Sunday, October 23, 2011

Online Learning: Are California and Texas the Tipping Points?

First the University of Calfornia, and now Texas.

The two biggest university systems in the two most populous U.S. states have embraced online learning in a major way.

The University of Texas system has announced it will contract with outside firms to expand online enrollment. Student demand and budget issues are cited as major concerns. The University of California system is getting push-back from educators and administrators. They initially started their program as a potential revenue stream.

All of this is in addition to numerous states, among them, Idaho, Utah, Indiana, and Florida, who now require at least one online course as part of their high school curriculum. In 27 states, students are allowed to attend a public virtual school.

We are, I think, entering an extremely disruptive time period for education. Anticipate pain, confusion, failure, and endless experiments on the student population until we get this thing right.

If a new successful paradigm emerges, it will be some combination of the traditional model and online learning. That seems inevitable, but no one knows what it will look like.

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