Online learning. Kaboom! At the post-secondary level, the demand for online extended learning is growing faster and more furiously than we can keep up with, partly because it’s cheaper to participate in online courses versus paying college tuition, and partly because online courses allow flexibility for the many post-secondary students juggling work, family and school.
When looking towards the future or learning, or thinking about an entrepreneurial direction, here is a bit of data to chew on: Ambient Insight Research reports that in 2009, 44% of postsecondary students in the U.S. took some or all of their courses online and that by 2014, 81% of post-secondary students will be engaging in online course offerings. That’s huge.
One interesting entry in the space – 2tor.com. In 2008, it was launched by the founder of the Princeton Review. As opposed to the better know for-profit online university degree granting programs like Princeton Review and DeVry, 2tor.com partners with established brick and mortar institutions to offer high-quality higher ed degree programs online. 2tor provides both the technological platform and the student services so that traditional institutions, that often serve comparatively few students in only one location, can deliver degree based programs to a broader audience.
2tor moves beyond the traditional lecture and text-based online course to create instruction marrying the best educational and Web 2.0 technologies.
Starting in the field of teacher education, 2tor.com collaborated with the dean and faculty of the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education to launch MAT@USC in May 2009. The first of its kind, MAT@USC is an online version of the university’s Master of Arts in Teaching program that, using an underlying Moodle platform, blends virtual classrooms, interactive lectures, real-time video communication (everybody gets a Flip camera) and in-classroom social networking capacities.
The program launched its first cohort with 144 students and within the next decade could potentially produce thousands of graduates a year (versus 150 in its campus-based program), helping to address the shortage of talented teachers in high-need areas of California and other states. Not bad.
2tor’s tag line is: “What if online higher education were great?” Besides the fact that we think, grammatically, it should be ‘was’ great, we believe in the direction they are going. Make it possible for traditional universities to expand their borders in a scalable, replicable way by offering an extensible, cutting edge suite of platform technologies, AND, marrying them to real student services that are critical infrastructure of any good degree program.
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- Online Colleges Won’t Solve Higher Ed’s Problems by Daniel Luzer | Washington Monthly
Category: Higher Education