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What is a Small Private Online Course? And how is it different to a MOOC? Shutterstock

Explainer: what is a Small Private Online Course?

If you have studied an online course at a university over the past couple of decades, you’ve probably already experienced a SPOC, or Small Private Online Course. SPOC is a new term for an old concept…
People argue over whether learning should take place online or face-to-face, but does it have to be one or the other? Flickr/Noticias UFM

Online vs face-to-face learning: why can’t we have both?

Ever since the invention of the printed word, academics have been arguing about the proper place of technology in teaching. On one side are those who I’ll call the traditionalists who insist on the primacy…
Getting practice in early. Online learning via Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Online learning at school helps prepare teens for university

Online learning has been around for more than 30 years, but recent excitement around Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has brought it fully into the public eye. In schools, online learning used to be…
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. 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? 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. 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? 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? 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? 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. 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. 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. 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…
A new set of free online courses will soon be available Online learning image from www.shutterstock.com

The Aussie Coursera? A new homegrown MOOC platform arrives

A new free online education platform has been launched in Canberra today, by tertiary education minister Chris Bowen. Open…
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. 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…

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