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Business of Online Education in USA

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Business of Online Education in USA

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  1. Business of Online Education in USA Dr. Jeyakesavan Veerasamy jeyak7@gmail.com jeyv@utdallas.edu

  2. Agenda • Who am I? • 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

  3. Who am I?

  4. Why should you listen to me? 

  5. Dr. V. Jeyakesavan: Academia, Industry & Personal • Dad was a school teacher • B.E. (ECE) in CEG Guindy, Anna University – 1986-90 • UNIX System Software Engineer, HCL Limited, Chennai, 1990-91 • MS Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), 1991-94

  6. Dr. V. Jeyakesavan: Academia, Industry & Personal … • Telecom Software Engineer, Northern Telecom, Dallas, 1994-97 • Ph.D. Computer Science (part-time), University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), 1994-99 • Technical Lead, Samsung Telecom, 1997-2010 • Got married in 1998 • Adjunct Faculty, UTD CS department, 1999-2002 • Online Adjunct Faculty in several online universities from 2000

  7. Dr. V. Jeyakesavan: Academia, Industry & Personal … • Adjunct Faculty, Southern Methodist University, 2010 • Sr. Lecturer (full-time), UTD Computer Science, 2010-present • 2 daughters: Nila (8) and Chinmayee (4) • Passionate about teaching – happy to share ideas to improve teaching quality in colleges • Challenging teaching environment in US

  8. Dr. V. Jeyakesavan: Summary • 18 years experience as Software Engineer • 12 years of teaching experience (mostly online)

  9. Advertisement:University of Texas at Dallas • Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science • Computer Science: ~500 MS students and ~150 PhD students • Surrounded by 100s of companies in Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex • Students can get internships right after 2 semesters and continue studies in parallel • Flyers available – see me after the lecture

  10. What is online education?

  11. 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

  12. Why did it become popular?

  13. 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?

  14. 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.

  15. Who is a typical online student? • Working adults who have difficulty attending a traditional college • Hard-working employee who wants to get promoted, but does not have a degree • Military personnel • Moms with young children at home • Students from rural areas Online education is NOT for every one!

  16. 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

  17. How is it done?

  18. Typical online course • accessible only to students enrolled in that course within university OLS (Online Learning System). • has an 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.

  19. Grading scale for typical on-ground course • Class Participation: up to 5% • Quizzes/Attendance: 10% • Assignments/Projects: 40% • Exams: 50%

  20. Typical Grading Scale • DQs/participation: 25% • Quizzes: 10% • Assignments: 30% • Exams/Projects: 25% • Team assignments: 10%

  21. Compare with on-ground course • Student-centered vs. Faculty-centered • Lectures optional • Students need to be self-motivated • Forced to participate • Did the student actually do the coursework?

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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

  26. Weekly DQs (Discussion Questions) • Goal: Come up with most reasonable answers through discussion • 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. • Goal: each post should add value to the course, requirement to count towards participation.

  27. 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…

  28. 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.

  29. Compare with • Self-paced learning • Correspondence education

  30. 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

  31. Disadvantages? • Online learning not for every one • Online learning not suitable for all courses • Complex labs hard to do online

  32. Technical Architecture

  33. Technical architecture Online University Internet Security gateway OLS server

  34. 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

  35. Future?

  36. Future of Online education? • 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 though Still not for every one!

  37. Potential in India?

  38. Higher education in India • Attended T4E conference in IIT Chennai, July 14-16 and met several educators. • Lot of concerns about quality of higher education, but not many answers • Online course materials: • MIT Open courseware http://ocw.mit.edu • NPTEL National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning http://nptel.iitm.ac.in/

  39. CS & Engineering education:USA vs. India QUALITY college rank college rank

  40. Can online education work in India? • Issues & needs are similar to America • Indra Gandhi Open University runs distance courses, not clear how close it comes to online courses run in USA • Does require reliable broadband connection • With some adjustments & planning, I believe online education may work well here too.

  41. Can online educational materials augment physical classroom? • Several 3rd tier colleges in Karnataka using NPTEL course materials (including lectures) since local faculty not ready to teach those courses • It should work in Tamilnadu too.

  42. Thanks for coming! Dr. Jeyakesavan Veerasamy jeyak7@gmail.com jeyv@utdallas.edu