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The personal blog of Al Stevens. Focus is overrated.

Archive for the ‘distance learning’ tag

Distance Learning Poised for Growth in US

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Stephen Hoare reporting in The Guardian reports:

State universities and their for-profit counterparts have expanded distance-learning operations massively in the past five years by reaching out to adults in the workplace who want to improve their skills and employability. Now they are poised to offer degree programmes and accelerated-learning courses to newly unemployed adults, many of whom are eligible for government education grants.

Article: Online and on the money

Written by Al Stevens

January 20th, 2009 at 11:13 am

Guardian Suggests We are at the Dawn of the Cyber Student

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Harriet Swain, in an article in the Guardian reports:

In a single week, the Open University (OU) records about two million downloads from its presence on iTunes U, a source of higher education podcasts and videos freely available on the web. About 87% of these downloads are from outside the UK. …

Thanks to ever more rapid advances in technology, the university experience of undergraduates and academics in 2020 will be radically different from that of their 2008 predecessors. But it will be an experience these predecessors have helped shape, no matter what country they come from.

Article: University Challenge: Dawn of the Cyber Student

Written by Al Stevens

January 19th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Being More Specific About Openness in Learning

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Terry Anderson, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Distance Education at Athabasca University writes on his blog, the Virtual Canuck that there are many dimensions of openness. He says:

Since these criteria of openness have important implications in many dimensions for both learner and teachers, I tend to use adjectives like distance, unpaced, free cost and other adjectives, rather than ones associated only with the media of delivery.

Blog Post: On Open, distance, e-learning and other name confusion

Written by Al Stevens

January 18th, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Online Education Reviewed in Science

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In the January 2 issue, as part of a special section on Technology and Education, Science published a review of online education.

The article authors,  A Frank Mayadas, John Bourne and Paul Bacsich assert that “The millennials [students born after 1980] are changing the way teaching and learning must be approached. Mobile learning with podcasts, text messaging, and virtual worlds will be the future norm, giving faculty new tools through which to extend and enhance the educational experience.”

The article limited discussion to online education in traditional, degree-granting institutions. They included “blended courses” that featured both online and face-to-face time. Points they make include: annual enrollment has increased by about 20% per year for the past six years; about half the enrollments are full-time students attracted to online-learning because of convenience or scheduling; most enrollments are at public institutions, all of which offer some online instruction; only about half of the traditional private institutions offer for-credit online courses; the 3.94 million students taught online represent about 22% of the estimated national student population; the adjunct/permanent faculty ratio teaching online courses mirrors the ratio found in face-to-face teaching; online instructors assert that preparing and teaching online courses is more time-intensive than for face-to-face courses; online enrollments are dominated by traditional institutions rather than  for-profit ones; institutions that have adopted online education are viewing it as a strategic asset.

Article: Online Education Today (subscription)

Written by Al Stevens

January 14th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

OEDb Releases Rankings of Online Colleges

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Online Education Database (OEDb), an independent for-profit organization located in Houston, has released their 2009 rankings of online educational institutions. The methodology used to rank the colleges was developed by Jimmy Atkinson, founder of OEDb. For each college, they gathered data for eight different metrics — acceptance rate, financial aid, graduation rate, peer Web citations, retention rate, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio, and years accredited. The overall ranking is an average ranking for each metric for which data was available.

Overall ranks as well as the scores for each metric are on the OEDb website: OEDb’s Online College Rankings 2009

Written by Al Stevens

January 13th, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Virtual Learning Environments Slow to Take Off in UK

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A report, Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings, published today by the UK’s Office for Standards in Education , shows that despite expectations the use of Virtual Learning Environments across schools and colleges has been slow to take off.

The survey, carried out in a range of settings, including schools, colleges, work-based learning and adult and community learning centres, says the concept of VLEs is still relatively new and represents only a small aspect of learning.

Among other points, the report says: “The common factor in effective VLEs was the enthusiasm of the subject teacher; that is enthusiasm for the subject and teaching and learning as much as any competence in computing”.

The news release is here:  The virtual reality of e-learning

The report is here:  Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings

An article in The Guardian provides a bit of background and perspective: No escape from turning up to class

Written by Al Stevens

January 13th, 2009 at 12:08 pm