Blended Learning is helping to evolve teaching as it provides increased benefits for both teachers and students.

The infographic below highlights the benefits of blended learning and how blended learning can improve conditions and provide for increased career opportunities within education.

blended-learning-guide

OPEN Courseware (OCW)

What is Open Courseware?

Open courseware (OCW) programs are developed by universities. These universities have a department especially for develop OCW content. The content is just recordings, assignments, and readings from professors teaching a class on campus. In essence, Open Courseware (OCW) is repurposed content from traditional course.

How Does It Work?

These resources are collected and uploaded to a website accessible to everyone from around the world. OCW courses don’t involve real time professor to student communication, any deadlines or required assignments, and there’s no credit granted at the end of the course (or degree for that matter) but the classes also don’t cost anything and people can start and stop them whenever they wish. The bottom line is: OCW is all about self-learners, people who just have the thirst for knowledge. And the best part is – the top colleges in the country and world are getting on board with this, which means OCW offers fairly expensive content completely for free.

How Is It Useful?

While it might seem like kicking off an OCW site would be cheap for universities – the content is already in existence, after all – but Yale predicts it costs them about $30,000-$40,000/ year to keep their OCW running. These costs include the video equipment, the employees managing the site, and more. This isn’t a particularly huge dent at a college like Yale, but it is a completely free service and therefore Yale has no way of recouping its costs. The mission of OCWs, however, is to distribute free content. Fortunately there are many non-profits who see the value in this kind of accessible education and are donating grants and funds to the cause.

Open Courseware Organizations

The following Infographic from OnlineCollegeCourses.net presents the important points around open courseware:
opencourseware

 

Source:

How Online Course Will Change the World OnlineCollegeCourses.net is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at w‎.

I Love Cloud Based Apps!

It was an easy for me to move to cloud-based software services (apps) and put an end to mailing myself documents or carrying disks (I’m old! LOL) or thumb drives of large presentations. To have the convenience of having EVERYthing accessible from any Internet connected device was a dream come true!

The free services continue to grow in Higher Education and where colleges previously spent millions, Google and Microsoft are fulfilling the need. The two also have versions they promote as safer alternatives for younger students in K-12.

EdTechMagazine  wrote about this growth recently  on college campuses and shared a wonderful infographic:

Available at no cost to students and faculty, Google Apps includes cloud email, storage, hosting, word processing and collaboration tools. Previously, colleges were forced to invest millions in these services and struggled to modernize outdated technology, not to mention maintain email servers and data centers. Microsoft has followed suit with their Office 365 solution, and the cloud revolution is in full swing on campuses.

google-edu-infographic-760

From US NEWS & WORLD REPORT

Online Learning Outcomes Similar to Classroom Results (Study)
Universities with shrinking budgets could consider online education to save money.

By RYAN LYTLE

A recent study shows similar outcomes between traditional learning and interactive online learning.
Critics of online learning claim that students are exposed to an inferior education when compared to traditional in-class instruction, but a recent study from Ithaka S+R, a strategic consulting and research nonprofit, questions this notion.

The report, “Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials, notes that students who utilize interactive online learning—or hybrid learning—produce equivalent, or better, results than students participating in face-to-face education.

[See why some college professors fear the growth of online education.]

Monitoring 605 college students taking the same introductory statistics course at six public universities—including the University at Albany—SUNY, SUNY Institute of Technology—Utica/Rome, the University of Maryland—Baltimore County, Towson University, CUNY—Baruch College, and CUNY—City College—during fall 2011, researchers split the students into two groups. One group completed the course in a traditional format, while the second group completed an online component complemented with an hour of in-class instruction each week.

Students were asked to complete a series of tests before and after the course, and researchers found that “hybrid-format students did perform slightly better than traditional format students” on outcomes including final exam scores and overall course pass rates, according to the report.

The report’s authors note that while the students who participated in the hybrid group performed marginally better than students in the traditional group overall, the differences in learning outcomes are not “statistically significant” between the two groups. And although the researchers were able to successfully randomize students in both groups, based on factors including age, gender, ethnicity, academic background, and family income, they could not control for differences in teacher quality.

Students learn more from active discussions than from traditional lectures, and they need instructors who can engage them in the material, notes Diane Johnson, assistant director of faculty services at the Center for Online Learning at Florida’s St. Leo University, who has spent more than 12 years teaching online, traditional, and hybrid courses.

“Teacher quality is still a very important part of success in an online course, but so, too, is the course design,” Johnson says. “Despite the delivery mechanism of the class, faculty members need to show students they care and that they aren’t just a number. The ones that do this will help students to learn.”

With universities facing shrinking budgets, this report may make the case for higher education professionals to consider plans to implement more courses with an online component—and to train faculty members to lead these interactive learning communities.

“Online learning … holds the promise of broadening access to higher education to more individuals, while also lowering costs for students,” notes Deanna Marcum, managing director of Ithaka S+R, in the report’s preface. “The results of this study are remarkable; they show comparable learning outcomes for this basic [statistics] course, with a promise of cost savings and productivity gains over time.”

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