University establishes flipped learning training center for faculty

Students in SJSU’s blended learning pilot program had a high completion rate.

San Jose State University, known as the public university serving Silicon Valley, will be home to a program that will train faculty members from across California in how to administer a blended course using a massive open online course (MOOC) platform.

SJSU, which last fall became the first institution to test incorporating edX’s online content into a campus-based course for credit, announced April 10 that the university would open a Center for Excellence in Adaptive and Blended Learning for educators from across the state interested in offering edX’s electrical engineering course next academic year.

The public announcement included details on an expansion of SJSU’s edX pilot program that will make the edX engineering class available to as many as 11 of the 23 California State University system schools, reaching thousands of students across the state.

edX is a nonprofit online learning platform established in 2009 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to provide high-quality education for free to students around the world. edX President Anant Agarwal said the nonprofit would charge a licensing fee for use of their web-based learning platform, but that “hopefully it will be a net win for everybody” while reducing college costs.

The campus’s MOOC-centric training center will show faculty members in the CSU system how to conduct a “flipped” or blended course in which students watch online lectures and take quizzes outside of class while receiving assistance from professors and teachers’ assistants in class.

San Jose State President Mohammad Qayoumi said the effort to expand the use of edX in California colleges and universities was in part driven by the completion rate in the pilot program’s blended classes. Nine in 10 students completed that class, Qayoumi said, while just six in 10 students completed the traditional engineering course.

“We’re definitely experiencing a breakthrough in this area,” he said. “I believe the future of public universities rests in our ability to adapt …  and collaborate. … Our students brimming with such potential and drive deserve nothing less.”