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Web Portals for Online Learning

Web Portals for Online Learning

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Web Portals for Online Learning

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  1. Web Portals for Online Learning Mohamed Alharthi John Bourne Martine Dawant Frank Mayadas 6th International Conference on ALN –Sunday, November 5, 2000

  2. What Is A Portal? • “… a main guide that includes a search engine, plus additional content (such as current news, entertainment info, etc.), designed to keep you at the portal for as long as possible”. www.mainportals .com • We might define an ALN portal as: an Internet gateway that helps prospective online learners find information about online programs/courses and directs them to right places (homepage – address, etc.). The portal would add value by providing knowledge about online learning possibilities including financial aid, quality assessment, etc.

  3. Review of Current Educational Portals • Commercial Sites (dot-coms) • non-educational - - not education provider • collection of education providers and others (e.g., Fathom) • Non-profit sites • virtual universities (dot-edu - - e.g., WGU) • groups of universities (dot-org - - e.g., Sloan-C, SREB) Portal growth among independent commercial portals appears to be much faster than in the non-profit segment.

  4. Types of Information Typically Found • Course listings • Degree listings • Undergraduate • Graduate • Community college • Continuing Education • Certificates

  5. E-college Hungry Minds Mind Edge (New Promise) Western Governors University (WGU) Fathom Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Embark CyberU College Degree Click2learn PBS (Adult Learning) Peterson’s Guide Major Portals

  6. By keywords By categories (e.g., engineering - bachelor) List all programs Search tips Search from the first page Search entire Internet!! Portal Features – Common 1. Search features

  7. Common Features (cont’d) 2. Search results - the heart of portals • Matching query • exact matches • best matches • all matches • no matches • Categorized results • important info first • drill down to obtain details

  8. Portal Features (cont’d) 3. Links • To external sites • more info • register • preview • No links • Information only – poor • Addresses • grad/undergrad school • emails

  9. Unique Features: Specific Results • Search • Cost • search within a price range (e.g., Mindedge.com) • Specific components search (e.,g., Hungryminds) • streaming audio/video • textbook • tutorials • video/audio tape • Time of offering • starting and finishing dates (e.g., SREB) • Members search (e.g., e-college)

  10. Unique Features (cont’d) • Current information • class open/closed • Be notified when the course opens (e.g., Mindedge) • Contact me from now until.…(e.g., Embark) • Enroll now • register for the course at the portal (e.g., wgu) • Accreditation information (e.g., SREB) • Quality measures (e.g. click2learn) • review program/course • rate program/course

  11. Commercial opportunities Related books (new/used) - - from Amazon and others Related sites CD ROMs Travel opportunities Scholarship Internship Career advices Jobs Open an online bank account Helpful knowledge Financial aid Academic advice Related articles Conferences What Other Things Can a Portal Provide?

  12. The Sloan-C Web Page • The www.sloan-c.org site is a portal for information about online degree and certificate programs. • Objectives: • Provide a listing of information about the programs offered by the Sloan Consortium members for any prospective learner • Be able to gauge progress in our field by studying the database of information (so-called ALN indicators)

  13. Who Are The Customers For Sloan-C Portal? • Higher education • Full-time learners • Part time learners • Adult education • Continuing education

  14. Sloan-C Catalog: Competitive Features 1. ALN criteria • Each course in an ALN program is instructor-led and organized into learning cohorts • An ALN program should not require physical presence on campus • An ALN program engages a distributed learning cohort • All courses in an ALN program should be accessible without special purpose equipment • ALN Program must be available for registration and offer a degree or certificate at the time of inclusion in the catalog

  15. Sloan-C Catalog: Competitive Features 2. Program directors • Directly involved • Add programs by themselves • Change and update information • Online access 3. Peer review • Experts review programs before approval 4. Partners • 60+ Sloan institution • Open partnership

  16. Sloan-C Catalog: Competitive Features 5. Programs listed free of charge • No payment is made by any institution to be listed in the Sloan-C Catalog

  17. Sloan-C Catalog: Search • Browse the catalog for programs sorted • By discipline area • By credential (degree or certificate) • By institution • Customize your search (any combination of the items below may be selected) • School • Discipline Area • Degree • Keyword

  18. Sloan-C Catalog: Search Results • Categorized • All categories • By discipline area • By credential (degree or certificate) • By institution • Drill down for more information

  19. Sloan-C Catalog: Search Results (cont’d) • Program page includes • Links • Program information • Course listing • Course information

  20. Sloan-C Catalog: Program Page 1. Links • School website • Program website • Financial aid • Career services • Contact for more info (email)

  21. Program name Discipline (e.g., business) Tuition per credit hour More detail about tuition (per year) Requirements for enrollment Policy regarding transfer credit Special software requirements Residency Accreditation Contact for more information Year program started Type of degree Number of credit hours required to complete program Number of courses offered online Typical class size Smallest class size Largest class size Sloan-C Catalog: Program Page 2. Program information

  22. Sloan-C Catalog: Program Page 3. Course Listing • Sample list of courses in the program 4. Course information • Examples of courses in the program • Course name • Time of year course is offered • Description of course

  23. Educational Portals: General Issues • US Market VS International market • Mainly for US market • UK, Australia (some schools are listed, Fathom is a joint venture between UK and US institutions) • Quality of online education • No classification/ranking for online schools • Who judges quality of education • in some portals students can rank courses but still empty - - biased ranking!! maybe) • No standards for listing • Sloan-C has standards

  24. General Issues (cont’d) • How to measure activities and benefits of portal listing? • Who updates information? • Someone else is providing your information • Portals have lots of other information • Who takes care of expired courses (not offered any more) • Feedback

  25. The Shakeout • Number of portals is increasing, too. • Who will survive/lead? Why? • What can Sloan-C provide that others can’t easily do and why? • Free listing • Research on information in directory • Collaboration network • Quality of education • Sloan-C criteria

  26. Success Keys for Portals • Stay current (continuous updating) • Stronger relationship between portal and education providers/program directors • Each program has to supervise/update its info • Reputation and history of providers

  27. Success Keys (cont’d) • Effective/relevant search results • Feedback • Customer • Education providers • Marketing strategies

  28. Join Sloan-C • Become a partner www.sloan-c.org