Future Of Education Is Mobile, Social, and in the Cloud: Lessons from EduCause, Part One.
EduCause is the annual Woodstock of higher education. With a particular emphasis on "the intelligent use of information technology" in the robust arena of online education.
Over 5.6 people were enrolled in at least one online course in 2009, according to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning. According to OnlineColleges.org and general consensus in the education field, students choose online colleges because of their convenience, affordability, 24/7 access, and flexibility. "Though the 21% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the 2% growth in the overall higher education student population" (according to the Sloan Survey), perceptual problems persist. The standard rap is that online ed suffers by comparison to its brick-and-mortar peers in academic quality, classroom engagement, and in the respect that an online degree receives from potential employers.
According to Claire Schooley, Forrester Research's senior analyst for HR (and who regularly covers the corporate education space)s, "Employers are often hesitant about hiring graduates with an online degree. It helps that many online colleges are accredited, but HR people just feel there may not have been enough interaction with other students online. Also, companies need more experience with online education degree programs. If they get that experience and see the proficiency, they will hire."
Nevertheless, Don Kilburn, Vice Chairman of Higher Education at Pearson, contends that the "The next wave in education is going to be open source, shared data, collaborating faculty." No surprise since Pearson no longer intends for its interactive materials and educational texts to be a "closed box." Instead, the publishing giant announced at EduCause that it will now allow the sharing of what was once proprietary published content. "We fully intend, and our real strategy is, to move from books to content distribution and to added technology services" for university and secondary education customers, Kilburn added.