by Laura Carter
Online or “distance” education has quickly become one of the most desirable platforms for student learning. In fact, by now electronic delivery of course content is mainstream, and most universities are focused on further streamlining the process, as well as adding more online course offerings to their catalogs.
The underlying priority is, of course, to serve students, who increasingly seek more efficient and tailor-made modes of instruction. Students are juggling fast-paced lifestyles, family demands, and work obligations: online education channels are for some students the best solution to finding balance between life and school.
In 2016, we are tracking specific trends related to online education and procedures:
- Schools that rely on distance education to serve students are faced with the challenge of justifying how or why this unique format matches or even exceeds face-to-face instruction. The best administrations are carefully analyzing comparative models, taking student population surveys on the matter, then working to implement best practices in both on-ground and online scenarios. Compiling and interpreting student feedback data is a fundamental trend in securing success of online programs.
- Cutting-edge schools have accepted that students want rich, varied distance education options. There is no excuse for being resistant to the transition from onground to online, and leadership teams in university and community college environments are embracing and prioritizing the modern method of instruction that is online teaching.
- Universities, community colleges, and even high schools are now doing a better job of defining the different models available for online teaching and learning. Consider the fully online versus the hybrid (or “blended”) format. There exist courses that meet at a specific time online and others where students log on, work, and then depart the online community at their own leisure. Making certain that students understand fully just what they’re getting into when they enroll in a particular type of online course is vital—for both student success and for retention and graduation rates. This new awareness is proving to be an emerging trend among administrators and advising staffs across the country.
- Institutions that offer online learning options to a broad student population are working harder to stay current on the latest course mapping and content delivery technologies; this in turn means added value to a student’s overall financial bottom line and academic experience. The various technology platforms and interface options (Blackboard vs. Moodle vs. Angel, for example) all present positives and negatives. The best schools are those who are up-to-date—and honest—about how a platform may serve one population better than another—and they adjust accordingly.
- Thankfully there is also a trend toward ensuring absolute mobility for online course participation. This means confirming that an enrolled student may use any and all devices to access course content and to submit assignment materials—online, on-the-go, all the time.
Laura Carter is a higher education blogger. Read her articles at dissertationwritingservices.org and follow her @carterlaura15.
This article was shared with us by CollegeWeekLive.