At the end of the year, NPR published an article titled, “The Online Education Revolution Drifts Off Course,” discussing why universities are reconsidering their position on the widely-hyped MOOCs (massive open online courses). About one week later, U.S. News and World Report released their 2014 rankings of the Best Online Education Programs. It is clear that people want online education options and that some programs are more effective than others.
So how do we define a good online education program?
In their methodology section, U.S. News and World Report shows the categories in which they grade each program and how much weight each category is given. The most heavily weighted category is student engagement; for bachelors programs, it’s weighted at 40% while faculty credentials and training, peer reputation, and student services and technology are each weighted 20%. They explain,
“Quality bachelor’s programs promote participation in courses, allowing students opportunities to readily interact with their instructors and fellow classmates”
This makes sense if you read the criticism of MOOCs. NPR quotes one person describing her MOOC experience as, “just learning in this void.” Without the human interaction and sense of community, students seem to retain less information, are less motivated to complete the course, and are less satisfied with their experience.
However, some students do just fine in MOOCs. And more and more institutions are offering online classes and hybrid classroom-and-online models. Our IU-UNC LogMBA Program is one such hybrid, offered primarily online through Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (the #1 online MBA program), but requiring students to participate in four one-week residencies.
Education continues to evolve as technology becomes more and more accessible. The question seems to be: how human does it need to be?
What do you think is the most important quality of a good online education program? Or do you think online education is just a fad?
What programs have you participated in and what did you like/dislike? Share your comments below!