Feature

Online labs evolve

Enhancing instruction, improving access and saving costs through digital lab experiences

Students learning to investigate aircraft accidents can sift through the debris of simulated crashes on eight acres of land at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s campus in Prescott, Ariz.

Last month, the institution, which has 150 locations around the world, launched a virtual version of the lab. While not meant to replace the real-life lab, it may offer remote students a more extensive experience of simulated accidents, its designers say.

Why online labs are spreading

Some online labs require little or no equipment, and take up no space on campus

Budget crunches and crowded courses are two reasons online science labs are becoming more popular in higher ed. Some online labs require little or no equipment, and take up no space on campus.

All-you-can-learn tuition takes off

How flat-rate tuition models are being used to better serve nontraditional students

Adult students are treating themselves to a higher ed buffet through a handful of programs where all-you-can-learn tuition lets them move as quickly as they can toward a degree and advancement in the workforce.

For-profit’s focus on flat-rate tuition

Tuition is $1,316 for four-month term; students can take as many classes as they can fit into schedule

Since last June, students at the for-profit Patten University have been able to take all-you-can-learn, competency-based programs online and at the institution’s campus in Oakland, Calif.

Undergraduate tuition is $1,316 for a four-month term or $350 for a month. Students can take as many classes as they can fit into their schedule. The average student takes three classes per term, says Gene Wade, CEO of Patten’s parent company, UniversityNow.

Competency-based programs: ‘Low cost, high quality’

UW Extension School, Brandman University launching all-you-can-learn

The University of Wisconsin’s all-you-can-learn, competency-based flex program—designed for adult students—started in January. Students can pay $2,250 for a three-month, all-you-can-learn subscription, or just $900 to work on a single set of competencies, says Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower, the interim provost of the UW Extension School.

Tuition covers assessments and faculty mentoring, and students’ get help organizing their studies from an academic coach—a new role that combines duties of an advisor and tutor. All work is graded by University of Wisconsin faculty.

Massive, open, online, for credit

Three models for allowing students to earn credit for completed MOOCs

Despite growing interest in the higher ed community about the potential of credit being offered for MOOCs, the number of institutions that have rolled out such programs is small.

And though more than 8 million people have taken a MOOC in the past three years, the number of students to take advantage of MOOC-for-credit programs is even smaller.

Online proctoring gaining popularity with MOOCs

Solutions for authenticating the results of student assessments conducted online

As more colleges and universities offer credit for MOOCs, one problem that has cropped up is how to authenticate the results of student assessments conducted online.

A handful of companies have developed a solution: online proctoring. Using a webcam to monitor the students as they take tests, online proctors can peer into students’ living rooms, kitchens or back patios, watching their computer screens and observing their eye movements to ensure they are not looking at notes in a closed-book exam.

Vincennes University’s partnership with Toyota: A model in workforce development

Industry-driven
A Toyota workforce study revealed: Within 10 years, at least 200 employees in their Indiana manufacturing plant would retire.
Action: Partner with university to launch the Toyota Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program

Making instructors comfortable with on-camera roles

How to coach for distance learning and lecture capture

For an increasing number of faculty members, class prep has gone high tech. It’s not about simply reviewing notes and planning course exercises. It also involves stepping in front of a video camera. Whether it’s for distance learning programs or flipped classrooms, colleges and universities now need faculty who are able and willing to teach on camera.

On-camera: Performance tricks from the pros

Following are 10 ways to increase the odds of engaging and connecting with students through video.

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