Colleges, universities look to online programs to navigate an uncertain future (Miami Herald)

BY MICHAEL VASQUEZ

August 8, 2013

“Measured strictly by size, the University of Florida’s recent Fundamentals of Human Nutrition class was a resounding success. The class, offered this past spring, was UF’s first foray into the online trend of Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. The class was open to anyone interested, from around the world, and more than 69,000 students signed up.

For comparison purposes, UF as a university has a total enrollment of about 50,000 a year.”

[…]

“A 2011 Columbia University study found that community college students had an 82 percent chance of completing an online course — compared to 90 percent for face-to-face courses. In remedial classes, the gap grew even larger, with 85 percent of face-to-face students succeeding, but only 74 percent of online students completing the course.”

[…]

“‘I have to question why do you have 1,000 or 5,000 or 50,000 people in a course when fewer than 10 percent are finishing?’ she asked. ‘What’s the point?'”

Ruth Ann Bella [who heads Miami Dade College’s Virtual College] poses an interesting question: what is the point?

About Ryan C. Fowler

Ryan is a curricular fellow at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington D.C. He also teaches at Franklin and Marshall College and Lancaster Theological Seminary.
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