Online learning, from fully distance to internet-enabled flipped classrooms, is gaining increasing traction locally, nationally and internationally. Last year witnessed the rise of MOOCs with literally millions of people enrolling in free university modules. But even before the MOOC hype, online learning was becoming increasingly important. Internationally, 53% of European universities offer online learning units (Sursock & Smidt 2010). In the US, blended learning is the fastest growing mode of enrolment with total revenue from online learning over 7 billion in 2005 (Ruth 2006). Nationally, OUA enrolments have climbed steadily for the 5 years to 2012.
Last year the VC noted that “[o]nline education remains a challenge with fast moving changes especially as the dust clears and serious questions in recent weeks are being raised on whether MOOCs will be as disruptive an influence in Australia and other developed markets as they will potentially be in high volume emerging markets. I predict that we will devote renewed energy in 2014 to examining and refining our online presence including our work through Open Universities Australia.” <http://bit.ly/1dhwQq7>
The Faculty of Human Sciences will certainly be devoting significant energy to online education, including working with OUA. Our focus will be on innovative teaching and flexible delivery to open education to greater numbers. Both efforts demand the Faculty offers substantial support for academic staff. As IBISWorld has recently emphasised “. .. academics and professors are still required for sufficient standards to be met. Where this has not occurred, students’ results have fallen and the institution’s reputation has suffered.” <http://bit.ly/OGfOGC>
I have a particular interest in standards and online education <bit.ly/1ikGCXt> and will continue to champion quality online offerings for my term as AD.
Breaking News: Professor Grimson (Chancellor of MIT) claims the real innovation in MOOCs is around assessment <bit.ly/1ffexNk>
Ruth, S. R. (2006) E-Learning — A Financial and Strategic Perspective. EDUCAUSE Quarterly 29(1).
Sursock, A. & Smidt, H. (2010) Trends 2010: A decade of change in European Higher Education. European University Association: http://www.eua.be/publications/
Image: Jean Marc Cote (if 1901) or Villemard (if 1910) http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/06/30/france-in-the-year-2000-1899-1910/