Posts tagged ‘hybrid learning’

October 30, 2012

Does hybrid learning hold the most promise?

by Grace

Hybrid learning, combining online and face-to-face instruction, would seem to hold the most promise in incorporating technology into higher education.  A recent study supports this promise.

Monitoring 605 college students taking the same introductory statistics course at six public universities—including the University at Albany—SUNYSUNY Institute of Technology—Utica/Rome, the University of Maryland—Baltimore CountyTowson University,  CUNY—Baruch College, and CUNY—City College—during fall 2011, researchers split the students into two groups. One group completed the course in a traditional format, while the second group completed an online component complemented with an hour of in-class instruction each week.

Students were asked to complete a series of tests before and after the course, and researchers found that “hybrid-format students did perform slightly better than traditional format students” on outcomes including final exam scores and overall course pass rates, according to the report.

Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from Randomized Trials (Ithaka S+R, May 22, 2012, William G. Bowen, Matthew M. Chingos, Kelly A. Lack & Thomas I. Nygren)

The better performance of students in the hybrid-format group was not statistically different and the study did not control for differences in teacher quality.  Still, it’s easy to imagine how the powerful combination of a strong teacher with a well-designed online component would deliver superior results with lower costs.

Meta-Analysis: Is Blended Learning Most Effective? (2009)

The United States Department of Education reported recently that it’s found some evidence to support the notion that blended learning is more effective than either face to face or online learning by themselves. Further, between online and face to face instruction, online is at least as good and may even have the advantage in terms of improving student achievement and potentially expanding the amount of time (and quality time) students spend learning.

Blended Learning Models Generating Lessons Learned (2012)

Since blended learning exploded onto the K-12 scene with promises of personalized and student-centered learning, it has proliferated into dozens of different models, with educators continually tweaking and changing those methods to find the perfect balance of face-to-face and online instruction to meet the needs of their students.

Interest in blended education remains high, spurred partly by research offering support for advocates’ claims that blended learning is more effective than either online or face-to-face instruction on its own.

But more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of the evolving blended learning models, including best practices and which models work best for which types of students . . .

Related:  Hybrid learning breaks down geographic barriers for Northeastern University (Cost of College)

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December 29, 2011

Hybrid learning breaks down geographic barriers for Northeastern University

by Grace

Northeastern University is expanding its brand of co-op business education across geographic regions by investing heavily in hybrid education, with its first branch campus in Charlotte, NC.

The goal is to offer master’s degrees in industries like cybersecurity, health informatics and project management, matching programs with each city’s industries and labor needs, through a mix of virtual learning and fly-ins from professors based in Boston (tuition will be the same as at the main campus).

And it’s not doing it on the cheap

Northeastern, which is spending $60 million to support the expansion, is perhaps the most ambitious of a handful of brick-and-mortar institutions looking to broaden their footprint in new markets and with new methods of instruction….

Northeastern has hired 261 tenured and tenure-track professors in the last five years, about twice as many as in the previous five, and plans to add 200 more in the next three years — all of whom will be based at the home campus in Boston.

Examining traditional assumption that face-to-face is always better than online

“This is a time of huge transition in an industry that hasn’t changed much since the Middle Ages,” said Charles P. Bird, a former vice president of Ohio University who helped develop the institution’s online offerings and now works as a consultant. “Higher education is going from traditional face-to-face delivery, and the unexamined assumption that that is good, to thinking about delivering a high-quality online experience, whether fully online or hybrid.”

Drexel University has struggled with a similar enterprise it began in 2009, perhaps miscalculating the importance of local relationships.

“Bill Gates says place is going to matter less and less for universities in the future, but I think that’s wrong,” said Mr. Aoun, Northeastern’s president. “I think a successful university has to be part of a community.”

Savings for students, and the question of quality

Tuition costs for Northeastern’s new hybrid master’s are the same as those for its Boston campus program, but the savings for students will be in time, convenience, and living expenses.  I remember years ago when my husband was planning his return to school to pursue an MBA.  Since online was not an option, we had to price out the potential costs in terms of my lost income and moving expenses.  Today, that equation is quickly changing.

An important question that remains unanswered is about how the quality of online education compares with face-to-face.  Northeastern, ranked 56 on BusinessWeek’s list of business schools , would seem to have a good chance of serving up a high quality experience with its hybrid approach.

June 23, 2011

History instruction by video is ‘incoherent torrent of factoids’

by Grace

Although I am generally enamored of Khan Academy’s video resources, I also recognize the obvious problems with instruction that is mostly constrained to ten-minute video installments.  That’s why I believe Khan videos accompanied by strong teachers is a good combination, with the potential to provide effective and efficient learning.

In a NAS piece, David Clemens points out a “dangerous” aspect of the Khan method, using an example of  the US history overview video that includes mention of Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

Mr. Khan observes that “from FDR’s point of view, Hitler definitely was in the wrong here.” This observation is so odd, that I have to hit the pause button and take a moment to think about it. In Mr. Khan’s History, whether Hitler should have invaded Poland or not is just a matter of viewpoint, wrong in FDR’s (and probably Poland’s) but okey-dokey in Hitler’s. Everything is a matter of viewpoint, perspective, and cultural positioning, therefore nothing is essentially right or wrong, to be applauded or condemned….

Of course, most parents would not want their children to get all their information about Hitler’s invasion from a video like this.  And it can be argued that we will never get to the point where short videos become the main vehicle for history instruction, right?  Perhaps, but I agree with Clemens, who points out this is a real possibility.

But we live in a time when Schindler’s List is used to teach about Auschwitz, and Mr. Khan is a child of his times….

Mr. Khan describes his mission as being to “deliver a world-class education to anyone anywhere . . .” and to have his videos become the “operating system” of the classroom with the teacher reduced to “coach.”

It could happen. He has appeared on CNN, PBS, NPR, Charlie Rose. Students embrace Mr. Khan; Mr. Gates embraces Mr. Khan.   Imagine the consequences if his videos did become the DOS or Windows of education: tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of young minds, all fed by Mr. Khan’s fizzy version of history. Not only would all students absorb the same value judgments, goofy comments, and cultural relativism, they would also conclude that Mr. Khan’s factoids constitute knowledge of history.

The education arena has many examples of “innovations” that went terribly wrong.  Caution is definitely warranted on this one.

Salman Khan responded in the comments with a defense of his history videos, including this.

As for the “one voice” issue, I don’t see how a guy making digestible videos that inform and encourage skepticism (on YouTube where anyone else can do the same) are more dangerous than state-mandated text books. I don’t see how lectures that are open for the world to scrutinize (and comment about on YouTube and our site) are more dangerous than a lone teacher or professor who can say whatever they like to their classrooms with no one there to correct or dispute them.

Good point.

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