Sunday, August 5, 2012

Online Education Explodes Out of the Blue

"Tom Friedman, in his recent New York Times article, captured, in the way that no one else could, the spirit behind our effort. He said the big breakthroughs are what happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary. I've talked about what's desperately necessary. Let's talk about what's suddenly possible." - cited by Daphne Koller

The marvels of online education are suddenly exploding in our face, thanks to Ivy League universities' participation in the MOOC field. However, the presence of these "prestigious" players may do harm to online education, commented some scholars on the Sloan-C listserv. I am somewhat amazed that suddenly what I've been working on and learning about for some 10 years has become the latest buzz word because of the presence of these institutions. Brand name alone doesn't make a course good. Course design + instructor facilitation + student participation, all these together can make an online course good or mediocre.

"What is suddenly possible" says Koller. Distance learning has been available for quite a while. Online learning has become huge NOW because of more accessible technologies? The bigger question is, how does she measure what effective learning is for 100,000 students or more?

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