In the news again is the overwhelming evidence that online education is becoming the best alternative to grappling with the costs of operating a university.
Governing boards are turning to Technology to Reinvent the University was the subject matter at a recent national conference for college trustees in Los Angeles.
Gathered for a national conference on college trusteeship board members from across the country said they are looking for cyber solutions to solve some of the most vexing problems their colleges face.
At the three-day conference of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, it was that a major rethinking of instruction through broader use of online learning is the only real hope for reinventing the business of higher education.
Speakers at the conference noted that colleges will need to aggressively alter the way coursework is delivered, relying more on online instruction. When used effectively, it was discussed that technology can both improve student achievement and reduce costs. Carol A. Twigg as president and chief executive of the National Center for Academic Transformation has argued for more than a decade that online education works. It is “not rocket science,” she said.
She noted a body of evidence suggesting that course sections can be scaled up to serve many more students without sacrificing quality. While the course redesigns differ from campus to campus, they often involve the use of low-stakes online quizzes to promote student mastery of material.
Such quizzes and other online tasks can replace the need for class time and reduce the number of professors required to teach a course, Ms. Twigg said. On average, the course redesigns reduce costs by 37 percent, she said.
Naturally, there is faculty resistance to online courses which is the primary reason for colleges being rather slow to embrace technological revolution in learning processes. Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, said at a panel recently “that less labor-intensive” instruction methods will be required to increase the nation’s number of college graduates.
It’s really about why this learning model works and why there is resistance from the old traditional educational systems. Trustees want to cut costs, and everyone has a vested interest in educating the population, so it’s a no-brainer that onine is the way to do it. Technology provides the solution.
Med-Certification led the way in 1994 to the first online classes to learn medical vocational skills including transcription, coding and billing. Later the legal courses were added. The result is that job skills were developed in less than 6 months and investment was 1/3 of what it would have cost in a vocational brick and mortar school.