Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why Some Elite Colleges Give Away Courses Online; Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/19/11

Mark Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education; Why Some Elite Colleges Give Away Courses Online:

"Q. Some of these projects are very popular, but is there evidence of their learning effectiveness?

A. That's part of what makes the OLI [Open Learning Initiative, based at Carnegie Mellon University] so unique, is that built into the environment itself, that accomplishes the teaching, is the mechanism for assessment. ... They have given a control group and a variable group the same final, and found that the students using OLI aren't hurt in the slightest by not having had the same level of in-person instruction—that the system did just as well, if not better, at teaching them this material. ... Beyond those two studies, there really hasn't been a systematic appraisal of learning outcomes based on openly available material writ large. No one disputes that these open-courseware initiatives have done much good. But it's impossible, with the currently available data, to determine how much good."

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