Online Education is the future? Dr. Jeyakesavan Veerasamy email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org The University of Texas at Dallas, USA
Agenda • What is online education? • Why did it become popular? • How is it done? • Technical Architecture • Future of online education • Potential for online education in India
Online education • Education through Internet • Anywhere, any time, any device connected to internet • Asynchronous learning • Fixed # of weeks • All the work is graded & final grade is assigned • Student evaluation of faculty • Degree certificate
Snippets from history • American higher educational system: Public, private non-profit, and private for-profit universities (companies), Regional accreditation agencies, state agencies • Question: What is #1 priority for private for-profit university? Quality or Money? • First online course ~20 years ago, likely by for-profit university • First online degree program? • MBA. Why?
Snippets from history … • How reliable is online degree? Does it help to get a job? • Online colleges got accreditation • Turning point (my opinion): Traditional colleges started online degree programs • Misleading ads: “Point…Click…Degree…” • Reality: online courses require more work.
Who is a typical online student? • Working adults who have difficulty attending a traditional college • Hard-working employees who want to get promoted, but do not have a degree • Military personnel • Moms with young children at home • Students from rural areas Online education is NOT for every one!
Who is typical online faculty? • has full-time job in the industry • works as adjunct faculty • Why? • Additional income • Passion • More interesting than regular job! • Lot of retired people too. Why? • Flexible, travel & teaching can mix
Typical online course • accessible only to students enrolled in that course within university website (Online Learning System). • Assignment due every week or every 2 weeks once • Participation in Weekly discussion questions (DQs) is mandatory. • Courses run for only 5-8 weeks. • Has 10 to 15 students • Has students from multiple time-zones, sometimes from other countries too.
Compare with on-ground course • Student-centered, NOT faculty-centered • Lectures optional • Students need to be self-motivated • Forced to participate • Did the student actually do the coursework?
Typical online student does the following every week: • logs into the course at least once in 2 days • reads the book’s chapter(s) for the first 3 days • makes 4 to 8 posts distributed over the next 4 days • submits other assignments towards the end of the week.
Typical online faculty does the following every week: • ensures that weekly material and DQs are setup before the week starts • grades the previous week’s assignments • comments on DQ responses & offers closing thoughts • responds to “cry for help” posts/emails in timely manner • makes phone calls if needed. • responds to phone calls during office hours • spends 5 to 15 hours every week for each course
Recent focus • Continuous improvement in action … • Utilize relevant web resources in courses • Develop multimedia lectures to explain tough concepts • Increase academic rigor – test application of concepts using weekly quizzes • Improved communication tools
Major issues? • Plagiarism in popular assignments • Google-generation has limitedno patience • Quality of Faculty? • Students’ preparedness • Time-discipline for both students and faculty • Micro-management from university • Low pay to faculty
Weekly DQs (Discussion Questions) • Set difficulty of DQs at 110% • Focus is on discussions, NOT on perfect initial answers. Wrong answers are perfect discussion starters! • Faculty should facilitate & shape the discussion little bit, but should NOT kill it. • Each post should add value to the course, requirement to count towards participation.
DQ strategies • Basic: 2 to 3 questions • Expanded: 5 to 10 questions • Personalized: assign specific question for each student for posting initial response • Empowered: designate each student as “DQ lead” for one question • More details in another presentation…
Team assignments • Can it work online? • Can it be better than on-ground? • Potential for higher level of contribution from each student • More details in separate presentation.
Compare with • Self-paced learning • Correspondence education
Advantages? • No commute to college • No need for classrooms • No conflict in course/work schedules • Multimedia lectures can be reused • Learning/teaching can happen any where, any time
Disadvantages? • Online learning not for every one • Online learning not suitable for all courses • Complex labs hard to do online • Did the student really do the work?
Technical architecture Online University Internet Security gateway OLS server
Online Learning System (OLS) • Lots of software applications out there. • Popular ones: Blackboard, Sakai, Moodle, … • In addition to courses, OLS provides network space accessible to faculty, courses, … • Tons of functionality to run the course efficiently
Future of Online education in USA? • High quality online lecture videos • students can view them at any time • More acceptance at workplaces • Learning experience comparable to traditional classroom • Unlikely to replace traditional education • Mixed mode courses becoming popular • Lot of potential for augmenting ground courses
Future of Online education in India? • Internet connection is quite stable! • Correspondence education can be replaced with online courses • Proctored final examswill improve credibility • We can augment classroom courses with online materials for difficult concepts & tutorials.
Questions & Answers Dr. Jeyakesavan Veerasamy email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org