College graduates, Continuing Education, Institutions, Private education, Public education, Required, Students, Technology, University & College - Written by on Friday, September 23, 2011 7:00 - 0 Comments

Indiana’s Ball State University: Expands Online Classes Amid Concerns

University expands its online classes
Faculty at Ball State University are not sold on plans to expand online education. A key concern: Are Ball State students honest?
“It’s very clear that five years from now, on the web, for free … you will be able to find the greatest lectures in the world on the web,” Bill Gates predicted in an interview at Techonomy 2010. Adopting the mantra of Bill Gates, Provost Terry King of Ball State University created a task force a year ago to explore the possibilities of providing online classes to its students.“”Faculty members’ (and administrative) misconceptions about online teaching need to be addressed, even challenged,” the university’s Growing Online Education Task Force wrote in a report recently, according to The Star Press in Muncie, Ind.

According to the paper, Ball State faculty do not value online education as much they value face-to-face teaching. The faculties also pose questions on why the university  wants to provide courses online instead of via traditional classrooms. The idea of online classrooms is not completely new to Ball State University:

Ball State already offers online associate degrees in general studies and business administration, as well as online bachelor’s degrees in general studies and nursing; online master’s degrees in nursing, business administration, public relations, physical education and other fields of education; an online doctorate in nursing, and online certificates in apartment management and Web applications, among other online offerings.

However, faculty members are concerned about academic honesty of their students. The concerns are obvious as Ball State does not have any strategies to proctor online tests. The task force has suggested the university to hire companies like Proctor U.

“There are sophisticated systems to monitor online testing, including proctored exams, measuring key strokes, watching eyes, retina scans,” said Allison Barber, chancellor of the online Western Governors University, Indiana.

She adds that there is  not much difference between an online assignment and an on-campus take home assignment. She is in favor of Ball State’s plan to expand its online education initiative.

“The consumer is driving this change,” said Barber, whose average student is 36 years old and employed. “It’s not one size fits all. We need to help people complete their degrees by embracing every approach: online, straight traditional or hybrid — some online and some traditional.”

Via — The Star

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