Saturday, January 26, 2013

Online Education Gamechanger?

WSJ: "University of Wisconsin to Offer a Bachelor's to Students Who Take Online Competency Tests About What They Know"

From the article:
Officials encourage students to complete their education independently through online courses, which have grown in popularity through efforts by companies such as Coursera, edX and Udacity.   No classroom time is required under the Wisconsin program except for clinical or practicum work for certain degrees...

Officials plan to launch the full program this fall, with bachelor's degrees in subjects including information technology and diagnostic imaging, plus master's and bachelor's degrees for registered nurses. Faculty are working on writing those tests now.

The charges for the tests and related online courses haven't been set. But university officials said the Flexible Option should be "significantly less expensive" than full-time resident tuition, which averages about $6,900 a year at Wisconsin's four-year campuses.
This could be a real game-changer in higher education, by de-linking the credentialling aspect of the university from teaching function.  Univ. Wisconsin is ahead of the curve, but I anticipate more universities will soon follow.