First article I read was about Class Differences. The things that seem to stick out at me in this article had to do with who and why. For example, this article says that public education has the hardest time accepting that online learning or blended learning is where education is headed. Then, it states that many campus leaders (around 66%) realize that online learning is strategic to the success of their school, but they don't see it as valuable or seem to want to work harder to integrate it into the school programs. On the page after that, the statistics claim that there have been over 1 million student growth in attendance of online learning--anywhere else that would have made major news, but not in education for some reason.
One of the charts was used to show how debt to earnings ratios measure school training. Many of those surveyed said they were neutral on that subject. I can't help but wonder, were they neutral because they didn't care, or just didn't understand what was the meaning behind the questions and choices.
The last piece of the article that seemed to shock me was that the For-Profit institutes seem to think that the not-for-profits were just as good at education as they were...so, if that were the case, why are we paying more for an Ivy League education than a public state school?
The second article I read was Learning on Demand. I had to force my way through this because in many places is said the same things, even going so far as showing the same graphics in many places, as the Class Differences report. I gleaned no new information from this article than I had from the first.
The third article was Growing by Degrees. Once again, it has the same chart that hte first two articles have on what online learning is. Another Sloan Report, it tends to focus on numbers, which makes life easier for me. I find it encouraging that over 50% of the higher education schools in the US, including IU of course, off online graduate coursework. Many of the core faculties at these schools are also teaching at least one online course. It serves to make the connection, then, that a school that is able to hire a professor that is able to teach an online course, but not be in the physical area of the school, will get better professors involved because they will be able to get a large pool of candidates. However, many of the CAO's (chief academic officer) think that it takes more effort to teach an online course than a face to face, as well as it takes more effort and discipline to succeed in that type of course.
Sloan makes some generalizations that I feel are common sense, such as the fact that the larger the school, the more likely they are to offer online courses. Setting up the infrastructure needed to offer those courses is quite expensive, but worth it. Once the system is set up, they can attract even more students because of the diversity of the courses offered.
I have tried to take advantage of any classes available to take online throughout my undergrad and grad work. Since I have held a full time job throughout my higher education, plus having 1-3 kids during that time, it always worked better for my schedule because I could do my work after the kids went to bed or during naptime. In addition, I found the more online classes I took, the less patience I had for face to face classes because I couldn't stop thinking about all the other things I could be doing while I was sitting in class listening to things that were off topic. I enjoyed having self paced learning because I could go so much faster. I still feel that way with blended learning as well. However, I think that blended learning is more popular because there are some things that need face to face to be able to understand it and ask questions in real time to understand. For example, I took a calculus class fully online and it was the worst grade I ever received because I had never done that before and I didn't understand it, there was no one to answer my questions. It was horrible! I predict that blended learning will be the wave of the future because there are very few people that would be completely happy with 100% online learning 100% of the time.
Quote of the week: "One area that has generated considerable attention, especially in light of the consistent finding the not all faculty accept the legitimacy of online education, is how to best motivate faculty to teach online." Staying the Course, Online Education in the United States, 2008, Sloan Consortium.