagogy, design, and human actors certainly paly a significant role in the experiences of online education, so does technology.
more on online education in this IMS blog
UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education.
Challenges and Issues: A Conversation Regarding Micro-Credentials
Alternative Credentials are important to the future of understanding cradle-to-career opportunities in Professional Education. Institutions interested in considering the use of micro-credentialing face many challenges and issues. This session will be presented from the perspective of panelists who are dealing with the issues and challenges of alternative credentials. The panelists will suggest pathways for institutions to consider as they work toward cradle-to-career opportunities.
- Janet Staker Woemer, University of Wisconsin
- Linda Kingston, Winona State University
- Patricia Cook, University of Arizona
- Asim Ali, Auburn University
- Jacqui Williams, University of Melbourne
Moderator: Ray Schroeder, University of Illinois Springfield
Advancing Online Education in Minnesota State
Advancing Online Education – Full Report-1s94jfi
Defining Online Education
The term “online education” has been used as a blanket phrase for a number of fundamentally different educational models. Phrases like distance education, e-Learning, massively open online courses (MOOCs), hybrid/blended learning, immersive learning, personalized and/or adaptive learning, master courses, computer based instruction/tutorials, digital literacy and even competency based learning have all colored the definitions the public uses to define “online education.”
online education” as having the following characteristics:
- Students who enroll in online courses or programs may reside near or far from the campus(es) providing the course(s) or program.
- A student’s course load may include offering where attendance is required in person or where an instructor/students are not required to be in the same geographic location.
- Students may enroll in one or more individual online course offerings provided by one or more institutions to that may or may not satisfy degree/program requirements.
- Student may pursue a certificate, program, or degree where a substantial number of courses, perhaps all, are taken without being in the same geographic location as others.
Organizational Effectiveness Research Group (OERG),
As the workgroup considered strategies that could advance online education, they were asked to use the primary and secondary sources listed above to support the fifteen (15) strategies that were developed
define a goal as a broad aspirational outcome that we strive to attain. Four goal areas guide this document. These goal areas include access, quality, affordability and collaboration. Below is a description of each goal area and the assumptions made for Minnesota State.
Over twenty percent of existing Minnesota State students enroll in online courses as a way to satisfy course requirements. For some students, online education is a convenient option; for others, online is the only option available
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation guidelines review the standards and processes institutions have in place to ensure quality in all of educational offerings, including online.
There are a number of ways in which institutions have demonstrated quality in individual courses and programs including the evaluation of course design, evaluation of instruction and assessment of student
a differential tuition rate to courses that are offered online. If we intend to have online education continue to be an affordable solution for students, Minnesota State and its institutions must be good stewards of these funds and ensure these funds support online education.
Online education requires different or additional services that need to be funded
transparency is important in tuition setting
Distance Minnesota is comprised of four institutions Alexandria Technical & Community College, Bemidji State University, Northland Community & Technical College, and Northwest Technical College) which collaborate to offer student support services, outreach, e-advising, faculty support, and administrative assistance for online education offerings.
strategies are defined as the overall plan used to identify how we can achieve each goal area.
Strategy 1: Ensure all student have online access to high quality support services
students enrolled in online education experiences should have access to “three areas of support including academic (such as tutoring, advising, and library); administrative (such as financial aid, and disability support); and technical (such as hardware reliability and uptime, and help desk).”
As a system, students have access to a handful of statewide services, include tutoring services through Smarthinking and test proctoring sites.
Strategy 2: Establish and maintain measures to assess and support student readiness for online education
A persistent issue for campuses has been to ensure that students who enroll in online course are aware of the expectations required to participate actively in an online course.
In addition to adhering to course expectations, students must have the technical competencies needed to perform the tasks required for online courses
Strategy 3: Ensure students have access to online and blended learning experiences in course and program offerings.
Strategy 4: These experiences should support and recognize diverse learning needs by applying a universal design for learning framework.
The OERG report included several references to efforts made by campuses related to the providing support and resources for universal design for learning, the workgroup did not offer any action steps.
Strategy 5: Expand access to professional development resources and services for faculty members
As online course are developed and while faculty members teach online courses, it is critical that faculty members have on-demand access to resources like technical support and course assistance.
5A. Statewide Faculty Support Services – Minnesota State provide its institutions and their faculty members with access to a centralized support center during extended hours with staff that can assist faculty members synchronously via phone, chat, text/SMS, or web conference
5C. Instructional Design and Technology Services – Establish a unit that will provide course design and instructional technology services to selected programs and courses from Minnesota State institutions.
Strategy 1: Establish and maintain a statewide approach for professional development for online education.
1B. Faculty Mentoring – Provide and sustain faculty mentoring programs that promote effective online pedagogy.
1C. Professional development for support staff – including instructional designers, D2L Brightspace site administrators and campus trainers, etc.)
more on online education in this IMS blog
If you missed our discussion today on Quality Matters and Hybrid and Online Education, here is a short outline of the topics covered:
- QM – how can we go through the process
The Center for Continuing Studies is going through QM headq/rs, but MnSCU has also its own review process.
- how does the library fit in Hybrid and Online Education
- compensation for faculty to prepare and lead Hybrid and Online Education
Please login your ideas, suggestions, and comments!…
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(2020) Conflicting logics of online higher education, British Journal of Sociology of Education, DOI: 10.1080/01425692.2020.1784707
The advent of massive open online courses and online degrees offered via digital platforms has occurred in a climate of austerity. Public universities worldwide face challenges to expand their educational reach, while competing in international rankings, raising fees and generating third-stream income. Online forms of unbundled provision offering smaller flexible low-cost curricular units have promised to disrupt this system. Yet do these forms challenge existing hierarchies in higher education and the market logic that puts pressure on universities and public institutions at large in the neoliberal era? Based on fieldwork in South Africa, this article explores the perceptions of senior managers of public universities and of online programme management companies. Analysing their considerations around unbundled provision, we discuss two conflicting logics of higher education that actors in structurally different positions and in historically divergent institutions use to justify their involvement in public–private partnerships: the logic of capital and the logic of social relevance.
Unbundling – the disaggregation of educational provision and its delivery, often via digital technologies
Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s (2006) framework of different orders of justification, connecting them to the sociological literature on institutional logics
We suggest that more explicit and nuanced national and institutional policies need to be produced around unbundled provision, which are cognisant of emerging trends in and dangers to the evolution of unbundling at public universities.
Unbundling the traditional university ‘bundle’ affects not only property, services and facilities, but also administration, evaluation, issuing credentials and even teaching (Wallhaus 2000, 22). This process involves separating educational provision (e.g. degree programmes) into component parts (e.g. courses) for delivery by multiple stakeholders, often using digital approaches (Swinnerton et al. 2018). Universities can unbundle on their own, offering individual credit-bearing modules outside bounded disciplinary curricula, or in partnership with OPM providers, offering MOOCs or credit-bearing courses or programmes. Proponents of unbundling suggest that the disaggregation of television and music production and its re-aggregation as on-demand digital content like Netflix or Spotify could represent a template for universities (Craig 2015; McIntosh 2018).
The introduction of market logic into the sector happens even if higher education is a stratified positional pseudo-market with scarce excludible resources only available to groups with access to a few prestigious institutions; its outcomes and value are difficult to measure in purely economic terms
Under accelerated marketisation, Tomlinson (2018, 714 and 724) argues, higher education is reduced to the latter frame and measured in terms of income generation, employability, consumption and performativity. Building on this framework, and relating it to unbundling, we identify the emergence of two organisational logics of higher education: the logic of social relevance and the logic of capital.
Institutional logics are ‘supra-organizational patterns of activity by which individuals and organizations produce and reproduce their material subsistence … [and] symbolic systems, ways of ordering reality… rendering experience of time and space meaningful’ (Friedland and Alford 1991, 243). Unlike new institutionalism, which remained focused on processes of institutional isomorphism or the replacement of a static single logic by another, the institutional logics perspective offers a more dynamic multi-level view: a plurality of logics coexist in complex interrelations within organisational fields like higher education
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CORNELIUS, L. M., & CAVANAUGH, T. W. (2013). Distance Learning, Distant Courtrooms. Chronicle Of Higher Education, 60(12), A30.
We are in the early stages of distance-specific litigation, and most rulings, thus far, have been made at the level of basic trial courts. We await precedents from more senior courts, the possibility of Congressional action, interstate compacts, and other unseen developments for more guidance. At the same time, however, it has also become clear that the new frontier of distance learning is also entering the sphere of courts and lawyers. It is not too early for distance programs and their institutions to take note. – See more at: http://chronicle.com.libproxy.stcloudstate.edu/article/Distance-Learning-Distant/143097/#sthash.xGXwBG1D.dpuf