An Evolving Technology Landscape for Competency-Based Education

A report on a Gates Foundation-funded effort to encourage technology vendors to prepare to better support the anticipated growth in CBE initiatives.

Institutions should press their vendors to provide demonstrations of their CBE capabilities in real-world scenarios. They should not rely on generalizations or broad assurances about CBE being supportable by features not designed to support competencies as full-fledged entities in the product’s integrated database.

Leuba, Mark. “An Evolving Technology Landscape for Competency-Based Education.” EDUCAUSE Review, February 22, 2016.

Link: Online Education and Instructional Technology Research, Community College Research Center, Columbia U

Links to abstracts of studies completed by the CCRC, pertaining to the efficacy of online education and instructional technology. Titles include:

  • Democratization of Education for Whom? Online Learning and Educational Equity
  • Predicting Online Student Outcomes From a Measure of Course Quality
  • Online Learning: Does It Help Low-Income and Underprepared Students?

Click to learn more.

Link: 2015 Recap of Online Learning: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

2015 has seen some interesting developments in online learning. Here is a recap of some key trends, as well as critical components for higher education to consider in innovating online learning to improve student success in online programs and courses.

Thackaberry, Sasha. 2015 Recap of Online Learning: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Office of eLearning and Innovation, Cuyahoga Community College. December 23, 2015.

Link: Does Online Learning Work?

A round-up of studies on the efficacy of online education, with a particular focus on the two-year college:

Students who take online courses at community colleges get good grades in lower percentages, but (and this is a big but) they graduate sooner and in greater percentages.

Thackaberry, Sasha. Does Online Learning Work? Office of eLearning and Innovation, Cuyahoga Community College. November 19, 2015.

Link: No Significant Difference

No Significant Difference is a web site companion for Thomas Russell’s The No Significant Difference Phenomenon: A Comparative Research Annotated Bibliography on Technology for Distance Education, now in its fifth edition.

In addition to studies that document no significant difference (NSD), the website includes studies which do document significant differences in student outcomes based on the mode of education delivery. The significant difference (SD) entries on the website are further classified into three categories.

Visit No Significant Difference!


Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States

The 13th and final comprehensive annual report on online education, put out by the OLC, the Babson Survey Research Group, and others. Full report available for download.

The decision to end the reports in their current form is also based on the maturation of distance education programs in higher education and the growing number of other reports and surveys that have launched since we began this particular effort back in 2003. When more than one-quarter of higher education students are taking a course online, distance education is clearly mainstream.

Allen, I. Elaine, and Jeff Seaman, with Russell Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut. Online Report Card: Tracking Online Education in the United States. February 2016.


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Links: Stanford Launches New Innovative Teaching and Course Design Grant Program

Stanford’s new grant program seeks to provide internal financial support for innovative uses of technology in learning, including course design or re-design.

The goal of the new grant program is to support future-facing, faculty-driven innovation.

Read more at Campus Technology (January 27, 2016), or read the official announcement.

Link: MIT Expansion of Innovative Programs, Including Continuing Ed Online

Details are scant, but MIT is venturing more firmly into the world of online continuing education for professionals (including but not limited to their own alumni). They are beginning with a four-course (certificate?) systems engineering program in partnership with Boeing and NASA.

Given the pace of innovation, really, if you got a computer science degree 10 years ago, are you still prepared for the real world?

Read the press release (Feb. 2, 2016).