The University of Illinois is rolling out an online master’s in data science, which will be offered in conjunction with Coursera. The new degree costs $19,200, and builds on the certificates of completion already associated with the university’s pre-existing Coursera MOOCs.
Students who have already received those certificates will have a head start toward finishing the new degree, since those certificates make up two of the four distinct areas of study. The others are data visualization and machine learning. If admitted into the program, students could trade in those certificates for course credit.
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.
A professor at Penn State reflects on trends in engagement among the 49,000 registered students in his MOOC. A blog post by one of his graduate students goes into more detail and breaks down engagement by various demographic factors.
The map shows places in South Asia where engagement was low but people earned passing grades, which signals a different type of motivation for taking the course in that part of the world compared with other locales. We also see places in the United States and Europe where people were engaging with the course and not earning a passing grade — so these would be the folks who were interested in the topic but probably didn’t care about earning the credential at the end.
I think graduate education is about to undergo a massive disruption.
Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera, suggests that innovative online graduate programs–such as the “stackable” online MBA programming now offered by the University of Illinois, entirely through MOOCs–will expand in the coming years.
The idea that online learning could actually be better than face-to-face instruction has gained credence in recent years as new technology solutions promise to make the educational experience more personalized and engaging. Has that time finally arrived? Here, eCampus News looks at seven trends that have the potential to remake the world of online learning.
The most recent survey of faculty attitudes on technology produced for Inside Higher Ed details the 2015 responses to multiple aspects of educational technology use, online learning, and social media effects on academia. The responses come from 2,175 faculty members and 105 academic technology administrators.
Colleges and universities have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on technology they believe will improve student outcomes and simplify administrative tasks. Educational technology companies continue to demolish investment records on a quarterly basis. With all this money raised and spent under the guise of improving postsecondary education, the 2015 Inside Higher Ed Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests that many instructors believe the gains in student learning justify the costs — even if the results are perhaps less significant than desired.
Anecdotal analysis of how a MOOC targeting younger learners (2nd–8th graders) succeeded in getting 50% of the students to complete the 5 week program.
“Brain Chase innovates on the uninspiring MOOC format through great storytelling–a mix of compelling online and offline experiences and the ability to customize the program for individual kids. But the program also has some things going for it based on the latest MOOC research: kids are encouraged to be active, not passive, learners and the program is structured to encourage regular, spaced activity. Both of these phenomenon are correlated with higher MOOC completion rates in the HarvardX and MITx study. Paying for the program may also increase commitment and completion. “
Sherry Turkle, professor of social studies of science and technology at MIT, argues against a technologically integrated classroom and cautions against the widespread use of digital technologies in the service of learning, asserting that these technologies lead to unimaginative (if efficient) multitasking. Turkle argues that “unitasking,” focusing on one topic at a time, allows for a deep engagement with curriculum content and peers, which is necessary to a quality education. In addition to degrading the in-class experience by constant checking of mobile devices, Turkle argues, outside of class students use tools like GChat and Google Docs to complete their assignments, avoiding in-person collaboration. Further, they miss the “serendipity” of spontaneous ideas that occur when people talk in person (but not digitally?).
“[A tool like GChat] doesn’t leave room for what I want my students to experience when they collaborate. I call it intellectual serendipity. It may happen when someone tells a story or a joke. Or when someone daydreams and comes back with an idea that goes in a new direction. None of this is necessarily efficient. But so many of our best ideas are born this way, in conversations that take a turn.”