Friday, April 19, 2013

IT in university level education

Came across two interesting and relevant articles.

First from MIT Technology Review concerns MOOCs (massive open online courses) which are attracting attention but are really only getting started.
"As online education platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udacity burst onto the scene over the past year, backers have talked up their potential to democratize higher education in the countries that have had the least access"
"One of the major challenges for MOOCs—which so far mostly come from U.S. universities—is to tailor the content of courses to a diverse worldwide audience with any number of combinations of language, educational, motivational, and cultural backgrounds."
Doing one of these well is a major effort and requires many skills (e.g. graphics) not just a lecturer with a bit of training. Hopefully these courses will endure and be refined and improved over many years. Sustaining motivation is problem and most students find standalone online courses difficult to complete unless they are short.

And secondly is a rather critical article from Information Week about the use of IT in the university classroom:
"Professors at top research universities are highly skeptical of the value of the instructional technologies being injected into their classrooms, which many see as making their job harder and doing little to improve teaching and learning."
Note that while this may be indicative this a not a proper survey.