MOOCs Are Growing Up Quickly
A sign that MOOCs are evolving into viable credit courses is today’s edX announcement that students will soon be able to take “a course final exam at one of over 450 Pearson VUE test centers in more than 110 countries.” Students will be charged “a modest fee for the proctoring service.” Perhaps a natural consequence of the need for onground proctoring for open online courses will be the emergence of public and school libraries as well as schools and colleges around the world as providers of walk-in proctoring services. Proctors and sites could be certified and monitored by a nonprofit international board for a small fee. For most everyone, a library, school, or college is within easy commute. For some, proctoring could provide a small profit. However, in-person proctoring services may be a transitional solution for an issue that will probably disappear as online testing technology advances.
Dropping Enrollment at Kapi’olani CC — Implications?
This may just be a fluke, but for the second consecutive term, enrollment has dropped at KCC while it has gone up on other campuses. The numbers are small so this may not be indicative of a significant trend. Still, after years of recording among the highest enrollments in the University of Hawaii system, this drop is worrisome. The emphasis at KCC in the past few years has been on campus-based strategies to raise retention and program completion rates. Perhaps it’s time to focus on infrastructure, instruction, and service improvements that rely on the latest personal communication technologies such as smartphones and pads. Already in the hands of students and potential students, these devices downplay location and spotlight anytime-anywhere access to services and instruction. With online technology increasingly dominating the college experience, KCC may be seeing the beginnings of a beautiful campus with expensive concrete ‘n’ glass facilities evolving into a dead zone, i.e., classrooms, labs, library, and campus standing open but empty.
In a comprehensive study, by a team from the University of Manchester (UK), of “more than 13,000 11- to 16-year-olds at 40 secondaries across the country,” researchers found that the traditional high transmission approach to teaching math, characterized by a “tendency towards a more conventional, teacher-centred mode of teaching, with knowledge meant to be transmitted from teacher to pupil,” is less effective than student-centered, interactive approaches. In short, lecturing “can turn pupils off maths.” Midway through 2012, I have to wonder why money is being spent to reiterate the obvious.
Millions on New Buildings and Outdated Technology?
Lake Park-Audubon High School (Minnesota) is celebrating the spending of millions of dollars on the construction of a new campus and new technology defined, in part, as “four computer labs with 25 to 30 computers each,” a “media center,” and “laptop computers and carrying bags … issued to the 180 students in grades 10 through 12.” With the trend toward personal pads and smartphones as well as online instruction and services, one has to wonder if the district has made the best decisions. The “campus-wide Wi-Fi” with double the bandwidth, flipped classrooms, and movement toward ebooks are wonderful. However, these as well as the physical education and athletics facilities notwithstanding, the question remains: Is this the wisest use of education dollars? Laptops are going the way of the dinosaur, but when placed in the hands of all students, the need for computer-equipped labs or even labs seems redundant. iPhones and iPads can easily turn any room or environment into a “lab.” Furthermore, the construction of classroom buildings at a time when the trend is toward anytime-anywhere access seems, at least to me, counter-intuitive.
1. “EdX Announces Option of Proctored Exam Testing Through Collaboration with Pearson VUE,” Daily Markets, 9.6.12.
2. “University of Hawaii Enrollment Reaches Record,” AP/Star-Advertiser, 9.6.12.
3. “Traditional Teaching Methods Still Dominant in Maths Classrooms,” University of Manchester, UK, 9.6.12.
4. Helmut Schmidt, “LP-A’s $17.5 Million High School Open for Learning,” DL-Online, 9.5.12.
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