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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Treating Higher Ed's 'Cost Disease' With Supersize Online Courses by Marc Parry

Photo: Marc Parry
"Oh my God, she's trying to replace me with a computer.

That's what some professors think when they hear Candace Thille pitch the online education experiment she directs, the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University." summarizes Marc Parry.

Photo: Candace Thille
The Chronicle

They're wrong. But what her project does replace is the traditional system of building and delivering introductory college courses.

Professors should move away from designing foundational courses in statistics, biology, or other core subjects on the basis of "intuition," she argues. Instead, she wants faculty to work with her team to put out the education equivalent of Super Bowl ads: expensively built online course materials, cheaply available to the masses.

When Ms. Thille began this work, in 2002, the idea was to design free online courses that would give independent novices a shot at mastering what students learn in traditional classes. But two things changed. One, her studies found that the online system benefits on-campus students, allowing them to learn better and faster than their peers when the digital environment is combined with some face-to-face instruction.

Candace Thille (Opening Up Education) 

Related link
Candace Thille leads an overview of Carnegie Mellon's Open Learning Initiative

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education