We are witnessing a historic transformation of how students learn, teachers teach, and universities are organized. Gone are the days when students need to crisscross a college campus to receive the highest quality education. Online technology is at the precipice of providing unprecedented, widespread access to quality higher education.
But we have to commit to doing it right. Much of what's touted as innovation in traditional higher education falls short for students seeking high-quality online degrees that will serve them in a tough job market.
At the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, our online education is delivered live, in real-time, with students and the professor appearing on-screen simultaneously (think The Brady Bunch), connected, conversing, and learning. There are chat rooms, small group discussions, multimedia presentations, videos. We also provide self-paced coursework, but that's not the core of the educational experience. And, most critical, this online experience is combined with hands-on field-based teaching experiences for each student in his or her community from the beginning of the program.
Delivered through the educational technology company 2U, our virtual classroom allows us to offer the same rigorous graduate degrees with the same faculty and same curriculum as we do on campus, and it demands that students do just as much as they would if they attended courses on campus.