Friday, January 11, 2013

components of a robust online educational experience

Online education improves as educational technology evolves. Today, a robust online course or program might include: 
  • Live interaction with faculty and students: Through Skype, webinars, and other video "chat" mechanics,  there is finally an opportunity for students to interact with their faculty and classmates in real time. 
  • Personalized communication and student portals: As client relationship management (CRM) tools are introduced into higher ed, we'll will find more and more schools creating personalized web sites for their students.  
  • E Portfolios: An online space to house work for exhibit and review is becoming a norm in both traditional and web-based classrooms. 
    The fear as online education evolves is how it might contribute to "predatory" educational practices.  The age of the internet allows for programs to go live without review, accreditation, etc. As such, it's critical that the learner is aware of his or her specific goals and researches their options before jumping into an online program. That said, many well established private and public institutions are integrating online education into their curriculum and I expect such ventures will create wonderful opportunities for self-directed and/or remote learners to pursue higher learning.