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Monday, September 29, 2014

Halt the Rapid Decline in Part-Time Higher Education

Photo: Anka Mulder
"In recent years, provision by universities of lifelong learning and professional education has been in sharp decline. Earlier this year, for instance, the Rinnooy Kan Commission in the Netherlands found that part-time higher education is undergoing a dramatic decline." summarizes Anka Mulder, Vice-President for Education and Operations at Delft University of Technology.

In the last few years, Delft University of Technology and other universities have gained valuable experience of online education, including in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We have found that there is a clear need for this kind of education in wide-ranging areas including cyber security, aviation technology and water management.

The sheer size of MOOCs, with thousands or even tens of thousands of students, means that a treasure trove of data on learning behaviour has been collected. This not only applies to the Delft courses, but also to the other MOOCs offered by our partners within edX.

By analysing this data, we are increasingly discovering how people learn. In alliance with Leiden University, Erasmus University and other leading universities worldwide, Delft intends to conduct research into this.

Lecturers have already learned a lot about what works and what does not work in online education from feedback provided by MOOC students. For example, an interesting observation made during our MOOC on 'Solar Energy' was that students work more effectively in a group than if they try to complete an online course individually. 
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Source: Huffington Post UK