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Articles: Classroom

Although the in-house work in preparing traditional classes to be taught online can be overwhelming, the vast majority of colleges and universities do not to use third-party vendors for online course development. Ottawa University, based in Kansas but with locations across the country, has its own curriculum design studio, says Brian Messer, vice president of online.

At the height of allergy season, Forbes projected a $14.7 billion profit margin for over-the-counter allergy medications alone. Over the past year, the American public got a rare look into the alleged unethical and deceitful business, hygiene, medical, and pharmacy practices at the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts.

In any endeavor, it is prudent to begin with the end in mind. This strategy proved to be successful throughout my business career, which culminated in a position as a managing director at Merrill Lynch. When I turned my attention to business education, I decided to once again start at the end.

Many institutions with a single traditional brick and mortar campus are diversifying the methods for delivering their programs by going online, developing hybrid courses, and even establishing centers at locations off-campus. In his UBTech featured session, “Using Multiple Delivery Methods to Reduce the Cost of Higher Education,” Alan Walker, former president of Upper Iowa University, will discuss the challenges and cost benefits of strategic diversification.

When students in an honors business and professional communications course at Robert Morris University (Pa.) conducted research on textbooks, a survey revealed that 14 percent of their peers knew at least one student who dropped out of school because he or she could not afford to pay for textbooks. And when administrators learned of that finding, they took action.

Toughpad Tablet

Tim Goral

Earlier this year work began on a document that, at the very least, formalizes expectations and minimum standards for schools and students venturing into online learning. With the growth of MOOCs and distance learning, we are entering a time when these alternate forms of learning will supplement and in some cases supplant traditional education models. Universities recognize that they need to find ways to provide cost-effective, quality education to an expanding base, even as their own funding gets slashed.

Tony Bates

Tony Bates is the author of 11 books in the field of online learning and distance education. In addition to his most recent title, Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning (Jossey-Bass/John Wiley & Co. 2011), Bates moderates a widely read blog about online learning and distance education resources at Popular with audiences at education conferences around the world, Bates will be a featured speaker at UBTech 2013 in Orlando.

Over the holidays, Steven Spielberg’s latest film, Lincoln, riveted the nation’s attention on the role President Lincoln played in emancipation. Yet, little attention was given to the role that Lincoln played in empowering and educating the small family farming and industrial working class. Nor was there any celebration of the Morrill Act creating America’s first land-grant universities – missioned to provide higher education opportunities to agricultural and industrial workers.

Gone are the days when a basic classroom with a podium and desks was considered an acceptable learning space. In fact, according to CDW-G’s “Learn Now, Lecture Later” report released in June 2012, 47 percent of instructors surveyed said they are moving beyond the lecture-only model. In addition, 71 percent of students and 77 percent of instructors said they use more classroom technology than just two years ago.

A traditional liberal arts curriculum focus doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it often involves interactive, interdisciplinary approaches. Stephanie Fabritius, vice president for academic affairs and dean of Centre College (Ky.), explains that it is increasingly multi- and interdisciplinary in nature. “The curriculum is designed so that connections are drawn among classes and between class material, and in a global context.”

A classic liberal arts education, long viewed as a firm foundation for a successful professional life, has taken a backseat in recent years to more career-specific training. To remain competitive, many colleges and universities have added pre-professional programs and, in some cases, slashed liberal arts requirements. However, some colleges remain committed to a traditional liberal arts curriculum and continue to find success.

We know that conference programs offer a variety of topics for attendees who want to sample from some of the best and brightest ideas in higher education.

But there are times when deeper discussion is warranted, beyond a breakout session presentation. So this year, for the first time, UBTech (June 10-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort) is launching a program of pre-conference special interest groups (SIGs), on the opening day of the show. It will be a chance for like-minded higher ed professionals to get together and share ideas and collaborate.

Starting this fall, full-time students enrolled in Wake Forest University’s (N.C.) Master of Arts in Management (M.A.) Program won’t be able to roll out of bed and rush to class. Instead they will be required to be in school from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the weekday to learn real-world responsibility and accountability.

In the movie “Idiocracy,” the world has degenerated to garbage-filled state where people don’t know basic farming. Could this fate be avoided by maintaining support for the liberal arts?