Ashley Smith at Inside Higher Ed has a piece on California’s effort to launch a statewide, online only college. They are not looking to compete with the 114 current brick-and-mortal community colleges nor with other online initiatives. The state’s two-year institutions are trying to solve California’s problem of the more than two million Californians that have some college but have never completed a degree. Right now they are looking to provide the community college system’s Board of Governors with three options to consider.
In the recently released Inside Higher Ed 2017 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, the results indicate that only 25 percent of faculty have worked with instructional designers on online or blended learning courses. (Only 23 percent say they have done so for a face-to-face class.)
As Anthony Piña, provost of instruction and online learning at Sullivan University, in Louisville, Ky., says,
Instructional designers are the best kept secret in higher education. A lot of faculty and administrators don’t know what instructional designers can do.
Paul Fain at Inside Higher Ed has posted a piece on the final report for the audit of Western Governors University (WGU). The online university enrolls 83,000 students, but has been under audit for several years. At issue has been the role of faculty in its competency based education programs. The inspector general was questioning where or not the school was in compliance with the Higher Education Act of 1965.
The inspector general has found the WGU to not be in compliance, and has recommend among other things the repayment of at least 713 million dollars in federal financial aid. WGU contests the finding of the role faculty play in their competence based programs.
WGU has enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Washington and drew praise from the Obama administration for innovation. It has also had a good track record with its accreditors.
What is of major concern for online learning in general is the basis used for the finding. According to Fain, “the Office of Inspector General, which is led by Kathleen Tighe, relied on a 1992 federal law that defines aid eligibility for distance education programs, which many have said poses a problem for WGU, some other competency-based programs, and possibly online education writ large.”
Fain points out that many experts believe the Trump administration might not follow up on the findings as he has signaled his administration is interested in reducing regulation in general.
The full Fain article is here:
Education Department’s inspector general labels Western Governors as a correspondence-course provider, seeks reimbursement of $713 million in aid and may broadly threaten competency-based education.
Paul Fain at Inside Higher Ed is reporting that the U.S. Department of Education has confirmed it will approve the purchase of Kaplan University by Purdue University. This confirms reports by BuzzFeed that the approval was in the works a couple of days ago.
The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday confirmed that it has granted initial approval to acquisitions of Kaplan University and Education Management Corp., two large for-profits. The proposed transactions by Purdue University to acquire Kaplan and create a new online university, and by the Dream Center, a nonprofit missionary group, to buy EDMC and its…
Ashley Smith at Inside Higher Ed has an article about California and Pennsylvania implementing new models for their community colleges. Both states will be creating new institutions.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels announced that Purdue would acquire Kaplan University. That announcement has drawn the ire of Purdue faculty, who found out about the acquisition when the announcement was made. Obviously the negotiations to buy Kaplan had to be done in private as Kaplan’s owner is a publicly traded company. However, this has raised shared governance issues that could draw scrutiny from Purdue’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission.
Other stories are here:
Paul Fain at Inside Higher Ed has posted a piece about the audit of Western Governors University (WGU) by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). This “high-stakes” audit of the 64,000 student online university is relevant to many other online providers and forms of online learning.
At issue is the role of faculty in competency based education. Joan Mitchell, WGU spokeswoman, says the inquiry began 3 years ago. The inspector general is trying to verify whether or not WGU has compiled with the Higher Education Act of 1965. According to Fain, “The inspector general’s interest in competency-based education so far has centered on federal definitions of what constitutes “distance education” versus correspondence courses.”
Federal rules require “regular and substantive interaction” between faculty and students. If found to be providing correspondence courses, the DOE could levy a fine agains the school. Fain says, “A possible fine of even pennies on the dollar for federal aid that should not have been received could get large, given that Western Governors has 55,000 graduates.”
A negative finding against WGU could also threaten:
- Programs that use adaptive learning technology
- emporium-style math labs.
All of these types of education have been praised by the Obama administration as being “innovative.”
The full story is here:
The Education Department's inspector general is auditing Western Governors U over the faculty role in its competency-based programs. The high-stakes audit is relevant to other colleges and forms of online learning.