Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sally Johnstone at MnOnline

Sally Johnstone of WCET (soon of Winona State University) was a key presenter on the topic of: Issues and Trends in American E-Learning. Some of her points were:

  • Over 90% of public institutions offer online courses.
  • The online for-profits spend 15-20% of revenue on student recruitment.
  • The Budget Reconciliation Act (12/05) recognizes organizations that grant degrees based on assessments as higher education institutions. This will likely lead to the creation of new educational companies.
  • Over the next three years we expect an 8% increase in high school grads nationwide, but they will not be evenly distributed across the country. Some states win big and others lose big.
  • The Higher Ed Reauthorization Act may still include language that requires us to have processes to assure student identities in distance learning courses. This is an issue that I have been talking about for most of the past year after having an extended conversation with Steve Crow (Higher Learning Commission) at the WCET annual conference. His best guess (and he stressed that it was only a guess) was that the most common way of doing this would be through some sort of required proctoring of exams or other assessments.
  • She talked about the importance of sharing (see my earlier rants). Seems like everyone is talking about it but not so keen about doing it.
  • Check out the Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative for openly available and free online courses and course materials in many areas including Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Statistics, and French.
  • Two hours after I posted about the importance of Creative Commons licensing, Sally talked about it as part of her presentation. Hooray!

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