Saturday, April 12, 2014

A quick glance at distance education in higher ed

Looking at the “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” report I gathered a few facts and highlights of distance learning in higher education. It is based of responses from more than 2800 colleges and universities.

“Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States is the tenth annual report on the state of online learning in U.S. higher education. The survey is designed, administered and analyzed by the Babson Survey Research Group. Data collection is conducted in partnership with the College Board.

This year’s study, like those for the previous nine years, tracks the opinions of chief academic officers and is aimed at answering fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education.”
 Currently the primary delivery mode for delivering distance learning in higher ed is online. Other delivery modes used in distance learning include interactive video (two-way video), off-campus sites, telecourse and correspondence.

The study shows that about 32% of students take at least one online course. That number is comparable to numbers reported by our university. Some of the concerns noted by the report are the lower retention rates and the belief in the lack of acceptance of online degrees by potential employers. One of the main concerns at our university is student authentication. We are currently partnering with ProctorU to offer another proctoring option to the faculty and students. It was interesting that just 30.2% believed that their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education.

Massive open online courses, MOOCs, were kind of the buzz word last year but according to the report, online 2.6% have them, 9.4% are planning them, 55.4% are undecided and 37.2% say they are not interested. Our university will soon pilot a MOOC but no long term commitment has been instituted.

Two sites I use the a lot for my online classes are and I use to host my course content and projects I am working on. WordPress is easy to setup and customize. It is a great way to host your content for current students in case of an lms outage or students that are interested in taking your course. I use screencastomatic to create the screen recordings for my courses. It is really easy to use and much cheaper than Camtasia. My students also use it to create tutorials and presentations for class.

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