TEACHING & LEARNING
With tech skills in high-demand, coding bootcamps are doing pretty well, with Course Report estimating 18,000 graduates by the end of this year. These accelerated programs use a disruptive education model to quickly equip students with computer science (CS) skills and land jobs in the tech industry. As it turns out, four out of five companies will hire coding bootcamp graduates, according to Indeed.
If 60 full-time faculty members each retained one additional student per course who would have otherwise dropped out, the college could stand to gain an additional $1.6 million per year in revenue. Wallace Community College Dean of Instruction Tony Holland used these numbers in his presentation during the American Association of Community Colleges meeting this week in New Orleans to illustrate the need for institutions to focus more heavily on professional development of faculty as a direct impact on the bottom line.
The Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, conducted by the new Digital Learning Compass organization, reveals the number of higher education students taking at least one distance education course in 2015 now tops six million. Growth, however, was uneven; private non-profit institutions grew by 11.4 percent while private for-profit institutions saw their distance enrollments decline by 9.4 percent.
These and other findings were published today in a report titled, “Digital Learning Compass: Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017.”
Last year, in its final annual report on online learning, the Babson Survey Research Group found that the number of U.S. higher education students taking at least one online course reached 5.8 million (nearly one half taking all their classes online). More than one quarter (28 percent) of all students enrolled in higher ed took at least one online course.
This is a continuation of the long-term trend that the survey has identified. With online education having gone mainstream, the report’s authors no longer see the need to focus their resources on it. (The National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System is now closely tracking online and distance education.)
As interesting as the numbers are, it’s of equal importance to see that a significant majority of academic leaders (over 70 percent) believe that the learning outcomes achieved by online education are equivalent (if not superior) to those found in the face-to-face classroom.
For the past decade or so, there's been a decline in the number of mathematics students in high schools in Australia. But one teacher is giving new life to the subject through his thoroughly engaging YouTube tutorials is Eddie Woo, the man behind WooTube. A teacher at Sydney's Cherrybrook Technology High School, Woo has more than 40,000 subscribers — not bad for someone whose content is dedicated to explaining concepts like trigonometric equations, inequality proofs, and checksums.
Connor Mitchell's university classes take place online, he doesn't have any exams and he studies in a different country every year. Is he looking into the future or taking a gamble?
With college costs rising steadily and with more courses available online for free, some observers are beginning to question the need for a traditional college education that may include lectures on Greek philosophy but burden students with massive debt.
Education startups are offering alternatives — from boot camps, to one- or two-year tracks, to accredited degree programs — and their founders say these options will give students a more relevant education in today's job market, and at a lower price.
But some experts caution against betting on a narrow, practical education geared toward a specific field that is in demand today but could leave them unprepared for the jobs of tomorrow. They also say most applicants still need a college degree from an established institution to get a good job.
Minerva, an accredited four-year university named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, wants to reinvent elite four-year liberal arts education by teaching critical thinking as opposed to "regurgitating information," founder Ben Nelson said. "You cannot teach yourself how to think critically, you actually have to go through a structured process," said Nelson, an energetic, fast-talking 41-year-old, who previously served as president of the photo printing website Snapfish. "What is sad is that wisdom is wasted on the old. Wisdom should be the tool for the young."
Last June, Martin Chibwe, a computer science major, graduated from Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington, a liberal arts campus with a hipster ethos that shuns letter grades and urges exploration (“We don’t tell you what to take,” its website promises). His computer science courses covered topics like programming, machine learning and artificial intelligence; Chibwe even did a project on recommendation algorithms for an online library. But days after getting his diploma, and despite the big investment ($39,000 in student loans), he sought another credential to “stack” on top to make him more marketable. He enrolled in Udacity’s iOS Developer Nanodegree program, a five-course cluster from the online platform known for its techie skills focus. Cost: $900.