Posts Tagged ‘online education’

How is technology impacting student learning

March 29th, 2013 No comments

Education has seen many technological advances over the last few decades. Studies have shown that technology improves performance and motivates students, making learning more meaningful. Combining education and technology creates a more stimulating learning environment and ameliorates confidence.

But has constant use of digital technology by the students, started to interfere with learning? There is certain urgency in answering this question. Today’s overly digital generation calls for re-looking at the actual and potential relationship between technology and student learning.

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This interesting presentation on PREZI, created by JiEun Yoo, takes you through the effects of digital technology on learning.

There is a widespread belief among teachers that students’ constant use of digital technology is hindering their attention span and ability to handle pressure when put forth with challenging tasks. Different surveys of teachers have revealed that today’s students are not skilled enough to think critically or synthesize information they find with the aid of technology. Teachers who did not participate in the surveys re-emphasized their findings in interviews, adding that they had to work harder to capture and retain students’ attention these days.

The research conducted by two well known research organizations Pew Research Center and Common Sense Media, studied that media use among children and teenagers ranging from 8 to 18 years age group has grown so much that on an average they spend twice as much time with screens as they spend in school. The researchers however note that their findings are subjective opinion of teachers and should not be taken as a conclusive proof that widespread use of digital gadgets affects students’ ability to concentrate. However, the researchers who performed the studies, as well as scholars who study technology’s impact on behaviour and the brain, emphasize that these studies are significant because of the vantage points of teachers, who spend hours a day observing their students.

Hope Molina-Porter, an English teacher in California, is worried that technology is deeply altering the way students learn. Having an experience of 14 years in teaching accelerated students, she has noted a marked decline in the depth and analysis of written work in her students. She wonders if teachers are adding to the problem by adjusting their lessons and teaching methods to accommodate shorter attention spans.

Many teachers have expressed the fact that today’s relatively easy online research process has resulted in fewer original thoughts, less critical thinking, and not as much actual synthesis of information by their students.  They point out that students find information online and just copy and paste them directly into documents, without adequately analyzing it.  This not only elevates concerns about their understanding of concepts and practice of unfair plagiarism, but also worries some teachers that students are not developing adequate ability to think critically about the information they supposedly research on. A brief list of the areas of concern as seen by the teachers is given below:

  • Students’ overexposure to gadgets accompanied by the use of latest technology has resulted in multi-tasking that often contributes to lack of focus and weakened ability to retain knowledge.
  • Students do not prioritize enough time for critical tasks, and often rely on the various digital tools available at their disposal, to waste time and procrastinate, giving rise to concerns over their time management skills.
  • Some students’ addiction to online gaming and video games exhausts their time and attention.
  • Overexposure to digital technology is not really contributing to make students more technologically literate or more efficient.
  • Students have grown so accustomed to getting quick answers with a few keystrokes that they are more likely to resign when an easy answer eludes them. Read more…

Colleges to give Credits for Online courses

March 14th, 2013 1 comment


A bill in California’s Legislature, likely to be passed on Wednesday, would make it mandatory for public colleges and universities to award students with credit for taking some faculty-approved online courses which are oversubscribed on campus. As it seems likely to pass, it will have a significantly positive impact on the higher education scenario in America.

If this bill can win approval by state lawmakers, California would become the first state in the country to require public universities to grant credit for courses not taught by their own instructors.

The legislation would call for some of the eligible courses likely to be offered free under the banner of “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, i.e.; If students cannot take a certain class the traditional way, they can turn to offerings from companies such as Coursera, Udacity and StraighterLine, or the nonprofit EdX, a joint project of Harvard and MIT or even Pearson, the educational publishing and testing company. These companies offer affordable online courses.

“We want to be the first state in the nation to make this promise: No college student in California will be denied the right to move through their education because they cannot get a seat in the course they needed,” said Darrell Steinberg, the president pro tem of the Senate, who will introduce this bill.  Governor Jerry Brown has also been a strong advocate for online education as a means to reduce college costs.

Mr. Steinberg worked with Dean Florez, a former California Senate majority leader, in putting together this new legislative proposal. Mr. Florez was quoted as saying that the online courses would only supplement the classes taught at California’s public colleges, so that students would not be affected by delay in enrollments. He added that his own son had to wait for three semesters at Santa Monica Community College to get into a math class he needed.

Currently, over enrollment accounts for the major reason why only 16% of the students in the California State University (CSU) system graduate within four years. According to Senator Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, the state’s 112 community colleges each had an average of 7,000 enrolled students who were on waiting lists. Parents and students have a reason to cheer with the bill being passed.

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Get Credit for Free Online Classes by Public Universities

January 29th, 2013 No comments

In a view to attract degree students worldwide, many public universities have come together with a commercial company, in a plan to offer online courses free for credit to anyone across the globe. This decision primarily relies on the hope that those who take this up seriously will eventually pay the tuition to complete a degree program and this could be a great revenue stream for public universities hit hard by declining financial support from states.

The program is based on massive open online course (MOOC). The first plan under the new program, to be called MOOC2Degree, is to offer select courses in professional-development programs, like those leading to a master’s in education or a bachelor of science. The success of this will further add courses to the bucket; while the program is expected to expand to a wide range of associate, bachelor’s and graduate programs.

Under the arrangement, Academic Partnerships, a company that helps public universities move their courses online; will take care of the recruitment for MOOC2Degree. An undisclosed share of the tuition fees that the universities will eventually get from students who continue into a degree program will be given to Academic Partnerships.

Mr. Michael Tanner, vice president for academic affairs at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities feels that this is a bold strategy on part of the institutions and added that “In some sense, it is a new recruitment strategy: give them a free sample, and maybe they will find they have an appetite for it. It’s hard to say how well it will work. The MOOC business will become crowded over time.”

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GE’s ex-CEO Jack Welch joins stampede to online education

July 9th, 2009 No comments

Former General Electric Co. chief executive Jack Welch has endorsed online education by lending his name and investing his money in Cleveland based Chancellor University. The university is naming its MBA program the Jack Welch Management Institute.

There had been concerns about academic quality voiced by some traditionalists in online education. By lending his name Jack Welsh is giving credibility to online eduction .

According to EduVentures, an industry research organization, online higher education is expected to generate $11.5 billion in revenue this year.

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