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February 10, 2015

Online Learning and Liberal Arts Colleges

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a recent Babson survey that found that “The most-drastic recent shift in the perceived importance of online education was at small colleges (i.e., those with fewer than 1,500 students). In 2012, 60 percent of academic leaders at small colleges said online education was strategically crucial. Now that number is 70 percent—nearly the same as at universities with more than 15,000 students.” What accounts for this shift? Practical considerations are surely a…
February 5, 2015

Blended MOOCs

Is the Second Time the Charm?

Students at Bowie State discuss their experience with a MOOC in this video. Much of the hype surrounding MOOCS has faded and as Steve Kolowich shows in a recent Chronicle piece, “Few people would now be willing to argue that massive open online courses are the future of higher education.” As the Babson Survey Research Group (that Kolowich cites) shows, higher ed leaders are less certain that MOOCs “are a sustainable way to offer courses,” that…
December 17, 2014

Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

Liberal arts colleges are known for low professor to student ratios, intimate seminar classes and highly personalized undergraduate experiences. On the surface, it is not obvious how online learning fits with this picture. But these days liberal arts colleges face many of the same pressures as larger universities – resource constraints, the growth of non-traditional students with more extracurricular responsibilities, even uncertainty about how a liberal arts education should evolve to stay relevant in a digital world. There is an…
July 10, 2014

Ithaka S+R Releases Report on Hybrid Classroom Experiments at the University System of Maryland

New York, NY—During the same month that The New York Times declared 2012 the “Year of the MOOC,” Ithaka S+R partnered with the University System of Maryland (USM) to determine the feasibility of using MOOCs in new ways—incorporating MOOCs and other online technologies into undergraduate classrooms.  The results of that study are available today:  Interactive Online Learning on Campus: Testing MOOCs and Other Platforms in Hybrid Formats in the University System of Maryland. Over the course of a year,…
March 19, 2014

Ithaka S+R and the CIC’s Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

In today’s edition of Inside Higher Ed, Carl Straumsheim writes about a new Council of Independent Colleges initiative that “will bring 20 of the organization’s members together in a Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction.” Ithaka S+R is delighted to serve as an advisor for this initiative. In this capacity Ithaka S+R is undertaking three roles: 1. Advising the CIC in the program design, helping to select members of the consortium, and contributing to communications with members. 2. Supporting…
October 28, 2013

MOOCs in the Classroom?

Rebecca Griffiths explores an intriguing and potentially high impact application of online learning: MOOCs in the Classroom? What happens when faculty are encouraged to adapt MOOCs intended for large global audiences for use in traditional classroom settings and curriculum? Can this “off label use” bring benefits like improved learning outcomes or the ability to educate more students in a given course? How can institutions make informed, evidence-based choices about the use of these technology enabled courses on their own campuses?…
October 12, 2012

The ‘Cost Disease’ in Higher Education

Is Technology the Answer?

This week William G. Bowen, ITHAKA trustee and Ithaka S+R senior advisor, delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values, hosted jointly by Stanford’s Center for Ethics in Society and The Office of the President at Stanford University. These lectures are now available as an ITHAKA publication, The ‘Cost Disease’ in Higher Education: Is Technology the Answer? Declining public support and steadily rising costs have caused tuition to rise faster than inflation (and family incomes) for many years. Concerns…
July 30, 2012

How Online Learning Could Unbundle the University

Kevin Guthrie’s column in the new edition of Educause Review summarizes a number of findings from the Ithaka S+R report “Barriers to Adoption of Online Learning Systems in U.S. Higher Education.” He writes, “Digital and network technologies are commoditizing some basic aspects of teaching while they are simultaneously unbundling various aspects of a faculty member’s role.” It strikes me that the underlying drivers here have important implications for institutions as well as for faculty. This “commoditizing” and…