Monday, December 10, 2012

How Has the Internet Changed Education?

Just came across this infographic via Twitter...thanks to @K12Learn for the tip.

Pretty interesting to note the statistics they include. The one that really stood out to me is that "90% of faculty are using social media in courses they are teaching." Frankly, that number seems a little high to me. Of course, I suppose it depends on what you call "social media." My mind immediately jumped to Facebook, Twitter, and the like. But blogging is social by nature, as are wikis and moodles...and I've used all of these in my teaching. So I guess I'm in their 90%.

And I definitely agree with the basic principle exhibited in this infographic: I know that my own teaching practice has evolved over the 15 years I've been in the profession as internet access has grown more dependable and online tools become more flexible and varied.

What I really wonder is about the likelihood of more colleges and universities expanding their online undergraduate offerings? There are definite pros and cons to that in my mind. The biggest con would be missing out on the "college experience"--living and learning in community. I know, I can replicate everything online...but in my experience, it's hard to really replicate the sort of interaction that can happen face-to-face in an online setting.

That's not to say there aren't still potential benefits. The flexibility and cost factors of online education are significant.

I'm very curious to see how the next few years shake out in higher education. The rise of MOOC's intrigues me, but I'd like to know more about whether our culture is ready to move on to that sort of setting as a form of higher education. To be blunt, I don't see it as a very good model for developing future PreK-12 teachers, which is where my heart lies as a Professor of Education...

What do you think? Where will higher education land in the next generation? Do MOOC's spell the end for higher ed as we know it? Or will they become a supplement at best? Will online education trump brick-and-mortar institutions?

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