Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Outsourcing General Education

While this may initially be aimed at addressing student demand and overcrowding issues, how long before a college decides this is a cheaper and more effective option than face-to-face instructor-led classes?

Could you imagine a future where a college offers all of their Freshman Writing, World Civ, or College Algebra in this fashion? What about statewide initiatives – offering the same self-paced Freshman Writing course at all the colleges in a state? College presidents would jump at this opportunity: shared resources, greater consistency, common outcomes, little or no dependance on faculty – at least in the traditional sense.

Think it can't happen? What about community colleges in Texas – no tenure, no unions – lots of power. A textbook gets adopted in Texas, it impacts the entire country. What would happen if Texas embraced this model for delivering general education courses? It wouldn't be pretty.

From Steve Kolowich …Pacing Themselves

The media conglomerate Pearson today announced a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana to provide online, self-paced courses that the company says will help Ivy Tech deal with student demand and overcrowding issues in required general education courses.

For Pearson, which already sells modules for instructor-led courses, the move represents a further step in the company’s strategy of inserting itself into virtually every area of e-learning short of full degree programs.

“We thought it was time for us to have a self-paced play that our partners could then plug into their institutions and get more students into higher education,” said Don Kilburn, the CEO of Pearson Learning Solutions.

Meanwhile, the partnership allows Ivy Tech to refer certain students to hands-off self-paced general education courses — which it does not currently offer — without building such courses itself.

“It is a way to test out that modality and see if it works for some students without taking a lot of business risk on our own,” said Kara Monroe, associate vice president for online academic programs at Ivy Tech.

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