Category Archives: Teaching


Open Course Library Sees Little Use in Washington’s Community Colleges

Washington State’s ambitious effort to make free or low-cost course materials available for 42 popular classes at its 34 community colleges isn’t making much progress because only a small fraction of the courses used the materials, according to a report released on Thursday by an arm of the National Association of College Stores.

The report is based on a survey of community-college stores that drew responses from 25 of the campuses. Only nine said that any materials from the state’s Open Course …


Open Textbooks Could Help Students Financially and Academically

As the price of college textbooks continues to increase, more students are opting to skip the books even if their grades suffer, a survey conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has found. In a report released on Monday, the group said open textbooks—written by faculty members, peer-reviewed, and available free online—could help make textbooks affordable again.

For the report, “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market,” more than 2,000 students at 156 college campuses in 33 states were su…


Nurse Program Reimagines Diagnostic Training for Online Students

When officials at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing opted in 2009 to move portions of its master’s program for nurse practitioners online, they did so with a purpose.

“We are really trying to reach students who want to go that next step in patient care and accountability and responsibility, but don’t have access to an education system nearby or the time,” Christine L. Colella, a nurse practitioner and director of the program, says of the distance-education format. ”We are really …


What if You Blended Adaptive Learning With MOOCs?

MOOCs and adaptive-learning software are often billed as two of the most potentially game-changing technologies in higher education. The White House, for one, is excited to see what might happen if and when those two technologies meet.

It would seem natural to combine massive-open-online-course platforms, which accommodate thousands of students, with adaptive-learning software, which responds to the needs of individual students. But so far that has not happened.

The President’s Council of Adviso…


Obama Is Advised to Let Market Forces Decide Fate of MOOCs

Massive open online courses could help increase access to higher education while driving down its costs, but President Obama should not intervene in order to push the MOOC movement in that direction.

That’s the advice the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has offered the president in a letter, made public on Wednesday, that focuses on education technology—and MOOCs in particular.

“Although the new technologies introduced by MOOCs are still in their infancy, and many quest…


Tech-Enabled Alternatives Must Be Part of Education Reform, Report Says

David Bergeron, far right, leads a panel discussion on competency-based education at the Center for American Progress on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013.

David A. Bergeron (right) of the Center for American Progress leads a panel discussion on competency-based education, which he notes is an idea that dates back decades. (Photo by Megan O’Neil)

Washington — The U.S. Education Department must experiment with alternative models, such as stackable credentials and competency-based programs, as part of broader reforms of the nation’s postsecondary-education system, according to a report published on Wednesday by the Center for American Progress.



From a Million MOOC Users, a Few Early Research Results

Preliminary results of a study of 16 massive open online courses offered through the University of Pennsylvania show that only a small percentage of people who start the courses finish them—and that, on average, only half of those who register for the courses even watch the first lecture.

The study, conducted by the university’s Graduate School of Education, is reviewing data from about a million users of the courses, which Penn offered on the Coursera platform, from June 2012 to June 2013. Two …


QuickWire: Davidson College and edX to Offer AP Teaching Modules

Davidson College has teamed up with the College Board and edX, the nonprofit provider of massive open online courses, to create online teaching modules for high-school students taking Advanced Placement courses in calculus, macroeconomics, and physics, The New York Times reported. Davidson faculty members and teachers at high schools near the college, the article said, are using College Board data to determine what AP topics high-school students have the most trouble with, and then designing vi…


Academics to Udacity Founder: Told Ya

In a new magazine profile of Sebastian Thrun, the Udacity founder calls his company’s massive open online courses a “lousy product” to use for educating underprepared college students. That assertion has prompted a chorus of I-told-you-sos from his critics in academe.

In interviews for the Fast Company profile, Mr. Thrun reflected on the discouraging results of an experiment at San Jose State University in which instructors used Udacity’s online platform to teach mathematics. Some of the stude…


Bill Would Require Instructional Technology to Be Accessible to All

Legislation introduced on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives would require colleges either to make instructional technology accessible to disabled students or to provide them with equivalent, alternative resources.

Rep. Tom Petri, a Wisconsin Republican and senior member of the House education committee, said his bill would ensure that disabled students were given equal treatment as technology plays a larger and larger role in instruction. The bill is called the Technology, Equality, an…