Online higher EducationOn-line university education
in Education with a focus on Higher Education is aimed at students who wish to pursue a career in student affairs and higher education. Earlier MOOC providers were profit-oriented companies that saw opportunities to conquer the university market.
What will be the status of online education in five years' time?
After experiencing the hoopla on several occasions, from the unfortunate British eUniversity projects of the early 2000s to the "disruptive" effects of moocs (massive open online courses), some care may be needed in online teaching. At least 30 UK colleges are now making a strategic commitment to online education to reach the world.
Offering a broad spectrum of programs, especially Masters programs, they invest in recruiting as well as in manufacturing and provision. In the UK, there are now more than 1,400 online Masters degree programs, from vocational education and trainee to graduate. But of the 120 UK major colleges, we anticipate that more than half are strategic online learners.
They will offer a full spectrum of online and mixed degree programs, crash classes and other certified activity for a large spectrum of national and international undergraduates. Others will try to distinguish themselves by specializing in their own niche tradition.
On-line pedagogics and online technologies will in turn enhance the experiences of our established college educators. Complexity associated with extensive online education - not least its design and deployment - means that some organisations, especially those that are lacking in knowledge or policy visions, will be doomed. Recruiting will be an important source of risks; home student competitiveness will be tough, while college branding will be able to create relatively secure environments with a high response in the main worldwide market.
While the biggest are, at least in theoretical terms, well positioned to cope with this transfer internally, most will rely on a variety of ways to minimize capital and reputation risks and realize their aspirations - especially those whose main emphasis is as much globally as domestically. This can be on its own, be partners on a restricted base for core competences or engage in a wider relationship that covers all facets of online education.
Most importantly, how quickly can an organization get to the market, can it manufacture and supply programs in the right qualities and with the right costs, and are these investment projects viable in the longrun? Students' aspirations, study style, way of studying, choice of technologies and recruiting should be paramount for the Vice-Chancellors.
One basic point to keep in minds is that online studying is not just a personal form of computer-based conventional schooling. Especially in online education, web-aged undergraduates are used to a high degree of polishing and low rubbing in their client experience and are translating these demands into their online work.
Today, from an educational point of view, online educational designing is a sophisticated form of work. In order to achieve the levels of excellence that are expected by current student and academic institutions and that are provided by today's major online programs, higher education institutions must be willing to make significant investments in this area. To do this we need proactive commitment from top academia, divisions and colleges, the deployment of expert educational educators to provide the right structure for each program, and engineers to produce high-quality engaging interactivity.
There are also a number of colleges interested in online education to choose from. Pure online deployment is the standard in the US, and high student-tutor relationships are used. Throughout the UK, our tradition of individual, tutor-based education has raised the commitment of academia, the availability of adequate (and sufficiently qualified) teachers and, for many, the use of BL.
It has a higher level of contentment, results and commitment among students, but it takes institutionality and agility to offer a high level of personal enjoyment as part of an online study-program. Other questions may arise in connection with the type of provision - does it duplicate the "normal" structure of the institute or does it use teacher-oriented staff and mentors to enable a more intensive, assisted study at school?
Now, the technological platform is so sophisticated that it offers at least the dependability and functionality needed for good usability. However, they are not yet freehand, and their choice and administration requires a great deal of work behind the curtains to make this high degree of student and academic experiences possible.
Future technology advancements, such as the availability of adaptable contents and experience, both virtually and in depth, will have their place in certain thematic areas, but will also entail their own costs for developing and deploying them. Because an organization is investing in online, concentrating internal IT on a small number of undergraduates can be a major problem.
Combining the skill sets and investments needed to produce a high level, academic rigorously designed learning environment prevents home study from having a transformational effect on them. The transition to recruiting on a size and achieving enough volume to achieve a ROI is the only sustained way to achieve growth.
We' re not referring here to Moocs or even US scales, where some programs can have as many as ten thousand people. It will be a real challange for others who are more used to denying entry than looking for undergraduates. They will all depend on their capacity to draw on their own experience, market insights and online recruiting skills.
Luckily, the two drivers of economic development - national and global demands - should offer a large enough number of undergraduates with a variety of disciplines, backgrounds and access conditions. Mr. Webster is a Director of CEG Digital, the Cambridge Education Group's Department of Advanced Training.