INFOGRAPHIC: 10 tips for online course design

New infographics reveal advice for designing online courses; tablet-friendly material

online-course-designAccording to recent studies, blended and fully-online courses are reaching almost every college and university in the country, with students craving more flexible and personalized learning. But as many faculty are coming to understand, an effective online course is more than just pasting information on a website.

In a recent report released by DreamBox Learning, blended and online learning is exploding in popularity; and according to the National Center for Education Statistics, about one in four college students took at least one online class in 2012, with 12.5 percent of U.S. college students taking their classes exclusively online.

However, due to low retention rates not only in MOOCs, but also in fully-online courses, faculty and curriculum designers realize that part of the reasons why students like online learning—community, personalization, and interactive lessons—means moving away from traditional course design.…Read More

What’s it like to actually teach online?

I entered the online college classroom where I teach – the one that exists in that ethereal world inside the computer, on the internet and across the wi-fi airwaves – to see that students had scrawled the words “Bonjour!” and “Go, Sox!” on the virtual whiteboard of our French I course.

The early students gathered for our synchronous (“real time”) session chatted via their microphones before my arrival. It was the same virtual space where I’d soon review material and engage these enthusiastic learners with an assortment of new tools, the Concord Monitor reports.

Students would write answers on the virtual board. They could raise their hands by clicking on a hand icon. Many simply pressed the “talk” button and shouted answers or questions into their microphones. Seeing the “Go, Sox!” scrawl that day, I steered the conversation briefly toward “le foot” (soccer) and the “Coup du Monde” (World Cup) before easing them into using some newly acquired language skills.…Read More

Brown University creates online course for high school students

When Yaser S. Abu-Mostafa, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the California Institute of Technology, began promoting his online course on machine learning, one person he turned to was Caltech’s dean of admissions, The New York Times reports. Dr. Abu-Mostafa believed that prospective Caltech students would benefit from learning what it actually takes to be an engineer — something that high schools, on the whole, fail to teach adequately. National Science Foundation statistics lend credence to his worries: while one in 10 students in the United States enter college with the intention of majoring in engineering, nearly half of those students fail to complete their degree requirements. Caltech admissions officials agreed wholeheartedly, and promptly sent out an e-mail blast to applicants suggesting Dr. Abu-Mostafa’s course, Learning From Data, on iTunes U.

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17 more top universities offer free cyber courses

Coursera will offer more than 200 courses from 33 institutions.

Seventeen more leading universities in the U.S. and abroad will start offering free online courses through the online education platform Coursera, the company said Sept. 19.

The announcement by Mountain View, Calif.-based Coursera underscores the rapid expansion of so-called MOOCs, or massive open online courses, that are reshaping the higher-education landscape.

Coursera, a for-profit company started by two computer science professors at Stanford University, now will offer more than 200 courses from 33 institutions that are open to anyone with internet access. Officials said the website has registered 1.3 million students around the world.…Read More

Free online courses for college credit? Sort of

Coursera will have more than 100 courses in 2013.

The University of Washington (UW), unlike the 11 other universities that pledged this month to host classes in Coursera’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform, will offer credit to anyone who completes the open course. That, however, won’t be free.

UW officials, since the school’s Coursera partnership was announced July 17, have touted the university’s decision to offer course credit, while other schools will give certificates to people who complete their Cousera classes.

New details have emerged about UW’s Coursera classes, outlining three options for anyone with an internet connection and a desire to learn. There will be free courses, certificate courses, and “enhanced” courses led by instructors. The last option will likely be offered at the same rate as other UW online classes, about $350 added onto tuition costs.…Read More

Top campuses jump into the free online course game

Two universities gave millions to Coursera this week.

A dozen of the country’s top universities will make courses available for free on the open online class site Coursera by the beginning of 2013. The announcement was made on the same day that investors — including two campuses — invested millions in the web-based learning site.

By January, Coursera officials expect the site to offer 100 free courses in the arts, computer sciences, health, mathematics, history, literature, and other disciplines. All courses will be free for any individual with a computer and internet connection to enroll.

Coursera was founded in the fall of 2011 by Stanford Computer Science Professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, and in April 2012 announced that Princeton, University of Michigan, Stanford and Penn were entering into agreement with Coursera to bring course content online for free.…Read More

Online learning platform uses ‘Hollywood Squares’ model to boost engagement

Most MBA@UNC class sections have a dozen students.

The ever-present temptations of Facebook, Twitter, eMail, instant messaging, text messages, and online shopping are no match for face-to-face-to-face-to-face interaction.

The cure for the perpetual web-based distractions of class time in the online classroom might be webcams that put every face of every student on screen for everyone to see. Accountability might be the key to holding students’ attention.

Officials from the University of North Carolina’s online MBA program, known as MBA@UNC, said an online learning platform designed and operated by a Maryland-based company called 2tor has created a web-based classroom more engaged than any they have seen.…Read More