Opinion Piece About Online Learning By Thomas Klassen

Thomas Klassen has an opinion piece in the Toronto Star about online classes moving teaching from the stage to the screen.  He concludes with:

At the moment, online education is like the internet in its infancy: surely a good thing overall, full of hype, but not well understood and riddled with perplexity. For the sake of the students returning to class, more effort is required to ensure their online learning is as valuable as possible.

I think he make some valid criticisms, primarily having to do with the regulation.  He points out that colleges and universities have “few standards for online programs.”  In many way I think this is accurate of those who have come the the game late.  But some institutions have very good internal regulations to provide quality learning experiences for students.  We use a rubric to assess online courses in a faculty driven process to assure that students receive quality courses that are accessible.  In fact we require more evidence for our online courses than we do of our face-to-face classes.  Both of which are closely reviewed by our state and region accreditation bodies.

I do think he is incorrect in his assertion that the “most glaring” deficit is the lack of research on “which types of online education are most effective” for specific groups of students.  There is a vast amount of quality research out there on how to reach various types of learners in the online classroom.

I think a more accurate criticism is that many faculty members do not really understand the underlying issues with student preparedness and success, resulting in not providing the necessary elements to make sure students are successful in their courses.  One of the best ways to do this for the institution to assist in this heavy lift, so each faculty member is not require to recreate the wheel in each course.  We offer an orientation course to assist in this.  It provides learners with tools to assess their preparedness for online, their learning preferences, and their ability to navigate the technology they need to use for online courses.

The article is available here:

e-Literate Report: Cloud Eases LMS Migration, Leads to Market Change

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e-Literate has released a new report about market trends in the learning management system (LMS) space.  Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein reviewed LMS usage, implementation, and decommissions within higher education throughout the globe.  The note an increase attributable to the retirement of Peason’s LearningStudio LMS.  Phil Hill noted that two things had eased migrations: cloud-based solutions and reliability.

Some of the findings included are:

  • Canvas is the fastest growing of the LMS platforms
  • Blackboard is the second-most used system globally
  • Moodle is the dominant LMS outside of North America
  • D2L Brightspace had the same number of implementations as Canvas in North America
  • Voluntary migrations are driven by faculty demand for “improved system usability”
  • the market is being impacted by large migrations by California Community College System to Canvas and University of Phoenix to Blackboard

Michael Feldstein said regarding the overall trend worldwide:

“Although there is a lot of speculation about the future of ed tech today, one thing is certain: There is an oligopoly emerging.  We’re seeing smaller, more regionally focused LMSs decrease and a few dominant players emerge globally.”

Georgia Tech Signs with Canvas

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Georgia Tech has adopted Canvas by Instructure as its new learning management system (lms) for both its global learners both in residence and for online courses.  They plan on rolling out a few courses this fall and then a large scale implementation in the  Spring 2018 semester.  Migration will be completed in 2019.  The decision was made after a two-year lms review by the Office of Provost and evaluation by faculty, staff, and students.

For other post about Canvas click here.


Webinar: New Directions In Online Education

Inside Higher Ed has just released a new booklet called New Directions In Online Education and announced a corresponding webinar.  Information about the booklet is available here.  The webinar information is provided below with a link to the registration page.

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New Directions in Online Education

Online education is ubiquitous in American higher education. Some colleges deliver most or all of their instruction online. Other colleges – including institutions with traditional-age students and residential campuses – also have embraced online education. And hybrid education mixes face-to-face with online elements.

This webcast will explore some of the ways colleges are delivering instruction to students online, and some of the innovations in learning technologies and pedagogy. Increasingly, developments in online education influence traditional face-to-face instruction, so tracking online education has never been more important.

Join Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman for a lively discussion on these topics Thursday, September 7 at 2:00 PM ET.


Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed

Scott Jaschik, Editor, Inside Higher Ed, has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and Salon. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Doug Lederman
Inside Higher Ed

Doug Lederman, Editor, Inside Higher Ed, has been published in The New York Times, USA Todaythe Nieman Foundation Journal, and The Christian Science Monitor. Doug was managing editor of The Chroniclefrom 1999-2003.

Register Here

Success in Blended Online Learning Math Classes

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Inside Higher Ed has an opinion piece today regarding research about what leads to success in online math classes.  The post is by Claire Stuve and addresses research conducted at the University of Toledo.  She says that blended and adaptive learning lead to the most successful outcomes.

She provides 6 tips for implementing these findings:

  1. Use a flipped model
  2. Spaced practice, interleaving and retrieval
  3. Incorporate adaptive learning
  4. Set up synchronous sessions
  5. Keep students engaged
  6. make content accessible

Continue reading “Success in Blended Online Learning Math Classes”

New Directions In Online Education

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Inside Higher Ed has released a new document called New Directions in Online Education.  The booklet is a compilation of articles from Inside Higher Ed and is sponsored by Pearson.

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Articles Included

  • Collaborating to Add Upper-Level Humanities Courses
  • Going All In on Personalized Learning
  • Try Before You Buy
  • “Access Moves”: How One Instructor Seeks Accessibility
  • Online and Homegrown
  • Effective Teaching Online
  • “Volatile” but Growing Online Ed Market
  • Breaking Through the Stigma of Online Education
  • Online Education: What I Got Wrong
  • Online Courses As Good As In-Person Classes

The study can be downloaded for free from: https://www.insidehighered.com/booklet/new-directions-online-education