Skip to comments.Online Courses Have Reached A Turning Point That Should Scare Bricks and Mortar Colleges
Posted on 06/28/2013 11:05:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Colleges around the country should be worried. The quality of online courses is catching up fast.
Depending on whom you talk to, massively open online courses (MOOCs) will upend and democratize higher education, or are half-baked approximations of lectures that can never equal the classroom.
Kevin Carey, the director of the Education Policy Program at the New America Foundation put it to the test, spending four months taking two MOOCs, from start to finish.
One, a Coursera Introduction to Philosophy was everything critics dislike, he says. Too brief, and with none of the problem sets, essays, or tests that make sure you absorb and apply the information.
The second, an MIT introductory biology course hosted by edX, was an entirely different animal.
After taking the course, Carey admits that while not every course can transition online for less money and at a higher level of quality than what most students experience, the amount that can is "a lot more than people realize or want to admit"
That's going to lead to a lot of disruption, and many lost jobs. But there's a lot of upside, as well.
The course managed to respond to the biggest criticisms of the skeptics. It led Carey to claim that "the burden of proof is no longer on technology to show that it can make traditional higher education better in a way thats worth the price to students and taxpayers. Its the other way around."
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
I’m working toward an associates degree in Criminal justice at a local community college. It’s a mixture of in class and online courses and the credits I earn will be transferable to the bigger colleges like UVM.I see no difference between the quality of the online classes versus in class.
I’m certainly counting on online offerings for post-high school homeschooling.
I’m not sending a daughter off to some hedonist institution just because that’s what’s expected next in her life.
RE: I see no difference between the quality of the online classes versus in class
Do you get to ask questions if you don’t understand something?
When I took my first online course in 2001, it seemed like a real novelty—classes originated at a school 2,000 miles away, my classmates were from as far away as Australia and the Philippines, and my term paper wasn’t written on paper.
I am currently doing 4 courses this summer into fall. One of them we have to log in for a chat with the class each week and discuss the questions presented to us. Then we have to attach a written “paper” from what we got from our reading assignments. If we have questions during the course we can send them to the professor if we are not in the chat room. One is an easy-peasy one to get my license to teach in AZ transferred from out of state. I like the idea that I can do these in the summer when I am off instead of trekking to a college at night or Saturdays during the school year.
My daughter is an arts major. I have many discussions with her and her classmates about their post graduate prospects. To a person, their expectations for salary are very low. They could actually be higher. There are no, zero, nada, delusions that they are going make a ton of money.
So, to present their degree and the salary prospects as if that was a major consideration is really kind of a BS argument.
The funny thing is that the application process for “art” school was more competitive and “in your face mean” than any college admission process I had seen. To get into a world class art program is as competitive as any top tier business education university. They simply look at different skill sets.
Many folks think of it as finger painting every day. They do not see the chemistry of pigments, the physics of kilns, the discipline and workload of any military school I’ve seen, and the marketing aspects of presenting and selling their work.
If you think the critique of a grad level case study in Mgmt 503 is harsh—the critiques of art projects are brutal and they are designed to make the student improve and toughen up for the harshness of the art world. The mental toughness of these kids just blows me away.
I am not trying to convince anyone that art school is the best investment of school loans—but comparing outcomes without discussing expectations is a rookie mistake in presenting information like this.
Do your online classes use BlackBoard?
My son just graduated with an AA in Criminal Justice. He joined the Marines.
And there’s the criminal under-culture attracted to college/university towns, pressure to attend binge drinking parties and clubs that include drugs, rapes, living in an expensive, fleabag apartment and so on.
My brother went to Cooper Union in NYC for art. If you are good enough to be admitted your education is free.
I think they are going to change their policy, however.
Oh yes. The teachers use blackboard and they are also very flexible about using private email if you have questions or need any help.
The online class I took last semester was “Terrorism and National Security” (I passed with an A+, btw.)In the wake of the NSA scandal and how they track your emails I’m expecting a knock on my door anytime now.
Whenever my application works its way through at little tech college I am looking at more networking related items.
Throw in 3 year degrees and watch them all $hit!
There is always room for the best in any discipline.
Our little corner of coastal FL hosts Plein Air artists once a year. They make huge $ from their original works.
I teach an on-line course in Just War Doctrine. No video lectures. I assign readings in the textbook(s), and prepare a reading of my own, the purpose of which is, like a lecture, to lead the student through the important points in the textbooks. I'm available via email daily. The software allows for student discussion, much like what goes on here on FR: post a discussion question, and the students enter comments. They are aware that their level of participation in the discussions will affect their grade. The big advantage, as I see it, is that students can read, comment, etc., at their convenience. We don't all hafve to be on-line at the same time.
the setup seems ideal for liberal arts courses. However, there's the matter of engineering/science courses, which really need labs. Years ago I took a correspondence course in TV repair (the VA paid for it, and part of the course was to build a TV set, so I thought it was worth the effort). I was really surprised at the extent to which they provided "lab work" so I could learn what goes on inside a TV set. I built test instruments, calibrated them, and used them to check out the TV as I built it, stage by stage. My point is that I think an on-line engineering or science course could provide lab work as well as is done in a residential college.
I don't think an on-line course should mimic a lecture course. The medium is not the message. The trick will be to decide what the students need to learn during the course, and use the strengths of on-line presentations to provide it.
In the lecture courses I used to each, using a blackboard, it often occurred to me that if Socrates walked into my classroom, it would take him about five seconds to realize he should write on the board with chalk instead of on the ground with a stick. After that he'd be right at home. Lecture courses have never really taken full advantage of the technology of the printing press.
The BEST part of on-line courses is that there is no Union-infested teaching staff to indoctrinate you into the Progressive column. You can bet that there will soon be Department of Education clamp-down to stem this non-Union Teaching stuff. Likewise, the handouts of Taxpayer dollars to Colleges should be trickling down, too. Attendance is dropping as they’ve priced themselves out of a job (same as the Unions have done in ALL areas except Government jobs, which is their BIGGEST growth market).
>>There are no, zero, nada, delusions that they are going make a ton of money.<<
Are they going to graduate free from their student loans? Or is there going to be a balance remaining? How are they expecting to pay off these loans if they don’t earn more than required for living expenses?
Most of them, like my daughter have pretty decent scholarships.
I had no real concept of just how good her school was. Until recently, that is. We went on a trip out west ans stopped in a lot of high end galleries. Once the curators realized she was not “ just a tourist” I saw their demeanor change.
They went from barely speaking to her, to being fully engaged.
After seeing that happy half a dozen times, I walked away much more comfortable with her future.
It takes you three years to get through college?
What online courses are you looking at. We’ve been mostly disappointed in the quality of online courses. Too many simply try to replicate the classroom and to the convenience of the teacher.
MIT has started putting its courses online, including lectures, notes, and even exams, which I believe some professors (or their assistants) will score and provide feedback on. For some courses they give a certificate of completion though of course no actual credit. Its all free and no registration required.
They have 10 yrs to get it right (for my family).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.