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Online Learning and Liberal Arts Colleges

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported on a recent Babson survey that found that “The most-drastic recent shift in the perceived importance of online education was at small colleges (i.e., those with fewer than 1,500 students). In 2012, 60 percent of academic leaders at small colleges said online education was strategically crucial. Now that number is 70 percent—nearly the same as at universities with more than 15,000 students.” What accounts for this shift? Practical considerations are surely a factor; we know of many small colleges that have launched online courses for summer or winter sessions in order to avoid…


Blended MOOCs
Is the Second Time the Charm?

Students at Bowie State discuss their experience with a MOOC in this video. Much of the hype surrounding MOOCS has faded and as Steve Kolowich shows in a recent Chronicle piece, “Few people would now be willing to argue that massive open online courses are the future of higher education.” As the Babson Survey Research Group (that Kolowich cites) shows, higher ed leaders are less certain that MOOCs “are a sustainable way to offer courses,” that “self-directed learning” will have an important impact on higher ed, or that “MOOCs are important for institutions to learn about online pedagogy.” At Ithaka…


Does Online Learning Have a Role in Liberal Arts Colleges?

Liberal arts colleges are known for low professor to student ratios, intimate seminar classes and highly personalized undergraduate experiences. On the surface, it is not obvious how online learning fits with this picture. But these days liberal arts colleges face many of the same pressures as larger universities – resource constraints, the growth of non-traditional students with more extracurricular responsibilities, even uncertainty about how a liberal arts education should evolve to stay relevant in a digital world. There is an urgent need to figure out how online learning technologies might help to address these pressures while honoring these institution’s core…


Ithaka S+R Releases Report on Hybrid Classroom Experiments at the University System of Maryland

New York, NY—During the same month that The New York Times declared 2012 the “Year of the MOOC,” Ithaka S+R partnered with the University System of Maryland (USM) to determine the feasibility of using MOOCs in new ways—incorporating MOOCs and other online technologies into undergraduate classrooms.  The results of that study are available today:  Interactive Online Learning on Campus: Testing MOOCs and Other Platforms in Hybrid Formats in the University System of Maryland. Over the course of a year, Ithaka S+R worked with faculty on seven USM campuses to set up side-by-side  tests in classes from statistics to biology comparing…


Ithaka S+R and the CIC's Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction

In today’s edition of Inside Higher Ed, Carl Straumsheim writes about a new Council of Independent Colleges initiative that “will bring 20 of the organization’s members together in a Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction.” Ithaka S+R is delighted to serve as an advisor for this initiative. In this capacity Ithaka S+R is undertaking three roles: 1. Advising the CIC in the program design, helping to select members of the consortium, and contributing to communications with members. 2. Supporting consortium members as they design and implement their projects, including providing background research on online learning technologies and implementation approaches, helping to…