Cost of Education, Domestic, Not-for-Profit, Public education, Required, University & College - Written by on Thursday, December 8, 2011 9:06 - 1 Comment

University of South Carolina Considers New Online Strategy


by nsdis via Flickr under CreativeCommons

A story from the Columbia, S.C., Free Times says the state’s flagship University of South Carolina is considering expansion into online programs. Reporter Craig Brandhorst reports that the USC board of trustees considering a plan by private consulting firm Huron Group that suggests using online courses as a way to help students at USC’s four regional campuses (Lancaster, Union, Sumter, Salkehatchie) finish their four-year degrees by taking 60 credit hours online.

Currently, USC’s regional campuses almost exclusively offer two-year associate’s degrees. Meanwhile, most online education comes in the form of synchronous classes, meaning a student must sit in a classroom on one campus to watch a live-stream of a class being taught on another.

“It wouldn’t be right to characterize this as an online college, but it would be a college with a significant online presence,” USC Provost Michael Amiridis told Free Times. Amiridis emphasized the hybrid nature of the program, which would still require considerable time on campus, and said online courses would not simply be traditional courses repackaged for the virtual classroom. “All the experts in pedagogy tell us that if you do something like that you end up with a pretty bad quality of online course,” he says. “If you take what you’re doing in a classroom and just tape it, it doesn’t translate very well.”

Brandhorst suggests the rise of for-profits such as The University of Phoenix is partly forcing USC’s new strategy.

“There are for-profit institutions that have come into South Carolina, and quite frankly, they are charging much higher tuition rates in order to serve this population,” Amiridis explained. “They have very low completion rates and very high [loan] default rates. I think we will offer a much better alternative for people who want a four-year degree but are place-bound.”

Via Free Times: USC Considers Online College Model


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Paul Glader
Dec 8, 2011 11:49

Meanwhile, North Carolina is also considering Online Education expansion:

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