Online Education in the Media – January 2013

January 2013 – There has been an explosion in the mainstream press already this year concerning online education.  Here is a s synopsis of relevant  links that represent just a few of the articles that have been published.

Whose Online? What Online?

Sebastian Thrun founder of Udacity… insisted, online courses will not offer educational advantages if they simply try to transfer the classroom experience into a digital form.  Putting faculty in front of cameras and simply recording their lectures will only dehumanize the process of learning and serve to debase the practice of teaching.  Online will be an advantage only when it can be put together to do exercises that cannot easily be done in a classroom (and not simply in the sense that you can get more people to see a lecture) and when those exercises can be combined with a renewed attention to person to person pedagogical contact… I wish that there was evidence that the Regents understood this point.  But judging by the close there was none.  Regent Pattiz continues to think of online as if higher ed is the music business where you purchase a download of a discrete chunk of content rather than–as Thrun and others tried to convey–an ongoing process of directed learning.  Regent Reiss, not showing the sort of attentive learning one might wish, trotted out the tired cliche about the end of the “sage on a stage” not realizing that the implications of the presentations by EDx, Coursera, and Udacity was that the teacher as director (and not as “guide on the side”) becomes even more important in these models.

Read full article [here]. by Michael Meranze, Remaking the University.


UC may increase online courses

With insistent urging by the governor and in light of a failing online program, the University of California Board of Regents discussed ideas on Wednesday to increase the number of online courses at the UC – but have yet to lay out further concrete plans. “It’s no secret that (the) UC has hit a wall with regard to traditional instruction methods,” said UC President and ex-officio Regent Mark Yudof at the opening of the meeting. “The finances simply no longer exist to support the old model of instruction in the same ways.”

Read full article [here]. by Kristen Taketa, The Daily Bruin.


Editorial: UC push for online education is too strong

The University of California is using hyperbolic language to push forward an expansion of the system’s online education program, an unproven and expensive tactic for improving the University’s course offerings. At Wednesday’s meeting of the UC Board of Regents, UC President Mark Yudof said “It’s not secret that the UC has hit a wall with respect to traditional educational methods.” Yudof added that it is not financially feasible to continue focusing on improving “brick and mortar,” or traditional education. In addition to the $750,000 grant and the $6.9 million line of credit dedicated to the program, of which a significant amount has been spent, Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent budget proposal suggests both the UC and the CSU receive $10 million to continue developing their online education programs. The suggestion that online education is a more valuable avenue to develop than in-classroom education is flawed… Before emphasizing the importance of funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into a largely undefined expansion of the program, working with a small-scale program, put together carefully with student input, would be far more beneficial to the students. In the meantime, much of the financial and working effort the UC is putting into UC Online could be put into improving on-campus educational resources that students definitely need.

Read full article [here]. by The Editorial Board, The Daily Bruin.


As California Goes?

California is the Fertile Crescent for massive open online course providers, at least the for-profit ones. The state is also shaping up as a testing ground for phase two of the MOOC experiment, which includes fees and a path to college credit, and where public colleges try to use material from MOOCs to help meet student demand in gateway courses… Gov. Jerry Brown wants California’s public institutions to take a hard look at MOOCs. Along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he is encouraging experimentation with MOOC platforms for introductory and remedial courses.

Read full article [here]. by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Education.


UC online courses seen as inevitable

Within five years, students at the University of California will likely take 10 to 15 percent of their courses over the Internet, UC President Mark Yudof said Wednesday in San Francisco at a marathon discussion of online education with the regents, Gov. Jerry Brown and three rising stars in the world of classroom-free courses. Yudof said he’ll provide incentives for faculty to develop online courses to ease overcrowding in the most popular freshman and sophomore courses. And he said UC is working to overcome technical difficulties preventing students from taking online courses developed on campuses other than their own. Student Regent Jonathan Stein warned that students are concerned that trading the benefits of campus and classroom for computerized education would be a “degradation of the UC experience.” Yudof said that no student will be forced to take classes online, but that the migration is inevitable.

Read full article [here]. by Nanette Asimov, The San Francisco Chronicle.


UC regents pledge to expand online education in next few years

University of California leaders pledged Wednesday to sharply expand online education over the next few years, possibly aiming to have UC students take about 10% of all their classes online — averaging four courses toward their degree… Yudof promised that the new classes would be of high academic quality and would not cause layoffs. The regents were under pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown to take such steps, and last week Brown’s budget proposed giving UC $10 million next year to help finance new online courses, primarily entry-level general education courses that are now overcrowded… Just a day earlier, Brown announced the start of a pilot partnership between San Jose State and Udacity, a Silicon Valley online education group, to create low-cost online classes in entry-level subjects. Brown also plans to attend next week’s meeting of the Cal State University trustees.

Read full article [here]. by Larry Gordon, The Los Angeles Times.

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