Linda Weiser Friedman, Ph.D. Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, CUNY
Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D. School of Business Brooklyn College, CUNY
Models of distance education have evolved over decades, just in time to collide with modern pedagogies in which communication, interaction, student engagement, and active learning are of critical importance. The number of college students taking online classes continues to grow. Today, nearly 30% of college students are taking at least one online class. The social media technologies encompass a wide variety of Web-based technologies such as blogs, wikis, online social networking, and virtual worlds. This paper examines the relevant published literature, looking at online learning activities through the prism of the defining characteristics of today’s new communication technologies. Full Article (PDF)
The 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group reveals the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million. Higher education adoption of Massive Open Online Courses remains low, with most institutions still on the sidelines.
“The rate of growth in online enrolments remains extremely robust, even as overall higher education enrolments have shown a decline,” said study co-author Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group. “Institutional opinions on MOOCs are mixed,” added co-author I. Elaine Allen. “Some praise them for their ability to learn about online pedagogy and attract new students, but concerns remain about whether they are a sustainable method for offering courses.”
Todd Hitchcock, Senior Vice President of Online Solutions, Pearson Learning Solutions, stated, “Learning is no longer limited to four walls – learning can happen anywhere – and it already is happening everywhere, everyday. The growth of online learning underscores this need for quality, flexible education programs that meet the demands of our 21st-century workforce.”
Frank Mayadas, Senior Advisor to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and founding President of the Sloan Consortium noted “As in past years, the survey demonstrates the continuing robust growth in a wide range of institutions. It underscores the importance of online learning in higher education in the U.S. What a remarkable ten year period the survey has captured.”
Key report findings include:
Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year.
Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
Only 2.6 percent of higher education institutions currently have a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), another 9.4 percent report MOOCs are in the planning stages.
Academic leaders remain unconvinced that MOOCs represent a sustainable method for offering online courses, but do believe they provide an important means for institutions to learn about online pedagogy.
Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face classes.
The proportion of chief academic officers who believe their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education has not increased – it now stands at only 30.2 percent.
The proportion of chief academic leaders who say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is at a new high of 69.1 percent.
The perception of a majority of chief academic officers at all types of institutions is lower retention rates for online courses remain a barrier to the growth of online instruction.
The tenth annual survey, a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States. Based on responses from over 2,800 academic leaders, the complete survey report, “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” is available at http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/changing_course_2012
The proceedings from mLearn 2012: Mobile and Contextual Learning Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning 2012: Helsinki, Finland, October 16 -18, 2012, are now available online in full text for free.
The NMC Horizon Report > 2013 Higher Education Edition is a collaborative effort between the NMC and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), an EDUCAUSE Program, and is slated to be released in February 2013.
The tenth edition will describe annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, a decade-long research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in higher education. Six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.
The 2013 Horizon Project Higher Education Advisory Board initially voted on the top 12 emerging technologies — the result of which is documented in this a interim report: the NMC Horizon Project Short List > 2013 Higher Education Edition. This Short List then helped the advisory board narrow down the 12 technologies to six for the full publication. Those results are available in the official Preview. View the work that produced these findings at www.horizon.wiki.nmc.org. Download the Short List PDF Download the Preview PDF
The book “Essentials of Online Course Design” from Majorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski is one I have heard about from a few people recently, and one I felt would be worth reading, and at a reasonable £22 from Routledge it’s a fair investment … not to mention the accompanying companion website.
The book is described as a “fresh, thoughtfully designed, step-by-step approach to online course development.” The core of the book is a set of standards that are based on ‘best’ practices (I prefer the term ‘good practice’ as ‘best practice’ implies there is no room for improvement) in the field of online learning and teaching. “Pedagogical, organizational and visual design principles are presented and modeled throughout the book and users will quickly learn from the guide’s hands-on approach. The course design process begins with the elements of a classroom syllabus which, after a series of guided steps, easily evolve into an online course outline” (this last bit was taken from the promotional text).
Read More: Book Review: “Essentials of Online Course Design” – Technology Enhanced Learning Blog.
Buy the Book: Essentials of Online Course Design: A Standards-Based Guide
Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning: An Annual Review of Policy and Practice (2012) is the latest in a series of annual reports that began in 2004 that examine the status of K-12 online education across the country. The report provides an overview of the latest policies, practices, and trends affecting online learning programs across all 50 states.
Keeping Pace is researched and published as a service to the educational and governmental communities through the generous support of our sponsors. Distribution of the report and graphics for presentations are free.
Free Download: Reports & Graphics « Keeping Pace.
The Canadian Journal of Higher Education is a publication of the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. It has issued a call for papers for a special issue on: ‘Blended and online higher education: teaching and learning in a wired world.’ Topics
This special issue will ‘present research on education access and quality learning experiences afforded by online education delivery, in addition to research on the use of the Internet for interaction and collaborative engagement previously unattainable to teachers and students.’ Guest editors and submission of articles Martha Cleveland-Innes, Athabasca University Heather Kanuka, University of Alberta
Submit before December 31, 2012 to either editor.
Full Text: Call for papers on research into blended and online learning.
Blended learning—the mix of virtual education and face-to-face instruction—is evolving quickly in schools across the country, generating a variety of different models. This special report, the second in an ongoing series on virtual education, examines several of those approaches and aims to identify what is working and where improvements are needed.
Read Evaluating What Works in Blended Learning as a free digital edition—online or on your mobile device.
Full Text: Education Week: Evaluating What Works in Blended Learning.
By Frank Rennie & Tara Morrison
Digital resources—from games to blogs to social networking—are strong forces in education today, but how can those tools be effectively utilized by educators and course designers in higher education? Filled with practical advice, the e-Learning and Social Networking Handbook, Second Edition provides a comprehensive overview of online learning tools and offers strategies for using these resources in course design, highlighting some of the most relevant and challenging topics in e-learning today, including:
using social networking for educational purposes
designing for a distributed environment
strengths and weaknesses of delivering content in various formats (text, audio, and video)
potential constraints on course design
implementation, evaluation, induction, and training
Illustrated by short, descriptive case studies, the e-Learning and Social Networking Handbook, Second Edition also directs the reader to useful resources that will enhance their course design. This helpful guide will be invaluable to all those involved in the design and delivery of online learning in higher education.
Pre Order (Dec 2012) e-Learning and Social Networking Handbook: Resources for Higher Education
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 11, No 2 (2010)
Tanya Elias, Athabasca University, Canada
The paper identifies a set of universal instructional design (UID) principles appropriate to distance education (DE) and tailored to the needs of instructional designers and instructors teaching online. These principles are then used to assess the accessibility level of a sample online course and the availability of options in its LMS platform (Moodle) to increase course accessibility. Numerous accessibility-sensitive plug-in modules are found to be available to Moodle users, though relatively few features were included in the sample course analysed. This may be because they have not been made available to instructors at the institutional level. The paper offers a series of recommendations to improve the accessibility of online DE to learners with diverse abilities, disabilities, and needs.
Full Text: Universal instructional design principles for Moodle | Elias | The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning.