"Elite American universities maintain their prestige by turning away a huge percentage of applicants every year. And the education entrepreneur Ben Nelson sees an opportunity in this demand for top-flight education: He wants to reach talented students across the world and to build a new university that could remake the image of Ivy League education.
Mr. Nelson, founder of a start-up called the Minerva Project, believes the minuscule acceptance rates at prestigious institutions leave some college-bound students without a place where they can pursue a blue-ribbon degree. So his for-profit enterprise seeks to satisfy that demand by offering a rigorous online education to the brightest students around the world who slip through the cracks of highly selective admissions cycles. ...
To create these advanced courses, Minerva will break down the role of professor into two distinct jobs instead of simply poaching faculty members from other universities. The company will award monetary prizes to 'distinguished teachers among great research faculty,' Mr. Nelson said, who will team up with crews to videotape lectures and craft innovative courses when they are not teaching at their home institutions. (Mr. Nelson declined to elaborate on the size of the prizes.)
Minerva will then hire a second group of instructors to deliver the material. Mr. Nelson called them 'preceptors,' who will typically be young graduates of doctoral programs—they will lead class discussions online, hold office hours, and grade assignments."
(Nick DeSantis, 3 April 2012, The Chronicle of Higher Education)
"Although there has been a long history of distance education, the creation of online education occurred just over a decade and a half ago - a relatively short time in academic terms. Early course delivery via the web had started by 1994, soon followed by a more structured approach using the new category of course management systems.1 Since that time, online education has slowly but steadily grown in popularity, to the point that in the fall of 2010, almost one-third of U.S. postsecondary students were taking at least one course online. Fast forward to 2012: a new concept called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is generating widespread interest in higher education circles. Most significantly, it has opened up strategic discussions in higher education cabinets and boardrooms about online education. Stanford, MIT, Harvard, the University of California–Berkeley, and others have thrown their support - in terms of investment, resources, and presidential backing - behind the transformative power of MOOCs and online education. National media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Atlantic are touting what David Brooks has called "the campus tsunami" of online education.
Unfortunately, a natural side effect of this new interest in education and educational technology is an increase in hype and in shallow descriptions of the potential for new educational models to replace the established system. All too often, the public discussion has become stuck in a false dichotomy of traditional vs. online - a dichotomy that treats all online models as similar and that ignores blended or hybrid approaches. This false dichotomy is even more evident now that discussions are spilling into national media forums. But in fact, as my colleague Molly Langstaff has described, educational technology is interacting with innovative educational courses and programs to create not only new language but also multiple models for delivering education."
(Phil Hill, 1 November 2012, Educause Quarterly)
"A consortium of 10 top-tier universities will soon offer fully online, credit-bearing undergraduate courses through a partnership with 2U, a company that facilitates online learning.
Any students enrolled at an 'undergraduate experience anywhere in the world' will be eligible to take the courses, according to Chip Paucek, the CEO of 2U, which until recently was called 2tor. The first courses are slated to make their debut in the fall.
After a year in which the top universities in the world have clambered to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) for no credit, this new project marks yet another turning point in online education. It is the first known example of top universities offering fully online, credit-bearing courses to undergraduates who are not actually enrolled at the institutions that are offering them."
(Steve Kolowich, 15 November 2012, Inside Higher Ed)
"The future that [Sebastian] Thrun believes in, that has excited him more than self-driving cars, or sci-fi-style gadgets, is education. Specifically, massive online education free to all. The music industry, publishing, transportation, retail - they've all experienced the great technological disruption. Now, says Thrun, it's education's turn.
'It's going to change. There is no doubt about it.' Specifically, Thrun believes, higher education is going to change. He has launched Udacity, an online university, and wants to provide mass high quality education for the world. For students in developing countries who can't get it any other way, or for students in the first world, who can but may choose not to. Pay thousands of pounds a year for your education? Or get it free online?"
(Carole Cadwalladr, Sunday 11 November 2012, The Guardian)
"THE NUMBER of people enrolled in free online subjects at Melbourne University has overtaken enrolments at its campuses in less than two months.
The university became the first Australian institute to join online education provider Coursera in September.
Since then more than 52,000 students have enrolled in the university's free massive open online courses, which will begin next year."
(Benjamin Preiss, 3 November 2012, The Age)