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Sloan-C Blended learning workshop day 2

UPDATE – all conference materials are now posted here.

Day two arrived and zipped by faster than day 1!  Here is what I I’m taking away -

Blended Learning: Past, Present and Future

Another good plenary panel session.  Again many tweets give you an idea of the big ideas discussed. Some of my favorite quotes/snips

  • Best of both worlds -> blended is classroom enhanced web learning.
  • DOE report calls blended “pedagogically rich environment.”
  • UCF finds blended has lower withdrawl rates and higher student satisfaction rates
  • UCF studied 1.8 million, yes that’s million, student evaluations and found “excellent” rating used most in blended courses.
  • Not moving parts of course online, but transforming to online.
  • UCF students are blending their programs by choosing different offerings in different formats to find their way through.  UW-M too.
  • UCF finds $ savings is in not having to build buildings for their increasing demand.

Next up Can Blended Learning Help Ease the Transition to College?

A community college in Baltimore — 35K students — delivers face-to-face and online college readiness course.  It is required for all degree and certificate-seeking students.  7 weeks long. Delivered by faculty and staff across college (after 28 hours of training + 4 hours for online delivery).  Huge demand (since required) — 200 sections last fall!  They use SmarterMeasure to assess readiness of online students.  They are considering going blended because students do want some face-to-face and they need to find ways to deliver a lot of sections.

After lunch with the Normadale crew again I was off to the Eduventures presentation.

Hybrid Education: The Consumer Perspective

As with all things Eduventures — a very data-rich presentation.  Thankfully the PPT is posted at the link above.  Check it out.  Some key headlines I saw

  • Most interest in blended is in AA and masters programs.
  • Online interest rate has tapered.
  • Surveyed 52 institutions — 58% public, 36% private, 6% for-profit.
  • over 20,000 responses! — 72% current students, 28% prospective students.  Included continuing ed students.
  • 34% of prospects interested in blended. 19% of current students interested in blended (24% of all in survey).
  • For disciplines, English and Sciences had most (45%) interest from prospects.
  • Of the prospects who were interested in blended program in next 3 years
    • 51% prefer more online components than face-to-face.
    • 31% prefer equal mix.
    • 18% prefer more face-to-face components.
  • When those prospects were asked about how they liked a 90% online / 10% face-to-face 64% said that was attractive.
  • When asked about what kinds of face-to-face components they liked
    • networking event
    • 1 week every few months
    • practical / employer-linked project
    • 1 day residency to start
  • What face-to-face components they didn’t like
    • quizzes / exams
    • 1 day at the end
    • 1 week to start or end
  • When asked what activities they were interested in (check out the slides, really)
    • 84% wanted real-world applications
    • 83% simulations
    • 77% project-based assignments
    • ….
    • down to 47-48% socializing and group work.
  • When asked what motivated them
    • 35% adding skills, become more marketable.
    • 17% job advancement (see slides)
  • When selecting a blended program
    • 96% said course / program quality top selection
    • 92% said faculty teaching abilities
    • 91% said cost
    • ….
  • Interestingly, reputation is trumping geography.  Students used to be selecting online programs close to them but now they’re more interested in reputation — far away is ok if you’re quality.
  • Great scatter plot on how students become aware of programs — online course catalog most important and then the school website.  Social media, youtube, texting are very low on importance.
  • For prospects, flexible scheduling is key for them — convenience is low.

Eduventures concluded with the observation that it appears that the demand is high but the supply seems low.  Leaving questions — is it that students can’t find blended offerings?  They can’t figure out what is blended?  They’re just winding up taking online because they can’t find blended?

Last up were 15-minute “Great Idea” sessions from Sloan-C effective practice winners.  This segment moved at a good pace from presenter to presenter.  My favorites were

Imperial College London (yes, 3 of them flew out to the conference!) – using online supported self-study to get students prepared for their advanced business degree.  The students are coming from varied backgrounds and don’t have all the foundational skills necessary.  The self-paced online courses are managed by a tutor who is there to answer questions but the courses are truly self-study as students can jump in at any time and I’m assuming there is no interactive component with other students.  They saw them as a way to have more students experience some of their best faculty (via recordings).

Knewtoncontinuous adaptive learning to solve college readiness.  This literally blew my mind!  Imagine an adaptive textbook that changes as your skills change.  Imagine creating a playlist of what you need to learn to get ready for college.  Imagine a system that knows how you learn best, when you learn best and adapts to meet your personal learning style.  The demo was AMAZING. They use some game-style achievement tracking to help students ladder through masteries.  In terms of reporting you can drill down to the atomic concept level to see if a given student mastered the concept.  You can see it here.

My first thought was how expensive will this be?  They see it as a way to replace textbooks and they’re getting publishers on board — the textbook cost is redirected to this instead.  He said it would be free to faculty to use but V1 was going to be lacking a UI to load up the logic and structures.  V2 would have a UI for building your “course” – perhaps in 2012 I think.  Also coming in V2 is tutor sourcing : You (the student) ask a question about, say, the quadratic formula.  Knewton decodes your question, identifies what it is about, finds people who know the answer, then finds people who learn just like you, then asks them, and you get answers that work for you.  Once the session video is up I’m going to show my colleagues.

And then it was over.  Twitter was great for this conference and it allowed me to capture some of the best snippets.  I had some great chats with people and everything was well done.  Well worth the trip!

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