Monday, July 21, 2014

Today's students are already online

Students today are not waiting for higher education to go online; they are already taking online classes before they even enter higher education. In a recent survey from UCLA, incoming freshmen already utilize some form of online learning during their high school education:
About four out of ten (41.8%) incoming students frequently or occasionally used an online instructional website as assigned for a class in the past year. Students were, however, much more likely to utilize these resources independently—almost seven out of ten (69.2%) incoming first-year students have used such sites frequently or occasionally to learn something on their own. (The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2013)
This should be eye-opening news for higher education institutions who have yet to adopt a significant online learning program. Today's generation of students seek out education, to find what they need to graduate. If an online class will do the job, students are likely to take it.

It's also important to recognize how an institution's online education opportunities will affect these new learners. Higher education is no longer about the "sage on the stage," but about bringing the educational experience to the student. Even a flipped "active learning" classroom is no longer enough in the face of online opportunities.

How is your institution addressing online education? Are you presenting an online program that engages the new mode of online learning, or are you stuck in the past where all your courses are taught in classrooms?

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