Mobile app takes online education offline

Taking online education offline may seem like a contradiction, but a new experiment from web-based learning company 2U, Inc., could better serve the students online courses are meant for, the company said.

The app makes learning more accessible than traditional online options.

For many educators, the ideal target audience for online and distance learning are students who lack the income, live in too rural an area, or are too busy  to benefit from a traditional college experience.

Those same students are also the most likely to go without adequate internet access.

With 2U’s new “Offline Mode,” online learners can watch interactive videos, view lectures, and complete reading assignments all while disconnected from the internet.

“We have a student taking courses on an oil rig 150 miles from the closest coast,” said James Kenigsberg, chief technology officer at 2U. “There are students who need to fit in coursework while commuting underground in New York City. There are students in all sorts of remote locations or situations where they can’t be online, and they would like to take some of this content on-the-go.”

2U is primarily known for its for-credit online course consortium Semester Online.

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