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Assessing Online Offerings

by William Fenton

PC Magazine

Article excerpt

MIT Just Released an Online Learning Report Worth Reading

Outside a given institution, an academic report rarely casts a wake. It is a formal document, often exceedingly parochial, such that those outside the institution—and many within it—rarely read beyond the executive summary. MIT’s just-published “Online Education: A Catalyst for Higher Education Reforms” is a noteworthy exception.

Our take

Online Learning May Hold Promise But Hefty Investments Required

Like online magazines and the traditional print versions, it’s unlikely that online learning will replace the traditional kind any time soon. However, there is an increasingly likelihood that online learning options will be coming to a traditional campus or school system near you—if it hasn’t already. A recent report from MIT takes a deep dive into the topic of online learning, offering four key recommendations. What are they and how might you adopt them for your own online offerings?

This report, which is definitely worth a read in its entirety, points to four key trends based on research from MIT—an early entrant into the online learning marketplace and the creator of edX—a platform for massive open online courses, or MOOCs. The trends: interdisciplinary collaboration, promotion of online education, investment in “learning engineers,” and institutional and organizational change. All logical, and likely to continue to evolve, but as this admittedly skeptical author notes, achieving these outcomes will require significant expenditures—resources that, unlike MIT, most institutions simply don’t have.

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