Continuing Education, Domestic, Not-for-Profit, Open Source Education, Private education, Public education, Required, University & College - Written by on Monday, August 29, 2011 16:00 - 0 Comments

New York Times Confirms That Online Education Is, Indeed, A Trend.

In another sign that online education is gaining momentum, The New York Times (largely considered the paper of record in the United States) ran a series of stories Friday on the topic of online schools. Some criticize the Times in that it doesn’t consider something a trend until they, in fact, announce it as a trend (which, often, is several months or years after something truly is a trend). Nevertheless, we think the Times is ahead of the other mainstream media on this story about where online education is heading. The Times selected good examples to profile. We provide links and summary sections from the articles in some upcoming posts. Here’s the first one:

1) August 25, 2011 Online Enterprises Gain Foothold as Path to a College Degree By TAMAR LEWIN

Harvard and Ohio State are not going to disappear any time soon. But a host of new online enterprises are making earning a college degree cheaper, faster and flexible enough to take work experience into account. As Wikipedia upended the encyclopedia industry and iTunes changed the music business, these businesses have the potential to change higher education.

Critics worry that the online courses are less rigorous and more vulnerable to cheating, and that their emphasis on providing credentials for specific jobs could undermine the traditional mission of encouraging critical thinking. But most experts agree that given the exploding technologies, cuts to university budgets and the expanding universe of people expected to earn postsecondary degrees, there is no end in sight for newfangled programs preparing students for careers in high-demand areas like business, computer science, health care and criminal justice…

While many students at the nascent institutions offer glowing reviews and success stories, a recent study by Teachers College at Columbia University that tracked 51,000 community college students in Washington State for five years found that those with the most online course credits were the least likely to graduate or transfer to a four-year institution. And traditional professors like Johann Neem, a historian at Western Washington University, see places like Western Governors University as anti-intellectual,noting that its advertising emphasizes how fast students can earn credits, not how much they will learn…

…The emerging menu of new offerings is startlingly varied, as are the institutions. One unaccredited nonprofit startup, University of the People, gives English-speaking high school graduates a chance to study business or computers free, with volunteer teachers. There are also budding joint ventures between brick-and-mortar campuses and online entities, like Ivy Bridge College — a collaboration between Tiffin University, a nonprofit school in Ohio, and Altius Education, a commercial business, offering two-year online degrees transferrable to dozens of partner four-year colleges. And there are grass-roots nonprofits like Peer 2 Peer University, where people start study groups on topics as diverse as JavaScript and Baroque art. Nationwide, almost three quarters of college students attend public institutions, and commercial career colleges like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan now make up almost as much of the remaining quarter as traditional nonprofit private universities like Stanford or Duke. 

by Dom Dada via Flickr under Creative Commons license

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