Wednesday, September 30, 2009

College Placement

Computer adaptive tests are coming to college placement testing. McCann has created a series to help 2 and 4 year universities place students in the right courses. It is a little sad that we cannot rely on high schools to ensure that all students are properly prepared to enter college. But we are getting the right fixes in place to make sure we get students up to speed faster.

The next step is to place these students in online courses that get them where the need to be in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Which is why Scholarity is working so hard.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When will universities change?

Great article on online learning republished from the Chronicle of Higher Ed in Free Dominion on “Will Higher Ed be the Next Bubble to Burst?” by Cronin and Horton. The point I like best about this is it calls out the Phoenix’s of the world who have online institutions but no real cost savings for students over state schools. Shouldn’t there be efficiencies and cost savings from online classes or are they ignoring some of the gains technology can offer?

The story highlights Brigham Young which has lowered tuition! From the article:

Brigham Young University-Idaho charges only $3,000 in tuition a year, and $6,000 for room and board. Classes are held for three semesters, each 14 weeks, for 42 weeks a year. Faculty members teach three full semesters, which has helped to increase capacity from 25,000 students over two semesters to close to 38,000 over three, with everyone taking one month (August) off. The president, Kim B. Clark, is a former dean of the Harvard Business School and an authority on using technology to achieve efficiencies. By 2012 the university also plans to increase its online offerings to 20 percent of all courses, with 120 online courses that students can take to enrich or accelerate degree completion.”

There you have it. It can be done more efficiently and online courses can accelerate the timing of graduation. The final question: why aren’t more universities doing this?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Virtual Revolution

There was an interesting article in the Sunday Washington Post about the virtual education revolution. It is interesting because the revolution is getting a huge boost from the economy and it is puzzling to me that bricks and mortar institutions are not figuring this out at all.

Students have less money to go to school so institutions have to find efficiencies in their system or they will lose customers. At the same time, institutions are getting significantly less money from the state and feds. But we have more kids wanting to go to college. The result is more crowded classrooms and kids having to stay in school longer because the classes they need are full.

My own daughter had significant problems putting together her schedule at JMU this semester. And all I could think of was why don’t they offer more online courses so the timing wouldn’t be so difficult and it would save everyone some money. The article makes the great point that many of the classes taught are “commodities” that can be accomplished with high volume, low cost methods that virtual classes can provide.

The university systems need to wake up or they will be left behind.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Online learning scores again

Excellent piece by Matt Ladner who is becoming increasingly convinced that the only way to save education is through virtual schooling. He has a great summary of some of the data points that support the argument that education is really in the midst of a disruptive innovation. We could not agree more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Finally Digital?

In an earlier post I reviewed the book, Liberating Learning by Terry Moe and John Chubb and pulled this quote from their predictions on the future:

Textbooks and other print resources will be free but online companion courses and tutoring will earn the money

And now we have McGraw-Hill Connect doing just that. They are producing online textbooks for college students with a host of add-ons including lecture capture, non-linear options for reading the material, instant grading and more. And the best part is that it is less than half the price.

We pay over $500 per semester for books so if every college professor provided this option it would save each college student $2,000. That is HUGE!!

So you save money, get more features, more customized learning and when the new edition comes out we don’t waste millions of trees making it far more environmentally friendly options.

Can we please get this nationwide now????

Friday, September 4, 2009

Virtual Education Making the News

The economy is driving business to online schools. Nothing surprising here but it is great to see CNBC covering it. It is not just happening in higher ed – it is a phenomenon in K-12 as well. The only amazing thing is that it has not happened faster.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blog Carnival of Education innovation!!

The new Blog Carnival of Education Innovation is up at ABCTE - - give it a read and find out what is going on in the blogosphere. With a Scholarity posting!