TEACHING & LEARNING
As online learning continues to grow as an increasingly viable option for postsecondary and continuing education (at least 5.8 million US students are enrolled in at least one online course), especially as non-traditional students are becoming the norm, there still exists a universal unfamiliarity with online learning that has led to the proliferation of several myths or misconceptions about this popular mode of learning.
However, the online learning myths you may be thinking of are not typically the ones in existence today. For example, unlike the myth just a few short years ago that online learning means poor quality, the new myth today is that when a well-regarded institution offers a course online the quality will be good.
The myths listed, compiled by Cypher Learning, are based on research and trends noted in Forbes, the Online Learning Consortium, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and Medium.
When the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University opened in 2013, it seemed nary an innovation was left out. The 225,000‐square‐foot building includes multiple display walls running at a resolution six times better than high-def; a whacked out game lab; a wide visualization space; creativity studios; nearly a hundred group study rooms and learning spaces; glass walls and writable surfaces anywhere you might lay an erasable marker; bookBot, a robotic book storage center with capacity for 2 million volumes; reconfigurable seating and tables everywhere (including a reported 60 different types of designer furniture); plus high-performance computing (HPC) and high-speed storage.
A good book and a beautiful library certainly sounds like a match made in heaven to us. You can dream on, with these eight libraries recognised in the 2017 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. Just dream quietly please. Awarded by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Library Association (ALA), the program encourages and recognises excellence in the architectural design of libraries. Projects can be located anywhere around the world, but only those designed by an architect licensed in the U.S. can be submitted in the competition.
Still, these libraries are worth marvelling (quietly) at. Ah, we can almost hear the beautiful silence.
At a friendly yet spirited debate last month over the pros and cons of open educational resources, publishers and OER advocates agreed on at least one thing: The "old" textbook market is broken. But that’s pretty much where the common ground ended. Team Publisher asserted that the evolution of the textbook marketplace was already leading students to create "their own market equilibrium," allowing them to obtain required course materials at affordable prices through a combination of textbook rentals, used books, and purchase of new so-called smart books from commercial publishers.
After a year marked by flat demand, student interest in online academic programs is growing again. Inquiries for online programs in February were up 13 percent, year-over-year, according to GrayReports, a monthly review of student and employer demand trends in higher education produced by strategy consulting firm Gray Associates, Inc. Online inquiries have now increased in seven of the last eight months, according to Gray.
The gains in inquiry volume reported for the first two months of 2017 and the second half of 2016 diverge from the overall trend for 2016, which saw inquiry volume grow by just one half of one percent. An inquiry is defined as a search for information, online or otherwise, about an academic program and/or an institution of higher learning.
“We’re seeing a fundamental shift in how students want to be educated, especially among nontraditional students,” said Bob Atkins, Gray Associates Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Students who might be juggling the responsibilities of raising a family and holding down a job are looking for alternative ways to continue their education. Online programs offer them a way to do that by letting them learn at convenient times and not have to come to campus.”
In April 2015, Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., decided to create a new rehabilitation sciences department—but we knew these wouldn’t be traditional classrooms. We wanted students to master the physical sciences using hands-on learning and cutting-edge technologies – and we recommend a similar approach for any higher-ed facility looking to boost interest and enrollment.
We chose a combination of technologies for our new 45,000-square-foot Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, where graduate students use tools like touchscreen-controlled cameras and displays to learn through experience. We chose large sized displays so students can easily view what’s being presented; high resolution, so students can see the finer detail in imaging like MRIs and radiographs; network features, which allow more effective remote management; and affordability. The screens deliver content to students via video and high-res imaging like diagnostic exams.