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Analysis and Comment (28)

A ‘library’ today is as much digital as it is bricks and mortar. A ‘library’ today is as much digital as it is bricks and mortar. stevecadman

If learners live online, teachers and textbooks must follow them

Ten years after the launch of Facebook and eight years after the launch of Twitter, social media has become more pervasive and our use of it more sophisticated. It’s no longer a place where we report what…
Many students drop out of online degrees because they don’t feel a sense of belonging with the course or university. Many students drop out of online degrees because they don’t feel a sense of belonging with the course or university. Flickr/Fleep Tuque

‘Sense of belonging’ enhances the online learning experience

For the past couple of years Australian universities' enthusiasm for online learning has increased, following the lead of international universities in realising the potential of MOOCs to replace traditional…
Is this the university experience students will be paying a premium for? Is this the university experience students will be paying a premium for? Flickr/Vin Crosbie

Higher ed changes will lead to higher fees, more online delivery

It’s a brave new world for higher education in Australia. We will soon have an open market and an overall reduction in government expenditure per student. This means universities will need to find alternate…
Technology has now reached a point where it is conceivable that an education experience on the internet can be comparable to one on a university campus. Technology has now reached a point where it is conceivable that an education experience on the internet can be comparable to one on a university campus. shutterstock

The campus is dead: long live the campus?

With technology changing the landscape of higher education, The Conversation this week is running a series “Re-imagining the Campus” on the future of campus learning. Here, Jason Lodge ponders the future…
Does my £9,000 get me a tablet? Does my £9,000 get me a tablet? BillyONeal

For £9,000, students expect their classes to go digital

Students in the UK are now paying annual fees of up to £9,000 – and they expect more for their money. This is a radical change from the situation a couple of decades ago when student grants provided the…
Will the hype around free high quality higher education last? Will the hype around free high quality higher education last? Online image from www.shutterstock.com

From MOOCs to HARVARDs: will online go mainstream?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) draw a spectrum of responses. Should we be spruiking MOOCs? Spooked by MOOCs? Or hoping the hype will fade and the fad will pass? Most of us know the headlines. Free…
Traditionally, students took exams on site at a university. But how does assessment work with online courses? Traditionally, students took exams on site at a university. But how does assessment work with online courses? Exam image from www.shutterstock.com

Proving knowledge by degrees: MOOCs and the challenge of assessment

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have certainly got higher education folks talking. These free online courses, often from prestigious universities, have prompted one obvious question: why should students…
An essay you submit in an online course might not be graded by humans but by computers instead. An essay you submit in an online course might not be graded by humans but by computers instead. Keyboard image from www.shutterstock.com

Computer thinks you’re dumb: automated essay grading in the world of MOOCs

Let us consider the following scenario. You have enrolled in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by a world renowned university. After four weeks of solid work you have completed your first assignment…
Red tape could be preventing online education from really flourishing in Australia. Red tape could be preventing online education from really flourishing in Australia. Online learning image from www.shutterstock.com

Rules and regulation could strangle online learning

Regulation has always shaped Australian higher education. Some rules have helped – like extending HELP loans to private higher education providers in 2005. While tougher rules – like the ones to define…
There is a danger that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may end up being more about money and less about education. There is a danger that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) may end up being more about money and less about education. Mouse and money image from www.shutterstock.com

Public good or playing markets? The real reason for MOOCs

The astonishing idealism and energy manifest in the advance of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has taken the higher education world by storm. Universities have been shaken to their foundations by the…
Online learning offers plenty of opportunities but only if it’s done right. Online learning offers plenty of opportunities but only if it’s done right. Online learning image from www.shutterstock.com

Online students need more face-to-face time, not less

Higher education, we’re told, is rapidly heading towards huge transformation and technological disruption. Advocates of online education promise that advances in online learning technologies – by permitting…
Free online courses from prestigious universities have caused a stir, but they won’t shut universities down. Free online courses from prestigious universities have caused a stir, but they won’t shut universities down. Online education image from www.shutterstock.com

Online learning glitch: MOOC flaws will be hard to resolve

Last weekend, The Guardian ran an article entitled “Do online courses spell the end for the traditional university?” Had I been the one writing that article, it would have been precisely two letters long…
The Khan academy is trying to bring education to the world, but how? The Khan academy is trying to bring education to the world, but how? Online learning image from www.shutterstock.com

Yes, we Khan: pioneering education for anyone, anywhere

From preschool to PhD, education is afflicted by a malaise. Many students, teachers, parents and politicians, feel that with all the effort and money spent, we should be doing better. Salman Khan, founder…
Online education might not cut it for students who want quality learning and more access to staff. Online education might not cut it for students who want quality learning and more access to staff. Student image from www.shutterstock.com

What students want and how universities are getting it wrong

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today, Victoria University’s…
Online education may mean more stress and workload for academics, not less. Online education may mean more stress and workload for academics, not less. Stressed academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Online education at the coalface: what academics need to know

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today, ANU’s Rod Lamberts and…
Universities campuses need to adapt to the new reality of mobile students and online education. Universities campuses need to adapt to the new reality of mobile students and online education. Flickr/Jill

The university campus of the future: what will it look like?

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today Victoria University’s David…
Australian humanities subjects need to get on board with MOOCs and develop Australian voices in online learning. Australian humanities subjects need to get on board with MOOCs and develop Australian voices in online learning. World image from www.shutterstock.com

Deadset? MOOCs and Australian education in a globalised world

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today Ruth Morgan looks at the…
Some people could be left behind in the digital revolution in higher education. Some people could be left behind in the digital revolution in higher education. Divide image from www.shutterstock.com

Online education: can we bridge the digital divide?

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: We continue our series on the rise of online and blended learning and how free online courses are set to transform the higher education sector. Today, Tim Pitman writes on who…
Online learning has shown a better way to design courses. Online learning has shown a better way to design courses. University image from www.shutterstock.com

Radical rethink: how to design university courses in the online age

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: The rise of online and blended learning and the development of free online courses is set to transform the higher education sector. We’ve asked our authors how to remake the…
Academics and universities might need to be careful of what they wish for with free online education. Academics and universities might need to be careful of what they wish for with free online education. Job image from www.shutterstock.com

MOOC and you’re out of a job: uni business models in danger

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: The rise of online and blended learning and the development of free online courses is set to transform the higher education sector. We’ve asked our authors how to remake the…
Massive open online education could be the answer to addressing community and industry needs. Massive open online education could be the answer to addressing community and industry needs. Head image from www.shutterstock.com

How Australian universities can play in the MOOCs market

FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION: The rise of online and blended learning and the development of free online courses is set to transform the higher education sector. We’ve asked our authors how to remake the…
ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young says those giving away course content for free will find it difficult to later introduce fees. ANU vice-chancellor Ian Young says those giving away course content for free will find it difficult to later introduce fees. AAP

ANU vice-chancellor issues MOOCs warning

Australian universities should be wary of being their “own worst enemy” when embracing Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivery, says Australian National University vice chancellor Ian Young. Comparing…
How will online courses deal with assessment and accreditation? How will online courses deal with assessment and accreditation? Cloud computing image www.shutterstock.com.au

Credentials in the cloud: how will MOOCs deal with plagiarism?

Many are proclaiming 2012 is the year of the MOOC — Massive Open Online Course — thanks to the arrival of major players, edX, Udacity and Coursera all started by colleagues from elite American universities…
Despite online courses available for free, university students still want the experience of bricks and mortar campuses. Despite online courses available for free, university students still want the experience of bricks and mortar campuses. University campus image from www.shutterstock.com

MOOCs will mean the death of universities? Not likely

MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are gaining a lot of attention. Some commentators believe that these free internet-delivered courses are the future of university education. Others meanwhile argue…
The rise of open online courses will affect almost every part of higher education, including the international student market in Australia. The rise of open online courses will affect almost every part of higher education, including the international student market in Australia. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Online open education: yes, this is the game changer

Mass Open Online Courseware (MOOCs) is less than a year old but it is already clear this will be the game changer in higher education worldwide. Right now it is reverberating through Australian universities…
Paying for expensive textbooks could be a thing of the past for university students. Paying for expensive textbooks could be a thing of the past for university students. Flickr/Abstract Machine

Sick of paying for textbooks? Get them now, free and online

In the same way that free open online courseware is threatening to disrupt traditional universities, open textbook initiatives such as OpenStax College from Rice University threaten to do the same to the…
Getting students hands on experience through a virtual world is the next big step in education. Getting students hands on experience through a virtual world is the next big step in education. Flickr/Mercy Health

Virtual campus: online universities are the future of higher education

In higher education, we’ve been talking about “e-learning” for years. But, in practice, we have mostly been teaching in the same way just through different mediums; that is, delivering one-way lectures…

Research and News (9)

UQ joins MOOCs movement

The University of Queensland has become the latest institution to embrace open online learning, committing to offer up to…